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Know What You are Paying for When it Comes to Online Marketing

It seems that there are more and more options for marketing your practice online. Today you can advertise just about anywhere, including on mobile, social media, online directories and by geotargeting, to name a few.  In addition, for a monthly fee, you can buy-in to a number of different services that will manage your online directory listings. How do you know which option is the right one for you? Here are a few things you should know:

Digital Ads

Know what you’re buying.

CPA Cost per ActionAdvertising online can be very confusing as there are so many options. Given the fact that few medical practices truly understand the complexity of digital advertising, it’s no surprise that the companies selling advertising (Google, Yellowpages, Facebook, etc) can easily entice those that are buying.  These companies typically provide metrics like “potential reach” to get folks to sign on. On its own, potential reach is meaningless and should not dictate a buying decision. Understanding your campaign goals, target audience, what geographic area you wish to cover, as well as how many conversions (new leads) you’ll need to drive a return on your investment (ROI) is the information you need to make a good decision. 

Understand the metrics.

When it comes to advertising, you have to ask the question – is it working? And by that we mean, are you getting a return on your investment? Analytics can certainly tell you if your advertising is generating “impressions” (how many people saw your ad) or that your website saw visitors because of your ad, but unless you are measuring conversions (a phone call, a completed appointment request submission), you don’t have a true sense of your ROI. 

Keep a close watch.

As your campaign runs, be sure to dig deep into the details. It takes some work to add and build your reservoir of “negative keywords” from clicks for terms that are loosely related, but not relevant, to your specific ad campaign. If someone else set up your ad campaign, take a hard look at the data and verify that the clicks are coming from your target area. If your practice is in Houston and you see a click from Boston, that click may be irrelevant. Given that many paid clicks now average around $4-$5 per click, the closer you watch the details and make adjustments, the lower your cost and the better your result.

Know what advertising you’re currently doing.

If it’s not you who pays the bills for your practice, check with the person who does. Many practices pay invoices and don’t even realize or ask what they are paying for. Yellowpages, Yelp and other online advertisers may be invoicing you for advertising but not providing any insight as to how those campaigns are working. Simply put, if you are paying hundreds of dollars a month in digital ads but see only a handful of visits to your website (not conversions), then it’s probably not a good use of your dollars.

Directory Listings

Today there are many online directories and listings management companies. These companies can help keep your business information accurate across the web which, in turn, helps to improve your domain authority. With so many companies doing the same thing, how do you know which one to go with?

While most do a fairly good job with feeding data to the main information aggregators, many of these companies do not clean up physician directory listings on sites such as Healthgrades, RateMDs and more. When someone does a Google search for medical services, these directories are often some of the first that will come up on the results pages. However, many of the directories that some listing services tout rarely show in search results.

At the time of this article, that clean up continues to be a manual process for these directories. Be sure to ask what healthcare directories these vendors interface with and how their clean up process works. While their service may display your listings in their dashboard, it is a time-consuming manual process to claim them and clean them up. Often times, that means you are the one responsible for that.

Finally, keep in mind that listing management is done on a per entity basis – by brand, physician, and office location. These companies charge a monthly fee for each entity for use of their software and may expect you to do the work.

At Practis, we work hard to ensure our clients do well and see long-term results. If you are considering online marketing, please call Practis first!