Social Speak Podcast John McAlpin

John is a technical SEO expert who’s deeply engaged in the local and national SEO community. With over 15 years of web management experience, John has led digital strategy for many enterprise healthcare companies such as Epic Health Services, Aveanna Healthcare, Cornerstone Healthcare Group, and more!

Founded in 2009, Cardinal Digital Marketing has been ranked the #1 fastest growing agency in the Southeast (The Agency 100). In addition, they have been consecutively named on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held US companies in 2014 and 2015. The agency has also been a multi-year recipient of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Pacesetter Awards as well as selected as one of the 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®.

Cardinal keeps pace with rapidly shifting trends in Digital Marketing, and develops engagement strategies that are not defined by a platform or a category, but leverage the best marketing vehicle to solve every unique challenge. They approach every situation with the client’s customer in mind and measure success not by increased traffic or impressions, but instead higher client profits.

Services offered include Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising, Social Media Management, Web Design & Development, Mobile Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Web Analytics, and more. What are your specialties?

In this interview we focused on SEO and search marketing for health and wellness businesses. We covered:

  • The difference between SEO and Search Marketing and how this differs from other types of digital marketing.
  • Current trends are you seeing for wellness practices with SEO marketing in 2019.
  • Tactics that were expected to perform well or had a lot of hype, but failed to take hold in 2018.
  • The top 3 things that a wellness center should be doing online to see a return from their SEM efforts.
  • The top strategy that should be followed, but often marketing teams get it wrong.
  • Marketing strategies your team is currently testing that you don’t think many other agencies are implementing for their clients.

Please be sure to subscribe to the Social Speak Podcast for more interviews with experts in digital marketing for health and wellness businesses.

Podcast Transcript:

Hello my name is Caitlin McDonald, and welcome to the most recent episode of the Social Speak podcast. I am so excited, today we are joined by SEO expert John McAlpin. Now, John works for Cardinal Digital Marketing. Founded in 2009, Cardinal digital marketing has been ranked number one of fastest growing agencies in the South East. In addition, they have consecutively been named on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies in 2014 and 2015.

Cardinal keeps pace with the rapidly shifting trends in digital marketing and develops engagement strategies that are not defined by a platform or a category, but leverage the best marketing vehicle to solve every unique challenge. They approach every situation with the client’s customer in mind, and measure success not by increased traffic or impressions, but instead, higher client profits. Services offered include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, mobile marketing, online reputation management, web analytics and more.

Our guest, John is a technical SEO expert, who’s deeply engaged in the local and national SEO community. With over 15 years of web management experience John has led digital strategy for many enterprise healthcare companies such as Epic Health Services, Cornerstone Healthcare Group, and more so let’s give a warm welcome to John.

Caitlin: Welcome John, we’re so excited to have you on the show today.

To kick things off. Tell us a little bit about your background in digital marketing.

John: Sure, it actually started way back when I was 11. I started building websites when I was 11. I found it interesting and saw my dad doing it So, I found W3 schools and started teaching myself how to do all that. But at a professional portion of my career I started in the corporate side, mostly in a tech field, international e-commerce, and then I moved into healthcare and fell in love immediately. I was doing full digital strategy for a healthcare company, and then from there, I transitioned to a agency life and never looked back really. I love agency life. It’s nice to get a little mix of everything.

C: Yes, it definitely is. There’s always a new project to be working on … So John a key aspect of Cardinal digital focuses on SEO and search marketing. Can you describe how this differs from other types of digital marketing?

J: Sure, on it’s own this is a really interesting topic. A lot of people get confused about the actual true definition of SEM. I even heard people consider Social media as a part of SEM and so I think it’s really important to know the difference. Search engine marketing is any type of marketing that has to deal with a search engine. Specifically people refer to it with paid search, like PPC or CPC however you want to refer it to, or SEO. And so that’s essentially search engine marketing. While things like social media channels, have a search box that’s different than a search engine. It is important to note. And so search marketing really is just another form of inbound marketing and what’s unique about it compared to other things, is you’re catching both people during the discovery phase, where there’s no intent to purchase, and during the intent to purchase phase.

C: Great, great thank you for diving into that. So what current trends are you seeing for wellness practices with the SEO and SEM in 2019?

J: What people are in healthcare are starting to do is find alternative ways for people to book appointments. Traditionally it starts with a call then developed. Now we’ve got great technology to book appointments on the website, but now it’s gonna find alternative way to give people more options, to book appointments.

Something that we’re doing is Google My business is actually having features to help integrate their platforms truly need to visit your website, to book an appointment, you can even text or even other direct links. There are some other third-party industry sites like if they’re a directory that we can book appointment straight from there. For example, in the restaurant space Yelp, you can order straight from Yelp. And so, the future is hoping to get voice functionality working out. So all you’re a home assistant, such as Alexa, to help book appointments, that’s a future hope. I don’t know if you were gonna get there, in 2019, but it’s definitely in pain that see a lot of people going towards.

C: That’s pretty incredible. So I’d just be able to say “Alexa, schedule my appointment with this center,” and to be able to do it.

J: Right. I predicted to see a specific company, not a healthcare company, but a technology company developing an application. There’s a lot of partners with it, who are trying to work together to develop this type of technology, so I see it being… You signed up with a partner and they will add you to their list, of preferred vendors, and then you would be able to use their system. That’s the place I see this going.

C: That is incredible, that’s wonderful. Now, in a previous podcast episode, and this isn’t something that we talked about previously, but in a previous podcast episode one of our guest Abby was talking about how interactive websites is actually really helping out with SEO because people have more time on site. A lot of health care centers, direct people off-site to do the scheduling and booking. Is it better to have the scheduling tool actually embedded on your website, rather than directing someone off-site?

J: So, that’s an interesting topic because there’s a couple of things that you wanna think about here. Not just your SEO interactivity, but also how you track conversion. A lot and people who have booking on their site or using an Iframe, which means that your analytics may not be able to track.

And so, really it gets to the point where Google is aimed more to the user experience and that’s where people get that time-on-site type of metric, and technically it’s better to have people to book on your site versus off because it’s less steps to take an action, but in a perfect world we be able to develop software to have booking on our site, and have our own proprietary thing. But, not everyone has those kind of resources. And so it is really however you can get the job done. An Iframe will work. Just be careful about what you’re tracking. As marketers, it is hard for us, so we don’t always have the ability to track it. Cardinal specifically does a good job of working with a whole lot of vendors to make sure that we can get the information that you need, but a lot of agencies don’t have that reach or those resources so be careful.

C: Alright, so let’s jump to the next question, are there any tactics that were expected for well or had a lot of hype, but failed to really take hold in 2018?

J: Voice. I think, voice is gonna be a big one. It’s not the future. It’s now. Some data scientists are predicting that 50% of all searches, are gonna be voice by next year. And I think this is a little confusing because people are getting confused between Voice Search and Voice Assistance.

Asking for the weather, asking certain time or something like that. It’s just those are voice assistance not voice search. And so right now we don’t really have a good way to track search. Also, it is important to note that your Search Console data, a lot of these queries can be voice and Google won’t be telling you which are voice.

I’m sure they will, but they’re not telling you right now. It’s also important to know that as far as asking questions that come from your website, all answers are first position featured snippets. They wanted to be voice focus on getting those featured snippets ranking high. And it’s important to know that feature snippets can appear anywhere in the search and only 30% are in position one.

C: Is there any way to be able to do research about how voice searches and the phrases and terminology that people are using and search differ from me typing into a search engine for something?

J: So as far as tracking or as far as optimizing?

C: As far as optimizing.

J: Sure it’s really just answering commonly add questions that you can relate to your business. Anyone can really get a question answered, but that doesn’t really lead to a conversion or help your branding at all.

So if you really wanted to optimize for voice, currently, before the future hits, it’s really answer the questions as quickly as you can. One of two sentences, the question needs to be answered. A lot of people will try to think about word count, not word quality. So they add all of these filler words. Work to really answered the question directly, in a first two sentences. The rest of that page can be or filler content.

Yeah, and those first two sentences, then you can work your brand name and according to Dr. So and So, at whatever your business name, is, the flu can be treated if caught earlier.

That was a the brand recall there. They can go and search that later or if they just are searching that question online at all, on the paper knows your name at the features on it. Oh, the that’s who I heard that from. And they can follow group.

C: I assume that that’s going to be one of the answers to this next question, but what are the top three things that a wellness center should be doing online to see a return from their SEM efforts?

J: Actually, it’s not one of the three in a lot of the…

There a more important foundational things that people need to worry about. A as far as voice, yes. One of the things I focus on Q+ A answer format. Include all of your services include all of your conditions on separate pages and have a way to inter-link them, Focus on your internal in-between them, so that they can relate and people can learn more information.

One of the first things they need to do is focus on having clean citations and for people that don’t know is a caption. That’s just your directory listing thing about Google My Business, Yelp. And then also think about your industry-specific citations.

Rate My doctor and things like that.

These directories have a huge impact on voice search and how business appear – having a consistent citations in.

So there’s a lot of tools that help it is or you can do it manually, but a lot more work, but you can pay more to have is, will do it for us if a lot of out there for it so I think the biggest factor that wellness centers and we really need to focus on is the user experience.

You can do SEO to a crap site. But if it doesn’t convert and people are turned off by it, they can’t navigate through it, it doesn’t mean anything that is so important.

Yeah, you can put a Band-Aid on it. But it’s not going lead to the results that you need in the end. And I feel as though Google with its algorithm,  says, “Well it’s ranking site’s higher that have that positive user experience. People are staying on the site longer, they’re going directly to it.”

C: And then, let’s see, what is the top strategy that should be followed but often marketing teams at these health and wellness centers get wrong or other agencies, just get wrong?

J: So SEO, technical SEO, that’s the first thing I noticed that it’s wrong, but really the biggest missed opportunity is having a holistic digital marketing strategy and having your teams to silo doing their own things, not so picking on the same goals or focus or when teams are working on different  ways to achieve different tactics towards the same goal.

Specifically, they need to be blending to the technical side of SEO, PPC, social media and their content. Repurpose your content for different channels.

C: That’s great, that’s great. You work for Cardinal digital, which is a full service agency and one of the top-ranked inbound marketing agencies in the US. Tell us about your company and your services, because you do really merge all of those different silos together for work with your clients.

J: As a strategy partner, we use the term partner, because it really is a relationship that we try to build, we try to build long-term collaborative relationships with national enterprise healthcare companies, because not one company is the same as the other, and everyone deserves a customize strategy. There’s no recycled formula for everyone … See what works best for everyone. We also have a really strong paid media team, and extremely simple track or record merging all of our tactics that blended to re-All full welcome out strategy.

C: Are there any marketing strategies that your team is currently testing that you don’t think many other agencies are implementing for their clients?

J: Sure almost doing a lot of the same one-off tactics and traditional SEO things, and payments paid media, but one of the things that we do is that I’ve seen that I have not seen other agencies really focus on is develop cascading edge tracking software.

We’re trying to use every tool the book to make sure that we can unlock the most insights so we can do the best action because really we put the data in the hands of our clients.

This is what we’re seeing our recommendation and this is how we collaborate with our clients, so, but they are fully aware of every step and they can make the best position possible because we give them the best information possible, and that to be anything from, not just keyword tracking, but also heatmap tracking it seems… How users are actually interacting on their site, so we can have the full holistic US experience.

C: Definitely, definitely, that’s great. And then, John, is there anything that I should have asked but I didn’t?

J: Yes, a lot of questions, I don’t know. I think you have a great job…

C: Awesome, well thank you so much for joining us, has been such a pleasure learning about your experience, your take on SEO and SEM and some of what Cardinal Digital is doing for their clients. So thank you again for joining us today.

J: Thanks so much for having me.

C: Wow, thank you, thank you, thank you to John for joining us today. He shared such wonderful information and it’s no wonder Cardinal digital is such a top-ranked agency with talent like John.

We spoke today about optimizing your directory listings, including both services and conditions pages on your website, as well as how to increase your exposure for voice search by having an FAQ section on your website. All of these are simple tips that you’ll be able to implement on your wellness website to help out with SEO and SEM.

Thank you again for tuning in, thank you to our guest, John for joining us today, and I will see you on the next episode of The Social speak podcast.

What Makes a Strong Social Media Content Strategy

How many of us spend more than an hour per month planning content for our social media platforms?

If you are anything like me or I should say how I was in the past 😉 I had all these great ideas and topics I wanted to talk about, pictures I would want to stage, videos I wanted to shoot, blogs I wanted to write, the list goes on, and then I would get caught up in work & life! Yep, and forget to implement all these awesome ideas.

In today’s day and age, it is so important for your business to have a clear and consistent plan with social media. As we all know social media is always changing or adjusting something if you don’t have a clear plan it is easy to get lost in mess. 

It’s easy to say you are going to block time and put together your strategy for the year, but honestly, does that happen?

Each year I love to check out what the social media trends are going to be for the new year, and what the experts think will change, or what will be needed. We then as a team take that advice or tips and implement them it into our own marketing strategy.

whats your social media plan?

But, did you get into business to follow social media trends? I don’t think so, that’s why you are here reading this blog now!

Your social media content strategy is something that does take time to plan, I am not saying it is going to be easy or happen in an hour, it does take a little leg work up front to really dive deep into your brand/business to identify which direction you need to go in. Listening to your audience, monitoring insights, analytics, and talking to your customers and/or clients. 

Each social media platform has its own personality and your audience will engage with you differently on each platform. So it’s important to look at each platform as its own entity and create a content strategy around that platform. Now, some content will be able to go across multiple platforms, but if you do that, put that content out on different days.

I am not a huge fan of the same post going out at the same time to Facebook, Instagram, Linked, and Twitter you see it 4 times and that doesn’t give your audience any true value.

If you are sharing a blog post create a few different posts that you can put out to the social media platforms.

Before we dive into the 4 ways to create a strong social media content strategy, I wanted to talk a little bit about blogging and how that feeds into your social media content. This is a piece that is often overlooked, below we talk about setting goals, one area is building website traffic. If you are not blogging about valuable content on your website, what entices people to want to click over to your site?

We have put together a FREE Blog Sharing Checklist that you will also be able to implement into your social media content strategy.

Download Our FREE Blog Sharing Checklist

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So, let’s get started, today, we will be covering 4 areas to create a clear and consistent content strategy for your social media.

Let’s start with Goal setting

When it comes time to create your goals for your social media, you can think of SMART goals

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific: Your goals should be clear, simple and defined.
  • Measurable: This is where analytics come in. You want a goal that has one or more metrics.
  • Achievable: Is it achievable or is it not possible within your resources?
  • Realistic: With your current resources of time and money, is it possible to achieve your goals?
  • Time-sensitive: Every goal needs a time frame, whether it’s one year or several months.

We recommend you look at monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. You want to think of these different areas:

  • Brand awareness – with over a billion people on social media daily, yes daily, you can check those stats here, it can be a little difficult to stand out from the crowd. Looking at social media to help build brand awareness is a great idea. There are a few components to building brand awareness that we want to think about when writing down our goals.
    • Identifying your target market
    • Building a good experience for your audience
    • Increasing engagement
    • Creating conversations with your audience
  • New Leads – When it comes to social media people are always looking for the ROI, the key factor is what does ROI mean to you and your business? New leads can be new email signups, new clients, people that are looking at your shopping cart, subscribed to a content upgrade, or even blog followers. This is where the SMART goal setting comes into play, it’s important to be very clear on what the new leads mean to you. 
  • Traffic to the website – This is a piece I love to monitor each month, it’s amazing how much traffic we get from our social media platforms. If you have Google Analytics on your website it monitors the traffic sources so you can see where people are coming to your website from. When it comes to setting a goal for website traffic, it helps to use % like I want my website traffic to grow by 35% of views coming from just social media platforms, or I want my website traffic to increase by 50% from sharing my blog posts to Pinterest etc. 
  • Building community and brand authenticity – This is a big trend for social media right now, and I shouldn’t call it a trend but more of a value. It has been brought to the attention of business owners and brands all over that people/your audience want to know WHO you are. What your business or brand stands for, being a transparent and authentic business or brand allows you to create a loyal community. At the end of the day, our social media platforms are our online communities. I always think of social media as an online networking event. It takes time to build relationships and it’s a two-way street. You need to engage with your audience, ask questions, active listening, and much more to build this community. What does an authentic business or brand look like for you? How would a strong and loyal online community benefit you? 

Content Strategy

Now, that you have your goals defined, it’s time to put the content together that your audience is looking for. With social media platforms saturated with all different types of content and updating less than every second, it can make it difficult to stick out from the crowd.

You want to give your audience value, content that leaves them wanting more, you are the expert in your industry and people want to do business with YOU!

How do you create a clear content strategy? 

We must first define your brand’s voice:

  • Look at your company’s core values
    • What important to you?
    • What is your demographic, and how do they speak?

Then we can move into how to bring that voice into storytelling, let’s be real, people love stories! Every good business and brand has a good story behind it!

  • Humanize your brand
  • Share stories about your brand
  • Work on connecting with your audience on a deeper level
  • Share relevant content that relates back to your core values and brand

Now, we dive into keyword research and finding the pain points of your target audience. Finding out this information is NOT to create a bait and switch strategy, but again, to really connect with your audience on a deeper level and find out where their struggles are at so you can create valuable content around their needs.

Here are a few tools to help with keyword research:

How to find your audience’s pain points for you to solve:

  • Ask your current customers/clients
  • Create a survey and send to your email list
  • Ask your social media followers

You always want to have a good mix for your social media content strategy and being consistent. It’s great if you take the time to craft together this amazing post that gets a TON of engagement and then you post NOTHING for over a week, that one badass post serves NO purpose now.

Going back to the point I made earlier, keep your audience wanting more!

Types of content you want to create

You can do this by getting creative with your content.

1- Blog posts
2- Products
3- Videos
4- Company personality
5- Curated content or industry news
6- Gifs
7- Events or networking events
8- Original photos
9- Testimonials
10- FAQ
11- Content upgrades or free resources
12- Podcast or books
13- Company milestones
14- Inspirational quotes
15- Fan content
16- Infographics
17 – Employee/Owner stories
18- Power/Referral partners
19- Product reviews
20- National observances days, Nation # day, National Awareness day

I love getting creative and providing our audience with awesome content that they can implement into their business.

Content Calendar – bringing it all together

The fun part is creating the content, thinking of all the different topics, ideas, videos, pictures, etc you want to use for your social media strategy. The hard part is being consistent and having a plan. As you can see this is a process and it takes time. 

Take some time and find a system that works for you, there are plenty of tools out there that we have used and recommend to help you and your team stay on the same page.

Tools to look at:

Tips to thriving with your social media content strategy: 

We have created a simple Google Sheets content calendar that allows us to stay organized. Content Calendar Template – Content Calendar

So, I did a little research

When I started on this blog I did a little research to a few bloggers/influencers to see where their struggles were with digital marketing and how they have overcome them.

I asked these 3 questions:

1) What are the top 3 struggles you have faced with your digital marketing strategy?
2) How have you found Social Media and Blogging to help your business?
3) Where do you feel you need to most support with your marketing on a monthly basis?
Our Responses: 
  1. Fit Bottomed Girls said the top 3 struggles they have faced in the digital marketing world have been – Getting through the digital noise and clutter, Defining a clear budget for marketing, and Converting readers to customers of our own products.

    Since their business IS blogging social media and blogging play the most important role in their business, it has allowed them to establish a brand, a community, a voice, and a platform!

    Where they said they needed the most support was driving in new traffic and sales copy.
    logoJennipher Walters CEO/Co-founder, Fit Bottomed World LLC jenn@fitbottomedgirls.com | http://fitbottomedgirls.com/

  2. Tabitha Blue with Fresh Mommy Blog said her top 3 struggles she has faced in digital marketing is time – making the time for everything, putting all the ideas together and keeping it consistent, Once she writes the blog post, now what with writing  captions for sharing blog posts to social – eye-grabbing and appealing that makes people want to click through to full blog, and lastly figuring out the right topics people want to learn about.

    Again, this is a lifestyle blogger and her business revolves around her and the brand she has created. She has been able to empower mothers all over the world with her content.

    Where she said she could use the most support was creating systems for sharing blog posts, best times and days to post along with having a consistent social media strategy.
    Fresh Mommy Blog This is her happy place where motherhood, food, travel, design, and stylish little things collide. Tabitha is a certified life coach, mom of four and she wants to empower busy women + moms to feel organized to do more of what they love… and feel confident to do it in style! Website: https://freshmommyblog.com/  Email: hello@freshmommyblog.com

  3. Dee Gautham Fitness said her top struggles with digital marketing are finding the balance between personal and business, writing posts around self-expression and still giving the reader enough value, writing purposeful content, and optimizing for revenue vs. followers and what’s that sweet spot.

    Dee is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Online Coach, published author, and speaker on women’s body image and self-confidence expert, she works with her clients in a group setting or one on one. She has found that Instagram has been the most beneficial to her brand and building brand awareness, really being able to connect and engage with her audience. She is only blogging twice per month but feels that is something that will grow as she grows more.

    Where she said she needed the most support is having a consistent strategy with social media and blogging, self-expression and sales.
    Dee Gautham The mission of Dee Gautham Fitness is to help women get in the best shape of their lives – physically AND mentally – so you can feel, look, and perform your best, and reach your highest potential in this world. https://deegautham.com/

In conclusion, you can see there is a theme about taking time to create the right content strategy and staying consistent with it. Once you do the leg work, in the beginning, it is easy to add more to it and adjust each quarter.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do a whole year at once, but work on a quarterly basis. Ask yourself, is it time to regain control of your marketing? We have the solution for you!

Often marketing managers and business owners feel as though the content they are creating doesn’t drive the business towards a set goal.

Content is created in a haphazard manner and there isn’t enough accountability or guidance to make sure each aspect of a digital marketing plan is as effective and efficient as possible.

This is why we created the “Roadmap to Digital Marketing

We’re experts in content creation, SEO, email marketing, sales funnels, WordPress development, and social media. We also have exclusive access to new cutting-edge resources and trends in digital marketing.

Our clients rest easy knowing that their marketing efforts are being handled in the most efficient and effective ways possible for their business. With monthly accountability coaching and quarterly content calendars, we help you to make sure your entire team is following best practices and has access to training materials and tutorials.

Would you like to set up a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn more about this solution for your business or to see what pointers we can give you on your strategy?

Book your FREE session today

We hope you are as excited as we were to create your strategy!

xoxo

What Makes a Strong Social Media Content Strategy_

What Makes a Strong Social Media Content Strategy – SMART goals, brand awareness, building an authentic brand, and more!

 

Podcast Interview on Inbound Marketing in 2019 with Abby Thompson from Salted Stone

This week we have the privilege of speaking with Abby Thompson from Salted Stone, a Diamond Tier Partner with Hubspot. Salted Stone is a global agency with an award-winning team. They provide end-to-end solutions for clients focusing on strategic marketing programs, tactical support, and project engagements.

In our podcast, Abby and I took a deep dive into some of the key concerns for health and wellness centers when tackling Inbound Marketing.

In this episode, Abby provides insight into:

  • Current trends she is seeing for wellness practices with inbound marketing in 2019.
  • Tactics that were expected to perform well or had a lot of hype, but failed to take hold in 2018.
  • The top 3 things that a wellness center should be doing online to see a return from their digital marketing efforts.
  • What is the top strategy that should be followed, but often marketing teams get it wrong.
  • Inbound strategies Salted Stone is currently testing that you don’t think many other agencies are implementing for their clients.

Please subscribe to Social Speak Podcast for more interviews with experts in digital marketing for the health and wellness industry.

Before jumping into the transcript of the Podcast, I wanted to highlight eight key takeaways that you can implement in the digital marketing strategy for your wellness center.

8 Ways to Master Inbound Marketing in 2019 for your Wellness Center

Takeaway 1: Inbound marketing is a comprehensive journey. It is about creating opportunities for your target market to find you and interact with your brand in a way that encourages them to take action.

Takeaway 2: Current trends in Health and Wellness for Inbound Marketing in 2019 include building authenticity into how you position yourself online. For example, wellness brands are moving away from partnering with Influencers that alienate their target market and working more with people who welcomes and builds trust.

Takeaway 3: Not all technology trends played out in 2018. Salted Stone expected AI to be much more advanced for content creation, but it still is failing to create content that seems authentic to the brand. Additionally, be on the look out for more advanced functionality for Chat Bots in 2019.

Takeaway 4: Wellness centers should focus their digital marketing efforts on creating Interactive Content. Interactive content increases time on site, prospect engagement, and ultimately helps to build trust with your brand. Examples include: quizzes, calculators, dynamic landing pages, product or service walk-through videos, and more. In general, clinics with interactive content at the center of their digital strategy see a higher ROI than those who don’t emphasize interactive content.

Takeaway 5: Encourage user reviews and value the transparency and authenticity of both positive and negative reviews. Don’t hesitate to incentivize patients to leave reviews about their experience with your practice.

Takeaway 6: Track the correct KPI’s, such as your customer lifetime value to your customer acquisition cost ratio. Vanity or glamour metrics, such as the number of Likes or Shares a post receives, won’t move the needle when it comes to best marketing your practice online.

Takeaway  7: Marketing is not a one-size-fits all proposition. A health clinic in NY may find that different marketing tactics work to book appointments than a wellness center in OH. You need to dig deep and understand your ideal patient.

Takeaway 8: Don’t think you need to be everywhere online. Talk to and interview customers and prospects to find out where they spend their time. Then, focus your Inbound Marketing efforts on growing these channels. Be strategic about where you market yourself and what tools you use.

So, with that covered let’s jump into the Podcast to hear from Inbound Marketing specialist, Abby Thompson.

Inbound Marketing Tips Interview Transcript

Caitlin: Hello and welcome to the newest episode of The Social speak Network podcast. I’m Caitlin McDonald, and today I am joined by Abby Thompson. Abby is the Director of Marketing at Salted Stone, a global agency with an award-winning team of humans, and dogs, where she spends her days spearheading lead generation and strategic initiatives. Abby is a Boston native with a passion for mission-driven business development, branding, and technology. So please, let’s give a warm hello as we welcome Abby, to the podcast.

Abby we are so excited to have you on today, first to kick things off, can you tell us a little bit about your background in digital marketing?

Abby: Yes, absolutely, thank you so much for having me on. I’m excited to be here.

Prior to joining the team at Salted Stone, I was working with a sustainable and renewable energy education company based in Portland, Oregon. We offered online courses for engineers and professionals who wanted to learn more about solar and wind energy and sustainable building. I was responsible for assisting with editorial campaigns on our blog, social media marketing, sourcing, managing experts, building courses with them, and answering questions from prospective students, as well. I got a chance to handle initiatives that followed all ends of the buyer journey.

I created Inbound content for marketing purposes, and also used chatbots to qualify leads and even sell to site visitors, worked with the instructors to build a new courses, and then sold and cross-promoted to them.

It touched on marketing, sales and customer success, as well. After I left that company, I joined the team at Salted Stone about two years ago. I started as an intern and then I worked in our PR and earned media department and now I lead marketing specifically for the agency. I’m a little bit less client-facing now, and I’m really in charge of lead generation and strategic initiatives over here for our agency.

C: Awesome, I love it. So you’ve really been able to have your hands in all different aspects of digital marketing, and now you’re really just marketing the business, which is great.

A: I’ve got to work on the business and in the business which is really cool.

The Difference between Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, and Inbound Marketing

C: Salted Stone focuses on Inbound Marketing, can you describe how this differs from content marketing or digital marketing? There are so many catch phrases out there. What are they?

A: There are so many buzz words. From a high level, Inbound is a technique that really turns the old-school concept of pitching, advertising, and finding and courting leads or buyers on its head. So where in the past, you were always making cold calls, buying leads lists, trying to push your message with an outbound approach, now you’re creating opportunities for folks to find you and interact with your brand in a way that encourages them to ultimately take an action. So, of course, content marketing, content creation, and dissemination of the content that you create are a part of Inbound Marketing.

Certainly a tenant of Inbound is to write or design really helpful guides, blogs, e-books that folks will find and enjoy. And in that process, of course, they’ll get to know the product or solution that you offer, but Inbound is about a lot more than that, really. It’s ultimately about optimizing every domain you have on the web to move people closer to the point of sale, or to renew, or to evangelize your brand and come back again and tell others to come back again.

Whereas digital marketing itself, might be an umbrella in which a lot of these actions, fall, Inbound is really about creating a comprehensive journey. So say someone finds you on the internet because you have a great website that’s keyword optimized with good domain authority.

And maybe they’d spend some time clicking around, chat with someone on a live or scripted bot, look at the resources you might have to offer, download something, maybe they get enrolled in an email marketing nurture workflow and eventually, hopefully, you become your buyer. It’s really it’s a bigger picture, long-term mode of thinking for brands rather than just focusing on SEO for example, or a lot of folks, they just say, “Oh you know what, I’m going to blog…” It’s really much more comprehensive than that.

Flywheel Approach to Marketing from Hubspot

The folks over at HubSpot, who coined the term, they call it now the Fly Wheel way of thinking. Basically the customer is at the middle and then around the customer is sales, marketing and customer success alignment. So you’re making sure that from the point of time where they’re finding them on the internet to when they decide that they want to spend their money with you, you’re really making sure that they’re happy, that they love your product, still that you’re being consistent in your messaging, as soon as they become a client, and just making sure you’re investing in equal measure in all parts of that journey for them. That’s really what Inbound is about it.

Current Inbound Marketing Trends for Wellness Practices in 2019

C: Now, as you know we focused a lot with health care and health and wellness what current trends are you seeing for wellness practices with Inbound Marketing in 2019?

A: Yeah, absolutely, I think we undeniably live in the age of an elite and often unrelatable influencer or social media star, and I think prior to now, many brands have made the assumption that the star power of a person endorsing your product or your service is enough to persuade buyers. But the truth is most wellness or fitness influencers don’t really live life like your buyer does.

And I think you are sending a message with a little bit of dissonance there. And I think marketers have now really caught on that. It sends a sort of phony and unattainable message to have people who don’t live anything like your buyer promoting your product, or… So now I’m basically saying wherein companies embrace this idea, and really tailor they’re Inbound initiatives around fitting their initiatives into the lifestyle of the whole market. Not just that one demographic that can live like those influencers. And to me, that just makes business sense it. Why make your club, the club that only a few people feel they can connect to or join. Why not eliminate those sort of alienating messages and images and open your brand up to folks who want to spend money with you.

Because so many people in the past, if you’re just using sort of elite Influence or marketing, many people probably felt that they weren’t welcomed, or desired customers of your brand.

C: I love that, it’s creating a much more authentic presence for your business.

A: That’s right, And there’s so much to be set of course for using powerful influencers as sort of like an aspirational sort of token. I think that’s powerful still, of course, and there’s so many influencers that are fantastic and very real about their lives and everything, but I think I’m seeing a lot of wellness brands really understand that maybe it can be influencer with a little bit of user-generated content sprinkled in then showing real people using your product or your service ultimately, I think the best word of mouth, comes from your friend on Facebook, who’s probably not Kendall Jenner, with all due respect. I think the authenticity carries. I think people know it, and they recognize it, and they appreciate it.

Marketing Tactics that had Hype in 2018 but Failed to Take Hold

C: A great insight, thank you Abby.

What tactics that were expected to perform well or had a lot of hype around them but failed to take hold in 2018?

A: Beyond what I mentioned before, one that we’ve seen and it isn’t necessarily specific to the world of wellness or fitness, but really, it got a launch through marketing is the role of artificial intelligence in content creation, specifically.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Content Creation Still isn’t where it needs to be in 2019.

So I know at the onset of 2018 we were seeing all these new tools and software is being rolled out and we were expecting folks to be using more of those machine learning services that for example would turn out keyword packed blog posts or write ad copy for you.

It seems like the technology really is isn’t fully there yet, where the whole AI component, just isn’t quite sophisticated enough to write like a human and in many cases, it’s really quite expensive still.

So that’s something we figured we’d be coming up against a lot and contending with a lot and it just hasn’t taken all the way I think many people expect that it would.

C: Oh very interesting. A recent to study did just come out by co-schedule saying +67% or more of marketing directors felt like they didn’t have the technology that they needed in order to really have a robust content marketing strategy. [Actual Fact: Marketers who use automation tools say time is the biggest barrier to advanced marketing while those who don’t automate say that budget is their biggest barrier. (Openprise)]

It’s interesting that you’re talking about the AI and content creation and how it really doesn’t seem like it’s lived up to the hype. So it’s probably not the right product that the audience or the market is looking for.

A: Yeah, it’s true and we’ve seen a few examples and it’s almost the technology in some instances, when it’s applied incorrectly can create sort of no offense intended, but remarkably bad blog posts where you can tell that no human had any part in the creation of it, because it’s just a string of words that doesn’t really make a lot of sense when put together. I have faith that I’ll get there, it’s just it hasn’t taken off the way folks thought it would in 2018.

That goes back to that authentic presence too, do you want to just have a blog post out there or do you want to actually capture your voice, and your brand and draw people into your story?

C: Were there any other tactics that you were expecting to perform well last year and just didn’t live up to the hype?

Obviously, there’s still a lot to learn about, and this actually kind of still falls under the AI cannon, but there’s a lot for us to learn still about chat bots and about live chat and the things that it’s capable of. I certainly wouldn’t say that it didn’t perform or didn’t live up to the hype, but there certainly is a lot more to learn in terms of using chat bots to lead qualify and things like that. I expected that a lot of the products and tools would be a little bit more sophisticated at this point. And they still many of them still have a lot of components to be built out.

The Top Three Things a Wellness Center should be doing online to see a return from their Digital Marketing Efforts

C: Yes, absolutely a great point there. So let’s jump on to the next question, what are the top three things that a wellness center should be doing online to see a return from their digital marketing efforts?

A: Yes, great question. The first is in our opinion and what we’ve seen work for our agency and for our clients is just use interactive content.

Use Interactive Content on your website and in your marketing to see a return from your digital efforts

Offer quizzes, calculators, dynamic landing pages, blog posts with clickable interactive elements, products walk through. These have just proven to result in infinitely higher engagement. We’re seeing better conversion rates, and in some cases, they allow marketers to close more deals. Our statistics around adding interactive components to sales proposals and how that has increased the likelihood of people closing. These interactive component pieces also encourage folks to stay on your website or your page longer, and ultimately that’s beneficial for many reasons. They’re more likely to consume the information, they are likely to want to spend money on your product or service, but ultimately, time on page gets factored into how high up on a search engine results page you’re going to sit.

If folks are spending time, using a quiz or a calculator, clicking around, really enjoying that user experience, it is also going to factor into how you rank on Google or Bing, or any of those search engines.

Interactive Experiences creates an exceptional ROI for your healthcare center

So invest in interactive experiences from marketing to sales to success, it’s just an exceptional ROI because there are so many tools out there now that really enable users to make this type of content without breaking the bank.

We’re agency partners with a couple of really great tools that have enabled us to make this kind of content and do it quickly, but still make it beautiful and effective and genuinely helpful and interesting for folks who come to the site.

C: It’s almost as though five years ago or so, everyone was all about social media in order to have a conversation and to communicate with your prospects online. Now, it’s really about having a conversation with every single thing that you do online, whether it’s a calculator or questionnaire…

A: And let people have the power. I mean the cool thing about interactive content is that it enables the user to decide what they want. Blog posts and e-books have a very important place and they’re not to be overlooked but ultimately when people read them, the brand that they’re reading it through is talking at them.

There really is an opportunity for them to abandon that and just decide they’re going to do something else, but if you’re offering something like an interactive product walk through, and that’s if you have the software or if you have a physical product to great for both that’ll kind of enable folks to at their own leisure figure out what it is that they want to be learning more about.

And it also, on the back end, if you have great reporting set up, it really tells you where your visitors are spending the most of their time as well. So we’ve rolled out interactive components for software companies, or for physical products, and it’s enabled us to really see “Oh Wow. People are interested in the hardware” or people are interested in something we might not have even necessarily known would be a point of differentiation.

C: Yes, the power of data.

A: Yes, for sure!

C: Data driving every decision. So even if you have a strategy and a plan set up, the data may point in a completely different direction.

A: That’s right and you can’t fight the data.

C: We talked about the use of the interactive content. Are there any other efforts that wellness centers should really be focusing on?

Encourage User Reviews on Yelp, Amazon, G2 Crowd, and Google to Build Trust and Authority

A: The second thing I would say is to make sure that you’re encouraging user reviews on sites like Yelp, Amazon, G2 Crowd, Captara, Google and make sure you’re demonstrating those reviews in your marketing collateral. There’s remarkable power in social proof, what we call social proof. And we believe that consumers today really should look at user reviews, as a trustworthy source of insight. As marketers, we know that a lot of the content that we’re reading on the Internet has been funded or branded by a company looking to sell a service so it’s really important that consumers, today, take a look at what actual users are saying.

So we’ve been crafting review strategies on behalf of our clients, and for our own purposes for a while, and as long as we’re asking for honest feedback, and showcasing all truthful testimonials, even the ones that don’t really make you look like the best brand in the world.

Those bad reviews will happen, of course, we’re all people, but as long as you’re asking for that honest feedback, there’s no reason not to incentivize reviews as well. You can show them off on paid ads, and emails, on your web pages. People trust people, way more or then they trust brands and if authenticity is kind of the unintended theme of the day, there’s really no more authentic route to go than to just give people the choice, and the opportunity, to talk about your brand from a real-world perspective.

Make sure you track the correct KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to truly understand success in digital marketing

And then the final one is really to make sure that you’re tracking the right key profit indicators, KPIS, or Key Performance Indicators. We found that it’s so easy to pay close attention to what we would consider more like glamour metrics like engagement on a social post or identifying which of your email campaigns garnered the most clicks, but ultimately some of the more technical metrics will help you glean a solid picture of the return on your investment and really figure out where to invest that money going forward.

One of the ones we’ve been paying closer attention to now is looking at your customer lifetime value to your customer acquisition cost ratio. Which is kind of a mouthful, but it’s really important because it measures the relationship between the lifetime value of a customer, how much they’ll spend with you over time, and the cost of acquiring that customer. It’s pretty easy to determine with just a little bit of math. You just divide the average lifetime value in dollars by the average cost it took to get most customers through the door.

C: This is so powerful. Let’s take a step back for a second. So let’s say you are a marketing director at the healthcare group down the street.

A: Yeah, this seems like something very difficult to transact.

C: And for me, I love data, so I’m all were just jumping in. What tools should these health centers use?

Most health care centers do have some sort of custom or software where they are able to see and how many times somebody comes in the average cost of their visit, so that’s really adding that up over the whole life cycle of the patient that’s coming in. That would be the customer lifetime value correct?

Customer Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio = Average Lifetime Value of Patients / Average Cost to Get New Patient Booked

A: Yes, exactly. So that is going to be, whether it’s a service or a product, it’s really going to be throughout the lifetime of your customer. And that usually obviously, I mean life time with your brand, not the entirety of their life, but that value that they’re going to add in the entire time that they choose to work with you.

If you sell the products to see and how many times they’ve bought that product, if you tell a service, that’s how many times they’ve renewed or upgraded, it’s really just the amount of time that an individual is going to spend with your brand over the course of the time that they work with you.

C: And then in that acquisition cost is something that say they came through a paid advertisement, right?

A: And then there was a, the depending on the length of the selling cycle because of course it… It’s drastically different if you’re “B2B or “B2C it’s drastically different if you’re a software versus a service. That’s really going to vary quite a bit, but figuring out how you acquired that customer. We do this often by persona, we won’t look at an individual that it would be hyper-granular and a little bit difficult to make the patients so we’ll do it by persona. I will take a look at how much a certain group of people have made our clients and then we’ll pay attention to how much it caused to bring those people on.

And if it’s an instance where we know that a huge group of folks came through, say Instagram advertisements, we can break down the cost that we allocated towards Instagram ads, and compare that to the customer lifetime value by just dividing those two numbers.

C: You don’t need to have a person-A, person-B, person-C really, you’re looking at your practice as a whole, just to get a sense of what that percentage breakdown looks like in the ratio looks like there.

A: Exactly… And so we, for a real world example, we at Salted Stone, were a HubSpot Diamond Tier Partner, so we get a lot of leads and a lot of interest coming through the HubSpot partner directory. So if you know that a certain segment of our leads come through there and they spend X amount of money per year with us or over the course of their lifetime with us, we could take a look at what it cost us to have that directory listing at HubSpot, and to keep it maintained, and we can figure out that ratio. That to us has lead to some incredibly important business decisions. I mean, in a situation like this, it’s “Okay. We know that we have a lot of money coming in through that great partner directory. How do we make sure that we’re still adding value there? How do we make sure that we’re allocating our funds to keep that active?” So it’s really, it’s helped us inform some of the bigger decisions we’ve ever made.

Salted Stone as your Trusted Inbound Marketing Agency Partner

C: Yeah, that’s great. Now tell us a little bit more specifically about what you do as a Diamond Tier Partner with HubSpot. Tell us about your services and your company.

A: Yeah, absolutely. So I’ll give you the higher level picture of Salted Stone first and I’ll talk a little about our involvement with HubSpot, as well.

So we’ve been around for over a decade now, we’ve got to all over the globe, we have FAO teams in Australia, in the United States and in the Philippines, and hopefully within the coming year we’ll actually be spreading out even more. So that’s kind of exciting. We call ourselves, a lot of people ask what it means to be a full service digital agency, and we call ourselves that because ultimately we really do everything for our clients and we do it all in-house. So if you need a website, a marketing video, a custom CRM integration, I mean a direct mail campaign sale systems, even training for your business development, everything from logos to booths decor for a conference. You can come to us and we’ll take care of it all with the team that really gets to know the context of your industry and is deeply familiar with your goals, and that’s the benefit, really. I’ve also working with teams that keep everything in-house, is that they can share that information with each other.

For example, if we have a designer creating an infographic, for you that designer has been working with the account manager and the people who are focusing on your brand voice and the folks who help you identify what your new fonts are going to look like. I mean everything, we keep it all within the team, and that’s led us some really, really cool brand experiences for folks. Additionally, we scale our services up and down in terms of that scope size, so we can either be your fully embedded strategic partner where we’re basically your marketing agency of record or we can just produce a one-off deliverable for you.

So that’s a very long-winded just about Salted Stone, and we’ve been a Diamond Tier Partner, I want to say for about three years now. But we’ve been involved with the Hubspot ecosystem for closer to six or seven. Basically our CEO when we started off, we were just a Search Engine Optimization agency, we were doing a lot of work, but just making sure, websites were getting in on that early algorithm for Google and ranking highly, and then, we like everybody else, noticed the shift where folks for getting pretty tired of constantly being advertised too, and wanted to instead learn more and make decisions for themselves. That really empowered consumer mindset took hold at Salted Stone, for sure. So we decided to invest in Inbound and invest in HubSpot as a tool that we use and that we deploy for clients. And it’s been a really, really fantastic partnership. They just have an exceptional team, and exceptional product, and it’s been amazing working with them.

We certainly work with companies outside of HubSpot, as well, part of Salesforce, Marketo, really whatever folks need we’ll take care of it. So we’ve talked a lot about Inbound in this episode, and HubSpot is the parent of Inbound it’s where it all came from. So we’re really so thrilled to be connected with that with that organization.

Unknown Inbound Strategies that can put your Practice on the Map

C: Wonderful… And as a business, as a whole, are there any Inbound strategies that your team is currently testing but you don’t think other agencies are really implementing for their clients?

A: Yeah, a good question, and I actually, I talked to our strategist, all the time now that I’m not as client-facing as I used to be I talked to our strategies all the time, about some of the more outside the box initiatives, or things that they’re doing that they’re really excited about that’s working for their clients, and what always emerges is really one central theme and that’s Salted Stone works from where our clients’ businesses are at, from a maturity perspective, to move forward.

A lot of agencies take a sort of one-size-fits-all approach to strategy.

When you do that, you’re really not immersing yourself enough in the context of what needs to happen next in order for a company to grow. So we’ve worked with some B2B companies to combine what would be considered kind of more analog modern call center tactics with hyper-personalized, email workflows or retargeting.

We’ve done direct mail campaigns, we’ve been crafting strategic event or activation campaigns that use micro-influencers, so thought leaders of specific to spread a message. And those are folks would say, 20,000 followers, not 6 million followers, so we’re constantly gathering context, we’re constantly meeting companies where they’re at in their development and trying to set all these really realistic, but often still really aggressive goals instead of just making it a sort of canned approach to marketing and that’s not at all to put down those agencies that are taking that approach because of course, in many instances, is absolutely going to work. But I just… One thing that our team is really, really good at is making sure our clients understand where they’re at, and we do that through ways that I think sometimes surprise them a little. We do really comprehensive stakeholder and customer interviews, we talked to thought leaders and influencers in the industry sort of independent of our clients, we make sure that we paint a really complete picture of exactly where they’re at and make those steps really tangible for how they can be moving forward in a way that’s smart. That way they’re allocating budget towards things that have staying power towards growth that is sustainable and scalable, and I think that that’s one the… A lot, I see a lot of agencies not do quite quite as much, and maybe that’s less so a differentiator and it’s just me being very proud about the fact that it’s worked really.

I think it’s so important. I didn’t really understand where customers are now, and where they want go, understand their unique customer set. It is something I feel like a lot of agencies talk about, but don’t necessarily do.

I think often, even happens with sort of in-house marketing teams, as well. Where it’s kind of viewed as a nice-to-have, and not a need-to-have to keep refreshing your understanding of where you’re at in the market and who you’re selling to, and what they want. So I, I think there’s this idea in marketing that your key selling points are fixed and your buyers are always going to be looking for the same thing and your differentiator is always going to be the one that resonates, but that’s simply not the case. And you have to be constantly asking for feedback, for reviews, for honest discussion about who you are in the market, and ways you can be better reaching people and meeting their needs and I think… And taking that bespoke approach to work with our clients has just been better in the long run as well for a relationship with them too, because it garners trust when you’re able to just be honest and say “Here’s where you’re at, here’s what we suggest, let’s work together to make your goals or reality.”

C: Absolutely, that’s a breath of fresh air that you do that. Thank you to everybody in the industry.

A: Oh no, thank you, thank you so much.

The key marketing strategy most wellness centers get wrong

C: I meant to ask this earlier, actually. What is the top strategy besides not doing these customer reviews frequently enough, but what some… One strategy that should be followed by a Wellness Center, but often marketing teams just get it wrong or decide that it’s not a priority when it should be.

A: Yes, absolutely. So I would say the sort of top strategy that I see happening a lot, we do get a lot of clients who are very concerned with and rightfully so, because they’ve been showed messaging that indicates they should be, but they’ve been very concerned with making sure that they’re on every platform, all the time. That they’re pushing out content, that they are absolutely churning, they are investing in the newest technology, they’re on every feasible social media network, and that’s a message that we understandably take in and think we need to apply to our business, because all of these social networks, all of these tools, they’re trying to sell to us.

Of course, you’re going to believe that if your Pinterest profile and your YouTube account and your everything is not immediately up-to-date, you’re going to believe that you’re going to fall behind. But the truth is taking time to genuinely identify the channels that your leads are coming in by, or that your ideal audience is hanging out around that is so important and it leads to much better decisions for how to use your bandwidth and how to use your budget.

It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that if you are a software company, you have to be doing webinars.

It’s easy to open the idea that you need to be advertising on LinkedIn, but that might not necessarily be how folks are going to find you and how they want to interact with you.

I would say that a one-top strategy is just making sure you know your customer and you’re constantly updating your customer.

But be strategic about the way that you invest your money and your time and do it all feel like you need to be everywhere across the internet.

Don’t try to be everywhere online – choose those channels that already engage your target market and fully invest in nurturing relationships there

There are many markets where it doesn’t really make sense to keep an active Pinterest profiles, and there’s many markets where it makes sense to not run advertisements everywhere.

Just be strategic, how I have a really strong vendor evaluation in place as well. We certainly do in-house here, but we just have a checklist of things that If we’re deciding to work with a vendor, either for ourselves or to use with our clients, we’ll go through rounds of phone calls, demos, we’ll bring in different members of our teams, we’ll have comprehensive checklist to make sure that this investment we’re making is one that’s intelligent, scalable, and going to work for everybody. It’s so easy now to find all of these companies that claim to really be a the solution that’s going to get you a head, when the truth is if everyone saying, that it certainly can all be true. So, be strategic and don’t feel like you have to be everywhere.

It’s something that we see brands do a lot and while it often doesn’t necessarily hurt to have platforms everywhere, it’s just a lot of time and often a lot of resources and a lot of money that you could be directing towards something that brings in way more value and get you in front of the right people.

C: Yes, absolutely, and something just to tie on to that as well. If you do decide that Instagram or YouTube or LinkedIn, is going to be the place where you’re going to reach your customers stick to it, don’t just… It works, the strategy for two weeks or a month or even three months. Stick to it and pay attention to the data.

A: And hear people out, always trying to make sure that a lot of our e-commerce clients, and a lot of our B2C brands, we always make sure that, say if they are running a Facebook, is it integrated with marketplace is an integrative with shop.

If they’re running ads, are they doing it in a smart way? Are they constantly responding to messages from a customer support perspective? If folks have questions about a product or they need to return something, is that omni-channel operation set up correctly? Because if you’re going to be investing in something, social media marketing is just a great example because there’s so many things you can do, is it now if you go at any… So, if you are an ecommerce brand and you’re going to be investing in something like Instagram or Facebook, just to make sure you are truly doing it right, you’re listening to customers, you are constantly running searches for your brand name, and any sort of sentiment, run sentiment analysis, use listening tools just pick your avenues and make sure that you have made them as robust and sustainable as possible.

C: Great, great well… Abby, I am just blown away by the answers that you gave. Thank you for being so transparent about what your team is doing for clients as well as what clients should be doing for themselves with their own in-house marketing teams.

Is there anything that I should have asked but I didn’t?

A: No, this is perfect. I think it’s all really comprehensive grouping of questions, and it’s made me think so much about our business in a way that’s really cool. It’s been really fun to step back and think through how we do things here. So thank you so much for having me. This has been really great.

C: Wonderful, well we really appreciate you coming on the show, as a guest, and I will be sure to add the link to Salted Stone to the description as well, so listeners, if you want to go check out Salted Stone, I do urge you to. They are a great, great agency and as you know they take care of their clients.

Thank you again to Abby for joining the show from Salted Stone. We talked about a lot of really important topics for your healthcare practice, and your marketing team to follow. Really it is all about creating an authentic presence and tailoring your Marketing Strategies, directly towards the consumer and directly towards your ideal target market persona.

One of the things I loved, is tracking the correct KPI’s – What is that customer lifetime value? This is something in your tracking software, you’ll be able to pull that.

Just take even the number of clients that come in over the course of a year, and divide that by your profit or your revenue for the year, then take a look at all of your marketing expenses. This is just such a simple way to find that ratio between the customer lifetime value and the acquisition cost.

Go out there, make sure you’re focusing on a strategy that makes sense for your unique clients, your unique target market, and don’t try to do everything. Focus on what’s going to really make a difference and have an impact for your business.

So, thank you again to Abby and I will see next time on the Social Speak Podcast.

How to Create a Strong Video Marketing Strategy

I’m sure you have heard the craze around video marketing, right?

It’s 2019 people! At this point in the digital marketing game, you HAVE to implement video marketing! And I am not talking about the cheesy videos, or you hiding behind a presentation and just having your voice being heard. I am talking about getting your face in front of the camera and really connecting with your audience.

The Number one Trend for 2019 in the social media marketing world was building an authentic brand, allowing your patients to see behind the scenes, and really know, like, and trust you.

Video marketing allows you to build patient loyalty and keeps you top of mind, by using video your fans can share your videos and are more likely to refer you to family and friends because they have a deeper connection with you and your office.

Why is Video Marketing SO Important?

I totally get the fear of video marketing, we have been in business for over 10 years, and it wasn’t until March of 2018 that we started implementing videos into our own plan.

It was something we ALWAYS recommended our clients did, but not something we DID for our own business! Funny how that works, huh?

You don’t need to have a studio, expensive equipment, or celebrities, you would be amazed at what you can do with the technology you probably already have, like iPhone, or smartphones, a digital HD camera, etc.

This rock can hold people up and get in their heads, it then becomes an excuse, I don’t have a fancy studio, backdrops, big lights, huge camera, etc. therefore I can’t produce a good video.

We will discuss this process below.

Before we jump into the 5 steps for a video marketing strategy, I wanted to give you a few stats from our friends over at HubSpot.

In their words – “Video has absolutely dominated social. According to a recent HubSpot Research report, four of the top six channels on which global consumers watch video are social channels. In addition, a Facebook executive recently predicted that the platform will be all video in less than five years.”

“According to a report from HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands … more than any other type of content.”

Video is useful for more than entertainment, too. Video on landing pages is capable of increasing conversion rates by 80%, and the mere mention of the word “video” in your email subject line increases open rates by 19%. 90% of customers also say videos help them make buying decisions.

So, let’s dive into the top 5 steps to have a clear video marketing strategy.

Step 1Find your Target Audience

A great place to start with this task is your current patient list, who are you currently serving?

A few questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is my ideal patient?
  • What are they visiting my office for?
  • What problem or pain points do I help them with?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is their lifestyle like?
  • What can you offer them for free to help with a pain point?

Having a clear understanding of WHO your target market is and WHY you want to work with them is key!

Look at your current patient list and think of all your favorite patients, why are they your favorite, what do you like most about them, and what is their living situation like?

You want to attract the right patients into your clinic, right?

Patients who:

  • Value your services and team
  • Pay you on time or have good health insurance to cover the bill
  • Respect your time
  • Loyalty – Patients that are going to stick with you and brag about you to everyone they know!

Step 2Have a plan

Imagine that! In order to have your video marketing working FOR YOU, you need to write out a clear plan. Now that you understand who your target market is, it’s important to create the videos that are going to connect with them.

There are many different types of videos you can produce:

  • Brand videos
  • Events
  • Interviews with patients or colleagues
  • How To’s
  • Animation videos
  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials
  • Facebook or Instagram LIVE
  • Personalized messages
  • Promotional or exclusive offers
  • Product launch
  • Behind the scenes
  • Tips & Tricks
  • National Observance Days 

The best way to organize your video marketing strategy is to implement it into the content calendar we have shared before LINK HERE I would create a new tab for your video marketing, then on the main calendar tab 1, you want to be sure you know when you are sharing those videos and to what platforms.

Step 3 – Figuring out the tactics and techy stuff

Once you lay out your video marketing topics, then you want to figure out what videos should go on what social media platforms.

As I said in the beginning, you don’t need fancy equipment or a fancy studio in order to produce a good video. These videos are more about building long-lasting relationships with your patients. Building brand loyalty.

We are not talking about a commercial we are talking about 1-3 minute videos. Some of your videos if you are showing a “How To” or interview, those may be longer. Just keep in mind your goal for each video.

What is that videos purpose?

A few things to think of before you hit record are:

  • Do you need to write out a script or have bullet points? I like to write down the bullet points for each video and what the length should be. When I put a script in front of me I get really nervous, I like to wing it in a way! But. you have to find the best process for you.
  • Picking the right place – setting the stage. You don’t need to have a fancy studio, but if you pick a spot in your home or office that has good natural light, good sound, that will make a difference. Thinking of doing videos during the day with the natural light, rather than in the evening when it can be darker inside.
  • Recording Process – How are you going to record the video? Here are a few options
    • Mac – Quicktime player
    • Zoom – Screen share option
    • iPhone or smartphone
    • Computer Camera (Make sure quality is good)
    • HD camera
    • Microphone – you can use your headset or external mic if needed
  • Editing
  • Publishing

It may seem like a lot, but see where your team/staff can come in handy and where you may need to outsource a few things.

Be sure to time block for the recording process and the wrap-up (Editing, publishing, thumbnail, etc.)

Step 4: Uploading Your Video

Now, that you have the video recorded and ready to show the world, there are a few steps you will need to take to upload your video correctly.

When you are creating a video it may have a certain purpose, most videos should go onto YouTube regardless, but you may make one specifically for Facebook or Instagram. If that is the case you can upload them directly to those platforms.

YouTube is owned by Google and the 2nd highest trafficked website, they have over a billion users and people are recorded to watch more than 500 million hours of video daily! This number is growing each and every day. So, yeah your videos should always be uploaded to YouTube in addition to social media platforms!

To upload to YouTube:

  • You will want to make sure you have a YouTube channel set up.
  • Then you can click upload video
  • Find the video on your computer
  • Have a good SEO friendly title
  • Write a description with call-to-action and link to your website
  • Create a playlist to keep videos organized
  • Add tags – keep them SEO friendly
  • Then upload a Thumbnail image (Create in Canva)
  • Once a video is uploaded to YouTube it gives you a link where you can share to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, it also gives you an HTML code that is how you can put that video onto your website or into a blog.

*** BONUS – Download TubeBuddy TubeBuddy is a browser extension which adds a layer of amazing functionality right on top of YouTube’s website. They help with finding the right tag words and making your video as searchable as possible!

The other thing to think of if you are planning on doing a lot of videos . . . which you will be is where do you want to store your videos? They end up taking up a lot of space on your computer. Look into Vimeo, Dropbox, Zoom, iCloud, etc.

Step 5: Track your results and analyze

One thing I love about doing videos is being able to monitor the results, the views, the comments, the shares, etc. It makes me feel like people are really interested in what I have to say HA!

Just because you do one video doesn’t mean you will get a million views, some of the videos we have done haven’t gotten any views.

It’s important to track these results and find out why, was it a poor title or description, are people not really searching for that?

Remember each video should be addressing your target market and sometimes your messaging needs to be fine-tuned. This is why the planning piece is so crucial because you want to hit the pain points your audience is searching for.

Ways to monitor ROI from video marketing:

  • Google Analytics
  • Your YouTube channel stats – check views on each video, comments, likes, etc.
  • Total views
  • Clickthrough rate, this would be for email sign-up or on social media
  • A conversation started through landing pages or on website
  • Social Media
    • Likes
    • Comments
    • Shares and retweets

I would look at your video marketing each month, at the end of each month analyze each video and collect your data. Make notes of what videos got the most ROI and see how you can create more videos around that topic, then the videos that didn’t do as well, look at the title and description, can it be edited or does the video need to be redone?

What happens if you have high views but little or no engagement? Maybe you do not have a clear call-to-action in the video, ask a question at the end to start the conversations.

Pay attention to the numbers and the platforms you are getting the most engagement.

In conclusion, as you can see it is important to have a plan and logic behind your videos, to make sure each video you make is serving a purpose. I wanted to end this blog with some free tools that can further assist with your video marketing strategy, a few of them I have already mentioned in the blog.

Free Tools to Use for youTube:

  1. BuzzSumo – Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Find the key influencers to promote your content.
  2. Canva – Allows you to create the correct size Thumbnails for your videos
  3. TubeBuddy – Free browser extension that integrates directly into YouTube to help you run your channel with ease.
  4. Scheduling Tools like CoSchedule, Buffer, or Hootsuite 

I would love to hear your success stories with how video marketing has been a successful marketing tool to grow your business.

How to Create a Strong Video Marketing Strategy Blog Post

How to Create a Content Marketing Plan that Works your Healthcare Center

At times, we all struggle to see results from your inbound marketing in health and wellness. Inbound marketing requires persistence and is not a strategy that leads to results immediately; it is a long-term digital marketing strategy that over time leads to an engaged and motivated audience.

Your business digital marketing strategy is the starting point to any content marketing or inbound strategy.

In this blog we’ll be taking a look at common KPI’s we see our health clients track, we discuss whether inbound marketing works for wellness practices, and the 5 keys to creating a strategy that works for your practice. Then the blog takes a quick look at technologies to use to manage your content marketing for healthcare and finishes up with an overview of how your content marketing strategy fits together with your content marketing plan.

A Content Marketing Strategy is Designed to Identify your Healthcare Goals.

We work with clients in healthcare and wellness and have found there to be some typical goals that are identified in their marketing strategies.

These goals, or key performance indicators of digital marketing (KPIs of digital marketing), commonly include:

  • Boost traffic to website
  • Increase trust
  • Increase qualified leads
  • Increase the number of repeat customers
  • Increase direct traffic from content

Once you have your goals identified for your content marketing strategy, it is important to put in place a tactical content marketing plan that identifies not only what types of content you will be creating for your wellness center, but also the frequency and who on your team is in charge of actually creating the content.

Typical tactical digital marketing plans include targeted content for:

  • Blogging
  • Social media
  • Email marketing, email campaigns, and email newsletters
  • Youtube videos
  • Podcasts
  • and more

Does inbound marketing for wellness practices work?

Where many businesses fall short and don’t see results with their inbound marketing is when they view each part of this content marketing plan as a separate vertical or separate marketing channel. Viewing each as a separate campaign causes the attention to efforts to switch from being centralized on the goals of your business and causes teams to often forget to integrate national events and national observances in their content marketing.

In our experience we have found a few key determinants in creating a content marketing strategy that will work for your business.

5 Keys to Creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy for your Healthcare Center

  1. Don’t view content marketing as a campaign. Campaigns have start and end dates, campaigns aren’t long term, and campaigns focus only on one aspect of marketing. Content marketing is a tactic that can impact larger processes in your organization. It can aid your sales team in closing deals, keep your patients and clients coming back for more treatments, and satisfy long term goals such as education, building trust, and standing out in the community.
  2. Ask for insights from other departments as you build your strategy. Above, I’ve listed off some common goals that our clients identify within their content marketing strategies. As a marketing team, there may be clear KPI’s that you can measure, but what you’re your board or management want to see measured? In addition, where are other bottlenecks in the larger organizational scope? Often times we see practitioners and MD’s provide patients with handouts and checklists – could these be used as marketing collateral?
  3. Plan to integrate content, stories, and research from others within your organization. While you are creating your marketing strategy, get commitment from the individuals you would like to see participate. Just through everyday interactions, you may know one or two people in your organization who would just shine on camera or who can break down complex topics into easy to understand, education blog posts.
  4. Encourage your patients to share their stories. Use marketing as a way to showcase the transformations of your patients.
  5. In your marketing strategy, clearly identify your brand persona and voice. One tactic we use with our clients as a way to identify this is to create a Persona for your brand. Are you a super hero? A working mom? Etc. Then, think of the specific language you should use in your marketing. Do you want to encourage your team to use slang or to stick to professional and technical terminology? Additionally, think about if there are there any adjectives, verbs, or phrases that are commonly used in the office or with patients? You may want these to appear in marketing content. Having clear guidelines allows any member of your team to write in a similar voice or edit and approve content written by another member of the team.

Whatever your strategy, write it down! According to CoSchedule’s recent Marketing Report, Marketers who document strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t. [CoSchedule]

What technology is needed for Content Marketing Management?

Key software to use for inbound and content marketing include Hubspot inbound, CoSchedule, and other project management tools online. To get started, however, you really only need a WordPress (or other easy to update CRM) website and MailChimp. This allows the avenue to share information and grow your email list for ongoing communication.

We previously wrote a blog on management and accountability software for content marketing management. Please take a look for an in depth review of some top project management tools based on your organization size.

You Content Marketing Strategy is the Why Behind the content your team produces

As mentioned in our blog last month (Is your Content Marketing Plan Failing your Business) we discussed how your digital marketing strategy really is the framework for your business to follow. Now, the second piece of this includes the tactics that you actually will follow to reach your goals. These tactics are identified within your Content Marketing Plan.

How I view marketing strategy vs marketing plan is that the strategy remains fairly stagnant for a set period of time. The plan, on the other hand, can be changed based on performance and progress towards reaching the identified KPI’s.

As you are implementing the content marketing plan, you will be able to measure results, decide what is working, and make adjustments for the future. With this said, however, we do recommend sticking to a tactical content marketing plan for at least 6-12 months.

Yes, you will at times publish a video, blog, or social media post that leads to immediate results, but in general, processes take time.

Let’s Chat about your Health Center’s Content Marketing

Social Speak specializes in helping marketing teams in health and wellness clearly identify their content marketing strategy. We create comprehensive content marketing strategies, identify who in the organization or on the marketing team is best suited to create different types of marketing collateral, build out a comprehensive editorial calendar for your team to follow, and are there by your side coaching your team monthly on best practices to capture more leads, convert new prospects, and re-engage existing or past clients.

If you are working to grow your center to the next level and are interested in learning how content marketing can help you see the results you need, let’s chat.

Click here to learn more about the Social Speak Roadmap to Digital Marketing.

5 Keys to Creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy for your Healthcare Center #inbound #contentmarketing

5 Keys to Creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy for your Healthcare Center #inbound #contentmarketing

 

As professionals, our days revolve around our work and to leave it can feel wrong or like you are going to miss something important. It can make things like vacation cause anxiety which can ruin well-deserved time off.  And let’s face it, we deal with stress and anxiety at our jobs everyday so why wouldn’t we try to have a stress-free vacation?
The good news is, there are things we can do prior to leaving to ease our minds and ensure that our team has everything they need to continue to be productive.

Have a point-person

Most managers have one employee that they have confidence in and tend to trust with larger projects or important deadlines. When prepping for vacation, have a discussion with that employee to see if they would be willing to answer as a leader in your absence. The tasks for this employee can differ based on what you think is needed most.  Examples of those tasks may be:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Scheduling for employees
  • Contact for clients
  • Responsible for goals set

Set Team Goals

By setting specific goals for your team in your absence, you help leave a focus for your team and ensure productivity stays high. These goals can be normal goals but setting new/short-term goals will give your team a new sense of motivation while also providing an end date. Picture coming back from vacation with a new goal met and your team proud of the work they have accomplished!

SMART GOALS

When setting team goals, even if they are short-term, you should always remember to follow: SMART goals

  • Specific:  State clearly what you expect from your staff.  Include your point-person when making the goals so you are both on the same page and they feel confident in the goal.
  • Measurable: Use metrics/numbers for your goals so there is no confusion on what the goal is.
  • Achievable:  Make sure your team can hit the goal.  If they hit it, morale will go up leaving your team proud of the work they accomplished.
  • Relevant:  Setting a new goal can mean that you have your team tackle a project that has been put aside but make sure their goal is relevant to their long-term goals.
  • Time-bound:  Give a firm timeline of when you expect the goal be accomplished.

Open Communication

Leading up to your vacation, make it known that you will be out of town. Give exact dates of when your last working day is and the first day back. By doing this, it will open communication between your team and encourage them to get their questions in before you go and know when they can connect with you when you get back. By opening communication, your team will hopefully bring to light any issues they are dealing with or foresee happening and can deal with it before vacation.

Schedule a Check-In Day

As much as most of us want to completely unplug during vacation, it is hard when you have work goals and a team trying to make them happen. To help ease your mind and make it easier to come back to work, schedule a check-in day (or two) with your point-person. Make this a quick 30 min call to address any issues, get updates on productivity, and re-assess temporary goals if needed. This call can put your mind at ease but make sure that it is short and to the point as you are supposed to be relaxing and trusting your point to take the lead.

Prioritize Any Issues

As much as we want to think no issues will arise and all will be fine, business is full of issues or situations that need to be addressed by the manager. In this case, if situations come up, you need to be able to prioritize them. Figure out which ones need attention ASAP, which ones you can delegate, and which ones can wait until you are back.

Conclusion

We all deserve a vacation and to be able to unplug. By taking these preparatory steps in order to set your team up for success, you will be able to enjoy your vacation and come back to a successful team.  If you have tips that have helped you enjoy a stress-free vacation, send them our way so we can add them!

 

Preparing for a Stress-Free Vacation #vacation #workprep #management

SMART GOAL Setting for your team #vacation #management #SMARTGOALS

Point Person Tasks #empowerment #tasks #righthandperson

Implementing good habits for business owners and their teams

I feel like this year is different than other “New Years”, I always create a vision board, write down my goals for the year and what I want to change or implement for the New Year, but this year I am really focusing on creating healthy habits for my life.

2018 was a HUGE year for me personally just around personal growth.

After reading a ton of self-growth books, leadership books, business strategy books, and more, one thing that almost every book mentioned was to implement good habits and how it would play a big role in your personal life and flow over into your business life.

I have heard it takes at least 21 days to implement any habit. 

Whether we are setting good habits or breaking bad habits, I know for a fact it is all about repetition and STOP procrastinating!

Today, I want to talk about the top 10 habits to have in your life, you will notice there are more personal than business.

Here are the top 10 habits to implement in this new year and continue every year:

1) The first thing first is creating a good morning routine.

This means waking up early, some entrepreneurs wake up between 4-5am, that is a little TOO early for me still, I get up between 6-6:20 am each morning.

If you feel you are not a morning person, a little tip is set your alarm 15 minutes earlier each day WITHOUT hitting Snooze, until you start getting up at that earlier time each day.

By getting up earlier allows you time to set your daily intentions, I do this through morning journaling, taking 5-10 min each morning to write down my thoughts, intentions, action items for the day. This is also a great time to get inspired by listening to a TED Talk, audiobook, meditation, affirmations, anything that inspires you for the day, rotate through your favorite things!

Tony Robbins has referred to the first part of your day as the magic hour, or where the magic happens, I have also heard this being called the power hour!

I know for myself if I have an hour of undisturbed time, no calls, kids, social media, meetings, etc it is AMAZING what I can get done in one hour. When I wake up early and after my morning routine I can get done almost half of my daily work before anyone even wakes up on a good day 🙂

2) Let’s talk about our Time Management

This piece is something we can all struggle with, being able to get everything done, or having those days where it’s 7 pm and we wonder what the heck did we accomplish today.

A few things that can help us with managing our time:

  • one thing I have learned is time chunking, or time batching. This process is where you block out a certain amount of time to focus on one project or task at a time. Even us awesome multitaskers need to time batch to make sure we are putting 100% towards that task and not allowing distractions.
  • It helps to have a clear plan for each day, you can start by writing your intentions for the day or write the top 3 things you want to accomplish for the day are, rather than having a LONG to do list you can manage to check off 3 things per day, there is a great tool to help you accomplish this called the Eisenhower Matrix.
  • Some have also followed the “Eat That Frog” book by tackling the one thing you have been putting off and getting that done each day. It’s really about stopping the procrastination and checking things off your list.

 

3) The education

We never know everything and there is always room for growth! A part of being successful is learning new things, asking questions, and always educating yourself. 

  • Be curious – even if you think you know the answer or how to do something ask someone or your team how they do. This is something people like myself AKA control freaks struggle with, we like things done our way and our way only, well with that mindset there is no room for growth. There can be many ways to get one thing accomplished.
  • Read – take time to read blogs both about your industry but also other topics that you have interest in, listen to audiobooks, podcasts, YouTube videos.
  • I know it sounds cliche, but learn something new every day

4) Set Boundaries

  • You need to have clear boundaries with your clients, customers, contractors, and employees, you are not around 24/7, they will respect this, trust me! 
  • Technology – this is a BIG task for anyone with a computer, tablet, mobile device and also anyone that has email or social media. We are constantly drawn to our phones, checking emails, social media, the list goes on. Define your hours for these tasks.
  • Setting boundaries allows you the freedom and flexibility in your life. We need to respect our time.

5) Your Tribe

It’s important as a business owner/leader to create a good tribe of people in your life. This may mean you have different tribes like:

  • Friends and family
  • Co-workers or team
  • Networking or colleagues
  • Whoever you choose to be a part of your tribe make sure they are on the same page as you, they have similar core values, they are positive, uplifting, and most important supportive of you and your life.

We can get so bogged down with toxic people in our lives that tend to drain our energy, they don’t mean to do it on purpose, it’s just where they are in their lives. In order for us to succeed and step to that next level, we need to surround ourselves with positive and supportive people. AKA our Tribe.

6) Healthy Lifestyle

I know this can be on everyone’s New Year Resolutions list, but as I get older each year, I realize how important it is to take care of my body, this is the only body we get and the only mind, we need to stay sharp! We can accomplish this by 

  • Eating healthier – being conscious of the food we put into our bodies
  • Drinking enough water – more than the normal 64 oz a day
  • Exercising or being active – walking, yoga, kayaking, hiking, biking, gym, etc. Keep your body moving
  • Taking control of your life – it’s too easy to get comfortable and slack, eat out, eat fast food, I am not saying to never do those things but in moderation. 

To show up and give 100% every day we need to make sure we are giving our body the nutrients it needs to be able to do that!

7) Know Your WHYCreating Healthy Habits in your life

This is something I honestly had struggled with until this year, I never thought of my Why or how it would impact my business along with my team. There is a tool called Why Institute this helped me discover my Why. It also relates to your core values. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What impact do you want to have in the world, both small and large?
  • Why did you start your business?
  • What’s one thing that motivates you the most?
  • Why is it important to you to be successful?
  • What does success look like to you?

The deeper you dig the clearer your why will be, the more honest you are with yourself the better.

A few resources:

8) Me Time

I know this may sound a little selfish, and maybe it is, but this is a big piece that is often forgotten, especially if you are a woman business owner, we get so caught up is work, family, taking care of everything that we forget to take time for ourselves. This goes back to tip 6 about having a healthy lifestyle. Taking “Me Time” is apart of creating that lifestyle. 

This can be things like:

  • Going on a walk
  • Reading a book
  • Grabbing a cup of coffee and reading
  • Unplugging from ALL devices and distractions
  • taking a bath
  • Traveling
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • This “Me Time” is all about feeding your soul!

You can also use this time to discover a hobby or interest, maybe you enjoy coloring, painting, making jewelry, etc. I know for myself when my daughter was born in 2012, I wanted to make her soap, shampoo, lotion, and use the best essential oils for her, her skin was sensitive, now I can’t bake or cook for the life of me, but making soaps, essential oil rollers, bug spray, lotion, and whatever else I found on Pinterest was very relaxing for me. It allowed me to take my mind off work and try something new, and still to this day I make our own goat milk soap and now I make it for all of our family members including my dad because they love it! It brings me joy to be able to make our own soap. This is “Me time”.

9) Focus on positivity and being grateful

With the world of technology, it is easy to get caught up in the social media scroll, looking at what everyone else is doing and we start to compare ourselves and get jealous. There is no need for this. This habit of focusing on positivity and being grateful will help elevate you to the next level. It is all about changing your mindset, and really implementing these habits are all about your mindset and commitment to yourself. 

Start every day in your journaling routine to write down 3 things you are grateful for, do this each and every day. Look around and see your accomplishments, family, friends, a roof over your head, food on the table, it’s the little things we take for granted and those are the things we should be grateful for every day!

A few ways to increase your positive in your life:

  • Speak with positive words
  • Think positive thoughts
  • Come from a place of abundance
  • Say affirmations each day
  • Be kind to others
  • Give yourself grace and praise for what you have been able to accomplish
  • Work on visualization
  • Think before you speak
  • Compliment someone each day
  • Let go of the things you cannot control

By focusing on the positive things in your life you are raising your energy levels to focus on the good and reach your idea of success.

10) Evaluate, Reflect, and Improve

As you journal, and start to implement these good healthy habits in your life take a moment at the end of each day to reflect and evaluate your day:

  • How did it go?
  • What conflicts did you have?
  • What did you like most about your day?
  • What was a challenge you had?

Successful business owners are always looking to see what they missed or how they can improve their character. Even if you have a day where you didn’t feel you accomplished much, or maybe didn’t have much communication or interaction with anyone, still take time for self-reflection. It can be very useful to jot down these reflections to be able to look back and evaluate them and then the following year you can continue to improve them. Just to be clear, this is NOT the time to beat yourself up or point out the wrong things you did or didn’t do, but to simply reflect on your day and see where there is room for improvement.

This gives your mind that mental clarity, feel free to discuss with someone from your tribe if you need to talk through something.

 

Conclusion

I have outline 10 awesome good, healthy, positive habits to start implementing into your daily life and I would love to see how they have changed your life, or which ones you are implementing. I am working on all of these myself, so we are in this together!

Cheers to a healthy lifestyle, successful habits, and truly creating the life you have always desired!

Implementing good habits for business owners and their teams

Implementing good habits for business owners and their teams
Is your Content Marketing Plan Failing your Business, Editorial Calendar 2019, #nationalholidays #businessevents2019

This blog breaks down the difference between a Content Marketing Strategy and a Content Plan. It then dives into National Observances that your team should consider integrating into its content or editorial calendar.

As we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses as they work with digital marketing to reach their business goals, we’ve found that more often than not there is a disconnect between what they are trying to accomplish and what actually gets done.

The reason?

A lack of planning for how to implement the content strategy causes content to be created in a vacuum. The content is not written to achieve a specific goal.

Originally I was going to write this blog to only focus on the difference between a Content Marketing Strategy and a Content Marketing Plan, but keeping your sights on external and national events is critical to participating as a relevant source of information in the digital world.

Let’s start by diving into a Content Marketing Strategy.

What is a Content Marketing Strategy?

A content marketing strategy is the Why behind the content you are creating. It includes identifying why your team is creating content, it is the vision you have for future content that is to be created.

This strategy should also identify who you are marking content for. Are some pieces of content designed specifically for prospects, referral partners, or clients? How can you differentiate between them? What are the goals of them? How will you position and use them online?

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

To start creating your Content Marketing Strategy, set your goals.

We recommend thinking first about the issues you may be facing as an organization and then set the goals as a way to solve these.

For example, we’ve worked with clients in the past who wished to use digital marketing to fill their schedule. After diving deeper, we recognized that they weren’t remarketing to or rebooking current clients as effectively as they could. As a way to capture low-hanging fruit, rather than creating content to educate and gain interest from folks whom had never heard of the client, we redesigned the content marketing strategy to focus on engaging with current and past clients.

Common goals of a Content Marketing Strategy include:

  • Increasing Revenue
  • Attracting leads
  • Lower costs
  • Better customers
  • Build an audience
  • Educate

Once you have identified a need in the organization and set a goal, it is easier to recognize alternative solutions to reach the goal.

Another aspect of the Content Strategy is identifying what tone you wish to take. For small businesses with only one or two content creators this can be easy. Do you speak in the first person, do you use past or present tense, are there branded keywords you should incorporate?

The last part of the content strategy is identifying which digital marketing networks to pursue and who to target on each network.

What is a Content Marketing Plan?

A content marketing plan is tactical – these are the actual steps you will take to implement the marketing strategy. In general, we never recommend creating a digital marketing content plan without first creating the strategy.

Why? You may realize after 6 months that the content you are creating has nothing to do with the goals you are trying to achieve!

We see this often with teams.

The director states that each week a blog needs to be written and at least 3 social media posts need to be published each week. However, the marketing experts creating the content don’t clearly understand how their piece fits in with the larger marketing strategy. What is the end goal of the content?

Key aspects to a Content Marketing Plan

The content marketing plan should include topics to cover, calls to action to include, specific promotions, who is responsible to creating various pieces of content, and how content will be published.

In our work, specifically the Roadmap to Digital Marketing, we recommend formatting the bulk of a content marketing plan like an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar for digital marketing allows your team to easily see how content fits together and what topics should be talked about at certain times during the year (hence my inclusion of the National Observances list below).

Content Strategy and Content Marketing Working Together

As described above, a Content Strategy always comes first and the Content Marketing Plan is built based on the goals identified in the strategy.

One of my favorite examples of how a strategy and a plan work together is if an issue within an organization is that the close rate for new sales is lower than the industry average. The goal here may be to increase the close rate, boosting the bottom line.

After researching and  surveying clients and prospects that decided to pursue another option, it becomes clear that the alternative tends to be a business with more name recognition.

How can content marketing help to shift the perspective and gain more trust? Here the strategy is to increase brand recognition and trust. The plan could be to create more videos with leadership and to incorporate blog posts that dive into company values.

This brings us to using relevant topics as a part of your marketing plan.

Being Relevant with your Content Marketing Increases the Effectiveness of your Digital Marketing Plan

If you are like 98% of our clients, one of the key goals identified in your content marketing strategy is to increase brand recognition and position your organization as an industry influencer.

Incorporating National Observances into your Marketing Plan is a key tactical decision your company can make to achieve this. Of course it is up to you and your team to decide which ones to highlight and how to incorporate them (podcasts, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, promotions and sales, etc).

Some, such as New Years, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas may all seem like obvious choices, but are they actually identified in a calendar?

Does someone on your team know that they are responsible for creating content 3-6 months in advance of these dates?

Then there are industry-specific days, weeks, and months. For example, if you are a health center and realize in February that it is American Heart Month, you are already late to the game.

You’ve missed the opportunity to reach new audiences by being a guest on a Podcast or having a guest blog post published in an industry journal.

Yes, you can still publish a last-minute blog to share on social media, but think of the opportunities you may have missed by not planning ahead.

National Observances to Consider for your Business

Here I’ve identified the top 3-5 National Observances for you to consider integrating into your marketing plan each month. The ones I’ve identified here are important, though some are a bit random. Our complete list of National Observances includes events for any type of business or industry.

Please enter your name and email for access to our full list of National Observances for 2019.

Download 2019 National Observances

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January Observances:

January 1: New Years Day
January 5: National Keto Day
January 24: National Compliment Day
3rd week in January: National Mocktail Week
National Blood Donor Month

February Observances:

February 4: National Hemp Day
February 14: Valentine’s Day
February 22: National Margarita Day
American Heart Month
Black History Month

March Observances:

National Employee Appreciation Day – First Friday in March
March 14: National Pi Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
Endometriosis Awareness Week – (First full week – Monday through Sunday)
National Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Women’s History Month

April Observances:

April 1: April Fools Day
April 8: National Zoo Lovers Day
April 21: Easter
National Child Abuse Awareness Month
National Parkinson’s Awareness Month

May Observances:

May 12: Mother’s Day
May 18: National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
May 27: Memorial Day
Small Business Week – First Week in May
Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Melanoma Awareness Month

June Observances:

June 1: National Go Barefoot Day
June 12: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
June 16: Father’s Day
LGBTQIA Pride Month
Men’s Health Month

July Observances:

July 4: Independence Day
July 12: National Simplicity Day
July 31: National Avocado Day
National Grilling Month
National Ice Cream Month

August Observances:

August 1: Respect for Parents Day
August 3: International Beer Day
August 19: National Soft Ice Cream Day
Simplify Your Life Week – First Week
Family Fun Month

September Observances:

September 2: Labor Day
September 8: National Suicide Prevention Month
September 13: National Kids Take over the Kitchen Day
September 30: National Chewing Gum Day
National Chewing Gum Day
National Suicide Prevention Month

October Observances:

October 28: National Chocolate Day
October 31: Halloween
Adopt A Shelter Dog Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Chiropractic Month

November Observances:

November 11: Veterans Day
November 22: Thanksgiving
November 24: Small Business Saturday
November 26: Cyber Monday
Adopt A Senior Pet Month
Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month
National Alzheimer’s Disease Month

December Observances:

December 2: Chanukah
December 4: National Cookie Day
December 21: Winter Solstice
December 25: Christmas
National Human Rights Month
National Tie Month

As you build out your Digital Marketing Plan, we recommend downloading our complete list of National Observances. Start by deleting any cells or events that don’t apply to your business. Be sure, however, to think outside of the box.

Could you celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie day with the office?

Does anyone on your team support organizations that rely on the exposure of these National Observances?

Once observances have been identified for your business to highlight in the Content Plan, be sure to assign the observance to an individual. Make sure they consider the goals of creating content for the observance, specific promotions related to the day, partners to approach for joint marketing efforts, etc.

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And of course, if this has been helpful for you, or if you’ve considered outside the box ideas to incorporate National Observances into your content plan, leave a comment below!

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Best Content Management Technologies of 2019 #inboundmarketing #contentmarketing

With all the tools out there it can be difficult to know which content marketing strategy tool you and your marketing team should be utilizing to make sure everybody is moving in the same direction.

In this blog we take a look at the most prominent content marketing calendar apps that are available for many different sized businesses. For small businesses, including those with just one marketing manager, you can get away with organizing your ideas in a Word document or a Google sheet.

However, once you have multiple people working towards that same goal of making sure your business is found and sharing the correct message in your marketing strategy, it is important to consider upgrading to a scheduling and management interface that allows everybody to clearly see where their piece of the pie fits in with the larger content strategy.

To keep you from signing up for each of these tools, I’ve taken a look at:

  • What type of organization it is best for
  • The main features
  • How you can implement it easily into your team
  • The price point.

Many of the applications discussed including Monday.com, HubSpot, CoSchedule, and MeetEdgar have a variety of price points. Again, in our experience, if it is just you, typically you can get away with organizing your ideas on a spreadsheet.

So, let’s dive into there popular content management platforms.

CoSchedule Technology for Digital Marketing Management

The first application that we are going to discuss is CoSchedule. CoSchedule creates One calendar that allows everybody to be on the same page, it allows everybody to communicate in one place.

Additionally, with the more advanced plans of CoSchedule, you can organize everything from event planning through to email marketing, social media, and blogging. CoSchedule is incredible tool for large teams and complex marketing organization. One of my favorite aspects of CoSchedule is the ability to create ongoing follow-up social media links to blog posts in one or two clicks.

CoSchedule for Solopreneurs

For solopreneurs, CoSchedule is a little More expensive than other options. Solo plans do start at $0 to $20 per month, with most individuals looking at the $40 per month option – typically a spreadsheet along with one of the less expensive tools will do the trick.

Where CoSchedule really shines is with in-house marketing teams looking to manage full-scale campaigns.

The professional plan starts at $400 per month, and allows workflows approval flows multiple calendars and comes with a dedicated account manager. From a project management standpoint, this plan reduces the need for multiple individuals providing guidance on any given combination of marketing strategies.

Hubspot vs Coschedule for content management software

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Best Content Management Technologies of 2019, Hubspot vs Coschedule for content management software #inboundmarketing #contentmarketing

Best Content Management Technologies of 2019, Hubspot vs Coschedule for content management software #inboundmarketing #contentmarketing

Best Content Management Technologies of 2019, Hubspot vs Coschedule for content management software #inboundmarketing #contentmarketing

HubSpot for Content Marketing Management

Many of us are very familiar with HubSpot. HubSpot has a combination of three tools and complete inbound marketing management resources. HubSpot places the emphasis on collecting inbound leads from your social media and digital marketing content. Though there are numerous tools that you can use to create the same systems and processes, HubSpot’s value proposition is that everything is in one place.

HubSpot for Larger Teams

Our favorite plan within HubSpot, is again there professional plan. Though the Enterprise option has much more advanced settings such as predictive lead scoring, it is a much higher investment. With the professional plan at $800/month, you have access to SEO and content strategy, social media, calls to action and landing pages.

Additionally, there is a/b testing marketing automation, smart content, and the ability to add teams.

The workflows are easy to set up, and create very systematized automation within your marketing and strategy. This tool, HubSpot, is a great option for businesses that have a marketing team, and want to make sure that every aspect of their marketing is working together. Again, HubSpot places inbound leads at the forefront of all of their software.

Next up, is Monday.com.

Monday.com to Organize your Content

Monday allows you to customize your workflow and dealt out strategies to multiple different teams. Monday is a great project management tool, however we found it a little difficult to manage a Content strategy and editorial calendar. The use of Gandt charts seems like a great idea, but it made projects difficult to understand exactly what steps needed to be completed and if we were on track. Many of our processes tend to be one or two steps, so again it seemed like a little too much for social media management.

Monday for Project Management

With plans starting at $25 per month, and unlimited boards, Monday is a great opportunity to integrate into your workflow if you need to do more project management rather than content creation and syndication. Because there is no central calendar, it can be difficult at times to see how each of the boards really work together.

Another positive for Monday, is the time tracking capabilities, so each member of your team can have a clear understanding of the time spent on each task. This allows you to easily understand if some aspect of marketing is taking much longer than others.

Additionally, Monday.com could be used for larger marketing promotions, however, most businesses need a tool that also works for day-to-day management.

The next tool we will take a look at is Edgar.

Edgar for Content Marketing Organization

Edgar is a great option for businesses looking for a simple tool to manage their social media posting. Typically, we recommend you create a database of content. The content strategy video below, provides tips for places we recommend Gathering content ideas. Once you have all of the content, click go and Edgar will talk into action.

MeetEdgar for Small Business Social Media Management

We recommend small businesses and solopreneurs look at Edgar as an option for their social media management. One issue with this, is that it does not allow you to clearly see the complete marketing strategy picture.

Each aspect of your digital marketing content calendar and content strategy still exists in its own space. Meet Edgar is a great tool for teams to use that do not have very complex marketing promotions in place. If you are one person team it can be an excellent resource for you.

Because I mentioned meet Edgar, I also should mention that for social media management, we utilize at such as Tailwind, Later App, Buffer, and HootSuite. I won’t go into it because he’s here, because they are more for just social media management.

Our blog on Social Media Content Strategy shares additional information regarding how to use each of these tools and where they fit into your social media marketing management strategy.

Create Clear Goals for What you want to accomplish with a content marketing technology

Before settling on a tool and diving into figuring out the setup and on-boarding your team, make sure you are clear about the goals you hope to achieve through using the software. Remember, choosing a tool to help keep track of marketing campaigns and content creation still requires that you understand what topics you plan to discuss and having your team actually write the content.

We have other blogs and videos that cover how to identify key topics to include in your content marketing editorial calendar, as well as a structure to follow for creating your editorial calendar. We often recommend starting with a word doc or spreadsheet rather than immediately hoping into the software you choose. Again, this helps to make sure your team is all on the same page as you move forward with your inbound marketing strategy.

For more reading please visit:

How to easily write a business blog post in 2019
How to Easily Write a Long Blog Post for your Business
Finding Topics Your Tribe Will Love [Video]
How to Use Your Values to Create Exceptional Content for Your Business
Content at your finger tips
Hubspot vs Coschedule for content management software