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.

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 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