Change is the only permanent thing in life, they say. That’s never been truer in the world of healthcare marketing.

Healthcare marketing is continuously changing. Keeping up to date with the latest digital trends and consumer preference is key to remain competitive and acquire a steady stream of patients.

Keep these trends in mind when planning your healthcare marketing campaign.

Excellent digital experience

Most hospital websites focus on providing information such as the address, business hours, doctor’s bios, specialties offered, etc. As competition in the digital landscape heats up, more and more hospitals and healthcare providers are putting a greater focus on patient experience.

83% of patients visit a hospital’s website before booking an appointment. That means a patient’s experience begins with your website. Their online experience will determine whether or not they will convert from leads to actual patients.

For a better online experience, make sure that your website loads quickly and is easy to navigate. Patients love the idea of convenient scheduling. If you offer online booking or have a customer service chatbot they can communicate with, that would be a plus.

You are bound to see a high ROI if you focus on creating an exemplary online experience for potential patients.

Video Marketing

According to a study that was conducted by Hubspot, 45% of people watch more than one hour of video a day. Out of the 45%, an astounding 81% have been convinced to buy a product or avail a service after watching a branded video.

Incorporating video content into your marketing strategy can help build trust and provide a much deeper understanding of what your healthcare company has to offer. Prospective patients are now researching doctors who specialize in the procedure they’re looking for before scheduling an appointment. This is where video content proves useful.

Through videos, you can verbally and visually explain how the procedure work. This can help ease fears or uncertainty. Plus, it helps prospective patients get to know the doctor before a consultation, so they gain a sense of trust beforehand.

If you haven’t already, we urge you to start creating video content, both for your website and social media accounts, sooner rather than later. 

Search engine optimization

They say the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google. Why? It’s because 55% of users won’t go past the first three organic results. 

According to studies, 89% of consumers turn to the internet when they’re looking for answers for their healthcare queries. You want your website to show up at the top of Google’s search results. Otherwise, you’ll be losing to your competitors.

With more and more people turning to the internet for medical advice, it is important to capitalize on these searches by making your website as visible as possible. To get on page 1 of the search engine results, you’ll need a strong website and an even stronger SEO strategy.

Online reputation management

Your online reputation will have a significant impact on your practice. Why? It’s because a huge majority of patients turn to the internet to research physicians.

The survey revealed that 84% of patients read online reviews to help them gain insight into healthcare providers. 86% of them will be hesitant to schedule a consultation with you if they read a negative review or comment.

To stay competitive, you need to make a concerted effort to manage your reputation, both online and offline.

Whether you like it or not, patients are going to leave reviews. The sad truth is that dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave feedback than happy customers. With a single review, comment or article, the reputation of any healthcare organization can be tarnished.

You can’t make negative feedback go away, but you can encourage happy patients to speak out for your brand. It is in your best interest to encourage patients to leave reviews.

Mobile healthcare apps

Gloomy faces of ailing patients waiting outside the doctor’s office, long queues, and a dull, monotonous hall – this is the picture one would imagine while waiting at a doctor’s clinic or a hospital about a decade ago.

Millennials are the largest U.S. generation, and they demand convenience. They are switching to providers that offer a much higher level of convenience. This is where mobile healthcare apps come in.

In today’s era of the smartphone, keeping in contact with a healthcare provider has never been easier. Patients can chat with their doctors and ask for advice about a symptom or a condition. They can also book appointments with their doctors, access doctor’s prescriptions, and even purchase medicines through their mobile devices. In addition, patients can easily monitor their health conditions themselves through apps. This helps them stay one step ahead of the disease; hence, reducing the need for invasive treatments.

Healthcare apps are also beneficial for doctors and medical staffs. They can check the patient’s reports and prescribe medicines if required. Doctors can even make referrals through the apps. 

 

 

 

Blog to Boost SEO for Healthcare Providers

In today’s episode we are going to be talking about blogging for your healthcare center or your wellness practice. Blogging is one of the best ways for you to share your knowledge and your education with prospects and with your network online.

Additionally, a well-written blog post helps to boost your search engine (SEO) rankings for your website thus driving more traffic, to your website for specific keywords and keyword phrases.

It’s always important as you’re writing a blog post to keep both that end user, or that potential patient in mind as well as keeping the search engines in mind too.

How do you go about finding topics to blog about, how do you go about writing that blog post and structuring it, and how do you share it after it’s written?

These are the key elements that we will be covering today in the video about How to Blog to Boost SEO for Healthcare Providers.

For a step by step guide to blogging, please visit: How to Easily Write a Blog Post.

Watch the Episode

Listen to the Health and Wellness Marketing Podcast Episode

Read the full digital marketing for healthcare transcript:

00:00 Caitlin McDonald: Hello and welcome to the Social Speak Network podcast. I’m Caitlin McDonald and I am the co-founder of Social Speak. And today’s episode we are going to be talking about blogging for your healthcare center or your wellness practice. Now blogging is one of the best ways for you to share your knowledge and your education with prospects and with your network online. Additionally, a well-written blog post helps to boost your search engine rankings for your website thus driving more traffic, to your website for specific keywords and keyword phrases. So it’s always important as you’re writing a blog post to keep both that end user, or that potential patient in mind as well as keeping the search engines in mind too. So how do you go about finding topics to blog about how do you go about writing that blog post and structuring it and how do you share it after it’s written. So that’s what we’re going to be covering today.

01:19 CM: So the first part of that question is thinking about what topics you should blog about. Now, it’s always important to blog about something that you are knowledgeable about. So you want to make sure that you’re blogging about topics within your practice or industry that you actually know about and care about. If you are not the specialist in that topic, find somebody in your practice who’s better suited to write about it or who can at least edit the information that you’ve put out. We find this often especially with some smaller health care centers where they have one person who’s in charge of doing the blogging. Unfortunately, they don’t necessarily have the expertise in whatever specific topic there is. For our team, for example, when we are going into a new practice, we make sure that we are matching that practice up with a writer who’s going to be suited to talk about those topics. If we’re talking about Pediatrics, or if we’re talking about pain management, we might have two different writers for those two topics. They’re very different, and they require a different level of understanding of who that patient is, what that patient journey is and everything like that. So let’s get back to writing that blog post, so to find a topic to write about one make sure that it’s something that you are very knowledgeable about two, make sure that some people are searching for it.

03:03 CM: So what I typically recommend doing is taking out a pen and paper, and actually writing a list of different topics that you talk about with patients and with prospects. So by this I mean, what are the questions that people are asking you what are their top concerns what are they looking for, what benefit does the practice provide to them what are the specialties of your practice, what additional things can your services and specialties help to solve for your patients? Now take a look at this list and what I recommend doing is hopping on over to Google and starting to type in these, the phrases, what you’ll see is that Google will pre-populate other searches that are related to it, or searches that other people search for. Now, there are also tools that you can use to do this research. So, I like first starting out doing your own brainstorm looking at Google search results and just set your timer take about 30 minutes to do this exercise, make as many notes as you can.

04:22 CM: I often find myself hand-writing them, probably it would be a little bit more streamlined if you do this for yourself, in a spreadsheet so that you don’t replicate work over time. The next thing to do is either head on over to Keyword finder kwfinder.com or over to Neil Patel’s Uberselect app. Now this is a new app that he has brought to the market and it currently is completely free. So what you do is, within this app and I’ll have a link down below, excuse me Ubersuggest not Uberselect, Ubersuggest app. And so it’s Neil… Excuse me, app.neilpatel.com/en/ubersuggest is one way that you can get there or you can just do a Google search for it as well but what you do is there is a related keyword ideas sort of tool within there, and so you can actually type in some of those keywords and keyword phrases.

05:30 CM: And you can see what other search results folks are looking for. Keyword finder you can do the same thing, however, now it is limited to just a few searches per month on that free account. So I do recommend jumping over to Neil Patel’s tool. When you are utilizing this tool and I don’t have it up in front of me. So that’s going to be a whole new blog post and tutorial about how we utilize it. But when you use it, you can see one, what keywords your competitors are looking for and two what those related search terms are for the ones that you enter into that search field. Now, we recommend filtering these results so that you are looking for keywords with a low keyword difficulty score. We recommend to start off if you’re just starting off blogging, putting in a keyword score, a maximum keyword score of about 20, maybe 30.

06:30 CM: Now, this means that it is hypothetically easier to rank for these keywords, you’ll find that typically the result that pops out there is going to be a long-term keyword so a keyword phrase rather than back pain for example, another thing that you can do is you can plug in the number of searches per month for that keyword. Now as you’re starting off blogging we recommend writing blog posts and trying to rank for keywords that don’t have as many searches for them. So I would plug in a number like 500 here.

07:12 CM: So you’re looking for searches where there are fewer than 500 searches for them and where the keyword difficulty score is fairly low. The reason why we do this is, and I’m taking this from one of our interviews a while ago, I is because we follow the skyscraper approach to keyword research and blogging for that SEO benefit. What this means is, if you visualize the Skyline, we are targeting the low-buildings, So we’re targeting the buildings that, Yes, they don’t have as much traffic, but they also don’t have as much competition for them. Then over time, as you’re proving your worth to Google, you can start bidding for those higher skyscrapers. So you can start writing content that has more searches and a higher keyword difficulty, score. So you’ve done your list of your brainstorm of all the topics you’ve jumped over to the Ubersuggest app on Neil Patel’s website, you’ve done your keyword research there and you’ve chosen a topic now what do you do? This part is actually my favorite, and it’s seeing what other people have written about that keyword phrase.

08:39 CM: And so what you want to do is just type it into Google and take a look, open up a few of the searches excuse me, search results that come up for that phrase. When you open up the articles I recommend, not reading them word for word, but doing a cursory skim, just to see what other headlines and sub-topics people are talking about. Then close all of the windows take out either your notebook and piece of paper again or jump over to your spreadsheet or a Word document, you could even open up your blog post if you want to a blog post draft and write the outline that you want to follow for that blog post. Now I always recommend putting that title, excuse me, putting that keyword phrase as the title of the blog post or at least in the title of the blog post this will help you rank even better and also make sure that people who are searching specifically for that phrase know that you are the place to go when they see it up in the organic listings. So you’ve done the cursory outline for your blog post and now we recommend filling in the content.

10:03 CM: So what you’re going to have, what you should see on your paper are major topics that you want to cover, sub-categories or sub-topics that you want to cover, And then maybe a couple of bullet points that you wanna make sure that you touch on. So underneath each of these items, type in two to three or more sentences or bullet points for each of these. Now, if you do that, and if you are putting together a robust outline, you might find that at that first go, you already have a 1500-word blog post. I’ve done this before where I’ve done an outline and the outline itself, was over 500 words long. That makes writing a longer blog post very straight forward. Now, let’s say you sit down to fill out these bullet points and you just have a mind block, you can’t think of anything to put down. I recommend jumping over to Google Docs, and under, if you open up a new doc, you can click tools and then you can do voice record. So if you do this you can actually record yourself speaking and make a transcription of what you’re going to say and so you can create a few sentences, if you feel more comfortable speaking rather than sitting down in writing, you can at least talk through some of the bullet points, so that you have something that then you can convert into a nicely written blog post.

11:35 CM: Now, if all else fails, if you have this outline that’s put together and that’s tapping into your knowledge about what topics should be talked about, you can then Hop on over to WriterAccess or Upwork on, to have somebody else fill in the blanks and write the content. This is an easy way to make sure that you’ve done the research in terms of what other people are looking for, you’ve added your expertise on that specific topic, and then you’re just getting someone to fill in the blanks now to make a blog post work even better for your business there are a few additional things that we recommend adding, the first is video so you’ll see in all of our videos excuse me, in all of our blog posts. We have a video embedded in the blog post as well. Now, having this video adds a multi-media element to your blog post, the multimedia element, allows different people to come and view it. People who wouldn’t necessarily be reading your blog post, maybe they’re more interested in listening to it or watching it.

12:46 CM: So, this adds additional SEO benefit because you’re keeping people on your page longer, and you are uploading the video to YouTube which is in fact the second largest search engine and also owned by Google. So you might be adding an additional place for your name and brand to show up in search results. Another thing that you can do with this video is you can create a transcription of it. So I talked about transcribing with the Google Voice On the Google Doc in order to write the content but if you do a video, that goes into deeper detail on one or two of the topics that you talk about in the video, you can actually create a transcription of that video and add that to the bottom of your blog post. I believe it’s something around 10 minutes of speaking typically equates to about 2500 or 3000 words. Now, imagine what that can do for the content on your website. Now, after you write your blog post, it’s important to make sure that you’re going through for formatting.

14:09 CM: When we go through for formatting we take a look at the outline that you originally created and make sure all of those main topics are header twos, then those sub-topics are header threes, and the topics below that are header fours. Typically within a longer blog post, you’ll see something like two header twos, three to five header threes and four or more header fours. This allows Google to see what those most important categories are and if your website was structured properly in the CSS and the styling those elements are going to be bolded, or have more, more prominent on a page rather than just the written text. Additionally, we recommend linking two services pages from that blog post. So again, let’s say you’re talking about back pain and you have a service that is great for back pain. It could be massage it could be a surgery, or a specialist. You want to make sure that that Back pain topic excuse me, the back pain text is linked to the services page or more information about how you can help with back pain. This is called inner page linking.

15:27 CM: And so by doing that again, you’re getting people to more resources. You can also add a section of related posts to your blog post so let’s say you’re talking about one specific specialty within your blog post link to or add the related blog post that also have to do with that specialty or potentially this is a physician interview link to the other blog posts that have physician interviews And it helps keep people on the site longer, so that they know like and trust you more. It also signals to Google that people are finding the information that they want when they view your site and that helps to increase the Domain Authority and where your website is positioned compared to competitors, in the organic search results. The last thing to do with your blog post for your health care and wellness center is to share it to the world. So the past few weeks we’ve been talking about a lot of different tactics that you can do to make this happen. The first would be sharing it to social media, the second sharing it to your newsletter, the third making sure that you are sharing it through sponsored advertising on Facebook. This could be as a boosted post. Your organic reach you’re going to find is fairly low. And we talked about this with the reach apocalypse the other week. So you are going to have to boost the post with at least a little bit of money behind it in order to make sure that it is reaching your audience and other people who might be interested in reading it.

17:11 CM: Now, I hope that this has been helpful. If you have any questions about how to write a blog post for your wellness center please don’t hesitate to reach out. We have blog posts and other resources about how to do this over on our website at socialspeaknetwork.com, And we would love to chat with you to see how we can help with the process. So thank you so much for tuning in. My name’s Caitlin McDonald, I’m here with the social speak network and I can’t wait to see you next time on our next podcast episode.

How to Use Digital Marketing to Grow your Healthcare Practice

As a healthcare practice, it is really important to stay top of mind with your current patients and also future patients. By using digital marketing there are so many ways to stay connected.

One question we get asked a lot is:  

“How do we increase our engagement and promote our practice with digital marketing?”

Well, that answer is a little tricky since there are many different options out there. It’s more of a combination of different tools to make your digital marketing work for you. In the digital marketing world, it is about trial and error, seeing what your audience responds to the most and how to start those conversations. 

In this blog, I am going to talk about 5 ways to help increase your engagement and promote your practice. 

Word of mouth and referral marketing are still the best ways to grow your practice, but with people being able to access information from SO many places we have to be a little more creative and think outside the box to build those relationships and loyalty.

Once they have come into your practice you want to make sure you stay top of mind, more importantly, you want to make sure you have good online profiles so it is easy for your audience to refer you.

How many of you have wanted to try something new with digital marketing but just don’t know where to start or what to try?

Social media marketing is one of the most popular ways to get in front of your current audience and potential new patients.

You can do this organically or implement paid ads as well. This is not an overnight success, it does take time, but it does work!

Let’s talk about the 5 Ways to Help Increase Your Engagement and Promote Your Practice:

1. Instagram

We have been talking about Instagram a lot this year and we will continue to do so, it is one of the fastest growing social media platforms with the average age 35-65-year-olds. Instagram is all about the visuals, from building a strong brand presence on your feed, having font styles on your images, color scheme, image theme, etc. this makes your feed look clean and interesting. Let’s dive into how to master Instagram Stories

This biggest thing with Instagram right now is the Instagram Stories, these stories only stay up for 24-hours, so this is a great place for:

One really cool thing you can do with these stories is “Highlight” them, this saves them into an area about your feed pictures, you can categorize them so all your stories go to the correct boards.  This turns into a great resource for your audience, each video on Instagram Stories can be 15 seconds long, you can record a 45sec to a 1 min long video and then use this app called CutStory and it automatically cuts your video into 15-second increments for you to share.

How to highlight Instagram Stories

You can also create branded Instagram stories images with Canva, they have different themes you can choose from, you can use your own font styles, brand colors, logo, and images.

Now, you may be thinking what if I do a video that is more than 1-minute long, where should I put that? Well, don’t worry, Instagram has you covered and that is where IGTV comes into play. This is similar to YouTube but it allows your audience to watch the full video on Instagram, they don’t have to leave the platform.

A few ideas to create IGTV videos around are:

  • New mother tips
  • Birthing Plan
  • Vaccines
  • Physical Therapy
  • Counseling Tips
  • National Observance Days
  • Surgery Tips
  • New medical practices
  • Interviews with nurses and doctors

Instagram has a lot of bells and whistles you are able to tap into and really grow a long-lasting relationship with your audience.

2. Video Marketing

It’s 2019 and it’s all about the videos! Video marketing is huge and will continue to grow. Videos are great because it allows your audience to connect with you quicker. We wrote a blog a few months ago about “How to Create a Strong Video Marketing Strategy” videos are something you either love or hate.

Videos can be educational for your audience, videos with closed captions are even better. Here are a few good stats about video:

Let’s dive into the statistics behind healthcare marketing with video:

  1. About 46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video. (Source: Eloqua)
  1. Video is now the sixth most popular content marketing tactic, as 70% of B2B marketers use some form of online video with their overall strategies. (Source: Eloqua)
  1. Of the 80% of internet users who watched a video ad, 46% took some sort of action after viewing the ad. (Source: Video Brewery)
  1. The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. (Source: Mist Media)
  1. Video and e-mail marketing can increase click-through rates by more than 90%.(Source: Mist Media)
  1. Video equals higher viewer retention. The information retained in one minute of online video is equal to about 1.8 million written words. (Source: Brainshark)
  1. Video attracts two to three times as many monthly visitors, doubles their time spent on the site and has a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  1. Blog posts incorporating video attract three times as many inbound links as blog posts without video. (Source: SEOmoz
  1. 59% of senior executives prefer video over text. (Source: Brainshark)
  1. Having a video on the landing page of your site makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of Google(Source: Mist Media)

Source Here

When you think of video marketing, most people think you have to have a studio, pay a professional, take a lot of time on editing, props, backgrounds, and more. In all honesty with the technology of the newer smartphones and HD cameras, you can really shoot your own videos in office. Actually, the more authentic videos are the ones that get the most engagement online.

A couple of things to remember when shooting a video from your smartphones when you are recording a video for Instagram be sure to have your phone vertical, and when shooting a video for YouTube, Blogs, or Facebook you will want your phone horizontal.

Let’s start recording! Be Authentic, real, give value, and have fun!

3. Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are climbing higher on the list for digital marketing, gone are the days where just having a Facebook page worked, Facebook pages work great if you plan on spending money on ads.

There are a ton of Facebook groups out there that your practice can join, you can even start your own group.

For example – Let’s say you are a women’s medical office, Your services include OB-GYN, birthing center, primary care, pediatrician, etc. But, one special thing that your office focuses on is wanting to help new mothers with education. Vaccines, breastfeeding, car seats, home care, feeding, etc. Most of your patients come from within a 25-mile radius of your office, you can create a group on Facebook called “Tips for New Mothers YOUR CITY” in this group you can invite your current patients to join, post daily, as your group continues to grow you will post two or three times a day. You are creating a community of women that are going through the same thing and want answers. You can allow the members of the group to post questions and concerns for your practice to answer. This is a wonderful way to create trust with your patients. You can then start to mention the other services your practice offers.

In this video below, I will show you how to start a group from scratch and also how to search for groups to join.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is NOT dead, I know some may think that email marketing and newsletters are a waste of time, but they actually work great. It is a convenient way to stay top of mind with your patients. With social media marketing and the algorithms it’s hard to really know who has seen your organic posts, then to monitor the engagement. Now, the insights and analytics on the social media platforms tell you how many likes, comments, and shares you had on posts. With email marketing, you can actually see who opened your emails, who read them, and who clicked through to your website.

There are a few ways to incorporate email marketing into your plan:

  • Content Upgrades, also known as Free downloads. This is a piece of content you put together for your ideal patient to download, in order for them to download it they have to submit their name and email. For example – if we go back to the example in number 3, you could create:
    • Newborn checklist
    • Going home checklist
    • Breastfeeding Tips
    • New Momma Myths
    • Top 10 products to have at home for your new baby
    • etc.

This pdf would then be uploaded to your website and linked into MailChimp or Leadpages to create a landing page with the form for name and email, you can then push this out to social media, your current email list of current patients. Over time you will create quite a few content upgrades. Make a list of different checklists, ebooks, resources you can create for your patients now and then you push that out to gain new email subscriptions to grow your email list. This is an example of what a sign-up form looks like:

  • Newsletters – You can send weekly or monthly newsletters to your lists, in some cases you may have multiple lists and can customize a newsletter for each list based on your audience. It is important to understand what your audience wants to know about so you can pack your newsletters with valuable content. It doesn’t matter if you do weekly updates or monthly, what matters most is consistency. Whatever you choose to do be sure to stick with it. You can also incorporate your videos into these emails, this allows you to build those deeper relationships!

5. Blogging

Blogging serves dual purposes, it is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and it allows you to show your expertise. When you are promoting your practice on social media your end goal is to get them back to your website to sign-up for your email list, book an appointment, or fill out paperwork, how do you give them an incentive to go back to your website?

When blogging just like everything else we have spoken about it is all about consistency. One blog per month or two, as long as you do one each month, these are no longer 300-500 word blogs, these are cornerstone blogs which means 1500+ words per blog. We recently wrote a blog on how to share your blog, in that post there is a FREE download, a blog checklist, you can download it here.

Your blogs should cover content that your audience wants to learn about, whether this is myths around vaccines, childbirth, new momma tips, etc.

This is where you tie the above 1-4 items into your blogging. In each blog post you will be:

  • Making an image you can share onto Instagram
  • Make a “teaser” video for Instagram with 3 inside tips from your blog
  • Create a longer video for IGTV about your blog
  • Create videos to go inside your blog post – you will place these videos on YouTube then insert them into your blog posts
  • You can also create a content upgrade or call to action for your readers to sign-up for your email list. Here is an example of a great blog post

Your website/blog is your hub, you want to drive traffic to your hub. Once your blog is complete you can then share it to multiple platforms with links back to your site, this helps reach new potential patients as well.

As you can see through these 5 different marketing platforms, they each allow you to grow your practice and connect with your audience on a deeper level. They all work based on consistency and planning. This is why having a digital marketing plan is so important.

If you are ready to take control of your digital marketing and want to see how to implement these tasks into your marketing plan please schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation with us today! 

How to Use Digital Marketing to Grow your Healthcare Practice

Stephen Merrigan SEO Podcast Interview

In today’s healthcare marketing podcast we have the privileged of interviewing Stephen Merrigan of Merrigan media. Stephen has a track record for success when it comes to marketing online.

Through a combination of marketing and copy writing for advertisements and sales, Stephen Merrigan understands how to target the right customers and make your product or service appealing to them.

Though multifaceted in the field of marketing, Stephen has become a true expert in relates to developing an online marketing strategy that ties in perfectly around your product or service. With his online expertise, you can rest easily with the knowledge that your website is going to generate interest with eye-catching copy that your future customers are going to want to read.

The link mentioned in this Podcast interview on Search Engine Optimization is:

https://gsnedders.html5.org/outliner/

 

Listen to the Podcast Interview with Stephen Merrigan

Healthcare Marketing Podcast Interview on Search Engine Optimization Transcript

Caitlin: It is my pleasure to welcome Stephen we’re so happy to have you on the show today.

Stephen: Thank you that it’s a pleasure to be here, thank you. For having me, great.

Caitlin: Well, to get things off. Tell us a little bit about your background in digital marketing.

Stephen: Yeah, I started back in the early ‘2000s now, I guess it would have been as an affiliate marketer, back then, if you had any kind of search marketing, no matter how rudimentary, it was like printing money. Affiliate marketing, basically is arrangements with other companies who give you a commission based on the sales that you send them.

And so, I would create ads and develop search marketing strategy and send business leads and the profit I made was much greater than what I spent on the ad, so it was just invest a little to make a lot. Unfortunately, as more marketers learned about this, it became a lot more competitive, and then not only competitive, the search engine themselves had to come up with basically rules. More rules to sort of govern this to make sure there was no scanning to say the least. And by the time 2008 rolled around the margins were so then it just wasn’t economically viable any longer, but I had already amassed all this expertise and experience. I decided to start using that to consult businesses who there was no commission. They get 100% of the profits so that paying from my time.

C: Great, great. I found that a lot. I interview viewing different agency owners that if you’re one of those businesses that’s been around for a while, really, it was learning kind of as you go to start and then creating something that you can replicate over and over again, for clients.

So your business focuses on inbound and search marketing. Can you describe how this differs from content marketing or digital marketing in general?

S: Yeah, in general, in digital marketing, sort of encapsulates all marketing through digital media, as a whole. Whereas, I don’t know if you’re familiar, like back before digital marketing, we had this concept of paid, owned, and earned media and it still applies in digital marketing. There’s paid media, which is sort of your CPC ads, then earned media which is your Facebook shares or people blogging about you, and then your own media, which may be your website.

So what we have is we have what I focus in the search marketing is more of paid and owned, media

I pay for… As I send it to your own media, your website. Whereas content marketing is more focused on earned media, using own media but focus on earning that which in turn is actually comes back the search marketing as sort of a tool that earned media and how it creates the owned media reinforces your SEO, right?

C: So do you recommend if somebody’s working with you do you recommend that they’re also doing content marketing as well?

Can your solution really be stand alone?

S: No, it can’t be stand-alone.

The things that I do that sort of prepare the website for SEO, but content marketing is also a big piece of that and search engine optimization. The SEO guy works very closely with the content marketers. The content markers going do what they need to do to get earned media. It doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have some SEO applications in mind, some key words and things that work together, but they’re there two distinct expertise.

C: What current trends are you seeing for health centers with search marketing in 2019 or in general?

S: Yeah, so in the last few years is a big thing as millennials, right? And they’re very savvy, and they are just, they’re getting all their information from search from their phone, quick. And so what you’re seeing is a lot of these health centers and especially the Mayo clinic, and others, you’ll see they are focused on making sure that the answer is readily available in the search results.

Millennials don’t want to dig through a lot of information, they want the answer quick, and then they’re going to move on, because they’re busy, they’re going to move on to the next task.

C: One thing that we’ve seen work well because we focus a lot on the content, marketing side, but what we’ve seen really well, going along with that, is answering that question in the first couple of sentences and then providing that keyword of fluff, content after you answer the question, in order to have a maximum benefit for us for search engine optimization.

The trick to SEO is to answer the question in the first couple of sentences then write the rest of your blog.

But you’re providing people what they want immediately.

And then Stephen are there any tactics that were expected to perform well or have a lot of high but failed to take hold in 2018?

S: Yeah, honestly I don’t subscribe to any hype. After two decades and early doing this, you learned there’s a right way and there’s no other way.

There’s really no shortcuts in doing this. The trick is always been the same. It’s creating engaging usable media that provides what the users want and it’s always been that way and always will be that way, right?

Search engines, they’re a business too… And no matter, no matter how you share your media, Facebook, anything they have a business model and their business model also needs to be profitable and if they’re providing people with bad solutions or bad search results, then their business models failing and people are going to stop using them. So if you stick with that in the back of your mind that these are businesses as well, and their model depends on people getting the information they want, then you can never see yourself wrong.

C: That’s a great perspective to have there. Stick with what works, stick with providing that valuable content and it most likely it will work out.

S: Yeah, yeah, no tricks, and need it, just do what’s right, eventually it’ll work out.

C: Great, great, and then what are the top three things that a health or wellness center should be doing online to see return from their digital marketing efforts?

S: Yeah, I talk three things that I look for right away and I look to optimize, if there’s any issues is your site hierarchy. And that’s basically the way the site is built and organized, to how the information is organized on your website from page, which is using your tax properly H2 tag, etcetera, to how your menu is organized and the menu would be organized by the URLS and making sure you’re using proper subdirectories and lining everything up in a organized method. 2 – Site speed is also critical slow website, especially with millennials you’re going to get a high bounce rate.

C: Well, especially with mobile viewing increasing, there might not be a good connection or if something like that. And so it’s really, really important to have the site streamlined and load quickly.

S: Yes, yeah, it will kill your SEO efforts, your all your organic efforts if it’s slow and it will also increase your bounce rate and kill your paid efforts. So, it’s not critical.

C: Now, let’s talk about that just for a little bit. We’ve seen a lot of our clients, they want to have their site visually appealing, and everything, and so they send over the highest quality photos that they can find. What techniques do you have for anyone who’s just updating, let’s say, a WordPress website for their practice or something updating a blog post, what advice do you have for people to shrink those image sizes or to make sure that that page low time is fast?

S: Yeah, so I’m not the dev expert, but I do provide information to them through my tools that I get. So what I see a lot is there’s a way to compress images and especially in WordPress there are plug-ins for compressing the images and site speed. So I would talk to your dev look at… Have him look into those plugins. The number one thing you can start with is just go to Google Site Speed, you can just Google… Google Site Speed, and it will check the speed on your website in both desktop and mobile, and it will provide you with literally a list of things you can do to speed up your site.

So easy absolutely free – that’s the first thing I do.

C: That’s great advice there. And then I think you had one other thing, one other top tip, as well.

S: Yeah, and I think I look at is the site copy – the content.  and is it engaging what happens is for organic search especially if someone comes to your site and the search result and they don’t find that content engaging, and they leave Google and other search engines will see that as a signal that, ‘Hey, that web page was not interesting for that person who use that search term’ and it will just demote you. So you have to make sure you’re not just put in keyword stuff content. It actually has to be engaging and keep people on the site and engage them for a certain amount of time, so that when someone uses that search term, and they do make it to your site as you start getting some ranking, that they stick to it.

Then you keep that ranking. Sometimes you look in Google Analytics and you’ll see that a huge spike an organic traffic for a day, and you’ll wonder what happened there, it’s that you’ve got some rank and it didn’t stick and then you lost it.

So that is a huge, huge thing that we look for was making that website sticky.

C: Yes, absolutely, and something that we’ve seen work really, well is let’s say it is a blog post that you’ve written put links to other blogs in there, put links other resources in there, try and get somebody to stay on the site as long as you can.

S: Well, even if you get someone to leave the site, what happens is that they took action on that site. It goes from being a bounce to a non-bounce.

Huge benefit. Even if you’re taking it to another site to get more info, it’s better than them leaving your site.

C: Yes, what great insight that is definitely perfect. And then, what’s the top strategy that should be followed but often, marketing teams get wrong?

S: Yeah, they’re all top strategy, right?

But the one thing that people miss out on is we’re always focused on links, blogs, the content, sharing social paid ads, and what most companies just forget about is the website itself and how it is built, the site hierarchy. t is so crucial that the data is organized in a, in a way that search engines can read it. And what you have is you have a lot of developers that are they’re really smart, they’re really keen, but they may not have any formal education in it, and they can build beautiful websites, they’re very artistic, but the foundation isn’t behind that website to set it up for success.

So the number one thing that I look at as I mentioned a minute ago is the site hierarchy. How it’s built and if search engines can read it.

Great, and is there any way to check your website if you’re getting worried that maybe yours isn’t structured properly?

Yeah, HTML5 O-Liner is a free tool

C: Oh great, so I will put that link in the description. So if you’re listening today, please go to that description if you are curious or wondering about your site hierarchy and if everything is working as well as it could be for you?

S: Yeah, it’s HTML 5 O-liner, it’s absolutely free, and very basic. If you forget the url Google it and it’ll come up, but the URL is G-S-N-E-D-D-E-R-S, I have absolutely no idea what that means.

https://gsnedders.html5.org/outliner/ 

HTML 5 dot org for outline right, I will be sure everybody gets that link.

I’m sending it through to you right now, just to be sure, it’s a in the fall because I know that’s kind of a weird URL.

C: Perfect, I got it here. A cool wonderful, great, Steven. I want to learn more about your business. You started Merrigan media, you focus on search engine marketing. Tell us a little bit about your services, your company you’ve alluded to some of the things that you do, but let’s see if we can understand it a little bit more.

S: Yeah, I sort of start with grass root plans from building the inbound marketing strategy, full and down marketing strategy that we’ll discuss in a minute. How I can’t do all of it but building to the overall in-bound marketing strategy, looking at the website, making sure with the foundations or solid, working on SEO keyword research, paid advertising, taking that all together, and then I start working with outsourcing, and working with other teams of content marketing website development, social media marketing, etcetera, I pull them all in together, with what I have from my clients to build it in a great integrated marketing strategy across all those segments. Pay media earned media.

C: And what type of clients do you focus on mostly?

S: Yeah, I get clients from every vertical a lot lately have been startups actually they’re basically, they got their funding, they have some history of success maybe they have a new product and they need the folding down, they need to make sure that their investment is going right, they have that exposure first, they understand it’s not going to be direct response from the beginning. Some of this is a high-ticket price. Some of the SAAS has stuff, it’s $10’s of thousands a year, right?

So, it inbound is very, very important how to lead, nurture, once they learn of your product, keeping it back on line. So when a year from now when the tenders come to… And they need to make that big purchase decision we are there.

C: Awesome, that’s great, that’s great. So let’s see, lastly, are there any search engine marketing strategies that you’re currently testing that you don’t think other agencies are really implementing for their clients?

S: I’m not testing anything, but there is something that other agencies are missing out on huge clients are missing out on it and it’s structured snippets and it is literally a gold mine or a business.

And I’ve been doing this for a few years since they started and we’ve had huge success. Now the markets send it out a little bit, but there are not enough people use in structure snippets. And what structure snippets are it’s like when we talk about millennial’s, when they search a question and the answer comes right up in the search results, right?

That is because a website has structured snippets, it’s a little bit of coding on the page that will trigger it, so it will come up in that search result. Not near enough people are doing this and it’s literally Google just handing you a golden ticket. Well right now and a couple of years when everyone’s doing it, it won’t be any longer but your website could have a rank of 20th, but if you have a structure of snippet for a question that no one else has, you’ll still get that top spot.

So, if you answer that question, and no one else does, even though your rank is so low, you’ll have that position and if they click to learn more than your website link will be there, above all else, and if, when people click on that link, the site is actually engaging, like we talked about earlier, then that will help the overall SEO increase.

C: Yeah, and structured snippets. They have been out for a few years and you’re absolutely right, you might implement them every once in a while, but not on every side or not on every page. And so that is something that’s very easy once you know what you’re doing, it can be very easy or your web developer can do it. Just to make sure that you’re getting that extra boost. It has been kind of a slow, slow implementation process. You’re right. It’s a gold mine, but not many people are doing it, they’re not.

S: I still have clients every day someone contacts me, and they have no idea what I’m talking about, and they’ve been trying to market their business for years. And this is, like you said, it has been over a few years and it’s me. First thing I do help structure snippets… You’ve got a blog, you’re putting a answers in that blog and we need to make sure it’s on those pages.

C: Absolutely, what great insight, thank you then. Is there anything else I should have asked? But I didn’t?

S: I don’t think so. I like to keep a little bit to myself 🙂

C: Well, perfect, thank you so much for joining us today. Stephen a pleasure learning some of your expertise and hearing about the site hierarchy, Google Site Speed, making sure your website copies all lit up to date where it should be, and then also that link. So we’ll be sure to put that link into a the description of this podcast as well because that is very important to make sure, that you’re checking out,

S: absolutely, and don’t forget about the Google Site Speed, it’s a free tool, and also critical to you use and I’ll send you the link to repetition.

C: Well, wonderful, thank you again, Stephen, I appreciate you being on!

So again, that was Stephen Merrigan with Merrigan media and it was such a pleasure to have him on the show today. If you take a look in the description of this podcast episode, there are two links in there that you should be sure to look mark on your browser, and at least share with your web developer and if your practice has on the first is that HTML5 site hierarchy tool. And then the second one was the Google Site Speed.

So both of those will give you insights into if there is room for improvement with your website and then additionally ask about those site snippets, the page snippets if you do a Google search for some sort of treatment or ailment typically WebMB or another notable website and company will show up there, but you can also show up there with a page snippet, as well.

So, thank you again to Steven. I’m Caitlin McDonald this is the Social Speak Network podcast:

We are on iTunes and PodBean. If you found this episode to be educational and helpful for your marketing, I urge you to subscribe. Thanks so much and I’ll see you on the next podcast episode.

 

Best practices for Search Engine Optimization with Merrigan Media

7 steps to creating an FAQ Page that attracts new clients for your Medical Practice

7 Steps to creating an FAQ Page that attracts new clients for your Medical Practice

In this blog post I am taking a look at the steps for you to take to optimize a FAQ page on your website so that it not only is indexed in Google, but also so that it attracts new patients and can be repurposed in additional digital marketing for your medical practice.

FAQ sections of your healthcare website at one point were incredibly important, they then, however, were looked down at by a a lot of copy writers and website developers because the questions should be answered elsewhere on your website. The professional digital marketers at Social Speak Network used to even argue that an FAQ section would be better served by creating blog posts rather than having each of the questions listed on a single page. Our tune has now changed.

FAQ sections, whether they are single pages devoted to answering commonly asked questions or sections spread throughout a website that appear on specific services specialties pages, can drastically effect the performance of your health center website. These FAQ sections:

  • Increase search engine optimization (and possibility of having a Featured Snippet on Google search results)
  • Increase the likelihood of matching voice search (increasing Mobile SEO for your medical practice)
  • Build brand authority
  • Get prospects to know, like and trust your clinic
  • Create digital marketing collateral that can then be repurposed in email marketing, initial consultations with prospects, and social media posts.

Additionally, you can still provide expanded answers to these commonly asked questions in the form of blog posts and article. Now, before we dive deeper, let’s take a look at what a Featured Snippet is on Google.

What are Featured Snippets in Google Search Results?

When users ask questions in Google Search, one of the answers that appears may be a Featured Snippet. The information that appears here is extracted from a webpage and displayed to the user. Whereas you can utilize Knowledge Graph or Rick Snippets to display additional information within your search results, you cannot actually control what shows up for a Featured Snippet.

Featured Snippets are a part of the search results. In simple terms, Google finds content that matches the question asked and displays this result at a Featured Snippet.

Because of Google highlighting and emphasizing what it deems as the best answer to a question asked, it is incredibly important to add an FAQ section(s) to your Medical Practice Website.

So, how do you Create a FAQ Page that Converts on your Health Center Website?

The process to creating an FAQ section on your website is fairly straight forward. In this blog post we take a step by step look at how to create a well-functioning FAQ page on your medical practice website.

  1. Group Questions at top of the page
  2. Add headers or sections within the questions so they are easier to navigate
  3. Link questions to their respective answers lower on the page
  4. Create a concise and clear answer to each question
  5. Record a video of the answer to each question
  6. Add your brand name or a physicians name to the first line of the question
  7. Add a link in the answer to the service or next step in the sales funnel for the individual to learn more.

Look for “People also ask for” questions on Google Search Results

  1. Group questions at the top of the page.

    When you group questions together, this could either be at the top of the page or at a top of a section on a page, you are making it easier for the user, or prospect, to quickly jump to the information that appeals to them.

    Having a user-friendly website increases trust in your medical practice brand.

    faq questions grouped
    This also helps to keep an individual on your site for longer if they do not need to scan through all the content and questions to find exactly what they are looking for.

  2. Add headers or sections within the questions so they are easier to navigate.

    Here, you want to make sure, again, that the answers to common questions are easy to find quickly. For an orthopedic practice, for example, you may have sections for:

    • Your Initial Consultation
    • Preparing for Surgery
    • What to Expect at Your Appointment
    • Recovery Post-Procedure

    Within these sections, you may have numerous questions, all of which are talking points for your physicians to patients and prospects. To figure out what questions to include on your FAQ page, think of the different steps within your patient lifetime journey.

    Focus your Commonly Asked Questions on the Patient Journey

    What are the first questions they will have for your healthcare practice as they are first realizing they may need care? What questions do they have for your specialists to best prepare them for a procedure, and what questions will they have for a quick recovery? As you are writing the content try to predict what related questions an individual may ask. Additionally, ask the admin staff and the specialists at your medical practice what common questions they answer.

    Google also can provide insights into commonly asked questions. Type in a broad question into Google. For example “What to expect the day of knee surgery?” When you scroll down in the search results, you will notice a section titled “People also ask” – Google is providing you with additional questions to consider for your health center FAQ.

    Google search results for knee surgery(You’ll also notice that for this search, there also is no Featured Snippet – time to get working on that FAQ…)

  3. You’ll notice that I’ve followed this advice in this blog. As you grow out the list of commonly asked questions for your medical practice, it makes it much more navigable to list the questions first and the link to the answers. Having a link that goes directly to the answer also allows you to share this answer in correspondence with patients, prospects, and on social media. It makes repurposing content that much easier for your business.

    Create HTML links for each question and answer within your Healthcare Center FAQ

    To create a link to a specific place in the text, use the following code:

    Create the Link: 
    Where you are adding the link, rather than entering a complete destination URL, simply enter #destination-id (use the respective ‘destination id’). In the page HTML, this will look like: <a href=”#destination-id”>Link Text</a>
    Select the Destination: To identify where you would like the link created above to go to, you will assign a div id to the content. In the HTML of the page, add: <div id=”destination-id”>Content Header to Link To</div>

  4. Create a concise and clear answer to each question

    This ties directly into the previous points described about writing a powerful FAQ section on your health practice website that drives traffic to your website and new patients to your clinic.  When you write an answer to a commonly asked question, you want to make sure to be as concise as possible and then drive the reader to another page/blog post/to schedule an appointment to learn more.

    When you purposefully don’t answer specific questions and when you leave your answers short, you can lead the prospect through the sales funnel.

  5. Record a video of the answer to each question.

    Videos, videos, videos! Video marketing is one of the most important strategies for your medical practice digital marketing. We highly recommend having physicians in your clinic film their answers to these questions.

    video in faq
    If a prospect can put a face to a name and if the physician provides a clear-concise answer, your practice is set up to quickly build trust and authority with prospects. Videos help to:

    • Build trust with prospects and set expectations about what the process is like with your health center.
    • Create additional opportunities for Search Engine Optimization. Videos are indexed in addition to the content on your pages. We recommend publishing the video on YouTube and then embedding it on your website. When you use the question being answered in the title, your video is very likely to appear in the search results.
      Google video search results
    • Lastly, having videos embedded within your health care commonly asked question, adds additional content for your marketing team to share on social media, email marketing, and in advertising.

    One of our favorite parts about video marketing for healthcare is that you no longer need to create a $10,000 5 minute video. In fact, just using a newer phone and a $20 microphone will do the trick. Authentic videos that are not highly edited work well for FAQ sections on your website.

  6. Add your brand name or a physicians name to the first line of the question

    Rather than just answering the commonly asked question, make an effort to include your health practice name or a physician’s name in the answer. Not only does this increase credibility, but it also builds name recognition.

    While we have had some digital marketing clients tell us that the content reads strangely with the practice name at the start of each answer, also realize that 1) your readers won’t be reading every question if you are structuring the content so it is easy to find what you are looking for (eg grouping questions by category) and 2) if one of your Q&As are selected for a featured snippet on Google, you’ll benefit that much more if your practice name also appears.

    Social Speak often recommends having the name of whichever specialist is in your video have their name in the answer, as well. This is an easy way to have the content be cohesive.

  7. FAQ pages on your medical practice website fulfill a much needed role of predicting what prospects and patients are going to ask. While you want to be thoughtful of answering as many commonly asked questions as possible, you also want to lead users (prospects mostly) through the patient journey of scheduling and coming in for an appointment.

    Include the answers to questions, but also lead people to additional content and ultimately to pick up the phone or click the link to schedule a consultation.

 

 

How to Create a FAQ Page that Converts on your Health Center Website
 How to Create a FAQ Section on your Health Center Website that Actually Attracts New Patient
Healthcare Digital Marketing insights with Gold Medical Marketing Founder Daniel Goldberg

In this week’s podcast, I had the honor of interviewing Daniel Goldberg, Founder and CEO of Gold Medical Marketing.

Daniel Goldberg is widely regarded as a pioneer in Medical Marketing and Public Relations and was an integral part of the transition to Direct to Patient Marketing. Daniel’s unique knowledge of the business of healthcare and patient behaviors allow him to create marketing and public relations campaigns that reach specifically targeted audiences that maximize ROI. His ability to identify markets for potential patients allows GMM’s clients to penetrate new audiences and increase patient volume exponentially. Daniel has also lectured both nationally and internationally on the topic of Medical Marketing at some of the most esteemed medical conferences.

Daniel founded Gold Medical Marketing in 2012 after serving as the Director of Marketing and Business Development in a private orthopedic / spine practice and ASC. In the process, GMM has grown to be one of the most successful medical marketing firms and represents medical practices across the country.

In this interview with CEO and founder, Daniel Goldberg, we focused on web design, brand awareness initiatives, and transactional marketing efforts for the Orthopedic, Spine or Neurosurgery Practice. We covered:

  • How Inbound Marketing, Web design, and traditional marketing work for orthopedic brands.
  • Current trends or wellness practices with digital marketing in 2019.
  • Why you should create a Quarterly marketing budget for your health center rather than an annual budget.
  • 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 wrong.

Learn more about how to use Digital Marketing for your Healthcare center.

I had a couple of great takeaways from this health care marketing interview and I’m sure that you will as well for your own medical practice.

Setting Goals for your Orthopedic, Spine or Neurosurgery Practice Marketing Campaigns

First and foremost, it is ever important to make sure your team understands the goals of the marketing programs that you are running.

Are your campaigns geared towards one time transactions and getting somebody in the door the first time they search for a specialty?

Are they built around branding and brand recognition?

Once this is clearly defined, you can have a greater understanding of how each campaign actually affects your customer acquisition cost and patient growth.

Understand How Your Patient Journey is Reflected in On and Off-line Marketing Campaigns

The next takeaway is to take the steps towards better understanding your patient journey.

It’s not just what happens online, but also their experience within your office. For example, if a prospect sees language online that grows enough confidence in your expertise to give your practice a call, is the front desk knowledgeable about the services that you offer?

Can they answer simple questions about the process, the physician, and generally show they place the patient first?

Are you making a good first impression with your website, with your social media, with that first phone call?

Set your Healthcare Marketing Budget Quarterly Rather than Annually

And then lastly, and I think that this is the most important, is thinking about your marketing budget, not as an annual budget, but rather on a quarterly basis.

If a campaign is working well for bringing clients in the door and yields a positive ROI from digital marketing for your practice, you do your practice a disservice if the budget for that campaign can’t be scaled over time. Conversely, if you are testing a new marketing campaign with A/B testing and optimization, you can’t decide after a week that the campaign is a failure. Work the systems, work the processes, and, if after 90 days you still aren’t seeing a return, find another avenue to reallocate and test your health center marketing budget.

Rather than thinking about your marketing budget as an annual budget, we recommend putting it into three-month increments and doing a quarterly assessment of how your campaigns have either allowed you to reach your marketing goals or where they leave room for improvement.

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

To learn more about Gold Medical Marketing visit: GoldMedicalMarketing.com

Listen to the Healthcare Marketing Podcast Interview

Watch the Digital Marketing for Orthopaedic Centers Interview

 

Complete Transcript for Interview

The Hello, I’m Caitlin McDonald, and welcome to the newest episode of The Social Speak Network podcast.

Today, we are joined by Daniel Goldberg, the founder and CEO of Gold Medical Marketing.

Daniel Goldberg is widely regarded as a pioneer in medical marketing and public relations and was an integral part of the transition to direct-to-patient marketing. Daniel’s unique knowledge of the business, of healthcare, and of patient behaviors allow of him to create marketing and public relations campaigns that reach specifically targeted audiences that maximize ROI.

His ability to identify markets for potential patients allows Gold Medical Marketing’s clients to penetrate new audiences and increase patient volume exponentially.

Daniel has also lectured both nationally and internationally on the topic of Medical Marketing at some of the most esteemed medical conferences. Daniel founded gold Medical Marketing in 2012 after serving as the Director of Marketing and Business Development in a private orthopedic practice. In the process, Gold Medical Marketing has grown to be one of the most successful medical marketing firms and represents medical practices across the country.

So please join me in welcoming Daniel, to our podcast.

Caitlin: Daniel, we are so excited to have you on the show today.

Daniel: Thank you so much for having me, it’s a true pleasure.

C: First to kick things off, tell us a little bit about your background in digital marketing for orthopedic centers.

D: I’ve run a gold medical marketing for about eight or nine years. My background in digital marketing started when I was working within a private spine practice, it was about 10 years ago. I was really at the pivotal point where Google Adwords and even social media started to become patient acquisition tools and there was a shift from traditional marketing. I learned, I guess, on the fly about SEM and about social media marketing and the power of those tools for patient acquisition. So shortly after I worked in that practice, I started this firm. We’ve grown ever since, and it’s been a fun journey.

C: Awesome, awesome. Isn’t that interesting how most people who run agencies got their start in digital marketing and social media just on the fly, you had to learn it while you were in it.

D: It’s funny to talk to some of our employees or some of the people who either majored in in college or are new to it, and they’ve done things like Google tutorials and stuff to learn it and they have a good grasp on, but they don’t.

It’s interesting to discuss with them some of the changes that have happened over the past five or ten years where what they’re looking at it historically how it worked, and it was a lot more difficult to track things like successes in patient acquisition. Now the data and the data tools are so much more advanced than they were even five or eight years ago.

C: I mean, even three years ago.

D: Yeah, absolutely, the more data that those tools include, the easier it is to work with clients and report meaningful data.

C: Great, well let’s talk a little bit about your practice and your view of digital marketing. So your business, Gold Medical Marketing really takes a holistic approach to marketing. You not only help manage social media or advertising campaigns, but you also encourage a review of website design for healthcare, and analysis of what happens off-line, which a lot of agencies don’t really pay attention to.

Can you describe how your process to digital marketing for healthcare centers differs from traditional digital marketing?

D: As you know, the patient experience, or the patient journey, is different. You have to understand this when you build your website to creating digital marketing campaigns. You have to understand how the patient thinks, how the decision-making process works, and then how to cater to that patient story.

How does your Orthopaedic Website Increase your bottom line?

Something with web design, a lot of times practices will have a website that they like or that they think is the best for them, but whether is it the mobile experience, or the content doesn’t suit the patient, is not what the patient’s looking for, aesthetically and outwardly for you as a practitioner.

Your site can look nice, it could be what you wanted, but the navigation is difficult to understand, the calls to action aren’t there, and those are the things that increase conversion.

So we have to look at things from a branding perspective of the practice, but also integrate the best practices for patient traffic and everything for us starts usually with the website. Whether it’s social media traffic, Google traffic, or even offline things like print and magazine ads, those calls to action on the ads are always going direct back to the website.

The front door of your practice is now your website.

We want to make sure that if we’re spending money, either in traditional marketing, or digital marketing, that we are bringing the potential patients to a place that has a high likelihood of actually acquiring that patient. That’s why we always look at the website first and say, “Okay from mobile perspective, is your website mobile responsive?”

Google started penalizing sites that were not mobile responsive, about five years ago, and still to this day, I’m shocked at the amount of practice sites that we look at that aren’t mobile responsive.

That has a huge influence on your organic SEO or cost per click for Google ads, just the overall patient experience. We need to look at those things plus the content and calls to action, first before we start any sort of marketing program.

Marketing with a Patient Journey in Mind is More than Content Marketing Online

C: And then can you talk about how the patient journey transcends offline again, back to when the person at the front desk is answering that call and scheduling that initial appointment?

D: So, we can you talk about how you bring language kind of all through that process. We’ve worked a lot with orthopedic centers to neurosurgeon practices. In those instances, patients have an inherent fear of seeing the surgeon because they’re going be told, they think they’re going to be told they need head surgery, so a lot of them try to delay seeing a surgeon as long as possible. They try other means, and finally get to a point where they know that they need to see a specialist.

When they’re calling and they’re doing the research, whether they’re getting a recommendation from a friend or family member, they’re recalling an ad, whether is a print or online, they’re going to do their research. They’re going to look at the physician and practice themselves, they are going to view the website.

You need to help these prospects understand that the practice understands their concerns, understands their some of the fears or potential misconceptions. It’s important once that patient is even comfortable enough to then call then the front desk, the reception staff, that’s the front line. The call is the first interaction that the patient has with your practice. So the willingness of the reception staff to be accommodating – to understand, to listen and to not rush the patient – is very important.

There is also the importance for the reception staff to be able to answer some preliminary questions. So, I call your practice and I say, “how does your doctor do this type of procedure” if the reception staff says, “Hold on, let me check. I’m not sure” that sort of lack of confidence translates to the entire patient journey. Now the patient starts to lose confidence in that practice.

A lot of patients are looking at in multiple different practices in the area. They’re calling and polling different practices. And in most cases are going to go see the doctor whose staff made that patient feel the most comfortable and feel like they’ve come to the right place.

That’s a very important part of marketing that I think is overlooked.

You can bring traffic to a site and increase calls to the staff, but if the staff can’t capture them or aren’t confident in making that patient aware that this is where they should be, then you’re spending money, but not getting anything out of it.

C: I think it’s so important that we don’t ever view, and I think we’ll talk about this a little bit later, but that we won’t ever view digital marketing just in its own little bubble. It really is integrating your practice from that first click to the website through to scheduling an appointment.

Digital Marketing Trends in 2019 for Orthopedic, Spine or Neurosurgery Practice

So Daniel, what current trends are you seeing for health centers and medical practices with digital marketing in 2019?

D: So those practices now have acknowledged the relevance and the importance of social media. A lot of them were late, they were concerned about some of the information they were conveying from a clinical ethical standpoint, what they can say, what they couldn’t say, how to deal with things. I’m sure you’ve experienced negative patient feedback, how to deal with those things.

We really try to position social media as a valuable tool in patient acquisition through Facebook and Instagram advertising platforms, then the organic side. Having an active and engaging presence where you’re not just posting content from The New York Times, The New Yorker, or from a Medical Journal each week. Your healthcare practice should be posting true work, and content that speaks to the patient about your experience, your opinions on certain things – that’s very important.

On the organic side, on the paid side it’s using the behaviors using the data that Facebook aggregates about people in the area to target, people who don’t already know about you.

That’s one thing we’ve seen a lot of practices come around to.

The second is with hospitals of absorbing more smaller private practices, and thus increasing the competition for market share, a lot of smaller private practice are saying, “We need to have a marketing budget and a marketing plan, a holistic plan to compete and to stay competitive and independent from the larger health and hospital systems.”

A lot of the small practices will never out spend a multi-million hospital marketing budget, but we have to tell them how they can be more agile, and how they can spend better than some of their competitors, but not necessarily more.

And the last trend I see is a lot of practices were exploring things like TV and print again.

They’re looking at publications that are specifically suited to certain demographics. If you’re talking about what Jonathan a reader of Style magazine who watches TV certain times of day-to-report TV, those initiatives are more brand awareness focused.

I think what healthcare centers are seeing the difference between transactional marketing initiatives like search engine marketing, and more brand awareness initiatives like TV and radio, and even things like YouTube pre-roll ads, social media, and more brand awareness concepts.

C: Gotcha, so these practices are paying attention to what they want those KPIS and the goals of each of these verticals to be, and then finding the way to reach the audience to reach those goals.

D: I think as a sure you will know it’s important for them to understand the anticipated results, the anticipated KPIS from each vertical not every pollution is the same. So something like Google Search Ads is more transactional. You are going see an ROI quicker and the sole intention is to garden new patient.

Other things like traditional media, social media, display advertising, YouTube pre-roll advertising, those are more brand awareness.

Brand awareness may take the longer time to convert a patient.

It’s important for us as marketers to clarify those distinctions, so that our clients have the right expectation. We don’t want them to think that social media and Google Ads, produce the same results in the same period of time. That’s important to them to understand. So when I think that’s something that either their understanding better themselves or us as agencies are better explaining to them.

C: That is so important, to make sure that we’re having that clear communication and that conversation about what to expect with each of the different strategies.

D: I think that you and I both know that we see people in the digital marketing space who sort of over-promise. They tell clients what they should do and how beneficial this will be for them. And that they’ll see an instantaneous return. And that’s sort of for us, true health care marketers, sort of sets us up that if a client has been with a less than truthful company in the past, they have an inherent bad taste in their mouth for marketing because it failed the first time. The reason it failed the first time, was because the expectations and the goals weren’t clear.

So, as true health care marketing agencies, it’s our job to better distinguish what the goals are and what the intentions of each platform are.

Top Three Marketing Tactics a Medical Practice Should Be Doing Online

C: What are the top three things that medical practice should be doing online to see a return from their digital marketing efforts?

D: That comes down to understanding the patient journey.

Whether it be at the start with engine marketing, you’re looking at patients your area who are looking for you right now. So, they’re searching orthopedic surgeon near me or plastic surgeon. What they’re telling you is they want to find a provider right at this moment, it’s an easy sort of one-to-one transaction.

Understanding your cost per acquisition and understanding how much you cost to acquire a new patient and then what the revenue derived from that patient is over 3, 6, 9, 12 month period is really going help you determine your ROI.

The other thing is brand awareness so not every patient makes decisions instantaneously.

Some people have a medical problem, but they choose to either self-manage them or they choose to better, I guess, better to ignore them. And have using data, and using behaviors, you can target those patients with things like display as peril ads, and social media.

We know that we might be need of our services. And you’re constantly showing them the plan.

When they find the point of decision making, the brand recall sets in… So now they’re not searching cosmetic surgeon any more. They’re searching for your name. When they search for your name, your cost per acquisition will always be cheaper.

Because it’s your name, that’s an important thing that they have that a practice needs to understand. Not every patient makes a decision that morning, sometimes takes three or six months to make that decision.

Then the most important part is ROI tracking for your healthcare practice, so clicks and impressions and shares, are very important.

But for most physicians, they’ll always say I’m black and white and I want to know what I spent, what I paid, and what I got after the call.

Having call tracking or form tracking in place on the website where it’s new patient tracking or new form tracking, it’s very important to say not all of your clicks translated to a patience of your website. Got 10,000 clicks month, don’t think that was 10,000 patients, right?

That’s not a fair measurement. Having things in place to track new patient calls, have a compliant or new patient forms, is really going to say, okay, for the money you spend, this is what your return was. Here are your new patient acquisitions, here was the cost, and then let’s talk about the bill charges and the receivables over a course of months. But a lot of marketing is destined to fail or not to perform as well as it could if there’s no ROI tracking.

You’re spending money now, but you don’t know what you’re getting for it, so, I’m sure you… Well now after three to six months, people, your clients are going to want to answer truly what the black and white data is, and if we can’t provide it to them a lot of times they see it as waste or intangible, so that’s important that we have those metrics in place so that they understand. Here’s actually what you’ve got for the money you spent.

C: Yes, I absolutely, absolutely it’s so important to always be paying attention to that data and really seeing what it means, compared to those pre-establish goals that you’ve already said for that marketing channel.

I love how you keep on going back to, in the short-term successes and then also the long-term branding that will lead to successes, but it just sees time.

So, this continuing to bring it back to that not all marketing is created with the same goal in mind.

D: Yeah, absolutely, there’s room for brand awareness, there’s one for transaction, it’s about to get the expectation of what each initiative is and what that initiative is going to produce. So that’s very important for us to be able to communicate it up.

The top digital marketing strategy that should be followed but often, marketing teams get wrong

C: Yes, definitely. So what’s the top strategy that should be followed but often, marketing teams get wrong?

D: So I think it with marketing teams, and one physician to discuss marketing what their internal team or external teams, it’s becoming locked into a budget per year. So practice was that okay, we’re only going to spend this budget per year.

It helps from a fiscal perspective and it helps from the financial planning perspective, but it doesn’t help when you have a campaign or something you were doing that’s working very well, but you can’t forgo that or you can’t add to that because you’re locked into this amount. You were spending $500 a month in Google ads and it was performing incredibly well and it was working very well and you were getting a free ROI on that.

So if you have a yearly budget, you can’t add to that because you are already allocated your money for 12 months. So your social campaigns are incredibly engaging and they’re incredibly effective and generating traffic, which is translating to new patients. You can’t then spend more money and that’s get more engagement and more brand awareness because you locked yourself into only spending a certain amount of money over the course of 12 months. So I think what practices need to look at is quarterly, the data that they’re getting from their internal external teams, what it means, what their ROI is, and then projecting another three-month.

For a lot of things as well, at it takes time to accumulate. So especially with brand awareness and social we want look at that data and that engagement over more than just 30 days, or 30 days, 45 days, 60 days, and then make strategic decisions based on the data we you’ve gathered, right?

So, it we will run an ad two weeks through on a Facebook ad and made a decision off the data. We have a limited range and limited impressions, and thus limited data. It’s helpful if we can say, “Okay, for 90 days, we’re going to run these two ads against each other, we’re going to test these different creatives or we’re going to test these different ad copies and then at the end of 90 days, we’re going to explore what the data said and then make decisions based on that.”

But it’s hard when we know the next day that we have the exact same amount of money.

If we knew that something was producing and we knew that something was effective, and it was producing an ROI. Why not poor gas into that fire? I think a lot of partition restructure is how they look at their marketing budgets. January first, your budget shouldn’t be allocated through December 31st, it should be a quarterly strategy.

C: Yeah, and you know you hear about this much more with e-commerce sites that are selling products. It’s easy, very easy to measure with that first purchase, dollar in dollar out if you’re getting that dollar and dollar-out with follow-up, purchases afterwards, adding to the customer lifetime value. It’s easy to scale, but with medical practices often having that set budget. And it’s holding you back in the long run. And because if you’re getting client in and it’s a it’s converting well and that ratio between customer acquisition costs, and lifetime value is working in your favor, keep pushing that, absolutely.

D: And a lot of times, especially in healthcare, a patient acquisition has different values of or a simple example, if a patient comes in with a season position one time for an acute injury or A to condition the provider may be 200 or 100-500. So if their class probation, a patient was 40, and their return was 150, it’s about three to one for the… That needs to undergo a complex surgery that the bills are not tens of thousands of dollars.

Well, that’s a whole different metric now.

We have to look at one e-commerce where everything has a flat rate, a flat sort of cost, produce, and then your income, all of that medical practices don’t have.

It’s so much in what the revenue generated, it’s been from the procedure itself, the insurance company to everything. There are so many variables that you can’t just sort of say, “Okay here’s your flat ROI for every new acquisition. Some acquisitions have a three-to-one is some 300-1 ROI. That’s why quarterly we need to look at things like revenue and bills charged to us to say, “And here’s what it’s actually produced in which is important.”

C: Actually, in a previous podcast episode, we were talking about how when you’re creating these marketing campaigns and thinking about the customer journey, or that prospect journey think about those follow-on services. If you’re fixing the knee, then it might be the hip, then it might be the other hip.

So, it’s one attention to all those other services and surgeries and things that your practice will be beneficial for in the future.

D: Absolutely, and then also translates to outside of just the pet practice, but any type of practice, there’s also the intangible of if you provide a good service to a patient, the referrals that will come from that patient that’s almost impossible to measure because that patient might help five with our friends to go see you and you may not be able to track that or you might not know it’s how that patient found you, but that’s ROI, as well that you can track what is important to understand. So there’s tangible ROI and there’s the intangibles as well.

There’s also the idea that if you’re a primary care provider, or you’re a dentist or you’re even someone who sees acute conditions. I have a seven-year-old son so they take my son’s the same primary care position as I see because I like him. That’s value as well to the loyalty to that practice, that’s a lifetime value. They have to look at that as well.

C: Yeah, yeah, that is so important to the tangible and the intangible and really how the network of revenue that your practice could be bringing in could stem from one person in particular and just grow out from there.

D: It’s why I think years ago, a lot of physicians went door to door to all the referring physicians, offices to solicit or for all to get there, their follow-ups are there, the things they couldn’t treat, that was the intention.

Now that’s often done a patient side where if the patient is happy you’re providing conservation good offers the patient, they’re the ones we’re going to spread the word. They are the ones who are going to refer people to you. So again, it’s an intangible that sort intangible is difficult for us to digest because we want to see the data and we want to know at everything that’s happening, but in the community, it’s very important.

Gold Medical Marketing – a top ranked agency for healthcare and medical practices

C: Great, great. So, Daniel, your business is Gold Medical Marketing and you are a top ranked agency for healthcare and medical practices and tell us a little bit about your company, and your services.

D: So we do everything from traditional digital marketing whether that be web, design Google pay-per-click, SEO content creation, social media management marketing video production a graphic design, really, the whole gamut of services for a practice. We pride ourselves and being so one stop shop for orthopedic spine neurosurgery practices, we understand that for Brand messaging and brand consistency having everything in-house is important.

I think one of our bigger distinctions is the understanding of ROI and how to quietly track ROI, and tie that down, to revenue to show a practice true growth from a financial perspective, not just from a digital perspective.

You want to take the digital data and translate that into financial data for them, so they can really understand their marketing program, and what’s being done for them. So I think we are the only from the country we specialize is solely in those three fields.

We’ve spent about 10 years figuring out not just the clinical side, but also the patient’s perspective. We like to tell a lot of our marketing around the thousands of interviews we’ve done with patients to understand how they think and then translate that to a practice, so that practice can be positioned to understand the patient and thus acquire more patients.

C: Yes, I great, awesome. And then lastly, are there any digital marketing strategies that your team is currently testing that you don’t think many other agencies are implementing for their clients?

D: I think one of the things we’ve come around to a lot more recently is display advertising. Google Adwords has gotten a lot better at where it puts this by advertising how the display network works, and we’re starting to understand better that as we mentioned earlier that not every transaction is instantaneous especially with orthopedics.

People delay seeing a specialist or delay a procedure for extended periods of time, but because of the data aggregation on Google and with Facebook as well, those brand awareness initiatives are really important.

So when that patient does make the decision were top-of-mind and then the cost per was its cheaper. I think a lot of agencies focus a lot on just search, just so just Google searches or Facebook searches. We realize that not every patient wakes out one day and says, “Okay I’m going to have surgery.” There’s a journey there.

So, it’s understanding that journey, and then using brand awareness to capture that patient is something that we’ve really… I think, one, we perfected over the last year.

C: So, rather than only targeting people at that end of the funnel, when they’re ready to make that decision, it’s about capturing them at the top of the funnel, and being there every step of the way, so that when they’re ready to finally give you a call on your practice a call, you’re already top of mind, they already know your phone number by heart.

D: That’s what we’ve seen the social for a lot of what we see the social it is very transactional we are seeing patient acquisitions, come immediately from social ads on the other side were also seen as a brand awareness tool so data we’re getting from social say, here’s the ads or the audiences that are immediately transactional and here’s the ones where they’re focused on brand awareness. It’s important differentiate those too because we do see a lot of ROI received ROI on social media marketing. It’s just depending upon what the target is, what the service line is what the focus is, that’s what we’re saying that I think for you explain it, I’m sure as you explain to your clients that not everything is instantaneous.

Yes, here’s what we’re focusing on for and warms perspective clients, here’s what we’re focusing on from a transactional perspective.

C: You have, absolutely, absolutely Daniel. Is there anything else that I forgot to ask?

D: Not that I can think of.

C: Great, great, well, thank you so much for joining us today on the social speak podcast. I loved hearing your perspective and I know it for a fact, that you guys over at gold Medical Marketing are doing a fantastic job of your clients. So thank you for being on the show today.

D: Thank you. It was a privilege to be on the show and I can’t thank you enough.

C: Wow, that was such a pleasure having Daniel on our show today.

Now, I had a couple of great takeaways from this and I’m sure that you did as well for your own medical practice. The first thing is to make sure that you understand the goals of the marketing programs that you’re running. Are your campaigns geared towards one time transactions or getting somebody in the door, right when they’re ready to come on in or are they built around branding and brand recognition, and then also understanding how these campaigns actually affect your customer acquisition cost.

The next takeaway I had is understanding your patient journey. So it’s not just what happens online in the language that they see online, but also how that translates to their experience within your office. And when they’re talking with somebody to schedule an appointment, are they knowledgeable about the services that you offer? Are you making a good first impression with your website, with your social media, with that phone call?

And then lastly… And I think that this is the most important, is thinking about your marketing budget, not on an annual basis, but rather on a quarterly basis if a campaign is working well in bringing clients in the door and that customer acquisition cost to lifetime value, or even first time value, is it leading to a positive return for your practice, you want to continue to scale that, over time. So rather than, again, thinking about your marketing budget as an annual budget, we recommend putting it into three-month increments, and doing a quarterly assessment of how your campaigns have either led your goals. Or they need where they leave room for improvement.

So thank you again, Daniel for joining our show today, and if you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe to the Social Speak Network, we are on iTunes and PodBean, and I look forward to seeing you in our next episode.

Healthcare Digital Marketing insights with Gold Medical Marketing Founder Daniel Goldberg
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.

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!

Never miss an important marketing event, Is your Content Marketing Plan Failing your Business, Editorial Calendar 2019, #nationalholidays #businessevents2019

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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

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

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

SEO and blogging

In this overview we review the topics covered by Social Speak in April, 2018.

Additional posts referenced in the video include:

Search Engine Optimization, Keyword Research, and Blogging for your Business, Video Overview of Blogging and SEO