You didn't see it coming, but Google rolled out a new update causing a seismic shift in rankings, and your leads from a popular pay-for-play referral source have all but dried up. Sound familiar? Don't fret, because Modern Aesthetics® marketing pros know exactly what you can do to recoup your losses and get back on track now.
Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
We've seen this before: your practice's online marketing strategy is going gangbusters. Leads are coming in faster than your team can follow up with them. But then…an algorithm shifts.
While we don't blame the companies for their tweaks, we do know that a shift in your practice's marketing strategy is needed when this happens. Be prepared by:
- Always tracking your referral sources. Many practices don't do this initially and are are at a loss when the overall number of patient leads into their practice decreases. Know where every lead comes from so you can spot trends right away.
- Knowing which of your lead sources are most profitable. If you find that you get 50 price shoppers from a certain source during a month, but eight quality surgical leads from another source, the math will lead you in the right direction. Focus your time and money on lead sources that bring in more revenue.
- Diversifying your (marketing) portfolio. By putting all of your eggs in one basket, you're putting yourself at risk if one source bottoms out. For example, we had a client whose Instagram suddenly shut down when a jealous competitor reported his account. He lost all 25,000+ followers… and a major lead source with zero notice. Luckily, he had a diversified marketing campaign and was able to rebound quickly.
- Contacting your vendor. If you're in a pay-to-play contract that isn't giving you a financial return on your investment of 3.5 to 1 or better, renegotiate the contract terms … or get out of the contract.
Mara Shorr, BS, CAC XIV
• Serves as a partner, as well as the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Shorr Solutions, assisting medical practices with the operational, financial and administrative health of their business.
• Level II - XIV Certified Aesthetic Consultant and program advisor, utilizing knowledge and experience to help clients achieve their potential.
• A national speaker and writer, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay A. Shorr, BA, MBM-C, CAC XIV
• Founder and managing partner of Shorr Solutions and a professional motivational speaker, an advisor to the Certified Aesthetic Consultant program and a certified medical business manager from Florida Atlantic University.
• He can be reached at email@example.com.
• More information on the practice management consulting company Shorr Solutions can be found at www.ShorrSolutions.com.
Content is Always King
All platforms—from Google, Facebook, and SnapChat even to the major review sites—are in a constant state of flux. One seemingly minor modification you never heard about can make your traffic nosedive in the flick of an eye. Sadly, you have zero control over these events. In today's world, all businesses need to be able to pivot. Stat!
Google rolls out more than 500 algorithm changes in a year, and most of them won't impact your digital marketing program. The major updates tend to be more conservative, but this underscores why you really should enlist a professional to stay on top of the changes and make the necessary tweaks that may affect your standing online. Programmers and web developers make it their business (literally) to pay attention to how websites and search engines are operating.
Algorithms tend to get tweaked often for one basic reason: to improve search results and user experience. One good way to protect yourself is to ensure that you are creating a steady stream of high-quality content across all platforms where your brand lives. Google and other search engines are always striving to improve the user experience by hunting for better content. If your website and digital platforms have been filling in your A-grade content with some Cs and Ds, you may be penalized.
Search engines work to reduce “spammy” content while pushing good quality long-form content up in rankings. Your content should deliver on the promises of your title or intro. You can never go wrong by creating stellar and unique content and making sure it is well structured and readable (i.e., not stuffed with keywords). It should also be educational and entertaining, or “edutaining,” to attract readers and drive engagement.
Another tip is to check how your content appears on mobile devices—a critical success factor now. Do an organic search to see if your content shows up and what it looks like on your cell phone.
Lastly, your content needs to be original! If your webmaster is buying cheap blog posts or website copy from a content mill on another continent, it's not a bargain. Monitor all the content that is created in your name to protect your brand. You don't want to risk the wrath of Google or Facebook, because in the digital world they rule and can hurt you badly.
• Founder/President of Wendy Lewis & Co. Ltd., a marketing communication and social media boutique in New York City.
• Founder/Editor-in-Chief of beautyinthebag.com.
• Author of 12 books including Aesthetic Clinic Marketing in the Digital Age
• She can be reached at WL@wendylewisco.com.
Keep Your Eye on ROI
Most practices don't have a systematic approach for tracking and maximizing their return on investment (ROI), but when a prominent referral source dries up, it's essential to drill down on the cost and effectiveness of every referral source.
The primary place to start is with your website statistics. In today's digital environment, virtually every lead comes through the website. Even word of mouth referrals often go to your website to read about your credentials.
Google Analytics is the key for evaluating website statistics. It's free, and the data can provide invaluable ROI information. It's not just about the number of website visitors, but the quality of those visits.
To do this, set up “goals” in Google Analytics based on the key performance indicators or KPIs that are important for your practice. For example, which pages on the site generate the most email leads? Which paid and/or organic referral sources generate visitors who spend the most time on the site? Once this data is tracked, the process becomes relatively straightforward. Invest in the sources where patients are coming from and cut back on weaker sources of website visitors.
David Evans, PhD, MBA
• CEO of Ceatus Media Group, based in San Diego.
• He can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org.