Posted on February 11, 2014

10 Basic Internet Marketing Ideas for Your Practice

During a recent lecture entitled “Cyber Tools for Optometrists”, I was approached by someone after my course that was really excited about the content of my lecture. He was motivated to do something more to better the Internet marketing activities of his practice. I had done a good job motivating him, but what he explained next I was not expecting. He explained to me that although the content of my lecture was great, he needed an easier way to digest what I had discussed, and furthermore wanted a road map to actually implement these ideas at his practice. It was as if he were almost asking for Internet marketing for dummies or some sort of Internet marketing cliff notes. As a result of this conversation I decided to put some thought into action for a blog article. This might seem basic to some of you, but sometimes we need to get back to basics!

10 Basic Internet Marketing Points for Consideration

1. Identify your marketing attitude

Marking is NOT easy! It’s not just posting things on Twitter or Facebook. As a business owner, marketing is essential. If your marketing is boring, then there’s something wrong. You might think of marketing in a way that is similar to campaigning. As a small business owner I feel like I am often running for president. I am out at trade events meeting people and fostering good will amongst the industry I work in. Campaigning is a series of promotions designed to capture people’s hearts and minds. Have you ever thought about telling your story? Storytelling is literally a type of marketing. Sharing messages and stories about what is important and then mobilizing people to act.

2. Create a website

I guess this is easier said than done. When it comes to buying a website, you are going to get what you pay for. Hiring the cheapest website designer is one of the worst marketing decisions you can make. You want your website to impress visitors. If the website is not engaging you will not convert your traffic into meaningful business. Read Maxim Havlicek’s recent blog article on designing medical websites.

3. Understand the lead generation aspects of search

The main points of search that I feel assist tremendously with lead generation are:

  • Local Search
  • Organic Search
  • Paid Search

If you can work these into your marketing plan and do them effectively, you will be well on your way to building a successful Internet marketing program.

4. Establish a social media identity for branding purposes

Social media integration continues to be important for a solid online presence. Today there are literally more forms of online marketing than there are compared to traditional marketing. Social media is now one of those forms of online marketing and can have an impact in terms of both visitor action and brand awareness for your practice. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the most popular social media sites. A lack of presence on these social media websites is no longer an option for businesses. Quite frankly, your website’s visitors will expect to see this presence. When getting started with social media it is important to develop a clear direction and overall vision for your practice. Allocation of resources on the practice level versus the amount of work outsourced should be paramount in this conversation. Many practices reserve the day-to-day posting activities internally while outsourcing the more technically challenging areas such as blogs, YouTube and application interfacing. For more information on interpreting social signals for SEO, please see my last blog article.

5. Create a simple newsletter strategy for patient communication

Marketing is not just about acquiring new patients, it’s about preserving your existing patient base. E-newsletters provide a simple and cost effective way to continue the conversation with your patients. Email newsletters are hotter than ever before in medical marketing. After reviewing business trends and talking to key market leader physicians, we are convinced more than ever that newsletters are vital to your marketing program.

6. Develop a review strategy

Let’s be honest, consumers and patients now have more control of your brand than ever before. Review sites have taken off over the past few years and people read them to make purchasing decisions. Businesses fear Yelp and what happens to their positive reviews on the site. It’s time to engage your happy patients and get them involved in your review process.

7. Develop a mobile vision

Today more and more people are dependent on smart phones for research. Why is this? It is because they have a device right there that can give them the answers they want wherever they are. Is your website mobile compatible? What does having a mobile compatible website mean? Users can pull up your website from their phone, but how user friendly is it? Are you able to generate leads from your current website? Customized mobile websites are recommended to give the user the exact information they are looking for on the go. Give them the ability to call you by touching your number on their smart phone, to map your location by touching your address on their screen, learn about your practice, and send you a message all from their mobile device. Users often will leave sites that are not easy to use from their mobile device. Making your mobile website easy to use and providing visitors the information they are looking for is crucial.

8. Create engaging video for your website and house this on a YouTube channel

In the year 2014 it is safe to say a lot of web video content gets digested through websites and applications. If you are a busy medical practice there are multiple reasons for you to have video content. Whether this content is of professional quality or not isn’t the point of this article…so what is the point? This is that your practice needs to index some videos on the internet because people would rather watch video than read text. Google is fairly flexible in what it considers to be video content. You can use actual video footage, but screen captures, slide shows, animated PowerPoint slides, and other content will work just as well. Google can’t actually “See” what’s inside the video content, so it relies on title and other meta-date to determine what content your video actually contains.

There are a few types of videos you can have on your medical website:

  • Physician interview videos
  • Patient testimonials
  • Procedure animations or informational video
  • Practice promotional videos

9. Install Google Analytics – It’s FREE

Google Analytics is a free service that provides comprehensive statistics regarding the visitors to a website. Data available through this service consists of site visits, page views, bounce rate, average time on site, pages per visit and percentage of new visits. In addition to the data mentioned above, Google Analytics can also track referral traffic including search engine, direct visits, website referrals, and marketing campaigns (Pay Per Click, banner advertising, email marketing, etc.).

10. Develop a program to develop content for a blog associated with your core website URL

A blog is a form for people to post articles and for others to comment and share those articles. In the medical practice I see blogs as an excellent way to share new information about your practice such as new services, special offers, events, medical missions, etc. The intent is not to get people to comment on these blogs, but to increase the number of pages on your site, allowing search engines to see that you are consistently updating your content, hence increasing page rank and positioning in searches. Instead of calling it a blog on the website, which a large percentage of people are still in the dark about, call it a What’s New page or a News and Events page. Get your staff to post news as blog articles and help SEO at the same time. Even better, you can feed your blog articles to your social media sites and update both your website and social media in one step. It is important to note that before going out and starting a blog online, can it be embedded into your website to actually help you? Before taking this very important step in internet marketing, consult with your internet marketing specialist to determine the blog application that will work best for your practice.