3 Steps To Take If You Think Your Website Isn’t Working

Website design and Internet marketing are not courses they cover in medical school, nor should they be. However, in today’s digital world it’s important for healthcare providers to have a basic understanding of Internet marketing. How do you know if your website is working? And if it’s not, what do you do?

 

The answer to the first question is quite simple. If you’re consistently receiving new leads, for procedures/treatments you want to be performing, AND there is a healthy volume of those leads, then your website is working.

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If this is not the case, consider these three steps:

 

  1. Clarify Your Message

Sit down with a friend or family member who has never seen your website before. Show them your site, let them look around, and after 5 seconds take your computer away and ask them, “Pretend you don’t know me, based on what you’ve seen, what do I do?”. If they cannot answer this question, your website isn’t effectively communicating your business offering. If perspective patients don’t understand what your business offers, your website will not convert them into leads.

 

  1. Analyze Your Written Content

Many healthcare providers fall into the trap of having written content that is too medical in nature. Although it may make sense to you, perspective patients do not have the medical background to understand the information. They basically want to know three things from your site content:

    1. Do you understand the problem I’m experiencing?
    2. Are you able to fix my problem?
    3. Do you have examples on how you’ve fixed this problem from other patients?

 

That’s it! Although some medical details may be required to answer some of these questions, they should be understandable enough that someone zero medical education can understand it.

 

  1. Analyze Your Competition

Look at your competitors/peers websites’, but only for 5 seconds at first. Can you answer the question, “What do they do”, within 5 seconds? If so, what cues on their site provided that answer? Now look more deeply at their website’s written content. Can you answer the three questions in point 2 above? If so, how is their content organized, written, and expressed that provides that clear answer to those questions? How can you apply these answers to your website?

 

Sometimes the solution to making your website work is a do-over, but oftentimes there are small changes that can be done which can make a BIG difference.

MARKETING NEWS FLASH – Another Large Mobile Algorithm Update is on the Way

As most of us already know by now, Google released a huge mobile friendly update on April 21, 2015, which the marketing industry dubbed, “Mobilegeddon”. What most businesses didn’t realize was that 4/21/2015 was just the beginning. Mobilegeddon was the first time that Google officially separated desktop & mobile search results, but the implementation and effects of that rollout were very gradual. In fact, the algorithm update dubbed Mobilegeddon was really just Phase One of a massive shift in Search. Earlier this month, Google announced another major shift – Phase 2.

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The details of Phase 2 are still not entirely clear.

Here’s what we know:

  • Within the next few months, Google will officially separate mobile search results for users on mobile devices and this will be called the “Primary Index”. In other-words mobile search results will become entirely separate form desktop results.
  • The desktop Index will not be as up-to-date as the Primary Index (mobile index)

 

Here’s what we don’t know:

  • How the new mobile index will work
  • Will there be any desktop results shown on the new, primary index? Or will mobile-friendly sites be the only sites shown on the primary index?
  • How outdated with the desktop index be?

 

Here’s what you need to do to prepare:

  • Your website MUST be mobile-friendly. If you aren’t sure if your site is, try Google’s mobile-friendly test.
  • Start adjusting your site content so it’s user-friendly to mobile visitors.
    • For example, does your website scroll down for miles? If so it’s time to shorten the length up so your valuable content is all at the top.
  • On that same note – STOP looking at your website on your desktop when making decisions. All decisions should now be made from the mobile-perspective.
  • If you’re engaged in a SEO campaign, it’s time to start tracking your mobile results separately from desktop.

 

Stay tuned for future updates on the new algorithm update!

3 Marketing Tips to Run a Thriving Medical Practice

Do you know a friend, colleague, or peer with a thriving private practice? Do you ever ask yourself, “What are they doing right that I’m not?” or, “What is their secret formula?” With 30+ years of collective experience in medical marketing and representing dozens of clients over years, we decided it was time to share the secret formula that anyone can use to transform their medical practice into a thriving medical practice.

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So here’s the secret – all successful medical practices invest in multiple marketing channels that:

  1. Develop Patient Acquisition

Marketing channels which help to drive new, perspective patients to your practice such as your website, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay per click advertising (PPC)

  1. Clearly Define The Brand

Marketing channels which help to define who you are, what you offer, and it’s beneficial to perspective patients. Your logo, social media channels, and any other visual channel has an impact your branding.

  1. Promote To Existing Patients

Email Marketing and Social Media are very effective tools. Don’t forget, it’s significantly easier to sell to an existing patient than to a new one.

This is the exact same formula we’ve used over and over again that has driven growth and success for our clients.

 

Why The Purpose of Social Media is NEVER to Acquire New Patients

One of the biggest misconceptions healthcare & wellness providers have with social media is its purpose – to acquire new patients. This should never be your primary objective because doing so will set you up for failure from day one. However, acquiring new patients can become a bi-product of your social media strategy. So, what is the purpose of developing a social media presence? There is no one right answer, social media is simply a digital channel, that allows you to reach a certain demographic with your message.

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Think of social media channels, like a television commercial. When big brands develop a television ad campaign, they’re primary purpose is never to acquire more business. It’s to position their brand in a certain light, teach consumers the benefits of their product/service, align themselves as the medicine to a pain consumers face, etc. Those are some examples of goals. Acquiring new business is always a bi-product of that goal.

 

So what should your social media goal be for your practice? Examples may include:

 

  • Develop on online community where your patients can engage with your business.
  • Align yourself as an expert with a specific technology, procedure, or demographic.
  • Set an expectation of your practice’s culture for perspective patients before they enter your door.
  • Create a new marketing channel, encouraging patients to sign-up for your newsletters.

 

Defining your goal will take time, thought, and some soul searching, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. Take an hour or two to have a formal brainstorming session with your staff and get their opinions. Once you have a clear, concise direction, it’s time to start thinking of the type of content that will achieve that goal. And that’s where the fun begins!  

Answer This Question Successfully And Your Internet Marketing Is Guaranteed to Rock!

We’re all looking for the secret formula that is going to propel our business forward this year to that next level. Here’s a piece of advice that will save you a LOT of time and money – Stop searching! There is no secret formula. If there was, we would all be billionaires and running for President this year (not that any of us want to strive to be…you know who, rhymes with, ‘bump’). There is, however, one question that will guarantee your Internet marketing will rock this year, if you can successfully answer it:

 

What is your Internet Marketing Strategy for 2016?

Yes this sounds very simple, but so many healthcare providers (and small businesses in general) do not put enough time and thought into brainstorming and developing an Internet marketing strategy. But where do you even begin?

 

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STEP 1: Get the Brain Active and Ready

Let’s get the synapses fired up and contemplate the answers to some of these basic questions.

 

  • Who is your demographic?
  • Where does your demographic live and work?
  • How does your demographic search for the type of product or service that you offer?
  • Is your demographic using social media and if so which social platforms?
  • What is your primary product or service offering?
  • What makes your offering different than your competition?
  • What marketing has your competition used and what have they found to be successful?
    • NOTE: You’re most likely not going to have that answer handed to you, but there are ways to discover the answer.
  • On that note, who is your competition?
  • What mediums do you use to communicate your product or service offering to customers?

 

STEP 2: Define Your Overall Goal

Now that the brain is actively thinking about your marketing strategy, it’s time to create the foundation of your Internet marketing strategy – the goal! Your goal should be in the form of a question, it should be specific, and you should refrain from using the word, “and”. The process of defining the goal is a critical first step. In fact, we use this approach all the time with our new clients who come to us for help with their Internet marketing. Most of our clients are cosmetic healthcare providers such as plastic surgeons, dermatologists, medical spas, cosmetic dentists, etc. so these examples of goals are tailored to that market. However, they can easily be adapted and applied to any business.

 

Here are some samples of common goals we’ve defined for our clients:

 

  • How do I increase the number of new patients in my practice?
  • How do I attract more patients who are seeking cosmetic breast procedures?
  • How do I increase my overall Internet visibility?
  • How can I utilize social media to position myself as an expert in a specific procedure?

 

It’s important that you take time to really think about your goal because it will become the foundation of your Internet marketing strategy.

 

STEP 3: Fire Off Ideas

Once you’ve defined your goal it’s time to start brainstorming. Assemble your team together, distribute pads of paper and pens, and propose the goal (question) to the group. Let your team express whatever comes to their mind and do not dismiss any idea. At this stage, dismissing ideas will hinder creativity. No ideas are bad ideas.

 

STEP 4: Narrow Down Your List

After you’ve developed a healthy list, you can move onto the next step and start to dismiss ideas that aren’t applicable. But don’t completely erase them, keep them in their own category because even though the idea is not applicable, there may be a component of it that sparks an AMAZING idea.

 

STEP 5: Answer the Question

There are two steps that must be done solely on your own – defining the goal and answering the question. You can get opinions from your team on the answer to the goal, but at the end of the day you need to be the leader that defines that answer. Your answer should be specific and encompass a combination of the great ideas you’ve brainstormed.

 

The answer should also include benchmarks on how you’re going to reach your goal. Envision your goal at the top of a ladder. If each rung is an objective, how many rungs do you need to climb to reach the top?

 

STEP 6: Start Climbing

You have your overall goal, you have your set of objectives to reach your goal, and now you have a yellow brick road the leads to success. Right? Well sort of. One of the mistakes many people make with this process is to cement the path to their goal. While your goal should be cemented, your path should be flexible. You may discover that instead of 4 objectives there really should be 8. Or perhaps one of your objectives needs to be revised altogether. If you keep your mind open, but fixed on the end goal, your 2016 Internet marketing strategy will ROCK!

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Website design and Internet marketing are not courses they cover in medical school, nor should they be. However, in today’s digital world it’s important for healthcare providers to have a basic understanding of Internet marketing. How do you know if your website is working? And if it’s not, what do you do?   The answer […]

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3 Biggest Mistakes When Selecting Keywords For Your SEO Campaign

 

One of the reasons SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is so important for local businesses, especially healthcare providers, is because everyone uses a search engine to find information today. And the reason it’s even more critical for healthcare providers is because three quarters of all health inquiries start on a major search engine. Even Google recognizes the value in health searchers, which is why they recently formed a partnership with the Mayo Clinic to help provide more accurate health information online.

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Search engine optimization can be very powerful for a local business, BUT there’s a lot of misinformation on the Internet and many inexperienced Internet marketing agencies performing SEO. The secret to a killer SEO campaign is having a great foundation. And the glue of the foundation is held together with your keyword selection. Although your Internet marketing agency should be able to guide you through the keyword selection process, if you have a basic understanding of keyword selection you can ensure that you establish a successful foundation. Here are the 3 biggest mistakes business owners make when selecting their keywords:

 

 

Mistake 1: Thinking National, Not Local

For local businesses, it’s important to geo-target your keywords for two reasons:

 

  1. Google is already sorting your search results based on your geographical area. If you type in “Thai restaurants” and you live in New York City, you’re not going to find Thai restaurants in Los Angeles in your search results.
  2. Your perspective website visitors are already geo-targeting their searches. When your perspective visitors are looking for a local business, they’re typing in their city, zip code, and even their neighborhood.

 

Mistake 2: Not Researching Your Competition

Understanding your competition and what keywords they are targeting can give you a wealth of information. Write down a list of your competition, go to their website and pull out some of the keywords on their landing page that describes what they do. Then search for those keywords and see where they are ranking. If you discover that your competition is engaged in a Google Adwords campaign while conducting your research, note the verbiage they’re using in their ads. Oftentimes these are keywords they are trying to target. If your competition has an active blog, write down the titles of some of their posts and see if there is a common theme in content.

 

Take our blog post as an example. Some of the common themes in this post include “search engine optimization (SEO)” (notice how we interchange between the entire phrase and the abbreviation throughout the article),“Internet marketing”, and “marketing agency”…these are all keywords we’re aiming to optimize in our SEO campaign.

 

Mistake 3: Not Recognizing Opportunity

Understanding your competition can help you see what keywords your competition is targeting. Why reinvent the wheel when your competition has already identified successful keywords? Sounds logical, good rule of thumb, right? WRONG! Rules are meant to be bent and sometimes even broken. There are so many search variations so just because your competition isn’t targeting a keyword(s), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. And if you’re lucky enough to find a search variation that is not being pursued, jump on it! Because the competition is lower you’ll be able to rank higher, faster, and maintain your dominance on that keyword phrase longer.

 

If you’re contemplating if a keyword(s) is a diamond in the rough, but aren’t quite sure, ask if a perspective visitor to your website would logically search for that phrase. Look at the search volume, is it high? Are there Ads on the page? What are the other search results that are appearing? The answers to these questions can help you make the determination if it’s worth pursuing.

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TREND ALERT: Live-Stream Social Storytelling is the Next Big Leap In Social Media

If you’re one of those business owners always seeking to be ahead of the curve, this is a MUST read! For years, social media has been dominated by a small group of players – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Youtube, and Instagram. It’s rare for a new player to enter and gain a high enough market share to compete with the big boys. What’s even more rare, however, is for a new social media concept to enter the market that has the potential to be attractive and lucrative for users, advertisers and brands. It’s the perfect trio for social media platforms. But today, we are on the cusp of a new fledgling social media concept that has the power to completely change the landscape within the next year.

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Known as, “Live-Stream Social Storytelling” or “Real-Time Social Storytelling”, this new social media concept allows users to live-stream videos to their followers. The two main platforms currently in the market are called, “Meerkat” and “Periscope”. You may have already heard of Periscope because Twitter recently acquired them, but they are positioned to explode in 2016! The problem that Meerkat and Periscope have solved in social media is the ideal blend between video and social that Internet marketers have been craving.

 

So, how could your business or brand benefit by incorporating live-streaming into your 2016 Internet marketing strategy? Here are some ideas that appear to be working well for brands already using live-streaming:

  • offering sneak peaks into upcoming events
  • behind the scenes looks at events, trade shows, and conferences
  • announcing upcoming product releases and special offers
  • celebrity interviews
  • live question and answer sessions
  • introducing fans into a brands’ culture
  • engaging mobile users through video

 

The possibilities are endless and left up to your creativity! If you’re engaged in digital marketing, start planning to incorporate live-streaming into your 2016 Internet marketing strategy. You’ll be happy you did because you’ll be significantly ahead of your competition.

‘Responsive E-mail’ Is The Next Major Change To Come From The Mobile Revolution

If you read our article last week, “A Major Mental Shift Is About To Take Place in Mobile Marketing”, you know that the Mobile Revolution has entered a new chapter. The synopsis of this chapter: Businesses need to shift their view of their mobile strategy from a marketing channel to a physical extension of their business. If you’re already lost, I highly recommend you read the referenced article above as it will explain this concept in more detail.

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MOBILE E-MAIL OPEN RATES ARE AT THEIR HIGHEST EVER!

That being said, one of the consequences of this shirt is that e-mail marketing must now be responsive (just like desktop sites started to do so a few years ago). That is because everyday more and more users are using their mobile devices to open their e-mails. According to new research published in Movable Ink’s Consumer Device Preference Report, 73% of e-mail opens in 2015’s third quarter were on mobile devices! 47% of the mobile e-mail open rates originated from smartphones, while 26% originated from tablets.

 

Despite this fact, mobile email conversion rates are an all time LOW. Here are some suggestions on how to adapt your mobile e-mail strategy for 2016:

 

TIP ONE: Think “Responsive” When Designing Your E-mails

For the past several years, Internet marketing agencies have been telling their clients that it’s important to have a responsive website. That mentality needs to now extend to e-mail marketing. And when you truly think about what that means, you’ll find that “responsive e-mails” are vertical in nature. Whereas an e-mail viewed on a desktop is more horizontal in nature. Therefore if you design your e-mail campaigns vertically, they’ll look great on both desktops and mobile devices.

 

TIP TWO: Preview Your E-mails In Multiple E-mail Platforms

A novice Internet marketing mistake is to preview your e-mails only on your desktop. You’d be surprised how certain elements can shift when viewed in Gmail, Yahoo, your iPhone, or on your Android device. Sometimes these changes are inevitable, but if you preview your e-mails on multiple devices, you’re more likely to get a bigger picture of what users are truly seeing.

 

TIP THREE: Incorporate A/B Testing Into Your Mix

It’s great to have new ideas and concepts with your e-mail marketing campaign. In fact you should periodically question how you can improve/enhance your existing e-mail marketing campaign. The challenge comes with the implementation, but A/B testing can help you determine the effectiveness of your campaign.

 

The concept behind A/B testing is to compare two versions of the same e-mail to determine which one performs better. The two versions don’t necessarily have to be completely different (although they can be).

 

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A Major Mental Shift Is About To Take Place in Mobile Marketing

Since the advent of mobile marketing advertising & marketing agencies have been treating mobile as a separate marketing channel. For those of you who are unaware of the term “marketing channel”, think of your business as the center of an ecosystem. Branching outwards, like octopus tentacles, are what we call “marketing channels”. These are different sets of processes or activities that allow for goods and services to be transferred. E-mail marketing, social media, video marketing, SEO campaigns, etc. are all different marketing channels that interact with the core business in some capacity. At one point, your website was also considered to be a marketing channel, but today your site is an extension of your physical, core business where different marketing channels extend. 2016 is the first year where the mobile revolution has accelerated to such a point where it’s time to now also treat your mobile presence as a physical extension of your core business.

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RESPONSIVE WEBSITES ARE GOING TO FADE AWAY AND BUSINESSES WILL EVOLVE TO HAVE A DESKTOP SITE AND A SEPARATE MOBILE WEBSITE IN 2016

Within the next year, your mobile presence will naturally evolve into a physical extension of your business. The foundation of this evolution can be traced back to April 2015 when Google started to separate mobile SEO results form desktop SEO results. Since then the separation between the two has continued to widen. In fact, we have clients whose desktop results are on page 1, but their mobile results for the same keyword are back to page 3!

 

In response to Google’s announcement on April 2015, many Internet marketing experts said sites needed to be responsive. “Responsive” was the buzz-word for 2015. And although Google views responsive sites as being mobile-friendly, the PROBLEM is that responsive websites will not rank as well when compared to a purely mobile website. A SEO campaign for a responsive website is technically geared towards a desktop. Whereas a SEO campaign for a mobile website will always outrank a responsive website’s SEO campaign because technically there are two SEO campaigns occurring simultaneously – one for the desktop and one for the mobile site. We’re not saying a SEO campaign for your responsive site will not help your mobile rankings. We’re just saying that if you want to have the highest Internet visibility on mobile, then you need to have a mobile site with a mobile SEO campaign in addition to your desktop’s SEO campaign.

 

THIS IS NOT MARKETING JARGON. TANGIBLE CHANGES ARE ALREADY HAPPENING

 

As more and more mobile websites start to populate on the Internet there is going to be a mental shift across the industry. Mobile marketing will evolve into a physical extension of your business with marketing channels extending from your mobile site. You’ll start to see newsletters built specifically for mobile users (this is already starting to occur), SEO campaigns built just for mobile sites, digital ads and PPC campaigns developed exclusively for your mobile site, and new technologies that are developed exclusively for mobile device (such as Apple Pay).

 

Start thinking about your mobile presence as a physical extension of your business today and get ahead of your competition!

 

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Our Predictions For Digital Marketing Trends in 2016 – Mobile Marketing Takes Center Stage

It’s hard to believe that we’re already talking about 2016! 2015 saw many advancements in digital marketing affecting healthcare providers including the Mobile Revolution, the acceleration of content marketing, and the continuing rise of PPC (pay per click) marketing specifically in social media. But what types of Internet marketing trends can we expect in the future? While there are so many that we could discuss, these are our top three predictions for 2016.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Will Be Split Between Desktop and Mobile Results

As we all know by now, Google is already indexing mobile SEO results separately from desktop results. Since Google’s announcement last April the gap between desktop vs. mobile results has been widening exponentially and that trend is expected to continue to widen in 2016.

 

Internet marketing agencies, however, have not begun to separate between mobile and desktop SEO results. Unbeknownst to most healthcare providers engaged in SEO, the ranking results that are presented to them at the end of each month only represent 40% of their Internet visibility – desktop searches. That is because 60% of all users (on average) are visiting their website from a mobile device. And the Internet visibility from those users is not reflected in SEO reports.

 

Pulse Marketing is actually one of the first digital marketing agencies that has separated desktop results form mobile results, but this trend is bound to intensify in 2016.

 

The Mobile Revolution Will Accelerate

Continuing on the theme of mobile, we’re predicting that 2016 will continue to see the acceleration of the Mobile Revolution. As patients continue to become more comfortable with mobile, their expectations will also continue to soar. We predict that mobile will become its own core channel to the patient experience. Healthcare providers that deliver a poor user experience for patients on mobile devices will have difficulty converting leads compared to their competition.

 

Organic Social Reach Will Become The Holy Grail of Social Media

Facebook has been the leading social media platform for years now. And although that is still true today, Instagram is emerging as the leader in organic reach. Organic reach is the number of unique fans that viewed your content a Newsfeed, Ticker, or your page. It’s unclear if Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, will eventually evolve into a similar model where content must be promoted in order to ensure visibility or if another social media platform will overtake it’s stance as a leader in organic social reach.

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