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Creating an Internet Marketing Road Map Part Two: Where Should I Start?

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Blog post taken from the Eyemaginations Premium Webinar Series with presenter Michael Dobkowski, Founder of Glacial Multimedia Inc.

In Part One of this blog post, we discussed how to create an Internet marketing strategy for your practice to get more leads, generate more interest, and get more people to your website. Now, let’s talk about how to get started and what to do first!

I personally have my own “Big 3” that I prefer to focus on from our list in Part One which are Paid Search, Organic SEO, and Local Search. I feel that these are the primary lead generators from the list basically because I track where all of my leads come from so for me, these tend to work the best.

However, here are a few questions that you should also be asking yourselves about lead generation in order to figure out what will work best for your practices:

What should my top endeavors be for this year?

What are the things I’m going to focus on? Do I want to try to do all of these things? Or should I just focus on two-three and try to do them well? I like the focus approach to that—do a few of them well and then move on.

What role is social media going to play?
Am I going to have a very kind of nonchalant approach to it or am I going to be aggressive with it? Am I going to hire somebody to do that? What resources do I allocate? Do I hire a company to do it? Do I have a tech do it? These are all questions that are often asked. I personally like to have a social media czar on the practice level plus some type of backup support with a company that can really do some of the more complicated things in the social media realm such as integrating YouTube or a Blog with a Facebook page which can be more challenging.

What’s your game plan to target mobile users?
Do you have a mobile website? Do you plan to get a mobile website? Do you want one? Do you know what the advantages and disadvantages are?

What is my search position?
I think that if you can say you have a few top search positions and you’re doing really well at maintaining them, then you might not need to focus on them. Some people are past that point, but you need to get yourself onto page one, and if you’re not on page one, then it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be found.

What is my marketing and lead tracking system?
Do I even have one? Am I using my e-mail or Excel to do it? What am I using to do these kinds of things? I think you really need some type of system in place. Otherwise, you’re kind of shooting in the dark really.

Is my practice up to speed with Google places?
Great question. If you practice at many locations, then this could be very challenging. However, I think that practices with multiple locations have a major advantage and for those of you who have already been through the process of getting the pin numbers and trying to claim your listings, then you’re on the right track. This is actually something that can be done on the practice level, but if you find yourself in a position where you don’t have the time to do it, there are plenty of companies out there that can help.

Do I have an internal team that meets about this? 
I think it’s a great idea to have an internal team that will sit down and meet regularly about how the ball is being moved forward. What have we done in the last month? Maybe invite external parties that you work with to these meetings. And when preparing your team, determine a marketing philosophy. Am I being aggressive? Am I just kind of doing the bare minimum? What do I want to accomplish?

Only you can construct the path to success, but first you must believe that you can do it. Sit down with the people in your practice that can make this happen and then start to change it. Determine who the internet marketing quarterback will be. Who is the person that’s going to come up with the game plan? How are we moving the ball forward?

Determine budgets in a few of these categories. Look at the classic kind of MBA approach where it’s not uncommon to put 3 percent of total revenue into marketing. In some elective surgery practices, it’s not uncommon to see that number more at seven or 10 percent, but I think three percent is a good place to start and then take it from there.

And finally, have an annual internet marketing plan and analyze the competition. Always make sure you know where your competitors are being found and how they are doing it.

Does my website look good?
If your website doesn’t look appealing to visitors, then you’re already at a disadvantage. You have to project a professional image or else your competitor down the street may just get the patient because their website was more appealing. I’m not saying that happens in all cases, but definitely something that you should consider.

Is my website ready to convert visitors? This is interesting and often times merely an opinion. I think you must have main calls to actions. You have to be able to guide the website viewer to do what you want them to do. For example, if you want them to schedule an appointment, take a self test, learn about financing—these are the types of actions that you should probably be thinking about having in a very viewable spot on the home page of your website. Enhance conversion optimization zones where the eye is drawn to, maybe just underneath the HTML 5 or flash storyboard area, on the right-hand side, or where the left-hand vertical navigation would be.

Are my website forms HIPAA compliant? Do I have HIPAA compliant e-mail? I’m not going to open a can of worms on being HIPAA compliant and what that means with e-mail, but I can tell you that most practices are probably not compliant. I don’t know if there’s a significant enforcement mechanism that will deal with it, but at the very least, you need to get your website forms compliant. This can be done with secure sockets and layers certificates called SSL certificates which are available for about $199 a year. This should apply to all prescription refill forms or forms that may take in sensitive information, not necessarily a generic contact form on the website.

Is my physician bio page ready? One thing I’ve learned from reading Google analytics reports is that most visits actually go to the physician bio page. Site visitors want to know about the physician, his or her credentials, number of surgeries performed, and where he or she went to school. Always make these pages look nice!

And finally, set up tracking metrics! I personally use Google Analytics and MDprospects.

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