How to track and monitor Google adwords so that you spend less!

downloadI am very often confronted by dental practices in a daze as to how much they are spending on Pay per Click (PPC) campaigns on both Google and Facebook, common questions include:

  • How can I spend less?
  • How do I know if what I’m spending is the right amount?
  • How do I know if it is worth spending anything at all?

I’m the first to admit that I am not a PPC specialist, if practices want complex campaigns then I will refer them on, however, what I am particularly interested in is monitoring and tracking everything that happens online. This is one of the reasons I love online marketing, it becomes far more trackable which means it can be far more focused.

This information about PPC is going to be spread over two blog posts, each of these posts will give you something specific to do, if you take action you will find that you can begin to spend less on this most costly of pursuits!

The Golden Rule of PPC

The golden rule of spending less on PPC is tracking. The next golden rule, after you have dealt with tracking is tracking. Once you finally have tracking in place, you can then move on to tracking even more. Get the picture?

In other words, I track… and I do that in three specific ways:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Campaign

The first assumption I need to make is that you have a Google analytics account created on your website, this will show you where people have come from, what they have done and how long they spend on the site. Google analytics is a vital factor in tracking your PPC. If you don’t have Google analytics on your website you need to do that now.

Tracking PPC Source

Your PPC source will be Facebook, Google, Bing and the like. If you track the source of your campaign you will be able to see in Google analytics which one of these sources is working best, you will be able to see if Facebook, Google or Bing are sending traffic, what they do and how long they spend on the site.

Tracking the source is very simple, simply add ?utm_source=Facebook to the end of your web address when either Facebook or Google asks you which webpage you want to direct traffic to e.g. www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook I will come onto where this will appear in Google analytics later.

Tracking PPC Medium

Clearly, people may visit your website from Facebook in a variety of ways, they may have just clicked on a link that someone put their, or visited your website via your Facebook page. In order to track the PPC element of a Facebook visit, you need to add ?utm_medium=PPC to the end of your website address.

We are now tracking two elements, the source of the web visitor and the medium, so your web address that your place in your advert will now look like this www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PPC

Tracking the campaign

We now know that someone visited your website from Facebook, via a PPC advert… But which campaign? Adding additional information in the format above helps us as follows.

Simply continue with the tracking code by adding &utm_campaign=Implants Your web address will now look like www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=Implants.


In the example above we are allocating the source as Facebook, the medium as PPC and a campaign as implants.

If we were to run a similar PPC campaign for dental implants on Google we would simply alter the code as follows: 

www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=Implants

And if we were to continue our dental implants PPC campaign onto Bing we would use the following web address for our Bing advert:

www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Bing&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=Implants.

Some practical examples

Let’s say you wanted to run a PPC campaign on Facebook and Google for orthodontics, you give the same budget to each of the campaigns, you now want to know which one is most effective.

You would create your adverts on Facebook and Google, in the section that asks you for the web address that you wish to direct visitors to you would type the following:

  • Facebook – www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=orthodontics
  • Google – www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=orthodontics

As you can see from the tracking code added to the website, the medium and campaign have remained the same (it is a PPC project and it is falling within your orthodontics campaign), the only thing that we have changed is the source.

Tracking in Google analytics

Now we move over to your Google analytics to see what is happening. If you open your Google analytics account and look at Acquisition > Source/medium you will now see the following appear.
Screenshot 2016-03-07 16.14.11

As you can see, we can now clearly tell the source and medium of the people have visited the website. Facebook/PPC and Adwords/PPC (Google) are now clearly visible.

Tracking campaigns.

Tracking the individual source is important, but so is tracking the overall campaign. Let’s say you are offering free consultations for orthodontics, facial aesthetics and dental implants, you may want to know which of these campaigns (regardless of where they have come from) is working best.

If you visit the campaigns section in Google analytics, this will now also be visible.

Campaign management in Google analytics

All Google analytics is doing is filtering by the various tags you have ended to the end of the website address.

It makes for a very simple way of tracking these campaigns.

Other uses for tracking

You may decide that you are going to use a new piece of social media software called “BORG”, You are going to be using the software to post links to your website in various social media accountsIf and you want to know if the software is doing its job and sending people to your website.

You’re going to be posting to Twitter and Facebook using the software and running two campaigns, one on facial aesthetics and another on orthodontics.

You would set up the tracking as follows:

First campaign on Facial aesthetics

  1. ?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=facial
  2. ?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=facial

Second campaign on orthodontics

  1. ?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=ortho
  2. ?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=ortho

You can now track overall how successful the software is by looking at the medium in your analytics ~ BORG, you can track whether Facebook or Twitter are working better for each campaign and you can see which campaign works best, either facial aesthetics or orthodontics.

It does take a little bit of time to get to grips with using this, many of the PPC platforms now include easy ways of tracking, for me, using the above technique forms an easy way of simply adding a little line of code to the end of your web address and it’s all done for you.

In the next blog post we will take a deeper look at analytics and how you can work out if people from each of these sources, mediums or campaigns has actually taken action on your website, watch out for that blog post soon.

Are you using tracking? If so, which technique you prefer?

 

Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate – The Rules of Online Marketing

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s funny how these things turn out sometimes, I was at a dentistry shown last year having a very interesting discussion with a colleague that runs a dental consultancy. We were talking about what I specifically did for dental practices with their communications.

Out of nowhere I simply replied “Well I, Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate”

And that has now become my golden rule of online marketing… It should become yours also!

Modern search engine optimisation focuses much less on keywords we want to be found for, where we rank in Google search results or how many people visited the website. These may be important metrics but the real focus is on how many people we can help. Period!

The more people we help, the more people will talk about us. This works in real life as well as online. If more people talk about you online and share your information then more people will visit your website, Google will notice those people talking about you and give you a boost up the search results.

Let’s look at each of the Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate areas individually.

Content Creation

This is where you use your experience as a dentist to create unique and individual content. It’s an opportunity to talk about what is important to you and what you value most. It’s the time where you can show what you are interested in and what you believe in and how you believe you can help people solve their dental problems.

You could consider creating content for a free download on your website (check out my free guide also), you could create blog posts (such as this one) or do micro-updates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google plus, all designed to hand out useful, free and relevant dental health advice.

Creating your own unique content sets you up as a person that genuinely cares in the local area, if people like what you say they will share it which results in more people visiting your website.

Content Curation.

Curating content is about understanding what problems your patients are trying to solve and then directing them to other people’s uniquely created content. You may see articles written on news websites, columns written in online magazines or other non-competing dental practice websites.

Sharing other people’s content again shows that you genuinely care about the people in the local area. It builds trust as it demonstrates that you want to help solve their problems and that making money is not your primary concern!

Yes, dare to share content that you did not create! (That means sharing with full attribution, NOT copying to your website and claiming as your own!)

Content Syndication.

SImage courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Syndication means taking one piece of original digital content and syndicating it across various media. This is where online marketing really comes into its own. Consider this blog post, this blog post is going to be shared on:

  • My own dental marketing website.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google plus
  • Linked in
  • 4 different e-mail databases
  • RSS feed readers

Syndication using modern technology such as Feed BurnerSocial Media Borg or Hootsuite allows you to rapidly reach the maximum number of people as quickly and simply as possible.

The more people you reach, the more likelihood there is of them sharing your unique content which drives more traffic to your website.

Content Aggregation.

This is the process by which we pull in multiple streams of information into one easy to read place. Take a look at the bottom of my website and you will see Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all if aggregated into one place.

Using software allows us to aggregate multiple streams into one, for example, you could take your original content that you have created, and aggregate it with your content that you have curated, placing all of it onto twitter.

Aggregating content from multiple places, particularly if you automate the process, allows you to keep a very active presence on the Internet.

People often comment that I always seem to be online on Facebook and Twitter… I do spend a lot of time online to be honest, but I use software to aggregate content from around the Internet, I then use software to syndicate that content which has been curated by others or created by me.

Taking time to create your own content, curate content from others, aggregate all of that content into a single stream and then syndicate it and round the Internet has become the hallmark of a successful Internet marketer, it’s also the hallmark of many of my dental practice clients.

Will it also be your hallmark of success?

 

Dental virtual reality

Virtual Reality for Dentists

As regular readers to my blog will know my focus in dental marketing is not to go out and out selling dental treatments… Rather, it is to gently inform and educate patients about their dental health by reducing risk and increasing trust.

When you demonstrate that you are a low risk choice and are trustworthy you become an easy option for a new patient to choose. Your marketing then becomes effortless and off the back of that your business succeeds and profits flow.

Everyone is looking for new ways to increase trust and reduce risk, one of the best ways is reviews from happy patients and a hot second is allowing the patients to actually see inside the practice and meet the team beforehand – you know, those funny sliding images that many dental practices have on the homepage!

Think about it now, how about if you replaced those sliding images on the homepage with an interactive tour of the practice! The patient would be able to see how much time and effort you have put in to creating a warm and friendly environment, you would immediately increase trust and reduce risk.

I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Luke Woods. Luke is a Google Certified photographer specialising in virtual tours and virtual reality, read what he has to say about how this can now be used in your dental practice.

================= Luke writes:=================

official text

“We search with words but respond to pictures”Google virtual tour facts

Hello everyone, thanks Mark for giving me the opportunity to reach out to the world of Dentistry. I have spent a couple of days conducting some research here in the UK and consulting my colleagues in Canada for qualified opinion and facts about how a Virtual Tour window into your practise can not only answer a lot of questions but calm and reassure any patient concerns to a hugely wider audience. I assume everyone knows what we talking about here? We all know Google Street View? the thing on top of a car that captures everything ready or not – grey sky or blue. Well, for 3 years there has been a program contracting established professional photographers like me to come into businesses and capture the very best of your business space for all the world to see.

Seeing is believing – click to see on Google

https://goo.gl/gkcH1i

These Virtual Showrooms are great for welcoming in clients from website to waiting room, here’s an example of a virtual tour at a dental practice.

Dental virtual reality

 

In the past two years since I have been working on the Google program I have captured some truly beautiful spaces and it seems that with all industries- progress is consumer driven. People in general are becoming much more familiar with using the internet and their mobile device to not only shop but to verify and answer any doubts they may have especially before entering into a big spend. Hotels and restaurants are examples that most people have seen here in the UK but why not clinics of all kinds? A year ago it was the same in Canada and the USA and in the last 12 months a lot of practises large and small needed to show just a little more than a few flat photos or have a Hollywood Commercial – a Virtual Tour fills that gap nicely – people can view in silence at their own pace and really connect with where they will be treated – I call this the Clinical Barrier and you can be among the first to gain that valuable patient trust.
gogle-stats-number-one

For me there are several areas where I start to wonder “what it is like ?” I know if I could see the clinic I would feel a lot more at ease the first time. Knowing the layout too is a difficulty many can be helped to overcome and getting lost can be embarrassing. Right from the car park if possible to seeing the doorway on the street, knowing what the reception looks like -seeing a waiting room where we all sit waiting for that peak anxiety moment – hearing our name – all this gives us that which cannot be put into words so easily – that feeling that says – “It’s Okay”

 

Google statistics

Things are moving fast these days and I am now working with a Google team developing Virtual Reality – many Dental Surgeries have comforting features – for children, a play area or room perhaps? It’s not just the younger generations that are looking – the biggest growth group is currently 54-65 year olds and 39% of people over 55 have smart phone and can check out things for themselves quite well. For all patients there can be no better experience than to preview the very chair you will be treated in – a full 360 degree view right from the chair.

There are also Search Engine Marketing advantages that are very real not promised and rarely delivered – without going into too much detail – everyone searches on Google these days – a website is not hosted in Google – these are, helping to get you found in local and voice search fast   “As seen on TV” 🙂


I would be delighted to hear from and help all of you lovely people who have looked after my white toothey treasure all these years.

My best, Luke Woods.

=================

To find out more about having a virtual tour of your practice please contact Mark on 0845 259 1232 or email info@markoborn.comStudy on virtual tours

Buy or sell

How to Sell Your Services – REALLY?

I was recently approached by a prospective new client who said something along the lines of:

“Mark, I’m running a course for dentists in three months time… Can you help with your marketing to fill it for me?”

Now equally, this could have been any one of the many dental services on offer, or even something completely different.

I asked what they had in mind for the marketing? They responded with ‘a series of e-mails, Facebook messages, Twitter tweets and the like.’

Okay,  so essentially they want to sell their course using online marketing.

But wait.

Who do we send those e-mails to?

Who is going to see those social media messages on Facebook or Twitter?

Aha, now we get to the nitty-gritty of the problem. We either have to use an existing e-mail database or buy one, and we have to pay for messages on Facebook or Twitter as we don’t have a particularly good Facebook following.

And if we suddenly start bombarding people that have never heard of us before with marketing messages trying to sell a new course, what does that do to the amount of trust they have in us?

Marketing in this style is what gives social media and e-mail a bad name. People say they’re bombarded with messages they hate and perceive as spam… And to be honest, that’s exactly what many messages are!

An alternative way of marketing – Switching from hate to love

Hate love switch

Switching the style of marketing we use can have an enormous impact, but it’s not a quick fix and you can’t suddenly think “Hey, I want to sell a course how can we fill it?”

The secret starts months possibly years earlier than the course/service you want to ‘sell’.

Marketing isn’t something you do… It’s something you are!

Here is a simple step-by-step list of how you can go about selling a course/service with no spam and without upsetting people:

  1. Identify the problem your target audience is trying to solve. DO NOT MISS THIS OUT! What is their problem? Is it that they want more confidence? Are they looking for more time? Are they looking for more money? Are they looking for a new partner? People go about solving these problems in a huge variety of ways, from looking for a new dance class to having teeth whitening… All to solve the same problem! Once you have identified the problem that people are trying to solve you can move on.
  2. Create a social media channel focused around solving this problem.
  3. Create a free guide focused around solving this problem and put it on your website in exchange for an e-mail address.
  4. Begin handing out useful, free and relevant advice helping these people solve this unique problem. Put that advice on your social media channel and write blog posts about it.
  5. Do this consistently and continuously all of the time. It should be your raison d’être. Hand out useful, free and relevant advice which helps that person go some way to solving their problem.

Doing this increases trust and reduces risk which means that when you have a specific service to sell, such as a course, you have an engaged audience which trusts you (after all, you’ve been giving them free information for ages now) and sees you as a low risk option (after all, you been giving them free advice and asked for nothing back).

With this engaged audience, whose problems you understand and have demonstrated you are an expert in it’s a logical and simple step to suggest that they take action to solve their problem with you.

And that’s how you use e-mail and social media to sell your course or service. It takes time to build and grow, but once it does it becomes an unstoppable machine which works 24/7, the best time to start is always now…

 

Should you have a mobile or responsive website?

Okay, first of let me make it clear that I’m not a website designer. I don’t design websites and I don’t create websites but I do work on websites all day that are designed and created by other people, what I do is ensure that the maximum number of people go to them and then take action once on the site.

Deciding whether to have a mobile or responsive website is a critical decision when you’re having a new one built, it also dramatically affects my ability to optimise the site to get it found on Google and also to optimise the site to increase conversions – so you need to get the decision right.

Responsive or Mobile websites?

This is the real hot one at the moment as more and more people decide that they want to have a mobile or response website, but what is the difference?

Mobile

A mobile website is a separate website to your main one. There will be a little bit of code on the website which detects the device that is being used, if that code detects a mobile device then the user will be bounced off of your main website onto a mobile friendly one.

You effectively have two separate websites, one designed for a full screen and one designed for mobile devices.

Responsive

A responsive website on the other hand is one single website. The website detects the screen width of the device being used and responds to this width. If it detects that a widescreen is being used such as a desktop then you will see the full site with all of its navigation, if it detects that a smaller screen is being used such as a tablet or phone then the site will show relevant navigation, shrink the images and show you content in a different format.

You only have one website which is responsive and modifies itself dependent upon the device it is being viewed upon.

How to test if your website is responsive

Of course, the simplest way is to look at your website on your mobile phone. But if you want to truly test if the website is responsive, you can actually test it live and see it respond as the screen resolution changes… Here’s how.

In your web browser you need to click the “Restore Down” button in the top right-hand corner of the browser.

Restore down button

Click the button in the middle

This will then enable you to change size of the screen on your desktop. You can then grab and drag the width of the screen to make it smaller. If your website is truly responsive you should see the various elements on your website resize and then move around to fit the screen.

You should also see the menu go from the traditional desktop menu to a single button click menu suitable for a mobile phone. Here’s a little video which shows this in action.

The advantages of having a response website versus a mobile one.

The advantages are quite numerous:

  1. When you add content to your website, if your website is responsive you simply need to at least once. No matter whether your visitor is on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop your new content will look good. If you have a responsive site you need to add content twice, once to the desktop version and once to the mobile version.
  2. You suddenly have two websites to optimise. You may find that one website appears better than the other in mobile search results, if you have a single response website you only have one website to worry about.
  3. Your links may not work.You may be sending people into the middle of your website from around the web. For example, you may want to run a social media campaign on Facebook and place links to your Invisalign page. If someone clicks on this link from a mobile phone they will Land on your website, it will detect that they are on a mobile device and automatically send them to the homepage of a mobile website, not the Invisalign page that you intended, suddenly your website visitor is confused. With a responsive website, you can copy the web address from the desktop and it will work exactly the same on a mobile.
  4. Your search engine optimisation and inbound marketing may not be quite as good. Google recognises if your website is important if people are talking about it around the Internet. As those people talk about your website online they may be mentioning a specific page. You may have written some excellent information about dental implants which a patient of yours shares with their friend. If they share that page from a desktop but the friend is using a mobile, that link may not work if they are redirected to a mobile website. A responsive website uses exactly the same web address for mobile or desktop.
  5. You may keep costs down with a responsive site. If you pay for someone like me to optimise a site, get more people to it and more people converting then the fee is often lower for a responsive site. That person working their magic on your website only has one website to work on if it is responsive, if you have a mobile site also then they may need to work on two websites… Potentially doubling their fee!
  6. Your ongoing web design costs could be lower. Let’s say you take on a new treatment and want to add it to your website. If your site is responsive then you add the content once, if you have a mobile site then you need to pay your designer to add it to both websites!

In my experience of working with many websites the ones that are easiest to optimise (from both a search and conversion point of view) are responsive websites. There are so many advantages to responsive that, in my opinion, this is the way you should go if you’re looking at having a new website built.

So who would I recommend for your new responsive website?

There are plenty of people to choose from that are creating and designing websites for dentists, here is my recommendation based on the fact that I’ve worked with these guys on numerous projects and never had a problem. Listed in alphabetical order.

 

How to Use the New Facebook Call to Action Button

If you log into Facebook this morning and check out your Facebook page you should notice a new call to action feature. Any marketer will know that one of the most important things you can do in any marketing communication is include a call to action, telling people what you want them to do when they engage in your marketing communication is so often missed out but is so important to include.

Facebook clearly recognise this and have now included a range of options in all Facebook pages, here is how to setup the new Facebook call to action button.

Add a call to action button to your page

When you first login to your business page this is the new little message that you will see.

Adding a Facebook call to action button to your page

 

Simply click the create button.

You will now be encouraged to ” create call to action” simply click this button.

Creating a Facebook call to action

On the next screen you will be guided to choose a button, select from a range of options including:

  • Book now
  • contact us
  • use app
  • play game
  • shop now
  • signup
  • watch video

Simply select the option most suitable for you, for a dental practice probably book now would be best.

Deciding which call to action to use

When you click the book now button you will be prompted to enter your website address, remember enter the full web address of your booking page. Don’t just put in your basic web address as this will lead them to the homepage, remember, you are suggesting that they book now so use a direct link through to your booking page.

If you have a separate mobile website then also enter the booking address for this.

Enter in the destination for your new call to action

When you click next you will be presented with the destination for people using Android and Apple devices. If you have an app running on either of these systems you can direct people directly through to the booking page within your app.

If you don’t have an app then keep the destination selected as ‘website’.

If you use an app selected this as the destination

When you click next you will be prompted with the screen to say that your call to action button is ready. To edit it simply click and you will be presented with an edit option.

Your Facebook call to action but is now ready

When you click next for the last time you will see your new call to action on your Facebook page. To the right you will also notice in the insights section the number of people that have engaged with your call to action button.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 08.40.36

 

Using a call to action in all of your marketing communication is an excellent way of encouraging people to take direct action. I urge you to get onto your Facebook page this morning and setup this new feature, why not come back here and post your Facebook page into the comments so we can see what you have done…

Update Facebook’s Algorithm for Business Pages: Important Information

Many people mistakenly believe That everything they post to their dental practice Facebook business page is shown to all of the fans, they think that because they’ve got 500 fans that 500 people are going to see what they post… This simply isn’t true.

Think about the number of people that are on Facebook, it currently stands at over half the UK population, that’s more than 30 million people!

With so many people on Facebook, Facebook needs to use some form of calculation to decide which messages are important, which messages are not, which messages to show people in which messages to hide. This is where Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm comes in, please scroll to the end of this blog post to see a very useful info graphic generated about this topic.

The algorithm has been around for some time now and people are getting used to how it works but there is a big change afoot, in fact it  happened in January of this year.

What is changing?

Facebook quite rightly say that people go on to see things they are interested in. They don’t necessarily want to see out and out promotion of products and services, the problem has been that many business pages have simply tried to sell stuff.

This has resulted in the quality of some posts from businesses being extremely low, they simply post updates telling people about their latest offers, deals and incentives and make no attempt to engage with their fans, this fundamentally goes against the engagement principle of Facebook. Facebook have been looking at ways to stop this and this has now been implemented.

As with immediate effect if you post purely promotional updates the chances of these being seen by your fans is extremely low, so what makes a promotional post? Facebook say that promotional posts are:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Read more about these updates.

It seems that Facebook are going to be looking at adding some additional functionality to their business pages, this could be an exciting new era in Facebook marketing if we are able to do more complex and fun things from a business page.

What can you do about it?

Put simply, avoid just promoting your business. Look for ways to create engagement with each post and get your edge rank higher. If you do want to do posts which promote treatments, services, products or special offers and accept the fact that you’re going to have to promote these with paid ads.

Read more about managing Facebook adverts.

With regards to each individual post you could try varying the things you post along the following lines:

  1. Create images which encourage engagement. Not necessarily dental ones but images which make people laugh, joining and feel part of the community.
  2. Use questions at the end of the post. Questions are far more likely to generate engagement than simple statements.
  3. Tell stories using your happy patients. Create a series of posts which walk potential patients through the thought process and treatment of existing patients. Create engaging stories out of the real lives of local people.
  4. Hand out useful, free and relevant dental health advice. Use the amazing information stored in your head to genuinely help local people, when you hand out useful and free relevant dental health advice you set yourself up as the local expert that can be trusted.
  5. Educate people about the risks of not looking after their teeth and the benefits of having a healthy smile. When you create engaging content like this people are more likely to interact with comments, likes and shares.

The trick is to get people engaging and interacting with your posts. If you do this Facebook will recognise that your updates are popular and ensure that they reach more people.

What is a Edge Rank?

edgerank

Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

What Seems to Be Working Best to Attract New Patients at the Moment?

Female doctor consulting patientWorking with many dental practices throughout the UK helping them reach the local people is a great privilege of mine, we are finding we are able to distribute our dental health message far and wide making a considerable difference to the local communities.The payback to this is, of course, a successful dental practice with a good number of the right type of new patients each month. But what seems to be working best?

I thought it would be good to write a little summary of some of the things that practices are doing which is helping them reach more of the people that matter.

Lower priced dental health checks.

When a patient first visits your website they are faced with two dilemmas:

  1. How do they know you are trustworthy?
  2. How can they lower their risk by coming to you?

Good-quality dental marketing is always about increasing trust and lowering risk, This is how serviced-based marketing should work on these two factors are one of the most important things you need to address in any marketing the dental practice.

One of the ways of doing this is to offer a free consultation however I’ve noticed, certainly over the past year or so, that this technique of attracting new patients is becoming less effective. There could be many reasons for this, my guess is that patients are just worried that a free consultation will mean a hard sell!

Dollar coins going into piggy bankWhat I am finding however, is that reduced price dental health checks and working extraordinarily well. I have one practice which offers them for £15, deliberately to compete with the NHS. They get an excellent conversion rate from patients that coming and then join them on their patient plan.

Other practices offer this dental health check for around £25-£45, doing this lowers the risk for the patient but at the same time increases trust that you are only providing them with a dental health check, rather than just giving yourself the opportunity to sell extra treatments.

@The way I prefer to work this is to ask the patient to download an online voucher entitling them to this discount, this then becomes an online discount only and encourages patients to visit your website. We hand the voucher out in exchange for an e-mail address.

The e-mails are then automated to follow-up the patient at scheduled intervals, with more follow ups being gentle and educated in their nature. The software I use for this is Aweber, it’s available from around £19 per month, there is a really low cost way to begin managing your e-mail marketing.

Using e-mail automation like this means that your marketing works 24 hours a day and enables you to focus on what you’re good at, delivering great quality dental health to local people.

Facebook offer advertising.

blog_facebook_offersWhen people sign up to Facebook they tend to tell it where they live, how old they are and what gender they are. Whether we like it or not, this allows advertisers to target those individual people, and we can take advantage of this opportunity if we so wish.

I recently ran a targeted Invisalign promotion for a client. We had a budget of £200 and ran the offer over a two-week period targeting people aged between 21 and 55 living within 10 miles of the dental practice. During this time we had 332 people claim the offer and it was viewed by 51,136 local people.… Quite a result!

Now, I’m not expecting all 332 people to go ahead with treatment, but even so this is a remarkable number of people we have been able to reach.

An interesting phenomenon was that local people were commenting on the add and tagging their friends, thereby ensuring the ad went even more viral and was seen by more people than we had actually paid for!

Here is Facebook’s help centre for creating offers.

Here is Facebook’s help centre for setting up advertising.

Writing blogs.

Writing blogs for a dental practice is another great way to demonstrate you are the low risk option that patients can trust.

What I’m also finding is that blogs are an excellent way to get found on Google, many practices I’m working with are seeing more than 100% increase in web traffic after they start writing a useful blog.This is mainly due to the fact that blogs can be highly targeted and focused.

If you wanted to write a page about dental implants you need to keep it fairly generic and answer a range of questions, Google will then read this page and probably rank it for “<< dental implants >><< Local area>>”, which often is fine, however people are tending to search for much longer phrases for example:

  • How much do dental implants cost?
  • Do dental implants hurt?
  • What are the alternatives for a dental implant?
  • How do I go about replacing missing teeth?
  • What are my options for missing teeth?
  • Is a dental implant better than a dental bridge?

Trying to answer all of these questions on one single webpage can be difficult for the patient to navigate to find the exact answer they are looking for, but writing them in a blog post which focuses specifically on that particular area means that that webpage is highly optimised and relevant for that specific search.

This has a double impact:

  1. The webpage is more likely to be found when people search for that phrase because it is highly targeted.
  2. The webpage is more likely to be relevant to those people when they land on it because it is highly targeted.

We then get a snowball effect occurring. Google sends traffic to the webpage, people like it, Google knows this (By looking at the number of pages people read, the amount of time they spend on the site and whether they bounce back and do another search or not) and sends more… And so the cycle goes on.

All you need to do is make sure that your blog (which should sit on your main website) has good conversion mechanisms such as the low price dental health check which drops that person into a robust yet gentle e-mail marketing program.

Optimising their website to be found on the search engines.

We all know that if we want to find something out we Google it. Your patients are doing the same!

Being found in the search engines is absolutely vital for any online marketing strategy, writing a blog will help enormously as will engaging on social media and creating links back to your website using Facebook and Twitter etc.

You all is so need to be engaging in good old-fashioned PR, but with an online marketing spin. PR is about getting articles and blogs written about your practice, conventionally this went into print media, but the modern way of doing it is to use the online world. Google reads these PR releases about your practice, recognises that they are about you which then let’s Google know you are important and worth sending visitors to.

Read more >> Top tips to optimising your practice website.

It’s a minefield as to how you get these news releases out there, but that’s the job of an optimisation specialist and online marketing consultant such as myself!

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I hope you have found this blog post useful, I’ve included many links to additional resources (Some of them my own and some of them external resources) to enable you to continue to help the local people with their dental health, simply by being found!

What type of person is looking at your website – and how can you use this data to improve your marketing?

Wouldn’t it be good if you knew the type of person that was looking at your website? If you knew that they were interested in films, technology, celebrities or shopping it would enable you to focus your marketing around these areas wouldn’t it?

Think about it, if someone is interested in films they’re more likely to watch videos, someone more interested in technology is more likely to want to know about the techno gadgets you have in the practice and someone interested in celebrities may be more interested to read a blog post that you write which looks at various celebrities and the dental treatment they have had.

You may have been told that a key demographic in dentistry is the 35-year-old female, but is this correct? Is this actually right for your website and your business, if only you could know exactly who those people were that were looking at your website it would enable you to be more accurate in all of your marketing, perhaps people visiting your website are 50-year-old men?.

Information and data is key to informing your marketing and making the right decisions, everyone knows that, and now it’s possible… Here’s how.

Google audiencesGoogle Audiences & Interests

If you look in your Google analytics account (you do have access to this don’t you!) You will be able to see a section which says “Audiences”.

If you click on this, and you have this function setup, you will begin to see the analytics for the Age, gender and interests of your website visitors.

If you don’t already have the setup you will need to modify the analytics code within your website. If you have access to your website itself it’s actually pretty simple, if you don’t then here are some instructions to send to your web designer.

Dear <<Web designer>>,

I would like to begin using Google’s new audience and interest facility in my Google analytics but I need you to modify the analytics code in my website, As follows.

If we are using Google’s universal analytics please can you insert the text in bold in between the ‘create’ and ‘send’ commands in my analytics code.

ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXX-XX', 'example.com');
ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);
ga('send', 'pageview');

Here is a support document which should help you if you need it https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2444872?hl=en&utm_id=ad

Once you have modified the code you will then begin to see data in this section, here’s some interesting data that I have collected for one of my dental practice websites.

Gender of website visitors

This kind of challenges the notion that your target audience might be female doesn’t it? Certainly this dental practice has 71.6% of its visitors which are male… Extremely useful information to know when designing and creating additional marketing.

Here is more information that we have gleaned from the same website:

Interest categories

  • Movie lovers 1091 visits.
  • Technophiles 1052 visits.
  • News junkies and avid readers/entertainment and celebrity news junkies 949 visits.
  • Shoppers/shopaholics 936 visits.

(Visitors can exist in more than one category at a time)

So we know that the top visitors to this website are movie lovers and technophiles. I wonder how interested these people would be in watching videos on the website?

I also wonder how interested these people would be in knowing which gadgets the practice are using, perhaps digital dentistry, CEREC, digital imaging, digital x-rays etc. If these other people visiting your website shouldn’t you be mentioning these services as a priority?

Having information like this to hand not only lets your designers know how your website could be designed from an aesthetic point of view, but it lets you know the kind of content you might want to have and indeed can inform your wider marketing decisions about who your target audience is.

How does Google gather this data?

Here is what they say:

When someone visits a website that has partnered with the Google Display Network, Google stores a number in their browsers (using a “cookie”) to remember their visits. This number uniquely identifies a web browser on a specific computer, not a specific person. Browsers may be associated with a demographic category, such as gender or age range, based on the sites that were visited.

In addition, some sites might provide us with demographic information that people share on certain websites, such as social networking sites. We may also use demographics derived from Google profiles.

Have you set up this kind of analytics for your website yet? If you have let me know, and if you are happy, share your experiences of the information you have found…

Happy data mining 🙂

 

Is This the Death of Search Engine Optimisation?

There has been an article published today on Mashable about the death of search engine optimisation (SEO), the art/science/jiggerypockery of getting your website to rate highest in a Google search result.

I’d like to make some comments on the article, but before I do and likely to read it… So here it is repeated for you:

What are you hoping for when you search for something on Google?

Are you looking for a site that deployed every SEO tip and trick to game their way to the top of the list? Or a site that has relevant, reliable, authoritative content?

Most likely it is the latter, and it seems Google may want that too. If it happens to represent the antithesis of the results of good SEO, that’s just fine with Google. They don’t make a nickel on your optimized site and they are worried that users may become underwhelmed with their search results if the only links appearing above the fold are those not with the best content but with those deploying the most effective examples of chicanery we know as “SEO.”

When Google in 2013 stopped providing data about keyword popularity, this must have served as a shot across the bow of SEO. It signaled that Google wanted to put a damper on SEO because they had determined it was skewing the results in a way unhelpful to its users.

In the “old” days, SEO was a matter of stuffing your metatags with top keywords; then it became more complicated as Google continued to refine its search algorithm. The current state of SEO, in rather sober fashion, calls for “quality content,” no keyword stuffing, longevity of the domain, lack of duplicate content, a well-ordered site-map and other items more esoteric. Really, it’s become more about just building a great site with great (and focused) content. Phony inbound links are not supposed to cut it anymore, although sometimes this can slip by undetected.

SEO is a big industry. According to a site called State of Digital, 863 million websites mention SEO globally and every second 105 people search for SEO links on Google. Most of them seem to be looking for “services” or “companies,” which explains how there came to be so many SEO companies.

SEO is also an industry full of promises. Despite evidence to the contrary, many SEO mavens continue to insist they can fool the Google algorithm into getting your site – no matter what it is – higher in the rankings. That it is easy to see whether it works when you search for your own company makes it an appealing payoff. But the waters of SEO remain murky and it’s difficult to measure success of SEO in any meaningful way (in other words, even if you got to the top, did it improve your business or did you just accumulate a very high bounce rate?).

Now SEO may be going the way of Megalodon, a 100-foot shark rumored to exist but mostly accepted to have gone extinct a million years ago. If it isn’t functionally dead, it’s certainly in the sick-house. Google does not especially want the SEO industry playing games with its rankings, and what Google wants, especially in a case like this, Google gets.

Customers still ask for “top keyword” reports as if they have not read the news about the unavailability of it – perhaps because they believe that if you wish hard enough for a pony on Christmas, one will eventually find its way under the tree.

It isn’t going to happen.

Certain SEO principles should not be ignored, simply as a matter of site-hygiene. A well-organized, content-rich site is a good thing to have. But most other SEO tricks and tips have just a little bit (if not a lot) of snake-oil in the recipe. It sounds like a great proposition to a site owner: Drink a bottle of SEO and your site will zoom vigorously to the top of the heap. But too often, and partly because Google does not seem to want it to, it doesn’t work as advertised.

There is no good reason for Google to stop trying to stamp out SEO, because in effect, SEO damps the quality of search results for the user. Google is interested in the user – and, as you might have guessed already, it reduces the value of a paid AdWord link. Because Google AdWords is a form of SEO, which really is SEM (search engine marketing); in other words, you optimize your site’s Google performance by bidding on Google keywords whereby Google makes pretty much all of its money.

SEO is not going to get easier. It’s going to get harder and eventually will most likely be next to impossible – because Google’s algorithms are always a step ahead of the marketers trying to game them. And with no keyword reporting, a major support system for SEO has been, quite simply, taken away.

If you want to rank high on Google, build a good site and market it the best you know how. Just don’t expect SEO to be the answer to your traffic-related prayers because, increasingly, it won’t be.

Read the original article here.

So, here are my thoughts.

Sites that have relevant, reliable and authoritative content.

I totally agree with this, think about it, Google wants to please its customers, so what does Google’s customers want? Google’s customers want high-quality and relevant results to their searches, and this has to be content driven. If someone types a search term and then ends up bouncing back to Google straightaway to try another one of the search results then clearly the initial search result was not relevant or reliable.

This means you need to create great quality content so that when people land on it, they stay on it. You also need to make your site easily navigable to ensure that people click on links and visit more than one page, Google monitors this you know!

Keywords are dead.

Yes I agree with this to a degree, gone are the days where a client should be asking me to rank their website for terms like ” dentist in London”. This is a very old school and narrowminded approach to search engine optimisation, searches are much more varied nowadays, especially with the advent of voice searching facility.

People on searching as often to these short key phrases, they are using much longer phrases and so monitoring these short ones simply becomes a waste of time.

Monitoring for these short phrases means we miss out on some of the longer ones here are some examples of what you could be missing out on if you just want to be found for ” dentist in London”:

  • Find me a local dentist
  • where are my local dentists
  • I want a dental practice in Westminster that open weekends
  • I’m looking for an NHS dentist in Marylebone
  • where is a dentist close to Euston

these longer phrases are just too numerous to monitor and measure so what’s the point?

Rather than optimising single pages to rank for short phrases like ” dentist in London” by recommendation now is to continue building the website on an ongoing basis, adding more and more pages about more and more subjects with more and more relevant, reliable and authoritative content.

So how do we do this?

Write a blog. When you write your blogs you can write them from different angles. You could talk about local patients in the Marylebone area which have been looking for an NHS dentist and not be able to find one, in this blog post you might mention about ways to find an NHS dentist, the problems with NHS dentistry and the advantages of NHS dentistry.

A blog post such as this would naturally then begin to rank for terms around the NHS, dentist, Marylebone phrases… See what I mean?

Providing authoritative content

What does this mean? Google is now looking for how authoritative you are as an author. So how does Google know how authoritative you are? Simple… Social media!

An absolute essential part of optimisation in the modern world is to link your website to your social media profiles and back again. This creates a circular link which Google can then recognise, your social media posts point to your website and your website points back to your social media profile.

If you write posts on social media which people engage with, like, share and comment on them this demonstrates you are an authoritative figure on the subject about which you speak. If you have lots of followers, fans or contacts on social media this also is a signal to Google that you are an authoritative figure.

Naturally, you may be an authoritative figure outside of the Internet, you may be widely published, you may speak at many conferences… But if Google doesn’t know about this (or you haven’t told them in the correct way) then it will have absolutely no effect on the way your website is found in the search results.

Publishers and Authors

One way of doing this is to link your website to your Google plus business profile, when you do this you should add the rel=publisher attribute to the link (your web designers will be able to do this for you) the link should be placed on your website and it will tell Google plus that your business page is the publisher of this site.

Then when you write a blog post you should add a link back to your Google plus personal profile, when you do this you should at the rel=author attribute to the link (your web designers will be able to do this for you).

An example of this is at the foot of this blog, see my  link…

Doing this will notify Google that your Google plus profile is actively creating content around the Internet (you should actually be doing this every time you write an article and it is published online, they should all link back to your personal Google plus profile as author). This way if your Google plus profile as a comment, share or like it is a signal to Google that you are an authoritative author, this authority will then flow through to the content you write on your website.

Of course this is something that people try to manipulate to pretend they are more authoritative than they actually are and it’s alleged that Google have recently turned off this part of their algorithm. My belief however is that whilst Google may have turned off this part of their algorithm temporarily the principle remains, the more authoritative you are the more Google will like the content you write.

So is SEO dead?

My belief is that it is not dead at all, it is simply changing. There are some basic principles which you need to adhere to in order to ensure that your website ranks, unfortunately many dental practice websites just don’t do this and so they don’t rank!

We are moving away from simple keywords into something far more complex with authority and things like Socially Relevant Searches which seek to change the search results depending upon what your friends on social media have already done. Being aware of this, understanding the system and working that system is modern optimisation… Are you doing it?