It’s almost 2013: Do you know where your Internet marketing plan is?
If not, you should probably start thinking about it as next year and the years to come promise to be ones of rapid and major change. Keeping up with those changes is the key to staying ahead.
That was the focus of a wide-ranging webinar sponsored by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery on Wednesday night. Called “Staying Ahead: Practice Management, Marketing and Maximizing the Internet,” the event drew more than 300 participants who were treated to the insights of five industry experts.
You can download the webinar here. Otherwise, here are some of the major takeaways from the participants:
Dana Fox, President, Strategic Edge
In an industry where everyone has similar training and credentials, says Fox, successful marketing is a matter of differentiating yourself from the competition. It’s not about getting more patients in the door as quickly as possible; it’s about determining your strengths (and weaknesses) in order to develop a strategy that delivers the right message to the right market to establish an identity that potential patients will relate to.
Often, when we think of a brand, we think of a logo — that’s not a brand, says Fox. A brand is who you are, what you stand for, what people think about when they hear your name. Everything that represents you needs to speak with that same voice.
Ryan Miller, President, Etna Interactive
SEO, paid (PPC) search, doctor directories, social media. With so many avenues to pursue, it’s more important than ever to have analytics in place to determine which channels provide the best ROI. Your vendor, says Miller, should be able to provide data that shows what keywords offer the best value, which sites deliver the best leads, the relative cost of acquiring them and the trends over time. The key is to insist on accountability.
If you’re paying a flat fee every month, it’s easy for your vendor to sit on their laurels and keep cashing your checks, says Miller. Tell your vendor that you want to know how they’re spending your money.
David Phillips, CEO, NKP Medical Marketing
As your outpost on the Internet, your practice website has to appeal to two audiences: the people who come looking for information and the “robots” or mechanisms that search engines use to determine how your website ranks in their results. Fortunately, says Phillips, the keys to appealing to both are the same: clean design, easy navigation, content that inspires interaction and a better all-around experience.
Your website should be bringing in new patients, says Phillips. If you invest the money in it and do it the right way, it will convert new patients and increase your word of mouth, as well.
Tom Seery, CEO, RealSelf
As aesthetic consumers turn increasingly to social media to inform their buying decisions, it’s crucial that doctors become part of the conversation, says Seery. Sharing your expertise (without trying to sell your services) is seen as a sign of integrity while encouraging existing patients to share their experiences shows that you value their opinions. As the saying goes, the audience is listening.
With the rise of social media, the connections that started out with patients coming in through patient referrals are now happening between thousands of people, says Seery. It’s ‘Back to the Future.’ It’s about good old word of mouth.
Marie Oleson, CEO, Real Patient Ratings
According to Oleson, dissatisfied patients represent a tiny fraction (1–2%) of all patients yet they can have an undue influence if they share their dissatisfaction online. Instead of ignoring their concerns, she says, they should be addressed quickly and privately, both as good customer service and as a means to protect your online reputation.
We need to know in advance what they think, says Oleson. In the end, solving problems brought to you by your patients is a way to learn and improve your practice, protect your reputation and build retentions and referrals.