“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” – Management guru, Peter Drucker
You don’t have to be a guru to know that something left unmanaged rarely achieves the intended results – and nowhere is this truer than the ever-expanding world of Internet marketing. The previous articles in this series have covered the importance of defining your practice goals and patient lifetime value (if this doesn’t sound familiar, check out part 1), and the critical role website analytics play in measuring campaign performance (for a refresher, review part 2). But settle in, because we’re not done yet.
While your goal will determine the marketing methods used, your ability to measure performance and adapt your strategy accordingly will drive results and allow you to replicate success. It’s often easier to focus on short-term results (maybe it’s society’s lacking attention span or the fact that you have a million other things on your to-do list), but that doesn’t negate the need to track the results of longer-term strategies. Two important online marketing methods that take longer to cultivate results are search engine optimization (SEO) and social media outreach. Read on for ways to effectively measure the performance these essential pieces of the marketing pie.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Where do you rank for key search terms? If a prospective patient searches for Your City and Dentist, is your practice at the top of page 1? How about Your City and Invisalign (or other key service)? Search engine optimization isn’t just about ranking, it’s about ranking for the right services. If you’re looking to bring in more families, it’s going to be important that your practice appear for the search terms parents are most likely to use when looking for a dentist. While page ranking may be the most visible, there are several SEO performance indicators that should be taken into consideration. These include growth in organic website traffic, bounce rate per keyword (this can help you understand how content is perceived by different segments), increase in organic conversions, and increase in click-thru-rate among others. For most doctors, SEO can be more complicated than the DAT. The good news is that outsourcing is now completely acceptable, unlike when you were trying to get into dental school. ProSites has a number of free SEO resources, including whitepapers such as Local Search and How It’s Affecting Your Practice, and on-demand webinars like How to Get More Patients from Your Website.
Social Media – What started as a fun way to stay in touch with your college friends and stealthily look up and old flame has morphed into one of today’s most powerful marketing tools. According to Smart Insights , Facebook increased its market penetration in 2016 to 89% of US Internet users. Oh, and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) came in second with 32% penetration. While other social media platforms exist (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) Facebook is by far the most widely used. Since you like the odds in your favor, your practice has a Facebook page, but how do you know if it’s working? Insert redundant reference to the importance of defining practice goals. If your goal is to increase awareness, track reach and exposure (the number of people who follow your Facebook page and see your posts). On the other hand, if your focus is on increasing follower engagement the number of comments, likes, and shares are good indicators that your messages are resonating. And finally, if your goal is simply to direct visitors to your practice website, it makes sense to track the number of visitors coming directly from Facebook, as well as clicks and conversions. Now that you have a sense of social media’s potential, you may be second guessing your decision to have your nephew handle the page in his spare time. Don’t worry – just like chewing gum while wearing a retainer – under estimating the value of social media is common mistake. For guidance on how to harness the power of social media, download our free whitepaper, Running a Dental Practice in the Age of Social Media.
There’s no doubt about it, measurement can be bear – especially if you don’t have the aptitude for it. Nevertheless, it’s critical to ensuring your valuable time and resources are used wisely. Whether you’re looking for help in creating a strategy to achieve your goal, or are still in the process of determining what your goal is, ProSites is here to help.