Being found on the Internet

Massimo during his presentationIn this post I will discuss some of the different ways people might be searching for you/your business on the Internet and in a few cases, with an increasing level of difficulty to be found.

There was a time when people would go on your website just when they knew you exist, perhaps after meeting you and they knew the URL of your website.  Then the search engines came along and we all got lazy.  Lazy because it’s no point anymore to look for the correct URL of a website; we search them using Google or other search engines of choice.  But how do we search for people, or a business?  We type a few words, a phrase into the search engine and check the results.  Most people will not bother to check beyond the first page of results so your aim should be to be on the first page of search results for all phrases you care about.

In order to make this example meaningful let’s assume you are called Joe Bloggs and you are a Massage Therapist in Cambridge. Here is the list of search terms in increasing order of difficulty to achieve:

Your name, service you offer and location

This should be your first goal to be found and the simplest way for people to find you on the Internet.   You should check now whether a search will work with one of the following sentences.  Obviously replace Joe Bloggs with your name, massage with your therapy and Cambridge with your location:

  • Joe Bloggs Massage Therapist in Cambridge
  • Joe Bloggs Therapist Cambridge
  • Joe Bloggs Massage Cambridge

If your website doesn’t appear on the first page of google then you should either speak to your web designer or someone who understands the most basic principles of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Your name and therapy – e.g. Joe Bloggs Massage

This should also be relatively easy to achieve in the hope there is not another therapist with your name who offers the same therapy as you do.

Your name and location – e.g. Joe Bloggs Cambridge

This might be a bit more complicated and is very dependent on how common your name is.  If there is a famous person who has a name like yours and lives in your  town it will be very difficult for you to be found on the first page of a search.

Your therapy and location – e.g. Massage Cambridge

This is the most difficult to achieve, particularly if you are new in this business or in your location; depending on the therapy you are offering there might be tens, hundreds or thousands of other practitioners offering  the same therapy in your area.  If that’s the case you might try to optimise your website for the so called long tail searches, e.g. not just the simple therapy and location but adding some extra information like the issue you are trying to address: e.g. massage backache Cambridge.

SEO  is about helping your web pages to be found by the relevant search terms.  A few tips to improve your search ranking and results would be:

  • Have a decent looking, well written and professionally designed website
  • Use WordPress as the content management system (CMS): WordPress has a structure which facilitates SEO.
  • Make sure that your WordPress installation has one of the relevant SEO plugins installed and properly configured
  • Keep your website fresh with new content (e.g. blogging) and add relevant articles about what you offer, how you offer it and so on

If you don’t know much, or anything at all, about SEO perhaps you should speak to an expert and see what he/she suggests.  Our affiliate marketing agency, Salus Marketing, is offering a broad range of marketing services including web design and SEO so you can get in touch and find out more about how we can help you.

Funnel marketing and health care

Massimo GaetaniI was recently chatting to a therapist who, quite unusually and interestingly enough, had proper marketing training as part of  her therapy course.  In fact it was an add-on course for an extra whopping £2,000 but nonetheless she had been exposed to the practicalities of marketing her business rather than being wrongly reassured that the phone will start ringing as soon as she qualifies as it happens in many cases.

I decided to write this post once I heard the approach that was taught to her in this expensive course where, instead of focussing specifically on marketing her health care business, they trained her in general marketing using a funnel approach which is usually applied to online marketing for e-books and other information products.

In a few simple words a funnel approach is where you have a combination of marketing tools to reach a large number of unqualified or semi qualified leads which you keep Emailing with information about your business and slowly move down into the funnel until they come out at the bottom as customers.  This is great for generic products which can be sold to generic people to address generic issues and across a wide geographical area, ideally the whole world.

I always predicate using blogging and social media to create and maintain a solid presence online which, if adequate in quality and frequency, will be found by search engines and connecting your content to the right audience which eventually can become your clients. When a therapist works in a specific geographical area offering therapy to the local community she/he will soon realise that using a funnel approach to attract clients toward her or their business will be very hard.  Main reasons are:

  • People are either shopping around for a specific solution to a health problem or they are not; so if the advert appears in front of the second category of people they naturally ignore it
  • People will not be looking to share their contact details now and get caught into the funnel expecting to be using a therapy later

While funnel marketing can be used to market and sell products or services which can be progressively pushed toward customers I would not suggest to use this approach to market and promote therapies which are usually requested as remedial treatments rather than preventive actions.

Delays in reaction for marketing actions and campaigns

Massimo GaetaniI was having a conversation with a therapist a few days ago and I was explaining to him various marketing techniques he could use to attract new clients.  The surprise came when he replied to my question about when to start as he essentially said that he is now “kind of ok in terms of clients” and will start some marketing actions in the New Year when he will need new clients.

At that point I realised that while it is obvious for me that to any (decision about) action there is a delay in reaction which is definitely not obvious for many.  Let’s see what the delays are which will be incurred when you decide to start a marketing campaign:

  • Development delays: anything that needs to be designed and developed, from a new leaflet or website, will take days, weeks or even months to be ready, checked, printed or published.  This is depending on what is already there, or not there, in this case.  Even a simple variation to an existing page or piece of marketing will take some time.
  • Deployment delays: as soon as the brochure is ready or the website is published it’s not going to happen that, similarly to the next episode of Harry Potter, all prospects are there waiting for it and to book appointments with you.
  • Reaction delays: yes perhaps some people see your new website or advertisement and ring you straight away, most of them will have to see it quite a few times and think about it. By this token when everything is in place and ready to go it will take a while before things are really going at the speed or intensity you expect.

Best suggestion for all people with little or no knowledge of marketing out there is to start today, now, and keep doing something every day.  You can be absolutely sure that there will be delays and things will not happen exactly when you expect but after some time everything will be in place and you will have your own marketing machine working for you.

Using Facebook Pay Per Click adverts in Private Practice

facebook logo, copy right Facebook Inc.Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts have become for many companies the holy grail of advertising as they offer a clear and reliable way to publish specific adverts to a targeted audience and the Return on Investment (ROI) can be measured very accurately.  PPC are those adverts you can see every time you are either doing a search on your favourite Search Engine or when you are scrolling your Facebook feed and you see entries which have the word “sponsored” on top.  Somebody is paying money when you click on that advert and, usually, these adverts have been thought of with you in mind, depending on your gender, age, habits, interest, religion or whatever other parameters which might be accessible to the platform in question.

I will concentrate this post just on Facebook adverts which are offering indeed a powerful environment to deliver targeted advertisements to your potential clients.  I would also add that I will discuss adverts which bring traffic to a landing page on your website; this is a very specific use of Facebook PPC and they are just one of the several possibilities offered by their advertisement manager.

First of all it’s important to stay away from generic adverts which promote you or your brand as a whole and land on your home page; they will be a waste of time and money.  Let us suppose you are a massage therapist wanting to promote a remedial massage to middle-aged female clientele?  Or perhaps an acupuncturist promoting fertility treatments to women aged between 25 and 50? These are a good start.

In order for an advert to work and convert (e.g. get people to book appointments) you need to make the whole chain of events, between the moment the advert is shown and when the client has completed the booking, as intuitive and easy as possible.  Any discontinuity in this chain of events and people will either ignore the advert or click (that’s when it costs you) to go to the next step and then give up midway and you end up paying money without getting the booking.

Here are the three key elements:

  1. A well designed advertwhich has a nice and meaningful picture together with the right copy: copy in jargon is the text within an advert or other marketing message. In the case of an advert for a remedial massage you could think about the usual “Problem? Try my solution!” formula.  Which could be indicated as “Experiencing muscle pain? Try my remedial massage”
  2. An equally well designed landing page which reinforces the message above and has a clear and simple way of booking the treatment
  3. A super simple booking system which is working 24/7, ideally an automated calendar system which can confirm the booking then and there; a phone number could be ok for some people; however in a 24/7 society when an increasing number of people are effectively doing everything with their mobile phones at any time of the day and night they will not wait for a call back and simply give it up.

This way of working has been in place for several years and many businesses have made millions by advertising on Facebook; in fact several other social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and various others have in place build advertising mechanisms which all work in a similar way.  I do appreciate there are many among you reading this who will find it difficult or a bit overwhelming. This is normal as it’s not what a practitioner in complementary health should be spending his or her time on.  Everybody serious about their business should be thinking about their marketing strategy but that doesn’t mean they have to do everything themselves.  If you need any help with your social medial and digital marketing please have a look around you and make sure you employ someone who is a true expert in this field rather than another cowboy.