We all know that SaaS marketing is different. You’re dealing with a short buying cycle, the risk of churn, no physical product, and a demanding, fast-paced, crowded market.
In this Smart Spot video, Susie shares tips for how to best optimize your LinkedIn profile to attract leads and future clients.
In this week’s Smart Spot, we're sharing an interview between Susie Kelley and Dr. Arlen Meyers, professor of otolaryngology, ear, nose and throat surgery at the University of Colorado, as well as the President and Co-Founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.
It’s no secret that LinkedIn can be an effective way to grow business. Companies have been exploring this versatile social media tool for more than 15 years now, making valuable connections and learning the dos and don’ts of LinkedIn marketing. Participation continues to grow – last year the company reported a 41 percent increase in session time for its main app year-over-year. But many companies are still missing out on some of the best advantages LinkedIn can offer.
In this Smart Spot, I share three Chrome extensions that help streamline the daily task of prospect research.
Our first ever Smart Spot explains why you need a content strategy in place.
Healthcare software company marketers frequently utilize content marketing as a tactic. Pay per click advertising is also common. However, much of the time, these two tactics are approached separately, in a silo. But what if these two tactics were approached together for maximum benefit?
What is SaaS Marketing?
SaaS marketing is simply the process of marketing SaaS (software as a service) products - any software product that you use online rather than downloading onto your own machine. The SaaS market is booming - sales are expected to reach over $112.8 billion by next year, reports TechRadar - and as a result, SaaS marketing has become a school of marketing in its own right.
Healthcare is a notoriously conservative industry - no wonder, with lives literally on the line - but 2019 may be a tipping point for healthcare technology. New approaches - like telemedicine and virtual reality diagnostics - are becoming increasingly standard, and the global digital health market is predicted to reach $206 billion by 2020.
In an ideal world, EdTech would sell itself. You've worked hard to develop a product designed to help teachers and administrators do their best work. Everyone wants to help kids learn, so what more does anyone need to know?
A lot, actually. It's one thing to create innovative hardware, software, and services for educators; it's quite another to meet those educators where they are to show them exactly how your product can change their lives.
No business can afford to ignore social media, not when its competitors are developing sprawling networks through LinkedIn and building engaged communities on Facebook. For EdTech companies, an up-to-date social media presence is critical. After all, potential customers include teachers and school administration who are seeking the latest innovations and need tech-savvy businesses to explain the education applications. A smart social media strategy will go a long way toward branding your company as an industry leader.
There’s little doubt that building a SaaS business with closely aligned marketing and development is one of the secrets of success. This is especially the case in a complex industry like healthcare. Building a clear and consistent message, backed up by a product carefully designed to fit the needs of your niche; carefully communicating the value provided by the software, and understanding precisely how its value is delivered to the end user; describing the product in language that speaks to the customer - all this depends on close integration between product marketing and product development.
As an educational technology marketer, you know what a great effect technology can have on an industry.
Smartphones, media streaming, and telepresence robots have all been extremely disruptive to the EdTech industry. They have also greatly improved the user experience.
Search engine optimization is no different.
Consumers search the internet with questions. Supply the best answers in the best way, and traffic will flow to your website. Each visit is a possible lead. It’s simple and complex all at once. To develop a relationship and convert casual browsers into qualified leads, you need to offer timely and relevant information and encourage engagement with your content. Your goal should be to meet the needs of prospects at each point along the buying journey. If you do this well, visitors to your site will reward you by supplying their contact information.
Adding technology to the classroom has been one of the biggest and most beneficial changes to education that we’ve seen over the last few years. Not only has technology changed how teachers interact with their students, but also how they communicate with other teachers, policymakers, and parents.
Learning no longer happens only in the classroom and educators no longer solely use textbooks. Thanks to innovative solutions in education technology, learning can happen anywhere at any time and educators have more opportunities than ever to improve the education experience. Modern day technology has transported education into a new world through everything from web-based training (WBT) to Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLE).
Technology is continually transforming the classroom, and in this era of hyper-connectivity, the trends in EdTech are raising new concerns among educators. Your marketing efforts must go beyond highlighting the features and benefits of your products. The buyers and users of new educational technology need information, solid data, training and support if they are to change methods, and embrace innovation.
As an organization seeking to reach a unique audience with a niche product or service, we know it isn’t simple to attract the right leads or - if you do – converting them is another story.
Since people have embraced the use of the internet, the way they buy has changed. In the past, companies had all the information on the product or service they were selling and buyers came to them to gather information. Now, buyers do research on the internet, are well informed and usually have chosen who they want to do business with before they ever even contact a company.
Healthcare marketing trends are changing every year. It’s essential for marketers in healthcare IT to pay attention to the latest shifts in marketing trends to ensure they are reaching their audience using the appropriate content and channels.
So, what’s on the minds of marketers in the healthcare software industry?
Guest Post By Ashley Lipman
Social media has become a celebrated marketing method for many reasons. This is because it is a reasonable investment and there are many free tools to help you get started. The truth is, many marketers and businesses are already leveraging social media to reach their customers and grow their personal brands.
How does a small flower shop in the UK get 35,000 followers on Twitter? Hint: it’s not by tweeting about flowers.
Today, one of the biggest challenges for healthcare providers is to find an effective way to attract patients.
Fortunately, more healthcare marketing managers are becoming aware that inbound marketing may help them encourage patient engagement and nurture relationships.
Last week for our podcast we had the opportunity to speak with one of our main clients about how they tackle healthcare marketing in 2017 effectively. Jake Behnke is the Senior Marketing Communications Specialist for Surgical Information Systems, a healthcare IT company serving mid-sized surgical centers from the city of Atlanta.
Human interaction is irrelevant during the creation and programming of a new software product. Sure, water cooler chat involves relationships, but you're not out there mingling with the population at large.
It's a very different story once you're ready to launch and sell your product, and if you don't give the power to the people, healthcare software marketing attempts will fall very, very shy of intended projections.
Successful healthcare SaaS marketing relies on personalized, human engagement. Connecting with your target market via content and social media interactions is the stuff first-page Google results are made of.
Getting infected with malware is like catching a cold. At first things seem a little off. But if you know your body well, you go straight for vitamin C at the first sign of trouble. Working on your machine is no different. It's easy to overlook small glitches and irregularities if they're not really impacting your work, but they're usually the first symptoms of a bigger problem.
It's all about synchronicity. In case you missed it, we launched our Perpetual Growth Podcast recently. For our first episode, we invited Rachael Plummer who works in the HubSpot Partner Program to talk to us about the benefits of marketing and sales alignment, and the pitfalls of not moving in that direction.
The reality is, as Bob Dylan so aptly stated, "The tiiiimes, they are a chaaa-a-aa-ngin'...," and they always will be.
Before the internet, consumers relied more on salespeople for information about products and services. Today, it's a whole new ball game.
Getting to know your ideal clients is integral to the inbound and content marketing paradigm. Figuring them out is a process that results in buyer personas that guide every step of the marketing process.
Your business was founded on the principal that you have a product or service that other people need or want. Fantastic. Now, how are you going to get the word out to said people that you offer this product or service that is tailored just to them?
The HBO Game of Thrones website describes this series, "Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. Follow kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power..."
Hey! Sounds like another day in the sales and marketing trenches!
Reading blogs is a smart (and free) way to get better at what you do. Blogs offer loads of topic-specific advice and often provide "learn from my mistakes" or "here's what works for us" styled tidbits that can shift the way you plan and grow your company's next moves.
Knock-knock. "Avon calling..."
Imagine the Avon Lady of yore's delight if she could spy on women in a household before knocking on their door. Perhaps Ms. Avon would notice one reading all she can on the art of perfectly shaped brows for the brow-less, or catch another one holding samples of fabric up to her face, trying to determine whether she is a "fall" or a "summer..."
LinkedIn is a powerful tool in your inbound marketing strategy box - especially if you're a B2B marketer (80% of marketing leads for B2B companies are generated by LinkedIn, and it's used as the primary social media platform for 92% of B2B companies). As the name implies, however, LinkedIn is only as fruitful as the strength of the "links" you create.
Everything about networking changed in 2004 when LinkedIn introduced Groups as a feature. Once Groups were brought online, liked-minded professionals had a new way to connect, demonstrate thought leadership and learn about their industries.
Welcome to the brave new world of healthcare.
It's filled with increased competition, cost control measures, and mandates and regulations coming down from government commissions. And then there are the patients, who are all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and increasingly involved in making their own healthcare decisions.
In this new, modern world, healthcare marketing has never been more important. And that's why you're probably looking for a partner.
What ever happened to the handshake?
At one time in the not-so-distant past, it was the quintessential act of introducing yourself to prospects. In one gesture, you could make a favorable first impression, establish trust, and position yourself as someone who can be relied on to deliver results. In other words, the handshake was the way to lay the foundation of a relationship that could last for years.
It could possibly be a panacea for all things sales. A virtual funnel that leads directly to pre-qualified prospects. An unprecedented platform allowing you to disseminate your marketing messages with strategic abandon. The most efficient and effective way to infiltrate inboxes.
It is, of course, LinkedIn.
So, you've applied everything you've learned about LinkedIn lead generation and yet leads seem to have flat lined. What gives?
It's deflating when a well-planned inbound marketing strategy doesn't yield the results you expected. It's tempting to feel like throwing in the towel or start anew. Don't give in to that temptation!
The work you've done so far is a wellspring of content from which you can tease, build upon and develop as you re-orient your sights.
As software marketers, inbound marketing probably comes somewhat easier to you than it does to person-to-person oriented businesses. Digital technology, the online revolution, computers and gadgets - they are your preferred medium after all. Many of your customers, however, have the opposite experience.
Every dollar collected from patients is another dollar added to your already slim profit margins. Collecting those dollars is another matter.
Here are a few stats for you:
- More than 75% of consumers use the internet to pay bills, and almost as many say they prefer the option to pay medical bills online or via apps.
- Roughly 76% of consumers report being confused about their insurance coverage as well as the medical bills they receive in the mail.
- In 2015, 74% of healthcare providers saw a decrease in insurance coverage (largely due to high-deductible plans) and an increase in patient-owed bills.
Those facts can serve as a guide of sorts as you structure information- and education-based content in a more relevant and applicable way.
(Insert sweet, instrumental music with slow-motion montage of smiling, be-scrubbed healthcare professionals dancing in a sea of checks. Then, a smooth voiceover begins...)
"Imagine a world where all patients paid their bills on time..."
We know, there's no imagination powerful enough to envision a world where all bills were paid on time. However, the advent of patient portals has certainly provided opportunities for more patients to submit payments in a timely fashion.
Hospitals and medical facilities are devoted primarily to the care of their patients—but cost is certainly a secondary priority. If your facility can't stay in the black, the ability to provide quality care diminishes, and this has a disastrous effect on attracting new patients and clients.
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. Statista.com says there are currently more than 2 billion smartphones being used around the world, and that number is expected to grow by another 500 million over the next two years.
How many customers do you need?
Everyone? Almost everyone? Enough to generate revenue and (gasp!) become profitable? Can you ever have too many customers?
Believe it or not, software marketing is not confusing. It's not overwhelming and it's very doable—even if you don't have a degree in marketing. The key is to stop looking at the whole big picture for a change.
Why spend any time or money on SaaS marketing if it isn't going to pay off? And yet there are plenty of companies sinking thousands of dollars every month into inbound marketing strategies that don't pay their own way—let alone return a profit.
It's so tempting to see those whopper visitor metrics and celebrate. And you should! Those numbers say that your software marketing techniques are paying off....to a point.
On the flip side of that coin, if your page visits are high but conversion rates seem pretty low (less than 1% to 3% of those whopping visits resulted in qualified leads), it means there is some more investigative and content work to do.
Selling software, whether as a service or an innovative solution, is all about two things: website traffic and leads.
Without website traffic, you're unlikely to fill the top of your sales funnel with high-quality leads. Without leads, you're unlikely to sell a lot of software.
Is there anything more frustrating than clicking on an online ad only to be brought to a landing page that delivers... nothing?
If you use pay-per-click ads as part of your overall inbound marketing strategy, you're probably sending people who click on your ads to a landing page, which is essentially a separate webpage designed to elicit a specific action. When it comes to software marketing, that action could range from filtering traffic to targeted areas of your website to learning more about your products to subscribing for blog post updates to actually making a purchase.
Marketing. It's part art, part science. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. And it's a necessity for healthcare organizations.
Yes, if you want to build a bigger, better business, you're going to need to market yourself, your company, and your products and services.
It's been said that necessity is the mother of invention. But innovation's family tree doesn't stop there. Necessity is also responsible for automation, which can be leveraged to create effective software marketing campaigns. Whether you are focused on SaaS or selling niche software applications, automation can make your job easier.
Behold the unbridled power of the well-populated healthcare marketing database. It provides information about businesses and industries, access to decision makers, and the ability to significantly shorten the sales process. Yes, a healthcare marketing database can be the bedrock on which your inbound marketing strategy is built. It allows you to know with precision whether your tactics are working or not – and then make smart decisions about how to enhance them.
That is, if it includes precise information about high-value prospects harvested directly from their LinkedIn accounts.
Sometimes the search engine just doesn't offer the best path to results when it comes to lead generation.
This can be especially true (and frustrating) when it comes to software marketing, where products can be highly specialized, expensive, and appealing to a relatively small number of consumers.
A slow drip. Water on a stone. Steady, relentless, and effective.
This sums up how inbound marketing strategy generally is intended to work in the first place, and going further into the lead nurturing avenues with drip email campaigns aimed at carefully selected contacts in LinkedIn only enhances the power to drive more qualified sales leads into your funnel with it.
A lot of people don't like networking. When they think about it, they envision uncomfortable conversations, awkward exchanges of business cards, and empty promises. For these people, "networking" might as well be a four-letter word.
You know the drill.
Your sales team wants leads. Your leadership team wants sales. You want to see your website at the top of Google. So you opt for a varied collection of online tactics that likely includes posting quality content, rich with keywords, which are then forced into your other marketing materials. You go heavy on the links. You use Google AdWords. Along the way, attention goes toward a flurry of activity to design and develop a website that is absolutely perfect.
If you're studying the ins-and-outs of healthcare marketing, you know inbound marketing is where it's at. Since the large majority of your patients use smartphones and other gadgets to find you or check up on you, it makes sense that a significant amount of marketing energy should be focused on inbound practices that pave the way for patients to come looking for you.
"Show me the money."
This was the battle cry for Tom Cruise's somewhat smarmy character in Jerry Maguire, a romantic comedy about an agent who chases money but ends up finding love.
It's also an apt battle cry for companies who build their revenues on SaaS. Of course, by "money" they mean profitable growth, which is the goal of any SaaS organization. And to find profitable growth, you've got to maximize user adoption.
Contrary to popular belief, effective inbound marketing strategy isn't strictly limited to delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.
It's really focused on creating customer success centered marketing strategies – which isn't always easy and usually takes a lot of time to master.
It's a relatively simple word. It has five letters, one syllable, and will get you at least 10 points in Scrabble.
But you're not playing a board game. You're building a business. And that's why "churn" isn't so simple for you. Its causes are complex. Its effects keep you up at night. It has the power to paralyze your company's growth.
In the beginning, apps were so cool! So exciting! So hip! Now they're old news, making software marketing a wee bit trickier. While apps make life – and access to your website, products, services, et cetera – more convenient, there are well over a million to choose from.
The pressure is on for SaaS professionals when it comes to software marketing. If you're in the business of hip, successful, and high-tech software services and solutions, your customers expect you to be on it when it comes to hip, successful, and high-tech marketing strategies.
There’s always a new development, event, or update in the world of healthcare. For those who work in healthcare marketing, it’s crucial to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s unfolding.
But what about your customers? Why is it necessary to keep them up-to-date when access to current events is easier than ever?
Three words come up repeatedly in regards to content creation: original, authoritative, and trustworthy. The first two are rather straightforward, requiring professional writers who are armed with the research, facts, and relevant news to support the content they create. Trustworthiness, though? Hmm. That part can be more elusive.
The world of web design and SEO changes at supersonic speed. What was once golden is now tarnished; the rules of the game are seemingly updated at whim.
Do you ever feel like everyone knows something you don't?
Online marketing has certainly changed the nature of many industries, the healthcare industry being no exception. With the plethora of health-related content online, it's difficult to remember a time when we didn't reach first for our smartphones when looking for medical information.
Sales goals are a crucial part of any business. Without sales businesses certainly wouldn't survive, and goals are the driving force in ensuring that profits happen. SaaS businesses in particular have their own growth and profitability metrics to factor into the equation.
Goal setting. It’s an integral part of any good inbound marketing strategy. Having a road map to follow certainly makes it easier to reach your destination. But how many times have your main marketing objectives been taken off-course by detours and U-turns? Hiccups and lag times after achieving short-term goals can extend the journey much more than you had originally planned.
If there’s one industry in marketing that’s changing at a rapid pace, it’s healthcare. Between more choices for patients and the growing use of online reviews, the world of healthcare itself looks very different than it did just a decade ago.
Perhaps the biggest change of all is the increased emphasis on patient-centric practices and care. Healthcare marketers can use this change to their advantage by developing campaigns that draw consumers in naturally. Inbound marketing does just that, bringing in 54 percent more leads than traditional marketing tactics do.
SaaS marketing is no easy task. You're basically marketing something that has no physical presence and that is constantly changing – not to mention that the average individual isn't familiar with the ins and outs of cloud computing in the first place.
The expectations for websites have changed rapidly. What were once Yellow Pages-esque placeholders are now expected to be interactive, perpetually fresh sources of information that are dependable, up-to-date, and on-trend. As visitors, most of us would say that we have those same expectations of the sites that we visit, right?
Healthcare is a funny thing. Few of us graduate high school or finish our degrees well-versed in the topic, yet all of us need to understand the core aspects of the industry to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
Few would disagree that healthcare can seem complicated and sometimes frustrating to those outside the field (and perhaps to many on the inside as well). This means that anyone who works in healthcare marketing has the obstacle of confusion to overcome.
Traditional web redesign takes months to complete, requires a large budget, and leaves you without a current strategy in place for lead generation while the new site is being built. Even in a best-case scenario you will need to repeat the redesign process within a two-year period; in the worst of cases, the new design will be ineffective at generating leads and demand an immediate redo.
What's the first thing to come to mind when you think of your house?
The decor? The tables? What about the windows... or the lights? These things may be the most visible and noteable components, but what about the roof, the floor, and the walls that hold everything up and together? Let's face it – without those, the contents of the building wouldn't be of much use, right?
Now, when you think of marketing, you may think of the visible glitz of a quality website, the glamour of a popular social media campaign, or the laudable end results of a job well done. But when you get down to it, your inbound marketing efforts are essentially the invisible support beams of your business.
Put your ear to the ground of the marketing world and you’re likely to hear the words inbound and SaaS over and over. At first listen these two terms seem to have little to do with each other; one is a customer-centric marketing methodology and the other is a service-based software model.
Instead of calling a family member, people are now heading online first to learn more about their healthcare concerns. The inbound marketing methodology gives medical practices in the healthcare industry a platform to naturally attract patients and build their online reputation.
It’s hard to imagine a business that doesn’t have a blog these days. Blogs have become an essential part of the equation to marketing and overall success. SaaS companies, in particular, have the opportunity to use their blogs to leverage their expertise and knowledge-hungry fan base into a lead-generating, engagement-driving machine.
In today's tech-savvy culture, it seems that everyone with an ailment quickly clicks on their web browser even before calling their primary care provider. It's official: the game has changed.
Evaluating current statistics connecting headlines and SEO punch, you'd think a catchy headline is all you need to increase medical website marketing numbers. For example, MOZ cites that 80% of readers never make it past headlines and that if a headline resonates with a reader, it can increase website traffic by 500%.
In order to discover how many companies are actually actively doing inbound marketing, the simplest, most direct way to find out is to just ask! So, every year, that’s exactly what happens with HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound report.
The website design process seems so straightforward, yet all it takes is one bad decision to realize how complex it really is. Common mistakes people make when designing a new website include:
- Trying to translate old marketing paradigms into digital, online formats.
- Making "Ranking #1 on Google" the primary goal.
- Thinking a new website is a quick fix to systemic marketing and/or sales issues.
When it comes to first impressions, solid eye contact and a firm handshake mean a lot. The same is true in making a strong first impression on someone in the digital realm. Social media platforms offer the best path for this as part of your inbound marketing strategy by encouraging a new friend or follower, a virtual stranger, to venture further down the buyer's journey with you.
In 1936, Dale Carnegie (originally "Carnagey," and no relation to steel baron Andrew Carnegie...) published the widely popular book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It has gone to publication multiple times and is still considered a foundation for both personal and professional success.
Think about all the times you needed to make a dazzling first impression – job interviews come to mind. Now evaluate the things you prioritized to make that good impression. Odds are they included:
- The way you looked, including what you wore.
- What you said.
- How you said it.
The key to successful inbound marketing is... (drumroll please) AWESOME CONTENT. But you already knew that, didn't you?
While inbound marketing is a fairly recent phenomenon, those who would like to learn more about how it works should think of it as similar to online dating. Inbound marketing is all about knowing what you've got going for you, knowing what suitors want, and connecting with them. Yet the beauty of inbound marketing is that it's similar to an online dating experience. What would you do to attract an ideal suitor? You would likely do things to heighten your odds of finding just the right person – and avoid the things that would attract the wrong types or cause you to have to settle for whoever shows up out of desperation.
The Good News: Research by Compass finds that the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) industry is growing three times faster than software as a whole - and IDC predicts that SaaS-based enterprise will generate revenues upwards of $50 billion dollars by the year 2018, almost doubling SaaS applications market revenues from 2013.
Is your healthcare practice like a regular Johnny-on-the-Spot, happily finding and fixing anything that isn't in compliance? Or, are you more like ostriches, "pretty sure" things are up-to-par and dreading when you'll have to raise those heads from the sand to put your beaks - or noses - to the grindstone in time to meet upcoming compliance deadlines?
Inbound marketing certification from HubSpot has come a very long way since I first discovered HubSpot's Inbound University in 2009. Back then I was just getting familiar with the term inbound marketing and trying to understand how and why marketing online was so different from traditional offline marketing.
Getting more leads from your website sounds like a pretty simple and straightforward goal until you set out to do it. So why is it so difficult and how do you actually do it?
Google has announced, effective April 21, 2015, that they will actively punish websites that are not optimized for mobile devices by not displaying them in search results for people using these devices.
How Can You Write for My Business?
When talking to prospective clients, something I hear frequently is, “We can’t have a blog! We don’t have time to write them and you can’t write for us, because my business is too complex. You just don’t understand it.”
The MedTech Marketing arena has evolved over the years and like so many other industries is facing the transition from offline, outbound marketing practices of the past to the online practices of the here-and-now.
Every generation is different, yet somehow the same as the last; that is as true in marketing as it is in other aspects of life. If you grew up as a Baby Boomer, you may be feeling out of touch with today’s Gen Y – but the good news is, you are not really that far apart.
We have all been in the position of being attracted to an item in a retail store. We pick it up … examine it … admire it … ask questions about it … then put it back on the shelf as the salesperson looks on in dismay. A perfect example of a lead to close ratio that is not working for the business owner.
As a business owner, I get my fair share of cold calls. You could even say I'm a sucker for them. When they're done well, it interests me to hear the approaches and how people present themselves on the calls.
You already know how important qualified lead generation is: more sales leads means more customers, which means more revenue for your business. As a result of this simple tenet, many businesses are focusing their efforts on how to generate sales leads.
You have poured time and resources into your healthcare marketing – yet your phone still isn’t ringing? The problem might be tied to four common tactical “failures,” all of which can, fortunately, be addressed with inbound marketing strategy.
With the growth of the healthcare in general, the position of healthcare manager is also poised to rise – up to 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether you manage a facility, the people in it or both, as a manager you are likely to be seen as the authority on growing the business, and that includes a strong focus on sales and marketing.
Just as the digital revolution has changed the way consumers purchase goods and services, it’s also changing the way people seek out healthcare information – including finding medical professionals.
If your practice is still tied to traditional (and fading) “outbound” marketing tactics, like direct mail, outdoor boards and Yellow Pages, you could be missing out on valuable new leads. Consider these findings from a 2014 healthcare marketing whitepaper published by Smith & Jones:
If you’re actively engaging inbound marketing then layering in content personalization should not be a big hurdle for you. Since the first step is identifying marketing personas, you already know the people you’re talking to and you’re already aiming your content to speak directly to them. That’s nice, right?
You encourage patients to get regular check-ups – why not provide the same service for your healthcare marketing campaign?
If your marketing is tied to “outbound” methods like display ads, direct mail, radio or Yellow Pages, it’s time to take the pulse of your tactics. As any SEO company (and thousands of successful businesses) will tell you, inbound marketing is the ideal strategy to attract patients where they now live … online.
Announced this week at Inbound 2014, HubSpot is revolutionizing sales in the same way they have revolutionized marketing by launching an integrated CRM tool. According to Brian Halligan, "We started HubSpot because we felt the way consumers shop and buy had fundamentally changed. The inbound movement has helped transform the world of marketing, and we really feel like there's a huge opportunity to transform the customer experience with sales technology that enables companies to sell more, better, and faster."
I really wish I had a nickel for everytime I've seen articles over the last couple of years speculating about whether or not SEO still matters? Let's just say there are MANY and they feature widely varied opinions. Of course the opinions are often attached to the professional role of the writer. If making a living as an SEO professional of course it makes sense to assure everyone it is at the heart of online marketing success. If SEO is applied with less enthusiasm you might be singing a few lines from the Wizard of Oz ~ "Ding dong the witch is dead" as you craft a post laying out a case for moving on to something else.
We all grew up with an impression of how advertising worked. A Madison Avenue creative type (think Darrin from “Bewitched” or “Mad Men” icon Don Draper) drew some stick figures and wrote some headlines, presented it to a client complete with cheesy pitchman and accompanying product packaging, ta da – a winning campaign was born!
If your healthcare facility is engaged in care for patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid you are likely feeling the pressure of the looming deadlines associated with Meaningful Use Standards. The clock is ticking the loudest in the ears of healthcare management professionals where patient records management is still heavily achieved with paper-based record keeping methods.
There is a lot of buzz these days about online lead generation and using websites to boost the bottom line of a business. Exactly how should a website support closing more sales?
I am a content marketer if you want to put things in simple terms. I help businesses identify their marketing personas, guide business owners down a path for building sound strategy for their online presence and then work to implement content to generate leads, acquire new customers and retain them. The correct term for this whole process is inbound marketing but many people are not yet familiar with the term or the process.
The content I'm involved in creating is specifically for the identified marketing personas of the client. Producing this kind of content obviously requires the first, most basic step in inbound marketing - identify, in detail, the marketing personas.
Healthcare marketing is one of the more challenging facets of managing a healthcare practice when you consider how quickly things in the marketing world change. It is widely accepted that the best way for today's healthcare practices to gain clients is through inbound healthcare marketing on the Internet, but this is an unfamiliar landscape for many healthcare professionals. To help you better understand how it can help your practice or medical facility, you must understand why it is effective and how each step in the process works.
Web marketing is constantly evolving (there isn't even concensus on what to call it) – and whether you’re targeting a neighborhood customer base or have your eye on a big audience, your website must contain the elements that help people personally engage with your business in order to convert from visitors into qualified leads. Without them it is no better than passing out flyers in terms of meeting sales goals.
More businesses than ever before are finding new customers using social networks like Facebook and Twitter. When it comes to business to consumer marketing on the web, there are few platforms more effective than social networks. WebDAM reported in a study that in 2013, 52% of all marketers found a customer on Facebook and 43% found one on LinkedIn. With all the buzz around
We always advise our clients about the importance of strategy behind their content in social media marketing. Most business owners start out somewhat confused about how they can provide the kind of social media content that will bring in more customers and approach it by just slinging out random messages through various social channels and then end up concluding it doesn't work when they don't see any obvious change in their sales figures. They're hearing the buzz about being visible in social media but messages about the importance of a well thought out strategy just aren't getting in there with it.
Healthcare organizations need to market their brand and capabilities in a very unique way if they wish to succeed. Fortunately for those in the healthcare sector, there are more ways than ever for medical practices and healthcare professionals to grow their presence through the web. Healthcare marketing online can be done in several ways during the spring season if you want to bring in more patients.
Thanks to the hard work of the Web Pages That Suck team, we’re never short of examples of truly awful sites:
- Here’s one that instantly alienates. It requires your email address just for the privilege of viewing the homepage. No thanks!
- Go on, we dare you to try and navigate this “artsy” mess.
- And this thing is best described as simply crazy-ugly.
WPTS’s vote for worst website of 2013? Hands down, the crash-prone HealthCare.gov.
It is no secret that in the modern world, inbound tactics on the Internet are at the head of the class when it comes to healthcare marketing. Any healthcare office that wants to make the transition away from traditional outbound marketing like billboards, television commercials, or direct mail might not immediately know what to expect. When your practice decides to transition to inbound healthcare marketing, there are a few things to understand to ease the difficulty of this adjustment.
If you're sticking with tradition, advertising in the yellow pages may be a stock feature in your dental marketing plan. Yellow page advertising is appealing, too, because it requires very little effort. You design your ad, pay your money and then the advertisement generates business (or doesn't), for a year. But, have you assessed the return on that investment recently?
Undoubtedly, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has placed healthcare front and center prompting companies to hurriedly shift healthcare marketing efforts to address the concerns of patients and potential new patients. A great place to start is in crafting a sound inbound marketing strategy given that so much attention surrounding the law is directing people to Internet tools and resources.
With the straightest of faces and the sincerest of deliveries, would-be marketing guru Dan Sally tells us why inbound marketing simply isn’t for him. If you can identify with Dan, you are likely losing money, customers, perhaps even your business without even realizing it.
Creating Vision, Mission and Values (VMV) statements may sound “corporate,” but they actually provide benefits to your staff and your patients and can boost your healthcare marketing efforts.
In today's crowded online marketplace, establishing and maintaining a trustworthy identity is vital to gaining valuable Google page rank. No longer tied to simply keywords, Google now looks at a business' content in a more holistic way. The search engine rewards pages that express value and credibility. A set of well-crafted VMV statements can help.
“Gone are the days,” says Dental Products Report, “of seeing patients once, maybe twice, a year.”
Instead, today’s patients expect more engagement from their healthcare providers, even when they’re not sick. Younger people live on their mobile devices, and older people are increasingly more comfortable using email and Internet regularly.
In recent years, search engine optimization companies claiming genius qualities exponentially grew, leaving many business owners questioning how to select among the best SEO companies.
Updated for 2015: Improving your search engine optimization (SEO) is about more than keywords. These days it is about the comprehensive user experience for your website, as well as the keywords.
When you think “typical customer,” do you envision a faceless, nameless set of statistics? Or does "Mr Smith" come to mind? If you think of customers as people, not just profit, you’re halfway to accomplishing part of your goal of qualified lead generation – creating marketing personas.
Even if TV, radio, display ads and direct mail worked in the past, each of these media are in decline. Your target market has migrated to an online environment, turning to their laptops, tablets and smartphones to research vendors – B2C and B2B.
In an earlier article, 8 Ways Inbound Marketing Is Just Like a Physical Fitness Plan, we outlined getting yourself in the right frame of mind to prepare for an inbound marketing campaign. This time we're sharing the specific steps for a strong and fit inbound marketing plan:
You know how it is when you set out to get yourself in shape by making changes to your diet and exercise routine, right? Well, the same frame of mind applies to inbound marketing strategy.
Getting things “off the rack” may work when you’re shopping for a coat, but when it comes to your website, blog, social pages and other inbound marketing content, you want something a bit more tailored to fit your budget and your business.
Everyone who tells you something like, “The Internet changed today’s marketing” got it wrong if they’re putting it in the past-tense. The truth is, “Today’s marketing is still changing and will continue changing.”
As technology evolves and the digital revolution continues its hold on consumers, it’s up to the best SEO companies to work side by side with their clients to navigate these uncertain but exciting waters.
In the real world, healthcare advertising is about building trust and portraying yourself as a professional healthcare services provider that people can rely on -- why should it be different in the cyber world? Internet marketing, with all its numbers and methodologies, is understandably intimidating to business owners or marketers who specialize in fields such as law or healthcare. What would a healthcare practitioner know about analytics, PageRank, inbound marketing, and social intelligence anyway?
Probably one of the first outside professionals your business contracted with was an accountant or tax professional. Most executives aren’t familiar with the intricacies of the Internal Revenue Code, and if you did invest the time to learn the thousands of pages of rules that might impact your business, they’d inevitably change.
There seems to be a lot of confusion from business owners, both large and small, about search engines. There is a good reason for this. Search engines are complicated! Business owners and entrepreneurs already have enough on their plates just trying to run their own business. Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a particular area that should not be ignored.
How does your website measure up in the online search results? The answer lies in the keywords you rank for, the ones that bring your content in front of people when they search using those words. It’s part of the time-consuming yet highly-rewarding process called keyword ranking.
The goal is to rank at the lowest number possible for keywords you’re targeting, keywords that are valuable to your business. The ranking number equals your position in the lineup of links delivered by search engines when people search for something on the Internet. Keywords ranking 1 through 10 are delivered on the first page and this is the best case scenario.
Here’s a comprehensive look at the process.
Why would you spend time and money ranking for keywords, anyway? Because Google and other search engines generate more traffic to your website and will directly affect your lead generation and conversion results. This should be compelling enough even for beginners to try to rank for the search engines. Research has already shown that about half of searchers click on a result on the first page. If your site appears on the top pages, then users are likely to find you easily. If you don’t rank, you’re either making it hard for potential customers to find you online or making it easy for competitors to outrank you.
Of course keywords are the raw materials of keyword ranking. Be sure you’re aiming for the right keywords. More often than not, people are more interested in guessing at what keywords their target audience use. Many more heavily depend on free keyword suggestion tools, which are often too limited to lead to meaningful results. You can try free tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool but don’t forget that these might only scratch the surface. Since there’s no way for you to measure how relevant these general keywords are, relying on them won’t give you a competitive edge.
Many premium keyword research tools can be tested for free within 30 days. See them in action and check how they compare with each other. Whatever tool you choose, make sure to list down relevant keywords based on accurate, current and private data. It helps to make an additional list of keywords that are closely similar to your set of primary keywords.
If you want to go beyond the basics, you can try keyword ranking for long-tail keywords. These are actually phrases, a collection of words that are more precise, less common and less competitive. They’re more targeted and are likely to reveal what searchers are actually looking for. Master long-tail keywords so you can better serve searchers and potential customers with good content tailored to their searches.
Your keywords are only as good as your keyword ranking plan. Don’t rush your initial keyword research without laying the groundwork first. Check if you have a strong website or landing page, one that attracts visitors or delivers a compelling call-to-action to your target audience. Also, make sure your plan aligns with your business model. Check again if all your keywords are relevant to your website. If you’re driving the wrong traffic to your website, then there’s no real return on your keyword ranking efforts.
Once you’re sure that you have the right mix of keywords, it’s time to conceptualize the content that will hopefully lead to the rank for your target keywords. Here’s a variety of content you can create:
an article or blog post
a press release
a product page
a landing page
an index or directory of links
You can start with any of these and publish them within the day. Remember, it is an ongoing process and will require patience and regular attention. How much time it takes depends on a number of variables; the strength of your competition, how well your keywords lend themselves to the creation of good content and how quickly you can generate a large volume of it. Don't worry, the rewards are worth the effort and will come in time if you stay committed to the process.
Thinking of a Pay-Per-Click campaign to buy keyword ranking? Download our free eBook to find out what you should know before you do.
Inbound marketing is a big, robust, ever-evolving discipline, which means there’s as much potential for mistakes as there is for success. Teaming up with a proven SEO company is a good step toward getting the ROI of your dreams. At the same time, you can take inspiration from some inbound marketing best practices.
Content best practices
Sometimes it seems that a fine line separates “cool beans!” from “this again?” Because a best practice of inbound marketing involves publishing content consistently, the temptation to cut corners is always there. Content that becomes less customer-focused and more sales-pitched can turn off your audience.
One good way to forestall content burnout is to diversify not just your subject matter but your authorship:
Ask employees or colleagues to contribute articles written from their perspective.
Star your customers in how-to videos.
Join forces with an industry organization to create a more credible white paper.
Update older blogs with new information.
Social Media. It’s the buzzword that just won’t go away. Businesses, marketers, moms, grandparents and teens are flocking to forums like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Just how much time are they spending there? Research shows in the United States, people are on Facebook more time each day than six of the nation’s leading news sites combined. And that’s just on Facebook.
So, should healthcare marketing plans include Social Media? Yes.To not include it would be like an ostrich burying its head in the sand.
Any contemporary target market strategy takes into account the enormous influence of the digital marketplace. Even if your direct mail, broadcast or Yellow Pages campaigns worked in the past, today's customer goes online quickly and definitively to help them make purchase decisions.
SEO services? Isn’t that just thinking up a couple of keywords and sprinkling them in some website pages?
Not if you’re serious about attracting visitors to your website, nurturing them into qualified leads, and finally converting the best leads into customers. To compete in today’s lively, ever-evolving inbound marketing environment, you need the nimble and flexible services that an experienced SEO consultant can deliver.
Consultation and Assessment
Free: the most powerful word in the selling universe! At least that’s the accepted wisdom handed down by generations of advertisers and marketers.
In everyday life, the word sure has drawing power. Consider how hard it is to avoid a farmers-market table full of “free samples” or pass by a theater offering “free admission.”
Facebook has its friends; Twitter its followers. But only LinkedIn, the world’s largest business network, can claim the monopoly on “contacts.” And when it comes to inbound marketing, contact is as vital as content for fostering lead generation.
There's a reason more than 187 million people were LinkedIn members as of November 2012 -- because this site connects people and businesses like no other online.
What’s the hardest-working page on your website? It’s not the homepage – it’s the landing page.
What would you rather see – engaging, informative facts or advice about something of interest to you, or a sales pitch from a company you never heard of?
Multiply your likely answer by the vast millions of web users, and you can see why blogging for business needs to be a vital part of your overall digital marketing strategy.
Technology hasn’t just changed the way B2B and B2C business gets conducted – it’s changed the way people look at marketing in general.
Though the Internet has changed the way B2B clients and B2C shoppers approach a prospective vendor, some things never change – like your need to separate the full-speed-aheads from the dead-ends among your leads.
Every minute a sales rep spends pitching to an unqualified lead is a minute wasted and money drained. In years past, effective lead generation may have centered on cold calls. Today, your website’s landing page does much of that legwork.
A target market strategy in the digital age can challenge even the most experienced marketer. After all, the Internet has changed the way we communicate, relate, do research and shop. And the “common denominator” approach of years past simply doesn't work well in an online environment.
But customer personas? They work
Personas are representations of your target market – characters created to humanize the target and help you customize content to them.
Updated 2015: Part of any well thought out marketing strategy includes a website. A site on its own, however, is not enough. You must also understand how to increase web traffic to your site so that your message is seen by your target audience.
It goes without saying that marketing is an investment in the growth of your business. Some investments, such as a conference sponsorship or a radio advertisement, are by nature short-term. You gain brand recognition through the exposure and possibly sales in the short-term, but most of the impact is concentrated in the moment.
If you're like many sales managers or business owners I know, the closer we came to the end of last year, the bigger the push was to close the sales that had been pending throughout the year. After all, they had to meet the sales goals set at the beginning of the year.
With all of the new tools, software and social media channels that seem to be appearing almost daily, business owners have the ability to do their own marketing more effectively than ever. More than once I have heard business owners say, "I don't need to spend my cash having an agency do social media for me...all I need to do is spend a little time and I can do it myself."
Have you noticed? LinkedIn has made a few changes to the design of their company pages. It's important for your page to be set up to optimize its effect on visitors and help you get more customers.
We all want to generate more leads from our websites, right? Well, this is how long you have to do it….one, two, three! You have three seconds to grab the attention of your website visitor and guide them in the direction you want them to go on your website.
Three Seconds! That’s why it’s so critical to use best practices for optimizing lead generation on your website. The overall strategy for lead generation online is called inbound marketing. Here is a list of five must haves to get things rolling: