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The Relationship between Website Navigation and SEO

Refining site navigation and structure is so important when it comes to search engine optimization. The idea that you could just put up your web site and never change it has become prehistoric. Today web sites need to revised at least every two years. Not for an aesthetically please purpose but for speed, video, and most importantly search engine rankings. So what does an optimized web site navigation look like? Here’s an example of navigation in its most basic form.

Your home page filters into header tabs, then header tabs filer into subcategories, which are, related to the header tabs. Each of the lower levels supports the higher levels from a linking perspective. The lines are indicative of potential cross-linking relationships, the implementation of which would be assessed on a site-by-site basis.

 

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 Search Engine Optimization and Navigation

 So what are the benefits of an optimized site? By creating straightforward and simplified navigation that access internal pages of a website are beneficial in the following ways:

  • Users are able to navigate the site easier
  • Search engines web site crawlers can easily crawl the site due to simplified navigation
  • Bringing exposure to subcategories within the site
  • Increases web site rankings

The above navigational structure is vital when it comes to users who have no idea the depth and size of your web site. Compared to a brick and mortar store, more than often, the consumer knows how large the store is before they walk in the door. Having a simple and straightforward navigational outline, an user and a search engine like Google will breeze through each component or department after department of your web site without a second thought. The goal here is to the make the user experience effortless. Making it so natural for the user simply allows the user to loose track of time and enjoy the entertainment.

As search engine optimization and usability experts, we often find that a website’s navigation can be simplified. By doing this, and creating a hierarchy of content supporting specific sections, we are improving navigation. But we are also creating a relationship which supports the sites linking, an absolutely critical component of SEO.

Ultimately, refinement of your navigation benefits the amount of pages Google and other search engines can locate on your site, allows you to increase your rankings, enhances your sites usability and improves your bottom-line. When you are creating your navigation, or refining an old one, make sure to take your time. In addition, consider the main keywords you are targeting to determine traffic and hub value. The bottom line is think about the end-user and how their experience on your site makes the most sense to find information. In addition, consider what common themes run through your site. This will allow you to accurately determine the correct paths and which links you would like to promote at the top of your navigation hierarchy.

Links pointing internally from the home page and globally on your website play a large role in your SEO success. Make sure your site makes sense from a usability and keyword traffic perspective and you will be a step ahead of many websites online.

 

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Marketing, like politics, is the art of the possible

Marketing is a necessary investment into your practice. Sadly, however, most businesses don’t see a high enough return or no return on their marketing investments. There are many reasons for this but one reason that seems to be a recurring theme when I consult with clients, is that there messaging is lost in translation when it comes to their targeted audiences. This means most small businesses seem to create marketing campaigns that lack one very necessary component and that’s creating a marketing strategy targeted to the right audience that distinguishes your business from competitors. The objective of all marketing plans is to fit your product and or service into the changing environment of everyday life, transforming how people live, work and play.

So what does that mean? Forbes’ contributor, Jack Trout lays out the essence of marketing into two sentences and uses two case studies to explain the steps of a successful marketing campaign.

First, your marketing’s responsibility is to see that everyone is playing the same tune in unison. Second, it’s marketing’s assignment to turn that tune or differentiating idea into what we call a coherent marketing direction.

The notion of a differentiating idea requires some thought. What kind of idea? Where do you find one? These are the initial questions that must be answered.

To help you answer these questions, I propose using the following specific definition. A differentiating idea is a competitive mental angle.

This kind of idea must have a competitive angle to have even a chance for success. This does not necessarily mean a better product or service, but rather, there must be an element of differentness. It could be smaller, bigger, lighter, heavier, cheaper or more expensive. It could be a different distribution system.

Furthermore, the idea must be competitive in the total marketing arena, not just competitive in relation to one or two other products or services. For example, Volkswagen‘s decision in the late 1950s to introduce the “first” small car was an excellent competitive idea. At the time, General Motors was manufacturing nothing but heavily chromed patrol boats. The Beetle was a runaway success.

The VW Beetle was not the first small car on the market, of course. But it was the first car to occupy the “small” position in the mind. “Think small,” said the Volkswagen ads. It made a virtue out of its size, while the others apologized for their small size by talking about “roominess.”

An example of a new bad idea is Volvo’s sporty coupe and convertible. We see no competitive angle against BMW, Mercedes or Audi (just to name a few).

Second, a differentiating idea must have a competitive mental angle. In other words, the battle takes place in the mind of the prospect.

Competitors that do not exist in the mind can be ignored. There were plenty of pizza places with home delivery operations when John Schnatter launched Papa John’s International . But nobody owned the “better ingredients” position in the mind.

A competitive mental angle is the point in the mind that allows your marketing program to work effectively. The angle is the point you must leverage to achieve results. But an idea is not enough. To complete the process, you need to turn the idea into a strategy. (If the idea is a nail, the strategy is the hammer.)

What’s a strategy? A strategy is not a goal. Like life itself, a strategy ought to focus on the journey, not the goal. Top-down thinkers are goal-oriented. They first determine what it is they want to achieve, and then they try to devise ways and means to achieve their goals.

But most goals are simply not achievable. Goal-setting tends to be an exercise in frustration. Marketing, like politics, is the art of the possible.

Roger Smith took over General Motors in 1981. He predicted that GM would eventually own 70% of the traditional Big Three domestic car market, up from about 66% in 1979. To prepare for this awesome responsibility, GM began a $50 billion modernization program. Boy, was he wrong. Currently, General Motors’ share of the Big Three domestic market is 28% and falling. His goal was simply not achievable, because it was not based on a sound idea.

In my definition, a strategy is not a goal. It’s a coherent marketing direction. A strategy is coherent in the sense that it is focused on the idea that has been selected. Volkswagen had a big tactical success with the small car, but it failed to elevate this idea to a coherent strategy. It forgot about “small” and instead elected to bring into the U.S. market a family of big, fast and expensive vehicles. But other car manufacturers had already preempted these automotive ideas. This opened the way for the Japanese to take over the small car idea.

Second, a strategy encompasses coherent marketing activities. Product selection, pricing distribution, advertising–all the activities that make up the marketing mix must be coherently focused on the idea. (Think of a differentiating idea as a particular wavelength of light and the strategy as a laser tuned to that wavelength. You need both to penetrate the mind of the prospect.)

Finally, a strategy is a coherent marketing direction. Once the strategy is established, the direction shouldn’t be changed.

warkprofileprofessionalThe purpose of the strategy is to mobilize your resources to preempt the differentiating idea. By committing all your resources to one strategic direction, you maximize the exploitation of the idea without the limitation that the existence of a goal implies. In other words, don’t put your eggs all in one basket. For more information on marketing, or to help you update your marketing plan, call us at 702-682-8300

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Responsive Websites Rank High on Google SERP

Just when you think your web site is up to date, Google changes its algorithm yet again. This last month’s change has Google’s pack of 7 down to a pack of 3 business web sites on the organic search page listing. In addition, addresses and phone numbers have been removed altogether. As you can see, only three web sites are listed for “medical weight loss Las Vegas” and are supposed to be listed based on proximity and relevance of the search. However, these businesses that are listed are not close to my location nor are they weight loss centers. So what does this mean to business owners?

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Well it actually means more than you might think. It means that for you to be even somewhat competitive, you need to update your web site to increase your chances of being in the top three along with staying on the first page of Google’s organic searches. So how do you increase your chances to be in the top three on the local pack of Google? Here are five recommendations:

  1. Your website address is now more important than your phone number. In the new local pack, the address and phone number are removed from the main search result. Instead, the search results show your store hours, reviews and offers a link to the website and directions. Of course, you can still see the spot on the map where your business is, so address is still important. But it’s interesting to note that they make your website URL prominent and not focus on your other contact info. Make sure that your search listings have a Website URL, and it can’t hurt to make sure your hours are filled in too. Also, it’s extremely important for you to make sure Google has your address listed so you come up to the nearest prospect who is looking for your services.
  2. Google is taking away its emphasis on Google+. Google also removed the links to Google My Business pages. This makes Google+ less relevant, which might be a relief to a lot of people who felt forced into creating a Google+ account. In the meantime, it’s still best to keep up with your Google+ pages while we wait and see what The Big G chooses to do next with their social media service.
  3. It’s going to be even harder for a local business to rank here. While we always want to be as high as possible in search results, now it’s even harder. As you can see on the example above, there is A LOT of local competition in our area for the medical weight loss industry. I would be willing to bet that it’s similar in most other industries. This means that the majority of businesses won’t be listed on the local pack of Google. My prediction is that customers will rely less on this first page as a result. They might get into the habit of expanding the local pack to see all 20 top results, or looking in a different area for local results. People like options! If this happens, businesses will not place such an emphasis on ranking locally. Of course, it could be the exact opposite – competition for that 3 pack could greatly increase. In that situation, only the best, most relevant sites will prevail.
  4. It’s more important than ever to make sure your website is optimized. As you can see, Google is not going to slow down any time soon in aiming to give people the most relevant search result possible. This means that it is extremely important to make sure your website is helpful, mobile-responsive, complete, and relevant.Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 5.09.04 PM
  5. Adding video on your website increases your rankings on Google’s organic searches. As you can see Unicorn’s YouTube channel is helping it come up in rankings on Google’s search engines. It’s not one or the other for testimonials, we recommend both as some prospects may want to read about other patients’ experiences while others may want to hear it. Giving options to your patients is key to success.  As you can see in the screenshot below Unicorn Medical Weight Loss & MediSpa tops the list on the organic search and it’s YouTube video is #4 on the first page of Google’s organic search engine.

Does your website need an SEO facelift? If you think you need to update your site and boost your organic traffic, click on the image below to learn about our website packages.

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Top Five EHR and Practice Management for Medical Practices

 The Mechanics of Keeping Your Patients Part 2

Running a profitable medical office requires keeping on top of key metrics such as accounts receivable ratios and net collection percentages. However, you have to look beyond those numbers to stay in the black, experts say. Successful practices prioritize teamwork and ensure that everyone on staff knows their role in the revenue cycle and that includes implementing an integrated practice management and EHR software system that best-suits your practice.

For a medical practice, EHR may be important — but practice management is essential. According to KLAS ratings, the top five practice management software systems are as follows:

    • 1. – Epic has become the default system of choice for hospitals, particularly larger hospitals. As a system designed for large enterprises, it is not even an option for small medical practices. While customers may choose Epic as much for its reputation and the breadth of its suite as for any single piece of software, the KLAS rating shows they are also happy with the practice management functionality, which actually reflects the performance of multiple products
  •  2. – Aethenahealth: Aethenahealth rates #1 for practices of fewer than 75 physicians. While most practice management software vendors offer some version of their product as a cloud service, Athenahealth is the one most insistent on sticking exclusively to a cloud model. Just as significantly, the AthenaCollector software is inextricably linked to the company’s business services. One major strength of Aethenahealth is that it can see where in the workflow employees are getting hung up, or how long it takes a patient to get checked in or checked out for a visit.
  •  3. – eClinicalWorks: Ranking in the KLAS survey as one of the top practice management systems for practices of all sizes, eClinicalWorks is second only to Epic for practices with more than 75 physicians. eClinicalWorks boats that it’s clients currently experience a 98% first-pass acceptance rate (claims paid on first submission).
  •  4. – NextGen Healthcare is another of the top-ranked practice management systems in the KLAS survey across practices of all sizes. NextGen offers a revenue cycle management service, although so far fewer than 5% of customers take advantage of it. The software’s ability to track the work that needs to be done to process claims and secure payments are among NextGen’s strongest features. While often overshadowed by EHR hype, practice management is really the core of the system.
  •  5. – McKesson shows up in the KLAS rankings for two products, Practice Plus, one of the favorites for practices of 75 or more doctors, and Practice Partner for smaller practices. McKesson prodcuts are distinguished by their ability to adapt to individual locations, so it’s not cookie cutter, and adjust software workflow to the way a practice functions.

warkprofileprofessionalPractice management software is just one component of helping keep medical offices running smoothly. Technology systems are not the only systems that need to be adopted in your practice. Before you decide a system that fits your practice, you need to have a full grasp of every function in your practice. For example:

  • What happens when a new patient contacts you?
  • What actions happen when you sign on a new patient?
  • What steps do you follow to deliver your healthcare services?
  • What tasks need to be completed when you complete a project?
  • How do you run your back office and administrative affairs?
  • What roles and responsibilities do any team members (employees, subcontractors, etc.) have and what steps do they follow to meet those duties?
  • What does your schedule look like? What constitutes “open for business hours” and “closed for business” time?
  • What are your policies and procedures for working with patients? (Think: patient forms and arbitration agreements.)
  • What are your billing and payment policies and procedures?

The above components are all a part of creating standard operating procedures and policies to adhere to at every level of your practice. If you need help with designing your operations in a way to help your practice runs efficiently, please give us a call. It’s time to start running your medical practice like a very successful business.  Call us today at 702-682-8300.

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The Importance of an Infrastructure in a Medical Practice

The Mechanics of Keeping Your Patients Part 1

Operating a private healthcare practice in today’s environment presents many challenges. Shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, rising business costs, can all feel like barriers to success. Over the last few years, there has been a shift towards attracting private pay patients with the advent of Concierge Medicine, MediSpas, and various complementing services that doctors are pushing in their practice to increase revenue.

What does it take to have a successful medical practice today? Most physicians rely on referrals for getting new patients, as their marketing budget is limited to social media channels and patient referrals. But spreading the word about your business without building an infrastructure within the operations is a recipe for mediocrity. What does that mean? It means that without having systems and procedures in place, patients will constantly be falling through the cracks. But the right “point of care tools” can not only save your practice, they can take it to the next level.

Every medical practice or small business for that matter needs a starting place when building out its infrastructure. With the advent of Obamacare, many practice management software systems have been designed to help automate your operating system along with integrating your PM system with Electronic Health Records.

Integrated platforms that are more user friendly, while both comprehensive in their features and functionality, are vital to success in a very competitive medical industry.  But beware, you ultimately will get what you pay for.  Doctors usually are more familiar with their EMR needs and functionality than they are about the needs on the Practice Management side. Keep in mind that while you may be providing high quality care, you may not be able to collect what you’re due if your Practice Management system or Staff doesn’t have the ability to track the right metrics.  You should also consider outsourcing your Billing & Collections as your best bet in getting your receivables paid.

warkprofileprofessionalPractice management software keeps the medical office running smoothly, and the wrong package can wreak havoc with billing, scheduling, and other essential business processes. A closer look at KLAS’ top-ranked systems will help you choose the one that best fits your practice. Next week we will cover the top five Practice Management software systems for medical practices.

 

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Higher Hires – Practice Management

Hiring the right people should seem like it’s more than blind luck. Every business owner would love a greater sense of certainty that the person they think will be a perfect fit, will be exactly that. But every owner has experienced the frustration of dealing with bad employees, and in turn has made solemn promises to themselves that they will never make the same mistake again. There are ways that you can help keep those promises and it may start with breaking a few of old hiring habits.

Nepotism is a two edged sword.

One of the most satisfying accomplishments is successfully building a business with family members. The ability to employ immediate members of your family, like your children, can be economical during lean times, a common purpose that can be embraced by the entire family, and a great way to continue your enterprise into the future by having your heirs take over the reins. The downside too often outweigh the positives. Nepotism is generally frowned upon because it often places non-family employees at a disadvantage. The temptation of throwing away the employee handbook as it applies to family is too great. This creates tremendous problems for your operation. It instills a sense of entitlement in your employed family members, they never integrate into the workplace team, and they don’t develop valuable workplace skills, experience, and attitude. When family members aren’t performing to the standards set for other employees, it’s a recipe for disaster. Your employees can become resentful, lack productivity and motivation, as well as begin exploring other employment opportunities.

Hiring friends of employees

One of the more convenient ways to find new employees is to ask people around the office if they know anyone that is looking for a job. This is not necessarily a great way to recruit. People who socialize with each other outside of work bring those relationships into the workplace. If things go sour between friends, and we know that they can, then that pollutes the workplace environment.

What you see is what you get

Never make the mistake of thinking that an employee is going to become a different person once they start working for you. If you see that a prospective employee is lacking in a certain area then plan on having that weakness present in the workplace. A person with a bad attitude or poor social skills will not improve because you hired them. A person who lacks the ability to comprehend or learn your desired specialized skills will not become proficient in those skills because they have a great personality. There is the right employee out there. Don’t settle for less. Finding the right people for your practice and getting the best out of them is vital for the success of your practice. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need assistance at 702.682.8300.

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We take great pride in hiring the right people for your practice. Set up a consultation with Lisa Marie Wark and she can create your road map for hiring a winning team here in Las Vegas Nevada.

1. Lisa’s Scorecard

What goes on the scorecard?: The candidate’s personal mission and specific goals they will be responsible for.

2. The Importance of Defined Goals

Lisa’s Motto: “To build great behavioral interviewing models, you’ve got to understand what this person is going to be responsible and accountable for.” Defining your candidate’s goals will help you ask the right questions in the interviewing process.

3. Divide Up the Goals in the Interviewing Process

If you have multiple people interviewing a candidate, divvy up your defined goals. Then, build your interviewing plan around that. This will help you identify “A” players when you debrief with your team.

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Facebook to become the “Holy Grail” of targeting new patients

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and a host of other social networking sites were created for personal use. All of these companies require revenue to operate so it’s been interesting to watch them pick and choose their revenue path. Like any perilous journey, if you guess wrong on the direction you take your enterprise, it can quickly become obsolete. Do you still have your My Space account?Long term survival for these companies have forced their attentions to “the land of milk and honey”- the world of business and those big juicy ad budgets.

Their big marketing pitch to us business types is compelling. Businesses have spent six decades throwing ad dollars at a big broadcast media wall to see what sticks. Now, social media offers a more refined wall to it throw at. Actually it’s not that bad. The digital media wunderkinds that conjure up new algorithms to create revenue models to sustain their social media companies, are coming tantalizingly close to offering businesses a truly great opportunity to target their advertising dollars.

Social media companies have always had their hands full trying to convince advertisers that their media channels were neither the exclusive domain of attention deficit teens, nor Silicon Valley hipsters. Slowly but surely the important role of social media has taken root in the business community. Social media has become a mainstay in the lives of most consumers including consumers that also happen to be business owners. Hence a comfort level in spending ad dollars on social media, and a downright giddiness at the prospect of getting a message right under the nose of a targeted consumer.

It’s no surprise that Facebook has lead the way in attracting ad dollars. They are perfecting the art of placing your ad in front of prospective customers without the use of cookies like Google uses. Their Custom Audiences feature that they introduced in 2013 allows an advertiser to model the audience by demographics and basic interests. They expanded the feature to allow an advertiser to import a contact database and match emails as well as phone numbers. If you have other data points like age, gender, and interests, simply divide your lists up into those separate groups along with your customized message for each group. And bingo, you have virtually dropped a message onto the Newsfeed of the exact customer in which you intended. (Remember that Facebook gives much higher ad placement to video content.)

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There are certainly other social media channels that are making their mark with ad dollars, but Facebook is probably the whole package for those businesses that want to get on board. If you want to create a social media strategy, call us at 702-682-8300. Start targeting tomorrow’s patients, today!

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Video Testimonials – Most Powerful Marketing Channel

Video is a powerful tool for persuasion. We are now talking, sharing, producing and consuming in a mobile world and video content has a greater impact in all of these areas than anything else. The ease of distributing video content has also resurrected the art of personal persuasion- real people, to whom you can relate, expressing their true feelings about something and suggesting you do the same. There is nothing more powerful than a real satisfied patient, client, or customer expressing themselves to other real people.

 

 

The production is first class, and the message is simple, short, unscripted, and compelling. It meets all of the communication demands of today’s consumers. It is also a component of a larger campaign in promoting Cataract Awareness Month. As part of promoting Cataract Awareness Month on behalf of our client, we are rolling out testimonials on laser cataract surgery that will be distributed throughout the various digital media channels. The above video is one of many that will be used to help with SEO ranking and consistent messaging throughout the digital media channels like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and the web site.

Social media channels are now awash in video content. It was only a matter of technology catching up to our insatiable appetite for moving images. Today we expect to be talked to, entertained by, and persuaded with video. If there is one phrase that optimizes our rules of engagement it’s, “If you want to tell me something, say it, don’t’ write it”. YouTube is a perfect example of how popular videos are used by businesses for messaging. The stats on YouTube alone are staggering.

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  • YouTube has grown to be the largest social media site surpassing Facebook in 2014
  • YouTube has more than 1 billion users
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google
  • Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views
  • The number of hours people are watching on YouTube each month is up 50% year over year
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • Half of YouTube views are on mobile devices
  • Mobile revenue on YouTube is up over 100% y/y

 
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With the exception of brands and businesses that cater to millennials, the rest of the world of commerce lags behind their respective markets in the video medium that is the most effective with consumers. I began to approach my medical clients a year ago about integrating video content into their social media marketing. My suggestions weren’t met with reticence as much as a sincere lack of understanding why a video medium would be desirable to market products and services. The reaction lead me to do a bit more research on the web to see how doctors and their practices were using video in the digital world.

Most of the doctors that had a presence on Facebook, You Tube, and on web sites, although positioned professionally, had a remarkably unprofessional quality to them. Many of them were self-produced and consisted of a doctor talking into the little imbedded camera on a computer screen, under florescent lights, and talking at length. I felt like I was sequestered in some digital dungeon being force fed content for CME credits. The lack of quality reflected poorly on them as professionals and they clearly didn’t understand that this was probably their worst foot forward.

Today that’s beginning to change. Medical professionals recognize they are in an ever increasing competitive market that demands authenticity and excellence. Recording rambling video in something that resembles your mother’s basement doesn’t cut it. Consumers expect the highest quality services and products in the field of medicine and they want to hear about it from people like them. Make your happy patients your best sales people.

Creating excellent video messaging is becoming an imperative for marketing success. I would love to help you achieve that. Feel free to contact us at 702.682.8300.

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Getting Real About Your Social Media ROI

Question: What’s as legendary as the Lock Ness Monster, or as allusive as the Publisher’s Clearing House Million Dollar Prize?

Answer: It’s an acceptable ROI on your business’s digital media efforts…or some would have you believe.

While a return on investment for social media would appear to be one of life’s great mysteries, there are a number of ways to wrap your brain around this vexing issue.

Media is media. Businesses have always needed to market, and the same question always arises, “How much money do I have to spend to convince people to buy what I have to sell?” Whether you spend money on traditional media like TV and radio or social media like Facebook and Twitter, you will always be faced with the uncertainty of which ad at what time and place compelled the consumer to become the customer. We must demythologize digital and social media if we are going to alleviate the anxiety and the angst over spending advertising dollars on digital and social media without feeling like we are chasing an imaginary audience. It’s easier than you may think.

It begins by managing your expectations. Understand that successful marketing is an exercise of trial and error. Messages, resources, and social media channels need to be tested constantly. More resources are committed to the formulas that have an acceptable level of response and return, but the testing should continue to keep pace with evolving markets and delivery systems.

The ultimate goal is to get conversions (customers) and keep conversions, but that is the result of a marketing process. The process begins with presenting yourself to your audience and then trying to figure out if they notice you enough to do something about it. Any great salesman will tell you that the secret to selling is to develop a relationship with your potential customer. Until recently every social media marketer was glued to analytics that would tell you how many friends or followers you had. The enthusiasm for those great numbers died quickly when owners realized those indicators weren’t translating into an increase in customers. It turns out we were looking at the wrong thing.

It’s now apparent that meaningful response to social media messaging comes when someone is willing to engage. That engagement takes the form of traveling the next step down the sales funnel, whether that is sharing a post, hitting a recommended link for more information, or actually giving you contact information that you can now use to create that relationship. Now that you know that engagement is the goal, you can make sure that your social media dollars are going towards a strategy that compels the viewer to engage. The more people you have drawn to the step of engagement the greater success you will have in creating a relationship and ultimately making them a customer.

Measuring your Digital and Social Media ROI is not just limited to small business owners. Global marketers both in Europe and America have increasing pressures to prove their worth. The illustration below shows how the digital channels rank in their ability to measure ROI from global marketers.

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newly-released survey [download page] from Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud that analyzes global marketers’ ability to measure ROI from a variety of digital channels finds that there is only a single discipline that most marketers rate themselves “good” at measuring.

The survey – fielded predominantly among European marketers, who made up three-quarters of the sample – found that 52% of company respondents consider themselves “good” at measuring ROI from paid search (PPC). Similarly, 53% of agency respondents rated their clients’ ability to measure the ROI from paid search as “good.”

No other discipline was able to crack 50% of respondents rating themselves “good” at ROI measurement. In fact, email marketing (for acquisition) was the only other channel for which respondents (both marketers and agencies) were more likely to rate themselves as being “good” than “okay.”

On the other end of the spectrum, just 13% of company respondents rate themselves as “good” at being able to measure the ROI of video advertising, and just 12% of agency respondents agreed with respect to their clients. By one measure, though, content marketing fared even worse: a plurality 43% of company respondents rated themselves “poor” at measuring content marketing’s ROI. That was the only channel of the 19 identified in which more respondents considered themselves “poor” than “okay” (41%) or “good” (16%).

Social media investment also appears to be a pain point, according to marketers and agencies, echoing the sentiments of US CMOs as noted in the study referenced above.

Despite those difficulties, inability to measure ROI is not the primary hindrance to increased digital marketing investments, per the Econsultancy study. Instead, marketers were most likely to say that a restricted budget for all types of marketing prevents more investments in digital, while a lack of staff to make the most of digital investments was the second-most cited barrier. Interestingly, agency respondents see a lack of understanding about digital and company culture as the biggest impediments to clients investing more money in digital.

That’s not to say that there’s not money flowing to digital marketing, though. Instead, this latest annual study finds digital marketing budget expectations to be at their highest point since the survey’s inception in 2010, as 77% of respondents plan spending hikes this year, up from 71% in last year’s survey. Of note, 71% of company respondents agree that it has become easier to secure boardroom buy-in for increased digital marketing budgets, an increase from 64% last year.

warkprofileprofessionalSocial media marketing and the results of that marketing shouldn’t be a great mystery. Put together a plan (or find someone that can do it for you), commit the proper resources to executing the plan, and execute the plan knowing that you have invested wisely in something that’s real…not a legend.  Call me today to create a marketing plan that is tailored for your business. 702.374.1944

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Branding: Your Market I.D.

What Are You?

“Branding” is quickly earning its way onto my Banned Words List. It’s still essential to successful business marketing, but it is in danger of becoming nothing more than a trendy buzz word. And trendy buzzwords too often become a cheap substitute for a little heavy lifting that any business needs to be successful.

Branding only seems difficult because it requires a business owner to take a longer and deeper look at their business. After all, it so much easier to just desperately struggle every day chasing customers that have absolutely no idea why they should trust you! The exercise of branding your business begins not with an over-priced trademark or logo, it begins with a philosophical question, “What or who are we?”

 

I ran across a great article in Forbes where the author said that building your brand starts inside your organization with defining your corporate culture. You have to mold your own set of values and behaviors if those characteristics are ever going to be recognized in your brand. Every department and person in your business should be keenly aware of what your brand means. When you have really committed to building your brand you will begin to understand the need to hire people that reflect your corporate culture and properly represent your brand in the marketplace.

 

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A well-recognized and regarded brand is about owning the market, not competing in the market. When the customer believes in your brand they stop comparing you to the competition. They form an emotional attachment to your product and service. It’s not a question of how many times they see your logo, it’s about what stands behind it: integrity, a great product at a great price, caring customer service, etc. It’s your customer’s emotional attachment, and your brand discipline, that will sustain you through the rough patches, the pretenders, goofy trends, and market swings.

Marketing your brand is an act of discipline too. The ROI on an effective branding campaign is not going to deliver short term results like a standard retail campaign would, but it will be priceless in the long run. Some mediums, like social media, are going to be more effective for branding than it will be for generating direct sales. A video testimonial, because of the visual medium’s emotional appeal is likely to have a greater impact than a newspaper ad.

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A brand is more than a catch word, it’s the definition of who you are and what you represent. It’s on which everything else sits. It’s time to build a foundation for your business. Build a brand. For a consultation, call me directly at 702-374-1944. Let’s start today!

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