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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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Avoid the Pitfalls of building a Concierge Medical Practice

Are you considering transforming your medical practice into a concierge medical practice? If so, than there are a few do’s and don’t’s that can make the difference between success and failure.

The average family doctors see about 4,000 patients in their practice which leads very little time for one-on-one interaction with the patient. In order to have a successful concierge practice, you have to change your large insurance-based practice into a more patient-centric practice by reducing the size of your patient load so can provide a higher quality of care.

Starting a new concierge practice is not easy. There are many doctors who do it successfully while others have failed miserably. If you do it properly, you can reap the benefits of receiving higher pay, quality care with patients, and the overall rewarding experience of receiving cash for your time rather than the paper chase and denials of insurance-based practices.

Do: start with a business plan

It is completely astonishing that most small businesses lack a business plan that is relevant to their business services and produces as well as their position in the market place. A business plan is a road map to show you how to price points, service offerings and overall how to reach your goals. The best way to shape the future of your new business is to begin with a business plan that outlines how your concierge medicine practice will be structured. If you are planning to get financing to open your new office, a business plan is required to show the lender your financial viability to qualify for a loan. Your business plan should include information about your patient load, revenue streams, staffing requirements, and recruitment efforts to keep patient load at a sufficient level to support your business.

Don’t: use a ‘boilerplate’ business plan

There are sample business plans available online that you can purchase, and while these can be a great resource as a starting point to let you know the types of things to include in your plan, they should be treated as just an outline. If you copy and paste the information directly from the sample plan without customizing it for your area, the estimates about revenue, patient load, and other information will range from being either slightly wrong to wildly inaccurate, which can affect your success in the future. Spend the necessary time to customize your plan to fit the needs of the market and to position yourself in a more strategic place than your competitors.

Do: educate your patients of your new practice

Most patients today are very familiar with a traditional model for primary care doctor’s offices, and some may have never heard of a concierge doctor before. Change is hard for everyone, but you can ease the transition for your patients by communicating with them about your plans to become a concierge physician, and helping them understand what that means for them. If you surprise your patients one day without any advance notice or education about what a concierge physician is and why it’s beneficial, you may not be able to keep those patients in your new practice.

Don’t: assume your patients know what your new practice will be like, spell it out for them in your marketing materials

As a physician, you are very familiar with different types of practices and different models, and you know the advantages and disadvantages. Patients, on the other hand, are not familiar with all this information, and it is your job to educate them on why you are choosing to become a private physician, and how it will benefit them. If you’re not sure about the best way to reach out to your patients and help educate them, consider hiring a marketing consultant to help.

Do: hire the right team – hire slowly & fire quickly

Your new concierge medicine practice will require the support and help of a great team, including your staff, an accountant who understands concierge medicine practice models, an attorney, and a healthcare consultant with experience setting up and running patient-centric businesses. Every single employee from manager to operator needs to be on board with your patient-centric business model and culture. If one employee is not, then don’t waste your time. Fire them.

Don’t: hire a consultant with the wrong experience

There are a lot of healthcare consultants who can help you convert your practice to concierge medicine, but you want to be sure to hire one that has experience working with patients that fit your demographics, and not one that tries to make your practice fit into a “one-size-fits-all” model. I have noticed the greatest benefit that a consultant can have when being hired for a concierge medical practice is experience in developing a menu of cash services. You do not want the practice management consultant who only has experience in insurance-based medical practice business models. These two models are tremendously different. One model treats patients as if they are a number and the time the doctor spends with the patient is very limited. The other model is based on a patient-centric model whereby each contact with the patient ensures a positive experience.

Do: review your practice regularly

Constant gauging and auditing your progress is a necessary task that will show you if you are meeting your goals. Set a schedule to review your practice at least once a year to ensure that you are meeting your goals, and find areas where you can improve. You can do this on your own, or with the help of a consultant, to make sure that your practice is thriving for years to come.

Sometimes change can be scary, but both patients and physicians often appreciate the improved care that comes with a concierge practice.

 

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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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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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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!

Marketing Plan

Are you a man with a plan?

Marketing plans are like travel plans-if you don’t have one you can find yourself wandering around in circles. A plan compels you to look ahead, and a good marketing plan is a product of thorough research, conservative forecasting, a good chunk of expertise, and a dash of imagination. Unfortunately, too many business owners get the ingredients confused and instead decide that their marketing plan should have a big chunk of imagination.

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Set you inner “Mad Man” aside, and get your arms around the less exciting, but more crucial elements of a successful marketing plan, The Four Ps. The Four Ps are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. Each one of these components is essential. So let’s break it down:

Product: The marketing plan identifies the ‘hook’ for a product or service. You better know who your target audience is, and why they should be willing to buy what you are selling. And you need to tell everyone why they should buy yours instead of your competitor’s.

Price: What pricing strategy will your practice follow for this product/service? Is the plan to sell large volumes so the economies of scale can keep the price low? Or will be marketed as a boutique practice, which keeps the service and products more exclusive but the prices higher?

Promotion: What is the advertising strategy? How will the service/product be packaged? Are you using your satisfied patients and customers as your best salespeople? Are you using advanced technology to promote your practice, and the wealth of knowledge of your physicians? All of these questions need to be addressed and written down so that the marketing campaign is focused.

Place: How will the product/service be distributed? Will it be pushed out through social media channels, print, traditional broadcast media outlets, or all of the above?

These are just the first steps in developing any marketing plan. There is always a ton of fine tuning once you deal with the basics, but at least you are going to be headed in the right direction. As we all know, summer is around the corner and can be a seasonally slow time for elective medical services, so you need a marketing plan more than ever.

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It’s not too late to put a campaign together. You need a strategy to build strong and loyal patient relationships, as well as grabbing a bigger share of the market. I can help you do that. Give me a call directly at 702-374-1944.

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Take It Personally

Personalizing Your Practice

We have all sat in those marketing meetings where the talk is all about the newest and greatest gadget that will attract new patients, where we have armed ourselves with the storyboard comparing our unique practice to the competition’s. But when all is said and done, the process and strategy of reaching new patients starts with the basics:  Personalizing Your Brand Leads to a Connection 

And the end result of being personable and connecting to prospective patients increases conversions. The graph below shows on average the benefits of a personalized media campaign. As you can see, personalizing your message increases engagement and conversions.

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In order to start a conversation with a prospective patient you need to define who you are. Are you the cosmetic high-end dentist? Are you the family eye doctor? Do you have a fixed menu of services or is pricing not discussed with the healthcare provider? When prospective patients see your practice, what comes to mind? Now that you have defined what you think you are…you need to personalize your brand to your prospective patients. Defining who you are and being disciplined in conveying that to patients sounds elementary, but you would be surprised how quickly you can stray from your brand and confuse your patients.

 

When you Personalize your Brand, you are Connecting to Patients

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Remember after you ask a question, you need to listen. One company that has been effective and very successful in listening to its customers is Starbucks. Although they stumbled badly last week with their “Race Together” initiative they heard their customers and did a quick about-face and discontinued it yesterday. In a company where the “experience” compensates for the high prices, it is in Starbucks’ best interest to receive feedback directly from BrandsFocusingPersStrat_61-74_infographicthe customers themselves. Starbucks has created a consumer portal, “My Starbucks Idea” where employees discuss ideas that are being implemented while responding to other suggestions.

Another company that has seen tremendous success in personalizing their brand is Southwest Airlines. Southwest has effectively used social media to show what makes them unique and uses social media activity and community engagement to highlight their uniqueness. From promoting a viral video of a rapping flight attendant on YouTube to informing customers of delayed flights, Southwest has successfully created a personable image that conveys a friendly, unique, and intimate brand to its loyal flyers. In fact, a customer on a flight randomly filmed their experience that was posted and quickly went viral. Southwest executives thought it was fun as well, and looked at it as a great branding opportunity, and promoted it on all its social media channels. Since the video was published, it has been on major television networks, talk shows, and news networks.

warkprofileprofessionalIt’s never too late to define, empower, and personalize your brand. Whether you have been around for twenty years or are just opening your doors, defining who you are in the marketplace is essential in attracting and retaining prospective patients. Then, remember to follow-through by meeting and exceeding patients’ expectations.

Call me directly at 702-374-1944 and let’s start branding your business today.

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A License to Succeed

In my last blog, a couple of weeks ago, I commented on how rewarding it was to be part of the licensing and exam boards in the dentistry profession. A license to practice in the medical field is a precious commodity. It is the result of tremendous resources spent over many years and rigorous training.

These are career preparations that few of us in the business world will ever choose to face on our path to success. I have a well-earned MBA, and while that is an attractive achievement in some client’s eyes, seldom do they ask me at what school was it earned. But we are genuinely interested in where are doctor or dentist got their degree. Could you imagine ever getting the response, “The school of hard knocks”?

While the world is full of successful business people who are self-made and are not required to present themselves to others to be judged competent or worthy, there is an important lesson that we can learn from that dynamic.

Outside of a handful of professional services that must undergo a state licensing procedure and its accompanying oversight, you don’t have to be licensed to go out there and make a living. That unfettered independence will on occasion make even the best boss insular and tin-eared. After all, unless you have partners or run a public company you don’t have to answer to anyone. The office suggestion box, as anachronistic as it now seems, was as close as most owners ever got to the fiery pool of accountability.

It really is refreshing to play a part in a profession where its members submit themselves to rigorous examinations, rules, procedures, and licensing in order to ensure that they and their profession deliver the highest quality service possible. Now that’s accountability-willing to face criticism from their peers and even discipline. The system works and the professions flourish.

warkprofileprofessionalPerhaps a softer form of this could be gently applied to the rest of us. When you open yourself and your management team to suggestions (or even, God forbid, constructive criticism) from your peers and your employees you can’t help but run a better ship.

Have you created ways to hold yourself accountable, in order to improve yourself professionally? I would appreciate hearing about it. You can email me at lmwark@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

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