5 Internet Marketing Secrets for DCs
By Mark Sanna, DC, ACRB Level II, FICC
A successful Internet marketing plan for your chiropractic practice hinges on attracting a high volume of traffic to your website and creating a high rate of conversion. Traffic means the number of unique visitors who view your website. Conversion refers to the number of people who took the step of contacting you after viewing your website.
The most successful websites not only have high traffic, but also high targeted traffic. This means that your website attracts your ideal patients: those individuals who have the need, desire and means to afford your chiropractic care. You also want your website to increase the conversion of these potential new patients into actual booked appointments in your practice.
So, while traffic and conversion are essential components for Internet success, let's focus on taking it to the next level and the strategies you can deploy to increase targeted traffic and conversion to appointments. These Internet marketing strategies, if executed properly and on a regular basis, will yield a bounty of new patients ready to invest in chiropractic care.
1. Place "Contact Me" Above the Fold
Have you ever had a hard time locating a company's phone number on an advertisement? Such an obvious advertising error can also cause visitors to your website to become frustrated and ultimately deter them from pursuing care in your practice. Professional website designers track something called "UX" or "user experience." UX is the way a person feels when navigating a website. Does your practice website create a great UX or is it generating frustrated visitors who quickly move on to your competitors' sites?
One essential feature of great UX is to have your contact information placed prevalently at the top of the page. "Above the fold" means that the information is located above the point at which someone must scroll to view the lower part of a webpage. Your contact information, including your phone number, e-mail address and physical address, should appear above the fold on every page of your website.
2. All Pages are Landing Pages
You may have heard of the term landing pages with regard to chiropractic Internet marketing. The phrase refers to a page that a website visitor lands on after clicking on a hyperlink. There are two types of landing pages: reference and transactional. A reference landing page is focused on information and education. A transactional landing page encourages the visitor to take action, such as entering their contact information, making a purchase or scheduling an appointment.
In chiropractic Internet marketing, you should focus on creating landing pages that are a hybrid of transactional and reference. Be sure your landing pages feature patient education while at the same time, directing the visitor to contact your office for more information or to schedule an appointment. Using this technique, all pages on your website become functional landing pages, directing the visitor to take a step closer to becoming a new patient.
3. Far-Reaching Results From Patient Testimonials
Nielsen Media Research is a global information and measurement company that provides market research, insights and data about what people watch and what people buy. Nielsen reports that 92 percent of global consumers trust "earned media," which means word-of-mouth referrals. Nielsen also tells us that 70 percent of online consumers trust online testimonials and reviews.
Traditional chiropractic media marketers know that word-of-mouth referrals have the best return on investment of any type of marketing or advertising. Referrals from satisfied patients cost you nothing and yield the most ideal new patients. Online testimonials and reviews, which are virtually the same things, are modern-day word-of-mouth referrals.
Check with your state regulations before posting patient testimonials online, as some states have specific rules concerning their use. Also be sure that your practice is HIPAA compliant in the use of all testimonials.
Your testimonials will garner greater traction if you funnel them through your website and blog. Using video testimonials on your sites and on a YouTube channel achieves a double benefit. Video engages viewers, and this causes them to spend more time on your website. This is called creating a "sticky" page, and it results in the second benefit of increasing your positioning with the search engines, called "search engine optimization" or SEO. (A warning about Google Places, Yelp and other review sites: while positive reviews can most definitely help with SEO, one bad review can become a serious blot on your good reputation.)
4. Words, Words and More Words
Google has made it known that the very best, most valuable and longest-lasting SEO begins with original, informative text. This is the type of SEO that results in high rankings for your website and yields the most targeted traffic. If writing short articles to educate your patients on the value of the services your perform and the products you dispense is not high in your skill set, you should engage the services of an outsourced copywriting company familiar with the chiropractic market.
A stagnant website with unchanging copy serves about the same value as an out-of-date practice brochure. Even worse, a stagnant website can undermine your marketing efforts, as it will result in a plummet in your website's ranking. There are several firms in the chiropractic marketplace that employ professional copywriters who stay on top of advances in the field of chiropractic, as well as SEO tactics and strategies. By adding several short blogs each week to your online marketing portfolio and by consistently adding fresh content to your website, you will build a strong online presence that will generate targeted traffic and great conversion for the long term.
5. Express Your Personality
While maintaining a professional image is especially important in online chiropractic marketing, if you don't express your and your practice's unique personality online, you will appear like every other chiropractor. The most successful online chiropractic marketers post selected photos of their family, hobbies and interests on Facebook.
Just as displaying original art in your practice's reception room can convey your individuality, your online marketing should display your unique personality and passions. People, including those individuals who are your potential new patients, crave personal relationships. Your website should convey your personal life (albeit to a limited degree). On the "About Us" page, be sure to feature some photos of your family and those of your practice team. Post quotes from your team members about how they feel about your practice and their careers. Take the opportunity to let your collective light shine online!
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