Marketing is Your Last Step

It was my first day at a new job and I walked in, quite literally, to phones that were ringing off the hook. Curious, I approached the area where a pair of receptionists, who, as pleasant as could be, were fighting a losing game of whack-a-mole with the blinking red lights on their consoles. When I asked why today had such a high call volume, they told me “It’s always like this.”

If job security had a ringtone, I had a lot of it.

However, as awesome as that was, this company wasn’t ready to handle the results of their marketing. Their team had executed a focused strategy to get their name out and it worked.

Focus on Operations First

But little attention had been paid to the infrastructure and operations necessary to handle things like call volume or adequate parking. Even more broadly, no one had considered how mundane things like poorly-designed forms or long phone wait times can undo months — and in this case years — of strategic marketing. 

When your prospective customer finally picks up the phone or fills out the contact form on your website, you must be ready to follow through on your promises. Jimmy John’s couldn’t promise “Freaky Fast Delivery” without putting in place everything possible to guarantee that delivery is, in fact, freaky fast. 

Marketing Comes Last

In other words, what many people don’t realize is that operations is the first step to effective marketing. At MJM, we take that even further. To us, operations is marketing and well-designed operations lead to a stellar patient experience that, in turn, leads to word-of-mouth referrals. Only once those things are in place should full-scale marketing efforts be launched. 

That was a welcome mindset for the receptionists whack-a-moling their way through phone call after phone call. I paused the company’s marketing that very day so we could focus on operations for a time. When we restarted our marketing plan a few months later, the phones were still ringing with one notable exception: we’d gotten better at handling our call volume.

And just about everything else we did. 

Social Media Tools & Trends You Can DIY (and Ones You Shouldn’t)

Show of hands: keeping up with social media trends comes naturally to you and you eagerly anticipate the next round of updates for Instagram and Facebook? Ok, got it. The two of you who raised your hands can put them down now.

Whether you’re a step away from #influencer status or the thought of adjusting to yet another app feature is just not in your mental budget, social media takes time and effort to make it work for your organization.

Some of the upcoming privacy changes from Apple and Google are expected to limit social media’s targeted reach, even so, it’s likely that your business still needs a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and depending on your audience, Twitter or Tiktok.  Knowing that, the question becomes “how much can you manage social on your own and how much do you need a pro to help with?” Let us help you think it through:

Strategy

First, you need to decide how active your business needs to be on social. Some of the businesses MJM works with have only a basic social media presence. They know their audience is active elsewhere and invest accordingly.

When to DIY it: If you plan to keep things simple and small, DIY is likely the way to go. Organizations that only plan to utilize organic posts and basic tools can successfully manage their social accounts. Not all businesses need a full scale social media marketing strategy.

When to take it to the pros: The social media landscape changes fast. That’s been especially true this year as we tried to stay home and stay connected at the same time. New features and algorithm updates  are constantly changing how people use social apps and affect how well your posts perform. It takes a lot of time to stay on top of it all, so if social media is a big piece of your marketing puzzle, you may want to consult a professional for some or all of your needs.

Post Scheduling

Social media scheduling tools have improved drastically over the past decade. Facebook has offered post scheduling for a long time, now it’s available for both Facebook and Instagram through Facebook Business Suite (find it through “Publishing Tools”). If you’re going to schedule two or more posts per month, we recommend a third-party tool like  Social Pilot, SmarterQueue, or countless others that can help you set it and forget it. These tools can let you preview how a post might look and schedule ahead on multiple accounts — including Twitter.

When to DIY it: Scheduling tools are great for predictable events like holidays, for managing promotions, or evergreen branded content. Keep in mind you’ll need to stay on top of spontaneous happenings in your organization and the world,  i.e. the posts you scheduled featuring images of people shaking hands pre-pandemic needed to be updated once COVID started altering in-person interactions.

When to take it to the pros: Strategizing, writing, taking photos, and scheduling takes longer than you might think. Consider outsourcing your content calendar or getting a photographer to create a bank of photos for your organization. Additionally, most schedulers don’t have the capability to utilize all of Facebook or Instagram’s features: stories, events, live videos, IGTV, and more. If you want to promote multiple campaigns or simply don’t have the bandwidth, consider an external social manager.

Tip: The last social campaign MJM ran for a client showed that 80% of views were on a mobile device. Set up your posts with phone screens in mind and be sure to click the mobile preview to ensure that they look good and that your most important information is visible.

Graphics

Your organization should feel as professional in the digital space as you are in person. However, perfectly composed stock photos or graphics for every post could make your feed look overly produced and less authentic. Finding the right balance is key!

When to DIY it: Your smartphone camera, a Lightroom preset or filter,  and an eye for lighting can go a long way to producing your own sharable photos and videos. Stock images abound online, too. Plus apps like Canva or InShot are making it easy to add text to images or create simple graphics. Canva even lets you create and use custom templates so you’ll stand out from others using the same app.

When to take it to the pros: You’ve seen those instagram feeds with clever grid layouts? Simple strategies — like always using a border or alternating posts — are simple to DIY, but the more complex ones are better suited to someone with layout software (hey, that could be you too!). A designer can help you strategize or even develop templates that are custom to your business.

Staying active on social media is an effective way to extend your brand and reach your customers and potential customers right where they are. When managing your accounts becomes an afterthought, it’s time to consider turning to the experts to make it easier with templates, calendars, posting strategies, and more.

Contact MJM to discuss your needs and, in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. “I don’t want to be responsible for thinking up content” is  a perfectly legit goal. We hear it all the time, and we can help.

(Maybe more than your nearest tween.)

Scripting: The Security Blanket Your Business Needs

“Hello, thank you for calling ABC Office. How may I help you?”

“Hi, I need to check the activity on account #4145.”

“Your name?”

The caller gives his name and as the receptionist pulls the account up on her computer, he explains that it actually belongs to his dad. “It’s okay though. He asked me to check on it,” the caller says confidently.

But the receptionist can’t find the caller listed as an authorized user anywhere. Now what?

The receptionist needs help with her next steps. She needs to know what her employer’s policy is in these cases and ways to represent that position, all while expressing respect to the customer. In other words, she needs a script.

What is scripting?

Scripting, at its most basic, is a pre-written set of lines used to guide interactions with your customers. Answering the phone is a very practical example of how scripts work. However, a true scripting  process ensures that all your team members are equipped with the  confidence and security they need  to deliver the right message at the right time. From greeting the people who walk through your doors to answering questions on social media to taking calls from upset customers, a well thought out script allows your team to respond in a way that best represents your company’s values and builds trust.

Scripting benefits your customers, too. They’ll receive consistent, on-brand communication that guides them toward making an appointment, placing an order, or signing up for your email list.  Ideally, there should be a script for every aspect of your customer’s experience, from the very beginning to the very end.

The best scripts are the ones that work for your business. They can be as detailed or as minimal as needed. Their main goal is to give simple guardrails and ideas your team can work with so that everyone starts from the same place. Scripts provide  your customers and your team members security and consistency,  even when staff, protocol, climate, or technology change.

Want to try scripting, but not sure where to begin? Follow MJM on social where we’ll share our pro tips for getting started. We promise to break it down into small tasks that build toward big payoffs.

Want to take it one step further? Contact us for a consultation. Our experts can assess your scripting needs, help craft your messaging, and even train your staff.

How to (Actually!) Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience

I used to dread calling the doctor’s office. It wasn’t that it led to stepping on the scale (though that also wasn’t always pleasant) or the occasional shot or two.

It was that it led to music. Invariably, I’d be put on hold while the scheduler took another call, and for a few torturous minutes, I’d be accosted with a screechy, tinny distortion of The Four Seasons.

Vivaldi and I were not impressed.

My doctor’s office needed more than just higher quality on-hold music; they needed to examine their customers’ experience. Sure, they’d covered all the expected bases, but with a little insight and attention to detail, that office could have — in keeping with today’s analogy — gone from passable high school band to South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in no time.

What are your customers really buying?

Business leaders all agree that making customers and clients feel taken care of is paramount and worth the investment. But what they sometimes overlook is that customer care extends far beyond an aesthetically pleasing website and timely delivery of goods and services.

That’s not as far-reaching as it sounds, and even better, can usually be done gradually with a few simple changes. Whether you’re designing the experience at a coffee shop or a healthcare center, here are a few strategies to get your customers raving about their time with you:

  1. Experience your customer’s point of view. Start back at a Google search and move to filling out your website’s contact form. Call your business for directions, park in the customer section of your lot and sit in your waiting room or public area. Walk through the entire experience, being mindful of ways to improve. And don’t just do this once; do it on a regular basis.
  2. Take every sense into account. What do customers smell when they visit your location? Is the space too dark or too light? If there’s seating, is it comfortable? Consider the noise level and background music. Are they pleasing or distracting? Look at accessibility. Are counters too high for someone in a powerchair to see over?
  3. Train your staff. Customer care goes beyond being friendly and helpful and doesn’t always come as naturally as we assume. Be intentional about training your staff to show empathy toward customers, clients, or patients. These changes can often be simple to implement. Instead of calling patient names across the waiting room, staff at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls make a point of walking to patients before greeting them. It gets the interaction off on a personal note and puts patients at ease. Another business realized that handing its clients off from one professional to another, while efficient for them, was disorienting for their clients. They adjusted their workflow so that clients worked with the same representative from the beginning to the end of their experience.

Making your customers feel valued and cared for is crucial to your business. The kind of marketing a loyal ambassador provides is priceless, but with some mindful changes you can tap into its benefits. (And this time Vivaldi *will* be impressed.)

Want more good stuff from the team at Matt Jensen Marketing? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Webinar: Telemedicine in Practice

During this live webinar, Vance Thompson Vision experts, Susan DeGroot, Clinic Director, Montana, and Janet Cox, CPC Director of Billing and Coding and veteran practice administrator and Matt Jensen Marketing Account Executive, Cindy Haskell, shared an overview of how to implement telehealth services and provide practice insights drawn from actual experience. Watch the entire webinar or download the presentation below:

 

Accessibility for All: Why Accessibility Matters and Where to Start

Web accessibility has been on a lot of people’s minds recently as everyone from presidential candidates to grocery stores have come under fire for websites that don’t comply with ADA standards.

Because we work with several eye care clinics at Matt Jensen Marketing, accessibility is doubly important because the chance that someone with a visual impairment will visit the site goes from a probability to a certainty. Because of this, I’m going to focus mostly on visual accessibility, but web accessibility actually encompasses visitors with many different needs. These users could include someone with limited mobility because of a disease such as cerebral palsy, someone who is learning English as a second language, or someone who is temporarily disabled by an injury.

In short, web accessibility is as broad and diverse a topic as humans themselves. Making a site accessible can seem like a daunting endeavor, but hopefully these suggestions will get you pointed in the right direction.

Building Accessibility from the Ground Up

While I’d love to say that we can make a few easy tweaks to make your existing site accessible, the truth is that meaningful accessibility begins in the earliest planning stages of a website. But the good news is that you can make any site more accessible without learning a bit of code.

One of the most important considerations for accessible websites is making having well-structured content. You should approach organizing content the same way you would an outline for a research paper when you were in school. There should be a clear and direct hierarchy and page names, headings, etc. should be descriptive but skimmable. This makes it easier for screen readers to scan pages and makes for a better user experience overall.

Making the Invisible Visible

As web design has advanced, it has become more and more reliant on big, splashy visuals. This is great for a lot of us who were bored looking at pages and pages of plain text, but it does make it difficult for people who rely on screen readers to get the full experience of a website.

Enter alt tags. Alt tags are descriptive meta data that are used by screen readers to describe an image on a website to someone who is visually impaired. People with full vision often don’t understand how much information we get from visual cues. So while alt tags can’t suddenly make someone who’s blind see that stellar photo of your office, they can help provide context that can be helpful for understanding the rest of the content on the page.

Along the same lines, it’s important to avoid burying text within images, especially text that conveys important information such as dates of events or how-tos. Often, people try to call out important information by turning it into graphic, but that may actually hinder many people’s access to it.

Providing Adequate Contrast

While optimizing for screen readers is important, many people who visit your site may be temporarily or only moderately visually impaired and may not require the use of screen reader. These include people who are color blind, suffering from cataracts or glaucoma, or even someone viewing the website in poor lighting conditions.

For these cases, it’s important to make sure the visual elements on your site provide adequate contrast. This means that all text should have a 4.5:1 color contrast ratio with this background. There are many tools to check to make sure your website adheres to these standards, but suffice it to say that the light gray text that has been the trend all over the internet recently probably won’t cut it. (Learn more about text readability in our blog about choosing fonts for cataract patients.)

Along with contrast, it’s also important to consider text size and whether or not it’s scalable, consistent standards for links and buttons that don’t just rely on color, and whether there’s enough room between clickable elements.

We All Need an Accessible Web

Accessibility remains a murky area and unfortunately, there are no clear-cut standards that will definitively prevent you from a lawsuit. But if you’d like to dig deeper, you can start by taking a look at the full Web Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) established by the W3C.

But while accessibility may seem like a lot of extra work just for edge cases, the truth is that all of us will benefit from accessible websites at some point or another. Maybe you break an arm and can’t use a keyboard. Maybe you have a slow internet connection and can’t load images. Or maybe you just got bifocals and are having a hard time reading on a screen. By making the web accessible to anyone, we can create a better experience for everyone.

Client Celebration: Staging a ZEISS Formula 1 Racing Event Experience

At MJM, our team wears many hats while completing the diverse client projects; we fulfill the roles of designers, writers, storytellers, experience makers, account managers, videographers, carpenters, and many more. But last October, our team members took on a hat never worn before: Formula One Race Car Drivers.

Working with our partners at ZEISS, Logan, Abby, and Courtney took the lead for planning and executing an event celebrating the FDA approval of the SMILE astigmatism treatment indication in the United States at the American Academy of Ophthalmologists (AAO). Using a Formula One theme, the MJM team was able to create a wonderful evening of education, conversation, and enjoyment on a beautiful rooftop in Chicago.

In addition to the overall success of the event, here are a couple lessons our team took away from the event:

Logistics are very, very important!

This event celebrated the approval of the SMILE laser in the US for astigmatism treatment, which makes it a more useful technology for practices and more accessible to patients. SMILE is one of the first major innovations in refractive eye surgery in the past 5-10 years, which has brought energy and life to the doctors who are deciding to offer it.

Our partnership with ZEISS started when we helped create the first practice launch kit for SMILE, and the partnership continued as we helped curate and design this event. After moodboards, strategic goal discussions, MJM team brainstorming sessions, and dozens of calls, the event landed on a theme: Formula One Racing.

Perspective chalk racing car

Courtney poses as a driver. The account team found a Chicago chalk artist who created a massive perspective drawing that put attendees behind the wheel of a F1 racing car.

Our team developed all the graphics and layouts based on the theme and curated a three-floor immersive event experience, which included specialty cocktails and an interactive art installation. At the event, doctors attended six “pit stops”, where they interacted with a short presentation from an expert on SMILE, and were eventually lead to Dr. Dan Reinstein, a doctor and professor who wrote the first and preeminent textbook on how to perform SMILE for patients. Attendees who completed all the education pit stops had the opportunity to receive a signed copy of Dr. Reinstein’s textbook to take home to their practice.

The valuable takeaway is this: when your event marketing team is able to be a part of the planning, mockups, mood board, and event execution, it’s more efficient to facilitate coordination with the vendors. It took a full team to perfectly produce the event, which illustrates the importance of coordinated effort, time, and planning.

Experiences are met with experiments

Of course, we admit this event didn’t go off without a hitch (or three). From a change of speaker the night before, all the way to Logan putting his Exacto-knife skills to the test due to a mishap with program printing, the team encountered a number of unplanned hurdles that needed to be overcome.

The event was spread between three floors of the venue. Custom elevator signage helped theme each step of the way and direct event attendees to food, entertainment and education.

We also know there are peak experiences that are remembered far beyond any mishaps. As the attendees started arriving and moving from experience to experience at the event, they began to discover, enjoy, and be captivated by all of the small details created by our team. Meeting new people, interacting with the art, enjoying the signature cocktails, and learning new things achieved success beyond what our team had planned. These signature moments, and the culmination of all the moments into a signature experience, will be a lasting memory and takeaway for both the ZEISS and MJM teams.Beyond the night of the event, the work our team did to pull off the theme and overall event was extensive. The theming, attention to detail, venue, and overall event flow, and outcome were executed carefully and with high attention to detail. Members from our team also traveled to Chicago before the event to meet with vendors face-to-face because we understand how important it is to create those relationships in case we do need to call on them to overcome challenges on the night of the event. Each experience we curated was met with an experiment on how to accomplish it.

Time spent for each event is worth it

When you work with clients that are excited about their company, it makes throwing an event that much more successful. The time that went into planning with ZEISS was met with excitement and enthusiasm that their product had been approved.

ZEISS challenged us to immerse their audience in something more than just a traditional AAO event or brochure handout, so we designed a custom experience for their guests, including hiring a local street artist to create a race car photo opportunity right in the middle of the building. We wanted to share our love for experiences and make the ophthalmologists feel welcome and feel comfortable learning about the revolutionary procedure in a simple and organized way. It wasn’t just about the centerpieces and the lighting—it was about the guests that left and remembered why they were there and knew there was something worth celebrating that night.

It’s important to celebrate major innovations and milestones in product development. It’s good for the industry and good for patients. Events like this are one of the only times ZEISS can bring doctors together and immerse them in a brand experience. So much of their sales cycle involves going out to the doctor’s office, where they have no real control of the time, space, and environment. This event was a major opportunity to bring doctors together and shape the ZEISS brand experience, with full control of most of the details. MJM was proud to be a lead partner in building the experience.

ZEISS blue racing stripe

A ZEISS blue racing stripe runs through the venue helping to direct traffic and pull the theme together.

As we reflect on our experience through this event, we learned there is a major difference between just hosting an event and designing an event. We design and theme at MJM to use our knowledge of experience design and customer/client psychology. This event reminded us that every company, every product, and every type of customer deserves and loves to be delighted and surprised by a well-executed event. That’s why we love what we do at MJM.

MJM and ZEISS will continue partnering on projects in 2019 and beyond.

Can You Read Me Now: Choosing Fonts for Cataract Patients

All over the country, doctors and their teams work hard to restore vision for their patients. The ophthalmologist’s toolbox is outfitted with trusted, life-changing procedures and techniques like advanced cataract surgery with lenses that help patients rely less on their glasses. Eye care professionals help change their patients’ perspective by making the world brighter and clearer.

At MJM, we help provide clinics with educational tools, brochures, ads and websites that cater to people with cataracts. One of the tools in the designer’s toolbox is typography. From signage and directions to brochure and website fonts, legible type can set the tone for a patient’s experience.

Here are a few things we keep in mind when we make typography decisions for audiences with limited vision:

1. Choose high-contrast colors

Cataracts prevent some light from reaching parts of the eye that create an image. When text color is too similar to background color, letters and words may become muddled and difficult to distinguish. Black or very dark text on a white background is most legible.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - choose high contrast colors

2. Choose full-bodied letters

Fonts with a tall x-height, wide letters and long descenders and ascenders are easier to discern because they take up more space and create shapes that are easily recognizable.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - choose full-bodied letters

3. Used mixed-case type

ALL CAPS not only appears to shout, but it also can make text harder to read. So can italics. Our brains read words as shapes rather than identifying individual letters. And since we are more used to reading in sentence case, our minds can process those words more quickly.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - use mixed-case type

4. Choose moderate stroke contrast

Find a happy medium between uniform thickness (like Futura and other trendy sans serif fonts) and super high contrast. To someone with blurred vision, an ultra-thin stem can virtually disappear from the page.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - choose moderate stroke contrast

5. Avoid condensed fonts

They narrow the natural shape of letter forms to take up less space. But, this also means that they are more difficult to read.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - avoid condensed fonts

6. Use serifs for paragraphs

Serifs are like little signposts telling our eyes where a letter begins and ends. In a paragraph, they direct our eye traffic as we dig into longer copy.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - use serifs for paragraphs

7. Stay positive

Negative text (white on a dark background) gives the illusion that the letters are thinner than they actually are, making them more difficult to read.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - stay positive

8. Size matters

Twelve-point font looks different for Futura than it does for Brandon Grotesque. Printing an example proof can help tell if the font is going to be large enough.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - size matters

9. Embrace space

Without enough space between lines, letters and around the text block, legibility is compromised. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Increase leading (space between lines) to about 1.5 times the normal amount.
  • Increase tracking (space between letters) so letters are less likely to visually run into one another.
  • Increase the margins to appropriately frame the text.
  • Write concise copy. Adding content to a limited space can compromise legibility. Shorter copy can be compelling, especially when it gets read.

Graphic about choosing fonts for cataract patients - embrace space

Like most rules in design, there are always exceptions. A font with uniform line thickness and low x-height like Brandon Grotesque compensates by increasing the leading (space between lines) without manual adjustment. The font that populates a brochure may not be the best for an outdoor parking lot sign.

Reference: http://www.aiga.org/typography-and-the-aging-eye

Why Do Your Mission, Vision and Values Matter?

A good leader knows that in order to lead a project, people need to know why they are working, how they are working and who they need to be as part of the team. This is why we must focus on our mission, vision, and core values.

Mission Statement

What is a mission statement? Look around online and you will find many definitions for mission statements. A summary definition would be this: Why do you exist? Why are you in business? Answering these questions is central to writing your mission statement. At MJM, we often speak of “commission” rather than “mission.” A commission not only identifies what you are doing, but why you are doing it. So what is your commission? What have you been commissioned to do with your life and your business?

Vision Statement

Going deeper, your vision statement should paint a picture of where your business will be when it is wildly successful. Your vision should be bold, inspiring and paint a clear image of what will make you successful. It’s okay if, in some way, your vision statement is not actually attainable. But it must be an inspiring and powerful image that helps people see where you are going.

For example, the vision at Vance Thompson Vision is “Best on Earth.” Now, measuring whether they are actually the best on earth can be tricky, and they are not able to be best on earth in everything—only in their areas of specialty. However, regardless of whether “Best on Earth” is measurable and attainable, it definitely allows staff and patients to clearly envision where they are headed as a business and what they aspire to be. That is the power and importance of a vision statement—it paints a picture of success that is motivating and inspiring.

Core Values

Of these three foundational items, your core values may be the most important. They certainly will be the most important for your daily operations as a business. In simple terms, your core values define the way you operate and exist and live as a business. They are the values you make decisions by, the values you hire and fire by and the values that set the culture of your business.

Your core values should be very memorable for all staff. Ideally, you will be able to reduce your core values down to three to five words or short phrases. These core values only have power if you actually live by them, make decisions based on them and champion them within your staff and customer base. Choosing the right core values will make your decision-making easier and bring much clarity to your business.

These core values only have power if you actually live by them, make decisions based on them and champion them within your staff and customer base.

Perhaps the hardest part of finalizing your mission, vision and values is coming to agreement with your leadership team on the final version of these items. There are so many good reasons we exist and so many great values we want to embody! Many groups have a hard time editing down their content and ideas to the most vital and actionable statements. But this editing and simplifying process is vital.

Your mission, vision and values need to be short, inspirational and actionable. Don’t give up on editing and building these vital statements until you finalize them in forms your entire team can live with and execute. Spending time as a team discussing, debating and agreeing upon a clear and powerful mission, vision and values can power your business to new clarity and new success.

Is Your Healthcare Practice Making These Digital Mistakes?

When running a successful healthcare practice in the digital age, most administrators focus on HIPAA regulations and strictly following them to keep patients’ PHI safe.

But there’s more to digital than what you can’t do online!

With the public face of your digital presence (website, social media and online listings), there’s a lot you can do to market your practice successfully (while still adhering to HIPAA).

We’d like to share five things many healthcare practices are missing or using incorrectly in their digital presence:

1. Have bad NAP?

  • NAP refers to “Name, Address and Phone Number” — the core to all online business information. These three data fields represent your business’s most valuable contact information.
  • When you originally set up your digital listings (social media, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.), you may not have listed your information consistently across all sites. The listing service may have also auto-generated a page by pulling information from your website.
  • When your NAP is inconsistent across the web, it creates SEO havoc. You may not be getting as high on Google or other search results pages, thus losing potential customers.
  • If your patients and clients are seeing your name or address inconsistently listed, it confuses them and erodes your brand.

2. Your site is abandoned (and sad)

  • Back in the “old days” of websites, most companies paid someone to put their brochure content online, thus building their first website…and never updating it until it was time for a new website. Luckily, websites are now easier to update with new, fresh content. It’s critical that you invest time and energy into regularly refreshing your site with new blog posts, updated doctor bios and videos, new staff listings, new services and other relevant information.
  • An abandoned site hurts your marketing efforts. When you don’t update your website frequently, search engines like Google think your site is stale and outdated which lowers it’s SEO ranking.
  • Tip: Use a content calendar to plan what you’ll post to the website, and plan to post at least a few times a month. Each time you post a blog, you create a new page on your site (and updated content for your customers).

3. Got link juice?

  • “Link juice” is what happens when you link to other sites from your site (outbound links to referring clinics, partners you work with or associations you belong to). It also accounts for links coming into your site (social media posts, online listings, partner clinics or associations you belong to, the local Chamber of Commerce or a board linking to your site).
  • Without inbound and outbound links, you can be disconnected online—floating around with no digital friends. Search engines like Google don’t like that because it makes you seem less trustworthy. Link juice shows them that you play nice with others, and that others find you relevant (like when a trusted site such as LinkedIn is linking to you 50 times—one for each blog post you’ve shared and linked back to your site). Link juice is great for SEO and will help your site get to the top page of search results.

4. Your site and social don’t match your marketing

  • Going hand-in-hand with an outdated site is a site that doesn’t match your business’ current marketing campaign. If you’ve updated your billboards, TV ads or other mass marketing messages, but your website doesn’t reflect or echo any of the current campaign, it will cause a disconnect between you and your audience.
  • This same rule goes for your social media accounts—you’ll want to match your current campaign on your Facebook cover image, especially if you have a direct offer or call to action you’d like people to take. Remember—if people see one thing in the media and another thing online, it can cause confusion, and confusion causes inaction!

5. Getting too fancy with “micro-sites”

  • Micro-sites originally seemed like a great solution to launching a new campaign or product without adding a new section to your primary website. A company would buy a new URL (web address) and build a completely new website for just one aspect of their business on this “micro-site,” then spend money to send traffic to it. This is actually detrimental to your overall user experience because it splits up your web traffic and trains your audience to go to a different website other than your primary site. Since most micro-sites were usually temporary, long-term benefits were never fully realized.
  • Don’t split hairs with your marketing. Keep everything on one site–your primary website. Then, interlink to areas you’d like your audience to see or use in-bound links directly to landing pages created for specific promotions. This will help keep your brand strong, your message clear, your SEO optimized, and your audience happy!

As a healthcare professional, you’re doing well to focus on keeping your patients’ PHI safe. But beyond HIPAA, more attention to your digital presence will strengthen your brand and allow your practice to take advantage of all the benefits of digital communication and marketing.