I have been working in internet advertising for the past 3 years and I find it striking that I rarely read about internet advertising pertaining to the podiatry profession. Occasionally, I stumble upon a blog or paragraph in a newsletter briefly discussing ad options for podiatrists but nothing dedicated and substantial. Since working in this industry I have found only one constant: Change. We all use the internet everyday Foot Ankle Port Saint Joe FL 32456 whether it’s for email, shopping, or entertainment, but the number of people today who utilize the internet to search specifically for local businesses is ever-growing. According to a Nielson study conducted at the beginning of 2010, 82% of consumers in the US use search engines such as Google and Yahoo to find local information. 49% also use Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) such as yellowpages.com and superpages.com. Compared to two Port Saint Joe FL 32456 years ago, respondents report that they use search engines 72% more and traditional Yellow page directories 23% less. New patients represent new revenue to your practice, and they are looking for you, online.
With the multitude of ad options online, where should a podiatrist be allocating their budget? How do you decide what to get involved with? It can be overwhelming, almost a full time job in itself – but Foot Ankle Port Saint Joe FL 32456 not to worry – I’ll give you some helpful hints.
The most important thing to remember when advertising is return on investment (ROI). A positive ROI that is – when your gain from investment outweighs the cost of investment. Who wouldn’t give a dollar to make two? That being said there are very few media outlets by which one can track their actual results. However, transparency is vital – if Port Saint Joe FL 32456 you cannot track your results you will never know if your campaign is successful. If there is a cost involved you need to be seeing new patients as a result. After ROI (and I’ll admit I stole this from the Real Estate industry) you have to worry about location, location, location! You must make sure you get the exposure you deserve. If you are spending money to advertise, you Port Saint Joe FL 32456 better be found by patients looking for a doctor. Keep those concepts in mind while I touch upon a few ad options out there for you.
If you have spoken to an ad agency or an internet “guru” before then I am sure you have heard of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Most people believe SEM and SEO are tantamount when really SEO is its own Port Saint Joe FL 32456 division of SEM. SEM seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility, or traffic online. One way to do this is through SEO, which is the unpaid or “organic” way to improve visibility via search engines. The more relevant a site is to the search, the higher a site appears on the search engine results page (SERP). Algorithms within search engine queries rank sites based on content of the Port Saint Joe FL 32456 website, the amount of traffic to them, and compare them to other sites for ranking. There is more of a monetary incentive required to participate in SEM campaigns outside of organic SEO. There are a few different paid inclusion models that will place your ad in the top or side “sponsored” section of search engines but the most popular today are Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. PPC means exactly how it Port Saint Joe FL 32456 sounds – you pay every time somebody clicks on your ad, most likely landing them on your website. The largest SEM vendors are Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter. Remember, just because your ad appears high on a SERP or someone clicks on your website DOES NOT mean they will be making an appointment at your practice.
As traditional Yellow Page directories began losing consumers to online search, Port Saint Joe FL 32456 they changed their platform to follow suit – thus creating the Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs). IYPs offer a variety of models such as banner ads, sponsored listings, and email links on your ad. They are becoming more effective as they improved their trackability through clicks and call tracking (which I will touch on later). The most popular IYP directories in the US are Yahoo!, YellowPages.com, and Superpages.com. IYPs have Port Saint Joe FL 32456 hundreds of variations of packages to choose from and it can be hard to pinpoint the most effective model for your practice – but can be beneficial if used properly. However, IYPs require a long-term contract so before you dive in head-first, look into all feasible options.
All of the advertising models that I touched on will increase your exposure. They will effectively promote your practice in the local community Port Saint Joe FL 32456 and/or add traffic to your site, but are meaningless if you are not seeing new patients. This leads us back to my original point of determining your ROI. There is no value in advertising unless you can track your results. Most SEO models operate on a pre-set budget allocated for a number of impressions or clicks to your website or ad. This is a tricky concept as it is Port Saint Joe FL 32456 very easy to burn through a budget paying for popular terms such as “foot doctor”, “podiatrist”, or the city you practice in. Cost-Per-Click (CPC) can be an expensive bidding process, especially in highly competitive markets. On the contrary, it is possible to under spend in a PPC campaign – you are contributing too little to have any competitive edge. Considering the time, strategy, and money that goes into a Port Saint Joe FL 32456 PPC campaign it is important to understand the local market and the product before allocating a large budget to it. At the end of the day it’s about tracking the dollars that you put in and all the clicks those dollars generate, but clicks don’t necessarily mean new patients or appointments. So instead of paying for a click to your website, wouldn’t you rather pay for a phone call Port Saint Joe FL 32456 straight to your business?
Call tracking has become more popular over the past few years and has proven to be the most efficient way to track ROI. It is more beneficial to drive a potential patient phone call directly to the practice because the business has a clearer understanding of the return they are getting from their ad dollars spent. This feature allows you to not only track booked appointments Port Saint Joe FL 32456 but to monitor front-house staff as well. The practice gate-keepers are the first impression that a patient has of your practice. Having access to inbound calls ensures that your receptionists are courteous, knowledgeable of the practice, and are booking appointments the way you trained them to. There are companies that provide the call tracking feature as a universal product to all podiatrists who advertise with them. Most other companies Port Saint Joe FL 32456 would provide the tracking of calls at a premium. Either way, practices would rather pay for phone calls than clicks.
In summation, exposure and ROI need to be on the forefront of your online advertising plan. I touched upon several advertising avenues in which to get your name out there locally. Each has their pros and cons, but all will give you great exposure and have some sort of way Port Saint Joe FL 32456 to track your results. You can experiment with each one separately or take advantage of companies that tie it all together simultaneously. For the past couple of years I have learned that many people in the medical community frown upon advertising as it steers away from grassroots referral practices but there is some quality companies buried amongst the stigma – Google, Yahoo, IYPs, etc. As web advertising continues to Port Saint Joe FL 32456 change, so does your opportunity to capitalize on it. Patients ARE looking for you right NOW, and they are on the internet. Now that you have a better understanding of what’s out there, give it a shot. Remember, don’t get involved with a company unless you are able to fully track your ROI and make sure you are getting the exposure you are paying for.