Do you know what’s happening with your website and web strategy? Is it working? Are you spending the right amount of money? Should you be spending more money or less? Where are your patients coming from? Do they find you on the web or are they coming from doctor referrals? If you have multiple sites and lots of web properties do you know which ones are working and which ones aren’t?
These are some of the questions whose answers can mean the difference between a successful practice and an unsuccessful practice. If you don’t know the answers to these questions and others, as we see so often with practices who have been kind of left in the dark, then you really need to dig in and find the answers.
And importantly, do you really know? Ordo you perhaps insist you know (when you do not).
I’ve seen countless practices who believe one thing only to learn that something totally different is happening. This often occurs with patient lead tracking. So many practices are too general in analyzing patient leads, and other practices just aren’t asking the right questions and trying to better understand their leads. This are two big roadblocks to increased digital performance.
Properly benchmarking the performance of your web strategies, identifying a core set of key performance indicators, and reporting on progress over time is vital to the success of your medical practice. Without doing so, you are operating blindly. You can’t make data-driven decisions and you may not even know what or who to believe.
In the Dark is Nowhere for Your Practice to Be
I am surprised that in this day and age so many medical practices don’t have access to vital data that is so readily available. Unfortunately, I am convinced that many vendors go out of their way to obfuscate this data. Heck, some vendors perhaps reason, if nobody knows what they’re doing then they won’t stop paying for it if it’s not working. Or, if nobody is measuring the vendor’s performance, then perhaps it doesn’t matter how well they perform.
Imagine if a patient had surgery with you and never bothered to look in the mirror afterwards. That’s preposterous. No patient would discard the opportunity to validate your work. But it’s about the same level of absurdity as never monitoring the progress of your website or your digital marketing strategy. Not getting reports. Not getting Google Analytics. In my eyes those are equally preposterous. Let me remind you, the performance of your digital assets is vitally important to the success of your practice. Ignore the data at your own peril.
Key Performance Indicators to Measure for Your Medical Website and Marketing Strategy
Just one more time: Reporting is fundamental to the success of your digital marketing efforts. You should start with a baseline – how are you doing before working with a new vendor? Then, you should layout the core key performance indicators and measure their progress over time. You are looking for proof! These include the following:
- Leads (both by web and by phone).
- Organic/search engine visits.
- Organic rankings.
- Local rankings.
- Conversion rate.
- Competitors’ performance in these KPI’s.
Lead Tracking for Plastic Surgery Patients
When it comes to leads, you should track as granularly as possible. If you have multiple sites, then ideally you should understand how leads navigate from site-to-site, over time, to result in a contacting your practice. For instance, somebody may find you on your rhinoplasty site when searching for Nashville rhinoplasty in the month of September. But if they come back in November searching for your name and get to your primary site you should be aware that they originated through the rhinoplasty search and site in the prior months. It is more technically challenging to set this up but it is worth it in the end. At the same time, you want to track telephone leads as well. We strongly encourage using click-to-call and also dynamic number insertion. You can track where telephone leads are coming from, you can also listen in on the conversations to make sure your staff is handling them well. Of course you must follow applicable state laws when it comes to recording telephone calls. Finally, you can have different numbers incorporated with dynamic number insertion so you know which campaigns are working and which aren’t, both online and offline.
Google Analytics Helps Understand Data about Your Practice’s Digital Marketing
For tracking visits and organic visits nothing beats Google analytics. You can learn so much in Google analytics about your visitors and about those who come from search engines. You want, too, to look deeply for problems and anomalies that don’t show up at the top level of Google’s reports.
Your conversion rate, along with other important information like time on site and bounce rate, can also be found in Google analytics. As mentioned in another article, you should track individual devices and platforms specifically. That way you can look for errors on your site for specific target audiences. For instance, if you have an average 60% bounce rate across the board, but your iPhone bounce rate is 25%, then you know there is a problem with the layout for iPhone.
Conversion rate is important to track because it helps determine if you are properly optimizing your site and including appropriate elements for conversion optimization. What’s more, over time you can find anomalies that can mean the difference between a successful month and a poor one.
Track Your Rankings in your Market and See How Readily Prospective Patients Can Find You
We recommend tracking rankings, too. But it’s vital to understand something about them. The day of taking over Google and ranking number one for everything is over. That just doesn’t happen anymore. There are too many players in the marketplace and Google is shrinking the amount of organic real estate available. In fact, it’s in Google’s best interest to have as many different participants in the rankings as possible, to spread out the opportunity to sell pay-per-click advertising.
It’s also important to avoid getting carried away with using marquee phrases as the prime barometer of your performance. Many aesthetic practitioners are obsessed with the most prominent search phrases in their area: New York City plastic surgeon, Los Angeles rhinoplasty, Miami tummy tuck. While there is certainly value to these phrases, they do not reflect the sum total of all the digital marketing visibility online. In fact, if you add up all of the long tail phrases associated with a procedure, you’ll find many, many more searches available than just those specific marquee ones are sometimes focus on. Long tail phrases are those much more specific, five, six, even seven or more words, that often represent issue-based searches, needs-based searches, and questions and answered that are so prominent on mobile devices with patients use of Google Voice and Apple’s Siri.
The marquee phrases certainly are good for the ego, but other phrases are better for your cash flow. So track a wide array of phrases and understand their value. The best place to find that value is in Google AdWords itself. It is the only marketplace for phrases and it is the one everyone uses. After all, Google is the number one largest advertising platform in the entire world. Luckily they’ve got some great tools you can use.
Are You the Most Visible Plastic Surgeon in Town? Find Out!
Track your competitors! You want to understand how your competitors are doing alongside of you. What’s more, you should understand your industry as a whole, particularly locally. How many providers are there? How much visibility does each of these providers have? Who is up-and-coming and who is fading behind. Of particular importance is the up-and-comer. By monitoring the search landscape and understanding the competitive landscape in particular, you can identify threats before they become a problem. In other words, new practitioners before they grow into the 500-lb gorilla in your space. Ideally, as you are monitoring your own key performance indicators, you are also monitoring the same ones, or as many of them as possible, for your competitors.
Surgeon’s Advisor Believes Objective Data Drives Results: in Patient Leads and Surgeries
We employ a variety of different tools, strategies, and resources for benchmarking, monitoring, and reporting on the progress of our efforts for clients. We provide monthly reports that include the information above, and sometimes we may even provide weekly reports as well, especially during times of high activity like website build-outs. We like to see an ongoing quarterly business review to check on the status of our efforts, changes in your practice, and make sure that both parties are on the same page when it comes to a shared goals and expectations.
We live and breathe by the data in our reports and we are happy to share it with our clients. You should not be kept in the dark. Whether doing positively or poorly, you need an objective, evidence-based look at the performance of your digital marketing strategy. And you need to monitor it regularly and see signs of improvement as each passing month goes by. If you are interested in this level of transparency and activity, contact us here or call us at 305.763.8011.