By Nancy Rausman
Once you build a varied web presence—web site, Facebook, Yelp—cross-linking provides a powerful tool to stay top-of-mind with present patients and to be highly visible to prospective ones.
Many ODs promote their practice through multiple web sites.
Aside from a practice web site, there often is a Facebook page, practice blog, practice Twitter account, a Yelp page and pages on other social media review sites.
Having so many options to be top of mind with patients is wonderful, but this also presents challenges:Keeping a practice’s presence on all these sites up-to-date and finding ways to cross-promote these multiple online platforms.
Here are some tips you can use to better cross-promote all the places online where you market your practice. With each passing year, we all expand our web presence to include new platforms…making them work together is key to maximizing your return from all of your efforts. There are simple ways to do this.
Determine the Key Places to Have an Online Presence
Traditionalmarketing hasdifferent channels to choose from: newspapers, television or radio commercials, signage, local mailings etc. Each of these channels that you add on to your marketing campaign will increase public exposure to your campaign and reach a greater diversity of people that may tend to access information from different sources. Similarly, the more places your practice can be found online, the better. A practice web site is a definite must and an on-site blog which is updated regularly can suffice if maintaining a separate blog is too much. Having a practice page on Google+ and ensuring that the Google local listing is complete and accurate is very important. We also recommend checking that Yelp, Bing and Yahoo listings are accurate and completed as we have found those listings to be important, as well. A Facebook page is also useful if it is maintained.
Why Bother Cross-Promoting?
In addition to increasing the reach of your audience, integrated marketing has SEO benefits. Every link from another web site back to the doctor’s main web site is helpful, even it is from Facebook, Google, etc. That is because Google gives more ranking strength to social signals (the doctor is talked about on social media).
In other words, Google’s formula for web site ranking is based on a number of authority factors, including links from other sites which confirm that the web site is authentic, useful, valuable etc. Google gives more weight to links from sites that they can trust, such as Google+ Local, Facebook or other social media sites. So, when it detects that your practice is mentioned on those sites, it adds to the overall strength of your ranking.
Ideal Content to Cross-Promote Across Web Platforms
Any time content is created–whether it is a blog article, a press release, a video or a graphic, it can and should be cross promoted. Video is always a fantastic source of content because it is engaging and shows an inside look at the human side of the practice. It can be promoted on Facebook, Google+ and YouTube, in addition to the practice web site. Visual media such as info-graphics (charts, maps and images like drawings of the inside of the eye) and photos are readily consumed and are also good to consider. If you have a smartphone or tablet it can be very easy (and fun) to create video and photo media to use to promote your practice. There are endless possibilities.
Any office news such as a move, a staff change, a sale or promotion, should be publicized on as many outlets as possible to maintain consistent branding and increase reach. Since each channel, whether it’s a Facebook page, a web site, a blog or your e-mail list, will arrive at a different audience, this will capitalize on creating maximum exposure for your practice.
At EyeCarePro, we create integrated campaigns for our clients that include both online and offline components. Our campaigns involve many elements including:
1) A visual graphic that can be used for printed posters, interstitial web site ads (that pop up when you enter the web site), Facebook and Google+ covers, magnets or pins, and e-mail marketing.
2) One or two articles to post on the web site or blog for patient education. We link to these articles from social media outlets, as well.
3) A press release to be submitted to local media and local online sites for public awareness and link-building strategy.
4) A Facebook campaign that may involve a contest, “likes” to the page (for instance donation to diabetes awareness) and educational posts related to the topic throughout the campaign. This includes posting links to the articles on the web site or blog and local press releases.
Managing Cross-Promotion; Doctor Oversees But Hands Off Individual Tasks
The practice owner’s involvement in overall marketing strategy is necessary to ensure that the content being put out is accurate and represents the practice in the manner that he or she desires. Nevertheless, most of the work can be assigned to a reliable staff member or an online consultancy to ensure the work has a designated owner and that it gets done consistently. Whether or not to hand it over to an outside service depends on the goals and the size of the practice. If the doctor or another staff member is savvy in social media and writes well, maintaining content promotion can probably be handled in-house. However, a more extensive campaign, including graphics, press releases and content outreach would likely require more expertise and investment of time, and in this case, a company like EyeCarePro would be beneficial for the practice. Of course, for doctors who just don’t have time or the desire to invest in marketing, hiring a consultant service would be the best solution.
Common Doctor Mistake in Cross-Promoting Across Multiple Sites: Don’t Forget Your Passwords
One of the most common mistakes we see when doctors are running their own campaigns is losing track of login details. Doctors need to be meticulous about saving login information so they don’t get locked out of their own online real estate. They should also approach their marketing with a strategy and a plan from the start. Rather than haphazardly posting content, it is best to come up with a marketing calendar that details how often content is posted on each different platform (blog once a week, Facebook twice a week, check up on Yelp reviews once a week) and a general idea of what content should be posted, especially for seasonal topics (back to school, holiday time, New Years). This will make the entire process more manageable and more streamlined.
Cross-Promote Your Practice’s Online Presence: Key To-Dos
Create a marketing plan for at least two months out and assess which marketing assets will be involved in the promotion and how.
Always consider opportunities for cross-promotion of content. Any time content or marketing materials are created, cross promote to all of the different platforms that are suitable.
Add “like” and “follow us” buttons on all online pages. Make sure your social and local review profiles are link-able from your web site and vise versa.
Consider hiring a company to help you create and maintain an integrated strategy so your marketing will stay up to date in the fast paced digital marketing world and you can focus on what’s important in running your practice.
Use cross-promotion to encourage your patients to leave online reviews. Online reviews are crucial for bringing in new patients, and every study shows that the majority of people trust what is written online on review sites such as Google+ and Yelp. This is especially important as Google makes its reviews more find-able in its search engine results.
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Nancy Rausman is the managing editor at EyeCarePro. Nancy is responsible for providing ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing. EyeCarePro is one of the leading providers of online marketing and practice improvement services in the industry. EyeCarePro serves both industry and practices and is the only company of its kind solely focused on the optometric space. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org