Future-Proof Digital Marketing for Group Practices

July 20, 2013
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The world of digital marketing changes rapidly: social media has grown in importance, new sites aregroup practice digital marketing moving onto the main stage, Google updates its algorithms regularly, and mobile search is expanding rapidly. It may seem impossible to keep up, let alone get ahead of the curve.

The world of digital marketing changes rapidly: social media has grown in importance, new sites aregroup practice digital marketing moving onto the main stage, Google updates its algorithms regularly, and mobile search is expanding rapidly. It may seem impossible to keep up, let alone get ahead of the curve. Knowing that the game may change at any moment, many group practice marketing managers are reluctant to invest too much. And who could blame you? However, neglecting rapidly growing, effective and cost-efficient marketing channels is not the answer. 

The key to making the most of your group practice marketing budget is to focus on the foundation. The details may change—will change, in fact.  But the core principles that drive your strategy shift much more slowly, or don’t change at all.  In the next few posts, we’ll look at the building blocks that will support your digital marketing efforts throughout the coming waves of change.

Your website is the home base of your digital marketing efforts, so let’s start there.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

Yes, Google updates its algorithms on a regular basis, throwing the organic search marketing community into turmoil. But, take a closer look at those changes.

While the details and the way factors are weighted shifts frequently, the stated goals remain the same: Google is seeking to offer its users relevant, quality content that’s fresh enough to be valuable and doesn’t attempt to game the system.

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Sure, you may still have to make changes in how you optimize your page titles or tweak other details, but if you frequently create useful, high-quality content you’ll have the foundation to withstand whatever changes come next in the Google algorithm. 

Resource: SEO Guide for Business Blogs

Website User Experience (UX) 

Popular website design varies over time; looking at the sites that were considered artistic and cutting-edge in the mid-nineties is always good for a laugh. But, as with SEO, the basics don’t change.

The ubiquitous three column home page may be relatively new, but we’ve been hearing the same core concepts for years: white space makes it easier for your visitors to spot what’s important and read at a glance; simple, easy-to-locate navigation is essential to keeping visitors on the site; clear, concise calls to action are required if you want visitors to take the next step.

Maybe next year experts will discover that conversion is 20% higher on websites that include orange elements or that two columns is superior to three, but the core principles of clarity, ease of recognition and short, direct instructions haven’t changed in years and aren’t likely to change any time soon.

Resource: Essential Website Re-design Checklist

Premium Content Offers

As in the SEO arena, valuable content will always serve a purpose. When you create premium content such as white papers for your market, realize that the way you use that content may shift over time.

However, useful information that establishes your credibility with your market isn’t likely to go out of style. As you choose subject matter for those offerings, think about the shelf-life of the content.  Sometimes it makes sense to jump in to the discussion of a trending topic even though you know its value will be short-lived, but that shouldn’t be the norm. Invest in creating a bank of content that will endure, or that is easily updated.

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In order to optimize your group practice marketing, you’ll always have to stay on top of the latest trends.  And, of course, you must regularly assess the return on your various marketing investments and make adjustments where necessary. However, a solid framework and substantive foundation will hold firm against the winds of change, and the adjustments will be smaller and more manageable than if you were reinventing the wheel.  In our next post, we’ll look at how this same concept plays out with regard to customer relationships.

 


 

Photo credit: X-Ray Delta One