Internet marketing is a scam. It seems that all these companies have popped up lately, selling you expensive monthly packages – for what? Getting you to the first page of Google? I don't even know what that means or why it's important.Why should I trust these new slick salespeople? It seems that Internet marketing is a waste of money, offering me services I don't want or need.
Or so I thought. I'm going to show you why current Internet marketing is not only needed, but also a crucial part of your marketing strategy. If you don't get started today, you will be left behind. If you take action now, you'll be surprised by the amount of leads you will generate for your practice. You'll also be able to track negative comments about your practice and stop bad publicity in its tracks. Keep in mind that this article is written from a chiropractor's perspective, not by an Internet marketing company. It applies to every chiropractor out there.
Getting on Top of Google – Can You Say That in English, Please?
I remember when I met my first Internet marketing salesman. His entire pitch was to take my company to page one of Google. To be honest, I didn't understand a word he said. Learning a foreign language was easier. Instead of hearing "top of Google," you should be hearing, "To generate more leads, be first in the minds of people looking for chiropractic services, and ultimately generate more patients." This is the primary goal of Internet marketing. All the fancy techno-jargon relates to this goal. If you understand this, your job (entering the marketing realm) is halfway done.
Get More Leads, Get More Patients
Here are some statistics that should surprise you and help you understand what "getting to page 1 of Google" really means. The stats are staggering:
- Fifty-eight percent of Americans say that at one time or another, they perform online research on the products and services they're considering buying and before they visit a local business or restaurant.1
- Eighty percent of all searches on the Internet originate through Google.2
- If a person looks for chiropractors (or anything else) on Google, approximately 90 percent of people will click a Web site found on page one of Google. If you are the first site listed, you will get approximately 36 percent of the clicks. And the number-two Web site? Well, it plummets to about 12 percent of the click-throughs. Number three is 9.5 percent, number four is only 8 percent, etc.3
What kind of leads do you think you could get if you were the first Web site listed whenever someone searched for a chiropractor in your home town? Let's consider an example: Say that 500 people a month search for chiropractors in your city. Every month, 80 percent would search on Google (with Yahoo, Bing and others rounding out the rest of the searches). That means 400 people a month would look for chiropractors on Google in your city. If you were on page one of the search results, at the top ranking, 144 people would come to your Web site every month. If you were ranked second, 48 people would visit. If you could convert just 3 percent of those 144 visitors into patients, that would translate into four patients per month from the Internet alone.
How much would that be worth to you? This doesn't take into consideration any enhancements you make to your lead generation system. Now do you understand why getting to the top of Google can be lucrative for your business, especially if other chiropractors in your area are not utilizing this to the maximum effect?
Relationship Management – Why Negative Comments Can Destroy a Clinic Brand
We all know the old saying, 'If someone loves your services, they will tell a few people. If they have a bad experience, they'll tell 100 people." As business owners, we learn fast how to handle disgruntled patients (and sometimes disgruntled ex-employees). Now imagine that person posting their negative comments online. That comment will stay there forever if you don't take the right action.
Now imagine if that person not only posted it on some review site, but also to everyone they know. Welcome to the world of Facebook and Twitter. A negative message can travel like wildfire online. The Internet is a place where a brand can be destroyed, but if managed correctly, it can be a medium that can elevate you above your competition.
Let Your Success Go Viral
Online relationship management online allows you to know in real time what others are saying about your business. You can easily set "alerts" online for whenever someone looks for you or mentions your business. That way, you can quickly address any negative comments. You can also see the positive comments and improve or enhance what you are currently doing in your practice.
Most businesses will never be able to get rid of negative comments. However, if you take action, you can increase the number of positive reviews. Set a system in your office today for identifying patients who have experienced excellent service and quality of care. It can be as easy as asking them to post their experiences on review sites.
Look at what positive reviews can do. If your clinic location has two reviews and one is bad, you have a 50 percent positive rating. If you have one bad review and nine good ones, you have a 90 percent positive rating. Notice how the negative effect of that one review is offset by the positive ones? Although you won't get rid of negative reviews altogether, you can minimize their damage to your clinic brand and image.
Help Make Yourself the Go-To Chiropractor
Internet marketing is definitely something you need to consider – not tomorrow, but today. The first step is understanding why it's so important, and what it can do for your practice. As more people buy smartphones, more will be searching online through their mobile phones for your service. They will turn to their friends, families and strangers through social media outlets to get recommendations on which chiropractor to see. If you take action today, that chiropractor will be you.
- Pew internet survey: online product research. Press release issued Sept. 29, 2010.
- Search engine market share: usage statistics. Published bywww.statowl.com.
- Goodwin D. "Top Google Result Gets 36.4% of Clicks." April 21, 2011. Published bywww.searchenginewatch.com.
While this article serves as an introduction to / overview of Internet marketing, future articles will outline specific action steps you can take to increase your Internet presence and grow your patient base.
Click here for previous articles by Jasper Sidhu, BSc, DC.