Tips for Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget [INFOGRAPHIC]

You know that if you want your business to grow, you need to dedicate a budget to marketing. Otherwise you could have an awesome product or service but no way to tell consumers about it. But how do you determine the amount of money you should be allocating to your marketing budget? And how do you decide on the size of your digital marketing budget compared to your offline marketing budget?

There’s no easy answer to the question, “What should my digital marketing budget be?” However, this infographic and blog post can help you choose a strategy to plan a marketing budget for your business.

Digital Marketing Budget Tips Infographic

Using a Tactic-Based Approach

One way to map out your digital marketing budget is to break down the costs of individual tactics, line by line, and add them up to get your total cost per month and per year. This approach can be good if your business is new and you don’t have a lot of historical data to work with.

It’s straightforward to calculate your internet marketing budget if you outsource your efforts to freelancers or a marketing agency on a per-project basis. However, it gets a little more complicated when you need to calculate the cost of marketing efforts that you keep in-house. You’ll need to start by estimating the number of man-hours for each project and the cost-per-hour for each employee assigned to the project. When calculating cost-per-hour, you’ll need to account for the cost of benefits, training, and vacation days.

Once you’ve determined the cost-per-hour for an employee, multiply that by the number of hours you expect them to work on the project. Repeat that for all employees who will work on the project to get the total cost of labor. In addition to labor costs, you’ll also need to factor in other resources (such as subscription-based software) to get your total cost for a tactic or marketing campaign.

Determining your Budget as a Percentage of Revenue

Most businesses determine their annual marketing budget allocation as a percentage of their revenue. Different sources will give you different estimates for what percentage of your gross annual revenue you should dedicate to marketing, but as a rule of thumb, businesses that are less than five years old should spend about 12-20% and businesses that are more than five years old should spend about 6-12%.

Businesses that are less than a year old and haven’t established their annual revenue can still use the Percentage of Revenue method, but they’ll need to use their projected revenue when crunching the numbers.

One thing to keep in mind with the Percentage of Revenue method is that it can help you determine your overall offline and online marketing budget, but it won’t help you determine how much you should spend on different strategies. You may find it helpful to research how much other comparable businesses in your industry are spending on different strategies (such as SEO and email).

Basing your Marketing Budget on ROI

If you’ve already established an annual marketing budget but are looking for a way to maximize it, consider adjusting the budget throughout the year based on your return on investment (ROI) for different tactics. For example, if you exceed your ROI goals for a paid search campaign one month, you could increase your ad spend the next month. This budgeting method will allow you to grow your revenue quickly and adjust your web marketing budget accordingly, rather than waiting until the next quarter or year to make changes.

The Tied to ROI budgeting method works best with direct-response strategies, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and social media ads. This method is more challenging to use with branding strategies, which may be more difficult to measure.


Looking for more advice on planning your online marketing budget? Download our 2017 Guide to Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget to learn how to audit your marketing efforts and determine costs for different internet marketing strategies.

How to Create a Valuable Holiday Gift Guide

 

Why Create a Holiday Gift Guide?

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are almost upon us. We’re around the corner from Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays are just a stone’s throw away in marketing time. What can you do to get your customers ready for the season? How can you make them aware of what products you or your partners have available for purchase?

With average spending reaching over $800 per consumer this holiday season, digital marketplaces are excellent places for consumers to buy gifts for everyone on their list without driving to multiple stores. 44% of US holiday shoppers bought gifts online in 2014, and for 2016, online sales are forecast to be as much as $117 billion. Making a holiday gift guide can help your company grab a chunk of this revenue.

With holiday shopping now starting as early as the day after Halloween, making a holiday gift guide early can be a great way to highlight best-selling and popular products. By creating a visual representation of your product selection, you can facilitate the holiday shopping processing and make buying easier for your customers.

Holiday gift guides are a way to take marketing and make it creative. Instead of just a boring sales email, you get to take the products you want to sell and present them in a visually enticing format that transports the reader where you want them to go.

Here are a few methods to make holiday gift guides that grab your customers’ attention:

Use a Data-Driven Approach

graph-holiday-gift-guide

Don’t just choose your favorite products to include in your holiday gift guide, use targeted products that are either currently popular or were popular last holiday season. Generate reports on the top sellers in various categories and try to find items that would make good presents. Furthermore, it’s important to get a good mix of products in your gift guide to appeal to a broad range of consumers. You probably don’t have only one type of customer, and your holiday gift guide should reflect that. Look back to your buyer personas and make sure your gift guide reflects the variety inherent in them.

It’s important to get the raw data to find what people are purchasing–use tools like Google Analytics and Hubspot. Track what people are purchasing and what their purchase path is. Use social media and online polls to ask your customers what items they’d like to see. All this data will help you create an approach to your guide that targets a wide swath of customers and reflects the diversity of your business.

Create an Immersive Experience

When creating your holiday gift guide, it is best to curate an experience that submerges the reader in your content. Try segmenting your gift guide into different gift collections by age or gender (if applicable), or by price point. The consumer is then drawn into a selection of items targeted exactly for the people on their gift list. By creating a seamless experience with colorful, high-resolution images of your products, readers are more likely to buy.

Use Pinterest and Other Social Media to Create Holiday Gift Boards

As much as you may segment your holiday gift guide, there is no way to account for every different group and taste. Creating a variety of simple holiday gift boards on Pinterest to augment your existing gift guide is a simple way to help your customers. You can create a specific board for the customer (or buyer persona) you’re trying to target, such as “dog lover” or “stay at home mom.” This strategy works better for some B2C businesses with audiences and demographics more likely to use Pinterest. Tailor your approach to your customers and you’ll have more success. Find out what platforms they use through Google Analytics and online polls and promote through those.

Marketing using Pinterest and other social media sites is incredibly useful in today’s digital age. You can target users who wouldn’t otherwise interact with your content and start new conversations about your products. Remember to continually engage the users from social media and offer them exciting special offers to pique their interest.

pinterest holiday gift guide

Continue Writing About and Promoting Your Holiday Gift Guide

Once your holiday gift guide is out there, don’t just leave it sitting in cyberspace. Write about it using blog posts to provide additional context to the products you’re recommending to your customers. Tell your customers why they should buy this particular item. Explain why your product will make the perfect gift for their friend or family member. Producing blog posts about the products in your gift guide creates additional engagement around your products and adds a framework for your buyers. Do keyword research so that you can incorporate phrases for a higher organic ranking.

Promote the gift guide and your blogs on social media. Don’t let them stagnate on your website waiting for organic hits. Include links in emails, launch a paid campaign, and perhaps even look for promotional opportunities with other blogs or websites in your industry for link sharing. These methods can further enhance the reach of your guide to additional customers.

Your holiday gift guide can be your customers’ entry point into your product offerings. Make sure it is inviting, accessible, immersive, and understandable. If you use these tips to create your gift guide, you’re more likely to succeed this holiday season.

The team at Leverage Marketing has been through many holiday seasons and knows holiday gift guides inside and out. If you have questions about marketing for the holiday season, we are here to help. We are experts in helping our clients meet their needs all year-round. Sign up for our newsletter today to get tips about SEO, social media, marketing, and lots more.

Prep Your Website for Black Friday: A Marketing Checklist [UPDATED]

This post was originally published on October 8th, 2015. We’ve updated it with several new checklist items for 2016.

With Black Friday coming up on November 25th and Cyber Monday following right on its heels, your holiday marketing is no doubt well underway. In all the chaos, it’s easy to overlook some of the small but impactful online marketing tactics you can use to boost sales on two of the biggest shopping days of the year. With that in mind, we’ve put together a marketing checklist of things to do in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.

Download a PDF of our Black Friday Checklist

Web Design

o Update homepage for Black Friday.

Make sure anyone who lands on your homepage in the days leading up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday knows about the deals you’re going to offer. Add relevant banners and calls-to-action, change your home page header/hero image to highlight your Black Friday offers, and consider adding a countdown clock to build excitement. You may also want to create a banner that you can place at the top of all pages to remind shoppers about your deals.

o Simplify forms and checkout process.

Take some time before the holidays to go through your checkout process and identify steps where shoppers are likely to drop out. Eliminate unnecessary form fields and try to minimize the clicks it takes to complete a transaction.

Compress and resize any images that are weighing down your pages. 

Unnecessarily large images can slow down page load times, and online shoppers aren’t going to wait patiently for your site to load. Take some time before Black Friday to check images on your home page and most popular product pages, and either resize or compress high-resolution images.

o Test site to ensure all pages are mobile-friendly.

By now you likely know how important it is to have a website that looks good on mobile devices. Even if you think your site is fully responsive or adaptive to mobile, it’s worth testing individual pages—especially new ones you’re adding ahead of Black Friday. Enter page URLs into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test bar to determine if all pages meet Google’s criteria for mobile-friendly design.

o Set up live chat.

There are dozens of live chat systems available online, and you can easily set one up by adding a piece of HTML code to all the pages where you want the chat window to appear. If you don’t have a system in place yet, install one before your big holiday sales days so that potential customers can quickly get help from one of your team members.

Email Marketing

o Craft emails to build anticipation for your sales.

Schedule your emails so that subscribers receive an initial announcement about your holiday sale, followed by several messages designed to build anticipation and keep you top of mind. Consider revealing some of the upcoming Black Friday sales prices on top-selling items, or send out a sales offer that is exclusive to email subscribers.

A/B test subject lines.

Remember: before you can get readers to click on email links leading to great Black Friday deals, you have to convince them that opening your email is worth their time. Businesses flood their subscribers’ inboxes with promotional messages around the holidays (MailChimp delivered 1.2 billion emails last Black Friday), so you need to make sure your messages stand out. Be clear about the deals you’re offering in your subject line, and A/B test different subject line variations to see what gets the most engagement.

o Write copy for transactional emails.

Tailor order confirmations, abandoned cart notices, and other automated email messages to your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Consider adding copy about upcoming holiday sales to encourage visitors to shop with you again before the end of December.

o Write emails to remind shoppers that your sale is about to end.

Create a segmented list of email subscribers who haven’t purchased anything on Black Friday or Cyber Monday and send an email several hours before the end of sale, reminding them that there is limited time to take advantage of your discounts.

o Test email links.

Before running any of your holiday email campaigns, take a few minutes to make sure none of your email links are broken and that all links go to the appropriate landing page.

o Create landing pages that align with email CTAs.

It can be jarring for email subscribers to click on a call-to-action that takes them to a landing page with a completely different offer—and shoppers aren’t as likely to convert if the initial CTA and landing page don’t match. Check the copy in your email message and on the landing page to ensure it’s coherent.

SEO

Make sure you’ve enabled ecommerce tracking. 

If you sell products through your site, you should absolutely set up Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics (if you haven’t already). Ecommerce Tracking will give you more insights in your customers’ behavior patterns so that you can better tailor future sales to your audience. If you’re not sure how to set up Ecommerce Tracking, check out our step-by-step guide.

o Check page load times.

Go to the Site Speed tab in Google Analytics to check the load times of your web pages. On average, people will give a page three seconds to load before abandoning the site, so if you have pages with slower load times, you’ll need to fix them. If you’re not sure what’s causing the slow load time, have your marketing team perform an audit.

o Create landing pages for sales categories.

Include ‘Black Friday’ or other holiday-related keywords in your title tags, header tags, and content so that the landing page has a better chance of being served to web users who enter relevant search queries.

o Research long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords will have a lower search volume than more general Black Friday-related keywords, but they will also have less competition and are more likely to attract shoppers who are looking for your specific products or services.

o Pitch products to influencers who curate gift guides.

Backlinks from high-quality third-party sites are a ranking factor for SEO, so it’s always a good idea to make connections with bloggers and journalists in your industry who may be interested in sharing your content. Lots of sites begin publishing holiday gift guides in November and December, so try pitching some of your best gift products to relevant sites. In addition to the SEO-value of backlinks, having your products featured in gift guides can also help drive traffic to your site.

o Local brick-and-mortars: check your online listings.

If you own a brick-and-mortar as well as an online store, go through all the major online directories to make sure your address, phone number, and other important information are up-to-date. If you have not yet claimed your business on Google, do so now using Google My Business.

PPC

o Set up meeting with your PPC team.

Keyword bids will be high around Black Friday because this is one of the busiest shopping times of the year, so you need to get the most out of your budget by choosing the keywords that are most likely to lead to conversions for your business. Unless you are a PPC professional, you should meet with your PPC team to discuss strategies.

o Create PPC campaigns tailored to consumers who are researching before Black Friday.

Most Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers will be researching deals in advance so that they can get the products they want before they are out of stock. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, tailor the copy in your PPC ads to your customers’ research phase.

Prepare ads for several top sellers if you think you may run out of inventory.

Have you been promoting a particular product heavily? Is it possible that this product will be out of stock before the end of Black Friday? If so, write ad copy for several other top sellers so that you will have ads ready to go if you have to pull the ads for an out-of-stock item.

o Retarget web users who have already visited your site.

If you have a retargeting pixel set up on your site, start remarketing to customers who have previously browsed your site. This is a good way to stay top of mind and announce deals to people who may not be on your mailing list but who have shown interest in your products.

Use day parting and bid scheduling to maximize your paid search budget. 

Look at your historical data to see which times of day you’re likely to see the highest levels of traffic and conversions. Allocate more of your paid search budget to the top-converting hours of the day to maximize your ROI.

Social Media Marketing

o Use Facebook and Twitter remarketing.

Retargeting pixels on your website aren’t just for PPC ads—you can also use them to create ads for custom audiences on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook even lets you serve ads to Lookalike Audiences—that is, people who are similar to your existing customers and therefore likely to be interested in your products. If you’ve never done this before, talk to your online marketing team about creating targeted social media ads before Black Friday.

o Create exclusive offers for followers on social media.

Offering exclusive discounts is a great way to reward your followers on social media—and to encourage those followers to recommend your social profiles to their friends and family.

o Put together holiday gift guides and share on social sites.

Use a design template site like Canva or Piktochart to create visually-appealing gift guides in different categories (e.g. ‘Stocking Stuffers’, ‘Gifts for Grillmasters’, etc.), and share those guides on your social channels. If you have a following on Pinterest, keep in mind that you can now create buyable pins that integrate with Magento, Bigcommerce, and IBM Websphere.

Use relevant holiday hashtags. 

Do some research into hashtags that are being used around Black Friday and think about how they pertain to your sale. You can, of course, use tags like #blackfriday and #cybermonday, but keep in mind that everyone else will be doing this as well. To stand out and get customers excited for your sale, consider using additional hashtags related to your store name and location. Let social media users know they can get updates on your sale (or maybe even get entered into a contest) by using your business-specific hashtag.

o Make sure at least one team member can monitor Twitter on Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

If you have an active presence on Twitter, you should assign at least one team member to monitor this social site for mentions. If customers are tweeting at you because they have a question or complaint related to your sales, you’ll want to be able to respond quickly.

Having trouble with any of the action items above? We’d be happy to help you check all the boxes on your holiday marketing to-do list. Contact us to get started.

5 Creative Cyber Monday Marketing Ideas

While brick-and-mortar retailers are planning sales to attract droves of shoppers on Black Friday, any business that sells products or services online should be thinking ahead to Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday, which takes place the week after Thanksgiving, has become the largest online shopping day of the year. Last year shoppers spent an estimated $3 billion on Monday, November 30th, setting a new record for the holiday.

Cyber Monday means lots of potential customers for your business, but there are also plenty of competitors trying to win the same customers over with their holiday deals. To convince customers to shop with you, you’ll need more than just a standard discount—you’ll need to get creative with your digital marketing. Here are five out-of-the-box Cyber Monday marketing ideas to help you get started.

Offer More Than Just Free Shipping

Bonus gift card as part of Cyber Monday marketing

Sure, free shipping is a nice incentive, but it’s an incentive that everyone and their mother offers around the holidays. Most customers have come to expect free shipping on their Cyber Monday purchases, and all those marketing emails promising free deliveries aren’t going to make them bat an eye.

To make your business stand out, try offering something unique—like a bonus gift that customers can only get from your online store. For example, you might tell customers that if they spend $x, they can get a pre-selected gift or choose a gift from several options. Make sure you’re offering a gift that will appeal to a wide swath of your target audience; for instance, if you sell at-home beer-brewing supplies, you might offer a free bottle opener with every purchase of $40 or more.

Create Special Interest Gift Guides

gift-box-row

Picking out gifts for friends and family can be challenging, so make it easier on your customers by creating a series of gift guides aimed at different segments of your target audience. Let’s say you run an online store that sells pop culture-inspired apparel and novelty items. You might create guides like “Gifts for the Classic Sci-Fi Fan” or “Gifts for the Netflix Binge-Watcher.” Perform keyword research to come up with copy that will drive organic traffic to these guides (for example, there may not be much search volume around “Gifts for the Netflix Binge-Watcher,” but there will likely be more search volume around relevant phrases like “gifts under $25”).

Once you’ve finalized your copy and images, run the gift guides on your blog and promote them on social media leading up to Cyber Monday. You could also send specific gift guides to email subscribers using lists segmented by demographic.

Ask Customers to Shop for a Cause

donation-canister

In 2012, a coalition of more than 1400 charities launched Giving Tuesday as a follow-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On this day, consumers are encouraged to get involved in volunteer projects or donate to charities as a way to give back during the holiday season. As an online retailer, consider kicking off your charitable giving early by tying it in with your Cyber Monday sales. Choose a charity you care about and let shoppers know–through promotional emails, a slider on your website, a notification at the top of a user’s shopping cart, etc.– that you’ll be donating a percentage of your Cyber Monday profits to that charity.

The skin care and beauty company L’Occitane is a good example of a business that did this successfully last year. They ran a promotion from Black Friday through Christmas, telling shoppers that for every gift set purchased, their company would donate $10 to Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides professional attire and career development resources to women in need. This kind of charitable act makes shoppers feel positive about their purchases and helps build goodwill towards your brand.

Get Humorous

A lot of holiday sales copy sounds the same (e.g. “One Day Only Doorbuster Deals,” “Only 8 Hours Left on Our Sale”), so try standing out by taking a humorous approach to your Cyber Monday email marketing and social media promotions. Rather than just telling customers to visit your site for great deals, you might frame your discounts in the context of a Holiday Shopping Survival Guide or email subscribers a list of the reasons why this is going to be the year they don’t procrastinate on their gift buying.

For inspiration, take a look at Dollar Shave Club’s “The Perfect Gift for Any Guy with a Face” graphic, which they used on social media last year.

dollar-shave-funny-holiday-marketing-example

The graphic is bold, simple, and looks a lot different than holiday sales promotions that just show product images or the words “50% Off” in a huge font.

At a time when people face an onslaught of promotional messages, humor provides a nice change of pace and can make your brand more memorable.

Surprise Customers with an Extended Sale

Who says that Cyber Monday deals can only be available on Cyber Monday? As the day winds down, send out an email to subscribers letting them know that you’ve extended your sale for x amount of time. This email will serve as a reminder for people who may not have shopped with you yet while also creating a sense of urgency—essentially, you’re giving shoppers a second chance to save but setting a deadline for your deals.

Takeaways

Shoppers will have plenty of choices this holiday season, and you need to give them a reason to choose you. By exceeding customer expectations and offering unique incentives, your business can cut through the noise and get increased visibility this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


Need help planning creative holiday marketing campaigns this year? Get in touch with our team of digital marketing experts– we can take an in-depth look at your brand and your competitors to come up with a strategy that drives sales.

How to Use Facebook in Your Content Marketing Strategy

There’s no doubt that Facebook is a useful tool in any company’s marketing arsenal. With the largest amount of monthly active users at 1.7 billion users, Facebook can provide an incredibly powerful way for your company to reach customers and personalize a message to them. But how can Facebook fit into your content marketing strategy? Your business may be generating content on a weekly or monthly basis to increase SEO rankings or just provide information to your clients, but how is it getting disseminated? Who is reading it? Facebook can be a valuable tool not only in improving your content marketing results but in helping you learn more about your audience.

Audience and Followers

The first step for using Facebook as part of an effective content marketing strategy is realizing that just having lots of likes on your page isn’t good enough. You need a strong audience that interacts with your page on a regular basis. People not only need to see the content but like the blog posts, comment, and share, instead of just scrolling right past. Even if you have fantastic content, if no one reads or posts on it, it might as well not exist. Focus on building a solid audience that is interested in your product or service, and not just buying likes from bots. You’ll find that it gets easier over time, likes will just come organically, and people will share more articles as you reach a critical mass. Just keep trucking!

facebook-article-2

Share, Share, Share

It’s important to use Facebook to link to off-Facebook content that helps to promote your site. If you have excellent content on your site, but no one reads it, it doesn’t serve any purpose. Facebook can help enhance and expand your audience. Don’t just share a link to a blog post without any description: make sure to use images, an exciting description, and share at a popular time for your followers. Blog posts on your site can help promote your product and increase SEO and traffic, but only when people actually read them. Facebook is a great way to accomplish this.

If you have a significant post, feel free to post it again on Facebook several days or a week later. With Facebook’s new algorithms, it’s likely people won’t see the post twice and you’ll get more hits on your site.

Pictures and videos are vital for increasing engagement. If pictures are worth a thousand words, videos may be worth even more. An exciting image or YouTube link can surge users commenting and sharing on a post. Facebook algorithms (much like Google’s own) change often, and keeping up with them can increase your reach.

Make use of blog posts, videos, and pictures to engage your followers on Facebook, post frequently but don’t inundate your users– and you’ll likely be successful integrating Facebook into your content marketing strategy.

Facebook Insights

facebook-article-3

Facebook Insights is possibly one of the most valuable parts of using Facebook in your content marketing strategy. Audience Insights give you information on just exactly who your audience is, basics like age, gender, and location, as well as more in-depth information like estimated income, interests, and more. You can then use this information to attempt to target the audience you have on Facebook or to fill in gaps you’re missing. Audience Insights is a mirror into who cares about your product or service and what areas you need to improve in demographically.

Page Insights are equally valuable in other ways. They allow you to see how the content you’ve been posting on your page has been performing, including reach and engagement. This information is useful for determining how well your content is performing on Facebook, but you can also use it in conjunction with Google Analytics to decide how to move forward with your content marketing strategy. You can directly ‘Boost Posts’ from within Page Insights, essentially creating ads and boosting engagement with your audience and their friends.

Facebook Ads

Though not always directly related to content, Facebook Ads can have a large impact on how your Page on Facebook performs. It’s a great way for followers to find your page and start reading your content. Facebook Ads can promote your blog posts that your Audience has shared. Remember that you always want to split test for ads to maximize your ad dollars. Use Facebook Ads wisely to increase your impact and reach.


If making Facebook part of your content marketing strategy sounds great, but you aren’t sure where to begin, contact the Leverage Marketing team today. We’re experts in social media and content marketing and help craft an integrated approach that will maximize your content offerings with Facebook’s social media potential. We can answer any questions you have and get you a path to more followers, enhanced content, and success.

What is the Future of Google Search?

Predictions about Google and its search engine in the future exist mostly in the realm of science fiction. Massive takeovers of major businesses and technology giants seem like the stuff of dreams. But just as universal credit and debit cards sprang to life in Edward Bellamy’s novel Looking Backward way back in 1888, Google continues to make fiction reality as it rolls out advanced semantic search technology, driverless cars, and modular phones.

In digital marketing, you have to be truly one step ahead of the technology that drives your industry. To do so, experts make as many data-based, logical decisions as possible about what tomorrow holds. Not the least critical of digital marketing’s unpredictable but powerful tools is Google Search, our friend and enemy. Even the wildest predictions about what’s under the hood of the machine that processes each of our Internet searches could prove to be an incredible boon to the efforts we make to succeed alongside our clients.

As we nervously await the next wave of change in Google’s search algorithm, we have formulated a few thought-provoking ideas about where the search engine might go and what grand plans it has to continue its conquest of the infinitely expanding Internet space.

Ads-Only Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

Sure, a SERP completely filled with ads sounds preposterous, but paid search revenue is the main source of income for Google, and ads are what allow the company to continue to make improvements in search and beyond. In 2011, money from paid search accounted for 96% of Google’s income. Licensing and other sources made up the remaining 4%, which can’t even fund Google’s employee base. Their income doesn’t come from organic search, as noble as Google’s intentions may be.

austin local search results for plumbing with 4 ads and mapTo see why we believe Google may start leaning toward an ads-only model, try a search for a popular service in your area. Here, we tried plumbing.

We were served four ads, one of which had an extended description, and three of which displayed links straight past the landing page to different parts of the company’s website.

Below that, there was a handy map and the beginning of a list of business information. The organic information was nearly cut off, and classic organic search results didn’t even make an appearance above the fold.

Currently, 64.6% of people click on Google ads when they’re looking to pay for goods or services.

That number could increase if most searchers are faced with ad-only SERPs. It’s most likely that ads would only be served when Google believes the searcher intends to buy or rent goods and services. Those searching for information rather than a place to sink their money still seem to prefer organic search results.

But even organic results could turn into a money maker for Google. Already, paid search ads are starting to blend in with organic search results. Though Google’s approach to ad labeling in the SERPs is still far more eye-catching than competitors such as Bing, differentiation between paid search results and organic search results has become much subtler over time.

Look at Search Engine Land‘s history of the appearance of ads just in the last 10 years:

google ad label background color history

The elimination of a defining color in the background of paid search results was only the first step. The Ad label also no longer has a distinct color, and the overall appearance of the search result largely resembles an organic search result. Webmasters may end up paying for their information to be displayed in Google one day – but that might violate Google’s Don’t Be Evil policy.

Complete Google Integration

Productivity tools such as Gmail and Google Docs, internationalization tools like Google Translate, and even wacky and unusual ventures such as the Google Earth Flight Simulator and the Google Art Project are likely to be fully integrated into one another one day. Already, Google’s main suite of office software and search engine flow together more seamlessly than we could have imagined. Agencies like ours are moving to all-Google work platforms, which we find increases productivity (and drastically decreases frustration).

As Google gets better at learning where the hiccups in work productivity, online shopping, Internet research, and GPS pathfinding occur, small but important integrations occur within the grand structure of their multiple software offerings. For example, Google Drive is available in your browser and on your desktop, and you can access it when sending emails or when using a long list of supporting apps such as our office chat client, Slack.

google drive and slack integration with google docs

You may one day be able to cycle through a comprehensive list of Google products to come up with a complete solution to your query with integration at a high level. Imagine sharing a Google Doc with your coworker on a chat client, then opening that doc to find a business proposal for a new client with a Google Map of their location and service area. Look closer into that map and you’ll find Google Search results that highlight their competitors, which links to Google Shopping so you can get an idea of the price range of your potential client’s good and services.

You can do all of that now, but you’ll have to take a few extra steps to input information manually. However, Google continues to learn and serve the needs of searchers, and they’re learning ways to get you the information you need before you even know you need it – which could also lead to search dominion of a more massive scale.

A Total Takeover of Search

All searches, not just basic search queries, could one day become the domain of Google. Think airline ticket sales and hotel bookings, restaurant reservations and online orders – all of the services to which Google Search normally leads could be served from a SERP.

knowledge graph with paradise lost information from multiple sourcesThe search engine giant is already creeping in on what was once the territory of informational websites. The Knowledge Graph is an incredibly handy addition to Google Search results; it allows searchers to gather fast facts and synopses for common queries without ever having to go past Google’s SERP. But what if their ability to bypass websites entirely to gather information moves into sales?

We might one day see simple search forms for available flights, electrician appointments, movie ticket sales, and similar search-based goods and services sales shift to the might of Google.

If AdWords-like technology develops, competitive companies might bid for a spot at the top of the SERP where users can input all of the information necessary to obtain their goods or services before they even see the company’s home page. You can get a sneak peek of what it might look like if you type a relevant query into Google Search:

google query for buying airline tickets with destination form

When we tried to buy airline tickets, we were treated to a handy, prominently-displayed form that already knows from which airport we want to take off. Just enter a destination and Google Flights will start showing you a list of available flights and prices similar to Google Shopping results. If the technology continues to evolve, companies will need to supply only a database of information to Google instead of developing their own search software to integrate into their websites.

Not every consumer uses Google, however, and direct-to-site visits are still a major source of website traffic, especially for well-known brands. Google and corporate America would need to create a phenomenal public awareness campaign if such a sweeping change were to happen, but it’s still not outside the realm of possibility.

Global Mapping and Exploration

Google has rapidly expanded both its Google Earth and Google Maps platforms as they have gained popularity. An unbelievable amount of Earth is now rendered in real-time 3D for use with both products. Google Street View currently covers most developed nations as well as large business and tourist destinations in developing nations. As growth continues, we’ll be able to explore more of our planet faster from the comfort of our homes and offices.

google earth street view of shops on mt fujiThat means Google Search queries may sometimes be answerable just by exploring your Google Maps or Google Earth apps. Wondering what kind of architecture you can find in central Italy? Curious about the shops available at the mid-point of Mount Fuji? Just plant yourself on-location using Google Street View and look around to find out. Large-scale discovery may well fill information gaps in which content isn’t available or hasn’t been written – and could inspire the development of new and important content, as well.

Artificially Intelligent Digital Assistants

There’s a race happening behind the scenes as major software developers are upgrading and tweaking their digital assistants to try to eliminate the need to type queries. The goal is to create digital assistants that understand and respond with natural language to humans who input queries using voice commands. If successful, digital assistants will scour sources of information to draw conclusions about real questions posed by real people.

google assistant logo with transparent backgroundGoogle has recently entered the ring, too, with Google Assistant. After finding that 20% of mobile search queries were made using voice features on mobile phones, Google saw an opportunity to improve the search experience in a major way by developing a digital assistant that runs on the Google Search engine. It is capable of two-way conversation using ever-improving natural language processing algorithms.

If Google continues to upgrade its Google Translate capabilities and learn from the follies and mistakes of searchers, it could turn a majority of search, mobile or not, into voice-activated and controlled search.

Though users will likely make the transition to digital assistants slower than the technology will develop, the lively competition between Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon asserts that they may know the value of digital assistantship well before we, the consumers, do.

Our Influence on the Future of Search

The way we use search, just like the way we use language, defines what lies ahead for our search engines. By using search in a way that is intuitive for you as an individual, you sway the actions of search giants such as Google. Your vote in the future of search may be only one vote, but it’s a powerful vote nonetheless, so if you find a particular feature of search that you enjoy, use it as often as you can.

All of us are moving the data that moves decision makers to pour time and energy into improving our life experiences, so ensure that the decisions they make will benefit you by actively using Google Search the way you love to use it most.


TL;DR – Google’s future is forever mysterious, but we have a few educated guesses to make. To increase revenue and create an advertising utopia, Google might make all-ad SERPs the norm. Software integration will likely improve, and may lead to a takeover of on-site product and service searches. Google’s fully explorable 3D earth could mitigate the need for some hard search queries, and digital assistants might lead to a new wave of search overall. No matter what, Google Search is what you make it, so use it every day to your advantage.


The experts at Leverage Marketing are on top of the future of Google Search, social media, email marketing, and everything else digital marketing. Let us help change the way you think about your marketing strategy on and offline. Call us today at 512-572-0460 to learn how we can superpower your Internet presence – then subscribe to our newsletter now so you don’t miss any more of our incredible marketing news and tips.

3 Essential Online PR Activities for Your Business

Creating a PR plan for your company or organization can help set a solid foundation for current and future marketing efforts. To put things in perspective, you can view your company’s PR plan as a response to internal and external events and a way to keep your audience and other important stakeholders informed. You can either generate brand equity for your company or defend the most important asset: your reputation. Below are three key PR activities that your company can implement over time to help find new opportunities and stay relevant.

News Release Schedule

PR news releases let your business make announcements to the media about events that impact your industry, employees, and stakeholders. This tool can also be used to give news reporters and journalists quick ideas for new stories that impact local communities or larger populations.

You can start building your PR calendar by planning out news releases at the beginning of the year and revising stories as the year progresses. To capture the attention of news reporters, keep your news release relevant to a current event or issue and send it out promptly. Make sure that you write your news releases using the Associated Press Stylebook to make it easier for journalists to extract story headlines and quotes for publication or a news segment.

Never send out news releases on a Monday, since it tends to be the busiest for news, or a Friday when your audience may be focused on the upcoming weekend. Once you have scheduled and written your press release, send it out on to industry specific news wire services or target journalists that specialize in reporting on a particular subject.

Blogging

blogging-for-pr

Your company’s blog presents the ideal opportunity to establish leadership and expertise on a particular subject. You can start your company’s blog by asking upper management or other employees that may have interests on a topic that is relevant to your audience. A good way to kickstart this effort is by looking at other blogs from similar companies to see what topics they’re covering. However, always remember to write original content. If you want to write about the same subject, find another angle, or include a current industry report or an expert opinion that adds value to your audience.

Just like with your news release schedule, you can keep track of your blog ideas in a calendar to keep a steady flow of fresh topics for your company’s website.

Crisis Management

Social media is an amazing tool to engage your audience with new content and build new relationships. However, it also poses a significant risk for companies as negative news or external factors such as account hacks can tarnish reputations in an instant.

Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked to display the McDonald's logo and included racial comments and references to illicit drugs.

Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked to display the McDonald’s logo and included racial comments and references to illicit drugs.

Establishing a crisis protocol for your company’s social media accounts is essential. Your response to a social media crisis should be thought-out and acted on quickly. Unfortunately for many businesses, using a PR statement to issue an apology is no longer an option. You must address your audience directly and authentically, or you could risk losing control of the conversation on other blogs and forums. However, you should avoid escalating the situation and drawing attention to issues that pose a significant threat to your company’s online presence. Some issues can be resolved by simply providing customer support in a private message or issuing statements that assure the audience that you are investigating the issue internally.


Implementing these three components to your company’s PR plan is an essential step towards establishing and achieving your marketing goals. It is important to keep in mind that your company’s online reputation involves content strategies and social media management that are maintained and monitored over time. Contact our team at Leverage Marketing to find out how to our services can help your company.

Monthly Subscription Boxes May Be the Next Big Business Boom

Our online lives are drawing a curtain over the real world. We’re rapidly moving away from real-life experiences in favor of digital fulfillment, and at our fingertips is a world wide open with uninhibited possibility. But for most of us, that’s an incredible prospect. Having whatever we want available whenever we want it, especially with the help of monthly subscription boxes, can be overwhelming and confusing.

The online business world is feeling the effects of a limitless marketplace. Products and services abound, and even with filters such as internet search and B2C marketing, it’s a challenge to find interesting products that align with consumer interests. In that ether between what we want and how we find it, subscription boxes have come to life.

What Is a Subscription Box?

open orange bulu subscription box with giftsThe subscription box is a regularly scheduled, curated, and specially packaged goods delivery that caters to a specific market or interest. The concept borrows from the business model of the milkman, in which fresh deliveries of milk came to customers’ doorsteps carried by a friendly delivery expert. Customers could touch, taste, smell, and experience the product before them in real life, which contrasts rigidly with the intangible nature of our culture of online consumption.

That delivery model may be on its way back. Already, subscription boxes such as Birchbox, a monthly makeup and beauty product box, and Naturebox, an all-natural organic snack box, are reaching the size of traditionally successful enterprises such as corporations and chain stores. Small-time business owners are finding just-right-sized success with small customer bases and continuously creative offerings. The entire system is still remarkably new, and its shape will be molded just as much by customers as it will by subscription box creators.

What Makes Subscription Boxes Successful?

The pioneers of subscription boxes, including Birchbox co-founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, have made the beginner’s mistakes and grown from them. They and others like them have learned what will stick with customers and what will push them toward the unsubscribe button. Together, these brave business heroes have created a blueprint for a successful subscription box company, and sites such as Cratejoy have built software systems that facilitate building from that blueprint.

cratejoy subscription box logo with lit red letters

Subscription box companies that grow their subscription base, profits, and influence share four characteristics:

  1. Earned Loyalty – Subscription box crafters need to have an honest inclination to curate box contents. Customers want to feel that the products they receive come from a company that shares their love, and the products that company provides have to fulfill actual needs. Boxes based on novelty tend to nosedive after the charm wears away.
  2. Consistent Change – Consumers are likely to scoff at even an item or two that is repeatedly delivered in a box over which they have no control. Duplicate items represent a lack of interest in dazzling the customer and are a concrete way to trim the number of subscribers to your box. Build a box concept around an interest with a wealth of competing products and make sure there’s freshness in every box.
  3. Multiple Revenue Streams – Don’t stop at subscription boxes unless you aren’t looking for growth. The most prolific monthly subscription box companies have set up e-commerce shops on their websites where customers can buy more of the products they love most from their monthly boxes. Storefronts work two-fold for your business: they will market to customers who are less in touch with e-commerce and provide immediate satisfaction to loyal subscribers.
  4. Sustainable Business Models – don’t go overboard with software development and overmanned sales teams. Stick to the script until you find your niche, then focus on growing that specific customer base through multiple channels. Keep overhead low by enticing vendors with free advertising if they provide free or discounted samples and full products for you to include in your boxes.

Consumer Benefits

graze monthly subscription box with fruits nuts chocolates and box art

At the forefront of the subscription box is the consumer – the beloved, fastidious, fickle consumer. The monthly subscription box business model relies on a steady monthly stream of subscriber money to maintain profit, and while the predictable income is a boon to business owners, it also means that customers are in strict control of growth potential.

That’s why clever business owners recognize and worship the benefits of subscription boxes to consumers:

They rekindle the elements of surprise and discovery

You’ve likely heard the comparison to an eternal Christmas with monthly boxes. When you get a new package of surprises every month, the delight of tearing open the package that you may remember as a child returns when your box arrives. Buying things you want is fun, but getting things you didn’t know you wanted is powerful.

They bring to light curiosities that are tough to find in a limitless marketplace

Customers can be blinded quickly by the most influential and well-known brands that cater to their interests. Exploration of new and exciting items is intimidating when products designed to please are available everywhere at all times. Well-curated subscription boxes provide a source for the lesser-known items that may cater to more individual wants and needs to reach target audiences.

They save consumers time when searching for new and interesting products

Streaming music services such as Spotify boast an intensely large library of available music on-demand. But Spotify customers don’t always know what to listen to when faced with such an array of choices, so the company provides playlists, searches, and filters to help guide customers to the music they want to hear. Monthly subscription boxes do the same in the consumer goods market – they provide a preset filter through which customers can discover what’s available without having to make guesses.

Business Benefits

Behind the scenes of the subscription box are the men and women who make each box magical. The monthly subscription box business model is still in its infancy, which allows potential business owners to shape it to their needs and goals without the added pressure of the grow-or-go traditional business model.

Business models are flexible for small and large businesses

Your subscriber limit and the ability to reach it will direct the scope of your subscription box business. Some of Cratejoy’s box curators sell just enough boxes to pay the bills and are not looking for additional growth. On the other hand, Birchbox’s owners are seeking prolific expansion. (Edit: Previously, we had mentioned that Birchbox bought Glossybox from European entrepreneur Charles von Abercon, but a kind reader pointed out that Birchbox had bought Joliebox, not Glossybox, as a part of their global expansion.)  Subscription box businesses can splash in the shallow end or dive into the deep end shame-free.

Structure allows low barriers to entry for hopeful entrepreneurs

Since most box businesses are low-overhead operations with few employees, it only takes the classic characteristics of hard work and dedication to make a subscription success. There’s no golden profit line and relatively few competitors. The landscape is open to creative ideas from just a few go-getters who want to create a business without the hassle of creating a business.

Creates opportunities where they may not exist otherwise

To launch a full-fledged enterprise is a gigantic undertaking. You need a solid business plan, a team of investors, and the will to sacrifice personal time to get things running. Or, you could create a solid product that stands out in its market and let your customers decide whether or not you should succeed by creating a subscription box specifically for your product. The small-scale business opportunity affords a chance of success to those without the startup capital or time to build an empire.

Marketer Benefits

Marketers who work in tandem with monthly subscription box companies receive something of a dream assignment when they sign on for services. Traffic for subscription-based companies tends to outpace funding in almost every scenario, which means marketers have plenty of resources with which they can work.

Target audiences are hand-picked

The success of most subscription boxes depends on the depth of the niche through which it is trying to delight customers. LootCrate has an easily researchable and well-targeted demographic to which it sends boxes. The target audience will be the only consumers of the product, and the marketing practically writes itself.

Subscriber bases are smaller

Even the largest companies in the industry tend to have fewer than 1 million subscribers at a time. Where traditional businesses may deal with millions of unknown customers every year, box companies nurture a loyal base of interested men and women who rotate much more sparingly than customers at a storefront or e-commerce shop. Marketing for these solid, smaller customer bases tends to be much more focused.

bark box with dog treats and dogContent creation is more interesting and personal

Excitement is part of the allure of subscription boxes, and it doesn’t have to begin and end when the package arrives at the door. Getting audiences electrified about the company’s next offering affords magnificent opportunities to wow audiences with creative copy, illustrations, videos, and whatever else your marketing team can dream up.

Organic growth is indispensable

Low-cost production and the need to earn customer support leads naturally into healthy, organic growth. Marketers can take advantage and sharpen their approaches to inbound marketing through showing customers what their clients’ subscription boxes can offer in the realm of new and interesting consumer goods, and will relish the times when business is flourishing organically.

Will the Monthly Subscription Box Model Last?

Numbers look promising for growth in the subscription box industry. When profits began to rise enough for boxes to be a reliable business in the first quarter of 2013, it would have been difficult to guess that growth would explode by nearly 3,000% in the next 3 years. With about 11 million subscribers in 2016 in hundreds of different product categories, the demand is certainly scaling with the supply.

empty blue mailbox transparent backgroundHowever, Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali asserts that these businesses may be at the bursting point of a huge bubble. “The energy has already died down,” she says, and she may be right. Despite the shocking appearance of the growth charts, the entire industry is terrifyingly new. There’s no long-term reference to the possibility of success, and the joy of receiving monthly gifts could wane when something newer arrives.

Large-scale companies already threaten the smaller markets as well. Sephora uses advanced loyalty data analytics to determine what customers want most in a box and send their Play! box monthly to subscribers for $10. Starbucks started the Reserve Roastery that offers artisan coffees to enthusiasts at a paltry $19 a month. Established businesses may well take over the open marketplace before new box services reach their ultimate potential.

Until we see the ultimate rise or fall of monthly subscription boxes, however, the potential still exists to turn classic charm into gold. If subscriptions take off, we could see an unprecedented quake in business, marketing and the way that customers consume goods – perhaps permanently.


TL;DR – Starting with a handful of remarkable successes, subscription box companies have grown exponentially in just a few years. Consumers, business owners, and marketers all get something out of the business model, but consumer benefits may decrease as the novelty of monthly surprises wears off. Major, well-established companies are also eager to take a large share of the market before new business owners have a chance to succeed with ventures from Starbucks and Sephora already in the works.

To some market researchers, the trend seems like just a fad, but the monthly subscription box model is too new to make a sound judgment. Either way, it would be wise for consumers and business owners to heed their current popularity.


The marketing team at Leverage Marketing is adaptable to all kinds of markets. Talk to us about your subscription box service and find out how our marketing experience can help you achieve your dreams. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for up-to-date marketing news and invaluable tips you won’t get anywhere else!

4 Tips to Increase Traffic with Older Blog Posts

You publish a new blog post, promote it on social media, and watch your page views go up for a few days. Then the page views start to decrease, and you move onto the next post on your content calendar. What’s wrong with this picture?

You’re not getting as much out of your blog posts as you could be.

If you’re taking the time to write and promote blog posts, you should maximize their value—and that means looking for ways to drive traffic to high-quality older content. Not sure where to start? Check out our four tips for getting the most out of your existing resources.

Spruce Up Your Evergreen Content

Trimming Hedge

When reviewing your past posts, look for your evergreen content. These are the pieces that aren’t tied to current events or frequently-changing technology—the posts that remain relevant to your audience month over month (possibly with a few minor updates). If the post is mostly evergreen but has some outdated elements, remove or change those parts to make the content relevant again.

That’s exactly what Michael Holeman, one of the PPC analysts at Leverage, did with the blog post ‘4 Ways to Track Conversion When Your URL Doesn’t Change’.  Michael noticed that the blog was consistently getting a lot of hits, even though it had been published over two years ago and included some out-of-date information. In March of this year, he reworked the post to cover Universal Analytics rather than Classic Analytics and changed the sample code snippets mentioned in the post based on updates Google had made. Since then, that blog has been one of our most informative and top-performing posts every month.

Updating the post didn’t take long, but the payoff has been significant in terms of driving more traffic to our blog.

Add Images

Breathe new life into old posts by updating them with relevant images. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without, and adding images can help you get more traction if you recirculate your posts on social media (more on that in the next section). To make your images especially social media-friendly, try superimposing the name of your post over a colorful image, as pictured below:

web designer painting web page

You can do this using a free tool like Canva; it doesn’t take long, and it will allow viewers to quickly identify the subject of your post on sites like Pinterest where images are more prominent than headlines.

One quick caveat: make sure you’re using royalty-free images so that you don’t run afoul of copyright law. Try a free stock image site like Pixabay or Morguefile, or spring for a subscription to a stock photo site like Dreamstime.

Recirculate Posts on Social Media

Try re-sharing posts on your social media channels, even if you’ve shared them already. Recirculating an old post can lead to more engagement than you might think: some marketers see as much as 75% of the engagement of their original share when they share their posts on a site like Twitter for the second time.

Rather than just randomly re-sharing old posts on social media, look for opportunities to promote the posts when they’re most relevant. For example, if you wrote a post last year with Black Friday tips for ecommerce businesses, promote the post in the lead-up to Black Friday this year.  

Write a Response to an Older Post

Has your perspective on any of your older posts changed? Are there new resources available that enhance your understanding of the subject? If so, consider writing a new piece that engages with and links to the original post. On a similar note, if you’re writing a new post that references something you talked about in an older post, you can include a link to the original post in the body. Get familiar with your blog archives so that you can identify relevant posts to link to whenever you’re working on new content.

 

TL;DR: Repurposing old blog content is a low-risk, high-reward way to drive more traffic to your website. By updating content with new information and images, recirculating posts on social media, and linking to older blog posts in new content, you can increase the value of your existing resources.

Don’t have time to update your blog posts or to produce blog content at all? Contact Leverage Marketing to learn how we can create an effective SEO and content strategy for your company.

 

How Your Healthcare Practice Can Reach New Patients Online

Want to bring new patients to your healthcare practice? You’d better have an online presence. Consumers expect to be able to do just about everything online, and that includes looking up health-related information and making medical appointments.

One of the most important components to consider when reaching new patients online is having a website full of patient-friendly information. In addition to building up your website, it can be valuable to engage with potential patients on the social media networks and review sites they’re most likely to frequent.

Need more tips to get started? Below are five ways your healthcare practice can gain new patients online.

Optimized Health Practice Websites

Medical Center Website on Mobile

According to a recent Pew Research Center report on U.S. smartphone use, 68% of respondents have used a mobile device to search for information about a health condition. Because of this trend, mobile design is an important component to acquiring new patients online. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a web development process that allows patients to view your medical practice site across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices without lag or disruptive design elements. This approach will enable your medical practice to provide a rich site experience and empower patients with quality information about symptoms and health conditions when they need it most. Another benefit of having responsive web design is that users will be easily able to access one of the most important components of your site: the contact form. Optimized contact forms should be quick to fill out and should only request essential information needed to follow up with the patient.

Health Content

Google reports that around 1% of all search queries they receive are about health symptoms. Searching for illness indicators to self-diagnose is all part of the digital patient journey. However, one of the biggest challenges for some healthcare practices is providing easy-to-understand health information to prospective patients. An easy way to draft and implement content for your medical practice site is by focusing on common health conditions first and then moving upwards into more complex illnesses. A content strategy for your site should include critical information about diagnostic methods, possible outcomes, and ways your medical practice can provide solutions. Having this type of search engine-optimized content will allow your medical practice to gain new patients who are seeking health-related information.

Quality Care through Online Services

A recent 2016 Physician Compensation Report found that most doctors spend around 13 to 16 minutes with each patient. With such limited time, your medical practice can face challenges meeting the new demands of quality care. An effective way to improve efficiency through your website is by enabling online users to submit documents such as patient questionnaires and other intake forms electronically. Adding this feature to your medical practice site can help speed patient wait times and improve overall satisfaction. Another way to improve the quality of care and gain new patients is to provide additional online support after the consultation. Website content about common procedures, chronic illnesses and medication guides can empower patients to make necessary recommendations, support adherence to treatments, and improve outcomes.

Social Media Engagement

Embrace social media and acquire new patients by building relationships and credibility. Many healthcare practices avoid using social media because of the liability of patient information and other legal considerations. However, it is possible to create protocols for social media communication that are compliant with all regulations and state laws. For a full list checklist on how to use social media for your healthcare practice, check out the Forbes guide.

Online Reviews

Doctor on Laptop

Healthcare review sites such as ZocDoc and Yelp are important to patient acquisition. In fact, a Software Advice survey found that 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. Review sites can provide your practice with a wealth of information regarding patient experiences and overall satisfaction with the services provided by your practice. This valuable feedback can be used to make improvements in quality of care and present to prospective patients the key benefits of choosing your practice over others.

Considering technology use, search trends, and emerging services can help your healthcare practice get new patients and retain existing ones. Your website should serve as a portal with the most reliable and up-to-date health information. You can make that information accessible using proven and reliable web optimization strategies that connect new patients with your services.

For more information on establishing your medical practice website, contact Leverage Marketing and ask about our web design and content creation services.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating your site using responsive web design will help patients reach your site across all devices. This is especially important for patients who want to book an appointment on mobile devices without any lag or annoying web design problems.
  • Before looking for a doctor, patients first search for health symptoms to self-diagnose. Having easy-to-read content about common health conditions, symptoms, treatments, and potential outcomes will help your site reach those patients.
  • A higher level of service can be achieved by taking advantage of timesaving processes such as electronic patient questionnaires and providing additional patient education sources.
  • Don’t be afraid of using social media for your practice. Establishing proper protocols that comply with regulations and laws can help you establish relationships with new patients.
  • Analyzing patient reviews on sites like ZocDoc and Yelp will help you gain a better perspective of your practice. Use positive and negative reviews to come up with ways to improve the overall patient experience.
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