By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Sometimes it’s doubly curious to discover valuable medical marketing lessons and useful tools in…well, curious places. For example, one of the most articulate business cases we’ve read recently originated in Vienna, Austria, and it’s not about healthcare.
Remarkably, author Dan Taylor offers a business-smart discussion of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the value of analytics—without any hyper-tech-talk. This is not a technical “how-to,” it’s a practical business-savvy post. You can leave the technical side to an IT pro, but it’s vitally important to track, measure and report its marketing value. The trouble is, Taylor says, most small businesses (read that as healthcare and provider practices) “either don’t track their website stats and figures, or, have some form of analytics installed, but don’t truly know what they’re looking at.
“If you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing.” Analytics is the business tool that tells you what’s working and what’s not working. Regardless of the title on your business card, everyone with a hand in healthcare marketing—from doctors who own their own practice, to hospital administrators, to corporate marketing people—should put aside any technical intimidation.
The commonly available tools of website visitor tracking—such as Google Analytics—are often free, with data expressed in an easy-to-read “dashboard.” Speaking about small business, Taylor observes (as we often preach), “If you don’t know where your sales leads are coming from, there’s simply no way to formulate a proper online marketing [Return-on-Investment].”
In addition to knowing your bottom-line ROI, If You’re Not Measuring, You’re Not Marketing describes several other data points that marketing professionals and business decision makers can harvest via analytics.
First on the list of additional marketing benefits is having information that can make your marketing budget more efficient. “Analytics can provide deep insights into how your customers think and search, not how you think they think and search.” With actionable data, you can begin to see: “Were the keywords they searched for the ones that you’re putting the heaviest investment in? If not, it’s time to adjust the ad spending and focus on those new keywords.”
Similarly, analytics helps qualify the value of social media. Facebook, for example, where “everyone including your Grandma is on it, but is it valuable for your business?” In short, “which [social media platforms] are worth the bucks and which can you be a bit more passive about? Your analytics will answer this question in a flash.”
Having a “performance dashboard” for your healthcare or hospital marketing website has even more benefits that we wrote about in this article: Demystifying Web Analytics brings more patients through your digital doorway.
Our advice to group medical practices, hospitals and others we work with is that technical SEO is best assigned to professional help. It’s something you can outsource and not worry about the complexities of HOW it’s done. What matters more is having a practical and easy to read view of WHAT it does for you, how well it’s working.
You can either be efficient and cost-effective, or be wasting money. Trouble is, if you don’t measure and analyze, you’ll never know.