Doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals spend years learning and passing intense exams to practice in their respective fields. Once the shingle has been hung, professional service providers face the challenge of attracting clients to their doors. All those years of medical education may not have included principles of business management or the value of professional marketing in driving business success.
For those starting out as independent practitioners who are looking for a fresh marketing approach, Ligon Marketing can offer you a few tips. We have worked with several types of professional medical practices, and have focused on both launching a private practice and expanding an established practice with new branding. We’ve assisted our clients in expanding clinic locations and patient volume, and we can do the same for you.
Do you have a logo or need one? A memorable and effective logo gives a strong visual impression of who you are. Establishing your brand is more than having a logo. It’s a process of reinforcing that image and concept of your business in all of your marketing materials.
In today’s market, your website is not just a marketing machine but an expected part of doing business. Your website should meet several goals:
Attract new patients or referrals.
Provide needed information and forms to existing patients.
Serve as an educational resource related to your specialty, whether it’s dentistry, dermatology, or anything in between.
Host a patient portal for communicating electronically to your patients, in compliance with HIPAA.
Developing a website is more than buying a domain name and following a DIY template. (Many professions have industry-specific template providers, but keep in mind that a template site looks like every other template-based site. Bottom line – yours won’t stand out.) As a professional, you need a professional site, managed by someone who can keep it visible in the digital sphere. That requires strong visuals, useful and well-written copy, and frequent content updates for search engine optimization (SEO). Design matters. Potential consumers want to see photos of you and your team, as part of building a relationship. They want to hear “your voice” in the content. Must-haves are:
An attractive home page
An About Us page, with photos and bios
Your site should also be mobile-responsive, as today’s audience relies more and more on their smart phones. They should be able to find key information from your website quickly and easily on their phones.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Facebook and Instagram have become required for most providers, as well. Your medical or dental practice’s visibility depends on active engagement, which is difficult for most busy practices to handle alone. These platforms drive potential patients to your website and ultimately, to your door. Ligon Marketing manages content posting and scheduling for most of our clients, and we can help you, too.
In addition, your staff members are probably active on social media. It’s vital for health-related professionals to have a strong policy for employees in their online activities as they relate to your business reputation. This policy should address HIPAA compliance, as well as professional behavior, while respecting the team’s free speech rights. We have experience with this, too.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) AND REFERRAL NETWORKS
Most professional practices depend on and benefit from strong referral relationships with other businesses, practices, and professionals. Don’t overlook the opportunity to engage in networking and relationship-building opportunities. Not in your comfort zone? Ligon Marketing can coach you and your team on easy-to-implement strategies to increase your professional visibility.
Being treated well is a top priority for patient retention. Do you have standards for answering the phone, responding to questions and concerns, and handling billing or insurance problems? Does your team value and show respect for your patients the way you do? Our owner, Cora Ligon, has led customer-service training for numerous organizations, both in her own management roles and as a consultant. She can help you customize and implement training and policies if your office has a need.
Signs, business cards, forms, brochures, referral cards, prescription forms, patient packets….the list can seem endless. All these materials fill vital roles in a professional health-related practice. Each one represents your brand, and there is value in presenting a consistent look (logo, colors, type fonts, etc.). A professional marketing agency will ensure that consistency.
At Ligon Marketing, we’re not just marketers; we’re problem solvers. Our goal is to build long-term relationships with our clients, through listening, creating, implementing, and providing top-notch customer service. We’ve successfully helped other health-related practices grow, and we can use that expertise for you. (Of course, we’ll never compete with like-practices within a market area!) Give us a call today to explore your options!
Thank you to Tiara Stephan of Qgiv for this spotlight blog.
When it comes to political campaigns, studies show that whoever spends the most money usually sees the most success. But to spend money, you need to make money, and online fundraising is one of the best ways to do that.
How does political fundraising work?
From individual grassroots donations to political action committee contributions, there are a variety of ways to raise money for political purposes. If you are fundraising for a political organization like a political party, special interest group, or non-governmental organization, it’s important to stick to the Federal Election Commission’s rules and regulations for raising money.
Why do campaigns have to raise money?
When you raise money for your campaign, you’re also raising awareness of your message and gaining exposure. From paying for traditional marketing advertisements to creating merchandise, raising money can help you rally support and increase your likelihood of political success. Campaigns are also powered by people, and fundraising helps you hire vital staff members and consultants that can help you take your campaign to new heights.
Overall, raising money is a vital part of the success of every political organization, and online fundraising has made it easier than ever to solicit donations and connect with your donors. Here is our list of tips for online fundraising for your political organization.
Identify a fundraising goal
Before you start any sort of online fundraising campaign, it’s essential to establish a fundraising goal. If you’re raising money on behalf of a federal candidate, research how much successful political candidates and organizations have raised in the past to win similar campaigns. Use that information as a guideline when you’re determining what is realistic for your campaign.
It’s also vital to understand your donor base as you raise money. You represent a community of people, so while you may understand what they need from an elected representative or advocacy group, it’s also important to know what their preferred giving and communication methods are for fundraising. For example, Baby Boomers prefer to give offline, Generation X is more likely to be moved by social media appeals to donate, and about 29% of Generation Z most like to donate via text message. By keeping track of these trends, you’ll quickly learn how to best reach out to your supporters for donation appeals.
Make your website easy to navigate
Your website will often be the main resource for people trying to learn more about your campaign and what you stand for. If your donors can’t easily navigate your website, they won’t know why they should donate to your campaign and will likely leave without donating. To avoid losing out on that valuable support, make sure you have a well-designed website.
A big part of having a well-designed website is making sure that it’s optimized for online visitors who are coming to your site via their mobile devices. Mobile-responsive donation pages yield 34% more donations, and about 26% of all online giving is processed on mobile devices. So if your website is difficult to explore on a phone, you could be missing out on a lot of potential donations.
You also want to ensure that any website visitors can easily find your donation form so they can support your mission. Place your “Donate” button somewhere obvious like the top right-hand corner of your website. Use a bold accent color to draw people’s attention to it without detracting from the cohesiveness of your website’s design.
Choose the right online fundraising platform
Your online fundraising platform will power your fundraising efforts whether you’re hosting an event or simply collecting online donations, making it one of your most important fundraising tools. When it comes to choosing the right platform for your campaign, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
If you currently use a customer relationship management software, it can be extremely helpful to have a fundraising platform with integration features for your CRM database. With integrations, your database can be automatically updated with information every time one of your supporters donates. You’ll be able to keep track of giving histories, event attendance, and essential communication information without needing to complete manual updates.
Some fundraising platforms also offer tandem fundraising support. If you’re closely aligned with another organization’s mission, you can conduct tandem fundraising campaigns where donations can be split between you and your fellow changemakers. Tandem fundraising campaigns are a great option for gaining more exposure and expanding your reach.
Above all, the online fundraising platform you choose should benefit both you and your donors. Your platform should provide your supporters with a great user experience and make it easy for your campaign to raise money and keep organized. With the right online fundraising platform, you’ll see a boost in your donations and the support you receive.
Design an effective online donation form
Your online donation form is one of the most important tools to have for online fundraising. With an effective online donation form, you can collect donations quickly and easily from anyone who visits your website.
A great feature to have for your online donation form is recurring donation prompts. These prompts will pop up whenever someone donates and ask donors if they’d like to upgrade their one-time donation into a recurring donation. With recurring donations, you’ll end up spending less time on fundraising and can focus more on campaigning.
However, when you’re building out your donation form, it’s best to steer clear of manipulative patterns like using pre-checked recurring donation options on your form. Misleading your donors into making recurring donations when they’re not even aware of what they’re agreeing to will lead to a breakdown in trust between you and your supporters.
Other great donation form features to include are using suggested gift amounts with images, GiftAssist options, and conditional fields to collect relevant information from your donors. You should also brand your donation forms to link your donation form to your campaign. Prominently display your logo on your donation form and use your campaign colors on your form. This will increase trust with your donors and reassure them that they’re donating to your campaign.
When you’re soliciting donations on an online donation form, it’s important to place a legal disclaimer on your form in accordance with campaign finance laws. An example of contribution rules that your donors must acknowledge when making a donation may include the following:
I am a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident (i.e., green card holder).
This contribution is made from my own funds, and funds are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.
I am at least eighteen years old.
I am not a federal contractor.
I am making this contribution with my own personal credit card and not with a corporate or business credit card or a card issued to another person.
As your donation form is considered public communication, it should also include a legal disclaimer stating who authorized and financed the donation form (e.g., “Paid for by the XYZ Committee and authorized by the John Smith for Congress Committee.”).
Create a marketing plan
Marketing is essential to a campaign’s success. It’s best to start by getting to know your donors and using a multi-channel marketing approach to expand your reach across all demographics. From direct mail, email, social media, and text donation appeals, you should aim to reach out to a variety of potential supporters to increase awareness of your campaign and your message. Then, segment your donors to deliver personalized appeals and better connect with them. With social sharing buttons you can make it easy for your supporters to share their own support with their personal networks and help you expand your reach.
Visual storytelling is one of your best tools when connecting with your donors. Share pictures of your organization in action in emails and highlight staff members and volunteers on your social media channels, asking them to share why they support your campaign.
Plan a variety of fundraisers
When you fundraise, it’s best to plan a variety of fundraisers to keep your supporters engaged. When you’re in your planning process, look at your donor base and your supporters’ event attendance history to determine what your contributors would be interested in participating in.
From text-to-give drives to virtual campaign events, you can encourage your donors to support your campaign with fundraisers they can get excited about. Selling campaign merchandise in an online store is also a great way to raise money and give your donors the opportunity to express their support and raise awareness of your platform. However you choose to fundraise, just make sure you’re engaging your donors with campaigns and events they’ll enjoy.
Thank your supporters
After you receive a donation from a supporter or finish an event, always remember to express your gratitude. Send thank-you emails after every donation and event to all your donors and volunteers. Explain the impact of their support by describing how their donation was used and how many people your volunteers were able to reach because of their work. Adding personal touches by handwriting your letters can make a supporter feel extra special, helping you to retain support from your donors. Continue with follow-up communications to strengthen your connections with your supporters and cultivate long-term relationships.
Fundraising for your political organization takes hard work and effort, but online fundraising has made it easier than ever to connect with your donors and raise money no matter where your donors are and when they want to donate. If you’re searching for more help with fundraising, download this annual fundraising plan template to start setting goals and raising money!
Tiara is a Content Marketing Specialist at Qgiv, a company that’s dedicated to building powerful fundraising tools that empower nonprofits to achieve their mission. She’s a writer by trade and a passionate supporter of nonprofits by nature. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard for hours, you can find her dancing (if you can call it that) at concerts, drinking copious amounts of English Breakfast Tea, and daydreaming about traveling the world.
Welcome to part three in our running blog series about digital advertising. So far, we’ve discussed what digital advertising is and the pros and cons of each type of digital ad. If you’ve made it this far, we hope you’re putting some serious thought into how paid search and other forms of digital advertising could positively impact your business.
No discussion on digital advertising is complete without talking about the largest driver of paid search campaigns in the U.S.: Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). While there are many types of ad campaigns you can run on Google Ads – display, video, app, shopping, etc. – this article will focus on pay-per-click (PPC) search engine advertising.
You likely see a paid search ad every time you run a query through Google – paid ads occupy the prime, top-of-page real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs). In the world of digital advertising, Google Ads boasts an impressive ROI, promotes top-of-page brand awareness, and puts your products/services directly in front of your target audience.
In conclusion…..yes. Google Ads is quite effective.
How Much Does Google Ads Cost?
The truest (and most frustrating) answer to the question posed above: it depends. Advertising on Google isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to break the bank for small to medium sized businesses lacking thousands of ad dollars to spare.
One common misconception is that advertisers with the largest budgets score the highest rankings and exert more influence over paid search. But Google is not strictly pay-to-play. The platform wants to show visitors useful and relevant advertising to preserve its own credibility and trustworthiness as a search engine. That means ad quality and relevance matter when Google determines ad rankings, a factor that evens the playing field for advertisers of all budgets.
Ad quality and relevance matter when Google determines ad rankings, a factor that evens the playing field for advertisers of all budgets.
Google gives complete control over setting an ad budget and determining how much you’re willing to pay for ad performance. Investing more money into Google Ads helps, but you can still run successful paid search campaigns on a smaller budget.
Google Ads pricing is different for every ad. To understand why, keep reading to learn how the ad auction works.
How Google Determines Ad Ranking
Welcome to the auction. Google uses a bidding system to select placement and ranking for ads competing for the same keyword. Google processes millions of split-second ad auctions a day – an auction occurs every time a visitor lands on a SERP where ads are displayed.
There are two primary factors that determine ad positioning on a SERP.
The maximum bid is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. Your maximum bid doesn’t necessarily determine the actual amount you’ll end up spending per click. It only sets a limit on what you’re willing to spend. The actual cost-per-click (CPC) could end up being less than what you bid for it. While CPCs vary by industry, the average CPC on Google Ads is between $1-2.
But Google Ads isn’t a pay-to-play platform, you don’t have to devote a huge budget to rank well on SERPs. Google wants to give its visitors a great experience, meaning they reward quality, relevant ads that are more likely to engage visitors and increase clicks. Their second ranking factor is heavily weighted to reward quality advertisements.
The Quality Score is determined by the overall quality and user relevance of your ad, keywords, and landing page. Google also turns a critical eye on the expected click-through-rate (CTR) as a scoring factor. The more people who see your ad and click it, the more Google assumes the ad is relevant and helpful. You can also improve your Quality Score by including ad extensions that provide visitors with additional information (like site links, a phone number, a location, etc.) and drive more clicks.
Here’s what it boils down to: low-bid, high-quality advertisements will rank better than high-bid, low-quality advertisements. Along with higher rankings, Google rewards stellar ad quality with lower costs-per-click (CPC).
Let’s repeat that one more time: a higher Quality Score results in a higher ranking at lower costs.
5 Components of an Effective Ad Campaign
Let’s get into the meat of Google Ads: creating a successful ad campaign. Here are five important components to help guide the ad creation process.
A clear ad goal.
Advertising without a goal in mind is a wasted effort – and a wasted budget, too. Google Ads offers several campaign goals to choose from, including generating leads, driving traffic to your website, making a sale, or spreading brand awareness. Having a well-defined goal helps your team target the right audience, choose an effective bidding strategy and budget, and create a compelling ad that drives interest. Additionally, having a results-oriented goal helps your team more effectively analyze success and ROI upon campaign completion.
Relevant, targeted keywords.
Successful Google ad campaigns are built on targeting and bidding for the right keywords. There are several free and paid tools your business can use to conduct keyword research. Here are some factors to keep in mind during the research phase.
Who is your target audience and how are they searching for your products/services? What words and phrases are they using?
What keywords are worth bidding on? For every potential keyword, analyze the search volume, average CPC, and competitiveness to decide which words and phrases are worth your money. Keyword research can become very tricky when you’re balancing a keyword’s value within your target industry against the likeliness of outbidding competitors and staying within budget.
What is the user intent? Ads targeting customers in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey are more likely to drive direct conversions and sales. Research shows that 65% of Google Ads clicks are for ads that include buyer-intent keywords like “Buy,” “Shop,” “Get,” and “Purchase.”
A defined audience.
Make sure your ad lands in front of the people most likely to take an action on it. Google Ads offers a plethora of targeting options for you to hand-select your ideal consumer base. Build an audience based on location, demographics (age, education level, marital status, etc.), interests, lifestyle, habits, routines, and behaviors. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to audience building – the clearer and more defined your audience is, the more likely you are to reach action-ready consumers.
A compelling ad.
Once you have the right keywords, incorporate them into compelling text ads that drive clicks and conversions. Persuasive and engaging ads that excite and entice consumers use dynamic, active language and speak to the user’s end goals and personal needs.
A clean landing page.
Remember that an engaging user experience continues after an ad click – make sure you optimize your landing pages for speed, quality, and attractiveness to keep consumers moving through the conversion cycle.
Hopefully, you’re already using Google Analytics to track and analyze your website traffic. Google’s powerful web analytics service helps you keep track of the audience demographics landing on your website, the actions they’re taking, and where they’re spending the most time. The metric and analyzation tools on Google Analytics can (and should) help guide your business’s digital marketing strategies.
It’s a simple task to link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account, and the resulting value is immeasurable. Ad analytics can (and should) help guide your paid ad strategies. Google Analytics allows you to follow ad clicks beyond the ads – you’ll be able to see the keywords and ad creatives that drive traffic to your website, the actions visitors take, and on-site engagement. You can use these valuable insights to improve future ad campaigns.
How Do I Get Started With Google Ads?
While you can set up a Google Ads account on your own, running successful paid search campaigns is a complex task to undertake if you’re new to the ad game. That’s why we highly recommend seeking help from an experienced digital advertising and PPC marketing services company like Ligon Marketing. From start to finish, our team will help you create and launch an ad strategy that helps you achieve your digital advertising and ROI goals. Call us today at 863-838-5475 or drop us a message online.