Marketing consultant Adam Hampson discusses the common mistakes clinic owners make when utilising digital marketing tools and advises how to maximise your return on investment
In my experience, a successful digital marketing strategy usually comes down to a combination of three overarching elements: budget, channels and conversion.
Different treatments will appeal to different audiences, which means that they may be best marketed on different digital channels to make the most of your budget.1 Unfortunately, many clinics rush into marketing activities without first checking whether they fit with their digital marketing strategy.
They might spend big on Google AdWords for one campaign and then write it off as not working; or write a cluster of blogs, then forget to blog for months; perhaps they take advantage of a deal to advertise on a national website but attract no local business, so they decide online advertising doesn’t work. But the reason these actions may not create the right results is that the clinics are trying to reach anyone and everyone – i.e. ‘spray and pray’ marketing – rather than figuring out who they’re talking to first.
Simple steps such as identifying your target audience for each treatment, learning how best to reach them, and focusing on a clear and simple marketing message can transform your digital marketing. Below, you’ll find examples of some of the most common errors I have found that aesthetic clinics make when using online marketing tools, and advice about how you can avoid them when planning your digital marketing strategy.
Google AdWords is the pay per click (PPC) advertising that you see in prominent positions on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) when you carry out a search.2 You can spot a Google ad by the small ‘Ad’ icon at the beginning of the listing. Thanks to the targeting options such as keywords, location, and audience demographics, it is possible to ensure that your ads are seen by people who are actively searching for a specific treatment or service. That being said, it does take time, experience and knowledge to learn how to set up Google AdWords correctly.
You should start by identifying which keywords you want to feature in your ad campaigns
One of the most common Google AdWords mistakes I come across is people actually setting it up incorrectly – usually by not doing enough keyword research – and thinking it doesn’t work. With the right approach, it’s hard to imagine any business that wouldn’t benefit from incorporating Google ads into their digital marketing. But what makes the right approach? You should start by identifying which keywords you want to feature in your ad campaigns – think about the words your clients will use to search, such as ‘body-contouring treatments’ or ‘filler injections’ and remember that Google rewards relevance, so be specific; two- or three-word phrases are usually more targeted than single keywords.3
You should also think about negative keywords4 – Google defines these as ‘A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. It tells Google not to show your ad to anyone who is searching for that phrase’. You might want to eliminate specific negative keywords from your campaigns, either because they don’t convert or because they don’t bring in relevant traffic.
To give a non-surgical example, if you are promoting ‘bodysculpting’ or ‘fat freezing’ treatments, you may decide to list ‘lose fat’ as a negative keyword because people who use this term are often looking for a diet or healthy eating plan rather than cryolipolysis. You may also want to list words such as ‘free’, ‘cheapest’ or ‘low price’ as negative keywords to deter those shopping on price.
Having a well-researched list of negative keywords and a well-written ad can help you to increase the click-through rate (CTR) for your ads, reduce your cost per click (CPC) and increase the return on your investment (ROI).
Takeaway: Negative keywords are as important as the keywords you want to target
As a Google Certified Partner, due to our experience in running Google AdWord campaigns, we’ve found that the search engine does strictly enforce advertising legislation when approving campaigns.
These days, you could be running a campaign for a bodysculpting treatment but, if you mention botulinum toxin anywhere on your website, the bodysculpting ad will go to Google’s team for review and, in my experience, it’s unlikely to get approved. It doesn’t matter that botulinum toxin and bodysculpting are two unrelated treatments – botulinum toxin should not be mentioned by name in any promotional context as it’s a prescription-only medication and, therefore, Google will not want to drive traffic to a site that is flouting current legislation.
Google may also reject ads that link through to aesthetic websites that over-promise the results of a treatment or feature misleading images, so it’s important to consider the impression your entire site creates, as well as offering a dedicated landing page for each campaign. Staying up-to-date with the latest aesthetics advertising guidelines and legislation will not only protect your reputation but will also help you to create Google ads that the search engine is happy to approve.
Takeaway: Ensure that your entire website meets aesthetics advertising guidelines
Many businesses do not include the Google Display Network5 in their digital marketing strategy when purchasing Google AdWords, most often because they’re not aware of it or how advertising on this platform works.
It’s estimated that the Google Display Network can reach 90% of people on the internet.7
The Google Display Network comprises more than two million websites that have agreed, via tools such as Google AdSense, to feature advertising relevant to their audience.6 It’s estimated that the Google Display Network can reach 90% of people on the internet.7
Using Google Display advertising, you can create text, image, video or interactive ads and place them on websites that are relevant to what you’re selling and visited by your target audience. This lets you capitalise on traffic to other domains and build brand awareness. You can either browse the Google Display Network to choose where your ads are shown or task Google with suggesting the most appropriate sites for you to approve.5
Takeaway: Consider advertising on the Google Display Network to expand your online reach
Content marketing is an area open to plenty of mistakes. It could be that you don’t blog at all or, if you do, that your blogs don’t have enough substance to make them valuable to readers, or that you only publish new content inconsistently. Also, do your blogs reflect the keywords you want to target? Are you sure that you’re creating the most relevant content for the audience you want to reach? To make your content marketing effective, you need to focus on generating interest and value for your target audience. This doesn’t just have to be through blogs; videos, infographics, social media posts, e-newsletters, memes and audio content such as podcasts can all form an integral part of your content marketing strategy.
The more relevant people find your content, the longer they will stay on your website, decreasing your bounce rate,8 i.e. the percentage of people who leave after only viewing the web page they came in on, and increasing the dwell time9 – two positive signals to Google to rank your website higher in searches.10 Great content will also reflect well on your professional authority.
Even with fantastic content, a surprising number of businesses fail to tell people that it exists. With this in mind, it’s important to have a strategy to promote new content. This can include:
Takeaway: Let people know when you post new content and where to find it
You’ve no doubt read or been advised that your business should have a presence on social media, but getting started can be daunting. Should you be on every platform? How often should you post? What should you post? How can you build engagement? One mistake that businesses make is to fall back on that ‘spray and pray’ approach, either posting duplicate content to multiple platforms or carrying out a flurry of activity and then going quiet for weeks.
Social media can take up huge amounts of time, so you have to have a plan to keep focused. We recommend that you begin by identifying your target audience and pinpointing just one or two social media platforms that you want to concentrate on initially, i.e. those where your audience is most likely to spend time. Once you decide where to focus your attention and who you’re talking to, you can begin to create content that reflects your audience.
Takeaway: Identify who you’re talking to and research their favourite social media platforms before you begin posting
It can take time to build up a strong presence on social media. For this reason, many businesses decide to boost their visibility with PPC advertising on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Each platform offers a strong choice of advertising options that can work well for aesthetic businesses.11,12 Facebook tends to be the most widely used among our clients.
Yes, Facebook ads can be targeted to a suitable audience, but you can’t guarantee interest.
Although Facebook advertising can be cost effective,13 it’s important to do your research and be selective about what you advertise before you run a campaign.
Social media ads are comparable to television ads in that they’re the filler thrown in between the content that people have actually chosen to view. Yes, Facebook ads can be targeted to a suitable audience, but you can’t guarantee interest. This is in contrast to Google ads, where the searcher has actively typed in the keyword you want to target.
To make the most of your Facebook advertising budget and secure the best ROI, think carefully about the most appropriate treatments and types of posts for this channel.14 This may take some trial and error initially. You should also keep an eye on the insights that Facebook provides in your Ad Manager dashboard15 so that you can fine tune your ads to reflect the needs of your audience.
Takeaway: Promote the right treatments on the right channels
Each digital marketing campaign you run needs its own strategy. Different people prefer different online channels, and different channels may be appropriate for promoting different treatments. The only way to know is to do your research or engage a marketing agency who can offer the value of their experience. Above all, aim to be consistent, focused on your target audience, and committed to providing great value.
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