Digital Edition

Practice Building: Online Marketing Consult

Fine-tune your online marketing strategy to reduce spending and increase ROI.
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If your numbers drop and remain low, it could be that your website design is getting stale. Users are becoming more and more demanding. If your site is not visually appealing, users will “bounce” after viewing the first page. You can track your “bounce rate” in Google Analytics. If you are getting a similar number of visitors but your page views and conversion rates are lower, this can indicate that you have an ineffective design.

If your Google and Bing rankings are slipping, first make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Search engines will favor large-scale institutions like WebMD, the Mayo clinic, and other medical information networks. It’s important to make sure you are outranking your direct competition.

Fine-Tune Your Spending

Many practices don’t understand exactly what they are receiving for their marketing dollars. This may be a sign that you (or your staff) are not involved enough in your Web marketing program. If you simply write a check and “forget about it,” you cannot expect your marketing efforts to be as effective. You should educate yourself, set a marketing plan and monitor its effectiveness. I recommend reviewing your online marketing performance at least once a month. This includes demanding monthly updates that include statistics and an analysis of marketing trends from any vendor that is assisting you in your online efforts. A twice-yearly or yearly audit will also help you plot a strategic path through the increasingly complex Web landscape. As you try new strategies, be sure to track them and review your results often to ensure efficacy.

I firmly believe in a long-term strategy to get the most value from your marketing dollars. By investing in a great website and accompanying SEO tactics, your practice will benefit from a consistent ROI. Resist the urge to employ black hat marketing tactics. While they can show some immediate results, they do not allow for sustained growth.

You can benefit from effective marketing results without breaking the bank. Remember to invest first in the basics—a quality website, SEO and website tracking—then create a plan to make the most of your online marketing dollars.

Bret Heenan is the director of technology at Etna Interactive. Contact him at