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  • A review of “Benchmarking and Improving Your Digital Marketing Skills” by The Digital Marketing Podcast

A review of “Benchmarking and Improving Your Digital Marketing Skills” by The Digital Marketing Podcast

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By Kevin Howard

In an issue devoted to benchmarking, this important business tool can be applied to other functions to set goals and track performance.

The Digital Marketing Podcast applied benchmarking concepts to digital marketing performance tracking and discussed how business owners can elevate their digital marketing.

The podcast found most businesses have skill gaps when it came to benchmarking and digital marketing skills.


In 2018, hosts Daniel Rowles and Ciaran Rogers conducted a small business marketing survey and found that email marketing was among the most common marketing tactics used by business owners.

The problem: there’s an over reliance on email marketing, especially when businesses may not necessarily be doing it well. Plus, as recipients increasingly delete and ignore emails, it might be time to revisit your email marketing routine.

According to an email marketing benchmarks report by email marketing platform Mailchimp.com, the average email open rate for all industries is 21.33%.1 Open rates—the percentage of recipients who open the email you sent them—are one key way to tell if email is an effective marketing strategy. If your open rate is significantly lower than that, it may be because:

  • The subject lines aren’t interesting or relevant enough.
  • You may be sending too many or too few email campaigns.
  • Your audience includes too many recipients who aren’t interested in your services.

Also check your click rates. A high click rate would indicate that your audience finds the emails and the content relevant enough to click and take action, such as visiting your website. According to Mailchimp.com, the average click rates for all industries they analyzed is 2.62%.1


Rowles and Rogers noted that the 2018 survey also found a significant skill gap when it comes to analytics. This is a vital component of marketing as customer acquisition activity increasingly moves online. As prospective patients conduct online searches for physical therapy services in their area, ask friends for recommendations, or read reviews online, being able to interpret the website analytics and create a narrative that tells a story about what and how marketing efforts are effective is critical for any practice.

At the very least, Rowles and Rogers recommend that owners or a key staff member learn how to use Google Analytics to see how your practice is performing in Google Search results. If you use Facebook as part of your marketing model, Facebook Insights provides detailed information on your business’s page, including follower counts, likes, and comments.


Of the almost 5,000 individuals who took the survey, only around 9% of them understand search engine optimization (SEO). SEO makes your private practice website more visible online by serving your website in online search results. SEO done well means more traffic and more opportunities to convert potential customers into new ones.

Key elements of good SEO:

Keywords: These are the words and phrases that people type into the search bar to conduct an online search. Private practices can incorporate these words and phrases into their content to help search engines connect them with the keyword searches relevant for their practice. For example, a practice in the North Shore neighborhood of Milwaukee might include text in their website’s footer that says, “Providing physical therapy in Milwaukee’s North Shore.” This would directly connect them with the search term—or keywords—“physical therapy in Milwaukee North Shore.” It’s important to note that some keywords are very competitive and can even be bought by other companies to ensure they rank in the top positions.

Content: As Google’s algorithms are refined and businesses got savvy with keyword stuffing—a practice where web pages are loaded up with keywords instead of readable, valuable content in order to rank higher in search results—Google has placed a significant emphasis on content. Google crawls websites looking for indicators that the site truly is an expert in a topic before cataloging it as “worthy” of a top ranking. What does this mean for business owners? While you don’t need to embark an extensive blogging program, publishing content on your area of expertise, and linking across your site to different articles and pages, will show Google that you are, in fact, an authority on physical therapy, and boost your rankings. Take advantage of the monthly Marketing Toolkits provided by the Section for free web content you can post to your site every month!


While the benchmarks discussed in the podcast review what’s typical across industries, business owners should set their own goals for their marketing by:

  1. Gathering their current marketing metrics to establish a baseline.
  2. Set a realistic goal for each channel, being mindful that those goals may not meet or exceed the average. For example, if you realize your email open rates are only 5% when compared with the average 21.33%, your realistic goal for your next email marketing campaign may be 9%.
  3. Determine what, if any, education or training needs to happen to meet those goals.
  4. Schedule quarterly review meetings to evaluate progress.

Just as you monitor your business performance, monitor your marketing performance with benchmarks that help track the health of your marketing efforts. 


1MailChimp. Email Marketing Benchmarks and Statistics by Industry. https://mailchimp.com/resources/email-marketing-benchmarks/. Published October 2019.

Kevin Howard

Kevin Howard is a staff writer for PPS based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. He may be reached at kahoward@ahint.com.

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