What is your online budget returning for you?
By Scott Waddell
If you are like most business decision makers, when it comes to thinking about how to market your business, you may be overwhelmed by the array of options available, as well as concerned about the value you will receive for your dollars spent.
How do you measure your marketing spending and return on investment (ROI)?
In recent years, the Internet has introduced new technologies that can give your clinic the ability to measure the results of your marketing spending.
Discuss the following online marketing technologies with your web developer:Website Analytics
Your online analytics software is the “nerve center” of your online activity. Various online applications will track your web activity such as KISS Metrics, Reinvigorate, Piwik, and Google Analytics. (Google Analytics is generally the most popular application because it is powerful and free to use.)
If you do not have analytics software installed today or you have not logged in yourself to view your tracking data, contact your web developer to ensure that you are taking advantage of what is available to you.
Analytics software includes a tracking script on all of your web pages that logs information such as:
- Date and time a page was viewed
- Length of time the visitor viewed a page
- Linking the sequence of pages a visitor views when on your website (click path)
Web analytics software will go deeper by identifying information about your web visitor to determine:
- How they arrived at your website (e.g., web search, paid advertising, or link from an external website)
- Number of page views from different visitors (If a visitor views the same page 10 times it will only count once as a unique page view.)
Where analytics becomes powerful is in allowing you to set up specific events that you want to track. For example, you could track the number of visitors who take a specific action on your website (e.g., download an e-book, submit a contact request). You can even further segment your web visitors by “source” such as web search or paid advertising.
Having a solid analytics platform in place will allow you to slice and dice your web results to gain insight into almost any question about web traffic performance and will allow you to get more from paid ad campaigns.Pay-Per-Click Advertising
A few options exist for “pay per click” advertising including:
- Google Search
- Bing/Yahoo Search
The premise of pay-per-click advertising is that you only pay when a visitor clicks on the ad and visits your website.
Some platforms have set pay-per-click rates based on your criteria and others have an auction-based system where the companies drive the market rate by “bidding up” to achieve top placement in the ad listings.
With paid ads, you are in full control of targeting and your budget. You can determine how much to spend, and your ads will only appear when there is budget available.
Google and Bing/Yahoo searches will allow you to target your ads to only show up based on:
a)Keywords used in search (e.g., physical therapy in your town) and b)Approximate location of the visitor relative to your office (e.g., 5-mile radius)
Facebook will allow you to target your ads based on:
a)Geography of the user b)Demographics (age, interests, activities)
For example, if you have a program for runners you could set up ads on Facebook to target runners of a certain age bracket within a reasonable proximity to your practice.
LinkedIn allows targeting by location, employment (industry or company), job function, gender, and age.
LinkedIn would not likely be your first choice to reach the general population, but could be useful if you were designing corporate wellness programs, as an example.
Tying it together: Analytics and Paid Advertising
All of the major online pay-per-click platforms have their own reporting system that will easily let you see information, such as how often your ads have been seen and how many clicks you have received.
When you tie online advertising to your web analytics, you will be empowered to not only measure “clicks,” but also to have a better sense of ROI by determining information such as:
- How long the advertising visitors stayed on your site
- How many completed a desired action (e.g., registered for a download or completed a contact form)
More advanced third-party technologies can change the phone numbers on your website dynamically so you can track how many phone calls you get from visitors that came through select pay-per-click sources.
Most physical therapy clinics have a limited marketing budget. These technologies allow you to adjust targeting, control your spending budget, and gain insight into the actions of the people that have responded to your ads.