It’s the late winter lull. Your schedule is feeling a little light. You’d love to get some extra patients in the door – and Facebook ads seem like a good option for increasing online lead volume. But you’re at a complete loss as to where to begin, or where to turn for advice that makes sense for your own practice.
Sound familiar? You’re absolutely not alone. While Facebook can be an incredibly beneficial advertising platform, it can also be a real headache to break into. And because Facebook is happy as long as you’re spending money, the platform itself isn’t always the best source of actionable advice.
Hopefully, this post will be a bit more helpful. This is part one of our Facebook advertising for healthcare professional blog series. This week, we’re tackling the first steps toward getting a Facebook campaign up and running – understanding the campaign objectives that might make the most sense for your practice.
You have your Facebook ad account ready and you’re itching to create your first ad. You click “+ Create” to pull up your first campaign – and this screen comes up.
While some of these are more self-explanatory than others, they all have a time and place – and our job is to decipher when and where that is. Some objectives are glaringly unhelpful for most healthcare professionals (App Installs and Catalog Sales, for example), but others are subtler. How to choose between Brand Awareness and Reach? Or Traffic and Engagement?
We’ve broken down some of the most useful medical and dental Facebook campaign types below to make things a bit clearer.
This objective shows your ad to people who are likely to recall it and remember your brand in the future. This is ideal for new practices and small businesses who are trying to get the word out in their local area, and less helpful if you’re hoping to actually drive conversions and website traffic.
The traffic objective drives traffic to your website or landing page to in turn drive conversions. Traffic ads are versatile and can also be optimized for “landing page views,” which helps Facebook show them to individuals who are more likely to view your landing page / ad destination. Traffic ads can also be used to create remarketing audiences – groups of people who have visited your website but haven’t converted, who are warmed up and more likely to convert in the near future. We’ll go into remarketing in more detail in a future post in this series!
This objective shows ads to individuals likely to engage with the ads – to like/react to them, view your Facebook page, share the ad post, or otherwise interact with that content. Enagement ads can be useful for practices hoping to build their Facebook following or promote an event or limited offer (referral program, contest, temporary special).
This objective puts your video content in front of users who are likely to watch more of the video. This objective is widely used to build remarketing audiences, as well as increase page interaction and brand awareness, so there’s some overlap with other objectives.
This objective creates a form directly on Facebook that users can submit to indicate interest in a specific treatment or special offer. Lead ads have a unique advantage in that they prefill the user’s information from their Facebook profile, so as little effort as possible is required in order for the lead to share their details with your office. The downside is that this means lead ads tend to attract users with minimal interest in actually following through and booking – they may not even remember submitting the form when your front desk reaches out. Another tricky component is that you’ll need to set up an outside integration in order for the leads’ information to be sent to you (there’s no email notification or Facebook notification option).
This objective encourages ad viewers to send your office a message. The messages objective can be very useful when you’re promoting a treatment that isn’t well known, or is otherwise likely to bring up questions. You will need to have a staff member paying attention to the practice’s Facebook page so that they can answer these in a timely fashion – messengers tend to expect a speedy response. You can also set an auto-reply that provides a link with more information.
Observant readers will notice that this objective wasn’t included in the Facebook campaign screenshot above. Yet it’s actually the objective that most small businesses use – at least early on in their advertising journey. Why? Because it’s built into the business page itself.
When you finish writing a great post and publish it to your business page, you’ll notice a “Boost Post” button in the lower right hand corner.
Click this, and you’ll pull up a window with quite a few targeting options and questions about where you’d like to show the post. The important part here is the Objective section –
You’ll notice similar options to objectives we’ve already detailed above, namely Engagement and Messages.
The reason post boosts are so popular is because they feel much easier to set up for someone not acquainted with Facebook’s Ads Manager interface (which can definitely be a doozy to navigate). But because boost options are more limited, it’s not always the right route to take.
When is a boosted post the right bet? If you have an already popular post on your page that you’d like to share with a wider audience, it’s a great option.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but we’ll be back with more information soon. Next up is ad targeting – what makes sense, what’s excessive, and where Facebook might try to trip you up into overspending for diminishing returns.
Tired of reading endless Facebook ad advice? Get in touch with our team for a comprehensive Facebook advertising solution. We’ll take care of ad content, your landing page, your campaign setup and everything in between. Reach out today for a complimentary consultation of your website and details on which ad campaigns might be ideal for you.
Organic search engine optimization is all about making your website appealing to search engines – and snagging new visitors in the process. With the thousands (millions?) of SEO recommendations floating across the internet, it can be tricky pinning down exactly what’s going to make a difference. That’s just one reason why it always pays off to just pay attention to what’s currently working – and do your best to imitate the approach.
Google has us all in its thrall – but we’re not entirely powerless. There are definitive steps website owners can take to stand out among the pack. And featured snippets are probably the coolest payoff for properly-optimized, high quality website content.
A featured snippet is the block of text above the list of regular search results that displays a relevant excerpt from the linked page. This is technically a search result, but it takes precedence over everything else on page 1 for a few reasons. One, it actually delivers a block of information, rather than linking the searcher to the website itself. And two, it’s the first thing you see on that page of results (with the exception of ads, which are always going to rise to the top because they’re a moneymaker for Google and other search engines).
Here’s an example of a featured snippet that answers the searcher’s question about tooth decay:
There’s more than just a single featured snippet, here – the list of related questions all open out to show additional featured snippets, with blurbs from sites above linked URLs.
Then, there’s the first of the standard search results – a link to a private practice’s site that has an informative and easy-to-read piece on common causes of tooth decay.
Featured snippets are Google’s way of getting searchers the information they’re looking for as quickly and easily as possible. As the behemoth continues making choices that enforce their commitment to a higher quality internet, we can expect additional user-oriented results that prioritize searcher intent.
Take a look at your website and consider whether there’s room to work on the following:
Don’t get overwhelmed – get active. If you’re looking for professional help, submit your website for a free evaluation and we’ll help you decide on next steps.
Is your website design begging for retirement?
That’s a complicated question – and one that we’re happy to help you answer. In fact, there are a series of straightforward tools you can use to start diagnosing your site’s issues and considering whether they outweigh its strengths.
Deciding on a redesign should have you considering site appearance, function, and versatility – and identifying which realm (or realms) your site is lacking.
Looking for an expert’s eye? Request a complimentary website evaluation and we’ll provide an outside opinion as to areas for improvement. Sometimes, bringing in a stranger to take a look at a site you know so well reveals hidden problems that are begging for a fix.
When a website takes forever to load, a few things happen. One, the site visitor gets irritated and takes off without ever engaging with your site. And two, the search engines take this as a signal that your website is low quality – and alter their rankings to reflect that.
Site speed is always going to be crucial from both a user and bot perspective. And with our increasingly all-encompassing use of the internet, it’s only going to get more important.
So: how fast is your site? And is that fast enough to satisfy 2017’s demands?
The first tool to check out is Google’s Pagespeed Insights. Some of the factors they take into account are a little finicky, but the tool will give you an overall understanding of whether your site is sluggish. Then, check that score against a Pingdom speed test. We like this tool because it’s not logged down in Google-borne biases, and also compares your sites to others that have been recently tested to give you an idea of how it’s measuring up.
Are some of your site pages dead ends? If your site is old, it’s possible that some of the images and pages are no longer up and running. There may also be issues with certain browsers or devices.
In order to see exactly where users are hitting 404 errors, set up your website with Google Search Console. It’s easy to configure and will give you specific listings of which pages are throwing errors. All you need to set it up is access to your website’s registration account or the site files – here are some quick instructions.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on your own website, there’s a bigger problem at hand. You want visitors, especially new ones who have no experience with your business, to be able to quickly arrive at their desired piece of information. But bulky (or overly minimal) menus get in the way, as do pop-ups and other distractions.
We wrote a post about site navigation last month – check it out for some specific pointers.
This is an absolutely huge consideration – especially in today’s SEO landscape. Simply put, if your website isn’t responsive, it’s not going to rank. What does it mean to be responsive? All elements on your website should resize and realign based on the screen size and device that it’s being viewed on. This allows for the best possible user experience – and less zooming, reloading, and frustrated abandonment of the site.
Google has another tool that allows for easy peasy evaluation of responsiveness – try out the Mobile-Friendly Test.
This takes a bit of subjectivity – there’s no simple test you can run your site through to get a thumbs up or thumbs down on how current it looks, unfortunately. But what you can do is try to take an objective look at your home page. Compare it to other websites that you frequent on a regular basis – does it look like it was built in the same era?
Design trends change extremely quickly, and it doesn’t take long for a site to start looking like it was built years ago. That’s one reason why avoiding trendy design tactics and sticking to something tried-and-true can be a good approach, especially if you don’t want to keep having to invest in new designs.
Looking for help coming to a redesign decision? Just get in touch!
A website should make all the work simple for its visitors. But all too often, you wind up on a site that’s nothing short of baffling. As a site visitor, you’re not just confused – you’re frustrated. Because you didn’t sign up for a digital puzzle, you just wanted to get the phone number for your local Thai restaurant. But this site is taking you further away from that information, instead of delivering it to you.
The last thing you want as a small business owner is for your website visitors to fall into this trap. Attention spans are decreasing all the time. If a visitor doesn’t find what they’re looking for right away, they don’t work harder to get to that information – instead, they just navigate away and look for another provider.
Of course, there are many different ways to make sure your site design speaks to visitors’ needs. But today, we’re talking about the most basic place you can possibly start: site navigation. While every website has some kind of navigation, countless sites make big mistakes. And this isn’t just bad for the user, but it’s also sending a perplexing message to search engines trying to index your site.
Check out some of the most important tenets of site navigation below – and get in touch for an analysis as to whether your site is falling into organizational traps.
With mobile site designs becoming increasingly crucial – and often more important than desktop – there are all kind of tricks popping up for displaying mobile menus. But you should never journey too far from the standard menu signifiers. After all, you need your visitors to understand what the symbols on their screen are telling them.
Whether on desktop or mobile, keep the menu in the standard position – if you hide it all in the footer or have it difficult to access, it’s going to irritate more than a few visitors.
When planning out your menu, look at your website content from the perspective of an outsider with no knowledge of your practice. What would they be most interested in? Which page is going to be the most helpful in giving them the information they’re looking for? Make the heavy-hitters the highlights of the menu – for a dental practice, this is usually tabs like “New Patient Information,” “Testimonials,” “Contact Us,” and “Our Services.”
Don’t overwhelm a new visitor. Not only do fewer links increase the likelihood of a visitor finding what they’re looking for, our short-term memories literally can’t handle too much at a time. Research suggests that the human brain can keep seven items in mind at once (plus or minus two). So try to limit your menu to seven or fewer items. If you’re stuck with a ton of absolutely necessary items, you can always split them up into groups.
Items in the middle of lists tend to get lost in the shuffle. Those at the beginning and end are most effective, because the viewer’s attention is strongest. They’re also more likely to retain these items’ names.
Looking for some expert guidance with your website organization? Reach out today for a complimentary site analysis.
With data protection and online privacy continuing to play a role in world news and U.S. politics, more and more small businesses are looking at site encryption. But when you’ve already been running a WordPress site without an SSL certificate, how do you switch over without missteps?
As with many WordPress updates, there are going to be some hiccups along the way. But that doesn’t mean you should skip SSL. Getting your site more secure is an important step for any business – and https:// may even become a ranking factor for search engines in the future (Google’s hinted at this for years and now marks non-https sites that collect sensitive information as “Unsafe” in Google Chrome). And human visitors appreciate https, too – browsers show an indication of site security in the left hand corner of the URL address bar, and getting a green lock is always preferable to a grey or red one.
We host all our clients’ sites on WP Engine. This server is WordPress-specific and already makes a big difference in improving site security by blocking unsafe plugins and automatically updating WordPress versions – we haven’t had a single hack since we made the migration to this server. And adding SSL certificates helps keep WP Engine websites as secure as possible – a top priority for any hosting provider.
With WP Engine, adding an SSL certificate is free and relatively simple. As of October 2016, SSL certificates are free to add through Let’s Encrypt and available to all WP Engine installs. You simply add a certificate to each of your installations and then configure the settings. If you have any issues with redirect loops or broken plugins, open up their chat support for help.
When updating our sites, the most common obstacle we ran into was issues with older slider plugins not being SSL-compatible. This was usually because they continued serving http:// versions of photos over https:// – rendering the images broken. If you’re looking for plugin alternatives, shoot a us a quick note and we can discuss more about updating your current theme.
Now that you have your certificates set up, it’s time to make sure that your site is serving content properly. What does this mean? Now that you’re serving visitors pages over https://, you need to make sure that images, iframes and other elements within those pages are also being served over https://. This usually means updating the html – and you don’t have to go through and do this by hand. Plugins like SSL Insecure Content Fixer help you identify and fix insecure html so that you don’t get the dreaded broken lock on your browser address bar.
Now that you’re serving traffic over https://, your Search Console and Google Analytics tracking should follow suit (if you’re not tracking traffic and conversions via Google tools, just send us a quick email and we can help you get set up). Updating these settings will ensure you’re still correctly recording traffic and not missing out on https:// activity.
Complete these steps in Search Console:
Next, complete these steps in Google Analytics:
And with that, you’re on your way to a more secure website & happier site visitors.