The benefits of using social media tools

The benefits of social media tools

Managing social media pages can be overwhelming for small businesses, especially when first starting. Once you create a profile your staff has to carve out time to think about content – both copy and images – while also taking part in social conversations, and answering client questions. Though the rewards may sometimes take long to reap, or even hard to pinpoint, the work that goes into social can bring in more clients. But what can your staff do to make social media easier to manage? Bring on a tool that does the groundwork for you.

Consistent branding

Compelling images are probably the hardest to attain as a small business with limited resources. Some social management tools, however, will also offer professionally designed profile images across all of the main channels. This will help your online presence look consistent so current and potential clients know they found the right business.

Reduce content creation time

If you’re looking for true value, find a tool that can offer you pre-written content that’s specific to your industry. This feature can act as a hired writer but without the cost of training, computer equipment, experience, etc. You will also be able to have the post scheduled in advance so your team can plan ahead.

More time on engagement

With your posts being taken care of your team will have time to spend on what’s most important: engaging your audience. Your audience includes people who follow you, as well as people who don’t.

For those who do follow you, they may predominantly be clients who are already loyal to you with a mix of potential clients. Both will use the channel to ask customer service questions. Research has shown that more than 80 percent of customers expect responses from businesses within 24 hours, with almost half anticipating a reply in less than an hour.*

For those who do not follow you, the best acquisition strategy to look for industry-specific conversations and take part in them. This will grow your following, and in turn expand your online presence to find new clients.

 

Social media is a must for your business, so it’s a great idea to find a tool that will save you time, and keep your staff focused on their main roles.

*https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/need-quicker-response-times-social-media/

3 ways having an optimized website can bring in more cash flow

3 ways your website can bring in more cash flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of every optometry practice, and your website may play a bigger role in having consistent cash flowing in than you think. Yes, direct mailers with coupons will always be one of the strong contenders in your traditional marketing strategy. But patients, both current and prospective, are now also responding to digital marketing because it feeds their need for instant information, and offers them the convenience they require to be satisfied. Your website can play a big part in that. Here are 3 ways having a website can bring in more cash flow.

1. Online Booking

Usually when a patient’s day dies down is when they remember to catch up on personal tasks like scheduling their doctor appointments. The catch is your practice is most likely closed at this time. Because life is so fast-paced, it’s important for both your practice and your patients to have options outside of making a phone call during office hours to book an appointment. This is where having an ‘Online Booking’ feature on your website is imperative.

Not only does it keep your current patients coming back to your office, but it also gives potential patients the option to try your services. If a prospect is scrolling through your website they are already showing interest in having their eyes checked at your practice. That is the most optimal time to try and generate new visits – by offering them a prominent ‘Schedule Online’ button.

2. Content Marketing

Content is king – even Google says it when referring to the power it has on SEO. 59% of patients are saying they access health information more frequently. With the flood of both accurate and inaccurate health information on the web, your practice can take the lead in engaging your current and prospective audience with interesting articles or email newsletters focused on eyes and eye health. If your content has quality ideas and is done consistently, you can retain your patients with loyalty while bringing in new patients who are persuaded by your thought-leadership. There are also marketing solutions that offer a robust collection of industry-specific content.

Your website is also a great place to list your specialties, services and the different insurance you accept. Though this may not directly point to more cash flow, it will reduce the phone calls your office receives and gives them more personal time with patients to offer a positive experience.

3. Optimization and Reputation

As mentioned earlier, content is an effective tactic in the strategy to enhance your SEO. But managing and expanding your online presence is just as important. First things first, build a profile on the main review sites like Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades. Then, implement some ways you can easily direct your happy patients there to leave a review. Some ways could include ‘Thank You’ emails with a ‘Review Us’ link, or simple requests via text message to leave your practice a review. Your staff can even ask verbally if the moment is right. The more positive (4+ star) reviews and visibility your practice has, the more inclined new patients are to try your services.

Another opportunity for visibility and an optimized online presence is online business listings. There are hundreds of data-aggregating listing sites that pull your information – whether it’s correct or not – and post it. These need to be managed and completely filled out just in case a prospect finds you on one of those listing sites. If the site offers an online booking link be sure to use it. You never want to pass up an opportunity to acquire someone new.

Seize your cash flow opportunities to protect your bottom line, and when you can, implement tools that will fulfill this need for your staff.

Why does Google remove some reviews?

Why Google removes some online reviews

Google reviews can help a small business expand their reach to more prospects. But at the end of the day, Google controls the content that lands on their social network, Google Plus. This has left many of us wondering, ‘Why did Google remove that review?” According to their review policy, there are nine types of review content that they consider ‘prohibited and restricted.’ But what they could explain more is why they classify some reviews as ‘spam or fake.’ The answer is: the IP address.

Customers sharing the same IP address

Your internet service provider assigns the computer you connect to the internet with an IP address. If your customer brings a family member in, and they go home and both decide to leave a review for business on their shared computer, Google considers this a duplicate. In the world wide web, duplicate is another word for spam. So there goes their nice gesture and your chance to keep these two new reviews.

Customers reviewing with your WiFi

It’s no surprise that you have logged into your business’ Google Plus from your business WiFi. However, if you offer this same WiFi to customers and a happy customer decides to leave you a review while they wait, you’ve run into the IP address issue again. Another problematic scenario is if they simply log in to their Google Plus from your WiFi and leave the review later at home. The fact that they were on your IP has already left a trail.

Happy employees leaving reviews at work

Whether you asked your employees to give your business a Google Plus review, or they took it upon themselves, this is actually against Google’s guidelines. This is also another case where the search engine giant can sniff this out through the IP address. The employee is either leaving the review at work with the company WiFi, or they’ve signed into Google Plus under the WiFi and then left the review in another location like at home. Since this removal can be prevented, it’s probably best to ask your employees not to leave reviews.

Another option outside of the IP address is customers deleting the review themselves. This happens often with incentives. If you extend your offers or giveaways to a wide range of customers in exchange for a review, you may see reviews removed once they redeem their prize. Consider cherry-picking the customers you offer the incentive to in order to avoid this.

As we saw in the review policy, there are many other reasons why Google may remove a review from your listing. Because it’s almost like the luck of the draw, just remember the big picture which is to have an overall positive online reputation. As long as you have enough 4+ star reviews to keep you competitive against others in your industry, you’re in good standing.

https://whitespark.ca/blog/google-remove-reviews/

Summer-Inspired Marketing Campaigns for your Industry

Summer Inspired Email Campaigns

One of the tricks to successful marketing is making it relevant to your audience and what they are interested in at that moment. Since the Summer season is full of road trips, vacation, and hot weather – your campaigns should be too! Here are summer-inspired email campaigns for your industry.

Medical email campaign ideas

Summer time is a great time to nurture the relationships you have with your patients. Remind them why they chose your practice with these newsletters:

  • 4 reasons why you should protect your eyes from the sun
  • How to fight the flu before school starts
  • 3 ways to ease your back at your desk job

Dental email campaign ideas

If your young patients haven’t been brought in for their annual visit yet, segment your emails with these ideas to bring them in before school starts.

  • Back to school special: come in by 8/31
  • 25% off bright smiles for the new school semester
  • New patient special: schedule by 8/31

Veterinary email campaign ideas

If your patients could bark the words, they’d let you know that summer may not be their favorite season. Let your clients know why with these newsletters:

  • Summertime pests to protect your furry friend from
  • 3 natural products that will protect your dog from ticks
  • How to protect your pet from the heat

Salon and spa email campaign ideas

The summer heat and blazing sun can be detrimental to healthy hair. Be there for your clients with these emails:

  • Summer special: 25% off deep conditioning
  • 3 at-home remedies for dry hair
  • Come in before 8/31 and get a free hair mask!

Auto shop email campaign ideas

‘Tis the season for selling! Most of your customers have no idea how the summer heat can affect their A/C, or how to prepare for that upcoming road trip. Generate revenue with these emails:

  • $10 off your oil change + free A/C check
  • 10% off tire rotation – offer ends 8/31
  • Free brake check before your road trip

How to Measure the Value of Your Website with Google Analytics

How to measure the value of your website with Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is an analytics tool that can help you understand how powerful your website is in your marketing strategy. You can measure how many returning visitors you get versus new visitors, what website pages are the most popular, and so much more. Because it offers a lot of measuring opportunities, sometimes GA can seem overwhelming. To get you started, here are some essential metrics to measure the value of your website to your business.

Turning it on

First things first – you have to open an analytics account and add GA to your website. The tool is free, so all you need is simple information like your website URL to get your GA code snippet. Highlight and copy the entire snippet of code once you are ready to add it to your website. You can access this snippet of code anytime in your GA settings.

If you have a Business Plan website with WordPress.com, adding this code is simple. Just install the Google Analytics plugin created by MonsterInsights, as that is the plugin trusted by WordPress. Once installed, go to the settings of this plugin on your WordPress dashboard and add your snippet of code.

You can also add GA to WiX, Squarespace and most templated websites. If your business has a custom website built by code from a developer, you should contact your developer or IT professional. It may take a day or two for your website to start recording data. You won’t be able to gather any data from the time period that you did not have GA.

Behavior: Popular Pages

Now for the fun part: measuring! Right off the bat you’re going to want to know what pages are working for you. Your homepage will always be the most popular by default, so it’s better to pay attention to the top three to five pages on the list. On your left hand menu in GA, click Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Once you arrive make sure you adjust the time frame on the upper right corner of the page so you can be specific on what day or days you want to measure.

Now that you are looking at your top pages, pay attention to some of these details:

  • Pageviews and unique pageviews: it’s interesting to see how many of those views are unique.
  • Average time on page: you want to see something above 1 minute and 30 seconds so you know users are truly reading.
  • Bounce rate: how often are they on the page for only 0 seconds? This percentage should be lower – ideally under 50 percent.

On your popular pages, don’t make too many content updates because clearly something is working. Make sure you have strong CTAs and feel free to add testimonials to these pages since they have a good chance of being viewed.

Acquisition: Where are Visitors Coming From

With this data there is no more guessing what social network works best for your brand. You can also learn about other channels bringing traffic to your website like paid search if you’re running Google Ads, referral websites if other websites are linking to yours, or email if you’re sending email campaigns.

On your navigation click Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels. Right off the bat you’ll see what channels are bringing the most traffic to your site. If you click on a specific channel like Social, you can track what specific networks are bringing you the most traffic, and decide which ones to stop posting on every week. And remember – take the bounce rate into consideration when you’re deciphering which channel is working the best for your brand.

Audience: Know Your Visitors

This is a great tool to help you pinpoint who your website audience is. If you click Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning on your navigation, you can easily see who you’re content should be catered to. Maybe your website is mostly returning users, while your social media pages are where new customers find you.

While staying in the Audience tab, explore the Demographics, Interests, and Geo subtabs to really get to know your users. This information is great for inspiration on sales, promotions or incentives you hold.

Marketing only has meaning to your business when it is measured. Although there are many ways to analyze the different marketing channels you use, Google Analytics is one of the best for understanding the power of your website, who is visiting it, and where they came from.

Demandforce Customers: Easy Ways to Collect Email Addresses

Collecting Email Addresses for Marketing

One of our best tools to convert current and prospective customers is our Email Campaign builder. Just like you experienced in your demo with your sales rep, you can segment your emails by products purchased and services received, or simply send appointment reminders and recall campaigns via email. But in order to get started, you have to collect email addresses from your audience. Don’t worry – there are easy ways to do this! Here are two options that the Demandforce portal offers you to help you collect email addresses.

Offline Form

Offline forms ask for the information necessary to send your customers emails and text messages. ‘Offline’ stands for customers who either don’t have an email address in your management system, or are simply not subscribed to your email communications.

The easiest way to tackle receiving email addresses from your current customers is by printing this form for the day they come in for their appointment. Go to your ‘Appointments’ drop down in your menu and click ‘Appointment Calendar’ to choose the day you would like to print your Offline Form. Then you can click the blue link ‘Print Patient Forms’ and choose if you want print forms for every patient that day, or a different audience listed in the drop down.

It’s recommended to add this to any other paperwork your customers are filling out, or have them fill it out quickly while they wait for their appointment to begin.

Email Finder

Email Finder is an add-on service we provide within your portal, and it’s a great option if you have little-to-no email addresses to start with, or your business is fairly new. It’s also helpful for a promotion or announcement that you want to extend your reach with.

This service searches through national opt-in databases using your customer’s name and physical mailing address. Once you start with Demandforce the Email Finder already begins searching, and let’s you know how many it has found. This happens every month and is no extra charge. Only once you click ‘Let’s do it’ are those emails purchased for $0.99 per valid email. The good news is – we give you 500 emails for free just to get you started! Be sure to take advantage of that deal no matter how big your email database is.

Outside of what Demandforce offers you, there are a variety of ways you can gather email addresses from current or prospective customers, including:

  • Business card fishbowl for a prize giveaway
  • Email signup field on your website
  • Social media ads

Just be sure to email your customers no more than once a week, and no less than around every three months to stay at the top of their mind.

LinkedIn on a Budget

Linkedin Strategy for Small Businesses

As a small business, it’s important to have tools that will help you recruit top talent, find peers, and curate helpful content for you at an inexpensive rate. LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, is a great option to help your business fulfill those needs. Although there are paid options on the platform, with strategic time and effort you can get your recruiting, networking and educational needs fulfilled from LinkedIn for free. Here are some easy-to-implement tactics.

Recruiting:

  • Posting jobs as updates

Instead of paying for Linkedin Recruiter, you can post about open positions on your feed for all of your followers to see. In your post, encourage your followers to tag someone that may be a good fit for the position. This will give you immediate leads, and expand the reach of your post to that follower’s feed as well.

  • LinkedIn Salary

One of the hardest parts of recruiting is establishing a fair pay rate for you and the candidate. LinkedIn offers a salary estimate tool that assesses the job title and years of experience needed for the role so you can stay competitive when hiring.

  • Search bar – people

Outside of posting your open positions on your feed, you can also be proactive and search for the specific role and location you need a new hire in. For example, ‘graphic designer los angeles’ brings more than 43,000 results. You can also use the filter to narrow down by school or previous companies worked for. When you find some top candidates send them a message, or use the introduction box when requesting to connect to explain why you’re reaching out.

Networking:

  • Search bar – companies

Being a small-business owner can be hard when you need advice, or just reassurance that you’re on the right track. Instead of paying money to attend networking events or conferences, search for those companies and look for peers you want to connect with. People are often surprised how open others are to network on LinkedIn and trade tips. Make sure to leave a note in the introduction box when requesting to connect.

  • LinkedIn Groups

Another great way to find like-minded individuals is by joining LinkedIn groups that are pertinent to your industry. Groups often post relevant articles and engage with posts to start a conversation.

Learning:

  • Educational content

Sometimes it’s helpful to get out of your ‘publication rut’ and read articles from thought-leaders or blogs you’ve not heard of before. Start by following companies, media agencies or people who inspire you in your industry that post content. What they post will show up on your feed, as well as content that they ‘liked’ or commented on, which will help expand your learning horizons.

  • LinkedIn Learning

If there is ever a new skill you want to learn, or a strategic tactic you need inspiration on, take advantage of the free 1-month trial of LinkedIn Learning. They have topics from that span across business, creative and technology. There are also Learning Paths for specialities like becoming a manager, or an excel expert.

LinkedIn has a lot to offer business owners who are looking to expand their team, network or expertise for no cost. It’s truly the sophisticated social media channel that can help you achieve your goals without breaking your budget!

7 Text Messaging Stats that Will Make You Wonder Why You’re Not Texting Customers

Text Messaging Statistics that will make you want to text your customers

Text messaging is more than a communications tool – it’s a retention tool. From faster responses to more referrals, if you’re not texting your customers – here are 7 stats that will make you wonder why.

1. 97% of Americans use text messaging.

2. 75% of millennials think that text is a helpful way to receive appointment reminders.

3. 19% of millennials don’t check their voicemails.

4. It only takes 90 seconds for a response to an average text message.

5. 77% of consumers aged 18-34 will have a more positive perception of a company that has text messaging capabilities.

6. Customers are 28% more likely to recommend a company to friends if it offers a text messaging capability.

7. The response rate to a text message is 8x higher than the response rate to an email.

So if you’re looking for a quick way to get a customer to gain a follower on social media, redeem a coupon, or learn about a promotion – send them a text message. Make sure timing is in line with your hours of operation, but not late at night like 9PM when some people’s evenings may be winding down.

After you’ve sent your text campaigns, make sure to look at your opt-out rates for each message to know what works for your audience. If your opt-out rate is high, you may want to consider trying new messaging.

http://www.offthecusp.com/texting-your-patients-statistics/