When it comes to using the internet as a marketing tool, professionals are too often caught in the same situation in which most executives and decisions makers are trapped – staying one step behind in the learning curve. Like most other media, the Internet is in another cycle of seeing tried and true methods beginning to lose their punch. As a plastic surgeon, intent on making your web presence work for you efficiently, you need to be aware of methods that are trending toward being less effective and those that will produce the most for your efforts.
It was only a short time ago when paid advertisements such as Pay-Per-View and Pay-Per-Click or even more expensive paid placement on professional web sites was considered the best way to funnel traffic. Those still work, to a point, but are proving far less effective over the long haul than optimization, meaningful content and social media. This has shifted the focus from Outbound to Inbound Marketing
The Problem with Outbound Marketing
A good analogy most medical professionals will understand is the sales technique most used a generation ago, cold-calling. If you didn’t have to deal with it you can bet your office manager complained more than once about being interrupted by every kind of sale rep in the world dropping by your practice. Most Internet marketing has previously been the digital equivalent of a cold-call salesman. The reason is people were simply following the model they understood: advertising on TV and radio, mass and targeted mailings and other methods of “finding the consumer.”
This Outbound Marketing model is simply not then best way to use your time or money. Technology has made outbound techniques less and less effective and a result more costly. DVRs have greatly lowered the effectives of TV advertising and spam blockers sabotage a large part of mass email campaigns. They still work, but cost more because Outbound Marketing requires more dollars to reach the same number of people than before.
Inbound Marking – More Efficient and Less Expensive
The key to Inbound Marketing is creating something people are already looking for. Useful content discovered in web searches is far more likely to be read than an unsolicited email if it even gets read at all. Blogs that deal with subjects a person is already interested in are more effective than even your practice’s main web site. Of course you need the best web site possible but it still requires people looking for it. Outbound Marketing is like using a jackhammer attempting to break the defensive walls of sensory overloaded potential clients while Inbound Marketing is like a magnetic north pole drawing people in who are already inclined to come your way.
- Television and Radio
- Email Campaigns
- eBooks, Blogs, White Papers, Professional reports
- YouTube videos
- Webinars and Informational videos
- RSS and Subscription feeds
The most important thing to know about Inbound Marketing is that it involves an initial investment rather than unending expense. Google pay-per-clicks Ads are effective but when you’ve reached your budget allotment for the ad you have to pay more for them to have any futher effect. When you invest the time and money in quality content you reap high rankings on Google that require less time and money than you probably thought possible.