THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

What Mark Oborn said…

In response to my blog post/ezine article that I posted here yesterday, Mark Oborn has some interesting insight to share Once again a very insightful and engaging post… so here goes….Yes, I believe you are right to a degree. I can also confirm that the bulk of searches for a practice are for the practice owner and/or the practice name, this would seem to indicate that ‘other’ forms of marketing are working and people want to know more about the practice. The good thing about SEO is intent… if someone searches for ‘teeth whitening in Watford’ guess what they are looking for? This means conversions of these SEO’d ‘visitors’ should be higher. However great SEO should be the start of a process, rather than an end in itself. For me I believe in ‘Relationship Marketing’ – this is the principle of ‘being on the mind of the customer’ all the time as THE expert in the chosen discipline and geographical location, having a conversation with people and altruistically handing out useful free and relevant information so that as soon as that person thinks ‘ooh, my teeth look dark’ or ‘I don’t want to live with this gap anymore’ they have only one person they would consider going to! ‘Transactional Marketing’ on the other hand relies upon ‘spray marketing’ like water out of a garden hose, spraying information about your business to EVERYONE in the HOPE that SOMEONE will identify with this issue you are addressing, so sending out 5000 flyers to people in the local area relies upon mass spraying of information in the hope that someone will want straight teeth. There is no relationship and the dentist will not be perceived as the expert, merely a provider of service. I don’t like the idea of a website as a brochure also… a brochure is static, it doesn’t engage, it doesn’t answer my specific questions when I talk to it. A practice website should be a living entity that talks, communicates and demonstrates the expertness (is that a word?) of the dentist. SEO and PPC should, in my opinion, always be used in conjunction with a system which starts a relationship, and moves away from ‘Transactional Marketing’ and then helps build that relationship and conversation… possibly over many months…. so that when that person identifies a dental problem that needs solving, they know of only one person to go to, the local expert. This is then a much more powerful marketing tool. Without a system for capturing visitor’s data and building that relationship SEO and PPC are wasted. Without a system for capturing readers info and building that relationship conventional marketing is wasted. So I agree with what you are saying to a degree, SEO by itself is an ineffective way of marketing a practice, as is conventional marketing. But when SEO is used as a suite of techniques (with its high conversion rates) we can achieve great results. I advice all dentists to use their website as a hub to build a relationship, then get people to that website by every means possible… SEO, PPC, Radio ads, flyers and as part of a referral scheme. An interesting trial would be to set up some Google Events in Analytics that trigger when Goals are achieved (usually visiting a thank you page) after a certain key word Triggers that Event, in other words… what is the conversion rate of people that type “XYZ Dental Practice” vs.. “Tooth Whitening <<location>>” in to Google? I don’t currently run this kind of analytics event analysis yet…. but you’ve given me an idea now…. Mark Oborn

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