It’s that time of year again! Time to evaluate the state of the industry from a marketing perspective and make some predictions for the coming year. We’ll evaluate some web trends and discuss how they might affect your aesthetic practice.

1) Continued rise of mobile: This is a no-brainer. You’ll probably find this at the top of any list for 2016 SEO or digital marketing predictions. Mobile will overtake desktop at some point so we’re well past the mobilegeddon craze and worrying about if Google views your site as “mobile friendly.” Instead we need to think about mobile effectiveness, and how you can optimize for patient experience when they reach your website.

The three biggest things patients care about when vetting your practice are: your online reviews, your previous work (photo gallery), and your experience/education. The first two are arguably the most important, but I don’t want to discount the latter. What every practice should do is make it as easy as possibly for patients to tap to: view your gallery, view reviews, call, or email. If you’ve worked these links into a “sticky” navigation, especially your calls to action and gallery icon, then you’re ahead of the game.

sticky navigation for mobile effectiveness

Notice how the three screen shots above were not taken from the top of the home page, but further down on the page, yet the calls to action and photo gallery icons stay right there at the top (or bottom). This is how you maximize mobile effectiveness.

2) Rise in photo gallery traffic: Looking at 2015 as a whole we noticed a huge jump (81.59%) in photo gallery traffic among our clients who have one prominently featured on their website. The key point here is that this data only pertains to those who have a gallery prominently featured. What does that mean exactly? They not only have a link in their navigation, but unique pages for different sections of their gallery. A one page gallery simply won’t cut it as it limits your SEO reach, since you can only optimize for one page.

We analyzed one of our clients who did not have a photo gallery, but later implemented a comprehensive gallery. In a month and a half the client saw a 712.18% increase in unique page views. While this isn’t all “new” traffic (it’ll take some time to build up organic SEO for these pages), it means the existing website users are staying on the site longer, which leads to them seeing more social proof, lower bounce rates, and higher conversion rates.

photo gallery unique visitors

A nice photo gallery is crucial, but the problem is that there aren’t many great off-the-shelf solutions. Custom galleries can be expensive to build and hard to maintain without a developer, which is why we developed the WordPress Turbo gallery plugin.

3) Importance of keyword-rich snippets for local SEO: The latest buzz in SEO is micro-formatting. Schema.org was launched in 2011 as a collaborative effort among Google, Yahoo & Bing. Schema is the markup language within a website’s source code that these search engines are indexing and displaying in search results. It’s common to see this markup refelcted in search results pertaining to events or recipes.

schema examples

So how can this help my local practice? There are specific schemas that focus on local businesses. By incorporating these onto your website’s pages you’ll improve your practice’s local search visibility.

4) Less “SEO,” more content: To be clear, when I say “SEO” I mean the traditional SEO work, such as optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, page names, and building non-relevant, low-quality backlinks. This worked wonders in 2006, but with Google’s algorithm updates over the past few years expect this traditional SEO to matter less.

content is king

I’m not suggesting to avoid optimizing your website’s pages and articles, just shift your focus toward content marketing. We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king.” While its almost become a trite saying among SEO folks, there’s no understating the importance of content. That said, not all content is created equal. Yes, you should be blogging, but uninteresting, regurgitated content is of little value. Focus on engaging content: visual case studies, commonly asked questions from patients, a comparison of two different procedures or how they can be used together, your latest specials, and much more. Get creative! Tell a story! Google is getting better at associating popularity on social media and 3rd party sites and applying that credit to the appropriate website.

Once you have the content you need to get it out there. Consider boosting some posts on Facebook to get more eyeballs. Work your blogs into your monthly newsletter. These are just a couple ideas, but here’s a more comprehensive list of suggestions for increasing your blog’s exposure. The more engaging and shared your content is the better your website’s visibility will become. More visibility means more traffic and ultimately more conversions!

5) Continued growth of Facebook ads: Facebook’s buzz may be wearing off, or may have worn off completely for some, but according to statista.com, monthly active users are still growing.

Data from statista.com

Data from statista.com

The challenge is that such a smaller percentage of your “fans” actually see your posts in their newsfeed. This forces you to advertise, which while annoying can be effective. Check out the results below from some of the campaigns run.

facebook ad campaigns

These are Facebook’s new ‘lead gen’ campaigns, targeting non-Fans based on age & geography, which were introduced along with their new ‘local awareness’ and ‘Instagram ad’ campaigns this past month. Expect these new campaigns to grow in popularity, especially when you see bottom line results: increased leads and new patients!

6) Better technology =  more automation: the one thing you can bank on with each passing year is that technology will improve. From a marketing perspective this is great because technology can make your life much easier. There are also more and more software companies that cater to the medical and aesthetics industry than ever before (you can check out this article I wrote about some useful CRMs to learn more).

It’s important to make sure your practice is using automation correctly. You can automate social posts with software such as Hootsuite, you can automate your immediate follow-up with web inquiries with pretty much any email marketing software, and you can even automate lead generation with Facebook’s new lead gen campaigns (as opposed to having to create landing pages with calls to action your ads have lead gen forms built into them)!

Software is crucial to every aesthetic practice, just make sure it doesn’t take the place of real life interaction. The personal relationships you develop with patients will increase lead to consultation ratios, improve your processes, increase patient retention, drive more 5 star reviews, and generate raving fans!

2016 predictions

Don’t skimp on your marketing in 2016! Focus on growing your online reviews and testing ad platforms such as Facebook, Real Self, Yelp, and Google. Most importantly, keep building (and sharing/syndicating) your content. This means more before & after cases and more interesting, engaging articles.

If you need help getting your digital marketing in order or you’d simply like to learn more about how you can increase your website visibility, traffic, and leads in 2016 then shoot Turbo a message here. You can also reach us directly at 877-673-7096.