content marketing vs advertisingPaper vs. plastic? Democrat vs. Republican? To be or not to be? It seems everywhere you turn there are examples of the media attempting to classify individuals as “this” or “that,” trying to make life as black and white as possible. In marketing there is no black and white. What works for one practice may not work well for another. Therefore, it helps to have an open mind to all the different marketing tactics at your disposal.

Digital marketing has grown so much over the past decade that for many new practices, or one’s finally shifting to digital, it can be difficult to determine where to begin. Email marketing and social media marketing are important, but they’re internal marketing tools that – if used well – can help retain patients. However,  they will do little to help with bringing in new patients. This is where content marketing and advertising come in.

Content Marketing: Is it Important for SEO?

Image from dennmart.me

Image from dennmart.me

To put it simply, content marketing is the key ingredient to a comprehensive SEO strategy. If you’re not familiar with SEO, it’s the strategies and tactics used to generate or improve your website’s organic search rankings. The algorithm that Google has used to “rank” websites has evolved quite a bit over the past few years, making it more difficult for people to trick the search engine.

If you’re focused on SEO, then beyond good internal optimization (title tags, meta descriptions, clean code, XML sitemap, etc) you need to focus on external SEO. To do so, your focus should be entirely on producing unique, engaging content. Don’t just regurgitate a procedure page. Instead focus on patient FAQs. You can also compare how two different procedures can treat a common concern patients have, such as Kybella vs. Neck lipo. Interestingly enough, I’m taking this exact same approach with this blog article!

So you’ve got the content marketing down. You’re growing your website with new articles every month (or week if you’re feeling ambitious), and this is leading to more backlinks and more page views. Should you stick to this and avoid advertising? Simply put, no.

Advertising: A Waste of Money?

Image from www.lucidwebgroup.com

Image from www.lucidwebgroup.com

I’ve spoken with a lot of aesthetic practice doctors and practice managers who are vehemently against advertising. I sort of get why. They might have tried it in the past and failed or they simply hate the notion of paying for clicks vs. free traffic for organic clicks. Advertising won Google AdWords, for example, does have it’s benefits though. Namely, you can see immediate traffic to your website, whereas SEO efforts can take months or years.

You don’t need an exorbitant budget to get started with Google Adwords or Yahoo/Bing ads. My advice would be to pick one highly profitable procedure and run a campaign for 2-4 weeks to gather data. You’ll need to make sure your ads are well-written (with calls to action); your keywords and campaign structure are solid; and your landing pages also have calls to action. Over this “trial” period you can track leads and even ROI to see how well you did. Even if you’ve spent $33/day ($1k/month) on a procedure such as breast augmentation, getting just one lead to convert will make your practice money.

Alternative Advertising Opportunities

It’s also important to keep in mind that there are many other advertising mediums out there. Real Self, Yelp, and Facebook are just a few of the mediums available to most aesthetic practices. With Facebook in particular you start to see where content marketing and advertising converge, as practices have the ability to boost posts (advertise) about their latest blog (content marketing).

top doctor on real selfMy advice is to invest in both content marketing and advertising. Test out different mediums following best practices to see what works, keeping in mind that your end goal isn’t always a lead. Marketing isn’t selling. You need to build the know, like & trust factors among prospective patients before they’ll enter into a buying decision, especially for surgical procedures.

Content marketing should be the core of your marketing. Focus on quality over quantity though. It’s not about how many blogs you’re writing it’s about the content itself. Believe it or not,  I’ve seen many more practices waste money on an tired and ineffective content marketing strategy than on Google AdWords. Be interesting and unique, tell success story, showcase your expertise. Once you’ve got strategy figured out then evaluate your advertising options and how you can effectively test each one.

There’s no black and white when it comes to digital marketing, but it helps to start with a strong content marketing strategy. Provide value and be interesting. At the same time build up your case studies, before & after photos, and reviews.

If you have any questions about content marketing or advertising, or you’d simply like to learn more about Turbo’s approach, then leave us a note here or call us directly at 877-673-7096 x2.