WordPress 101

Build and learn how to think about building a website with wordpress and best practices and tools for search engine and social media.

Author: Lee Down

Social Media Marketing in the World of Orthodontics

orthodontist1It seems like the rules and trends for marketing in orthodontics changed overnight. In 2009, orthodontists were first exposed to the “new” marketing paradigm of social media engagement by way of Facebook and Twitter, the orthodontic journals abuzz with “how to’s,” “who’s who,” and “what’s what” articles showing up monthly. Orthodontists charged headlong into the world of social media with less of a blueprint for marketing success and more of a “let’s get there first” approach only to find themselves in 2010 asking, “What now and how do I measure ROI?”.

Most orthodontic practices charged into the revolution without any ammunition and no clear objective, so it would seem obvious to question the social media engagement a year in. Many decided to delay their foray into the revolution because they have no idea how to even fire the first shot. Either way, you are not alone if either of the above applies, and that’s good news. While the majority of orthodontists have some form of social network presence, very few have seen their participation pay off. And most fall short by simply not grasping the fundamental objective in a practice’s participation in social media; increase patient based referrals by giving your “network” reason and incentive to introduce the practice to their “network.” This concept is beautifully summed up by Ford CMO James Farley, “You can’t just say it. You have to get the people to say it to each other.”

Pre-Planning Your Social Media Marketing Plan – Understanding Your Practice’s “Brand” and Creating Objectives

Before delving into a discussion about social media marketing, it is imperative to understand and clearly define your practice’s “brand” and its place in the local market. The importance of starting with this exercise will help you to keep the plan focused on delivering an easily repeated message, one that patients and the community at large will associate with your practice. You have to give the practice a “voice” and “personality” that can be communicated easily. Social media is, after all, social. So you must begin with humanizing the practice. In the social media world, the practice itself is the “person” with whom visitors, colleagues, friends, and patients will be interacting. And as such, if your posts are purely clinical, “How to care for your appliance, etc.”, the practice will be perceived as lacking personality, being “uncool,” and will therefore fail in terms of social interaction. To the point made earlier, you have to provide the “it” that people will say to each other. Ask yourself, or your team, this question, “Why would someone choose my practice over another in town?” Answers may range from “expertise,” to “friendly,” to “cutting edge,” to “best terms.” Then put yourself into the shoes of a potential patient or parent. Aggregate the answers into the creation of personality traits with which you can endow the practice.

Once you’ve established those traits, write them down and share them with your team. The team member(s) tasked with posting need to be keenly aware of the practice personality that you’ve created. He/she will need to become schizophrenic when making posts; he/she is no longer a team member, but rather “the practice.” This is very closely mirrored in your scripting for case presentation. The most successful practices in terms of case acceptance rate, are usually those that invest effort in humanizing the practice by promoting comfort and familiarity. They take the would-be patient on a tour of the facility, introduce him/her to the team, and establish confidence in acceptance because the practice as a whole cares “personally” about the patient’s outcome and the benefits it will yield throughout his/her life. This is the same message that you will convey through social media. Congratulations, you have your “brand.”

Creating the Plan

The social media marketing plan can be as simple or broad as you deem fit. Most practices will find that staying “narrow” will not require adding staff or outsourcing the plan’s execution. A “simple” plan executed properly can and will yield growth. Broader plans simply expand the social footprint of the practice and can increase ROI. Either way, the fundamental parts of the social media marketing plan will follow this outline.

  1. What to say: All posts should exemplify or stand testament to the personality, or “brand,” of the practice that you have defined. Thinking in terms of this personality will make it easier for the posting team member to find worthy topics. All practices should have some form of “patient-focused” as one of it key personality traits. Encourage your team to digest and relay positive patient stories during your huddle. Make yours a “wall of accolades.” “Congratulations to Brittany for making all A’s / being elected student body treasurer / 1st chair clarinet. Not only will such posts endear you to the patients and families, but it will also convey to the message that the practice is, itself, sincerely interested in the successes of its patients. If your practice is “community-invested,” then follow local prep sports in the paper and talk about key games, congratulate local teams, and mention exemplary student-athletes whether they are your patients or not. Link to your local paper’s honor roll. Post funny stories from the paper. If the practice is “cutting edge,” subscribe to Digg’s RSS feed for technology and make posts about new devices and social network “tips.” Of little concern is that your posts are orthodontics specific. The practice’s brand is invariably connected to orthodontics already, so your task is saying something from the “voice” of the practice in which the reader finds value. This value is in turn reciprocated by the reader when their positive perception of the practice is affirmed and they communicate that forward throughout their “network.”
  2. What not to say: If the goal of your social media marketing campaign is to get people to tune into your brand, then the antithesis of your efforts will be to have them tune out. Obviously, any post that could be considered negative, inappropriate, or unprofessional can tarnish the practice’s brand perception and must be avoided. But so too should posts that yield complete ambivalence. Those in the practice’s network already know that you are an orthodontist and expect an occasional post regarding “braces friendly foods” and “mouthguard awareness month.” But without more substance offered in the way of practice personality, they may tune you out entirely.
  3. When to say it: The optimal frequency of posting is a much debated topic. Too many is oftentimes worse than too few. As a general rule of thumb, posting more than once daily to any given network, unless in response to a comment or post string, is too much. Once weekly is about the minimum, but such infrequency necessitates that the posts be meaningful. The strategy that is optimal is to make posting part of the schedule. For example, Monday is patient accolades, Tuesday is events and announcements, Wednesday is media posts (pictures and video), and Thursday is sports and/or weekend events. Once created, stick to the schedule as strictly as possible. Continuity is just as important as content.
  4. Where to say it: Many practices have embraced Facebook and Twitter as their two networks of choice. But let’s delineate the two in terms of orthodontics. Facebook is a social network whereas Twitter is a microblog. As such Facebook is far more capable of reaching potential patients in your market, while Twitter is simply a way to improve your website’s search engine rankings. For simplicity, you may opt to link the practice’s Twitter account to its page on Facebook, thereby keeping both current by simply posting to Facebook alone. But some additional social media outlets exist that are worthy of consideration. Foursquare is a location-based social network that lets people “check-in” to your practice on their smart phones every time they come in. When they “check-in,” a post is made on their Facebook wall that announces where they are. With as little effort as putting up a sign in your practice, you may receive dozens of check-in weekly, translating to dozens of posts made by patients on their walls about your practice. Consider Flickr as the preferred location to post all photos about, for, and by your practice. Flickr is itself a social network. Link your Flickr account to the page on Facebook and your practice’s reach has grown two-fold.
  5. How to incentivize it: If your practice has spent any time participating in social media, you’ve probably found that the most profound way to increase participation is to incentivize it. But a stringent word of caution is offered if you do such on Facebook. Facebook has a particular set of guidelines that specifically disallow many of the most common types of promotions offered by orthodontists on their pages. Contests such as “make a post on our wall and you’re entered to win” and “upload a photo to our page on Facebook to enter,” are violations for which Facebook would, if discovered, remove your page altogether. All the work spent in developing the page would be for nought. Search on the web for “facebook promotion guidelines” to find the full version. In order to properly (and legally) run an orthodontic contest or promotion through Facebook requires the use of 3rd party applications. Few companies exist that specialize in creating such, but Ingenuity Orthodontic Marketing is unique in that it works exclusively in the field of orthodontics.
  6. How to simplify it: A few applications exist that allow you administer all your social media accounts in a centralized “dashboard.” Perhaps the most popular of these is HootSuite. The free version should suit the vast majority of orthodontic practices’ needs, and will save considerable time and effort in administering your social media marketing plan.

Carleton Wilkins is President of Ingenuity Orthodontic Marketing, an orthodontic marketing firm that brings a unique and fresh point of view into the world of orthodontics. By creating, managing, and hosting web-based orthodontic contests and launching strategic social media marketing campaigns, Ingenuity helps its client orthodontists to better communicate with its community, and thus increase patient referrals and dental referrals. For more information, visit http://www.ingenuity.cc

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carleton_Wilkins

Killing Keyword Search with Google Tools

It’s not often I get to write about Internet Marketing related software tools from a perspective of support. Quite often, I’d be found ripping some programs apart, demanding more for the consumer. In this instance, I see extremely high value with the use of tools like this one I’m suggesting as a useful add-on tool.

Many competitors of yours use the Google Adwords to buy paid traffic for prominent placement on Google Search pages. You know those advertisements along the right edge? With this tool, you can see what Keywords they’re using and which ones get the clicks. How valuable is this insight to you?

If you don’t know what to do to benefit from this information, you still have a lot to learn about promoting your website online. First thing you need to know is that placing well in search is always a full-time ongoing job to develop and maintain.

  • Know your market.
  • Know your competition.
  • Know your keywords.
  • Develop your content.
  • Enhance and tune your search engine optimization.
  • Develop off-site search engine optimization campaign.

These critical activities increase the flow of relevant traffic to your website. As a consumer and business entrepreneur, you are well advised to learn the basics and how to apply them consistently for best results.

Knowing your market and competition can be discovered through a variety of means. Google’s own Keyword Tool provides insight upon high traffic / value keywords and offers up a list of alternatives you want to also consider.

With this information you become more attuned to your market, understand your niche better, get a stronger grasp on the keywords you want to position well with, and can focus upon a variety of important tactics required to leverage this knowledge: Blog and write / update your website content; Fine tune and Search Optimize your website; and develop an ongoing off-site search engine optimization campaign.


Coming soon, more on social media bookmarking.

Leveraging Existing Web Content for Optimizing Your Website

banner-painterNew content is important to a website, however, constantly striving to create new content can become burdensome, and more importantly, distract us from capitalizing upon the content we have that is working well. What do we mean?

With the content you already have published online, our strategy is to maintain awareness of our inventory. Following some basic steps, we’re then able to leverage existing assets in a more targeted fashion, and create more opportunity. Let’s review.

Keep a list of your content and assets by inventorying everything on your website, in your marketing mix, and keep this list handy for ongoing review. Content is not merely your blog post and website pages either, you will also want to list video, ebooks, audio, images, and other items you have published online.

Organize your list of content assets by category. Typically we publish content in categories on our blogs, so keeping your list organized allows you to quickly leverage, edit, republish, and assign to appropriate categories for consistency and increased ranking weight.

Who is the target audience for the content or categories we have published online? By taking some time to decipher who the target audience is (even appears to be from traffic metrics), you gain more useful insight to your content strategy, content use, and target audience which helps with focusing our content new and old.

Monitor your Analytics (web statistics) and know what posts and content has been the most popular. As well, where are most of the visitors (or best visitors) coming from when they reach your website? Knowing this information gives us a more focused and strategic opportunity when leveraging our existing assets and publishing content.

In addition, your statistics and the insights gained provide you with a key opportunity to optimize current web pages and blog posts for keywords and phrases that will strengthen this content for the target market trying to find your website via search.

Here are some methods for leveraging your content and website assets:

  • Create an ebook from existing content
  • Interview subject or industry experts
  • Link new content to older relevant content
  • Find places to link-back to your existing content
  • Invite guests to write guest posts, and link to existing content
  • Focus attention upon your strongest categories to create authority.

All these things strengthen your current assets, help to optimize your website for search engines, and set you apart as an authority.

Happy blogging!

A Blog with RSS Feed is Your Best Social Media Asset

climb-ladderMeeting with a past client over lunch recently, our conversation spent some time discussing what was happening with his new business launch and the website development he had his nephew do on his behalf. Learning that there was no blog at all included in the website delivery, I reacted strongly with disappointment and disbelief.

As a past client, in the Business Coaching side of my vocational life, the best practices for web development, website publishing, and social media marketing were discussed. Sharing the value and importance of the RSS Feed a blog offers, the updated content strategy followed, all offer enormous benefits for online advertising and internet marketing.

Young nephew suggested a blog wasn’t required at this stage. At OMC Social, it is an essential ingredient to the social media marketing strategy and business development goals for online marketing. New fresh content, the ability to share that content, and extend one’s business to an audience has to keep them interested. As a major side-benefit, Google Search loves fresh content, and the better written per Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Research practices, the influence upon website ranking is powerful.

So, my soapbox today says to get a blog on your website domain, and use it religiously, faithfully, and in engaging and creative ways to draw your website visitors in to engage you more. Additionally, benefit from the Search Engine benefits, and social media promotions that create more and more influence as you remain faithful to the best practices for online engagement and content development.

You’ll be glad you did. Your domain is your best asset for increasing website visitor traffic. The blog channel is one of the best website tools. Add one now.

Email Marketing with Aweber Service

Getting visitors to your website is a must; we are all aware of this fact. However, do you know

  • how often the same people come back to visit again?
  • how long they stay and visit?
  • whether they found what they were looking for on your site?
  • who they are?
  • how you can contact them again to build the relationship?

A very simple and effective way to gain more intelligence and insight to the visitor website traffic is to capture their name and email. While this sounds like an obvious and simple solution to online marketing, it is not one that comes easily to everyone.

How do we capture leads from website traffic?

Using an email marketing service is the most efficient method of communicating regularly with your audience. When a visitor comes to your website, you want to offer some incentive that invites them to leave their name and email with you.

This is where you would create some easy offer in the form of a digital download. It could be:

  • an ebook or report
  • a music video
  • an mp3 audio file

In order for the visitor to access this content, they would sign-up in the form you insert on your web page that provides the offer. The Aweber system has a very intuitive and guided interface to set up targeted lists so you can manage multiple offers easily.

When the visitor traffic signs up, their name and email is captured to your Aweber email marketing list, the Aweber system sends out an authentication email to ensure you’ve confirmed ‘double opt-in’ which is important today for anti-spam regulations, and follows up with a welcome email that contains the file for download, or the link to the file for download.

Pretty easy, right? Setting things up the first time can take a little time, but once you’ve done one, you start to get the hang of it and will find this tool invaluable in increasing your communication effectiveness with an audience that would otherwise remain invisible to you.

Email marketing remains the most effective tool for increasing traffic to your website and increasing your websites longevity and viability.

5 Ways to Generate Leads Online

Ideas for capturing new leads and converting prospects into customers

2heads-better1As an expert in your field, you’ve got a ton of really important information in your head. But you’ve got to get it out of your head and into some useful format for lead generation. Information is the heart and soul of marketing, so you’ve got to have some idea about the products you want to develop as part of your overall strategy. Let’s talk about the top five.

1. White Papers

“White paper” is the corporate, fancy-pants term for an online article. A white paper usually ranges from two to three pages and stands alone as an item customers or prospects can download. White papers work great as a lead generation tool when you ask prospects to provide their email address in exchange for your valuable””yet free””information.

2. Free Reports

A free report is like a white paper, just a bit bigger. From a lead generation standpoint, it holds more value than a white paper and is usually several pages long. Free reports are great products to use as an add-on to online purchases. “Buy Product X and receive three Free Reports!” You can also use them like white papers and offer them as free downloads in exchange for contact information.

3. E-Books

E-books are the killer product that can create a lead generation bonanza! Like a real book, an e-book is going to be long…at least 50 pages. The fact that it’s a real book makes the perceived value huge. If the copy inviting prospects to download your e-book is well-written and compelling, you can generate several thousand new leads from this one lead generation tool alone.

4. Audio Reports

An audio report helps prospects get a feel for what you and your company are all about. It’s a way for prospects to talk to you about doing business without really taking to you. Using audio reports as part of your campaign can boost brand loyalty and help you prospects commit to a sale. If you are well known in your industry – or if you can hire someone who is – you have the power to generate a LOT of leads using audio reports.

5. Webinars

No joke. Webinars can drive an endless stream of customers to your business. Like audio reports, they give customers a feed for your company. But webinars go way beyond teaser information. The power-punch of the webinar is that it lets you cover the entire sales pitch AND close the deal. Another bonus is that webinars can be recorded. That lets you leverage your time by making the pitch once and then playing the presentation again and again for new groups of prospects. Talk about a time saver!

How Does It Work?

Here’s the way it works, in a nutshell.

Develop information products.

Make the available on your site in exchange for contact information.
Send out an announcement to your email list that also creates a sense of urgency.

  • Put tools in place to track downloads and capture new leads.
  • Follow-up with leads to convert them into customers.
  • Bingo! You’ve got your very own lead-generation machine!

Engage Your Website Visitor Audience

we-are-worldWhat I’m about to say usually comes as a big surprise to many folks.

Your Website is Not About You, your website is about connecting to a site visitor, and ensuring they come back and you have an opportunity to build a relationship with them. When you create your website, and add to the website, your thoughts want to be focused upon “What would interest a total stranger to sit here on my web page and surf my website for five minutes?” This exercise, done each time you are preparing to update or change site content, ensures you begin to drill down more and more with your contributions. With the introduction of social media, the use of video, and how blogging and email marketing all tie together, there is a tremendous marketing mix available and at your disposal. As social media was introduced, email marketing slowed a little as everyone jumped on the social media bandwagon. And yet, email marketing, updates for clients quarterly, and other informative tidbit emails have always remained the number one traffic generator for a website.

How to Get People On Your Email List

The basic home page, no blog, embedding a YouTube video, and a newsletter sign-up box, you’ve got a bare bones beginning. Of course, once you do have a fully functioning website, this old home page then gets customized and updated, and can now be used as a squeeze page. A squeeze page is simply a page you direct people to with links out on the web, and on this page you are offering them an incentive to give you their email address. Always be clear about the offer, make it something that has value, and be clear about what you are collecting their information for, and that you don’t sell their contact information. The other important way to add people to your email list, requires some of the traditional approach. Personal, in-your-face networking. Exchange business cards, meet people, exchange email communications as you follow-up with new people you’ve met, and ask if they’d mind receiving updates periodically. Don’t jump on it right away, necessarily. Listen, develop rapport and relationship, and either in conversation, or after a period of time, (you’ll know when) you can extend an invitation. Quite often, if they engage in conversation with me first, they go onto the list automatically and are informed, with thanks, for sharing their interest, and that I’ve included them in our updates. There is always more to this subject. These basics will hold you good stead to get you going. Post your comments, and your questions.

Understanding Google Keyword Tool Research

Research Your Market Online

Google Adwords is an important service for many in business looking to generate leads online. It requires a level of expertise to research and create the best advertising results, and to ensure you are drawing the right BUYERS to your website. It is NOT my recommendation for anyone getting started online to buy traffic this way unless you already have this expertise. Too often, the novice spends money for clicks that yield zero to low results.

What Google Adwords does offer that is of extremely high value is a Keyword Research Tool. Using this tool, you will discover the monthly search volumes for keywords both globally, and locally. Be sure to make note of your local market search volume as much as you take note of the global search volume.

Along with this, you can also investigate more deeply with Insights for Search which is found by clicking the magnifying-glass icon in the Keyword results list.

From the new page, Insights for Search, you can hone your research based upon the various search terms you are exploring for your market. You can zero in on geographic locations, adjust time ranges and see trends, and explore various categories to gain a much more accurate picture. When increasing the time-range, an option to see Google’s Forecast for the search term is also available.

There is much more available through the Insights than just these few tips, so explore a little, discover, and learn.

Going back to the Keyword Tool and the list of results with search volumes, you will also find how stacked the deck is against you, or in your favour. This doesn’t mean throw in the towel if the competition is high and the keyword search volume is low: It simply means it is time to think outside the box.

When the keyword tool is used, it not only returns results directly matching your search criteria, it also returns many relevant, and potentially relevant keywords. This allows you to find that sweet spot.

The estimated Avg. CPC column tells you how much the bidders are paying for clicks from Google Adwords traffic on each search term. Where it shows a higher dollar value, it stands to reason that the buyers of that traffic are experiencing positive results that justify the expense; although this is not always the case.

Using the Keyword Research to Buy the Domain Name

Once you’ve completed your research with Google Adword Keyword Tool and identified a number of potentially viable keywords, you are ready to buy a domain name.

A versatile and favourite tool used to find a well-chosen domain name is found at DomainsBot.com.

Entering the keyword(s) as separate words, this handy service includes a tool on the next screen containing the domain name availability results. Located at the right column, called LiveBot, the semantic dictionary allows the user to filter, add, and play with the variations. This assistance is invaluable in an ever competitive space where domain names are desired and already purchased and owned by someone else.

Using the synonym selector, you will be able to massage the search criteria until you successfully find the best matching combination that fully supports the keyword research you’ve already done.

Many people getting online for the first time will have traditionally gone to a web designer first. With a marketing type brochure concept in mind, they hand over their content for the web-pages, ask for the domain name to represent their brand or company name, and the designer buys the domain name on their behalf and hosts their website on their own server, and charging you for each item including hosting.

I strongly advise against this approach, and now that your research is completed, and domain name chosen, you are ready to buy your own domain name yourself. Buying it yourself ensures it is registered properly to your name as the owner, and ensures you always remain in control with the management and hosting of your website.

Best practices in today’s fast changing online world of web implementation requires a website that can quickly and easily launch additional web pages for the purposes of marketing. Simple design, focused upon the evolution and development of a content strategy are critical to:

  1. Attract website traffic
  2. Turn visitors into leads using lead capture
  3. Convert leads to sales

To do this requires the right elements and tools, along with the strategy and processes to create the right mix of marketing elements quickly and easily. If you’re not able to post to your blog quickly and easily, and also link a Call to Action to a new Landing Page created in as little as 15 minutes to capture leads, you’re website marketing will not be effective.

Email Marketing: Tips for Improving Your Stats

emails-marketing-2Tips For Improving Your Stats

Improving your response rate, lead conversion, and sales via email marketing is very important, otherwise there would be no effort or emphasis upon this valuable email marketing activity. To help improve email marketing performance, here are some useful tips you can employ.
  • Would you believe? Go ahead and be plain, looking a little boring.
  • For the subject line of the email, don’t buy into the habit of selling; Tell them what is inside the email.
  • Getting past spam filters is integral to effective email marketing. People are avid at filtering out spam, and so are email inbox systems. Avoid using keywords or phrases that are known to be spammy, and never use CAPS. A quick visit to your own Spam folder in your email can educate you enormously.
  • Old lists often have many invalid addresses, hard bounces, and indicate a need to implement a control system to keep your email list up-to-date and accurate. There are many people who will change their email accounts every few months.
  • Keep in regular contact, at least once per quarter, so you keep your email list as up-to-date as possible. As well, this encourages maintaining the relationship with your email marketing list customers/audience.
  • A soft bounce typically indicates an email address is temporarily unavailable. It could be someone on vacation, or a full inbox. Keep these and try them again at a later date.
  • A hard bounce is a failed email delivery. Often it is a non-existent email account, or an incorrectly typed email address entered when someone became a subscriber. It’s also possible that it is a spam filter rejecting the email.
  • When email recipients receive an email and they click the “This is spam” button it creates an abuse record. This will happen when someone in your audience doesn’t remember you. Ensure you have your From and Subject complete with your company name so they will recognize you.