At TRBO, we’re big on SEO (search engine optimization). If we weren’t then we wouldn’t be so active with our blogging to help with our own SEO, just like we do for our clients.
However, you never want to solely rely on one tactic to generate leads, especially when that tactic is SEO.
Keep in mind that we’re referring to SEO as a tactic in this article, like email marketing, Google Ads, Facebook ads, and others. However, SEO involves strategy to be successful, but it’s not a strategy in and of itself.
In short, the tactic is the WHAT and the strategy is the WHY/HOW. You can strengthen SEO as a tactic by having the best SEO strategy, but you still cannot overcome the limitations of it being a single tactic, as we’ll touch on below…
Here are Seven Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Rely on SEO Alone for Lead Generation…
1) SEO is a long play: If you’ve ever built a business – and a new website – from scratch and paid any attention to SEO, you know that if you’re in a competitive market it takes time to build organic search rankings. In some cases, it can take years!
Already have top rankings in your metro? That’s great, but be aware of the fact that…
2) SEO has volatility: Your organic rankings could suddenly change overnight without warning. I don’t necessarily mean through a penalty, although that could happen (even if you follow all the rules). I just mean a drop from #1 to #4, a drop from #3 to #7, or a drop from #5 to #11. It happens.
You just have to come to terms with the fact that not only will you not be #1 for every term, even if your #1 for many terms that won’t last forever. Why?…
3) There’s ambiguity in algorithm changes: Sometimes there’s no explaining why you dropped from #1 to #4. You weren’t penalized, you grew your reviews, strengthened your social signals, generated more engagement on your blogs than any month, increased your backlinks, and maybe even sped up your website load time. Then you compare your website to the #1 position and you’re “beating them” in all the aforementioned categories and metrics.
What gives?! We don’t know! We only have a strong sense of many of the ranking factors, but not any certainty of all of them, nor do we know the exact influence each direct ranking factor has. Often times you’ll compare your website to another, cross-referencing the ranking factors and there’s no explanation as to why they’re outranking you. They might even have a poor reputation among your peers.
This scenario is extremely frustrating, but it happens all the time.
4) SEO is not scalable: You’ll never be #1 organically for every term; we’ve already established that. However, let’s just say for the sake of argument that you are and that there’s no volatility, no algorithm changes, and everything is “perfect.” You’re still limited to the volume of searches on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. You impressions and clicks are capped and there’s nothing you can do about that…
Unless you branch out into other networks and mediums. Here’s a great video from Chris Moore, our CMO, that breaks down SEO and organic traffic, highlighting why SEO is not scalable…
5) Google ads are cheap and effective: As of writing this blog, our clients’ average cost-per-click (CPC) over the past 30 days, for both surgical and non-surgical procedures was only $1.61.
To put that into perspective, for $161 you can drive 100 visitors. You might say, “well 100 visitors isn’t that much, I get 10,000/month!” Ok, for $1,610 you can generate 1,000 visitors, a 10% increase in your traffic. That’s solid.
What matters more than this hypothetical scenario is what happens with this increase in traffic to your website. In other words, what’s your conversion rate? Maybe it’s 3%. Imagine if, in this example, you spent about $1,600 to drive 1,000 visitors and 3% converted into leads. That’s 30 new leads!
For this example, we’ll be conservative and say that only 30% of those leads converted into new patients. That’s 9 new patients. If you’re a med spa, maybe their average value is only $500, but even then, you’ve still generated $4,500 on a $1,600 investment. That’s just the front-end transaction; it doesn’t factor in where the real ROI is made… on the backend (after you’ve established a relationship with this new patient and get them coming back).
Take this same scenario for a plastic surgeon. Perhaps your surgical procedures generate, on average, $7,000 per new patient. In the above example, you’ve generated 9 new patients worth $63,000. From a $1,600 investment that’s over $61,000 in gross profit!
6) Facebook/Instagram ads are even cheaper: you can run another math experiment with Facebook ads, and you’ll see that there’s also a huge opportunity. One of the advantages of Facebook ads is that they’re often most cost-effective than Google ads. The trade-off is that they produce lower intent leads so you might convert fewer leads to new patients. Still, if you have a strong funnel to generate qualified leads, a strong call to action, and great follow-up you can generate massive ROI with Facebook ads.
For a more detailed breakdown of Facebook vs. Google ads click here.
7) Email marketing is still the cheapest way to reach a massive audience: while the cost-per-click of Facebook/Instagram ads and Google ads is relatively cheap, at the moment, nothing beats free, which is why email marketing reigns supreme.
You might say, “well, I have huge amounts of followers and likes on my social media and I don’t have to pay for them to see my posts.” My response is: how many of those followers or likes actually see your posts in their news feed? Very few.
Email marketing may be looked down upon in favor of up-and-coming communication such as social media messaging and text messaging, but it’s still relevant. Also, you own that email list, assuming everyone opted-in willingly. While unlikely, your followers and likes on 3rd party platforms could disappear since you do not have control over that platform. In other words, you don’t own these followers or likes. This is the vulnerability I alluded to at the beginning of this article.
Outside of these six, I think it’s fair to say that there’s also still a place for more traditional advertising tactics, such as TV, radio, and print, for the right price. It all comes down to your goals.
One of the benefits of investing in PR or traditional advertising is brand exposure. If effective, you can drive a ton of branded searches to your website. If these visitors have a good experience with your website and convert into new patients then that can indirectly benefit your SEO because it can influence direct ranking signals.
Search Engine Land, one of the leading SEO and digital marketing blogs online, recently posted an article that discussed in more detail how brand signals can influence SEO.
SEO is Valuable, but it Technically Isn’t a Lead Gen Tactic…
Don’t get me wrong, your practice should be actively working to improve its SEO (or you should work with an agency to help you here). However, if we begin with the end (goal) in mind, you don’t want to be #1, you want more new patients. Or, simply put, you want more revenue.
Let’s reverse engineer this goal. To generate more revenue, you can either tap into existing patients or generate new patients. If you focus on the latter, you need more traffic to your website, and if you’re not paying for this traffic it needs to come organically. Therefore, you focus on SEO.
However, even if you’re successful in generating top-ranking and driving more traffic, you need to have a website that can convert this traffic into leads, and then you need to make sure you have the follow-up plan to ensure you can convert these leads. All these steps are crucial to achieving your goal of increasing revenue.
Sometimes we get too focused on organic rankings but neglect the rest of the marketing and sales funnels. That’s a big mistake.
SEO is just one piece of the puzzle, and with a strong strategy, you can influence the visibility and even drive clicks, but your ability to generate leads from these clicks is dependent on your on-site calls to action, not your SEO. Simply put, your SEO efforts are a means to an end, with the end being a lead.
We’re Not Just Singling Out SEO…
Any practice that is solely focused on a single marketing or advertising channel, even if they’re doing well, is vulnerable. You may be crushing it right now with your Instagram post engagement, your word-of-mouth referrals, or your Google ads, but you’re vulnerable because you’re not diversified. You’re also missing out on other opportunities to generate more leads.
We’ve run into issues with both Google Ads and Facebook Ads in the past year where our ads were unexpectedly disapproved. We followed every single best practice and then…boom! Ads go down.
With Google Ads, this happened when the search engine giant suddenly, without any notice decided that a site with any mention of “PRP” would have their ads all disapproved, no questions asked. It doesn’t matter if you’re running ads for tattoo removal, breast augmentation, or CoolSculpting. If you had PRP in the source code your ads were flagged and you’re scrambling to figure out why and how to fix that. That’s a nightmare situation we dealt with earlier this year.
With Facebook Ads, we have similar nightmare scenarios but some of them were worse because Facebook doesn’t have the support that Google does so there’s a lot more guessing needed.
Bottom line: every aesthetic practice needs multiple marketing funnels working in tandem to generate new leads. Without diversity, you’re at risk when that nightmare situation arises, and it will if you play the game long enough.
Assuming you have the team in place to help weather these nightmare scenarios and you have a strong multi-channel lead generation funnel in place, you still need a strong sales funnel to help close these leads and generate ROI.
Do You Run a Plastic Surgery, Med Spa, Dermatology, or other Aesthetic Practice? TRBO Can Help with Your Lead Generation Game Plan…
If you would like to speak to one of our aesthetic marketing and paid advertisement specialists here at TRBO ADvance, then drop us a note here. You can also reach TRBO directly at 877-673-7096 x2.