Tag Archives: business

Consider the Following Recommendations When Designing a Mobile-Friendly Website

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

Before we get into what defines a mobile-friendly website, let’s first discuss why this is even relevant.  About a year ago, Google released its algorithm known as Mobileggedon.  In essence, this algorithm penalizes websites that are not “mobile-friendly” by decreasing that website’s ranking in mobile search results.

So what may have been the catalyst to releasing Mobileggedon?   Since 2014, mobile devices have been the primary devices utilized to access the internet.   Desktop is still important, but it is no longer considered first-line.  Therefore, Google’s Mobileggedon algorithm is like a “tough love” approach in encouraging businesses to always design their websites with mobile devices in mind.

When developing a mobile-friendly website/webpage, consider the following recommendations:

1) Do NOT design a separate mobile website from your desktop version because it is redundant!

Think about it.Why would you create two different websites (mobile & desktop versions) that contain the same content?Google already penalizes websites for duplicate content.So why would you allow your website to be penalized for duplicate websites?

2) Use Responsive Web Design (RWD)

According to Wikipedia, RWD is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

From a technical standpoint, RWD employs use of flexible layouts, flexible images, and cascading style sheet media queries. This allows a web page to be able to detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation; and change the layout accordingly (think auto-adjusting to fit your mobile device’s screen).

3) Always include a viewport meta tag

The viewport is a virtual area used by the browser-rendering engine to determine how content is scaled and sized.   The viewport meta tag tells your browser that the web page needs to fit the screen.

Typically, when loading full-sized web pages, mobile browsers display the entire page at reduced magnification.When a website does not make use of a viewport meta tag, users may have to double-tap or pinch the screen to adjust the web display.The below illustration shows a typical web page layout displayed on a mobile screen:

In the above example, users typically must rotate their mobile screens, pinch to magnify, etc so that the content can be seen.

Applying a viewport is critical in creating web pages that are mobile-friendly.

The following shows a sample screen layout without a viewport. The initially loaded page is zoomed out much too far to be legible, while zooming in makes content extending off the right edge of the screen difficult to access:

This reflects the browser's default assumption that content should extend 980 pixels wide. Mobile browsers must make that assumption in order to render pages that are not optimized for display on mobile screens.

Finally, here’s the above screen layout after applying the viewport:

There are many different configurations that you can specify your viewport to control.  To explain the technical details any further would be beyond the scope of this article.The idea here is to understand the concept (and importance) of applying viewport meta tags to your webpage.

4) Font sizes and button size matter

Ideal font size is 14px.When creating labels or forms, consider reducing the font to at least 12px.  Same concept applies for buttons.   For optimal viewing, consider creating button size dimensions of at least 44px by 44px.

5)Use high-resolution images

According to Wikipedia, image resolution is the detail an image holds and can be applied to describe digital images, film images, and other types of images. Essentially, a higher resolution means more image detail.

Having extremely high-resolution images will prevent pixilated or even blurry images when viewed on a retina-quality screen.

6) Remove the default zoom

Using auto-zoom may interfere with a web page’s layout elements, especially for images and navigation content. They may appear small or too large in your layout.

The solution here is to make use of viewport meta tags.Again, to describe the technical details of this process in any more detail would be beyond the scope of this article.

7) Use YouTube videos on your site

Because YouTube already utilizes responsive web design (RWD) coding, any risk of difficulties in viewing videos on a mobile device are theoretically eliminated.

8) Don’t constrain your user’s mobile experience

Always include a “go to full website” or “view desktop version” option at the bottom of your site. This will give your website visitors the ability to choose how they want to view your website’s content.

9) Never stop testing

Even after your responsive website is complete, the testing never ends.Be sure to test your webpage on various mobile devices: Apple, Android, Windows, etc.Leave no stone unturned including buttons, layout, font, displays, etc.

Even more important is to allow someone who fits your target [demographic] user.Consider including someone who does not have an extensive technical background especially if this person comprises your primary demographic of potential users/visitors of your website.

Did I miss anything?  Your comments are always welcomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Productively Create & Optimize Your Professional Network

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

According to Wikipedia, a professional network service (also known as a  professional network) is a type of social network service that is focused solely on interactions and relationships of a business nature rather than including personal, non-business interactions.

The following are suggestions for creating a more productive, professional network:

1. Utilize a fresh pair of eyes:

When working on a project, consider finding someone from a department/discipline, etc. to take a look.   Having the objective opinion from someone outside your area of expertise may be just what’s needed in order to uncover issues that may have otherwise gone overlooked. 

If the project involves a product to be employed by a certain demographic, then it would probably be a great idea to make sure that you’ve acquired the objective opinions of individuals from that group, especially if you (the project manager) don’t adequately represent that demographic).

2.  Be open to working on projects (& working with people) outside your realm of expertise (or department):

Volunteering to assist others from other departments, sectors, etc will yield an opportunity to better understand the perspectives of others who are not within your area of expertise or department.  This will not only provide a forum for additional professional engagement outside your usual professional network, but also allow for a non-biased opinion on a particular issue within the project.

3.  Consider planning an informal gathering outside the workplace:

For example, you could invite a colleague for coffee or brunch, explaining your interest in projects they may have done in the past or are currently working on.  Since this is an informal meeting/gathering, this would also be a great time to determine any common interests outside the workplace. 

The key here is finding the balance between professional and personal matters during the interaction.  It would also probably be best to limit any informal gatherings to daytime hours.

Establishing rapport with specific objectives in mind such as learning more about the company and discussing commonalities outside the workplace will likely make it even easier to eventually work on a project with that person or to simply learn more about opportunities for growth within the company.

4.  Join a professional organization that’s reflective of your industry

This strategy is beneficial in several ways including extending your professional sphere of influence and establishing rapport with other likeminded individuals (professionally and/or personally).  Essentially, it is one of the easiest ways to network while looking for opportunities to advance your career.

In my industry of healthcare, I am a member of several professional societies including the National Medical Association, Medical Society of Georgia, and the American Board of Internal Medicine, to name a few.

5.  Try to make yourself available to assist others when asked:

Obviously, this is easier said than done and there can be a fine line between feeling needed and feeling abused.  With that said, this is still a great way to further establish rapport with colleagues in and outside your department or professional background.   It is a great way to show that you are reliable but be sure to not overextend yourself.  Do what feels comfortable and reasonable.

Your comments are always welcomed!  Did I miss anything?  Please feel free to share.

Why Work Inbound Marketing?

Why Work Inbound Marketing?

Different teams are going to have different solutions for who does what when it comes to inbound marketing. At a smaller company, inbound marketing strategy may fall entirely to one person to create and execute. A larger team may have more specialized positions in content, social, brand, etc. or really any combination of the above tasks among any number of people, depending on the company’s needs an the team’s strengths.

So where does SEO fit in to all of this? Is search engine optimization as we know it being absorbed into other marketers’ jobs?

Rather than being threatened by other disciplines’ encroaching on our territory, or overwhelmed by the volume of tasks that go into a robust inbound marketing strategy, modern SEOs should be embracing the rise of inbound as a holistic approach since it allows us to do better marketing. The days of being handed a blog post and told to add keywords to it are coming to an end, and that’s a good thing!

What happens when a company has a lot of employees with SEO knowledge, but no SEO? I learned what that looked like when I started at SEOmoz. Obviously, lots of folks at SEOmoz understand SEO strategy and why it’s important, but it had been several months since an official SEO had worked at the company.

The result? A lot of elements that were important to SEO had fallen through the cracks or been back-burnered. Content producers knew that keywords were important, but didn’t know which ones to be using and where. New features had been added to the website in ways that were great for users, but created unnecessary headaches for search engines. Even though a lot of people on the marketing team understood the basic tenets of SEO, it was nobody’s job to make sure SEO was taken into account; they all had their own jobs to do. It’s one thing to know that SEO is important – it’s another to know what to pay attention to and look for, especially if your core competency is in another field.

The SEO as Inbound Marketer

Even at a company whose internal education around SEO is top-notch, it’s still vital to have someone to be a steward of the site’s online presence and search performance. SEOs need to take a “the buck stops here” attitude toward ensuring
that our designers, content creators, social media managers, PR representatives and the like are working together on a search-engine-friendly strategy that encompasses all of their efforts.

 

An SEO should be continually helping a larger inbound marketing team do better marketing in the following ways:

  • Analyzing keyword data and trends, and tracking traffic and links per content piece, to help the content manager create compelling, keyword-rich, linkworthy content.
  • Working with the dev team to keep the site fast, crawlable, error-free and trackable.
  • Building relationships with influencers in the space, and leveraging those relationships for links and shares.
  • Syncing with the Director of Marketing and PR contacts to enact a solid, consistent brand strategy, then making sure it’s seeded to the right places for maximum authority and impact.
  • Diving into analytics to support conversion rates; sharing analytics data with business development and account management teams to aid retention of search-driven customers.
  • Collaborating with the UX and design teams to make sure a site that’s a lovely experience for users is also a useful experience for search engines.
  • Consistently evangelizing SEO internally through ongoing education, and being a staunch advocate for SEO best practices in every meeting – the buck stops with you.

By starting to view SEO as a series of collaborations with more specialized colleagues, we can build inbound marketing programs as a team effort.

From Keywords to Sessions

One thing I’ve heard Duane Forrester from Bing speak on several times recently is the search session: the idea that people aren’t using search engines to make one-and-done searches, but rather to make a series of searches over a period of time that could be anywhere from several minutes to several days, before arriving at a decision that might result in a conversion. An example might be a user who starts with “honeymoon destinations” and searches for “beach honeymoon,” “romantic beaches Hawaii” and “Maui vacation packages” before finally searching on “cheap flights to Maui.” That keyword might be the one that gets the conversion, but each search is an opportunity to build brand relationships and influence the final purchase.

Even when consumers aren’t actively searching for things, they’re still building opinions about and relationships with brands via social media – not only through the conversations they’re having, but also through the content they consume. People spend a ton of time on the internet, and most of it isn’t on Google.

A robust, marketing-team-wide inbound marketing strategy is perfectly positioned to market to this new breed of searchers. In order to really start some next-level, better-than-ever organic search marketing, SEOs need to be cognizant of the fact that organic search is just part of a larger experience. To ignore inbound marketing in favor of tunnel-vision focus on SEO means fewer opportunities to engage with customers (not to mention fewer opportunities for links, shares, and other awesome SEO benefits).

We’re all in this together. Let’s get out there and make inbound marketing better.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Content Propelled Marketing

The web has forever changed people’s buying habits. Instead of needing to rely on sales people to send them information, buyers now have Google and other search engines to research products, find competitors, and see how other people rate those products in blogs and reviews. Furthermore they are greatly influenced by individuals that have emerged as experts in particular subject areas who use social media to get their messages across.

 

This sea change in buying behavior requires vendors to re-think how they go to market, and optimize to make sure that they will get found by buyers using search engines, blogs, reviews, and social media. The term Inbound Marketing was invented by the crew at Markethive (When they were Veretekk), when they developed the techniques and technologies that are needed to get found by buyers, and to make sure that the reviews and blogs around your industry segment cover what you are doing. (Markethive provides great software tools, plus education to help you automate Inbound Marketing. The founder, Thomas Prendergast has written many great  books on these topics (dating back as far as 20 years ago) “Automated Marketing”, Customer Centricity”, Building a Better Website”, “The Power of the Social Network in Search Engines”, Conference Room Advantage”.

As further evidence of this change in buying behavior, I was recently talking to the CIO of a large pharmaceutical company, and he told me how he hates spam emails from vendors, and how he had developed a canned email response to them. I asked him to forward me a copy of that email, and have excerpted a couple of paragraphs from it that quite clearly describe the carnage:

 

“Please understand that I get dozens of these types of messages a week. I simply do not have time to read them, dig into them, follow-up on them, or reply to them. The most effective solution to this problem is for me to ignore the messages, which is what I usually do. …

 

… Finally, a small comment. As a customer, I find this type of approach to sales to be largely annoying to me and unproductive for you. We learn far more about what we want to purchase by searching the web, looking for customer references in blogs and forums, word of mouth, and by finding white papers on your site that concretely describe solutions to problems we are having.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remarkable Content is King

 

A key part of getting found is making sure you show up on the first page of a Google search. The lazy marketer’s approach to doing this is to purchase Google Adwords, and pay by the click (referred to as SEM, Search Engine Marketing). However 85% of people ignore the paid ads, so to be really effective, you will need to perfect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills.

 

SEO requires you to develop great content that your buyers will find sufficiently interesting, different or insightful, that they will want to remark on it. (The authors of Inbound Marketing refer to that as remarkable content.) When your readers remark on your content on-line, using tools like Twitter, Facebook etc., they spread the word virally to other readers and broaden your reach. These comments lead to links back to your site, which lead to ever increasing page ranking in the search engines.

 

 To be successful at this, you will need to keep the content fresh.

Traditional web sites don’t work in this regard, as they don’t change frequently enough.

 What is needed is a blog that you update regularly.

 

Your blog cannot simply be a sales pitch for your product, but needs to be about topics that your buyers care to read about. The tone could be educational; or humorous or controversial. But above all it needs to be highly engaging and relevant to them – i.e. remarkable.

 

When you post a new blog entry, you will see your site traffic surge for a few days, and then die back to a level slightly higher than before. The more you post, the faster your traffic will build. But in the end, it is the really great articles that you post that will have the most impact.

And a meritorious blog system like Markethive (actually only Markethive) produces all of the above in a simple atmosphere of massive content curation that is immediately rewarded or rejected, building amazing content is King results, or something like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have interesting content, you can use social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. to get the word out. Thus Marketing simplifies this to a level of totally simple results, but then, like EST (You remember EST Erhard Seminar Training), you need to gain experience. No lofty, descriptive words can truly do it justice. Your goal is to get other bloggers to link to you, and to have people tweet about your content.

 

An interesting thing about a marketing department that focuses on Inbound Marketing: it will place a high value on people that know how to write and develop content that draws in an audience. A silver lining to the damage that the internet has inflicted on the publishing industry is that there are plenty of very talented journalists seeking employment, and they possess the perfect skills for this job! So as an adjunct to developing your skills and expertise in creating and publishing great content, a very helpful tactic would be to get in contact with some of these talents and put them to work for you. Simple but effective.

Who Are You Really Marketing To?

 

"…25-30 year old single women with annual incomes over $75,000, who live in San Diego, who like to shop…So if we are pretending we’re a clothing store, these might be some of the questions we should ask:

Where do they shop?

What magazines do they subscribe to?

What blogs might they read?

What do they struggle with when shopping?

How do they share their shopping experience?"     

      –Derric Haynie, CEO Splash

So, I'm new to the world of marketing.  No, it's not my educational background and I am surely not "fluent."  So, when I took a few minutes to read the above article (http://hive.pe/eG) written by Derric Haynie of Splash, I was amazed that there was so much to learn with regard to marketing!  Apparently, I'd been utilzing some aspects of marketing for quite some time now and hadn't even realized it. 

Have you ever completed a profile on an online dating site?  Whether or not you were providing misleading demographic information for your profile, you were probably marketing toward a certain mate.  So you created a profile in such a way that the hope was that you would attract a certain someone who had all the characteristics that you were looking for.  Am I correct?  Well, even though this example is quite simple, you were using some aspects of marketing.  If you included photos along with your description and traits, then you (in a nutshell), were utilzing the phenomenon known as "buyer persona."

I invite you to check out Derric's blog, especially if you are like me and you are new to this world of marketing.  I thought it gave a great overview of this topic and it has forced me to think more about who my target audiences are in more detail.

I'd love to hear thoughts once you've had a chance to read Derric's article.

Concise v. Wordiness: The Debate Over “Long form” Blogs

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

As a healthcare provider, I’ve been trained to read through an exuberant amount of information in order to glean what is important.  In a medical emergency, the physician usually has minutes to sift through a patient’s medical records (both past & current) to make quick decisions about how to care for an unstable patient.

This requires having the ability to quickly scan and find the most important points about a given patient who is critically ill.  This includes quickly determining the patient’s past medical history, current medications, social situation, current labs, diagnostic radiology, and physical exam all in minutes' time.

When it comes to reading about non-emergent matters (including blogs), I would prefer the writer to be short yet concise rather than long-winded and wordy.   Understandably, it takes skill to be concise just like it takes practice to get really great at reading for comprehension. 

Before writing your article or blog, answer & write down the following questions:

  • What is the topic or main idea of the article?
  • Title: Does my title reflect the content of the blog? Does it attract the reader?
  • What is the problem or issue being addressed and/or solved?
  • Why is this problem important and why should the reader care?
  • Does the article contain examples of the issue being discussed?
  • Is there a link to a specific article of reference?
  • Is there a photo (title or body) that reflects the blog topic?
  • What is the key message/lesson/points of the article?
  • What summarizes the above points? This typically comprises the last paragraph

Sometimes, a given blog topic requires a long explanation in order to illustrate all the points but there are ways to address this issue while still being concise and authoritative on the issue or topic.  This involves breaking up your topic into smaller topics that you write about in a series of blogs.  This will prevent the reader from getting lost or missing your overall points. 

A good example of conducting a “series” of blogs is the following:

I want to write about healthcare reform but it’s a huge category with lots of different topics and issues to discuss or write about.  Rather than submit a thesis-style article about all the various issues affecting healthcare, I submit a series of blogs on the topic of healthcare reform.

In other words:

Topics in Healthcare Reform (Heading)

            Subheading 1: Making PrEP available to all who are deemed “high risk” of acquiring HIV

            Subheading  2: Access to decent, affordable healthcare           

            Subheading  3: High Prescription drug costs

            Subheading 4: Making mental healthcare a priority

In the above, you are creating a series of topics in healthcare reform.  You have created four separate blogs about a different topic in healthcare reform rather than creating one long-winded article, which many would not want to read all at once.  By providing “chunks” of different topics within a series, your reader can read about one topic at a time while not missing key points.

In summary, before you start writing a blog, remember to essentially ask yourself the “who-what-when-where-why/how” questions while making sure your title reflects the content.  Also, if you think your topic is too broad or extensive, consider writing a “series” of blogs about your topic so that the reader gets just enough information that’s concise and will entice them to read more of your work.

Google Analytics improves small business marketing

 

Google Analytics improves small business marketing

Google Analytics is a highly effective website analysis platform that allows businesses to assess how well they’re doing with their online marketing efforts. But for small business owners who aren’t all that comfortable with technology, the thought of digging into the analytics can be intimidating.

You don’t have to be an expert to glean valuable insight from Google Analytics, according to Mark Boyd, Search Engine Optimization Director at MIND Development & Design, and a SCORE blogger. By familiarizing yourself with how to pull some basic information, you can gain an understanding of how well your business website is performing. “Not only can you track results, but you can also track how you’ve gotten those results,” said Boyd.

With Google Analytics, you can track:

n Traffic volume. View your daily and monthly traffic and monitor ebbs and flows, highs and lows.

n Average time visitors spend on your website. See the pages visitors viewed while on your site and how much time they spent on them.

n Bounce rate. This reflects the number of visitors who left your website after only visiting one page. Bounce rate and average time spent on a website are closely tied. When a visitor views multiple pages, the time onsite is typically longer than if they land on one page and leave.

n Number and percentage of new and repeat visits. Knowing this can help as you build engagement with your audience. You can see what percentage of your daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly visits are new visitors versus repeat visitors.

n Traffic sources. You can see geographically where your website traffic is coming from, and if the traffic sources are organic listings, pay-per-click ads, referrals (such as from social media), etc.

n Compare current traffic to that of previous months and years. This enables you to compare performance and detect trends.

All of these can help you understand how your website engages visitors and how effective your off-site digital marketing efforts are at driving traffic to your website.

These are only the tip of the analytics iceberg. There’s much more data available, but interpreting some of it requires a higher degree of knowledge about the platform.

“My favorite part of Google Analytics is comparing current numbers to the previous year,” said Boyd. “It’s amazing how you can see the same traffic trends from year to year. That’s very helpful in planning your SEO, paid advertising and social media efforts.”

To power up your social media techniques, plan to attend the free SCORE workshop on May 10 at 6:30 pm, at the Traverse Area District Library, Woodmere branch. Seating is limited, so please pre-register at www.upnorthscore.com.

Michael McCrary is a principal at Pine River Consulting, LLC and has been providing marketing and strategy consulting to clients globally since 1990. He has been a SCORE mentor since June 2015.

Charles R Juarez Jr
Contributor 

Source: Michael McCrary: Google Analytics improves small business marketing | Local News | record-eagle.com

Entrepreneurial Skills Needed To Effectuate Positive Social Marketing Changes

There is a distinct dissonance regarding the behavior and social change espousements between people who believe that all marketing is evil and those who believe marketing has some redeeming qualities for the good. This diversity of opinion gets played out in program planning meetings, conferences, policy debates and resource allocations (such as found in RFPs and TORs). Not everyone who works to solve intractable problems needs to be a social marketer; yet, learning some basic marketing skills will be advantageous because the most important aspect of marketing today rides with the entrepreneurs who are shaping the social changes and solutions.

 

1. Entrepreneurs Learn to Listen
Entrepreneurs are constantly listening, looking for ways to maximize opportunities, leverage relationships, and connect to people. And while anyone can be a good listener, doing so as a marketer requires an analytical mind—the process is not at all passive. By being trained in the analysis of your prospective customer using focus groups, and other appropriate techniques, you’ll start to learn how to really listen to what your VIP members and investors want.

2. Entrepreneurs Learn To Make Better Decisions
Knowing how to find and interpret data about your VIP members and investors means that you’ll derive a better understanding of the problems you are facing and how to tackle them in new ways. Of course, you’ll also get in the habit of shortcutting through a lot of unnecessary paperwork and honing in on the relevant data and revelatory insights that are most important.

3. An Entrepreneur Matures In His Communication Skills
The best marketers learn how to gain perspectives into different personality types and how to apply different techniques for engaging with them, based on what their idiosyncrasies are. This could be described as learning tact.

4. An Entrepreneur Does Not Waste Time
Because everyone is on a shoe-string budget, you have to be particularly perceptive concerning the prioritization of resources which is fundamental for small and large organizations and independent operators. Being creative about who ultimately falls into your sales funnel and concentrate on, the ways you reach them, and how to economize while still being effective will help you turn into an efficiency machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. An Entrepreneur Must Be Aware Of The World Situation

Marketers have to be aware of what’s going on in the world culture. This means they read, attend social gatherings, try to figure out what kind of trends are making waves, and generally pay attention to the zeitgeist. No matter what industry you operate in, one must learn to be particularly sensitive to their milieu, which is very advantageous in results shown. One must become accustomed to not focusing on the details of the situation one is found in but train oneself to focus on the bigger picture. This will ultimately payoff by enabling more productive work ethics and help one do better in their chosen workspace. As a byproduct of this kind of focusing one will probably end up having a keener interest in a lot that’s going on around you, which makes one a person who is more interesting for others to be around.

Leading In Social Change

If the foregoing matters are carefully worked through then the foundation is laid for the entrepreneur to be perceived as the leader who can be emulated. This is the most effective way to become an influence for the good in the role of societal movers and shakers. This kind of functioning must be consistent and without hypocrisy in order to acquire the standing to bring positive changes to the way business is carried out. This is the challenge for the entrepreneur, but the dividends are huge.

OK, Healthcare Entrepreneurs…Your Turn.  Let’s Resuscitate Your Professional Portfolio

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

In this era of inbound marketing, we are constantly discussing the importance of making sure that the traits and characteristics that are associated with our personal lives are congruent with those that define our professional lives.   Many would refer to this as our “brand,” or that ‘intersection’ of values, traits, & characteristics that are prevalent in both our personal and professional worlds.  

For most, it should be easy to determine another person’s character within a specific period of time of interacting with them.  Having this information combined with a decent understanding of that person’s professional background, would serve as a good starting point for understanding that individual’s brand.

As healthcare professionals, many of us are guilty of what many may call outbound marketing strategies.  When we are applying for jobs or looking to advance our careers, we tend to update our CVs and then jump right into the “applying process” but then we forget to do all the other important things that matter.  These include having a completed LinkedIn profile with updated professional photo and publishing articles (or blogs) that further explain who we are & what we do. 

More specifically, we should consider:

*Establishing ourselves with our potential customer base (i.e., patients, hospitals/healthcare facilities, etc) by making sure we can be easily found online

*Making sure our online professional profiles (think LinkedIn) are congruent with who we are and what our mission (or company’s mission may be (i.e., branding).

*Making sure we have a current, professional photograph that clearly shows our face

*Ensuring that our certifications/credentials are highlighted and current

* Publishing blogs (articles) about our product(s) and how it relates to our potential customer base (i.e., areas of healthcare we practice, our target patient population, what services we offer, etc)

In summary, we must take the time to make ourselves more visible.  Gone are the days when patients and healthcare facilities would solely depend on our state’s medical board or sites like Healthgrades to conduct their due diligence.

They want to be able to do a quick Google search and find us along with our current professional photo, our certifications/qualifications, areas of practice, beliefs, etc so that they can make better choices as informed consumers and stakeholders in healthcare. 

Remember that healthcare, like many other sectors, is rapidly changing and will continue to become more like a “big business.”  This means familiarizing ourselves with inbound marketing strategies while ensuring that our online professional portfolio remains current.

Ultimately, the assumption is that we will build a loyal customer base (i.e., patients/healthcare facility/etc) and if our product (or services) is really great, then they will keep coming back for more and they will tell their friends, colleagues, etc about it. 

Because we took the time to establish credibility and online authority through implementation of the above, we will have accomplished two things:  

  1. positive word-of-mouth references from former patients/employers/healthcare facilities, etc (more subjective); and
  2.  a legitimate online “place” for those who do not yet know who we are (or our business) to easily find us to verify the information (more objective).

 

 

How Being Genuine Can Strengthen You, Your Business, and Your Company

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH, Contributor, MarketHive

Recently, I came across an article written by Mamta Chhikara (http://hive.pe/eC), which goes on to list and describe specific qualities that a genuine person possesses:

*They don’t seek attention = Modest

*They’re not concerned with being liked = Confident and Authentic

*They can tell when others are full of it = Intuitive (a good judge of character)

*They are comfortable in their own skin = Self-assured and confident

*They do what they say and say what they mean = Integrity

*They don’t need a lot of stuff = Simplicity

*They’re not thin-skinned = Easy-going

*They’re not overly modest or boastful = Humble

*They’re consistent = Dependable

*They practice what they preach = Genuine, Honest

Always keep these traits in mind not only as business but also as an individual.   As entrepreneurs seeking to gain trust, authority, and a growing customer base, we should always be cognizant of the foundation of inbound marketing, which involves:

*Performing due diligence for you and your company

*Performing due diligence for your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

*Engaging with your targeted audience/clients/potential customers

During the process of engagement, we should always be aware of the above traits of genuineness.  Your future colleagues and customers will be looking for these traits and will likely have the following thoughts/concerns:

*They want to know if you are confident in your company and/or product.

*They will likely be more concerned about the content/effectiveness of your product and/or character more than shiny “bells and whistles.”

*You should be able to eliminate illegitimate leads or potential colleagues within minutes of engaging

*Your customers and your colleagues want to see that not only do you use the product in question, but also that you use the product well and are able to demonstrate the product’s effectiveness to your colleagues and potential customers

*Most of us can eventually “smell” an inferior product or individual within a short period of time.  A usual warning sign is too many “bells and whistles.”  Simplicity is the name of the game.  If it’s too complicated or if it feels like the product (or individual) is too flashy, then it may be perceived as ineffective or disingenuous.

*Your customers and colleagues want to know that they can reach you during tough times or emergent situations.  Are you easily accessible via multiple modalities of communication (i.e., phone, text, email, Skype, etc)?

Now, I am not one who typically needs validation in anything that pertains to who I am as a person but I felt markedly refreshed after reading this article.  Am I a genuine person?  Hell yes!  

Depending upon where you are or whom you are conversing with, we may describe a genuine person as either "the real deal" or "being real."  If you are a fan of Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central, then you are already familiar with his catch phrase "Keep It 100."  It's the same concept and I believe being genuine is parallel with having integrity as well as the other above traits.  

Not only does a genuine & authentic person display his authentic self at all times (obviously with some adjustment for discretionary purposes), but he also "says what he does and does what he says."  He is honest about who he is and his actions reflect his character regardless of the setting.