Client: Local Retail Health Services Business
CASE STUDY: The following article is an actual case study about my client’s website traffic. The client is a local health services provider in Tennessee. They offer ‘alternative’ health treatments such as nutrition therapy and massage therapy.
PROBLEM: The company’s website was not reaching their target audience. They needed to know what to do to optimize the site, and to rank higher in search, so that their target audience would find them.
SOLUTION:: As a business consultant, I often analyze a client’s current marketing and promotion tactics, then make suggestions for improvement, both online and offline. They spent about 3 months implementing most of these suggestions.
RESULTS: Once implemented, these recommendations increased my client’s website traffic by 74% over the next 30 days. After 90 days, their website traffic tripled, and they were getting new customers calling after they saw the website. That was a new phenomena for this business, and it has not stopped since. This article is the summary of my recommendations.
I suggest that you read this article with an eye for applying these tactics to your own local business promotion.
Marketing and Promotion Tactics – Recommendations
How to Use Customer Testimonials
Testimonials are one of the most powerful word-of-mouth credibility builders in marketing. To give you some help getting started with testimonials, I have drafted the following paragraph as an example of a powerful testimonial. You should have a customer write a similar paragraph, using their own words and sentiments. Use your customers’ names, only with written permission:
“Caring, knowledgeable, nurturing and genuinely motivated to help others heal. The wonderful souls at Local Retail Health Services Center are changing lives with the most effective integrated modalities in Nashville. They customized a healing protocol for me with their Wellness and Detoxification Protocols. The results were truly amazing, and the quality of my days continues to improve.”
– Customer name or initials
Add Your Testimonials to Google Plus
When you receive testimonials – with a signed release – you should add them to your Google Plus page. You can use it in full or use snippets. Hopefully, if other clients see that one customer has used their full name, they may follow suit and allow you to use their full name, too.
It may be helpful to ask for a testimonial at the time of a regular progress check-in, when you can hand them a one-page request, with room for them to write something and give you permission to use this at your sole discretion.
Then edit down and add to your website, Facebook, etc.
>> Do you have a Facebook Page? I looked, but didn’t find one. If not, I recommend starting one! It’s easy to share content on it – you can share your blog posts there with a share button – in one click … see below for details.
How to Get Found Online – GREAT CONTENT!
Getting found online depends upon posting a lot of content – that contains strategically chosen keywords. Post to many different ‘platforms’ on the internet, including:
- Press release sites
- Article sites
- Optimize for local search
- Add Facebook Page
- Add YouTube channel
- Add a Pinterest account
Do not try to add ALL social networking and social media accounts. Use only those that match your target audience and to which you have time to keep current – by adding interesting, valuable content.
On-Page SEO for Increasing Website and BLOG Traffic
YourWebsite.com has excellent content, and the home page is filled with terms that are potential keywords. Bravo!
I recommend three basic and very important tactics to attract more traffic to the website – SEO:
- Meta content
- Keyword use
- Make content ‘shareable’
Meta Content is the behind-the-scenes source code that aids search engines in determining what the website is about. Currently, two ‘Meta Elements’ are important:
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
Together, these “Meta Elements” are very important because they help the website show up on the search engine results page (SERP). Your web designer should make the changes suggested below.
IMPORTANT: Each page of your website should have different Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions that align with the content on that page. When you customize the Meta data for each page, you give search engines multiple ways to recognize different content on your site and grab the pages that match the searchers’ needs (the keywords they enter into the search bar.)
- “Meta Title”:
The Meta Title is the TITLE that shows up on the SERP – it’s considered the most important element that entices the searcher to click on the link to the website. You need to CAREFULLY select the 65 characters (limit) that describe the website.
In your current source code, the Meta Title is: “Health Services Center” (22 characters with spaces)
In order to take advantage of additional characters available for keywords, I suggest changing it to:
Health Services Center | Integrative Health | Memphis TN
(56 characters – counting spaces) You can certainly change this if “Integrative Health” feels wrong.
The Meta Description is the CONTENT that shows up in the SERP – which also helps increase click-through rates. It is limited to a maximum of 160 characters – but try to aim for between 150 – 160 characters. The Meta Description should be concise and contain the purpose of the content on each page – and it must include your best keywords. It must also be compelling to the visitor – to entice them to click through. It takes some thought to achieve all that!
When no Meta Description is designated in the source code, search engines pull from the first 160 searchable characters on the Home page of your site. These may not be very meaningful or enticing, so you really want to craft a unique Meta Description for each page in order to include the most important keywords and the most enticing message.
In your current source code, the Meta Description is not designated. I suggest adding one:
Integrative Health. Caring, nurturing professionals offer holistic healing therapies: Light, FIR Sauna, Detox, Nutrition, Cellular Cleanse & more. Get Results.
(160 characters – counting spaces) Notice that the last two words are a promise of benefit: “Get Results” – short but very enticing!
Keyword Use in Online Content
A set of keywords should be identified –to attract your target clients – those online ‘searchers’ (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) with a problem – but they don’t know about you yet.
To find out which keywords your site currently optimizes for (Google returns your site for these keywords), go to the link below and input your URL (www.yourwebsite.com) in the bar:
Look at the words that are used the most times. These are the words that the search engines think are the most important words in your site (keywords), and for which your site will return in search. You want to expand your keyword list so that people searching for a solution to their problem will find you if they don’t know about you. (Example – someone searching for: “integrative health Memphis TN”)
In order to find excellent keywords and keyword phrases for which your Target Audiences search, use this exercise to identify a list of keywords that are most-searched:
Pretending to be one of your Target Audiences, sitting at Google’s search bar,
what words would you use in the search?
List 20 keywords and phrases – or more. Prioritize them. Use them in everything you write.
This is a visual representation of where keywords should be placed (especially in web pages & blog posts) in order to get the attention of search engines:
Use keywords in your content – website, blogs, etc.
- Titles and subtitles
- Image tags
- Website page names, if possible
Also, in the body of the content, words that are bolded, underlines and italicized are considered more important, so punch up keywords when it makes sense. Don’t use a keyword more than 6 times, or search engines suspect ‘keyword stuffing” and could penalize you for it. Use variations of your keyword because that’s important to Google.
To start, I suggest that you consider these keywords, and use the exercise above to add to or remove from this list:
- Local Retail Health Services Center
- Memphis TN
- Janice Smith (each blog post should have a footer with bio about the author)
- Integrated health
- Holistic therapies
- Lymphatic massage
- Sound Frequency Therapy
- Far Infrared Sauna
- Cellular Cleanse
- Light Therapy
- Nutritional counseling
- Hair mineral analysis
Go with your gut for keywords that clients would search for … test them by doing an actual search with them, including your city and state with the keyword, then if the results of the search turn up listings that you want to be included among, use them in writing your content on the website and in blog posts as well as updates on Facebook.
Make Content ‘Shareable’
I highly recommend that you add ‘Share buttons’ to each page on your website, and to each blog post.
All content pages can be made shareable as an important call to action strategy – with simple, free Addthis tools. With a single click, a visitor can post YOUR content on their Facebook page, for instance – and on many other social networking sites. AddThis offers analytics to help users understand how and where their content is being shared.
Another powerful social tool you can use is the simple thumbs up or “Like” box on posts. The Like Box is a social plugin that enables Facebook Page owners to attract and gain Likes from their own website or blog. This is different from ‘sharing’. I recommend adding the Like Box to each page as well.
Use a BLOG Post Footer
Each blog post should include a footer with the author’s bio and picture. And a link to the website. This builds online perceived ‘credibility’ and establishes the author as an online Subject Matter Expert (SME). Additionally, mentioning certifications and educational institutions ties these keywords to the author and the site where the posts reside. All good for Search Engine Optimization.
Google LOVES Google Plus
I highly recommend filling the Google+ profile and listing out completely, and carefully using your chosen keywords so that it will be found in search beyond just your business name. With this amount of traffic, you want to compel these viewers to click through to your website or blog. Adding full profile info, photos, and other content will accomplish this. Add relevant, interesting, sharable content regularly – at least once per week.
Additionally, according to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gurus, Google gives higher weight to search results with Google Plus listings (Ha! Imagine that – Google favors their own properties.)
Add a link to your Google Plus page on your website.
Post Your Content to Article Sites
Start by writing articles that capture the attention of your niche audience. Go back to the ideal client keywords you created earlier. The topics of your articles will come from that list – their problems, needs and interests. Articles get attention and help your sales when they:
- Use laser-targeted keywords – use them in the heading, subheads, and italicize & bold them.
- Start with attention-grabbing headlines. Do a bit of Google research on “How to create article headlines that sell”.
- Give real instructional value – insights, tips, how-to information. That’s what people search for.
- Are worthy of passing on to friends with similar interests. Make it “viral”.
- Contain links to your site and products.
- Are about 300 words in length – 450 max.
- End with a compelling call to action. Tell your visitor EXACTLY what you want them to do, “Check out the product description” – linked to it.
Since Google loves new content, articles are the perfect way to offer your ideal clients real value. Don’t scrimp on giving valuable information. Internet businesses are fast becoming proficient at it, and the quality of free information is escalating every day.
Over a short time period, write 12 meaningful articles that direct visitors to your site. Your articles should be very informative, and help the reader solve a problem, ease a pain, make money, save money, or otherwise give great insights and value. When your article entices them to learn more, they will click on the link that takes them to your landing page. Post these articles over a reasonable length of time. Don’t flood the market with them all at once (2-3 per week is OK).
How To Create Amazing Headlines That Convert
Headlines are enormously important. Like it or not, attention-grabbing headlines and effective copy online are evolving into a somewhat formulaic art from:
- Make a promise (and deliver).
- Keep it short.
- Use a keyword.
Here are some examples of great headlines. You may find them a bit cheesy, but it’s been proven time and again that THEY WORK:
- Your Must-Know Guide to ______________
- Make More Money With ________________
- 5 Steps to Reduce Your ______ Costs
- 7 Questions You Must Ask For ______________
Article Directories Still Work!
Article submission directories with “do follow” links and high PageRank
Promote your articles by submitting them to article directories. According to Wikipedia, “Article directories are a form of Search Engine Optimization where companies and professional writers submit articles based on a specific niche.” In 2014, the top six article directories, by page rank, are:
The primary goal for writing and submitting a press release is to get a link back to the website. Links to your site help increase its authority and can help your website – or a page on your site – rank better in Google for a targeted keyword phrase. Dofollow links back to your site from other sites also help pass PageRank.
Press releases are a great way to get content and links out on the internet quickly. Let people know about anything truly newsworthy. The launch of your business is newsworthy. The addition of a new product is newsworthy. Success stories with new therapies. Hitting business milestones, new business partners, and conducting events are all legitimate news for press releases.
Generally, cover who, what, when, where, and why. Write about 350-375 words and:
- Grab attention in the title (using a keyword!) with something new or catchy.
- Use a subtitle.
- Tell a great story with human interest.
- Quote someone.
- Use links for more information.
In news releases optimized for the internet, add social media features that enable readers to find it, save it, and pass it on:
- Use your keywords throughout.
- Enable comments and trackbacks (if using a service such as PRWeb.com).
- Enable sharing with ADDthis buttons.
- Include an RSS feed for folks to subscribe.
- Add a button for readers to submit it to Digg or Delicious.
- Tag it with Technorati to make it easy to find.
How to Build a Link Wheel
EHow.com’s short instructions for creating quick backlinks, the MOST important element of Google’s ranking algorithm:
DoFollow Press Release Sites:
Submit your press releases widely to free PR sites with relatively high ranking and “DoFollow” status:
One often overlooked aspect of posting comments for backlinks is the concept of ‘dofollow’ (vs. ‘nofollow’). When you post content or comments in order to gain traffic to your site, nofollow sites do not give you search engine ranking credit for the link. While links on nofollow sites DO allow visitors to click through to your site, they do NOT add to your SEO efforts to increase your standing with search engines.
So if you’re trying to increase BOTH visitor traffic AND search engine ranking, post comments on sites that dofollow. I HIGHLY recommend that you spend at least a portion of your valuable link-building time on dofollow sites. Here is an excellent ‘add-on’, How to Determine if a Website Offers Dofollow or Nofollow Links: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/nodofollow/
Optimize for local search
Note: you may have already completed some of these!
The ultimate goal is to have the best Google Places listing. For local businesses, it could mean having your business show up on the first page above some of the organic search results.
To get started, add or claim your business on Google Places. When you create your profile, be sure to fill out as much information as possible and add up to ten supplementary photos. You can even link five videos from YouTube about your business.
Also note that you can hide your address on your listing by selecting “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations.” This is a great option for home businesses that target local clients. When you select that option, you will get a check box to not show your address.
Once you have completed your profile and hit “submit”, you will need to choose a way to verify your business. Some will have the option to verify by phone immediately – others will have to wait two to three weeks for a postcard by mail to the business address.
Customer Reviews are Important!
Once your Google Places profile is live, be sure to encourage your customers to review your business. Be sure to also monitor your business reviews. You can respond to good or bad reviews as the owner. This is a great way to demonstrate your customer service skills publicly!
You can even use your responses as a way to advertise your friendliness to potential customers. And don’t worry if customers review you on other sites as many of them feed into Google Places.
The only unfortunate part of off-site reviews is that they won’t count toward the number of reviews and stars shown in Google search results.
While Google Places one of the most important places to get listed on, you have to also create profiles on other sites to build citations for local SEO. The more consistent listings you have on additional local search directories, the better your local rankings will be.
Yahoo Local should be next on your local search listings and citations quest. You can add or claim a basic listing for free which includes all the vital information: contact information, link to your website, hours, payment options, email address, products, and services
Or you can choose the enhanced listing for $9.95 per month, which allows you to add photos, coupons, a 3,000-character company description and a-150 character company tagline. You can also run a report to see the number of impressions and clicks you have received with an enhanced listing. The nice part about Yahoo Local compared to Google Places is that verification is done on Yahoo’s end and takes a couple of days to go live.
Bing Local allows you to add or claim a free listing with up to nine photos for your business. Its submission system (the Bing Business Portal) is currently in beta and not the most user-friendly compared to Google or Yahoo. Verification is done by mail and can take two to three weeks. One nice thing about Bing’s local pages is that it pulls in reviews from a variety of other local search sites, and, unlike on Google, the total number of ratings and stars from all sites are listed in Bing’s local search results.
Yelp is one of the most well-known local search directories. You can add or claim your business listing for free and add photos and lots of additional details beyond just your contact information. Business owners can respond to reviews on their page, which is a plus for demonstrating customer service skills. Yelp also offers pay-per-click advertising within their network, so you can get your business listing in front of more people
Merchant Circle is another popular local directory that allows businesses to add or claim free listings with extended descriptions, profile pictures and links to their websites. It offers free basic statistics about your listing such as what keywords drive traffic to your listing. It also shows you the number of visitors your listing has received in the last thirty days compared to an average business and the top business in your category on Merchant Circle.
Superpages allows businesses to add or claim free listings that include an extended description of their business, multiple categories, a listing of products and services, one related business image and a link to their website. You can add or claim your business listing here.
Yellow Pages allows businesses to add or claim free listings that include an extended description of their business, multiple categories and a link. You can also add additional photos for the business listing.
Source for the Local section:
Offline Promotion Recommendations
Publications – Health & Wellness
Find hard-copy publications for the health & wellness niche locally, if they are available in your community.
Events– A couple of events showcase vendors in the health & wellness niche
Search for events in your business niche – often to display at a table, or a sponsorship in the printed materials.
My Recommendation Letter to the Client
(This letter has been edited – this is a ‘generic’ format. Feel free to use this template.)
This paper is not an all-inclusive review of all marketing and promotion strategies and tactics currently used by Local Retail Health Services Center. I am impressed with the website, quality of content, and the number of citations to your content that currently show up in online search. Obviously, much thought and care has gone into promoting the business. For this, I applaud you.
The following does not mention all the great things you are already doing right. Rather, in this document, I suggest things that appear to be timely to develop – that will continue to evolve the excellent marketing and PR work in progress.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with you,
That’s it for this case study! I hope this helps you think of things to do for your own business.
Do you have any great suggestions for other readers?
Please leave them in the comments below.