Turbo will be at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery conference in New Orleans Friday, May 17th through Monday, May 20th at booth #350 – please stop by to say “hi.”
Special Offer for Event Attendees
We have some exciting news to announce at ASAPS regarding our new Consultation Generator Program, as well as, we are now giving away $20k websites.
Also, we have mastered lead generation for Botox and CoolSculpting on Facebook, and we would love to have an opportunity to show you what we can do…Stop by booth #350 to learn more!
Not Attending ASAPS in New Orleans?
If you are NOT going to the conference and you would like to discuss how Turbo can help grow your practice, we would love to talk to you. You can click this link to schedule a quick call with our team to discuss how you can upgrade your marketing.
If you run a business with a website you’ve probably been spammed by a random person highlighting how poor your SEO is. Often times, this is a “canned email” from an individual in India that’s blasted out to countless website owners.
This is typical SEO spam, with a fake name, no website, and a generic comment
Occasionally, you might see a more detailed breakdown of where you’re not ranking or the fact that you’re not ranking for a specific term. That begs the question: should you be worried? Better yet, is my SEO really that bad?
The short answer is: maybe.
However, if you’re relying on a random report from a foreign stranger to spark action with your digital marketing then you have bigger problems.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that one poor organic ranking won’t hurt your digital marketing efforts. Organic search rankings aren’t even a real KPI (key performance indicator). Collectively, rankings do matter, but only as a means to an end. Rankings need to result in more organic traffic and more organic traffic needs to result in more leads, which is your real KPI.
Keep Track of Your Analytics
If you educate your self and stay involved with your digital marketing then it’s very unlikely a spammer will ever “sneak attack” you with insights you aren’t already aware of. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when tracking your SEO efforts:
1) Follow the 4 pillars of SEO and implement processes to stay on top of these (or hire a team that can):
Technical – site speed, crawlability, indexing, broken links, mobile responsiveness, rendering, etc
Content – the strategy for consistently adding unique, well-written articles that are also well-constructed on the page and engaging, with strong calls to action
On-Site – use of title tag, meta description, urls, inter-linking, h1/h2 tags, image optimization
4) Keep track of your leads: You can also use Google Analytics and Google Data Studio to track leads. However, you’ll need a CRM or at least a dynamically-updated Google Doc that will allow you to make notes on the status of each lead. This will help you ensure all leads are promptly followed up with, and if you’re having trouble converting leads you’ll know which stage they’re getting “stuck” in.
This is a crucial “last step” in the marketing-to-sales hand-off that many practices neglect. Treat your leads like Gold; they could actually be worth more than Gold!
Treat Your Leads Like Gold
If you’re not the one who keeps track of your rankings, traffic, and leads, make sure you have a trusted partner who does. You want to ensure their strategy focuses on increasing the number of new leads generated, ideally for the procedures you’d like to grow, as well as leads generated by engaging previous patients. This is a winning formula.
Should I Pay Just for SEO?
Paying for SEO alone makes little sense. You may actually see some positive movement in your organic rankings, but then what? Are you getting more traffic? Is that traffic converting into leads? Are those leads resulting in consultations? There needs to be synergy with all your digital marketing efforts.
If you want to grow your bottom-line revenue you need to work with an agency that understands the entire funnel, not just the marketing funnel, but the sales funnel as well.
No legitimate player in SEO is fishing for clients by sending out spammy emails so I’d immediately treat any such email as spam. Even if there’s some legitimacy in the report, such as you not ranking #1 for a given term, don’t obsess over rankings. Obsess over leads and consultations!
Take the Next Step
Have the experts in digital marketing take a look at not only your SEO but your entire marketing funnel. One subtle inconsistency or minor process issue can block prevent you from gaining visibility, traffic, and ultimately leads and consultations. We can help though! We’ve worked with hundreds of plastic surgeons, med spas, and cosmetic dermatologists.
Schedule your risk-free appointment with Turbo today and we’ll provide an in-depth Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) analysis of your website and marketing efforts. Just fill out the form here or call 877-673-7096 x2.
eRelevance has reportedly shut down, according to the Austin Business Journal. As of April 16th, 2019, clients have already begun receiving notices of the shut down leaving many businesses feeling blindsided. CEO Bob Fabbio later confirmed that the closure was the result of “an unexpected situation.” At the time this article was written no explanation as to what caused this unexpected situation has been disclosed. [04/17/2019]
eRelevance is Closing… How businesses will be impacted?
eRelevance, a digital marketing company, launched in 2013 by software entrepreneur Bob Fabbio. Mr. Fabbio successfully raised over $15 million from investors including Martin Ventures, Rally Ventures, Chicago Ventures, Miramar Venture Partners and Capital Factory, according to the Austin Business Journal. The total number of businesses served my eRelevance isn’t available at this time; however, it is fair to speculate that the number of businesses impacted is a fair amount considered the amount of venture capital pumped into an operation of that size.
Who was eRelevance and what services did they offer?
eRelevance positioned themselves as a lead management solution for businesses. Their website noted varying degrees of services geared toward helping convert leads into sales for small businesses. These services included a US-based call center, lead engagement using 5 digital channels, and monthly nurturing of leads using 5 different channels. This lead engagement and nurturing utilized email marketing as one of the main channels.
What did they claim to do well?
eRelevance’s touted its core competency as “game-changing lead management solutions.” Their goal was to assist small businesses in generating and converting prospects into paying customers. Sadly, the vision must not have been able to translate to reality as evidenced by their recent closure.
What did customers have to say about them?
Touting a fairly impressive 4.6 stars out of 200+ reviews one would assume their client base was happy. Outside of shutting its doors on tax day, without any notice at all to clients, there were several other common complaints, which you can find in their Google reviews. While reviews were generally positive, not everything was peachy. Any negativity in their reviews seemed to center around primarily around performance.
What options do I have now?
Do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way?
If you were using eRelevance for any kind of patient follow-up, email marketing, social media management, social media ads, or utilizing their call center then it looks like you are going to be in search of a new provider.
Here are some steps to help ensure a smooth transition in the wake of the eRel-apocalypse:
1) Export your data: login to the eRelevance platform and export everything you have in there as you have a limited window to obtain this data. The information collected on your behalf that went into the eRelevance platform belongs to you and you need to ensure you can move it to another platform before you window expires on April 29, 2019.
2) Explore your options: You have a few paths you can take here…
Option A: Take everything “in house”. Of course, there is always the option of doing the marketing yourself, but let’s be honest, no one has time for that.
Option B: Find a “Done With You” service allowing you to outsource portions of your marketing strategy. The largest risk here is suffering from fragmented marketing and low levels of actual performance.
Option C: Find a complete solution. This option is ideal; however, the challenge lies in finding the best partner to help you grow your business, which can be tough.
3) Talk to Turbo. Good News! Turbo is a full-service Aesthetic Digital Marketing Agency who has over 10 years of experience and a massive track record for real results. If you liked eRelevances performance, you will LOVE what we can do at Turbo. If you weren’t a fan of eRelvance and are still looking for a competent provider… then look no further. Turbo will help you formulate a quick and effective gameplan so you can minimize any “downtime” and ensure sales stay on track. With our proprietary consultation request generation system which leverages our unique recursion code method, sales will skyrocket in no time!
Turbo offers its members; Superior Costs per Leads, Superior Strength of Lead, Follow Up Assistant, in a Done For You service with absolutely NO smoke and mirrors…
“My web leads suck!” Many of us have dealt with a situation like this, whether as the business owner, practice manager, or in our case, the agency helping to generate the leads.
There’s nothing more frustrating than hearing this because this phrase doesn’t really tell you anything. You need to dig into the “why” to really breakthrough the ambiguity with this statement.
What this comment really means is “my web leads aren’t converting into new patients.”
In this article, I’ll address four steps you can take to address a situation where you’re having success in generating leads but not converting them.
Step 1- Identify WHY They Suck
Where in the sales funnel are these leads getting stuck? Before you dive into the stage where the leads are getting stuck you need a breakdown of all your leads, either in your CRM or at least in a Google Doc or spreadsheet.
In a perfect world, this breakdown would show every phone lead and web form submission lead with the prospect’s name, email, phone, comments, landing page they entered the website on, and the source they came from. If you do not have this configured then you need to talk to Turbo because there’s no way to truly evaluate your leads unless you have this data.
You should be tracking all web leads and phone calls to the source they originated from and the page they landed on.
Let’s dig into the most common roadblocks:
1) Can’t reach them by phone or email? The lead doesn’t answer your calls or return emails.
2) You can reach them but they’re not qualified? Could be they’re “looky loo’s” or “window shoppers.” They also may be interested in a procedure they may not be a good fit for.
For example, they’re carrying too much fat for CoolSculpting or liposuction. We have to be careful here because, on one hand, we don’t want to “diagnose” them over the phone and effectively disqualify them, but on the other hand, we don’t want to waste the doctor’s time with a consultation if the patient isn’t qualified.
3) No-shows for consultations? You’ve gotten past step 1 and step 2 and scheduled a consultation, then…they don’t show up.
This is extremely frustrating because the doctor, or another staff member, has blocked off time to meet with the patient and by not showing they’ve wasted your time.
4) Identify any commonality with your roadblocks. Are you unable to reach all of you Google Ads leads? Are your Real Self leads scheduling consultations and not showing up? Are your Facebook/Instagram leads not qualified?
This is why knowing the source of where all your leads came from, both from web form submissions and phone calls, is so important. You may have different roadblocks depending on the source of the lead, and this necessitates a unique gameplan for each roadblock.
Step 2- Identify HOW You Can Address Bottlenecks in the Followup
1) Can’t reach them – How’s your follow up? What’s your process? Do you automatically send an email? A text? A voicemail? That’s right, with the proper technology you can automate most of the followup, even send a “ghost voicemail” without it ever ringing to the prospect’s phone. If your process is to only make one call and send one email a day after you receive the lead, then your conversion rate for prospects to new patients will suffer.
2) Not qualified – How are you framing your calls to action? Do your web forms lead with “Ask a Question” or “Request a Consultation?” This is very important and often overlooked. The way you frame your call to action and web forms will help pre-qualify a patient, with each question serving as a “micro commitment” to the consultation.
Still, you can’t weed out everyone with your form alone. You might need to adjust your copy to reflect what an ideal candidate looks like, as well as possibly even list pricing. It’s very difficult to generate leads chock-full of window shoppers when you clearly state what your pricing is on your procedure pages.
I’m not necessarily advocating for listing your prices, but it’s definitely something to consider if many of your leads ask about price and then take no action. Highlighting your financing can also help overcome “sticker shock” prospects may have.
3) No-shows for consultations? – Are you charging for them? The patient needs some “skin in the game” to be held accountable.
Charging a $100 fee for each consultation, at least on the surgical side, is important. That fee can be applied to their procedure if they book.
You could even reimburse them if they don’t book, but the greater point is the prospect needs an incentive to not miss their consultation.
*Important note: Sometimes the problem isn’t simply no-shows. Many practices charge consultation fees and then have to deal with cancellations. If a prospect calls to cancel, follow these steps…
a) Immediately call and reschedule them
b) If you’re unable to reach them, ensure the prospect remains on your “callback list” until you can reschedule them
c) Continue to place value on the consultation in all follow-up conversations
Step 3- Implement Changes in Your Processes
Once you’ve identified the bottleneck it’s time to act. Adjust your processes so you have a new gameplan to follow.
The right software can make all the difference. That might mean automating part of your followup to new leads; imrove tracking existing leads and consultations with a quality CRM; and/or an easy-to-update website (like WordPress) to adjust content or web forms.
Better yet, a digital marketing partner can help take care of all of this for you!
Step 4- Re-evaluate
You’re following the new process and gathering new data. Great! Now you just need to stick to the plan so you can gather more data to then re-evaluate. Is your lead-to-consult ratio improving? If not, time to make more adjustments.
Depending on your lead volume, this may take two weeks or two months, possibly even longer. That said, working on your lead-to-consultation conversion rate is a never-ending battle.
As long as you’re testing different mediums for leads you’ll need to work on refining and fine-tuning your process. That’s what’s necessary to run a successful and thriving aesthetic practice.
What Are Your Goals?
As an aesthetic practice, your goal is to maximize the number of new procedures you’re performing every month. In theory, there is a maximum you and your staff can handle, and the only way to raise that limit is to hire more.
It’s important to set goals each month and quarter based on the number of procedures/surgeries you’d like performed (and subsequently, the revenue received from these procedures), but you’ll inevitably run into bottlenecks that have nothing to do with lead generation.
These bottlenecks are part of the lead-to-new patient funnel. The good news is they can be overcome by first recognizing the issue, then developing a gameplan, and lastly, taking action and measuring results. That’s how marketing and sales work.
Struggling Generating or Converting Leads?
If your practice is running into issues converting leads into consultations, or even just generating leads, we can help. To schedule a free Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) assessment simply leave us your info here or give Turbo a call at 877-673-7096 x2.
We’re excited to announce that Turbo has redesigned another website for a new medical spa client! This latest re-design project was for Pure Beauty Medical Spa, serving Orange County patients in their Rancho Santa Margarita and Newport Beach practices.
Pure Beauty came to Turbo in 2018 looking for help with both their website and marketing. Their old site was in need of an overall update and improved elements to convert new patients and bring more business to the practice.
The Pure Beauty team wanted to take their current branding and apply it to a new site with a cleaner, modernized look and feel as well as improve the user experience to increase leads and new patients coming to the site.
Along with the design needing an update, the content of the site also needed a tune-up. We updated and simplified the navigation to make it easy to travel through the site without cluttering the pages. We enhanced the content to include more procedures available at the practice along with conversion elements to demonstrate the procedures and results to encourage conversion. We added more content, improved the page layout, added more images, enhanced the calls to action, as well as created a more user-friendly mobile interface. You can click here to visit the new website.
Here are some of the features of the new website:
fully custom design
fully “responsive” layout with “sticky” mobile calls to action
parallax page components
social media integration
full search engine optimization
web forms for improved lead generation
fully secured via SSL
You can see the improvements in the after photos below. While we maintained the elements of the old site, we simplified the design and made it more visually intriguing for potential patients. We made sure to include plenty of conversion elements throughout the homepage without making it feel cluttered or crowded. We also included a pop-out quick menu on the side of the site for quick access to important pages.
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The copy on the old site wasn’t bad, but the site didn’t account for all the procedures offered. We reformatted and beefed up the existing content to improve conversion, and added new pages for the newer treatments. We made sure that each page had plenty of calls to action encouraging visitors to schedule a consultation, along with videos, before & after photos and testimonials to engage viewers.
We made sure that each page had lead capture forms that stood out, as well as featured specials and testimonials in the sidebar to help with the practice’s social proof.
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One of the main objectives of the website redesign was to improve the mobile design and mobile-responsiveness of the website. The previous website was mobile responsive, but we wanted to improve the mobile layout by making it less busy and easier to navigate and contact the practice.
We implemented our Turbo sticky footer, which makes it easy for a website visitor to tap to call, email, or find directions to the practice no matter where they are or how far they’ve scrolled on any page on the website. You can see the difference below.
We’ve recently completed a website re-design for The Lanfranchi Center. Lead by board-certified surgeon Paul Lanfranchi, MD, the Lanfranchi Center serves patients in the Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, areas.
Dr. Lanfranchi and his team came to Turbo at the end of 2018 in search of both website and marketing help. While he was satisfied with the overall feel of his website, he knew it needed an update and wasn’t set up ideally for conversion. We were excited to take on this project to help bring more patients into his practice.
Our goal was to re-design the website, improve the overall layout while keeping the branding intact, bulked up the content, improve the navigation, and improve the mobile interface. You can click here to visit the new website. Here are some of the features of the new website, which we developed on WordPress:
fully custom design
fully “responsive” layout with “sticky” mobile calls to action
You can see the improvements in the after photos below. We modified the layout and graphics to make the site easier to read and navigate. We added more featured procedures to the home page to better display the offerings at the practice, as well as give patients more opportunities to find exactly what they are looking for on the site. We also implemented a new menu and made it sticky so it could be accessed no matter how far you’ve scrolled on any page. Finally, we incorporated more conversion elements throughout the site to encourage potential patients to schedule a consultation.
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The copy on the current site was already strong, it just needed to be bulked up and reformatted. We rearranged and added to the copy across the site, breaking it up to improve readability. We also added before & after images and testimonials to each page to add social proof and encourage conversions.
We also implemented a sidebar on each page to highlight reviews, before & after images, and encourage patients to request a consultation. As you can see below, the old site had a sidebar, but it lacked a request a consultation form and more information for the patients. This new sidebar will better grab the attention of clients and encourage them to fill out a form or learn more about the practice.
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We also wanted to improve the mobile responsiveness of the website. While the old site was mobile-friendly, we wanted to update the mobile site to ensure ease of navigation and readability. We created a sleek design that closely resembled the main site with plenty of conversion elements. We also condensed the menu at the top of the page for easy website access.
We implemented a sticky menu at the top, for easy access to any of the unique pages on the website. We also implemented our sticky footer plugin, making it easier for patients to tap to call or email with only one click from anywhere on the website. We’ve modified the header size and added conversion elements at the bottom of the screen.
That’s right, you should not aim for only 5 star reviews! That might sound counter-intuitive. After all, don’t we want to avoid negative or 1 star reviews?
The answer is undoubtedly yes, we want more 5 star reviews. However, new research from the Spiegel Research Center suggests that consumer purchase likelihood peaks between 4.0 and 4.7 stars and actually declines when you enter the 4.8 to 5.0 star rating!
Why is that? How can 4 stars be better than 5 stars?
The simple answer is that consumers see ratings at the far end of the spectrum as “too good to be true.” If you check out the charts below, courtesy of the Spiegel Research Center, you can see that none of the categories show 5 stars as the optimal rating.
How Does This Data Influence Aesthetic Practices?
That’s great that we have purchase probability data for retail products, but what about services, particularly the high-end, cash-based services that aesthetic practices offer?
According to a Real Self study, 68% of patients use reviews to determine the trustworthiness of a doctor. Only 15% decide based on board certification or education. So we want all 5 stars then, right? Not so fast!
A Northwestern University Medicine study conducted in April of 2018, had some interesting findings about cosmetic surgeon reviews. While there was no specific data to suggest that 4 stars are better than 5, there were other interesting takeaways regarding reviews.
The study examined online ratings of doctors who performed cosmetic breast augmentation in six major U.S. cities and it found that there were significantly more 1 star and 5 star reviews than 2, 3 or 4 star reviews. In other words, people only left a review if they were very happy (“best surgeon ever!”) or very pissed off (“worst surgeon ever!”). Not totally surprising.
According to senior study author Dr. John Kim, a professor of plastic surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine plastic surgeon:
“We found the people who write these review are either very happy or unhappy, so it’s difficult for the consumer to get balanced information”
Dr. Kim went on to say:
“The important thing used to be how the surgery turned out. Our study shows what’s almost equally important are things we wouldn’t have thought of like how quickly we answer the phone, how nice the staff is in their interactions, the wait time and bedside manner. Service is becoming paramount and almost as important as tangible results and outcomes.”
Kim also claims that “cost is at the bottom of patient concerns.” Wait time, how quickly the staff answers the phone, staff friendliness, and doctor bedside manner are “almost equally important” to how the surgery turned out! In other words, quality service matters.
Are Negative Reviews Good for My Practice?
They may not necessarily be “good,” and you shouldn’t be seeking them out, but they do legitimize your practice. While we don’t want a bunch of 1 star reviews floating around, a PowerReview study found that 82% of shoppers seek out negative reviews. Consumers are skeptical of reviews that are only positive so negative reviews actually add credibility!
More importantly, social commerce specialist Revoo has data that highlights that consumers spend four times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews, with a 67% increase in conversion rate!
Displaying Reviews May Increase Conversion, but Gallery Photos Are Even Better
If you have positive reviews, display them! For an aesthetic practice, the two most powerful forms of social proof are before & after photos and reviews. Therefore, you should not only have separate pages for these but you should also embed them onto as many procedure pages and blogs as you can.
In evaluating our clients with the largest amount of traffic to their websites, 16.37% of web form submission leads came directly from the client’s photo gallery. For these same clients, the photo gallery was the most viewed page on their website!
The Reviews page had different results. We sampled six random plastic surgeon clients and looked at 2018 as a whole and found that, on average, the Reviews page was the 29th most viewed. Keep in mind that our gallery indexes before & after pages uniquely, for SEO purposes, so for every client sampled there were multiple before & after pages viewed more than the Reviews page.
What does this tell us? Reviews definitely matter, but patients are more likely to look for them outside of your website. You should still be embedding them on your website, as they help add social proof, just make sure you set the threshold to show reviews that aren’t just 5 stars!
Where Do I Get Started with Growing my Reviews?
The first step in growing your reviews is having an action plan in how you want to follow up with happy patients. This action plan should specify the who, what, when and how’s…
who should be focusing on generating reviews? The font desk staff? Designate a leader here.
what is my action plan? I want my leader to follow up with patients after….?
when to follow up? We’ve determined who’s in charge, now we need to determine when we want to follow up. Think post-op or whenever the patient is happiest.
how can I pull this all off? Don’t just rely on a person, utilize a software that can automate some of this follow-up with happy patients
One last tip: if possible, encourage patients to mention the procedure they’ve had in their review. Then you can categorize all your breast augmentation or CoolSculpting reviews, for example, and embed them on their respective procedure pages. This adds relevancy to the reviews making them more impactful.
Having nothing but 5 star reviews looks “too good to be true”
Negative reviews aren’t all bad; they help add credibility to your practice
Patients are seeking out reviews when vetting doctors, but their challenge is that many reviews for aesthetic practices are either 1 star of 5 stars
Results matter, but don’t neglect customer service and the patient experience as this is what matters most to patients (more than even cost)
Display your reviews on your website as well as your before & afters
Prioritize review generation, develop an action plan, and utilize a software to help you earn reviews
Encourage reviewers to specify the treatment they’ve had and their experience in more detail
Yes, I’d Like to Grow My Reviews!
Are you struggling with generating reviews or overwhelmed with negative reviews? Or, do you simply need direction on your marketing? Turbo can help! Trust the experts with your digital marketing. Take the next step and reach out today for a free Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) analysis. Give us a call at 877-673-7096 x2 or fill out the form here.
We’re excited to have recently completed a website re-design for our new client, The Face and Body Place. Lead by board-certified dermatologist Kimberly Finder, MD, the Face and Body Place serves patients in the San Antonio, TX, area.
Dr. Finder came to Turbo in late 2018 in need of website and marketing assistance. She was looking for ways to increase the exposure of the practice, generate more leads, and improve the overall look and feel of her website.
The old website was not inherently bad, but it was outdated and in need of some reorganization. There was clutter on many of the pages, and there were a large number of pages on the site that needed updating and improved conversion elements. The site itself needed updated navigation. The site also was not optimized for mobile. You can click here to visit the new website. Here are some of the features of the new website, which we developed on WordPress:
fully custom design
fully “responsive” layout with “sticky” mobile calls to action
You can see the improvements in the after photos below. The old website wasn’t in terrible shape, and we maintained the practice’s branding, but the design really needed some updating. We brought out the brand colors in the new design, creating a sleek, professional look. We enhanced the navigation and improved the homepage visuals on the services offered directly on the homepage. We also added more conversion elements to encourage visitors to schedule an appointment.
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The inner pages contained good information, but needed a refresh and to be reformatted for conversion. They also lacked visual intrigue and calls to action. We created a more visually-appealing design that draws perspective patients in with more images, a cleaner layout and ease of navigation to external pages, such as the photo gallery and testimonials. We updated the lead capture forms and added links to the gallery and testimonials to the sidebar to help with the website’s social proof.
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Our primary goal with the mobile responsiveness of the new site was to improve the overall mobile user interface. As you can see, the main pages were not optimized for mobile. They had a mobile menu, but it needed a modernized look just like the rest of the site. The site is now fully mobile friendly, with all elements being easily accessible on any mobile device and the menu being easy to access as well. We also implemented our Turbo sticky footer, which makes it easy for a website visitor to tap to call, email, or find directions to the practice no matter where they are or how far they’ve scrolled on any page on the website. You can see the difference below.
Direct traffic is the most misunderstood source in Google Analytics. Most Analytics beginners understand common sources of traffic, such as Google/organic, Facebook/referral, and Google/cpc; they’re self-explanatory. But Direct traffic is trickier to comprehend, and we’ll dive into why that is in this article.
Isn’t Direct traffic those who type in a website URL directly into their browser or click from a saved bookmark in their browser?
Yes, it can be. In fact, Google’s own help center says that Direct traffic is:
“users that typed your URL directly into their browser, or who had bookmarked your site”
However, that’s not the entire truth. Thinking that all your Direct traffic is just people typing in your url or clicking a bookmarking is the biggest misconception behind this traffic source. Direct traffic can be better defined as traffic that cannot be attributed to a particular source. In other words, the source is unknown.
Understanding Source/Medium in Google Analytics
In the screenshot above, the Direct traffic “Users” nearly equals the “New Users.” To understand the significance, let me define both, according to Google:
Users who have initiated at least one session during the date range. Learn more about how Analytics calculates the number of users.
New Users: The number of first-time users during the selected date range. Learn more about how Analytics calculates the number of users.
This means that nearly all the unique visitors (Users) we’re also first-time visitors (New Users). In short, only 3 Users were attributed to having visited the site previously. With all these new, first-time visitors it’s hard to believe they all had the website bookmarked or memorized and still visited for the first time. That doesn’t make sense.
Before we go any further, let’s evaluate how Google recognizing traffic sources from a technical standpoint.
How does Google Analytics recognize different sources?
When a user’s browser is requesting access to a page on your website it can supply this “Referer” field, which is then accessible to Google Analytics. Google then reads and parses the value of the field, processes it, and then displays it in your Source / Medium report. This field is not mandatory though.
Keep in mind that Google Analytics utilizes a distinct process when evaluating referring sources of traffic. Outside of any manually configured overrides, Google follows this sequence:
AdWords parameters > Campaign overrides > UTM campaign parameters > Referred by a search engine > Referred by another website > Previous campaign within timeout period > Direct
Consider a user who discovers your site via organic search, then returns via direct a week later. Both sessions would be attributed to organic search because of the second-to-last “check” where Google identifies your previous campaign visit. Campaign data persists for up to six months by default so your “timeout period” is pretty big. The key point here is that Google Analytics is already trying to minimize the impact of direct traffic for you.
If Google works the aforementioned sequence and cannot classify your visit you are marked as Direct.
Run a test yourself
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website then open an incognito browser window and go to google.com. Then do a search for your website. Assuming your site isn’t invisible to search engines, you’ll see it show up. Click on the link.
Now, go to your Google Analytics and click on Real Time > Traffic Sources. You should see your active session show up and it should say you came from “Google/organic.” However, because you’re incognito you’ll see “(not provided),” which means you’ll get classified as Direct traffic.
By using incognito mode you’re not giving Google the ability to run its sequence of checks noted above. Therefore, you’re simply dumped into the Direct “bucket.”
Types of Direct traffic
A user types in a URL into their browser
A user clicks on a saved bookmark
A user clicks on a link in Skype, whatsapp, FB messengers, IM: this is what’s known as “dark social” visits.
http vs https: if a user clicks any link from a secured site (HTTPS) to a non-secured site (HTTP) no referrer data is passed through, thus this traffic is marked as Direct. All other scenarios, http to http, https to https, and https to http, pass referrer data. Keep in mind that your website should be on HTTPS. Assuming you have an HTTPS website then you’re covered. (If you link out to HTTP websites their Analytics will traffic you’ve referred to them as Direct.)
A user clicks on a link in a non-web document PDF, DocX, ODF, XLSX or a different type of document.
A user clicks on a link in a mobile app
A user clicks through a URL-shortener
There’s missing or broken tracking code on your website
User clicks on a link in any desktop software: this is most common with email providers such as Outlook or Thunderbird. This is why it’s so crucial that you use UTM tracking with all email marketing that you do.
Cutting down on (improperly categorized) Direct traffic
Take control of your re-directs: run a link check using Google Search Console
Use UTM tracking: this is critical for all ads you’re running and all emails you’re sending
Stay on top of your Analytics trends: watch for big jumps or drops from any one source
Direct (none) vs. Direct (not set)
The final piece to this puzzle is making sense of the two different types of Direct traffic. You might see in your Analytics report Direct/none and Direct/(not set). These are not the same thing.
(none) is unknown and found on any Analytics overview showcasing the source and/or medium driving traffic to your website. There is missing referrer information which can be attributed to any of the ten culprits above. This is the most common type of Direct traffic.
(not set) is typically found in Analytics reports where keyword data is shown. It is most commonly seen when viewing your top Landing Pages or Keywords. However, you may see it pop up in other areas, such as Channel Grouping, Browser, Geo Location, and Reverse Goal Path. Seeing (not set) in most of these areas is benign.
However, if your Google Ads are triggering (not set) then you’ll want to check the configuration of your ads. Double-check that:
Auto-tagging is on and cost data is applied.
There is no redirect in the destination URL of your AdWords campaign.
The GCLID parameter is preserved.
URLs are properly tagged in case of manual tagging
Struggling with Analytics? We Can Help!
Are you struggling with Google Analytics, or simply stuck coming up with a marketing strategy for driving more traffic and generating more leads? Turbo can help! Trust the experts with your digital marketing. Take the next step and reach out today for a free Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) analysis. Give us a call at 877-673-7096 x2 or fill out the form here.
Let me start out by saying that sliders are not bad, they should just be avoided on an aesthetic practice website home page (or on any page).
Before we jump into the “why,” lets first define the term “slider.”
What is a Slider?
A “slider” on a website simply refers to a content area that has multiple slides, usually banners or images, that rotate showing different content on each slide.
Sliders can appear anywhere on the website. Here are the most common types of sliders used on aesthetic practice websites:
Before and after image sliders
Specials & Promotions sliders
These types of sliders are ok to use, sparingly. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to sliders is that they slow your website down. Some of the aforementioned sliders utilize smaller images while they can still slow the site down, so they affect site speed less than a “hero image” slider…
The “Hero Image” Slider:
The hero image is the first thing that prospect sees when they get to the homepage of your website. This is your “banner area” that’s above-the-fold, typically right below your header and navigation or part of your website’s header.
How Did Sliders Get So Popular?
Using a slider in the hero image area may seem to be a great idea when these elements are present in your practice:
You have multiple “perfect prospects” that you want to appeal to
You had a slider on your site and you “liked it”
You want prospects to see MANY things when they first get to your site
All of these things make sense on the surface and explain why sliders grew in popularity. Unfortunately, these reasons are not good enough to forego best practice for user experience and we’ll explain why…
Why Sliders on the Home Page Are a Bad Idea:
Let’s circle back to the main focus of this article: sliders on the homepage. Specifically, what I’m specifically referencing is the use of a slider as the “hero image” or “header area” of the home page.
Let me count the reasons why…
Site speed: one of the biggest issues
Outdated design style
Sliders involve movement, which the human eye follows, and that distracts from the information on your website that actually matters, such as your value proposition (why the prospect should do business with your practice)
Sliders as the hero image on the homepage create a lot of “noise” or visual clutter, which distracts from…
The ONE BIG thing, which should be the focus of your website’s home page – telling visitors EXACTLY the value you deliver – is not the only thing if that area of the site rotates
very few people see beyond the first slide anyway…
Most website developers and conversion rate optimization experts agree that sliders are bad, and some would go so far as to say they’re “evil!” You can learn more about these fervent opinions in this article from one of the Godfather’s of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), Peep Raja.
Ok, Sliders Are Bad, But What Should the Hero Image Should Focus On?
The hero image or main banner area on a homepage needs to accomplish a few things for proper UX (user experience), but the primary goal is to create relevance for the prospect.
What does that mean? Well, we need to be able to create a logical case for the prospect to INVEST MORE TIME reviewing your website, and with that more time, we’d like to educate them and ultimately convince them to take action.
In order to create relevance for a prospect we need a few key elements present:
A geographic identifier
A business name that very likely offers what the prospect is searching for (fulfills his/her need or want)
The one big thing that your practice does
A call to action that allows the prospect a way to reach our RIGHT AWAY – we suggest using “Request A Consultation” call to action as it sets the tone for why the prospect is reaching out (NOT to ask a question or get pricing)
Related imagery that corresponds with either the main patient “avatar” (your perfect prospective patient), OR an image of the doctor, your office building, local imagery that is very recognizable, etc
The bottom line is that the prospective patient HAS to be able to determine that they are in the right spot.
Not Sure If Your Website is Optimized for Conversion Rate?
The first step is getting a CRO (conversion rate optimization). The good news is that we can help! If you’d like to schedule a CRO with Clayton Joyner to find out how you can unlock additional leads on your website then by filling out the form here. You can also give us a ring at 877-673-7096 x2.