Frequently Asked Internet Marketing Questions

Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact Top Practices. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find the answers here, you should contact us for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free.

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  • What pieces are most important in an internal marketing plan?

    An effective internal marketing program should always start with two essential pieces: your List and your organized database. Your List is a list of current patients—whether they are active, inactive, or really inactive. If you have potential patients’ information collected through an online contact form or from community events you’ve participated in, those people are on your List as well. Your organized database is the program you use to keep track of your List and arrange the people on it into relevant groups.

    Once you have these two absolutely essential pieces established, you can begin an internal marketing plan that uses a variety of methods to connect with your list. You can send out e-mail blasts with information about your practice. You can add particular patients to relevant campaigns, so they receive automated letters, e-mails, postcards, etc. on a schedule. You can send out a monthly newsletter. Once you have your List and your database program in working order, your internal marketing plan take off and involve whatever factors you want.

    Our Mastermind groups discuss topics like this one and more to share incredible ideas about effective marketing. If you’re not sure how to organize your list or use a database program, the Top Practices Virtual Marketing Director Services program can help do it for you. Contact us for more information or to get started today. You can use our online forms or call (717) 725-2679 to reach us.

  • How can I get a campaign started?

    Starting a campaign for your marketing database isn’t as difficult as you might think it is, particularly if you are already using the Top Practices Virtual Marketing Director Services (VMD). If you want to order and start a book campaign, you first reach out to Dave Ryan. He provides you with the order form and walks you through the whole process of getting exactly what you need for a successful campaign. Your order form is then sent directly to the VMD team, who contact you to begin the database set-up process for your campaign. Again, they walk you through everything and only need a few things from you. The whole experience is designed to be as simple and painless for you as possible.

    If you would like to add a recall campaign of some kind to your database, you can also reach out to Dave Ryan, or contact the VMD department directly. Tyler Cady and the VMD team will be happy to help you with the set-up process for one of our many recall campaigns and make sure it is customized for your unique practice.

    The way to get started today is just to contact the right people! To reach Dave Ryan, call (717) 725-2679 or e-mail [email protected]; to reach the VMD team, call (616) 931-1040. If you’d simply like to learn more about campaigns and what is available to you, let us know! You can e-mail [email protected] today.

  • Is it easy to set up and work with Top Practices’ e-mail marketing program?

    The Top Practices e-mail marketing progrem is an easy way to put one of your most valuable marketing tools—your list of people who know you, like you, trust you, and would refer others to you—to good use. Our team of experts helps you set up your database, run your campaigns, and keep everything maintained for you, so you aren’t left trying to figure out how to make everything work on your own. The whole process is simple, and our team guides you every step of the way.

    Of course, you don’t just have to take our word for it. Members like Dr. Corey Fox of Massapequa Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Massapequa, New York, have said it very well:

    “They [the e-mail marketing team] do anything you ask, handle all your concerns, and turn what is probably really complicated into a process that’s seamless and easy. We never used a database before this. Salesmen would try to sell us demographic lists to market to and we stayed far away from those. We did occasionally send out postcards to local zip codes [on our own]. But really, what we offer and specialize in pulls from more than just a few towns, so it wasn’t super effective.

    “I’m not afraid to try something that fails, but so far we haven’t had any experience like that [with e-mail marketing]. Everything has been great. I don’t think any of it has been a waste of money. It has always paid off.”

    Dr. Fox is just one member who works with our VMD Services, and he’s not the only one to say things like this. We have a number of other testimonials from other doctors all over who have worked closely with our team.

    The whole process of setting up and managing a database for your List can be very complicated, and even more difficult (and expensive!) if you aren’t sure what you are doing. The database and e-mail marketing program makes everything easier for you and saves you money in the long run. If you’d like to learn more about the program and how it can fit your unique practice, contact us! You can e-mail us at [email protected], or call (717) 725-2679.

  • How can I communicate more effectively with my marketer?

    This is a big topic and a common question. There are many different strategies for communication, but a lot of it comes down to remembering the role of the doctor and the role of the marketer, and how they work together. You and your marketer should always have a plan in place for all four pillars of marketing so you both always know what is happening and when. These plans should be reviewed regularly as well. Three tools we highly recommend are a marketing organization board, an action plan, and a marketing calendar.

    The marketing organization board is a whiteboard where you list out everything that you and your marketer have said you will do for the day, the week, the month, the quarter, and the year. That way nothing falls through the cracks. The action plan is a detailed list of the projects your marketer is currently working on with assigned tasks and deadlines. This is something you and your marketer both review so you are both aware of what tasks are being done and when they will be completed. The marketing calendar allows your marketer to plan out and show what days and when they’ll be out visiting other offices for your shoe leather marketing. Reviewing these tools and checking in with your marketer regularly helps keep both of you on the same page and the lines of communication open.

    These tools and communication methods are slightly different when your marketer doesn’t work directly in your office, like those who work closely with the Top Practices Virtual Marketing Director Services team. In this case, regular communication about your action plan—whether that’s through e-mail or on the phone—is even more important.

    Don’t take your marketer—or communicating with him or her—for granted. This is a huge topic and one we cover regularly with our members here at Top Practices. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you achieve your goals through marketing your practice more effectively, contact us! You can call (717) 725-2679 or e-mail [email protected] for more information. 

  • How do I continue to build a relationship with patients after they leave my office?

    Private practices can’t live on new patients alone. Continuing to build and invest in your relationship with patients after they leave your office is a crucial part of getting your patients to return to you in the future. It’s not just a good idea—it’s a vital step in growing your practice. The best way to do this is to stay in touch with them. Recall campaigns and regular marketing touches remind your patients that you care about their health and when they need to be thinking about returning for additional care, or just a regular check-up.

    Recall campaigns are tied directly to your marketing database and are tailored to a patient’s specific condition and needs. They allow you to send additional information about specific conditions along with reminders for future appointments, whether that’s a yearly check-up or an appointment in some other time frame. Regular marketing touches like monthly newsletters or periodic e-mail blasts allow you to provide valuable, interesting information to your patients to remind them you still care and can help with old or future problems.

    All of this keeps you in the forefront of your patients’ minds after they’ve left your office. That way, when the pain comes back, they remember not only your name, but that you cared enough to keep in touch. The Top Practices Virtual Marketing Director Services team is dedicated to helping doctors master this kind of relationship building with their marketing list outside of the office. If you’d like help getting started, or building on what you already have, let us know! You can send us your questions at [email protected], or call us directly at (717) 725-2679.

  • How does a book campaign work with a marketing database?

    Your book campaign and fully-functional, automated marketing database are tied together. Your book campaign won’t run properly—or at least not efficiently or effectively—without an organized marketing database to help you. The campaign is meant to follow people as they move from looking for answers to their questions about their problems to the point where they make the decision to come into your office for help. It does this by regularly reaching out with informative materials. However, in order for this to work, you have to keep track of not only who has requested your book, but also when they did so and what additional materials you’ve already sent them.

    This is where the marketing database comes into play. When a person requests your book through your website, all of their contact information is automatically added to your database list. When they request it from outside sources, you simply add them to your list manually. From there the database takes over the work of tracking them. Your database should send any e-mails in your campaign automatically, and tell you when certain people need physical mail sent to them, as well as exactly what that mail should be. This automates the whole campaign, making it much easier to manage.

    If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. The e-mail marketing team can help any Mastermind member set up and manage a book campaign through a trustworthy and effective database program. If you’d like to learn more, just ask! You can connect with us by e-mailing [email protected], or by calling (717) 725-2679. 

  • Is using YouTube worth my time?

    Over the years, YouTube has become one of the most-used search engines and social media platforms on the internet. People spend a significant amount of time watching and sharing videos online, and YouTube is by far and away the most commonly used platform. It’s easy to search and find things on the platform (if the content is optimized correctly). Just as importantly, YouTube is actually owned and operated by King Google. Google highly values YouTube videos, giving them priority in organic Google search results over other video platforms. Thus, if you’re using video marketing—and you should be—you should be putting it on YouTube as well as on your website.

    Video is an increasingly important part of a well-rounded visual content strategy. After all, it’s estimated 80% of web visitors will watch a short video, while only 20% will read text. The content is easy to digest and easier to pass on to friends, increasing how many people your practice is able to reach. Just remember to make videos that your patients and potential patients will find interesting, not just you.

    At Top Practices, we do know that most doctors how no idea how to post, much less optimize, a YouTube video. That is why we have a team that can help do this for you. If you have videos, or you’d like to make videos, and you need to establish your YouTube presence, our VMD Services team can help you. Just contact Lori Hibma by e-mailing [email protected] or calling us directly at (616) 931-1040.

  • How can I use my list to make sure patients come back?

    No doctor wants to lose patients for any reason. You want your patients to come back to your practice when they need help again, not forget about you and end up in someone else’s office. Even if a patient returns just once and refers only one other person to you, they have a high value to your practice. Building relationships with your patients by effectively marketing to your list is the best way to bring patients back to your office in the future, because you remain in communication with them over time. The key is, of course, using your list effectively.

    This means reaching out to people regularly through multiple communication avenues. Newsletters are your best friend here—they are an incredibly effective tool. They can and should be sent both electronically and through traditional mail. E-mail marketing is another valuable tool for communicating to your list. It allows you to reach out to people on a regular basis and provide helpful information. If you have a fully automated database for your list, you can run campaigns, too, like yearly appointment reminders and birthday notices. All of these simple marketing touches keep you in the minds of people who already know, like, and trust you.

    We have a whole teleseminar on this topic that goes into greater detail. We’ve also established a highly effective marketing database program for our own Mastermind members to help you succeed in this area. If you’d like to know more, contact us! You can e-mail [email protected] or call (717) 725-2679.

  • Why even bother with e-mail marketing?

    Lots of medical professionals, and even other business people, sincerely believe that e-mail has gone the way of the dinosaur and it’s no longer a relevant marketing tool. That is simply not true! E-mail marketing to your carefully cultivated List of patients from your office—or to people who have requested information from you—is one of the more powerful tools you have in your tool belt. It’s a valuable and important part of your internal or database marketing. Why?

    Because billions of people use e-mail every single day. It’s considered more professional and adults are far more likely to engage with it than with social media posts. In fact, studies put e-mail as a far more effective tool for converting people than social media—three times more effective. With specific campaigns, you can use it to send valuable, relevant information to specific groups of people who are actually interested in what you have to say, rather than spewing out information and hoping it will hit someone who will convert to a patient or return to your office. Overall, it allows you to maintain personalized, targeted contact with your database.

    Of course, there is a key to e-mail marketing: don’t send boring e-mails. You don’t open boring e-mails. You shouldn’t expect the people you’re marketing to with e-mail to do anything differently. You don’t have to guess how to write these messages, however. If you’re not already using e-mail marketing, or aren’t finding it very effective, Top Practices can help. Top Practices Mastermind Members  learn how to organize and use e-mail marketing to connect with and help convert contacts into patients. That way you can craft appropriate e-mails with the following components:

    • An excellent subject line that gets people to open the message
    • Well-constructed content that educates, informs, and sells
    • A clear call-to-action that transforms the e-mail from education to marketing so it gets results


    We even have members-only services that can make your e-mail marketing happen for you automatically. If you have questions about e-mail marketing, the Top Practices Mastermind group, or any of our programs, you can e-mail us at [email protected] or call us at (717) 725-2679.

  • What is database marketing and what can it do for me?

    More and more, we recognize the need for help with quality internal marketing. Your patients are incredibly valuable to your practice. You can’t afford to neglect that relationship. However, to market to them effectively, you need to have a fully-functional database program to organize your patient list and execute your various “campaigns.” This could involve sending out a newsletter, mailing recall postcards, e-mailing happy birthday messages, providing a free book offer, and so on.

    Setting up this database and using it effectively, though, can be overwhelming and difficult. That’s where our team comes in. We take the hassle out of establishing a database by doing all the heavy lifting for you. We help you set up your program so that it’s fully automated and meets the needs of your campaigns. We then either train you to manage the program yourself, or do all the management and troubleshooting for you. We can also fulfill the week-to-week tasks of sending out your marketing materials. All of this is designed to help you succeed in your internal marketing. If you’d like to know more, give us a call at (616) 931-1041.

  • What social media platforms should I be using to market my practice?

    There are dozens of social media platforms that seem to pop up out of nowhere, skyrocket in popularity, and then fizzle out and disappear just as quickly. Remember MySpace? Since social media fluctuates so much, it can be hard to know what platforms are worth investing in. As a general rule, however, there are five that are beneficial for marketing a podiatry practice—or any medical office, for that matter: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. YouTube is also valuable if you’re willing to invest in making videos.

    Each of these has a slightly different purpose and a slightly different audience. Facebook is large and a good way to start conversations and share information with people who’ve “liked” your business. Google+ is used by many tech-savvy and industry-related people, which also makes it great for sharing content. Twitter is for timely, in-the-moment communication with followers. Pinterest allows you to share photos that can drive traffic to your website. And LinkedIn is used by professionals to help build connections within your industry. All of these help you reach out to the current and potential patients you want to see in your office.

    Don’t take social media for granted. Social media is a powerful tool for connecting to people if you know how to use it well. If you need help setting up platforms, or you’re not sure how to manage them, let the Top Practices VMD Services team help. Just contact Lori Hibma by e-mailing [email protected].

  • Is Google+ something I should be doing?

    If you’re not already using Google+ for your practice, you are missing a crucial part of your online marketing. Currently, the Google+ network is completely integrated into Google searches. This means that information about you on the social network, including profile details and content that you share, affect your Google rankings. Believe it or not, using the social network can help people find you in a normal online search more easily.

    For example: when potential patients search for your office online, your Google+ profile appears in the results, displaying pictures, maps, and content you’ve recently shared. The blog posts, web content, videos, and photos that you post tend to be read and indexed by Google more quickly than if you just upload to your website, too. Also, if that content gets shared or +1’d by others, it’s considered more valuable and will rank higher in searches.

    You also need to remember that real people in your community are on this social network and actually using it. These tend to be more technically-minded and business-savvy individuals. By posting regularly and entering into conversation with them, you are still reaching out to people who have health needs that you could meet.

    Therefore, Google+ is an important part of your online footprint. If you’re not sure how to get started, let the Top Practices VMD Services team help you set up your profile and begin using it right away. Just call Lori Hibma at (616) 931-1040 for more information, or e-mail her at [email protected].

  • Is it possible for me to reach the top in a Google search?

    Yes, it is absolutely possible for you to reach the top in Google search results. It takes time and effort, but if you do the right things on your website, you can find yourself turning up on top. How you do this matters, though. Google, Yahoo, and Bing all look for ways to crack down on cheaters and anyone who tries to achieve the top spot dishonestly.

    There are two ways to get to the top: “white hat” marketing, and “black hat” marketing. Top Practices is exclusively white hat. This means we help clients produce and optimize relevant, regular, quality content and promote it correctly. This is content that people who are searching for a podiatrist in their area could actually use, rather than informational spam. This is the only truly effective way to attract the patients you want.

    Black hat techniques use dishonest practices in an attempt to trick Google and other search engines into ranking your content higher, or to trick searchers into clicking on your page. The content is loaded with things that aren’t useful to anyone—and in most cases, is very harmful. We don’t want to give anyone bad ideas by explaining exactly how that works, but keep this in mind: if a company promises to get you to the top of Google search without real work or fresh content, RUN. Don’t look back. Only trust companies that understand proper SEO and your medical market.

    If you’re looking for help getting to the top, our Virtual Marketing Director Services team has experts who do understand white hat SEO and podiatry marketing. Let our team help you succeed on the internet. Contact Lori Hibma for more information by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling (616) 931-1040.

  • Should I be using Top Practices' VMD Services?

    The Top Practices Virtual Marketing Director Services are a fantastic resource for Top Practices Mastermind members who don’t have the time or knowledge to execute their internet marketing effectively. Whether or not you should use this service depends on what you need or want. Having an active internet presence is a necessity in today’s connected world. Maybe you know all about social media and have ideas about what you’d like to see on your website, but you and your staff don’t have the time to engage these platforms fully. Maybe you have e-mail and a website, but don’t know why you’d bother with Twitter or Google Local, much less know how to use them.

    Whether you’re tech-savvy or tech-challenged, the VMD Services team can help you boost your internet marketing. This well-trained team stays on top of the ever-changing landscape of search engines, social media, review sites, websites, and how to make the most of them. They can help you set up and manage everything you’ll need for an active and successful presence on the web.

    If you’re struggling with your internet marketing, need help getting started, or have to update your online “footprint,” let Lori Hibma ([email protected]) know. She’ll make sure your web presence is a successful one.

  • Why should I be doing video?

    Video marketing is a big part of your content strategy—or at least, it should be! Video is an interactive media that allows watchers to absorb new information relatively quickly. Many people are more willing to watch a quick, 1-minute video that answers their questions than read through a whole webpage to find the information they want. Videos are also easy to share. Plenty of people are willing to pass along a quick clip in their social media, increasing your reach. Watching something keeps visitors on your website longer, too, which increases the odds that they’ll convert from a passing visitor to someone requesting more information, or even an appointment. Just as importantly, Google now indexes the media and uses it for your search rankings.

    At Top Practices, we recognize the role that this media is playing in online marketing. That’s why our Virtual Marketing Director Services team is here to help you edit and produce your videos. If you aren’t already investing in this type of content creation, or would like help making your video marketing even better, contact Lori Hibma ([email protected]) for more information.

  • Who can do my marketing for me?

    We can. Top Practices has a team of talented and sophisticated people who know how to market a podiatry practice, and we do it every day of the week.  We call them Virtual Marketing Directors – our doctors call them superstars.  No kidding!

    It’s become exceedingly clear to everyone that internet based marketing is changing the rules of the game.  Everybody uses the internet – 9 year olds to 90 year olds, they are online and searching.

    Shortly after beginning Top Practices, we knew that we needed to help our members get their marketing done. Doctors are busy and they don’t have time to become internet marketing experts.  But it can be very hard to find an individual with the skillset who understands how to promote and market a podiatry practice.  So we hired them and we trained them for you. They are rewriting the rules for our doctors and getting them found online.

    This service is exclusively provided to members of our Top Practices Mastermind Group. We limit this service to our members, because while we believe the doctor doesn’t have to do the marketing work himself, or even know “how” to do it, they must know “why” to do it. And that is what the Top Practices Marketing and Management Mastermind Group teaches our doctors each and every month in an easy-to-use way to go about this.

    Check it out.  Top Practices can do your marketing for you.