Let’s start with: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
When I look back over 2019, I think not only about the growth of my own business but also about the growth all of our clients have seen! I’ve been looking at data for people we served early in 2019 and listening to new clients telling us that their friends told them working with us was, “the best business investment they ever made.” Wow, that’s high praise! But it’s also so true that the business owners we’ve worked with this year have left full time agency jobs, transitioned to group practices, moved to bigger locations and opened additional locations. When I talk to people months after we’ve finished the bulk of our work on their site, I hear that they continue to have a steady stream of referrals!
I really want to see that growth for all of you in 2020 as well! For some of you, that will include working intently on your SEO and my team would love to help you with that. I also recognize that there are a million options out there for focusing your marketing efforts. Now is the time to really decide where you will focus your efforts for 2020.
Setting Marketing Goals for 2020
My friend Kasey Compton brought up the idea of re-evaluating your marketing plan at the beginning of the year in her Facebook group last week and I think it’s a great suggestion! One thing another colleague said in the comments is that it’s good to start with a look back and reflect on what did or didn’t work in 2019.
From there, I suggest thinking about a long term marking goal for 2020. There are so many options for marketing! In addition to search engine optimization, there’s social media marketing, e-mail lists, 1:1 coffee visits with other therapists, connecting with doctor’s offices & so many other options! In general, I think it’s helpful to set goals around TWO specific types of marketing in a single year. This gives you a little diversity, but is a small enough number that you can do both well.
It’s easy to get discouraged by long term marketing goals…
When setting a long term marketing goal it’s critical to have measurable benchmarks set along the way to help you stay motivated. Having the ability to feel successful along the way will help you maintain motivation. Furthermore, if you get off track you’ll notice that you aren’t making your bench marks and be able to make adjustments so you still reach the end goal in the time frame you’d hoped.
Many of the marketing techniques we use in this digital age (search engine optimization, social media or even e-mail marketing) don’t yield immediate results and you can get discouraged easily. However, there are usually steps that need to happen along the way.
Setting marketing goals around SEO.
Some of you will decide that SEO is the primary marketing strategies you’d like to focus on this year. First of all, I think it’s a GREAT choice! Not only has SEO helped me now grow two successful businesses, but I have seen my clients’ businesses grow and flourish once they were ranking well on search engines as well!
So, how do you set a goal and benchmark related to SEO? We often work with our clients on exactly this.
The most common long term goal my client set is to get to Page 1 of Google. I actually would rather see you set a goal about what that means for your business. For instance, you’d like to receive at least X number of new client calls/inquiries per month. You’d like to have X number of clients per week so you can leave your agency job. Your practice will increase the number of referrals per month to X so you can open a second location or expand your current location.
Benchmarks for SEO goals
Months 1 & 2 SEO Benchmarks
The first benchmark we’ll want to set is that you’ll move up by X number of spots on Google in the first two months. Usually this is a pretty large number, but it depends on a LOT of factors including how old your website url is, how well you’re already ranking, if you’re trying to rank at a national level (in which case everything’s much slower), etc. This improvement in rankings shows us that we’re on the right track. If we’re not getting significant movement by month two we may be switching up our strategy.
Months 3 & 4 SEO Benchmarks
The second benchmark I usually set is that I want to see a few things:
- An increase in both “impressions” and “clicks” on Google
- That people are staying on your website when they arrive
- At least a small increase in new client phone calls/inquiries
Month 6 SEO Benchmarks
By the end of 6 months, I want to see that your website is ranking really well. Now, if you’re doing less work (for instance if you have a 1-2 page package instead of a 3-4 page package) or are in a really competitive area (New York, London, South Florida, etc), you may not be on the first page for a ton yet as your journey is going to be a little longer. But I do want you on the first page for at least a few keywords. For less competitive areas, we’re usually on the first page for a LOT of keywords by this point!
Most importantly, there should be a significant increase in client phone calls and inquiries at this point. Your business should be growing and you should be feeling a little less stressed.
Month 9 Benchmarks
Often we end the intense phase of our SEO work around 6 months and continue with less intense services such as just posting and optimizing a couple of blog posts per month. Around month 9 it’s time to re-evaluate. Are you still ranking well? Are there new services you’ve added that you’d like to target? I feel like the actual benchmarks here are a little individualized. It might be number of phone calls you’re getting from potential clients. But I’ve also seen people who were getting plenty of phone calls at 6 months but we set a goal that by 9 months just a few more keywords would have gotten to the first page…
Month 12 SEO Benchmarks
In most cases, you should now be in maintenance mode for your SEO. Hopefully you’ve met that really big goal you set for yourself at the beginning of the year! Perhaps you’re ready to set an even bigger SEO goal for next year or are ready to dip your foot into a different form of digital marketing. 🙂
Begin SEO Services offered by Simplified SEO Consulting
Simplified SEO Consulting is pleased to offer you a variety of SEO services designed to meet your needs as a small business owner. If you’re too busy and don’t have time to optimize your website, we offer the popular Done for You SEO Services. With this package, our team of SEO specialists will optimize your page for you. If you are the do-it-yourself type, we can help you too. We have SEO training packages designed to teach you the skills you need to get your website ranking well including our “Top of Google” online course and our in person SEO training workshops.
About the author:
Jessica Tappana is a therapist, group practice owner & an SEO expert. Jessica is passionate about helping therapists and their ideal clients find one another. She believes quality mental health care can change the world. Her group practice has grown primarily through great SEO. It now has seven clinicians and one virtual assistant and she still sees around 10 individual therapy clients a week herself. However, most of her focus has shifted to helping other therapists around the world rank better on Google.