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Using a Blog to More Effectively Communicate with Patients

 
blogging for doctors

In today’s healthcare environment, doctors are quickly shuffling from one exam room to the next, inputting data, and finding very little time left over to truly communicate with their patients.  Patients, in turn, feel neglected and often leave with the impression that many of their questions are still unanswered or their concerns still unaddressed.  Not surprisingly, research has shown that, among the most frequent patient complaints, is the feeling that their doctor is simply not listening to them. 

The Power of Search in the Medical Sector

 
The Power of Search in the Medical Sector

There’s no denying that the answer to every (well, most) questions lies in the wide palm of Google.  More people are turning to the internet with not only general, but the most specific questions; and the sophisticated algorithms that search engines leverage are capable of providing clarity for the most precise query. 

Eat24: Complaining About Facebook is Annoying!

 
Eat24 Whining About Facebook

There are no free lunches, but apparently Eat24 thinks there should be when it comes to Facebook. Eat24 recently expressed its frustration with the latest Facebook algorithm change through a breakup letter. The focus of the letter centered on the new Facebook algorithm which is said to decrease the organic reach of business page posts on Facebook. As a result of this change, many companies have resorted to advertising on Facebook in an effort to reach their fan base.  There have been many articles written and public complaints voiced regarding these new changes. After reading the breakup letter by Eat24, I am convinced that the more knowledgeable and adaptive companies will be the ones that succeed with their ad efforts on Facebook. I am also convinced that the lazy and entitled tone showcased in the Eat24 letter is a microcosm of what is wrong with our business world today.

After reading Eat24’s whining tirade to Facebook, I was left with one lasting thought. This thought can be summarized in one word—Annoying!  I really wish companies like EAT24 would stop complaining about changes regarding Facebook, because it shows their ugly side, as opposed to their unfunny side. If I were fortunate enough to sit down with Eat24 to discuss their views on the Facebook changes, I would say the following:

EAT24, let’s get down to the basics: Facebook owes you NOTHING. In fact, those “followers” that you have “earned” are not yours.  Not a single one of those individuals following your uninteresting page of cat clutter belongs to you. They did not join Facebook, so that they may follow your latest pizza infographic. In the letter, you act as if you are partially responsible for the success of Facebook with quotes like, “All we do is give and all you do is take”. Ironically, the reality is the exact opposite. Eat24, you have done all the taking, and Facebook has done all the giving. I wonder where your business would be today without all the free post, status updates, photo galleries, and coupon offerings made over the last few years. Instead of providing Facebook with a courtesy flush, you continue to mope and complain about how life is not fair.

Online Reviews For Doctors: Ignorance Is Not Bliss

 
Online Reviews for Doctors BlinkJar Media

Most remember a time as a child, if you did not want to listen to your annoying sibling talking to you in the back seat of the family car; an easy solution was to cover your ears with your hands and scream "I am not listening" about a thousand times.  Inevitably, if you practiced this action consistently, the sibling would finally give up on any hope of getting through to you. This successful tactic meant you could move on with life without having to hear from that annoying sibling. In fact, ignoring any attempt of communication from them was the ideal situation. In a way, ignorance was bliss when it came to any acknowledgement of their existence. 

Today, the voice of the patient can be heard loud and clear from so many corners of the digital world.  In the social media-driven world that we live, there is a growing trend of patients migrating to online review sites in an effort to rate their recent medical visits.

A recent study by Deloitte indicates that 52 percent of US internet users are likely to use sites with reviews and ratings of doctors. If over half of the patient population is at least considering the use of these review sites, then the days of physicians ignoring these online reviews are gone.

Until recently, when the subject of online reviews was discussed, it was completely understandable to be that child in the back seat ignoring any input from the loud and annoying sibling. However, taking the "ignorance is bliss" approach today can be harmful to a physician. As online platforms continue to evolve, a physician's reputation can be enhanced or damaged in an instant.

PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 48 percent of 1,000 survey respondents said that they had read online reviews related to health care, such as doctor ratings, hospital reviews, insurance company information, and medical device reviews. Of this 48 percent, 68 percent said that these reviews influenced their decision and that they used the information to choose where to get health care. The voice of the patient has been magnified through the power and reach of the web. For this reason alone, the medical sector can no longer ignore these online review sites. In a nutshell, ignorance is NOT bliss in today's environment.

Many physicians want to do something about it, but simply feel that online reviews are completely out of their control. While some of the content placed on these review sites is more "patient-generated", there are a number of areas on the review sites that are completely in the control of the physician.

We have made a quick list of seven suggested actions that doctors can take in an effort to improve their online reputation:

Take Control and Ownership

Nearly every online review site allows the physician to claim their individual page.  This provides physicians with the ability to update and add relevant and accurate information to their page. Whether it is the location of the practice or the educational background of the doctor, the control of these changes should rest in the hands of the medical practice.  This step takes time and effort, but it is well-worth it in the long run. We understand physicians are extremely busy, so there are tools and services that manage this process for the medical practice.

Produce Great Content

The best way to keep negative content out of sight is by creating plenty of positive content. Content creation is completely in the control of the medical practice, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Examples of content are blogs, videos, infographics, photos, e-books, newsletters, etc. Content creation establishes the medical practice as the authority in their field of practice, and it encourages positive feedback from current and future patients.

 

Establish A Social Media Presence

While it is not necessary to have a presence on all social media platforms, it is wise to find the right social media outlets for the medical practice.  Social media allows the practice to share and amplify content that has been created with the social media community. By offering up content through social media, it establishes the physician as a thought-leader in the community. Social media also provides physicians with another avenue to answer any possible questions regarding negative online reviews.

 

Respond To All Reviews

If someone was kind enough to write a positive review, take 5 minutes to respond. The method or avenue of response is subjective and does not necessarily matter. Physician responses can be made by a hand-written card, a personal phone call, or an online response.  Likewise, for negative responses, the same strategy holds true. In fact, many physicians often find that when a response is made to a negative review, the individual subsequently removes the review. In a study by market research company PhoCusWright, 78 percent of respondents said that a management response to online reviews makes them believe that the local business cares more about them. The same holds true for physician responses to patient reviews.

Listen To Your Patients

The easy approach by doctors and medical practices is to dismiss any negative reviews made online by patients. However, taking an objective approach by listening to the reviews may have a far greater impact with your patient base. Some of the reviews point out valid weaknesses within the practice. If these weaknesses are addressed and a change is made, the physician or the medical practice can address these changes via an online response.

Do NOT Fake It

Please do not be one of those businesses that submits fake reviews in an effort to improve your online reputation. This is considered review fraud, and it is not worth it. Many sites have review filters that detect and delete fake reviews.  Additionally, some review sites, like Yelp, will implement a consumer alert system designed to warn reviewers about recent fake or "paid" reviews associated with the business.   

Continue To Build A Great Offline Reputation

How people view you in person tends to remain consistent with how they think of you online. By working on their offline reputation, doctors can influence their online reputation with little effort. By simply creating a positive experience with patients on a daily basis, the online reputation of the physician will take care of itself. In fact, having a likeable and professional offline reputation will cause others to rise in the defense of a physician who happens to have a negative review online.

There is a significant amount of control left in the hands of the physician when it comes to their online reputation. Physicians that embrace this control and take a proactive approach with their online reputation will experience a positive impact in their medical practice. On the other hand, the physicians that choose to ignore their online reputation will place their reputation in the hands of others. Which option do you prefer?

As a medical marketing agency specializing in Inbound Marketing in Baton Rouge, the staff at BlinkJar Media monitors the online reputation and reviews of our medical clients. If you are in the medical industry and want to discover the current status of your online reputation, click here for a free online reputation report.   

 

A Baton Rouge Ad Agency's Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials

 
A Baton Rouge Ad Agency's Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us.  A glorious day of chicken wings, barley pops and various football shaped delicacies, the likes of which you haven’t enjoyed in at least 2 entire weeks since the last football game you watched.  As you can tell by the shared and “leaked” videos on Facebook and Twitter, apparently companies advertise in this game.  Last year’s game was watched by an estimated 108.4 million people (that’s 216.8 million eyeballs and earballs if you’re keeping score at home)(I’m kind of good at math…).  What’s grown to be a big, maybe bigger, anticipation of the world championship of American football are these said ads.  So between watching the league’s #1 defense, the aptly named “Legion of Boom”, or Richard Sherman and 10 other dudes, in the Seattle Seahawks taking on the most prolific offense since pigs grew skin in Peyton "I like this tapenade" Manning’s Denver Broncos, you’ll need to incorporate some strategery, or at the very least “respect the pause” to catch the next installment of what promises to be a range of mediocre to pretty good commercials.  (Well, I either went “Beast Mode” or that was a run on sentence, either way I’m eating some skittles).  Your saving grace to see all of the action as it happens, on and off the field, will be if you can wait to wade through your pile of Miller Lite throwback cans until the halftime show starts (can we get the Super Dome electricians to set up Bruno Mars’ equipment?).  As long as you make it back for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Flea isn’t naked, that would be what Chuck Sheen refers to as “winning”.

Richard Sherman: A Marketing Opportunity Wasted

 
Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks

Last night, Richard Sherman, a rising star for the Seattle Seahawks, had ONE MOMENT to elevate his position in the eyes of millions of viewers, and he blew it. This article is one opinion (mine) on how Richard Sherman broke some very basic rules of marketing. This article is not meant to be an argument or an attack on his personal character. It is simply my opinion on how Richard Sherman violated all of the “positioning” rules of marketing. I fully expect to receive the “who cares” about marketing response. I completely understand that Richard Sherman is on the Seattle Seahawks to play football. However, when you break this incident down, everyone, including Seattle Seahawk fans, should care. This is truly a case of Richard Sherman: A Marketing Opportunity Wasted. 

For those of you in the extreme minority, here is a quick breakout of what happened last night. With thirty seconds left in NFC Championship game, Richard Sherman made an incredible, “Super-Bowl Saving” play to secure a spot for the Seahawks in the big game. Prior to the play, the game had everyone, including myself, on the edge of their seat. If this game ending play had been the lasting moment of the night, most would have started their week off with Richard Sherman and the Seahawks as their “new favorite” team. If most were like me, I was beginning to buy into the Seattle story and was even becoming a believer in the whole 12th man phenomenon (even though they completely stole that one from Texas A&M). All of this positive energy was moving towards the Seahawks until this happened:

This one moment destroyed and depleted any positive energy that I ever had for the player, the team, and the city. This horrific moment should be a large lesson in marketing. Richard Sherman violated many of the basic rules of marketing, which are:

A Leader In the Industry Does Not Shout It – If a company is the leader in the sector, there is no point in running ads that scream “We’re Number 1!” As Al Reis and Jack Trout masterfully point out in their book, Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind, the reason behind this fact is psychological. Either the prospect knows you are number one and wonders why you are so insecure that you have to say so. Alternatively the prospect doesn’t know you are number one, and there is probably a reason why.

There is No “I” in marketing – There is an "I" in marketing, but I think you know what I am trying to say. The first words out of Richard Sherman's mouth in the post-game interview were “I”. He failed to credit his coach, his team, or anyone other than himself. “I am the best corner in the game” was the most important item for him to communicate. The road to fame and fortune is rarely found within yourself. It may be difficult for the ego to accept, but personal success is always based more on what others have done for you. Focusing on what you have done for yourself is not a ticket to future success in marketing. Marketing strategies that simply talk about how great a company is fail every time, because it is extremely self-serving. No one cares how great you are. Marketing messages that speak about how they can help a consumer have a greater impact than ones that provide no benefit to the consumer. Speak the language of the consumer, and your brand will reap the benefits. Richard Sherman failed to speak the language of the consumer, and the Seahawks brand will suffer dramatically for it.

Don’t obsess over your competition – Having a pulse on what your competitors are doing is a perfectly normal marketing strategy. Obsessing over what your competition is doing is another story. Richard Sherman was obsessed with the competitor. There is nothing wrong with using the comments or actions of a competitor as fuel or incentive to improve your play. There is something completely wrong about trying to “rub salt in the wound”of an opponent when victorious. A friendly rivalry brings out the best in marketers and competitive athletes alike. Taking the Richard Sherman approach is an entirely different story, and it is one that will eventually catch up to you in both marketing and professional sports.

One Chance To Establish A Position In The Mind of The Consumer – As the famous rapper, Eminem, states, “Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?” When it comes to developing a marketing strategy, a company must create a solid position in the mind of the consumer, so that they are consistently remembered for a certain category or sector. Since we live in an over-communicated world, companies only have one shot to be remembered by the audience. Believe it or not, before last night’s game, Richard Sherman was virtually an unknown player in the minds of 90% of the viewing audience. Outside of the city of Seattle and the hardcore NFL viewer, the name Richard Sherman was probably more likely to be associated with an employee of Microsoft, rather than one of the best cornerbacks in the league. So, with this one shot, Richard Sherman could have turned millions of undecided fans around the nation into raving and unwavering Seahawk fans for the upcoming Super Bowl. Instead, Richard Sherman’s ONE SHOT turned those undecided fans into Seahawk haters. Without saying a word, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos gained an entire country of supporters outside of the state of Washington. In my opinion, Richard Sherman let the moment slip. He had his shot, and he blew it. He turned millions of uninterested and innocent by-standers into raving Denver Broncos Fans. So that my friends, is a marketing nightmare!

Richard Sherman made an enormous impact in the game both on and off the field. Unfortunately, for the Seahawks, their star cornerback turned the entire nation into Seahawk haters. It could have been an entirely different story had Richard Sherman thought about others, instead of just focusing on just himself. Oddly enough, that is the most important marketing and life lesson of all.

Photo of Richard Sherman provided by: Richard Sherman Wikipedia Page 

How To Write A Blog Post In An Hour: Martin Luther King Style

 
I have a dream BlinkJar Media

On August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr gave the “I Have A Dream” Speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. As one of the most powerful orations in our nation’s history, the lessons extracted from this eleven minute speech are endless. The positive effects this speech has had on civil rights in our country are well-documented, but they are not the focus of this blog today. Rather, I am referencing certain communication jewels of this historic speech as they may be utilized in one of the more popular forms of communication today, blogging. While blogging has risen in popularity over the last few years, there are some people who are challenged with producing and publishing blogs in a timely manner. By simply keeping the core elements of the “I Had A Dream” speech in mind, writing a blog in less than an hour will be a breeze.

9 Worst Examples of Holiday Stock Photography

 
bad stock photos

Images are a vital piece in any marketing message.  Whether in an ad or a blog post, adding a visual aspect to your message greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll be noticed and successfully get your point across.  About 90% of information processed by the brain is visual in nature, and by far the top performing social media posts are those that include photos.  Yet, as any marketer knows, there is a dark underbelly in the world of stock photography.

Sure, some photos that you stumble across in a service like Shutterstock or iStock will be relevant and impactful.  However, many more will be corny, and in some cases, just plain disturbing.  Given the time of year, the BlinkJar staff has been writing more than our fair share of holiday-centered blogs and social media posts.  Of course, that translates into lots of searches for holiday stock artwork, and in those searches, we have found more than a few really bad images. 

We have compiled the worst of the worst into this single post for your viewing pleasure.  Just take a look at some of the fantastically weird photos available for use in your next holiday ad, and try to imagine how the photographer and models ever decided that this was a good idea!  We each have our own idea of which takes the cake as official worst holiday stock photo, but we want to get your opinion as well.  Comment below to let us know which of these gets your vote, along with your best caption!

1. Nothing says Christmas quite like Santa and public urnination, amiright?

Understanding Best Marketing Practices for Facebook vs. Twitter

 
marketing for twitter and facebook

A recent study conducted by Ascend2, found that very few companies are pleased with the results of their SEO efforts.  At best, most found their outcomes to be only “somewhat successful.”  The balancing act of SEO has proven difficult for many to master.  Which tactics are most impactful?  What combination of efforts will provide the best results?  The mix may be different from one business to the next, and what proves successful for one may not be the best approach for another.  However, there is one key element that remains a necessity for all, the ultimate goal of all marketing efforts: customer engagement. 

 

While this ability to engage with an audience is the internet’s most powerful marketing capability, it is also the most difficult to harness.  There are currently over 1 billion websites, all vying for a user’s attention at any given time, and only a very small percentage of these are getting it right.  For the rest, the breakdown in their efforts often occurs in social media.  According to a recent study, 50 percent of companies who struggled with SEO were not integrating social media as part of their strategy, a mistake which has left them behind the pack.

 

These networks are where potential customers spend the vast majority of their online time.  Internet users average about four times more time on Facebook than on Google.  And while the options for users are seemingly limitless (Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest), the two most powerful social media players are undeniably Facebook and Twitter.  Learning how to approach these two correctly can result in increased engagement and leads for nearly any business but only when done correctly.  Although they are often lumped together in social media discussions, each is quite different from the other and strategies for using them should be tailored accordingly.

 

Facebook

 

Facebook currently boasts over 1 billion users.  It is by far the largest and most frequented social media presence on the web. Here, users are typically connected with actual friends and acquaintances.  They each like an average of 40 pages and collectively share 4.75 billion items each day.  The potential reach for any business here is massive, but there is etiquette to be followed.  Post too often or share irrelevant content and users will quickly disengage.  Post too little and they won’t engage at all.  To make the most of a Facebook page and its fans, there are some points to remember:

 
  • 75% of engagement from a Facebook post occurs in the first five hours

  • 1500 stories will filter through the average newsfeed daily, with only 20% making the final cut

  • Photos receive 53% more likes and 104% more comments than the typical post

  • Posting frequency is ideal around 3-5 times daily

  • Users can be engaged in conversation with open-ended questions

 

Twitter

 

Marketers frequently make the mistake of approaching Twitter just as they do Facebook.  They use the same posts, photos, and links to engage two completely separate audiences on two very different platforms.  The total number of users on Twitter is considerably less than Facebook at about 500 million.  However, the pace is significantly faster.  Each day, an average of 400 million tweets are sent, and becoming lost in the ever moving Twitter feed of a user is a very real possibility.  In order to find success here, a different set of rules should be followed and some facts kept in mind:

 
  • 50% of retweets occur in only 18 minutes

  • Tweets need to be 140 characters or less

  • Photos are less viewable and should be used selectively

  • Tweets should be relatable and worthy of retweeting by others

  • Frequency of tweets is ideal at 10-20 daily

 

SEO is the cornerstone of any business’s internet livelihood.  However, few understand how it is best approached.  In many cases, a misuse or lack of social media presence contributes to less than satisfying results.  Understanding the nuances of major social networks like Facebook and Twitter and tailoring usage accordingly can drastically impact user engagement.  Of surveyed companies who considered their SEO efforts to be very successful, 38% included extensive social media integration as part of their strategies.  It is an element that can no longer be ignored or approached haphazardly.  For true online success, businesses must not only utilize social networks, but they must do so strategically for each one.

 

BlinkJar Media focuses on social media as a critical part of overall SEO strategy.  We help our clients engage users on these platforms every day and can help your company do the same.  Simply click here to request a free marketing consultation and assessment of your current online presence.  Additionally, if you would like to learn more about the importance of social media in your marketing approach, click the image below for a copy of our free and informative guide.

Content Marketing: Why Should A Local Business Invest In It?

 
Content Marketing BlinkJar Media

In the world of marketing, there seems to be an increased and consistent mention of content marketing. What exactly is content marketing and why should a local business care?  Content is a broad term that refers to anything created and uploaded to your website. All the items that make up your website can be considered content: information pages, blogs, videos, podcast, images, landing pages, e-books, and webinars are all considered to be content. Pretty simple so far, but why should any business put any effort into producing and publishing this content to their site?

A strong focus on content marketing by local businesses is imperative for many valid reasons.  We have developed three main reasons companies should be focusing on content marketing and have listed them below for your reference.  Additionally, we have produced a short video that further explains the crucial and positive impact content marketing can have on your business's bottom line. As a content marketing firm in Baton Rouge, we focus much of our concentration on content marketing for businesses across the nation. We certainly see the impact that a good content marketing strategy can have for a business.

Why should a local business focus on content creation in their marketing strategy?

  1. The rules of marketing have changed. As David Meerman Scott explained in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR, “Prior to the web, organizations had only two significant choices to attract attention: buy expensive advertising or get a third-party link from the media. But the web has changed the rules.”  A mix of outbound or traditional media and Inbound Marketing strategies, like content creation, is the best approach (in our opinion).  David Meerman Scott is absolutely correct in saying the rules have changed.  Ten years ago, there was not a chance that your blog or e-book would be read by hundreds or thousands of prospective consumers.  Today, with the addition of social media channels and search engines, everyone is a publisher of content and can reach their actual consumer with or without the traditional media channels.

  2. We are experiencing a seismic shift in consumer behavior today.  Rewind to 10 or 15 years ago, and when you had a question or a need for an item, most would reference the yellow pages.  Today, search engines are the new yellow pages. Whatever the need may be; consumers are searching for the answers online. Your customers read blogs; they google purchases; they follow friends and companies on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Overwhelmingly, your potential or current consumer is using a search engine for educational research on purchasing their next product or service. In 2012, a research study conducted by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive, showed that 89 percent of consumers turn to Google, Bing or another search engines to find information on products, services or businesses prior to making purchases.  And guess what ingredient is a key factor in determining the organic ranking for search engines like Google?  If your answer is fresh content creation, you would be correct.

  3. Everyone is now a publisher – The ease and low cost of publishing via a blog, podcast, video, etc. is enabling nearly everyone to be a Media Company themselves. Gordon Borrell of Borell and Associates said it best when he stated, “the deer have guns now.” For so many years, if you were not a major media outlet, there were really no options to publish your content.  There is no longer a barrier to publishing online, as technology has enabled connections.  The idea of publishing content to attract an audience is no longer reserved for a select few.  Everyone has the potential to produce and publish content and develop an audience.  

These three reasons for publishing content are only the tip of the iceberg. We have published a brief video below that details other pointed reasons for local businesses to start publishing content immediately.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of content marketing,  click on the thumbnail below to view the video.  It is very concise and informative, and it will provide very impactful insight into why your business should take the first step towards adding content creation to the marketing mix. Enjoy!

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