Improving the results you get from digital marketing is undoubtedly one of the most challenging tasks you can undertake as a sleep business leader. Despite many sleep companies making sizeable investments in it, the increasingly complex nature of digital marketing means many are suffering from underperforming campaigns, often without even realising it.
Fortunately, it’s possible to change this and realise digital marketing’s potential to be a highly effective way of delivering growth for your business. We’ve put together this guide to help sleep business leaders who are ready to improve their digital marketing – and want to know the practical steps they can take to elevate their business’s performance.
Here are some of the challenges that you might want digital marketing to solve:
All businesses need to start somewhere – even some established companies still haven’t dipped their feet into digital marketing.
If you’ve recently launched a sleep business, sleep apnea device or other sleep product, you will nearly always make the most gains with digital marketing by using pay-per-click (PPC) activities.
PPC is ideal at this stage of business, because it’s relatively quick and easy to set up through search engines such as Google and Bing. Results can be more or less measured instantly. By comparison, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a longer-term commitment.
Pay Per-Click Is Like Renting A Property
Pay per click – also known as paid search, Google AdWords, Microsoft Advertising or online advertising – is like renting a house: it’s quickly implemented and instantly gives you results (a home), but ultimately can cost more money in the
long-term because you don’t own the space, you just rent it. Owning a home through a mortgage requires longer-term investment (SEO) but ultimately, after several years, guarantees you own your property (in the case of SEO, this will be free search engine results). Trialling PPC as an activity helps your business to gather data. Given that data is the new oil of the 21st century, it is fast becoming a valuable commodity. It can help you answer questions such as, ‘Which customers are likely to convert, and which are not?’ and ‘How can that data be leveraged?’
PPC can be tough to get right and it requires experience. It’s recommended that you have a high-level plan in place that:
Once your campaigns are live you can optimise these to ensure they keep delivering on your goals. This includes regularly:
Knowing what changes to make that will have the biggest impact on your sleep business is vital at this stage. By introducing PPC and implementing the checklist below, you’ll be in a great position to take your marketing to the next level.
At Step 1, you will be starting to consider:
Personas are fictitious representations of the types of people who your sleep-related products and treatments are aimed at. These should include information about their demographic, how much they earn and their health condition, for example. It should also include details that will impact how they access your business offerings, such as how digitally savvy they are and their reading habits. Your personas will constantly evolve as you develop a better understanding of your patients from the data you gather. They will become an integral part of how your business responds to leads and how it tracks and measures your marketing success.
If it’s possible to use remarketing for your sleep treatments, devices or products (check first with a digital marketing agency that specialises in the sleep industry and understands the challenges that your sleep business faces), then you need to include this in your strategy. According to CMO, remarketing can boost ad response by as much as 400 percent. It works by keeping your treatments and products top of mind as patients search and compare these with your competitors’ offerings.
A good way to gain traction quickly is by segmenting your contacts and creating targeted email campaigns to your audiences. This could be a promotion for first purchases or news about a sleep device update. According to DMA, targeted emails generate more than half (57%) of all email revenue, so it makes complete sense to do this.
SEO results are cumulative, so the sooner you start planning to make even small changes to help your website rank better in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), the sooner you will see improvements. More on SEO planning in Step_02.
TIP: Before moving on to the next stage of activity, make sure that you can track sales or leads and can attribute these to your advertising endeavours.
By this stage, you would have seen the results that PPC delivers and can confidently commit funds to ensure PPC activity is nurtured on an ongoing basis.
If you’re not quite at this stage yet, then at the very least, you’ll be keeping an eye on PPC and trialling an increase in spend, and an expansion of your PPC campaigns. Some sleep businesses will instantly see the importance of PPC and may opt to employ someone specifically for this task, others will invariably attempt to get their catchall go-to member of staff to manage it (often not a good idea).
Now is the time to start building out the digital marketing strategy you started working on in Step_01. As well as the personas, unique selling points, channels and the tactics that you’ll use, it should include SEO planning.
If you’re outsourcing SEO to an expert, which is recommended due to the complex nature of it, then the plan they deliver to you should include:
TIP: In smaller businesses particularly, this stage of growth is likely to include educating your employees about the importance of SEO, website content and digital marketing in general. They may need to be trained on how to update website copy and publish new pages that you consider important for the longer-term goals of driving traffic to the website.
At Step 2, you will be starting to consider:
Managing your activity involves having clearly defined processes in place for generating and converting leads. Here’s a step-by-step example:
1. Re-engage existing customers.
2. Capture more existing traffic.
3. Respond to leads immediately.
4. Improve the customer experience.
5. Ask for referrals.
6. Upsell to existing customers.
7. Optimise the marketing process.
8. Nurture new patients; and
9. Promote devices, products and treatments to new patients.
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are powerful ways of motivating prospective patients to take the necessary steps to becoming your customer. By clicking on your CTAs, they are indicating that their trust in your business is growing and they’re becoming increasingly receptive to purchasing from you.
As your knowledge of your target audience grows, you may realise that your website and landing pages don’t accurately reflect their who they are and what they need. Using your audience insights to continually optimise the questions you ask on your forms, the images you use and the content that you provide for example, will help to position your brand more favourably when new patients compare your sleep devices, products and sleep treatments to those of your competitors.
Most customers (92%) read online reviews and testimonials before deciding to buy. According to the Spiegel Research Center, these help to establish trust in your brand and can improve the conversion rates of your offerings by a staggering 270 percent, compared to not featuring any product reviews at all.
For businesses that rely on leads (whether B2B or B2C), assessing the quality of those generated by your digital marketing is paramount. Lead quality can be improved by targeting your audiences more accurately and by continually improving your website content, and the ways it creates greater interest in your sleep equipment and treatments.
When a new patient contacts your business, you need to respond to them as quickly as possible – ideally within five minutes of receiving their enquiry. If you leave it longer than that you risk losing that prospective customer and the funds you spent acquiring them.
The skill and time involved in getting digital marketing right means it cheaper for many businesses to simply outsource it. In doing so, they can potentially gain access to a fully integrated marketing team with years of experience who can work on a wide range of digital tasks for them.
When you’re hiring a marketing agency, it’s important to be clear in your own mind that the agency satisfies these 3 criteria:
Knowing exactly what to ask digital agencies can help you ascertain if their services will work for your sleep devices, products or sleep treatments. These questions include:
It goes without saying that your agency team should be highly skilled and experienced in digital marketing. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, so it pays to do your due diligence and check their credentials before you consider hiring them.
A high performing agency should have an in-depth understanding of your business and the type of leads you’re generating. Agencies that specialise in the sleep industry will have better insights into this than others, because they will have honed their skills in this area. If you’re considering hiring an agency that serves a broad range of industries, make sure they have enough resources to go to the level of depth required to get the results you need.
You and your agency should have a shared view of what can realistically be achieved with your existing budget. Expecting more than your agency can deliver could leave you incredibly frustrated, so have a clear understanding from the outset about your goals and how these will be achieved.
Your agency should provide you with a main point of contact (your account manager) who has a good overview of everything the agency is doing on your behalf. You should receive weekly and monthly reports from them that show, for example:
TIP: If your digital marketing agency is tasked with delivering leads, it may rest with you and your team to convert these into new patients. Be clear with your agency about the amount of time and the level of skill required to achieve this. For businesses that experience high volumes of leads, then lead distribution and response software is the way to go here. Drop us a line if you’d like us to make some recommendations.
With a sales and marketing funnel in place, you’ve now reached a stage where you’re generating revenue from your owned, paid and earned activity.
An upward trend in traffic, leads and sales should be apparent by now, as a result of the marketing activities that you’re carrying out on a range of different channels.
Your team should now know how to use Google Analytics to understand where your website traffic is coming from. They should also have tidied up your PPC advertising to the point where you know what works and what doesn’t work. You should understand your cost per lead or sale from PPC and be able to scale spend accordingly.
Businesses at this stage may have increased their PPC budget and spend, possibly reaching a ceiling budget or using an unlimited budget, as long as profit has been achieved.
You should ideally be trialling email marketing to nurture your existing leads, re-engage your database and to promote your sleep device products and sleep treatments. The way you collect and store consent to email marketing message needs to be complaint with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Non-EU countries are also introducing their own laws and regulations that affect email marketing, and you should be aware of how these could impact your efforts.
Your SEO plan should be in place, with an expectation that it won’t generate quick results, but longer-term success. Ideally, you would have outsourced this to an SEO expert who is also tasked with implementing it.
Technical and PR-based activities are needed for a successful SEO strategy. Some is this can still be done internally, while some elements, such as the technical aspect, may need a trusted developer to help complete.
TIP: Managing your SEO activities takes skill and expertise, so it’s worth hiring an expert. Activities that are carried out less than perfectly can have a negative impact on your existing rankings.
At Step 3, you will have:
You should now be using organic SEO, paid search, paid social and organic social to effectively drive leads to your website.
Your inbound strategy will include tracking and measuring the types of visitors coming to your website and the actions they perform while on your site. Your explainer videos, chatbots, landing pages, forms, blogs and other content play an essential role in engaging leads and nurturing them to conversion. These should strive to answer their questions, build trust in your brand and create a positive customer experience.
Most businesses today (89%) assume they will have to compete on the basis of customer experience, according to Gartner. Every touchpoint that you have with new patients – from your paid search ads to your customer support – should be viewed as an opportunity to improve this. Your goal is to show that your business is human-centric and trustworthy, but also that you understand their needs so well that you can exceed their expectations and delight them.
The return on investment for email marketing is US$38 for every US$1 businesses spend, according to Litmus. This makes email marketing key to the success of your overall digital marketing strategy. By this stage, you should be sending a range of mobile-optimised emails, including welcome emails, lead nurturing emails such as newsletters, product update emails, event invitations, survey requests and so on. To increase open rates always provide audiences with content targeted to them, segment your lists and send emails at a regular rate each month.
Surveying your patients and ascertaining how they feel about your brand enables you to make data-driven decisions about how to improve your devices, treatments and products. This can help retain customers for longer, encourage them to become brand advocates, and ultimately increase your business’s profitability. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that can help you determine just how loyal your customers are. There’s more on this at Step_04.
There was a time when many sleep industry leaders only marketed their products to medical professionals. Now, with digital technology empowering patients to become more involved in their healthcare outcomes, leaders are asking, “How can I make patients aware of our product so they can ask clinicians for it by name?”
Direct-to-patient marketing is game-changing because it empowers patients to ask for branded products. If you’re not already marketing to patients, here are some reasons why you should consider it:
Business leaders who see the value of digital marketing as a means of achieving business growth – particularly when they can see that it pays for itself – will almost certainly have trialled a full range of digital marketing activities by this stage. This may include all or some of the following:
Some of these may have been profitable for your business while others not so successful. It’s vitally important that your marketing agency provides you with data in easily digested form, so you can make the appropriate financial decisions. At this stage, dedicated marketing managers may be required to work in-house to collectively bring together the myriad of data from across the business to provide you with greater insights into your customers and how you can improve conversion rates.
Alternatively, you can outsource the work to an experienced marketing agency who can report such data and work closely with the business to help it reach its goals.
A digital marketing drive should be fully ingrained within the business mindset. At this point, you should be considering ways to increase traffic to the website and increase conversion potential.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), involves continuously optimising a website to influence purchase/lead behaviour in order to maximise the value of every visitor on the website. Businesses at this stage probably won’t have a full CRO program in place, but will have dabbled in some split-testing and other internal tests based on conversations and debates that regularly take place in the office (‘What’s more important to our customers, this page or that page; this USP or that USP?’) Additional tracking and data will probably be required for this to be successful.
Thinking about the customer and how to nurture their overall lifetime value should also be considered at this point.
Email should already be an ongoing activity, but with increased traffic, sales and data other avenues open up in addition to a standard blanket email, such as:
Such email activities should include a level of automation that provides effective reporting and attribution of email activities.
An important question that every business at this stage should be able to answer (and if not, they should at the very least put a plan in place to work on it) is, what is the customer lifetime-customer value? The LTV figure helps to forecast growth and moves the business away from quick-win profitable sales or leads, to truly understanding what their affordable cost-per-acquisition is for future growth. More on this in your Step 4. Checklist below.
At this stage, some marketing channels may have reached a bottleneck and appear unable to expand further, at least without considerably broadening their targeting to reach wider audiences that are located further down the sales funnel.
PPC, for example, may have reached an apex in terms of ROI, and an unlimited budget has already ensured that the core services or products have maxed out traffic and sales potential. Constant experimentation with a test budget can be used to trial new avenues, with the business considering how best to expand its range of services or its product range, in order to move into newer markets and drive new avenues of traffic.
At Step 4, you will be starting to consider:
LTV tells you how much revenue you are likely to generate from each customer over the lifetime that they purchase from your business. You can use this to inform decisions about how much you pay to acquire new patients and how changes to a sleep device, product or treatment could affect the revenue generated from each patient. It can also indicate the revenue you’re missing out on if a patient doesn’t become a loyal customer. You can work out your LTV using this formula: Average revenue generated by a customer minus the cost of acquiring them and the cost of serving them.
A MarTech roadmap helps you define the technology stack that you need to strategically grow your business. This should include marketing technology that helps you acquire new patients and improves how you engage and upsell to existing ones. As your business becomes more data-focused, it should also feature a customer data platform (CDP). This pulls together data from all the customer touchpoints across your organisation to provide a single, unified view of the customer.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Much of Corporate America is obsessed with its net promoter scores”. NPS is a measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction. It’s based on one question: “How likely are you to recommend our products and services to someone you know?” NPS can help you track the customer experience. It is also used as an indication of individual, team and business performance over a period of time. If your competitors are using NPS, you can benchmark your business against theirs. An alternative to NPS is RAP Scores (Referral plus Purchase Score). Instead of tracking patient intent, it tracks the actual behaviour of patients who have purchased from you.
A key part of your branding is your business’s tone of voice. It forms the basis for your website copy and marketing materials. It should resonate with your audiences and be used to help you stand apart from your competitors. As a starting point, consider what brands you do and don’t want to sound like. Develop a Brand Voice Chart to help define this further and to provide consistency across your website, content and other marketing materials. If you’re dealing with more than one agency, it’s especially important to share your Brand Voice Chart with them in case they have their own ideas about what you should sound like.
this stage you will probably be testing and iterating on a regular basis, and able to report on improvements that have been made as a result of:
Any user experience (UX) research that you’re doing and the tools you’re using for customer experience management and personalisation should be yielding results that feed into your results and projections.
At this stage, your digital marketing efforts should have come to fruition and marketing is now a full-time job for a member of your team.
Even with the experience of a dedicated agency, you will probably need an internal liaison and digital marketing supplementary team to help implement the top-level strategy that dictates the direction the business will take.
A fully data-led approach (not based on feelings or assumptions and other guesswork) will be of utmost importance at this stage, so that small tweaks to campaigns can be carried out to drive potentially immense gains in the long-term. You should understand which channels deliver most of your short-term value and long-term value, and how best to nurture lifetime value and drive conversion.
A fully-fledged CRO program will be in place, with your website being continuously updated, tested and refined to increase conversion rates and customer value. The latest algorithmic digital marketing techniques and automation tools will be employed, ensuring the most cutting-edge activities are being undertaken to help ensure the company is reaching an increasingly savvy market.
At Step 5, your digital marketing looks like this:
Digital technology is now integrated in all areas of your business, enabling you to deliver your sleep devices, products and sleep treatments in better ways. You’re using automation to help meet patients’ expectations and – most importantly – to improve the customer experience. You understand what digital transformation means for your business and how to combine it with your strategy to deliver results.
In organisations that are rapidly evolving there’s an increasing emphasis on digital initiatives such as machine learning, that deliver increased agility and speed for the entire business. Businesses that use artificial intelligence to gain insights into their customers, have the ability to react faster with personalised responses. If for example, a prospective patient is searching for a sleep device on your website, a search engine with AI built into it can suggest similar items that are relevant to their search. This can help them discover products they may not have known they needed or existed.
By now, you can understand data and can derive insights from it. You know for example, what attracts patients to your website, what’s stopping them from converting and what convinces other patients to convert. You’re using this data to continually improve your targeting – A/B split test your content assets – and you’re optimizing campaigns across channels to generate better results.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is useful not only for enterprise sales but also if you’re looking to acquire new businesses or merge with others in a bid to stay competitive. ABM is the process of targeting individuals or groups of individuals within organizations with marketing that’s personalized to them. It enables you to track and measure your marketing ROI more easily than inbound marketing, spend less time on campaigns that don’t generate results, shorten your sales cycle and build better relationships with your clients. It also brings your sales and marketing teams together, because your marketing team knows exactly who to target and your sales team knows they’re receiving high quality leads.
As patients move from say, your remarketing ad to your website, then download a resource, perhaps opt into your emails, purchase a product and ask customer support a question, the data they generate across the buyer’s journey and the many touchpoints, can now be managed from your customer data platform. Your CDP can help you map and connect customer touchpoints across the whole of your organisation – not just marketing, but sales and customer success too – providing a single view of the customer. This ultimately gives you the data you need to continually improve the buyer’s journey and customer experience.
Your PR agency and online reputation management software (ORM) are like two sides of the same coin. PR is more outward facing, fostering influencer and media relationships, and managing your brand’s image. ORM works behind the scenes, leveraging more technical-based tactics such as SEO, content and social media to improve the image of your brand. ORM software may well be part of your MarTech stack, performing tasks such as optimizing SEO, managing your online review sites and acting as a content management system.
Solutions such as The LDRS – Somnowell Marketing’s lead distribution and response software – help fast growth sleep businesses to automate the capture of leads and nurture these multiple times, across multiple touchpoints to conversion.
The solution is used by the world’s leading healthcare businesses to overcome the challenge of how to manage high volumes of new patients enquiring about life-changing treatments.
Digital marketing is the core of your business’s promotional activity and we hope that this article has given you a framework for getting started and making improvements.
At Somnowell Marketing, we accelerate the growth of sleep companies using customer-centric, data-driven digital marketing services that dramatically increase leads. We are a fully integrated part of the sleep device company Somnowell, making us uniquely positioned to leverage knowledge accrued from over a decade of working in the sleep industry. Somnowell Marketing’s end-to-end digital marketing services and solutions include:
For businesses experiencing large volumes of leads we offer a lead distribution and response solution (‘the LDRS’) that automates lead management – automatically connecting patients with local dentists and nurturing would-be patients to conversion.
If you’re interested in discussing your digital marketing requirements please get in touch with us below.