Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Revisiting My Predictions for Therapist Web Marketing - 2011

I rarely read or see pundits (political, financial or otherwise) go back and review their predictions. I'm going to try (and maybe see why those others don't!) :-)

So here's what I predicted on January 2, 2011, with my view of what really happened.

1) Google Stays #1, But Something Lurks in the Shadows
What Really Happened: I predicted others would try to eat away at Google's supremacy. But no one has truly come close: not Bing/Yahoo, not Yelp, not Groupon, not even Facebook (yet). I pondered Bing/Yahoo combining with Facebook to have FB be a place you search, too. Didn't happen. We still see three giants with three rather distinct kingdoms: Twitter for microblogging, Facebook for social, and Google for search.

2) The Therapist Directory Wars Continue
What Really Happened: Well, it was more an evolution than a revolution. Psychology Today brought in a new feature that tracked people calling you from their directory - helping prove their value (that the referral came from PT). Despite this, the murmurs I've heard from many therapists is that PT doesn't provide enough value for the higher cost. What I've really noticed is an upstart quality of smaller directories aimed at using video technology (doing the filming, editing and posting themselves). Examples include Therapick and NW Therapy Finder. This, by the way, plays into Prediction #3.

3) Video Takes Off
What Really Happened: It's finally happening, folks. When I go Google a therapist in my city and find new people ahead of ME each month in the video results you see on many search results pages. With the advent of Flip cameras, iPads, iPods, HD webcams and the like, the thing I've been waiting for is finally here (in my estimation). What do you think?

4) Dynamic Website Technology Takes Over
What Really Happened: I'd say I was right on this one. If you built a website in 2011, or started looking into it, I would bet you came across WordPress. Most of the new sites I see are WordPress now (if they are being done as a custom gig, not through GoDaddy, etc.).

5) Reputation Management/Social Media Optimization Becomes a New Focus
What Really Happened: I don't think the reputation management idea really took hold (though if you have gotten a bad review on Yelp or InsiderPages, you have painfully been initiated into it). Social Media? Well, hell yeah it bloomed in 2011. Look at all the Twitter handles you see on every TV show now. Look at the prevalence of "hashtags" now. I'll give myself a point on this one. #selfcongratulation

6) Mobile & How to Deal With It Enters the Conversation
What Really Happened: While the smartphone became ubiquitous, it's impact on therapy was less on marketing than on what happens in the room (from it disrupting families and marriages, to every gosh-darn client pulling out their phone when it's time to schedule the next appointment). But read my upcoming posts to see a NEW twist on this point in 2012.

7) Local! Local! Local!
What Really Happened: I'll give myself points here. The Google Places map took even more prominence in the search engine results. Google Places optimization is much hotter right now than engineering the organic results below. This has driven some people MORE towards Adwords, as the ability to show up for multiple city searches (especially a city you are not located in) did get harder in 2011.

8) Bing + Yahoo = Yawn
What Really Happened: Points, again. Have *you* been all hot and bothered over Bing or Yahoo? I didn't think so. Have you "Binged" anything lately? Have you "Yahoo'ed"? Yeah, me neither. But I Google things every day. Every. Day. Many times a day,

9) Twitter. OK, I Relent.
What Really Happened: From an SEO perspective, a marketing perspective, and a real-life use perspective (for news, fantasy football, breaking stories and the like), I really adopted Twitter in 2011. OK, so I was not a first adopter here. Give me a break, I have a toddler. And perhaps the kick-ass Android phone I got in mid-2011 helped me get into true Twitter-user mode. It's a fun way to kill 2 minutes waiting for a client. After I post this to my blog, I'll Tweet out the news of the post. #isurrender

9) More Use of Paid SEO Consultants
What Really Happened: I would give myself more points if I had said "more %&#@*% cold calls from SEO companies". Really, I get at least one a week, usually with some pseudo-truth about being "Google-authorized" or a "Google Partner". Ha! I've also, in selling SEO services myself, found myself competing against more people this year than ever before. I would bet a dollar you got a cold call from an SEO company this year, too.

OVERALL, I will give myself a solid "B+" grade on my predictions for 2011. But just you wait, I am cooking up a new set of predictions for 2012, that should come out sometime in early January.

Until then, happy marketing!

Sincerely, Peter Hannah
Your Oh-So-Googley Guy