Managing Your Reviews and Reputation While Remaining HIPAA Compliant

Online reviews remain the single most influential way for patients to voice their opinions of your medical practice. Whether true or false, these opinions will be raw, unfiltered, and emotionally driven. They will gravitate towards being high praise or strong disapproval. Your reputation as a healthcare provider hinges on these reviews and your responses to them. 

While many business owners have the freedom to respond to reviews however they see fit, healthcare providers have their hands tied by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Such was the case when a physical therapy office was fined $25,000 in 2016 for posting testimonials on their website without patient consent. We’re here to tell you how you can manage your reputation and craft review responses while remaining HIPAA compliant. 

What Is Protected Under HIPAA?  

Briefly, HIPAA protects “protected health information” (PHI) which relates to “the individual’s past, present, and future physical or mental health or condition, the provision of health care to the individual” and anything that pertains to payment information. Altogether, there are 18 identifiers that indicate when patient information is considered PHI. 

Bottom line: Avoid responding to reviews with information that can reveal a patient’s medical history or medical payment history. No matter what information they divulge in their review, you cannot respond in kind. Above all else, avoid using their name in conjunction with confirmation that you provided them with health care services. 

“How Can I Possibly Respond to Reviews?” 

Keep it anonymous. Keep it general. If the review is positive, a simple thank you will suffice. If the review is negative, again, thank them for taking the time to post a review and offer a phone number they can call to further discuss the issue. Negative reviews may be extremely biased, but people trust them nonetheless. You won’t have the flexibility to solve problems online, so your goal is to take the conversation offline. Only then can you offer a detailed, comprehensive solution to the patient’s grievance. 

Here’s a great example of a HIPAA-compliant response to a positive review: “Our practice strives to provide each patient with the outstanding service and attention they deserve. We love hearing success stories. Thank you for the recommendation, and we wish you all the best! Sincerely, Dr.                and team.” 

Here’s an appropriate response to a negative review: “Thank you for the feedback. It is our hope that every patient leaves our care having had their medical needs met and exceeded. Please contact our facility at XXX-XXX-XXXX with any questions or concerns.” 

Here’s what to avoid: “Dear Mr. Roberts. It was our pleasure to see you this past Tuesday concerning your intestinal surgery. Thank you for your positive review and recommendation!” 

Not only does the above post include the patient’s name, but it also includes information confirming their medical history, including confirmation of their visit, the date of their visit, and details of the patient’s treatment. 

Whether Positive or Negative, Respond to All Reviews

Now that we’ve discussed HIPAA compliance, it’s time to touch on how your reviews should be managed. We recommend responding to every review you receive, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. By doing so, you can mend fences and further build a rapport with your patients while showing potential patients that you are serious about providing the best health care experience possible. 

Your goal is to maintain a trustworthy persona that your patients will recommend online as well as to their family and friends. Only then can you build your online presence, manage your reputation, and attract patients that would have otherwise never trusted you with their health and wellbeing. 

Maintaining Compliance and Your Reputation 

When you take into account reviews across Google, Facebook, Vitals, Healthgrades, WebMD, and other review platforms, managing your online reputation has never been more of a challenge — a challenge you must face nonetheless. Patients are oftentimes blindly trusting of online reviews. They may not know the people leaving reviews, but they value them nearly as much as personal recommendations, sometimes even more so.

Don’t allow your reviews and reputation to fall by the wayside. The only way to dominate your local market is by taking all aspects of your online presence into account.

Are you unsure of how to respond to Google reviews? Don’t have the time? Keeping up with reviews and crafting responses can be a time-consuming challenge. Proper review responses can help you maintain relationships, attract new patients, and grow your business. At LEVERAGE, our experienced team can provide the support you need to ensure that patient reviews are responded to in a timely and HIPAA compliant manner that both improves and extends the patient relationship.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

Why a Mobile-Friendly Website is Essential to a Successful SEO Strategy in 2019

Surprisingly, many organizations still don’t have mobile-friendly websites despite there being over 5 billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide. Usually, they are reluctant to invest because they lack resources or don’t see the value. If your organization falls into this category, and you would like your brand to remain relevant on the most widely used search engines in 2019—which, let’s face it, is quickly approaching—you need to invest in a mobile-friendly website.

Here are three reasons your organization must have a mobile-friendly website as you gear up for 2019.

Reason 1: Increased Mobile Visits

Now that Google labels websites that are optimized for mobile as “mobile-friendly” within its mobile search results, failing to have a mobile-friendly website can have a negative impact on your website’s click-through rate (CTR).

Think about it this way. If a user performs a search with their mobile device, and four of the top five results have a mobile-friendly designation, if all other parameters are equal, the mobile user will give preference to the four results that Google identifies as “mobile-friendly.” This results in a greatly reduced number of click-throughs for websites that haven’t been optimized for mobile while simultaneously stimulating the volume of click-throughs for websites that are.

Fortunately, Google provides a tool that allows website owners to test if their website is mobile-friendly. If a website passes this test, it will receive the mobile-friendly designation.

Reason 2: Higher Mobile Rankings

Google already penalizes websites in mobile search that are not mobile-friendly to ensure that websites that have been optimized for mobile devices rank higher. The world’s most widely used search engine is dedicated to improving the experience of surfing the internet, which is why mobile optimization is so highly coveted. Since 2014, mobile-friendly sites have been steadily increasing in ranking while others have been demoted to search engine results pages (SERPs) that rarely see human eyes.

Consider this quote from the Google blog post that announced the new “mobile-friendly” labels:

“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.” This announcement was made in 2014. Four years later, Google’s dedication to mobile-friendly websites has been unwavering, and mobile optimization has become the foundation of a successful online presence.

Reason 3: Increased Revenue From Mobile

If increasing rankings and click-throughs to your website don’t provide enough incentive to invest in a  mobile-friendly website, hopefully, lost revenue is. Lacking a mobile-friendly website at a time when so many users are turning to mobile devices to find the products and services they need is essentially forfeiting customers over to your competition.

The bottom line is this: without a mobile-friendly website, your organization is already losing revenue. Consumers are becoming less and less willing to put up with poor user-experiences on their mobile devices. If your organization fails to adapt to changing expectations, you will fall by the wayside as your prospective customers seek out the path of least resistance to an improved user experience. Typically, this path will lead them straight to your competitors who have invested in a mobile-friendly website. If you want to continue growing your business in 2019, a mobile-friendly website is crucial to your ongoing success.

Conclusion

Ensure that your organization has a successful SEO strategy in 2019 with a mobile-friendly website. Your organization will benefit from more click-throughs, higher rankings, and most importantly, increased revenue.

Mobile phones possess nearly all of the functionalities of a desktop computer, so it comes as little surprise that more and more interactions are taking place on mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you risk missing out the important micro-moments that drive potential customers into your marketing funnel. At Leverage Digital, our creatives work side-by-side with our web development team to craft award-winning websites that feature superior performance on displays of all sizes.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

 

The Limitations of Free SSL Certificates

You’re probably aware of the importance of installing an SSL Certificate on your website, but shopping for one is a daunting task. If a business resists utilizing an SSL Certificate, their site will be flagged as “not secure” by Google. This causes your business to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

SSL Certificates come in a variety of flavors, but the most important characteristic to consider is whether you want to invest in a full-fledged, paid SSL Certificate or go for the free alternative. As long as you utilize a reputable provider when acquiring your SSL Certificate, your site should meet the requisite benchmarks for security. However, there are still numerous, considerable differences between paid and free certificates.

Whether you opt for a free SSL Certificate or a paid one, the level of SSL encryption will remain largely the same. Free, cheap, and premium SSL Certificates are generally issued with 256-bit certificate encryption and 2048-bit key encryption. Plus, free SSL Certificates, such as those provided by Let’s Encrypt, are trusted by major internet browsers. Unfortunately, that is basically where the similarities end. Free and premium certificates will give your website the “lock” of assurance that reminds users that browsing your site is safe, but if you want your current and future customers to be fully protected when interacting with your site, you should consider the limitations of free SSL Certificates.

Domain Validation Only

Validating your domain gives users peace of mind when browsing your site. It also prevents malicious sites from replicating your domain and deceiving users. Due in part to their limitations, free certificates can be issued almost instantaneously, but faster isn’t always better.

On the Let’s Encrypt FAQ it states: “Let’s Encrypt offers Domain Validation (DV) certificates. We do not offer Organization Validation (OV) or Extended Validation (EV) primarily because we cannot automate issuance for those types of certificates.”

If you plan to collect personal information from your customers, relying exclusively on domain validation could put your website’s visitors at risk.  Additionally, paid certificates more readily support One-Domain, Wildcard, Multi-Domain, and Code Signing SSL Certificates.

Inapt for E-Commerce

Does your business utilize its website for e-commerce? Collecting credit card and personal information to process transactions requires a higher level of validation than free certificates typically offer. Paid SSL Certificates allow your business to authenticate itself through Business Validation or Extended Validation. Domain validation alone ensures that the website is encrypted, but it doesn’t guarantee that your users are browsing the correct site. For example, someone can own the URL “amazonbusinesspro.com” without having any ties to Amazon.

Limited Lifetime

Free certificates are typically offered in 90-day increments. In other words, your business will be responsible for updating its SSL Certificate every three months. If you forget to update your certificate in a timely manner, your site will be flagged as “not secure.” Customers who notice that your site is no longer secure may not visit it again out of fear of falling victim to cyber crime. Paid SSL Certificates last significantly longer, generally one or two years, which means your business can focus on generating leads and retaining customers without worrying if your certificate is going to expire.

Lackluster Customer Support

Free certificates don’t have the same level of financial backing as paid alternatives. As a result, when your business is having an issue with its SSL Certificate, the level of customer service will be limited, often lackluster, and entirely deficient of the needs of most businesses. Remember, if your site relies on a website to acquire leads or process payments, a compromised SSL Certificate can lead to stifled revenues and a shrinking customer base.

No Liability Protection

Possibly the greatest strength of paid SSL Certificates is liability protection to guard your company against any damages that occur as a result of a hack or data breach. This warranty can be valued up to $1,500,000, which alone justifies the average cost of a paid SSL Certificate. You never know when your site could be attacked, so it’s important to have your bases covered with a paid SSL Certificate that gives your business strong liability protection.

Free vs. Paid

Like the popular idiom states, when it comes to SSL Certificates, you “get what you pay for.” If you still aren’t sure whether or not your business should be utilizing a free or paid SSL Certificate, consider contacting a digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital. Our customers are automatically equipped with free SSL Certificates while we help them determine which type of paid certificate is best for their business. Although you can save money by opting for a free certificate, you can’t go wrong with a paid one.

At Leverage Digital, we take the guesswork out of growing your business, but we can’t accomplish this goal without securing your website against malicious online attackers, data breaches, and hacks. That is why we recommend that all our clients—current, future, or otherwise—are equipped with paid SSL Certificates. Not only do these certificates protect your customers from more threats, they ensure that your customers trust you and continue to utilize your products or services in the future.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

 

Putting Together the Perfect Marketing Stack for Your Business

Helping our clients grow their businesses so they can dominate their competition isn’t as simple as designing a professional website and populating it with a handful of search engine optimized  articles. Digital marketing is a complex affair that should be handled by a proven agency who can dedicate the time and skills necessary to help you outclass your rivals on all fronts.

No two digital marketing strategies are identical, because no two businesses are the same. Reused strategies might help your business increase business marginally, but you’ll never  become an industry leader without a customized digital marketing strategy that considers every facet of your business and how to optimize it for a first-class experience.

At Leverage Digital, our agency utilizes an array of techniques and tools to help your business flourish. Within our collaborative environment, we develop marketing stacks for businesses that combine these aforementioned techniques to help boost our clients’ visibility online. When you partner with an agency to grow your business and strengthen your brand, you want to be certain that your digital marketing strategy is fresh, not a rehashed or reused campaign from a past client. That’s the secret separating best-in-class marketers from the rest of the pack—the ability to develop the perfect marketing stack for any business regardless of size or industry.

What’s in your marketing stack? And is it producing measurable results for your business? Top-tier marketers typically integrate at least 7 technologies into an impactful marketing stack. Every component of your digital marketing strategy is important, so let’s focus on breaking down what exactly goes into a marketing stack and how it can affect your business.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM is used to monitor and track customer relationships. Popular tools like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Infusionsoft, and Zoho CRM make it easy for your business to gain better insights about the efficacy of your sales strategies and how they affect your potential customers. Data such as date of last contact, contact preference, and past interactions can help your company serve your clients more efficiently.

Email Marketing

One of the best tools for nurturing leads into full-on conversions is email marketing. When you use tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaigner, Campaign Monitor, GetResponse, SendGrid, and Mandrill you can produce $38 in ROI for every $1 spent with the help of a talented digital marketing agency to monitor these deceptively complex software programs. Email marketing is still an immensely successful marketing strategy because many of these programs allow your team to partition leads and customers to quickly issue relevant messages that have the highest probability of conversion.

Analytics and Data Visualization

Without powerful analytics tools to ensure that your digital marketing campaign is meeting its objectives and growing your business, your business will be left guessing whether or not your marketing endeavors are paying off. At Leverage Digital, we take the guesswork out of growing your business by utilizing tools such as Google Analytics to ensure that our clients have access to real-time statistics tracking every step of the way. Are you experiencing a positive ROI? Who’s visiting your website? How are users interacting with your website? What are your most popular pieces of content? With measurable results delivered on a consistent basis, your business will always have access to these answers so you can stay one step ahead of the competition. Today, the ability to produce and comprehend analytics represents the most significant disparity between award-winning agencies like Leverage Digital and others claiming to be your solution.

Content Management System (CMS)

CMS software has streamlined the process of building a website for the everyman. In the past, you would need considerable computer literacy skills like coding and programming to publish and edit content on the internet, but this is no longer the case thanks to website hosting services with built-in site building tools like WordPress, and to a lesser degree, Wix and Squarespace. With minimal coding knowledge, you can start posting content on your own website as soon as today; but be warned, these tools are still best utilized in the hands of a web developer who can maximize their potential on the backend.

Visual Editing and Design Tools

The role of visuals in conveying your brand’s message and capturing the attention of more potential customers has never been more important than it is today. Captivating imagery, interesting infographics, and tasteful display ads are three examples of branded content that will help sell your company’s image as an industry leader. However, creating visual content requires a skilled creative who understands how to create visually compelling marketing collateral. Advanced tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, and InDesign allow artists to create virtually anything you can imagine.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO lies at the core of most digital marketing strategies. Roughly half of all businesses invest $1,000 to $5,000 in a monthly SEO campaign (and bigger businesses may invest hundreds of thousands monthly) because SEO is a proven strategy that helps businesses procure page one real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs). Popular tools like Moz, DeepCrawl, and SEMrush can help your business keep an eye on competitor strategies and discover superior link-building opportunities while simultaneously optimizing your content for search engines.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Paid Search

Not all campaigns can subsist exclusively on organic growth. PPC campaigns that utilize banner and display ads are proven methods of driving traffic to your site that, when combined with an effective SEO strategy, can greatly improve the number of users visiting your site. You can actually get listed more multiple times on high ranking SERPs by investing in PPC and SEO. You can even integrate your PPC campaign with retargeting tools to increase your ad’s relevance and click-through rate (CTR).

Retargeting

The overarching goal of any digital marketing campaign is to put relevant content in front of your target audience to maximize your chance of conversion. Advertisements can be tailored to a specific type of user through retargeting. Retargeting technologies give businesses all the tools necessary to distribute ads to users by utilizing information pulled from activities like visiting a web page, viewing a product, or deserting a shopping cart. Ideally, you can redirect prospective clients back into your marketing funnel with retargeting ads. AdRoll, Google Ads, and Bing Ads are all effective retargeting tools.

Is your digital marketing strategy helping you achieve your growth objectives? An SEO campaign can’t help you dominate your competition without a little help from complementary tools and techniques like PPC and landing page optimization. At Leverage Digital, we’ve been helping our clients drive more traffic to their websites and increase conversions for a decade. And we’re only just getting start. Are you ready to take control of your industry?

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

5 Critical Questions About SSL Certificates

Google is done playing games when it comes to online security. The internet is often compared to the Wild West because it seems like there are no rules or limitations keeping it under control, but that is quickly changing.

The good: improved security means more trust. When people don’t have to worry about their passwords being compromised or their personal information falling into the hands of fake collections agencies, they’re more likely to utilize the internet as a customer.

The bad: if your website isn’t currently utilizing an SSL certificate, your rankings have already dropped and you run the risk of being labeled an untrusted website.

The ugly: purchasing an SSL certificate is more confusing than it should be, and if you try to fix the problem yourself, you could find yourself falling into a false sense of security with an SSL certificate that doesn’t meet your website’s standards.

How familiar are you with SSL certificates? If your answer is not very, don’t worry; you’re not alone. We’ve compiled the five most important questions about SSL certificates for the uninitiated.

What Is An SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a small piece of code that can be installed on your web server to improve the security of your website and protect online communications. When a web browser connects a user with your secured website, the SSL certificate encrypts the connection to ensure that personal information is safe. You can tell if a website has an SSL certificate by determining whether or not it has “https://” before the URL. If it does, the site is safe for browsing. On the contrary, “http://” websites are not secured with an SSL certificate which means users’ information is not necessarily protected.

An SSL certificate ensures that malicious users can’t gain access to your information or usage data. It’s like sealing a letter in an envelope before mailing it; you’re submitting information into an external system, but it’s protected from other entities in that system.

Why Are SSL Certificates Important?

SSL certificates are important because the information you send on the Internet travels from computer to computer until it reaches the destination server. Without the encryption provided by an SSL certificate, any computer between you and the server can access your credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and other types of sensitive information. When your business welcomes customers to your site without an SSL certificate, your customers can be exploited for valuable information. With a new wave of data protection policies on the horizon, ensuring that your website protects your customers is imperative. An SSL certificate will ensure that you serve customers effectively while minimizing the possibility of litigation.

When Did SSL Certificates Become Important?

SSL Certificates have always played an important role in providing users with a secure connection, especially for e-commerce; however, they have recently started to play a larger role in SEO rankings and paid advertisements in Google. Websites that do not possess a valid SSL certificate are being flagged as “not secure” by the search engine giant. This warning can derail your business by effectively  terminating web traffic. The average user isn’t going to trust a website that is labeled a security threat by Google, which means all of the progress your business has made from SEO and other online marketing strategies will be rendered inconsequential. Therefore, if your website does not currently possess an SSL certificate, it’s integral that you contact a digital marketing agency to help you sift through the SSL marketplace to find the certificate that is right for your business.

How Do SSL Certificates Affect My Website?

Having an SSL certificate can have an effect on search engine results page (SERP) rankings, visibility, and perception among customers. In 2014, Google announced that having a secure site would be an important factor when ranking websites. While studies vary in terms of how significantly this factors into ranking, our agency’s internal studies have noted a positive increase in rankings among sites that have been converted to https://.

Previously, Google has stated that in instances where there are two sites of identical value, they will give preference to the site with an SSL certificate. This is evident in a recent report from Moz that states that 40% of Google’s first page organic search results are from https:// sites.In terms of customer perception, a report from GlobalSign states that 84 percent of consumers would end a purchase if the site was not secured.

The lack of an SSL certificate will now be more visible than ever. In addition to Google’s “not secure” warning , their browser, Chrome, has started using an exclamation mark in the address bar to alert users that they are on a site that isn’t secure.

How Much Do SSL Certificates Cost?

The value of SSL certificates is undeniable, but figuring out the most cost-effective and secure option can put your business at odds with itself. SSL certificates range in value from free to hundreds of dollars. However, not all SSL certificates are built the same, and depending on the size and type of business you oversee, your SSL needs will vary.

You might be inclined to perform a quick Google search to weigh your options, but shopping for SSL certificates isn’t like shopping for televisions. Investing in the wrong SSL certificate could have extensive legal and financial ramifications later on. Free SSL certificates, like those offered by Let’s Encrypt, are an effective stopgap solution while considering your options. However, if you want to eliminate worry and ensure that your website maintains its current rankings, you should invest in a paid certificate that offers liability protection, multi-domain certification, superior server compatibility, and more.

Are you working with an award-winning digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital to ensure that your site is secure for your business and your customers? SSL certificates are here to stay, and without one, your business risks losing out against your competitors. Online security is critical to the success of your business, so don’t let your website get flagged for lacking adequate security measures. Contact our agency today to find out how you can get the right SSL certificate for your business today!

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

How To Get More Qualified Leads From Your Website

DRIVE RELEVANT WEBSITE TRAFFIC

In Tampa (and all over the globe!) there are several ways to drive traffic (SEO, paid search, social media) to your website and they all work; however, I challenge you to think about where you go when you don’t know the answer to something. This is about marketing smarter, not harder. If you’re like 68% of the population, you turn to Google (the rest use Bing or Yahoo) and you fling some words — hoping for some useful information in return — out into the internet. As a local business owner, this is when it counts to appear in the search results! They’re out there searching for you and if you aren’t there you are missing potential leads.

The best way to drive QUALITY traffic is through search engine marketing. Both paid search and SEO tactics will drive relevant traffic to your website. If the budget allows, you’ll get more quality traffic by using a strategy that employs both.

USE APPROPRIATE LANDING PAGES

Repeat after me, “my home page is not the place for campaign traffic, my home page is not the place for campaign traffic!” Got it? Okay, now let me explain why.

When people go online to research a product or service, they are generally trying to get a fairly specific question answered. One of the worst experiences an online user can have is clicking on a link and being directed to a page that doesn’t deliver the content they were expecting. So often, small businesses don’t have the resources to create dedicated landing pages for their online campaigns. As a result, they send all of their online traffic to their home page and guess what, THIS TRAFFIC NEVER CONVERTS into leads. That’s because they were looking for very specific information and you just dumped them into a page that gives them a list of absolutely everything you do. Implement a campaign and dedicated landing page strategy and your conversions will go up.

The best thing you can do is write clear ad copy and then use the landing page (that includes a form) to capture information on the person who is viewing your content.

OFFER HELPFUL CONTENT

The aforementioned relevant content must also be helpful to your audience. Early in the “research” phase, your potential customers have not yet determined that they can’t, in fact, do it themselves. They are merely researching and still trying to do things themselves for the cheapest price possible. To draw them in, you need to be helpful enough to make them trust you but not so helpful that they no longer need you.This is a very fine line to walk but those who do it well, thrive. A great example is the broken down, “how to” list which you see all the time—pay attention! *Pro tip: the more in depth you make the how to list, the more inherent need you build for your product or service.

 

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