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The Business of Acupuncture and Marketing

Sep 17, 2020

Ok.  This article isn’t about acupuncture or Covid, improving our immunity or even health and wellness.  But as a small business owner, I continue to advocate supporting other small business owners, and one of the ways I can do this is to share what I know about what it takes to get up and running with adequate resources to be successful.  I want to provide information about health resources here in Phoenix, as well as get my clients connected with support for those who may not live here in Arizona.  And I want to provide relevant information to support local businesses in Phoenix and elsewhere.  To that end, I am sharing the following information about one of the key aspects I consistently encounter when setting up my acupuncture websites: how much advertising is “worth it” when it comes to search engine optimization?  How do I budget for this, and how much should I spend to maintain relevancy in a world dominated by generating business through internet search engines.

When starting businesses in the past, I did my best to cut corners where I could.  I made my own free website.  I wrote my own content and paid someone $10 per article to help me produce even more substance for my website.  I advertised on websites to offer highly discounted sevices, and I paid bottom dollar for pay-per-click advertising.  Reflecting on this plan, it’s not a huge surprise that I wasn’t able to direct a lot of traffic to my website.  My business suffered for this.

This time I’m doing it differently.  While I do get a lot of direct referrals from my current clients, I need to quickly generate “new leads.”  One way to do this is through in-person networking.  The other obvious 21st Century way this is done is through website marketing and search engine optimization within my website.

I’ve realized that I need to look at this as a long-term strategy.  I can’t look at paying for this part of my business development as a burden.  Having a strong web presence is important as having nice business cards and a comfortable office.  The first thing I did was to hire a professional to do my website.  While a person can have a well designed, free website, sites such as Wix aren’t as attractive to search engines.  I realized that $2k is the going, limited-budget cost of developing a new, SEO friendly website.  I still have to provide my own content, but realize that my time is “free,” and I am ensured that all content is original, reliable, relevant and free of grammatical errors.  If I choose to pay someone to help me with this in the future, I will allocate about $50 per article, as this is the price range for good quality, outsourced content writing.

When it comes to my ongoing SEO budget, I’ve realized that I have to listen to the experts.  I keep hearing that I need to spend between $500 and $1.5k each month to effectively boost and maintain my search engine ratings.  To be honest, the idea of spending $500 per month on this is scary.  However, the bottom line is that a small budget ($250 or less) means a small return on my investment.  If I am serious about succeeding, I need to do it differently this time.

When I choose to do pay-per-click advertising, I need to invest in high value keywords.  If I want between 10-20 clicks from clients who are ready to book, I need to purchase words and phrases (three promotions are typically recommended) that people are actually using.  Again, there is no point in skimping here – little money out means little money in.

I don’t have the answer as to how much a person should spend on SEO or marketing for their new business.  However, I do know that if you hold back on spending, it is likely to hold you back in earning.  I’m following the industry standard, and have already seen some return on my investments.  It takes patience and perseverance to be successful.  If we’re not willing to invest in our business, how can we expect others to invest in us?

Ultimately, I have found a woman-owned company that focuses on branding of specialty food, health and beauty items.  Crème de Mint is a boutique graphic and web design studio run by my friend, Lauren Casgren-Tindall, Principal & Creative Director.  I highly recommend Lauren and her high-quality work, integrity and commitment to excellence.

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