What a new self-help book can teach you about Internet marketing | Plastic Surgery Practice July 2014

Evans_DavidBy David Evans, PhD, MBA

When the first Freakonomics book was published in 2005, no one—not even the two authors—expected it to take off. But take off it did, and then some. The duo, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner—a “rogue” economist and an award-wining journalist, respectively—followed with SuperFreakonomics, which also became a best-seller. Together, the books have sold 7 million copies worldwide.

And now they have published Think Like a Freak, a self-help manual that provides a step-by-step guide to thinking outside the box, or “like a freak.” This new way of thinking can be applied to anything and everything—including your Internet marketing strategy.

Here’s a cheat sheet.


Children haven’t developed preconceived notions, and sometimes they ask questions that cut right to the chase. Incorporate these principles when building your online brand. Instead of making sure that your articles are loaded with keywords and rich in links, ask yourself the questions a child might ask: “Why don’t you have patients on the front of your website saying nice things about you?” “Why is Dr X’s website so much prettier than yours?” It may seem basic, but sometimes this exercise can provide clarity and direction.


We hate to admit that we don’t know the correct answer, but when it comes to search engine optimization and Internet marketing, there isn’t always a clear-cut answer. Owning this makes it possible to learn from people who do know what to do and how to do it. Outsource what you don’t know to trustworthy, knowledgeable, and reputable partners.


According to the Freakonomics authors, incentives rule our world. If you would like your staff to be more motivated, incentivize them. If you want more consultations or more positive online reviews, for example, incentivize your team by providing a bonus plan where staffers are paid for each lead that turns into a consultation. For reviews, reward staffers if the number of positive reviews jumps by a significant percentage.


If you do not feel that your online strategy is working, it might be your rankings, traffic, or website design, but it also could be the way the leads are handled in-house. Secret shop your own practice, and evaluate the quality of the responses from your staff. The results may surprise you. Many secret shopper studies in plastic surgery show that 40% to 50% of email leads go unanswered. Sometimes the problem is closer to home than we would like to admit.


In today’s world of severe Google penalties, sometimes it’s better to quit and start over. Hire a reputable SEO company to evaluate your backlinks and maybe take a shot or two at link removal and asking Google to lift penalties. However, after a few unsuccessful tries, change your domain name and start fresh.

David Evans, PhD, MBA, is the CEO of Ceatus Media Group, based in San Diego. His column, “The Edge,” appears in every issue of Plastic Surgery Practice. He can be reached via [email protected].

Original citation for this article: Evans D. Let your freak flag fly: What a new self-help book can teach you about Internet marketing. Plastic Surgery Practice. 2014;(7),10.