Over the past 10 years, digital marketing has radically transformed how eyecare practitioners develop and execute marketing strategies. The days where you could effectively reach your patients through print, radio, billboards, word-of-mouth, and direct mail are long gone. Today, and for the future, your emphasis should be on reaching new patients through the digital world.
With 2020 quickly approaching, many businesses are revamping their digital marketing strategy. We recommend that you take into consideration these changes we have seen in the marketing industry over the last 10 years.
As we believe that “The best way to predict your future is to create it”. –Abraham Lincoln
Leveling the playing field
The good news is that digital marketing has helped level the playing field in the competitive marketplace for eyecare. Since digital marketing rewards targeted and intelligent effort, not just large budgets. With effective digital marketing, small and mid-size eyecare businesses can compete for their share of patients.
If handled well, digital marketing can actually cut the cost of traditional promotion. By effectively representing yourself online through your website, digital ads and social media, you can bring in patients without having to spend exorbitant amounts on traditional marketing.
Another great feature of having digital marketing become accessible for small and mid-sized eye care practices is that you can hire out full-service digital marketing agencies that cater to your needs without breaking the bank. Having experts handle your online marketing can stretch modest budgets even further by skyrocketing your ROI(Return On Investment).
Data is King
Data collection and analysis are essential to run successful digital marketing campaigns. Today there is such a rich landscape of data that we can understand your patients’ online behavior with much more clarity than before. With a variety of tools including Google Analytics, we have extremely accurate ways of evaluating traffic patterns in great detail. There are many metrics that are relevant to your eyecare business but these are the few we think are the most important for securing future business.
Maintaining analytics on your eyecare website can give you insight into the importance or unimportance of certain webpages. In addition, you can see important metrics such as how people are entering your site, how they are exiting your website and whether landing pages and conversion pages are working. All of this information can then help you or your marketing team to determine how to make strategic changes to your website to get more patients in your chair.
With any marketing campaign, it is essential to know what the success rate is. What ads brought in new patients? Did your targeted email campaign work as intended? Did an exclusive eyewear deal bring in new customers and did that translate into added ROI? The data can provide answers to these questions and more. Data is essential to understand how to make your marketing campaigns as successful as possible.
We saw a huge increase in business involvement in social media over the last decade. Eyecare businesses have been quick to realize how critically important social media is to create brand awareness. Many eye care practices have embraced the idea that in order to be successful you have to take the conversation to where YOUR patients are. You need to go where THEY like to hang out, and that is on social media.
Creating a social media presence gives you a golden opportunity to start conversations with potential patients. Social Media also offers you an opportunity to have conversions and get patient feedback instead of just talking at them with traditional marketing methods.
However, creating an engaging social media presence does take time, commitment and some digital expertise to really elevate your brand. The payoff is having a constant brand across channels, more meaningful engagement with patients and greater brand recognition.
Over the last 10 years, content marketing has taken the digital world by storm. Essentially, content marketing is providing your audience with something that is useful for them at no cost. This small gesture of goodwill then turns around and creates better brand recognition and loyalty for your business.
If you want to go even further to create awareness and set yourself apart from your competition, content management can bring in patients without a big budget. A great way to get started is to create blogs and videos that showcase your extensive knowledge of eye care. You can also begin collecting emails to distribute patient newsletters. This provides a way to market optional services and stay in contact with patients which will help your retention rates for the future.
With the world shifting primarily to digital advertising, managing your eyecare business’s online reputation is crucial. Credibility can make or break a business. It is important to manage your online presence in a way that is authentic to you. We promote focusing on your long term strategy and building trust with your audience.
Patients used to go to one maybe two websites before deciding on an eye care professional. Now they view multiple sites, look at reviews, social activity and how that practice deals with customer service.
This new extended research process is why it is so important to manage your reviews. One disparaging review on Google, Yelp or on your Facebook account can hurt your business’s reputation. Answering patients’ complaints– and acknowledging their positive feedback–is a fundamental of sound online reputation management. Especially in the field of eye care, you want to ensure that your brand is viewed as credible and respectable in the long run.
Your business and your patients have changed dramatically over the past 10 years. From the way your patients access information, to what influences their buying behaviour, to how they shop, it is important to adapt to these changes so that you continue to grow and stay relevant among your competition.
If you’re ready to start implementing all these strategies we have learned over the last 10 years, our digital marketing experts are ready to help. We specialize in digital marketing for optometrists, and we have the experience to help you elevate your digital marketing for the new year. Contact us to learn more and to book a call with our team.