Top 6 Tips For Getting Started With Your Optometry Marketing

For better or worse, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that marketing is done. Word of mouth and other types of marketing that rely on the normal in-person interactions that were commonplace before the pandemic have largely dried up. This makes online marketing not just a good idea, but a question of survival for many businesses.

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Communication is King

Knowing how to manage your online marketing is more important than ever before.

Ensuring that you have a clear vision of what sets your practice apart from others,  articulating it in the design of your website and the way you communicate with your patients allows you to put your best foot forward, and increase the number of patients coming through your practice doors.

In case you’re behind the curve, or if you’d just like a refresher on the basics, here are our top 6 tips to help you get started with your online marketing:

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Identify Your Brand: What Sets Your Optometry Practice Apart?


The competitive landscape in optometry is becoming more and more complicated as new practices come on the scene and corporate entities like Pearle Vision and LensCrafters move to take a greater share of the market. This is especially true in the post-corona marketing world. That’s why it’s more important than ever to center your marketing efforts around a solid value proposition. Many practices fail to formulate this basic part of their marketing strategy, and see appointments dry up as soon as a new competitor comes to town that does a better job defining what sets them apart. Don’t wait until it’s too late to figure this one out!

Some questions that might help you figure out a way to set yourself apart could be:

  • Does your optometry clinic offer products or services that other practices nearby don’t?
  • Do you have more years of experience in eye care or a specific specialty than the competition does?
  • Do you have a story or two about certain patients whose lives you’ve impacted in an especially deep and/or lasting way?
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Once you know what values you’re centering your marketing around, it’s time to decide who you’re marketing to. That’s where the next step comes in!

Construct Your Patient Personas

Without knowing who you’re speaking to, you won’t know how to speak with them, and how to best convince them to come to you for their eye care needs. For this, we can’t stress enough the importance of well constructed patient personas.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, patient personas are archetypes constructed by your practice to reflect the types of patients you’re hoping to attract through your marketing efforts. Once you’ve built these archetypes, you’ll get a better picture of the types of marketing strategies you’ll need to use to bring in the kinds of patients reflected in the personas you’ve constructed.

For example, in our previous piece on patient personas, we constructed a persona by the name of Joe Elderman. Joe is 60+ years old, affluent and predisposed to eye diseases such as Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy and Cataracts. With only that small amount of data, and some research, we were able to make a number of marketing decisions, including which products and services should be marketed to Joe, which social media platforms would be most effective in reaching him, and on what mediums (desktop, tablet, mobile, etc.) those marketing efforts were most likely to succeed.

Joe-Elderman

Some of the questions you should ask when building your Patient Personas include:

  • How old is my ideal patient?
  • Do they or their family members have specific eyecare or eyewear needs I can address?
  • What is my ideal patient’s financial situation? How does this affect their budget when discussing products and services?

Now that you’ve identified your value propositions and constructed a few personas to center your marketing around, you’re well on our way to successful online marketing! So what’s next?

Make Sure Your Website Offers a Good User Experience

UXUI

User Experience (UX) refers to how the site looks and feels to the average user that lands on your site. This includes how simple your website is to navigate, if the colors and layout are easy on the eye, if the user is properly directed to the places you want them to go onsite and the actions you want them to take, etc. Some important tips for UX when designing your website include:

  • Mobile Friendliness- An increasing percentage of people are using mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, to perform tasks that used to be reserved for desktop computers and laptops. This includes doing internet searches, getting directions and requesting appointments. This is why it’s important to make sure that your website appears correctly when displayed on mobile devices, and that animations and large image files are minimized or eliminated entirely. This ensures that your website loads quickly on mobile, which is a calculation google considers when ranking sites for various searches.
  • Calls to Action (CTAs)- It’s not enough just to get users onto your website and reading your content. You want them to book appointments or take other actions related to their eye care. This is where CTAs come in. CTAs are simple actions (not more than a few words) that clearly let your patients know what their next step should be. Great examples of CTAs that work are, “Book Your Appointment Today,” “Fill Out This Form For a Free Eye Exam,” or “Click Here to Learn More!”

Don’t Neglect The Role of SEO in Practice Marketing 

SEO refers to the process of making sure Google and other search engines consider your site to be important, relevant and authoritative for the types of searches potential patients  are looking for in your area. It is the most direct and effective way to make sure your website is found by people looking for eye care, eyewear and other services or products. Among other things, this process involves inserting relevant, keyword rich content onto the pages of your website and ensuring that basic information about your optometry practice is not buried in hard-to-find places on your site.
Major considerations for your optometry practice website’s SEO should include:

  • Practice Homepage- Your homepage is the front door of your website. Most of the traffic to your site will come through here, and Google often considers this the most important and authoritative page you have. You should be sure that a general rundown of all your practice’s information and major offerings are featured here to give Google an understanding of what eye care services and/or products you provide, who your ideal patients are, where you are located and how you can be reached.
SEO
  • Service Pages- Make sure to discuss all the services your eye care practice provides, especially those that set your practice apart from others. This is also where you expand on the major offerings mentioned on your homepage. This page is essential as a way to naturally include the types of keywords you want Google to rank your site for.
  • Location/Contact Page- It’s important for Google to know where you’re located, when your practice is open and how to reach you. When someone in your area searches for services you provide, Google will direct them to your website as a result. Your location page should have your practice phone number, your address and your practice hours. If there are other suburbs or neighbourhoods nearby that you also want to draw patients from, be sure to mention on your location page that you see patients from there, and include directions to your practice from these areas.
  • Practice Homepage- Your homepage is the front door of your website. Most of the traffic to your site will come through here, and Google often considers this the most important and authoritative page you have. You should be sure that a general rundown of all your practice’s information and major offerings are featured here to give Google an understanding of what eye care services and/or products you provide, who your ideal patients are, where you are located and how you can be reached.

PRO TIP:

The marketing content you consider most important should be placed “above the fold,” meaning that it should appear at the top of the page before the user begins to scroll. Less important marketing content can be placed further down, “below the fold.”

Positive Reviews Are Key To Your Optometry Marketing Efforts

Marketing Research shows that one of the first things users look at when searching for services online is reviews. Places such as Google My Business and Yelp serve as popular places for people to make their opinions known, and can make or break any marketing effort, regardless of how well executed those efforts may otherwise be. That’s why it’s important that you carefully manage and monitor reviews for your practice in these and other locations.

Five Stars (5) Rating With A Businessman Touching Screen, Concep

Here are a few tips on how to best manage your reviews:

  • Patient Experience- Any discussion of reviews and testimonials has to start with the patient experience inside the practice itself. A middle-of-the road experience won’t do here. You really need to aim to wow, since a truly impressed patient is much more likely to leave a positive review. For this, you need to have a clear idea of how you’d like your patients to experience their time at your eye clinic. 

PRO TIP:
To help direct your efforts, you can make a list of words or phrases you want your patient experience to reflect, such as “attentive,” “caring,” “convenient,” “professional” or “friendly.” Discuss with your staff what they can do to help create such an experience for patients, and be sure that the layout of your practice reflects this as well.

  • Quantity AND Quality- It’s important to have as many high quality positive reviews as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask patients that are obviously happy with their experience to leave a review on your Google My Business as well as a testimonial on your website. The more positive reviews you have, the more trustworthy each of these reviews becomes in the eyes of other potential patients searching for your services. Having a high number of reviews also helps drown out the influence of any negative reviews you may get along the way. 1 negative review among 10 is going to be a lot more influential than 1 among 100, or 1 among 700.
  • Negative Reviews- Negative reviews on Google My Business and elsewhere happen even to the best of practices. A miscommunication or an off-day either on your end or the patient’s end can result in a negative review that can look quite bad for you, depending on what exactly the issue is perceived to be. The key to handling these is not to ignore them, but rather to respond to them head-on. A well thought out reply, professionally and compassionately written, can blunt the impact of even the most scathing reviews. Do not get defensive. Invite the person to speak with you directly to get more information about the issue, and perhaps ask them if there is anything you can do to help them give you and your practice another chance. With skill, and a healthy dose of luck, some of our practices have even been able to turn negative reviews into positive ones!

Email Marketing Is a Good Way To Stay Top of Mind

Email marketing is a great way to encourage repeat visits, and keep your practice on patients’ radars by providing helpful, interesting or fun content and reminders. Ask for your patients’ email addresses when they come in for their next visit, and stay in touch throughout the year to stay top of mind. Here are some ideas for ways that email marketing can help:

Email Marketing
  • Seasonal Campaigns- Back-To-School time in August or September is a great time to promote children’s eye exams and eyewear to families. Dry Eye Season, during the winter months, is a great time to promote products that your practice may be selling, such as specialty eye drops or artificial tears, that can help fight the symptoms of dry eye. Running email campaigns tied to these and other times of year when these subjects are most on patients’ minds is a great way to increase response to your marketing and bring in both new and returning patients as a result.
  • Practice Newsletter- Another great way to keep in touch with your patients is through a practice newsletter. You can include interesting health news and eye care tips for your patients, as well as news about your practice, upcoming promotions and events. Not every part of the newsletter has to have a call-to-action aimed at bringing them in for an appointment. Your patients will appreciate receiving health tips from you without always feeling like they’re being sold on an appointment or service.

With the above tips, you’ve already got your foot in the door when it comes to basic optometry marketing. But there’s still a long way to go! For more help implementing these and other marketing and design recommendations, take a look at our optometry marketing plans, and get in touch with us today by calling (201) 591-4350!

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