The Power of AI in Revolutionizing Optometry Marketing

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve seen that AI has been everywhere in the past few months. This is all thanks to the rise of conversational AI language models like ChatGPT.

The headlines have ranged from ecstatic (Can ChatGPT Save the Planet?)…to much less so (ChatGPT’s Mind-Boggling, Possibly Dystopian Impact On The Media World). So, without overstating the issue, what does this mean for marketing, and more specifically, eye care marketing in 2023? And how else will it affect your practice?

Want to see how AI can solve your problems? Reach out to us today.

What is AI?

Before we get started, it should be noted that this blog wasn’t written by AI. That’s not to say we didn’t query ChatGPT after the fact to make sure we weren’t missing anything vital. We did, however, ask ChatGPT to define AI, and here’s how it responded:

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, it's a technology that enables machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, recognizing images, making decisions, and solving problems. AI systems can learn from data and experience to improve their performance over time.

That answer seemed a little complicated, so we asked it to explain again like we’re five:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is like having a robot brain that can help us solve problems and make our lives easier. AI is able to learn and make decisions on its own, like a human brain, but it can also do things that a human brain can't do, like calculate millions of numbers in a second.

Much better.

Introduction to AI in Marketing

What can AI do for your practice? Quite a bit, actually. In the case of ChatGPT, it can write emails, website landing pages or speeches in a matter of seconds. It can help organize data for spreadsheets, and with a bit of prompting, write code.

And that’s just ChatGPT. There’s AI-based graphic design, video content, and even call monitoring software (shoutout to RingAnalytics!). It’s also used in technology like self-driving cars, smart home devices, and voice assistants like Siri or Alexa.

To get the negatives out of the way, the main criticisms of AI-generated content is it can be impersonal, and at other times, incorrect or odd, like that animation of human evolution that kept adding a third leg to our ancestors in the middle-ages.

Some AI video content can look almost too real, and if not finely tuned can create an uncanny valley effect (think the Polar Express). And while ChatGPT can write what you need it to, it doesn’t have access to data like the search volumes of keywords, so its ability to optimize for SEO and improve search ranking remains unclear.


Benefits of Using AI in Your Practice

AI should not necessarily be thought of as a tool to do your work from A-Z, marketing or otherwise, but rather a tool to improve your processes. If it ends up doing some of your work, all the better.

Maybe you need AI to cross-reference and add data between two spreadsheets. Or maybe you need to make a training guide (or video!). ChatGPT and similar programs can do that for you to simplify all areas of practice management that fall outside of patient care. Use AI to speed up email communications and speechwriting. Or simply use it in place of Google when you're searching for an eye care related study.

When incorporating content from AI into your marketing plan, try to think of it as AI-assisted, not AI-generated. Yes, ChatGPT can write you a whole blog in seconds, but we wouldn’t recommend posting it as is for a few reasons:

For one, content generated by AI needs to be verified for accuracy. And while it can be a great starting point for a communication, its writing can also be dry and lack personality. Also, the jury’s still out whether Google can or will be able to detect unedited AI content, and whether they'll penalize sites that take advantage of it.

Don’t let us scare you—AI assisted content is now vital to marketing. It’s endlessly useful for coming up with content ideas, letting you know what’s missing in what you’ve already written and figuring out how to reword that one sentence you’re stuck on. We don’t use AI to write our content, but recommend its use to fill in the gaps and help edit the final work.

Using AI to Improve Content

AI-generated content is only as good as the data or information you feed it. If you ask ChatGPT to write about Dry Eye, it will respond with a perfectly serviceable and reasonably accurate response.

But if you tell it what topic you want (Dry Eye), and instruct it precisely to the talking points you would like to include (symptoms), and how you would like it to read, say, in the style of Dr Seuss, you’ll get something a lot more entertaining like this:

"Your eyes should feel cool, calm, and bright, Not scratchy, red, and blurred from sight. So listen up folks, don't be shy, Go see an optometrist, give Dry Eye goodbye!"

The above example obviously doesn’t work for most practices, but is a good indication of what can be done to personalize AI content. 

Take EyeCarePro for example. To briefly put our humility aside, we don’t need help with content generation, per se. We already know what ODs want and patients like to read. And we know that from experience, and because we ask. Nonetheless, we see AI as an opportunity. Our team knows how to use it intelligently to supplement our writing abilities, while keeping the content “human,” and connecting with our intended audience.


AI to Convert Patient Phone Calls

AI doesn’t have to be limited to content, training or spreadsheets either. Do you know which percentage of phone calls about appointments to your practice actually failed to book? And how many calls in general were missed by your staff? EyeCarePro developed RingAnalytics as an AI-based phone platform that lets you hear and see for yourself how many calls did or didn’t result in a booked appointment, and why.

When you use RingAnalytics, phone calls to your practice are anayzed by the AI for performance indicators to determine patient booking behavior. When a call doesn’t book, RingAnalytics has reports to tell you why, such as lack of insurance, or a scheduling issue. RingAnalytics understands your calls and gets you the data you need to make actionable and meaningful decisions to improve call procedures—and convert more calls into appointments.

Integrating AI into Your Marketing Plan

If it wasn’t obvious until now, EyeCarePro is clearly enthusiastic about the opportunities of AI-assisted marketing. It saves us time while improving our quality of work, meaning we can pass those time savings onto our clients and do more for them. AI doesn't replace our traditional marketing activities. It streamlines our ability to focus in greater depth on our content strategies and, most importantly, the needs of our client practices.

Ultimately, this push towards AI in marketing means there’s going to be a lot more content to compete against. There will be changes to the way Google displays search rankings, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t embrace AI. Having high-quality, helpful and unique content will now be more important than ever. If we can create more great work, and make it better with AI, we’ll continue doing so. And if you can use it to improve your processes, we're here to help.