Much Ado About Nothing: How the Death of Small talk Hurts Your Optometry Marketing
Social distancing has pretty much put an end to small talk. No big deal, right? Not exactly. It turns out small talk was pretty important for word-of-mouth marketing. Is your practice still a part of the conversation?
The Lack of Small Talk is a Big Problem
Ah, small talk. One of the stranger social idiosyncrasies we humans have. We hardly notice when it’s gone, but it plays a larger role in our lives then we’d ever expect. Before the pandemic, people would get together with friends and talk about nothing.
This “conversation before the conversation” performs many functions, but it also happens to be where a lot of word-of-mouth marketing takes place. Think about it. How many times have you bumped into someone and started discussing what you’ve been up to? Chances are, you’ve probably endorsed a business without realizing it at one time or another.
“You should try the new seafood restaurant. The salmon was amazing!”
Word-of-mouth marketing is just as crucial for eye care practices. After all, we tend to trust peer recommendations more than any other suggestions.
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But COVID Has Changed This
The circumstances that allowed for meandering small talk conversations are another casualty of social distancing. People just aren’t going out as much, and if they are, they aren’t sticking around long enough to chit chat.
The Rise of “Zoom Speech”
In lieu of face to face interaction, technology has given us the miracle of video chat through platforms like Zoom. But Zoom comes with its own problems. You aren’t speaking to the person in real-time exactly. There’s a delay, which makes it much harder to read body language. It’s also much easier to just walk away when the conversation gets boring and blame it on something else.
“Oh, uhhhh, the sound keeps cutting out. Can’t...hear…your...saying. Talk to you later!”
So people have created what we refer to as “Zoom Speech.” Conversations are much more direct and personal in nature. People are talking more frequently too, so they have a lot less catching up to do. As a result, small talk has gotten the boot from most discussions. Unfortunately, so has your practice.
"Window Shopping” is Out, Too
People tend to plan exactly where they will go to lower the risk of their exposure to COVID-19. This is especially true for older demographics that are in a higher risk category.
This reality has given rise to a more discerning Google user. Patients are more selective with their search queries and are looking at an increasingly narrow spread of eye care practices. They need to know your practice can meet their specific needs before they leave their homes. Unless your website and SEO are in peak condition, potential patients won’t give you a second glance – that is, if you even show up in their search results to begin with.
Two Birds with One SEO Stone
The lack of peer endorsements combined with a more overly cautious patient has led to a serious drop in new traffic for some practices. But unlike most things Coronavirus related, there are a few simple things you can do to fix this. It all starts with a top-notch SEO strategy. We’ve been saying for a while now: the way forward for practice growth is through dedicated SEO, and this has never been more true. Top rankings on Google search are quickly becoming one of the most reliable advertising lanes for eye care practices.
Refreshing Your Web Pages
There’s a lot more to your website than an exciting homepage. If you aren’t getting the love from Google you think you deserve, it might be time for an overhaul.
First, make sure all of the bare-bones information on your website is up to date, including hours of operation, business name, address and phone number. These may seem like small things, but Google uses them to verify you are who you say you are. The more confident Google is you’re an actual business, the higher your rank in local search will be.
Next, move on to the actual content like service offerings. Keep in mind, you want to be helpful and specific. For example, if you offer scleral lenses, describe what those are, how they’re used and how the patient can benefit. The more unique and useful your content is, the higher Google will rank it.
For more great tips on optimizing your content for search, check out our article on targeting low hanging SEO fruit for quick returns.
Revisit Your Reviews
We’ve covered this topic a lot in the past, but it bears mentioning here. Google reviews are the internet’s version of word-of-mouth marketing. They also directly impact your SEO, so they increase your visibility in search results!
Over the years, EyeCarePro has discovered a sure-fire strategy for getting great reviews.
- Have your staff identify patients who are having a good time during their visit.
- Ask them for a review during checkout.
- Get the review before the patient leaves. Patients have enough trouble remembering when their appointments are. Hoping they remember to give you a review when they get home is just asking for trouble.
- Make giving a review as convenient as possible. The easier it is, the more likely patients will do it.
Did You Know?
EyeCarePro offers GetSetPro, a software that makes getting Google Reviews a breeze! Simply input the patient’s cell number and it sends them a text with a link to the review page. All the patient has to do is write a brief comment and award stars. The whole process only takes a couple minutes and is finished by the time checkout is done. Talk about convenience! Want to learn more about this exciting new technology? Check out all the amazing things you can do with GetSetPro today!
Say “No” to SEO Woes
Navigating your digital footprint can be a bit hectic. That’s what EyeCarePro is here for. We’ve helped over 2,000 practices just like yours get the search rankings they want, and the new patients they need. That’s because we know eye care. But more importantly, we know what your patients want from their eye care. It starts with an SEO-driven website, built, hosted and maintained by us, and stocked with tons of useful and interesting content. Then we help you lock down positive Google reviews with our winning reputation management strategies. To top it all off, we assign you a veteran optometry marketing specialist dedicated to helping your practice grow. With EyeCarePro, you never have to face your marketing alone again. If this sounds like the kind of conversation you’d like to be a part of, give us a call at 201.591.4350 and let's give your patients something to talk about again.
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