Optometrist marketing takes the very same principles every other business marketing effort uses to produce awareness, interest and ultimately customers and makes them specific to the eye care industry. Marketing in and of itself is not unique to the optometry field; however, how it is used, especially online, can make a big difference in producing new business to a clinic.
Not having an online optometry marketing plan is simply not practical anymore. The same way that the yellow pages defined local search and marketing 24/7 some four decades ago, today it’s the Internet and more recently, mobile search. Both of these last two digital tools rely heavily on a business having already positioned itself online with the relevant signs and references so it can be easily found. If an optometrist clinic isn’t taking advantage of these digital tools, it might as well not exist at all any more in 2022. Digital search is the prime method by which consumers are seeking services now.
Key Factors That Make a Difference
There are five critical elements any online optometrist marketing plan should include. These are a company website, search engine optimization or SEO, pay per click campaigning, social media channels and an email marketing function. These five elements make up the minimum effort that a good marketing plan should engage in. There are additional functions, but without these core aspects, entire potential market segments can be missed by a business, literally leaving customers and income on the table for a competitor to take away freely.
A website platform doesn’t need to be extensive. In fact, many clinics and medical offices keep their webpage presence to one core page with essential contact information, services offered descriptions and staff experience, as well as certifications. People want to know whom they are going to for medical care, and the Internet is a fast, effective way of finding that basic information if it’s been posted on a web page.
Search engine optimization used to be a simple matter of plugging specific words on a website so that search engines would find it when people searched for something on pages like Google and Yahoo. Today, those word-spamming efforts are long gone. Modern SEO looks for quality and specific content that is recent, informative and valuable in solving a searcher’s issue or request. So, a website needs to be designed with the words that people actually use to look and provide the answer they need. An optometrist’s web page needs to be crafted accordingly. Otherwise, it will be buried in the dozens of pages a search produces, effectively not being seen at all (most searchers only look at the top of page 1).
Pay Per Click Campaigning
The most common form of Pay Per Click today is the utilization of Google Ads. The program works with analyzing first the most common words used for a given topic. Pay Per Click via Google Ads then takes over, allowing the user to generate ads linked to these terms. When people search, the ads appear at strategic result points. Once a reader clicks the ad they go to the target website that answers their need and connects with their solution search. This, of course, would be the optometrist’s site.
Social Media Marketing
Unlike other marketing tools, social media marketing is about building a community. It needs content and commitment to engage with readers. For an optometrist, this means developing an ongoing campaign of topics that people will want to read, such as eye care topics, and then responding to reader’s questions. Major channels like Facebook and Twitter are common starting points, but social media is constantly evolving, and more engaging channels like Reddit, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are developing far greater audiences, particularly due to their video capabilities. These are ways to organically build interest in an eye medical business, but it takes hands-on work and responding to grow.
Believe it or not, despite spam filters and a lot of bad media about spam, email marketing is still very effective at generating new business. An optometrist marketing campaign can easily circumvent the spam label by generating a regular newsletter-style email outreach, which people will likely find useful and interesting about eye health. Designed well, it can lead to contact and customer development, especially in the arena of preventative health and eye care. Email marketing is extremely low cost, can reach thousands, and can be modified easily for new content. No surprise, it continues to be one of the most effective marketing tools and return on investment.
Again, marketing today still follows the same principles it did before the Internet; it’s about developing awareness for consumers that a particular optometry office has the medical solution they are looking for, whether it be preventative care or medical treatment for an eye problem. The difference today is that the most effective marketing is clearly online with the use of specific tools every business needs to know how to use. And, where an optometrist’s office doesn’t have the skill inhouse to manage these aspects, it should be hiring the expertise to start off right. A bit of outlay producing a professional first impression online can make a huge difference that lasts for years forward.