Being able to successfully brand, market, and advertise your practice via the internet is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of operating an optometry practice in 2020. With that being said, you’d be hard-pressed to find an owner/operator who has the time necessary to truly become a skilled marketer.
However, one of the major benefits of digital marketing is the fact that it has lowered the barrier to entry in a major way. In the past, it was only large-scale practices and medical offices that could afford to run traditional forms of advertising (e.g. news, radio, TV, etc.). Digital marketing has completely flipped the script, and now every single business in the world has the same level of opportunity when it comes to reaching and engaging with an audience.
While it’s true that you might get a more polished ad campaign if you go with an established marketing firm, there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own advertising. In 2020, this can be boiled down to running social media, search PPC, and content marketing ads. The major players in these arenas are Instagram, Facebook, Google Ads, and other relevant platforms.
Whether you want to increase your current roster of clients/patients, or you’re looking to rebrand your entire practice, the tips posted below will help you gain a solid foothold in the realm of digital marketing. According to PECAA, 76% of all patients first visit a practice’s website before even contacting that office – which means that covering all of your bases is absolutely essential (especially in 2020).
We cover PPC platforms, a little SEO, and go heavy into content marketing (specifically in regards to social media). These are all marketing avenues that simply cannot be ignored in 2020 – doing so puts your practice at risk of becoming totally irrelevant (especially among younger demographics). So, buckle up and get ready to dive deep into the basics of digital marketing – social media, PPC ads, and SEO (we cover all the basics required to get you started down the right path).
Building Your Optometry Practice Through PPC Advertising
PPC advertising, otherwise referred to as pay-per-click ads, have been the dominant form of digital marketing ever since their introduction back in 2001. Google Ads is the major player here and has been ever since the platform’s initial launch in the early 2000s. As far as social media PPC goes, there are two major players at the moment (Facebook and Instagram – and Instagram is owned by Facebook). No matter what your digital marketing goals are, if you’re not doing PPC ads on these three platforms you’re losing out on some massive opportunities for exposure.
This is especially true if you’re a local practice going after additional local patients. Most of the platforms allow you to target down to a specific zip code (along with a specific mile radius setting). That means you can target patients that live within a few miles of your office building, that are 40-65 years old, etc. The targeting options on most PPC platforms are incredibly robust, which is why nearly all businesses are turning their attention towards them (and forgoing the traditional advertising avenues – i.e. television, radio, etc.).
Social Media Content Creation for Eye Care Professionals
Many medical practitioners are unsure of how to market their company on social media. This is a similar sentiment shared across numerous industries, and it’s exactly why most small businesses are terrible at social media. You need to stop thinking about social media as something that exists for marketing purposes. People don’t log into Instagram and Facebook to consume ads. They use these platforms to be entertained, to escape their realities, to learn new information – which is why your social media content needs to provide one (or two, or three) of those things.
Stop approaching social media channels as places to advertise your business. And to clarify, we’re talking about organic content here. Of course, if you’re paying for an Instagram PPC ad campaign, you can create content tailored for advertising. In terms of organic content creation, though, you really need to think about providing value to your followers. If your followers can’t get any value from your content, you need to develop a new posting strategy.
One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on educational content. You’re a medical practice, which means that people come to your business to receive expert medical care. Take advantage of this leverage by turning your expertise into top-notch social media content. There are many different ways to achieve this; videos, long-form written content, visual posts, etc. The options are limitless, and as long as you’re creating educational content that your audience is engaging with, you’ll start to see actual business results.
SEO for Local Leads: Optometry Edition
Using SEO for local lead generation is what every single small business in the country should be doing, and yet there are countless owners that simply underestimate the importance of SEO, or don’t understand it at all. I’ve had numerous conversations with small business owners (both successful and barely afloat) that had one thing in common: they didn’t recognize just how powerful a proper SEO strategy can be.
There’s a lot of misconceptions floating around about SEO. No, doing on-page SEO isn’t that difficult. Yes, off-page SEO can be a challenge for small businesses who don’t have the time for that. That’s why it’s recommended to find a quality local SEO agency that can provide you with excellent services. While you can go with a web-based agency, these places will almost always be more expensive than a local SEO firm. Of course, if you live in a rural area, you might not have access to an experienced SEO company, and in that case you should definitely go with a web-based agency.
Just keep in mind your total marketing budget, because SEO campaigns can be quite costly (it all depends on which keywords you’re targeting). And for those business owners that think SEO isn’t worth it – SEO is a roughly $80 billion per year industry.