On a chilly January Sunday in Atlanta (where I live), my sister texted me this picture of a line going out the door of what looked like an old warehouse. She and many others were eagerly awaiting to enter the building for an anniversary sale to be held from 11am – 4pm, one day only. The business owners marketed the event solely through Instagram.(atlantausedfurniture on Instagram)
One thing’s for sure – marketing is going to continue to evolve at a rapid pace this year. Your patients are now more likely to use mobile devices, shop online, spend time on social media and read reviews. Is your practice well-positioned to increase awareness with prospective patients and retain existing patients in 2020?
Online reviews aren’t new, but they’re now a crucial part of your marketing plan. Your Google and Yelp listings should be claimed and updated with images of your practice, and if you haven’t implemented a sustainable process to acquire reviews from your patients yet, you should make this a priority in 2020. The best way to acquire reviews is to provide great customer service which delights patients and make it easy for them to review you by distributing the link via text after their appointment.
People research symptoms on YouTube. They want to watch a video explanation instead of reading an article. It’s free to start a YouTube channel for your practice, and then house the link on your website. You can educate people about eye disease and specialties. You can tell your story. You can share testimonials from patients. YouTube and Facebook are the most widely used platforms for marketers (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/state-of-video-marketing-new-data) but video also performs well on LinkedIn.
Relevant, Quality Content on Website
Google is focused on providing users the best possible search results. Read through your practice website and ask yourself – is this content relevant? Well-written? Is it useful for patients? If the content is vague and unfocused, consider re-writing the content with your patients (and their questions) in mind.
You should be more personally involved in building awareness of your independently owned optometry practice on Facebook and Instagram in 2020. Eye exams are an important part of healthcare, and you can use these platforms to educate your patients, grow rapport with them and tell your brand story. Share images and videos from your practice – optometrist and team member spotlights, videos, birthdays, team events, frames shows and work in the community. This content increases engagement and recommendations from patients.
Consider posting stories in Facebook and Instagram in addition to posts on your timeline – a quick snippet with an image of a cool frame, an event you’re marketing, or just a smiling picture of some team members is a great way to generate awareness.
Pay attention to what’s being said about your practice in online reviews and respond to them. Negative reviews can really hurt your practice. When you respond, keep it HIPAA compliant by not addressing specific details of the patient’s experience but rather keep it general instead. Think of your response as “proof” of your commitment to customer service – even in a difficult situation.
Online Chat and Text Conversations
Chatbots and two-way texting will continue to grow in popularity this year. It’s a great experience for people to be able to text you with questions or engage with you in chat versus picking up the phone. Pay attention to your Facebook Messenger – people have an expectation now that they can talk to you there. You can set up answers to frequently asked questions in Messenger, or at the very least, an auto-response that someone will be with them within the hour. https://www.messenger.com/features
Adding “text us!” on your website is a great way to invite prospective patients to engage with you, particularly younger patients.
Think digital, think video, think mobile and get personally involved on social this year.