While optional in the past, increased competition and the number of users finding doctor information on the web has changed the game to mandatory. Today’s healthcare and insurance systems have fostered an environment for the healthcare consumer to take control of how and where they spend their healthcare dollars. More and more of these dollars are coming out of the consumer’s pocket and that gives them more decision-making power.
Healthcare decisions look more and more like retail decisions as patients search for information on quality, cost, availability and product proximity. Optometrists must be prepared to translate the experience they provide - your brand story – into readily accessible information that addresses the healthcare consumer’s search needs. Here are 6 areas to consider when marketing to this information seeking healthcare consumer:
- If you only had three words, which ones describe your Practice. You’ve just made the first step in communicating your unique optometric brand. Once you’ve settled on your three words, check that all of your marketing conveys these ideals.
- Make sure your site is mobile responsive. According to a recent Pew study, 52% of consumers are now searching for health-related information through a mobile device. Make sure your Practice website is formatted so that consumers can quickly and easily get information they need.
- Go comprehensive. Web marketing is important but it should work hand in hand with an offline marketing effort – community outreach, press releases, newspaper ads, business-to-business partnerships. The majority of patients (84%) conduct research both online and offline. How patients search for healthcare information should be considered when planning out your marketing messages.
- Conduct traditional SEO (search engine optimization).Imagine millions of points of data and information at your fingertips. That’s the web and that’s why consumers love it so much. Make sure your website knows how to be best friends with all of the top search engines. Most consumers, 77%, are finding the information they need through the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Take a look at our recent article on tracking your traffic from Google.
- Know your audiences. The emphasis is on the “s”. Most optometrists see their market as a singular entity, “my community”. In fact, it is made up of specific smaller audiences and each want to know that you are speaking to them – pediatrics, seniors, busy professionals. Make sure your brand story reaches these audiences and that it is recognizable.
- Measure and evaluate. At least twice each year, stop and evaluate the marketing activities you are conducting. How many new patients have you seen in the past few months? Have you seen sales growth for a product or service you are marketing? Are they giving you real results (i.e. revenue well above what you spent on the marketing activity itself)? If so, do more of that activity. If not, cut it out of your marketing plan.
If you are feeling Facebook phobic, you aren't alone.
Social media can be overwhelming when you don't have a well-thought-out plan of action, especially if you aren't a frequent user. However, with a little bit of know-how and strategy, your Facebook page can be manageable and an effective part of your overall web marketing.
First you need to define realistic goals. While it is not very realistic to think that you will generate an influx of new patients and exam appointments from a Facebook post, you can set a goal of getting more fans, increasing your exposure or establishing expertise and loyalty from patients. Facebook is an effective retention tool which allows you to maintain a relationship with your patients, keeping your practice top of mind when they do decide it's time for a visit.
Next, plan a campaign. Choose your goal, stay focused and plan ahead. In addition to weekly posts on a variety of topics, a targeted campaign will enhance engagement and potentially bring more people to your page. Here are three different types of Facebook campaigns and how they can impact your social media success.
1) The “Like” Campaign: To increase fan base, reach more viewers and create greater brand recognition.
A “Like” Campaign gives Facebook users an incentive to Like your page by encouraging fans to share a post to get their networks to like your page. Often it will also be publicized outside of your actual Facebook page so people that aren't already your Facebook fans will see it - such as a pop-up ad on your website homepage, an email campaign or printed materials such as postcards, posters or business cards. Your incentive can be anything- great information and deals or a gift, discount or prize.
2) The Awareness Campaign: To promote specific educational topics, publicize areas of specialty, increase expertise and trust, and enhance loyalty.
An awareness campaign is a series of posts along with engagement opportunities that focus on a certain topic. You can take a seasonal approach (back to school eye concerns or seasonal allergies) or focus on a particular area of interest (Ortho-K or glaucoma) and post facts, links to articles, photos, giveaways, testimonials etc...the opportunities are endless. Awareness campaigns can also be integrated with other online or offline media such as posters, emails, lectures, events, blog posts, press releases and more. Here is a good example of a back-to-school awareness campaign from Wesson And Mothershed Eye Center which included a backpack giveaway.
3) Post (Theme) Campaign: To provide entertainment or share interesting facts to keep fans coming back to visit your page and encourage engagement.
Create a series of posts including photos or images around a particular theme to keep visitors coming back to your page. You can create a thematic schedule for certain days of the week (Funday Monday or Trivia Tuesday) or run a few weeks of posts about a fun, interesting or entertaining topics. Make your theme interactive to increase engagement. Some ideas for successful post campaigns include Celebrity Eyewear (show the celebrity’s eye wear and have fans guess who it could be), Celebrity Eyes (the same concept as eyewear but just by the eyes), and Eye Beauty tips just to name a few. Take a look at Complete Eye Care; this Practice Facebook page has a great variety of interactive post campaigns.
Like any marketing platform, to succeed with Facebook you need to set realistic goals and plan out a strategy to achieve them. You want to post at least once a week, more often if possible, to gain exposure for your page and create engagement. Campaigns that involve incentives, entertainment or important educational messages that establish your expertise will help to retain fans by way of loyalty, interest and recognition.
Over 900 registered users, over 1000 CE Sessions attended in the first week ... and over 1000 booth visits!
We would like to thank the optometric community for their collaboration as we connected once again on an exciting virtual conference platform over four information-packed days for the CEing is Believing Virtual Conference and Exhibition. We extend our gratitude to all of those that contributed to CEiB; our Speakers, Exhibitors and Supporters and to our Attendees that helped make this conference a huge success.
CEiB On Demand is now live! Registrants can log in on the CEiB homepage: http://www.ceib2014.com/ or if you would like to take advantage of the full conference and have not registered you can register here: https://www.vconferenceonline.com/event/regeventecp.aspx?ID=1051
Looking for ideas to create more unique and interactive posts? Need to grow your social community? EyeCarePro has added a free, new feature [in addition to our social media campaigns] developed especially for our Web Marketing customers.
Introducing Social Sabina Says! Sabina Fonseca, our social media extraordinaire is here to provide tips and post ideas to help build a loyal social following. Throughout each month, Sabina will send each client six timely, engaging and fun post ideas to enhance their Facebook page. If you are interested in this feature or would like to learn more about web marketing programs, email Jason, email@example.com