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Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - 11:26 by admin

Every practice wants to grow in patients and grow in revenue. That means every practice needs a marketing plan for 2019. Over here at EyeCarePro, we really want to help get the ball rolling! What does that have to do with GPS? Well, here is where your marketing GPS comes in to play...

What?! A Marketing GPS?

Just as we need to set our GPS to direct us to the best route toward our destination, when it comes to marketing it’s very easy to get “lost” without proper planning and direction. You don’t just get in the car and hope for the best. You set the destination and you determine the route, without which you are bound to get off track and end up somewhere you don’t want to be.  

Well, the same goes with your marketing strategy.  How can you end up where you want to be without defining your destination (goals) and mapping a clear and effective route to get there (marketing strategy)?

With the year’s end rapidly approaching, it’s time to sit down and map out a marketing plan for the coming year.  This will save you time, may save you money and will coordinate your marketing efforts to provide the optimal outcome.

Here are some steps to get your marketing GPS set for the year ahead.

Set the Destination

The first step is to define your goals for the year. Your goals should be SMART. This is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

An example of a SMART goal would be to increase optical sales by 10% by the third quarter. Or you might want to double your monthly new patient average by June. Whatever your goal may be, make sure that it includes the above elements so it is focused and attainable.

Mapping the Course

With your goal set, you now need to figure out how you are going to get there.  Which platforms will you use, what is your budget, what is your timeline? Will you host an event and what details are necessary to make that happen?  This is where the nitty gritty of all of the details comes in and the more detailed you are now the better. Planning ahead with all of these details will allow you to be ahead of the game, to make sure everything goes according to plan and that you get the most out of your marketing efforts.  

Now is also the time to think about whether you will be using any professional assistance such as marketing experts, web developers, graphic designers or videographers to bring your marketing plan to fruition. It is worthwhile to reach out now to get an idea of the price, the process, and the timing that is necessary to ensure deadlines are met.

Redirecting if Necessary

This is a critical step that far too many people skip. As you begin your drive and start to implement your strategy, there may be occasional detours or obstacles. You need to stop and assess the situation to ensure you are still on course.  It’s important to keep an eye on your efforts at all times by tracking results to see that all is going according to plan. Sometimes you can improve a campaign or promotion in the midst of it while other times, like with a trunk show, you may only know after the fact if your efforts were a success. Nevertheless, any time you run a promotion, event or campaign, it is critical to track and measure in order to assess whether it was successful and if necessary how to change course for the next time.  

Planning is not easy, in fact it is downright hard, especially if you aren’t clear about your goals. If you don’t know where to start with this process or could use a little guidance, you are in luck! We have just come out with our Strategic Marketing Plan ebook for 2019 - which is an in-depth, step by step guide to walk you through the process. From developing and setting your goals to specific marketing platform strategy, this comprehensive guide gives you everything you need to come up with your marketing plan for the year to come.

You know I’m normally not self-promotional in these emails, but I just can’t let this opportunity pass you by.  This ebook is really great and it’s one of the best ways to get you started! Download it today and get the wheels churning!

Thinking that you want to stick to the eye exams and leave the marketing to the experts? Contact me at daniel@eyecarepro.net or (412) 532-6542.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - 14:52 by admin

Yup. Another update. Facebook is once again making some changes to business pages designed to improve the user’s ability to find the most important information on your page. Here’s the deal…

You or your social media manager may have recently received a notification that your Facebook page’s template will be changing. Or you may have noticed that your page looks a little different. According to Facebook, these updates are designed to help your business connect with people and highlight the most important information they are seeking (such as contact information, appointments, hours, location, recommendations and services).  

Here’s a snapshot of the email:

Facebook’s email illustrates how they are changing default templates of some business pages from a standard template to a “services” template, however there is also an option to keep the standard template if that is preferred. The “new” layout, is actually not new- Facebook has always offered different layout options. According to Sabina Fonseca, our social media expert, until now all pages used the “standard” layout as default unless it was changed by the admin, and it seems that now Facebook is finally trying to organize pages better. Other than the page being reorganized to show what the viewers are most commonly looking for, not much will change.

Ratings Are Now Recommendations

Another area that will be highlighted in the services template is recommendations, and this is where Facebook actually is making a change. Previously, when users wrote a review of your business they could leave a numerical rating from 1-5. Now, they will simply select “yes or no” whether they would recommend your practice. In addition, when a user tags your business in a post or photo they will be given the opportunity to publicly recommend your business as well. The recommendation field will also be made more user friendly by providing quick tags that can be selected such as “Great service”.

All in all, these changes won’t have much impact on how you use your page, but it’s always important to keep up to date on the user experience and to ensure that your page is accurate and up to date.  If you need help with your social media strategy, we are here to help! Contact me at daniel@eyecarepro.net or (412) 532-6542.

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Posted on Monday, July 23, 2018 - 11:24 by admin

Over the past few weeks, many businesses have seen a sudden drop in their total number of Google reviews and maybe even in their average star rating. While this might be alarming, rest assured that it is not a poor reflection of your practice! There is some rhyme and reason behind it and in the long run it could actually benefit your practice.

Say What!?

If you look a little closer, you will see that what is missing is any review your business received from an anonymous user. Google has taken the step to remove anonymous reviews of businesses from Google My Business in an effort to protect business owners from fake reviews. This means that any review that was left by “A Google User” should no longer be visible or counted in the overall review score or star rating.  In addition to the removal of existent anonymous reviews, from this point onward, Google has stated that anonymous reviews will no longer be permitted. Again, while in the short term, business owners may see a reduction in their review count and score, this move is designed to help the business owner in the long run.

Why? For some time there have been complaints or questions about the reliability of customer reviews, with statistics showing that a high percentage of consumers suspect that they have come across fake reviews while investigating businesses. Requiring reviewers to identify themselves adds a level of scrutiny to the review process. Nevertheless this is by no means the end of fake reviews, not to mention that Google still has a long way to go to completely do away with anonymous reviews. 

According to research by Bright Local, about 3% of reviews are anonymous and the average difference in star rating is 0.2 stars (meaning named reviewers gave 0.2 higher than anonymous reviewers). This means that the average business could see an increase in their star rating simply by eliminating these anonymous reviews.

The average star rating on your Google My Business page is important because it is a factor for your page ranking on Google and can influence your click-through rates to your website.

While many business owners have been shocked and maybe even upset to see a sudden change in their star rating or their overall number of reviews, this change is a first step to crack down on fake reviews that undermine the entire review system.  If this has happened to you, it’s merely another reason to increase your efforts to request reviews from happy customers. 

Looking to simplify the review process? Find out about our new review app! Contact me at daniel@eyecarepro.net or (412) 532-6542.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 12:46 by admin
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Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 12:16 by admin

Over here in SEO world, we’ve been anticipating the launch of Google’s Mobile Index and the time has finally arrived! We’ve started to receive confirmations through the Google Search Console on behalf of many of our client website owners that their sites have been added to the mobile index.

What does this mean exactly? 

Due to the astronomical popularity of mobile search, we’ve been preaching for years that it’s essential to have a mobile optimized website - and so has Google. This is yet another major step in putting mobile into the driver’s seat when it comes to search.

It’s no longer that Google is just rewarding mobile-friendly sites with improved ranking, but now if your site is not up to par, you will be missing the boat.  According to Google, mobile-first indexing means that they will now primarily be using the mobile signals of the site, rather than the desktop signals, for indexing and ranking. Until now, the desktop version of all sites’ content were used to evaluate the search relevance to a query. Now as the majority of users are searching from mobile devices, the mobile data will become the primary source of content.  Google’s claim is that this is to assist the majority of mobile users in finding what they are looking for, as the desktop version can often cause issues for mobile searches when the content is different from the mobile site. Right now, there are two indexes, one for mobile and one for desktop, both will send out crawl bots to the website and take in data for their own index, and the mobile index will be prioritized.

So far it seems that the index has not resulted in any significant changes in ranking - your site ranking will likely be the same as it is on the desktop index. Google is merely going through sites and selecting which sites to add to the mobile-first index. Those that are added, however will likely see a small increase in mobile traffic.

Where there may be an advantage for sites that are added to the index is in cases where the competition is not in the mobile index or has not yet been added. In these cases, your site might bump up a notch or two in the mobile index, so people searching from a mobile device will find you first.  Alternatively, if your site is not in the index, you will be left out of the mobile search ranking index, which gives your competitors the edge.

Don’t worry if your mobile-optimized site has not been moved over yet. They are taking this transition slowly to ensure a smooth transition for site owners and users and they are carefully assessing the readiness of each site before moving it over.  At this point, we have yet to find a way to submit to the mobile index, or a way to force a crawl by Google so, it remains out of our hands.

If your site is mobile-friendly, there is nothing to do at this point, other than being aware that your efforts are keeping your site up to date with the trends of digital marketing. You can check whether your site is mobile-friendly here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

EyeCarePro clients should be aware that all of our sites are mobile-optimized and that since we manage your Google console we will be getting the notification when it is added. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your web manager.  

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Daniel Rostenne Daniel Rostenne is a leader in the online optometric community and has made a career of creating and promoting effective web sites for optometric practices. He is a COPE educator, editor of Optometry Web, a regular speaker at eyecare events & conferences and has been widely published in Optometric e-zines. Daniel is an expert in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization, in particular as it relates to best practices for Optometrists. You can sometimes find Daniel daydreaming on Google+.

Contact Daniel: 866-886-4442 or danielr@eyecarepro.net

Nancy Rausman Nancy Rausman is the managing editor of the EyeCarePro blog and Optometry Web Newsletter. She is responsible for providing ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing.

Contact Nancy:nancy@eyecarepro.net