We had the chance at SECO to sit down with Trudi Charezn, the co-founder of Marketing4ECPs, to talk top marketing strategies for optometrists and the importance of digital marketing for optometrists!
“I see such opportunity every single day for eyecare businesses,” says Charezn. One of the misconceptions that keeps ECPs from venturing into digital marketing, though, is that it’s difficult to track ROI. Luckily, most platforms that enable digital marketing these days have built-in tracking that can allow you to see exactly which of your customers and potential customers are seeing and responding to your campaigns.
“Compared to traditional marketing—yellow pages, newspapers ads—so hard to actually track results, where with the power of some of the things you can do today, Facebook, Instagram, obviously Google . . . we can show the optometrist exactly how their ads are working, what it’s driving,” says Charezn. “We put tracking on their website that can tell if the ad drove a phone call or drove a booked appointment. We can tell them, spend this, and it will turn into a patient in your practice.”
Of course, marketing can be daunting for a new practice owner. Sometimes the ROI seems too low when you’re doing your own digital marketing—you’ve spent thousands of dollars on Google AdWords and are only seeing one or two new patients. “A lot of doctors who are trying to do their own digital media . . . they don’t utilize all the expertise you can put into that ad to target the right audience. So they’re actually marketing too far outside of their zone, and people are clicking on that ad who will never come to that location, because it’s too far,” Charezn says. But with digital marketing, you can actually target potential patients in your zipcode.
That’s impossible without data, of course. And quite a bit of that data is already in your patient list. Who are your patients? Where are they coming from—geographically? How much are they spending? Collecting that from what you already know about your patients is key to creating a successful marketing campaign to drive more patients to your practice.
And then, of course, there’s retargeting.
Retargeting is when your potential patient visits your website, but then leaves. Later, they might be shown an ad for your page to remind them of it. Google is the best proven method of retargeting, but it can be done on other search engines as well as social media platforms.
“If you’re doing marketing well, or you’re working with a company, they will usually put some tools in place that truly track the ad and user experience,” says Charezn. This ranges from heat map tracking to click tracking, so you can see the connection between the impression of an ad and what action they took, whether it’s clicking or calling, and whether they booked an appointment.
“Online booking is huge right now,” says Charezn, largely because millennials are averse to phone calls. Regardless, though, it’s extremely important to make the phone number listed on your website clickable, so mobile consumers can click the phone number when browsing the web on their phone.
“58% of eyecare consumers are searching on mobile,” says Charezn. “It is so important right now to have a good mobile experience when it comes to somebody searching and finding you—almost more so than your experience from a PC or laptop.”
It’s certainly difficult for eyecare professionals to become experts in digital marketing—it’s an entire other field, after all! But there are plenty of resources out there where ECPs can learn the basics of creating a digital marketing campaign.
The methods you use in marketing will vary depending on your location and your customer base, says Charezn. A practice in a central, metropolitan area will be unlikely to find success with traditional methods of marketing, while a more rural location might find huge success by capitalizing on community newspapers and events. With methods like that, of course, the best way of tracking success is by actually asking your patients how they heard about you!
The biggest pitfall for a new practice is not spending enough money and resources on marketing. A beautiful practice might draw a few people in, but getting out the word about your practice is absolutely crucial! “You should be looking at [marketing] as an investment,” urges Charezn, “and that investment should make you money.”
“Marketing, done properly, should get you a minimum of three times return on your money,” says Charezn, “but done well, it should be ten times return on your money.”
Social media marketing is getting more difficult with the developments across the social media ecosystem, from Facebook’s tightening privacy restrictions to how people are changing how they use social media. Pay-to-play is a rising concern, which means that companies need to learn how social media marketing is changing. And of course, it’s important to watch what other companies—both in the industry and elsewhere—are doing!
It’s also extremely important to make sure you’re creating an image that actually reflects what you offer. Are you a specialist practice? Make sure your audience knows that! And when you’re building a business plan for the next year, make sure to budget in marketing!