A sizable number of eyecare professionals including ODs are not optimizing the internet to market their practice, according to Jobson Optical Research’s 2012 ECP Internet Usage and Practice Website Study. Some 41.9 percent say they do not participate in any of the digital activities cited in the study including “creating or working on an online journal or blog,” “creating or working on web pages,” “posting comments to an online news group or web site,” “posting photographs online” and “posting videos online.” Some 42.1 percent have posted photos online, 34.2 percent have posted comments to an online news group or web site, 20 percent have created or worked on web pages, 13 percent have posted videos online and 9.5 percent have created or worked on an online journal or blog.
Here is one more fact from an annual study by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive called the 2012 Digital Influence Index: 75 percent of people surveyed said they rely on online information when choosing healthcare products and services. Our current patients and potential patients are online, even if we are not.
To function most effectively in the 21st century marketplace, the practice must have a coordinated digital marketing plan. Rather than just jumping in and trying to figure it out as you go, instead, hire a digital marketing company to create a complete plan for you.
It is important to recognize that a web site development company is not a digital marketing company. A web site development company will help you to create a web site but that is not your end point. Your endpoint is really two things–you want to keep your current patients loyal and you want to put people who are not your patients into your chair.
What about other pieces of a digital marketing plan?
Facebook is the largest social media platform. Think of Facebook like dropping a pebble into a pond. Each time your Facebook post receives a like, the ripples in the pond expand to a larger and larger audience. Facebook is a good way to guide people to your blog.
Your practice blog is a great way to engage people in an ongoing discussion. Be very careful to not engage in controversial topics. That is a very dangerous road to go down. Instead, always keep in mind the practice is a business and you want to bring people in rather than push them away.
Your Twitter feed should drive people back to your web site. And we cannot forget analytic tools that are needed to find out what people are viewing, as well as what they are not viewing.
It is very easy to see all of the digital media pieces and get overwhelmed. With a coordinated plan, you can take each piece as you are ready and maximize the result. With a coordinated plan you do not have to do every piece of digital media, only those that help you achieve your desired end result.
Just as you shouldn’t just put random marketing pieces in the newspaper, you shouldn’t randomly jump into digital media. Instead, hire the right professionals to help you put together a coordinated digital marketing plan.
Your action plan this week is to review your digital marketing plan. Is your current plan keeping your current patients loyal and putting new patients into your chair? If not, then it’s time to make a change and fix the problem.
Click HERE to purchase Jobson Optical Research’s 2012 ECP Internet Usage and Practice Website Study.