In today’s connected world, current and potential patients will first turn to the Internet for information about optometric issues they are having. They will also turn to social media platforms for information and recommendations for optometrists and specific services. They may ask friends and family members for recommendations then visit those optometric websites and their social media accounts. Through those, the potential client will read reviews from past clients. They will also see any negative posts from unsatisfied clients. This creates challenges for medical marketing strategies. On the one hand, positive reviews can create a flow of potential new patients. An effective online marketing plan can also cultivate patient trust and confidence by establishing the optometrist’s professional expertise. It also allows the physician to share relevant information and maintain their connection to their clientele. A post from a dissatisfied patient gives the opportunity to quickly follow up with them and resolve their issues. Social media posts also let the medical staff know how they are performing. Comments and reviews from patients also highlight areas that need to be improved or additional services that need to be provided.
While everyone visits optometric websites often, visitors are increasing using mobile devices to access information. For medical website design, this is a special consideration. Potential clients who visit a practice’s site using a mobile phone or tablet need to be able to find the information that they are looking for. While on the go, potential clients will be searching for medical services and optometrists online. It’s important that if they find the desktop version of your practice’s website through a search engine, it’s important that they be directed to the mobile-friendly version to make it easier for them to view the information. Optometric sites without a mobile friending version risk losing potential clientele because the site will not be easy to use on a cell phone or tablet.
In developing medical marketing strategies for optometrists, there several ways to promote a practice to an audience that accesses the site and communicates through cell phones and tablets.
The first step is to develop a mobile site. By developing a mobile site, visitors to the website using a cell phone or tablet will see the same site content but, has been adjusted to fit the screen size of the device of the viewer. This provides a consistency in a practice’s image and branding. It also conveys the practice’s level of professionalism. Desktop and mobile versions of a website have only one difference. The mobile version will have the images, navigation and sizing optimized specifically for cell phones and tablets. Photos and text will automatically resize to fit the smaller screen. Creating a mobile version of a website will also ensure that page load times don’t lag or slow down. Desktop versions can be difficult to navigate on cell phones and tablets. This can lead to the potential client becoming frustrated when they cannot locate the information they are looking for. If this happens, they will leave the practice’s website and look for the information elsewhere. This could potentially lead them to a competitor. That is never the goal for optometrist’s marketing plan.
Another effective aspect of a medical marketing plan are mobile ads. Most potential clients today, find optometrists through search engines. While websites need to be submitted to multiple search engines, optometrists also need to include search engine optimization (SEO) in their plan. Through the use of keywords and fresh, original content, potential clients can find the practice through search engines. Every optometric website will be competing for attention among websites that use the services of experienced SEO professionals. SEO professionals know many techniques to get higher rankings in search results. One way that optometrists can get prominent placement in search results on Google is to use AdWords. Google AdWords are also known as pay per click type campaigns. With this approach, optometrists can place ads that appear within the search results for placement on the first page. These are the ads located on the right-hand side of the search results page. The benefit of using these types of campaigns is that the optometrist can have greater control over their AdWords budget and reach their target clients. Also, the practice is only charged when someone clicks on the ad to visit the website. These types of campaigns are now available for mobile devices extending the reach of the practice to a much broader audience. Also, AdWords allows the optometrist to select whether the ad is viewed in a broad match, phrase match or exact match within the search page. A broad match will match multiple keywords. The downside of this is that the ad may be displayed with businesses and services that are unrelated to the practice. A phrase match will also match a number of keywords but the search phrase must contain the keywords in the same order. Exact match, is the least expensive selection, will only show the ad within search results that are an exact match of keywords. This limits the number of people will see the ad. This can be an effective way to market a practice to mobile users that could potentially become patients.
Social Media Mega Phone
Social media platforms provide another opportunity to promote their practice to mobile users. As mentioned, most mobile users will turn to social media for recommendations and reviews of optometrists. Social media is also an effective way to share information and remain connected with mobile users. This is clear when approximately have of all social media traffic is from a cell phone or tablet (45% Facebook, 55% Twitter). This demonstrates the importance of ensuring that websites and links shard on social media are mobile friendly.
Check-ins on Facebook can motivate patients to visit the practice’s website. Encourage them to check in to get specials or promotions the practice is currently offering. Information about the practice and specials will then be share through their entire social network when they do check in. This markets the practice and its services.
Many optometrists also include texting into their marketing plan. Important information, such as appointment reminders, can be conveniently be texted to mobile phone and tablet users, even when they are on the go. Texting is a proven method to convey information in a mobile society. It has also been shown to decrease appointment “no-shows”.
In an increasingly mobile society, it’s important not to overlook this important aspect of the marketing plan. Mobile medical websites designs are only one part of a strategy. Including various techniques, open the practice up to a much larger audience.