13 Great Ideas for Marketing your Optometry Practice
(Best ones first!)
First of all, optometry is far from a dying field. In 2022, there will be huge opportunities to take advantage of in the vision care sector. For starters, think about all of the online work, classes, and entertainment out there!
So, do you know what to do to market your practice?
We specialize in digital marketing strategies at Optometry Marketing, but we’ll share some ideas for offline advertising (we’re people too, after all). In the right hands, these thirteen tips can really boost patient volume and improve the longevity of patients.
It’s far cheaper to retain patients than it is to get new ones, right?
Since you also need new patients, take a gander at our 6 in-person and 7 online (that’s 13, folks) optometry marketing must-do’s for 2022.
7 Online Marketing Strategies to Get More Eye Care Patients
1. Use SEO to Improve Online Visibility
This is the big one!
If you didn’t already know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a big deal right now, and has been for a while. The nitty-gritty of SEO is, well, nitty and gritty. We love taking care of it for optometry practices and have proven methods of doing SEO successfully.
In a nice and tough-to-crack nutshell, good SEO gets your website at the top of an organic Google search engine results page, aka SERP, (or at least on the first page). This involves making the job of Google’s internet websites easy for them to tell who you are, what you do, and how easy it is for people to get the right answers to their searches from you.
Fortunately for you, SEO is our thing.
Here are a couple tasks you can do on your own to boost your site traffic and credibility, and get more new patients this year!
- Edit your title tags and meta descriptions. If you hover on this tab in your browser, you should see a little pop-up that says “13 Great Ideas for Marketing your Optometry Practice (Best ones first!)”
- Do keyword research and apply it. There are a number of tools you can use to find out what people are searching for, including Keywords Everywhere. You can only know what words to include in your headlines, meta descriptions, and title tags.
- Look at the type of content your competitors are using (if they’re above you on a SERP)
- Do everything else we mention here! Each of these.
Not sure where to start with SEO? Read our blog post that’s all about SEO for Optometrists to learn how to rank in Google searches.
2. Local Listings Make Sure You Show for Searches (when they’re searching)
Local listings fall under the SEO category, but they’re so important—and sometimes overlooked–that we put them in their own category. One of the first things you should do is create a Google My Business account if you haven’t already (now, seriously, do it now!).
A Google My Business result takes the form of a local listing (especially in maps!). These local listings are essential for getting found by people at the exact moment they’re searching for eye care.
If you aren’t showing up for local listings, there’s a chance the rest of your marketing budget is going to waste. Contact us now to schedule a free, 45-minute strategy session. We can help!
4. Reviews Set You Apart from Other Clinics
When you need help deciding on an online shopping purchase, what do you do? You read a review!
But wait, you’re not a retail store.
With Google searches being the primary way people make decisions about where to go for what they need, people searching might as well be “shopping” for healthcare professionals. Therefore, reviews matter.
Reviews matter a ton.
A study from BrightLocal resulted in the following statistics:
- 79% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from someone close to them
- 94% of people said that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business (increased by 3% since 2019)
- And 92% of people reported that they were less likely to use a business after reading negative reviews (up 10% since 2019).
That last statistic is an excellent segue. You not only need to incentivize and encourage patients to leave reviews, you need to respond to negative reviews and keep in-mind that every patient interaction could lead to a powerful Google review.
The BrightLocal study found that an incredible 96% of consumers read the responses from businesses!
Sending a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Especially if you plan your newsletters ahead of time (you can even write and schedule to send them later!), you can save time and expand your reach with regular email communication.
First, you need a website that’s search engine optimized (SEO). For now, know that having a search engine optimized site increases your visibility for a search result, makes it more likely that people will land on your page and–who knows, maybe they’ll at least sign up for a newsletter?
Newsletters are an extremely accessible way to establish your practice as the expert in optometry. Use engaging subject lines and headers that make people want to open the email! Don’t forget to include links back to your website from your emails.
6. Post regular Content to Show Your Expertise
Just like newsletters, your website itself is an open canvas for portraying your expertise and helpfulness to people seeking vision and eye care.
Spend some time putting all that evidence-based research to work and Google will reward you! Google uses Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (known in the biz as E-A-T) as factors in your site’s visibility.
When you reference authoritative bodies or organizations in your research articles, be sure to link to their respective websites. Google tracks those links, and uses them as proof of trustworthiness along with proven research. Just be sure what you’re writing is applicable to and practical for patients.
7. Use Paid Ads to Get Results Fast
Whether or not to invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements is a decision for each individual clinic to make. If you need results quickly (can’t wait for the results of SEO to kick in), then you might want to pay for your spot at the top.
That’s how Google Ads work. For every search query Google runs an auction for the ad spots. Factors like ad quality, keyword appropriateness, and bidding are taken into account for determining what ad lands where.
We use pay-per-click ads for our optometry marketing clients to boost on-site traffic and appointment scheduling as we do the back-end work of creating a site that lasts as long as possible at the top of a search.
SEO takes a lot of time and even more personalized attention. Using Google Ads isn’t exactly easy if you’re new to it, but it can be leveraged to draw online traffic to your site and increase community awareness quickly.
Helpful tip– you can narrow-down the location for which your ads show and exercise some control over what words trigger your ads.
6 In-Person Marketing Ideas for Optometry Practices
There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned face-to-face interaction.
Unless, of course, one of those faces is spewing a virus.
The value of interpersonal communication has gone way up since the restrictions and necessary protocols of COVID-19. Use this opportunity–combined with your charming personality–to make the most of your personal interactions.
8. Flyers and Billboards as Marketing Tools for Eye Doctors
The use of printed materials can still be effective for marketing. Especially as many individuals return to working at offices, advertising your practice on billboards can be a successful way to put your name in front of potential patients.
The true effectiveness of billboards depends on location, and if you don’t have very much competition you may not want to make the investment. If billboards aren’t for you, maybe flyers are a better option.
The nice thing about flyers is that you can hand them out personally or leave a stack in a popular place nearby (assuming the owners agree to such terms). Spreading the word about your practice this way tells prospective patients that you are willing to go out of your way to help them.
Further, for those of you thinking, “I can’t print out too many flyers. It’s bad for the environment,” we agree. So we’d like to bring your attention to QR codes!
This tip straddles the line of in-person and online, but you might be surprised how many people scan a QR code that links to your website from menus, waiting area placards, or plexiglass checkout barriers.
Don’t skip the SEO section above! It has crucial insight for getting people to your website, staying there, and scheduling an appointment.
9. Making Donations and Supporting Charity
Some agencies might see charity as an easy opportunity to promote their practice. We see it as something most people already want to do–but might need some help realizing its potential.
There’s a good chance you already have a charity in mind just reading that heading. What is it? If it means something to you, consider offering a monthly or yearly donation. This shows people your investment in the community, and helps them feel connected to the donation by being a patient.
It’s okay to promote your charitable actions, by the way. Some charity organizations might even rely on this kind of exposure (in your waiting room, online, etc). So go ahead, make a donation and tell people about the awesome work that organization is doing.
10. Volunteer in Your Community to Build Connections
Similarly to the previous point, people will be more likely to become a patient of yours if they see that you are getting out of the office to give time and resources to your shared community. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and you can do that as an eye doctor!
Plus, you’ll build connections within the community and within your team if you volunteer together. There’s nothing like team bonding (plus, patients have a sixth sense for positive team environments).
11. Give Away Branded Gear from Your Office
Before we get too far into this, make sure you know about state and federal guidelines on dollar amount regulations for giveaways to patients. You don’t want to find yourself fighting a kickback lawsuit when you were just trying to say “thank you.”
Back to business.
Consider buying sunglasses with your logo or practice name on them and handing them out to patients after a visit. They’ll be likely to wear them and the sunglasses will be a starting point for conversations and that undefeated king of marketing–word of mouth.
Other ideas include hats, contact lens containers, glasses cases, frisbees… You name it. Products with a connection to your practice will be the most effective, especially if your patients use them in public.
12. Sponsor a Team to Get Your Practice in the Community
Give some thought to sponsoring a local team if it’s in your budget and you have a team in your community. You can pay for the cost of printing your logo on team jerseys and other gear to get your name out there.
Plus, if the team is well-respected in the community, you’ll tie your brand in with their credibility. Take a local running club, for example. These groups usually have volunteer expectations of their members and host events at which you could market your practice and provide education.
And who knows, they might ask you to join their team!
13. Referrals Can Increase Patient Loyalty and Volume
Word-of-mouth will always be the best way to market. It may look different nowadays, but if you can incentivize current patients to get their friends and family to make appointments you’ll easily increase your number of new patients.
Consider offering a gift card to a local restaurant, or just give ‘em cash. Most of your patients already speak positively about their experience with you, they just might need a reason to really encourage people they know to have the same experience.
At the end of the day, this accomplishes what’s likely one of your main goals: establishing trusting relationships with patients that allow you to improve the health of more and more people.