Lasik surgery is a billion-dollar industry. However, the number of people who are getting their vision corrected through this procedure has been decreasing. After peaking both in 2000 and 2007 at $5.6 billion, the total industry contracted in 2017 at $2.6 billion. It’s projected to increase to $2.7 billion in 2018.
The figures proved that the market contracted and that means competition has become stiffer. Optometry or ophthalmology clinics offering the procedure needed to have an edge in order to reach out to the untapped market.
This is where digital marketing will come in.
Digital marketing is the generic term for all the online endeavors of businesses to connect with their potential customers or target audience.
If you haven’t invested in digital marketing yet, you are probably late to the party. For instance, companies have increased their budget for online marketing by 50% in 2016 compared to the year before that.
But there’s a good reason for the increase in budget. The Internet has almost replaced TV, radio and magazine ad placements because of its potential reach and a more measurable ROI. This is why if you have ophthalmology or optometry marketing ideas, you take into account your target audience that is spending a lot of time online.
Transferring your optical marketing ideas from offline to online would be a challenge indeed. You have to employ the services of an SEO company that can handle your online marketing campaign. For instance, the default instinct of consumers now is to go to Google when they need to find something.
This is why Google is still the dominant player in search engine that is responsible for driving organic traffic to company websites. Data show that search engines (which refer essentially to Google) will drive 93% of the traffic to your website.
With all that information, it’s important to be circumspect about your digital marketing campaign.
18% of all local searches lead to a sale within one day. 72% of people who visit a physical location will choose one within 5 miles of their original location.
While Lasik surgery has proven to be very successful, clinics are still not doing enough to maximize their digital footprint. There are a number of factors that contribute to the revenues plateauing, among them include:
– Soft economy causing patients to reexamine elective surgeries like Lasik surgery
– Increasing premiums for health insurance
– Changing coverage for health insurance
– Competition becoming more stiff with the mushrooming clinics
– Digital marketing
The simple fact is that if your revenue is steadily on a downward spiral, you need to be more aggressive about your digital marketing in order to reach out to those who are on the fence. You need to convince them that this is the procedure that they need.
There are over three billion Internet users in the world. In North America, 95% of the population goes to the Internet for information and purchase of goods or service. That means there are 345 million people who go online at one point or the other. With more than 8 in 10 people being a candidate for Lasik, the industry is looking at potentially over 270 million prospective customers.
Your clinic should be able to distinguish itself from the competition. One way to do this is to establish your reputation as the leader in your field. Just like in traditional marketing, it’s also all about perception in the digital marketplace.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are still two of the most effective strategies in order to build your reputation and establish expertise. The Internet is a large marketplace. Here’s an experiment: try to do a local search for optometrists and ophthalmologists in your area and see if your clinic comes up on top of the Google search engine results page.
If you haven’t added SEO into your marketing strategies, chances are potential customers would be driven to the competitors’ webpages. If we are going to dilute the Internet to its most fundamental core: It’s basically a map that would lead customers to your digital address. If you are in the middle of the desert and you want water but you don’t know the south from the north, SEO would be that neon arrow that would direct travelers to the lake.
What you want is to increase your digital footprint to also boost the chance of patients to see your site when they go looking for a Lasik surgery or any other procedure for their vision problems. Remember the quintessential philosophical question: If a tree falls in the forest but nobody hears it, did it happen?
In the same vein, you may have the most beautiful website in the industry but if there’s no one to see it, does it exist?
You might have the best eye care marketing ideas, even revolutionary among your peers, but the battleground has shifted online where you will definitely be at an advantage if you don’t have marketing ideas for Lasik that can translate online.
The one drawback for some companies is that it takes some time for your digital SEO campaign to bear fruit. It’s a slow grind but if done correctly, the returns are substantial.
Both of these strategies are part of content marketing under the digital marketing umbrella. The other strategies are:
This is basically the sponsored content you will see on the Google homepage or Yahoo. The content will only land on prominent pages as long as you continue to pay. Once the payment stops so will your ad. Display ads and banners also belong to this category.
In terms of the sustainable and organic marketing campaign, however, SEO is still the king.
PR should form a huge part of your marketing strategies for eye clinic. It will provide not just exposure but also gravitas. In most cases, content will be delivered in news form and news still trumps blogs in terms of trustworthiness and credibility.
Protecting your brand is everything, especially when the competition is stiff. But the data also supports how a business can benefit if the consumers trust its name. For instance, various studies show that more than 7 in 10 will do business with a company they trust. Nearly 8 in 10 will likely be swayed by online reviews and recommendations, even coming from strangers.
Direct mail remains a very good strategy to grow your business. Sadly, this is overlooked with the popularity of social media. Gmail alone has over one billion active users in the world. A survey of companies revealed that two-thirds of them believe that this strategy can yield “good” to “excellent” returns. Meanwhile, more than 8 in 10 of customers would appreciate it if they will receive promotional materials from companies they are already dealing with.
Affiliate marketing can best be understood by one strategy—networking. This is an effective strategy because you lower expenses in promotional materials but at the same time, build an online army to market your products for you. The only drawback is that you share the profits with the “affiliates.”
Social media marketing employs digital marketing techniques using Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram as a platform.
Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are what you may call influencers. A single tweet or Instagram post by Kim Kardashian to endorse a product will command $250,000. Of course, the influencer doesn’t need to be a celebrity. Find a local blogger with a large following or somebody the community respects, a mention from them can be huge.
This is a perfect strategy when you are just starting and you want to get your name out there for the brand recall. The one disadvantage is the short shelf-life. You will be replaced by the next viral video or if the novelty has waned.
A small clinic can benefit from appointing an individual or a team that is dedicated to making sure the Facebook page is active.
One perfect example of using social media to its advantage is the airline company, JetBlue. In terms of fleet size and total passengers served, JetBlue is certainly not the biggest in North America. Ahead of I are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Air, Air Canada, and Alaska Airlines.
However, JetBlue has become the standard for using social media as a strategy in order to brand itself as a company that cares about its customers. As a result, the company consistently ranks high in terms of customer service.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or LinkedIn are a great equalizer in terms of exposure, but that’s not entirely accurate at all. An inactive page would rank low in terms of recall and share. Facebook offers ways to boost your page for a fee. The latter is an effective tool because Facebook uses its algorithm to connect you to the person who is willing to spend for a Lasik surgery. This strategy virtually eliminates guesswork from the equation.
The problem is that social media is not high up in the marketing strategies for ophthalmology or optometry. In fact, less than half of marketers believe that they are not doing their Facebook marketing right. But Facebook is still the standard in terms of penetration. In fact, 7 in 10 of users log in to their account daily. More than 4 in 10 log in several times a day.
Facebook is a great way to connect directly to your patients. Post a lot of before and after photos, or even the Lasik surgery itself as a way to allay the fears and concerns regarding its safety. Tumblr, meanwhile, can be used to upload great content to establish your expertise in your field.
Mainly having a website is not enough. We’re back to the philosophical quandary once again. If you build a website and nobody to visit it, do you exist?
Hiring digital marketing experts allow you to optimize your website so Google can index it.
Do you know how many websites are there? 644 million, and that was in 2012!
A huge part of your ophthalmology marketing materials is geared for local customers, but this hyperlocal mindset should extend to your website, as well. A patient from out of town is not likely to make the long trip go have a Lasik surgery in your clinic. Hyperlocal SEO will focus on your community first then expands to the city and state. For instance, you should be able to optimize the keywords “Lasik surgery clinics near me,” to drive traffic towards your website.
Of course, you need to provide a way for your customers to contact you through your website, which should also be linked to your email, Facebook, Tweeter, Tumblr, or LinkedIn pages. You can boost these pages and expand your reach organically or through paid packages.
All your optometry and ophthalmology marketing ideas should all be geared toward hyperlocal marketing.
Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas, in an article published last year revealed that through technology and GPS-capability, qualifiers like “Lasik surgery near me” have been dropped by customers in their searches. That means that when they type in “Lasik surgery,” they expect the most relevant results, which include the nearest clinic near their home.
Yet their behavior remains the same.
“Nearly two-thirds of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location,” she wrote.
This poses a challenge to SEO companies and to your clinic because the searches are much more contextual in nature. Content generation and website optimization will be key to succeeding in the changing search trend.
Hyperlocal SEO, as the name suggests, is a much more focused campaign. Instead of optimizing for the city, region or state, you start in your street or neighborhood.
Why hyperlocal SEO will benefit your clinic:
You have lesser competition with the search terms because of a smaller number of Lasik surgery clinics in your neighborhood.
Your clinic will be matched with customers who are ready to buy, especially when your address show up on their mobile devices when they are in that particular location.
The first order on the agenda is to optimize your website for mobile. This is the next battleground for e-commerce.
When you hire a professional digital marketing company to handle your hyperlocal SEO campaign, for instance, you will be looking at three areas that will be improved:
The address of your clinic and all relevant information like landmarks and phone numbers should be listed on all pages across the board. This means that aside from your website, the address should also reflect in social media accounts and online directories. Any changes in information should also be updated right away.
Content generation is very much about keywords. These are the keywords that customers usually use when they want to search for something. For instance, if your business is in Los Feliz, investing in “Los Felix Lasik surgery” will yield far more actionable results compared to “Los Angeles Lasik surgery.”
This was already mentioned before but you need to be listed in online business directories as well. Among the examples are Yelp, Google My Business, YellowPages, and YellowBook.
Google said that when people go to the mobile search option before they make a decision, 57% are likely to visit the store—or in your case, the clinic—while nearly 4 in 10 will probably call the business phone. Five in 10, meanwhile, are likely to do business after the mobile search.
Unfortunately, businesses have been largely ignoring the local business listing tool by Google, which would have drastically improved their online presence in the community. The good news is that it’s free and user-friendly.
You can manage your business information, including maps and customized search. When customers are searching for Lasik surgery clinics, your business address would appear correctly and in the most relevant results, which would give you an edge over the competition. You might think that it’s unimportant but consider this data: websites with proper business listings are getting up to 35% more clicks.
You can start Google My Business here.
A study by Musclebrand titled, “The State of Local Marketing Report,” revealed that 56% of businesses have yet to claim their free My Business listing. That’s not all, the majority of the businesses have been trying to do their own digital marketing campaign, while only 25% are hiring professional SEO companies.
However, don’t forget other search engines, as well, because even if Google is the dominant player, it’s not the only game in town. The same survey from Musclebrand claimed that 79% of businesses are not claiming their business listing on Yahoo and 67% have not claimed their business listing on Yelp. If they do claim their listing, 57% of them admitted that they are doing it themselves rather than hiring a third-party vendor. While the procedure of claiming your listing seems straightforward, it would be challenging to optimize the results if you have no idea about SEO.
For instance, more than 8 in 10 smartphone users go to their phone to research while they are already in the store before buying a product. About 10% of these consumers are spending more on products that they have no intention of doing but found peripherally in their searches.
In 2016, mobile has already surpassed desktop as the top platform for online searches. The gap has only widened since then.
In July, Google will even throw a monkey wrench into the already challenging field of mobile digital marketing when it will start to implement the Google Speed Update. This means that if your website is not loading according to the minimum standards of the search engine giant, your rankings will suffer as a result.
There’s no way to DIY your online Lasik marketing strategies when this new update is very much a technical issue that is best left to professionals.
Let’s talk a bit more about reputation management. In the traditional arena, you hire a PR firm in order to turn around a negative press regarding your company. However, the Internet is another monster altogether.