If you run a successful ophthalmology practice and are a surgeon, CEO, administrator, or practice liaison, this page should provide some useful ideas. You may think that this is about digital marketing but it’s not. This is actually about ophthalmology marketing as a whole.
The Comprehensive Plan.
This is not LASIK Marketing
Marketing your entire practice and its sub-specialties that make sense should be a goal. Why?
Because there is revenue to be gained in each sub-specialty. Some areas might not be as profitable as others.
It’s the collective total revenue that actually matters at the end of the day. You will need to prioritize here and there and there is nothing wrong with that.
For example, for the best return on investment, it makes sense to prioritize cataract surgery marketing over dry eye marketing. It’s not that there isn’t value in growing a dry eye practice but it’s that there’s a greater potential return with the cataract surgery marketing. You can create a stronger baseline and from there, you can achieve practice growth.
Over the past 23 years, Glacial Multimedia has watched many comprehensive practices focus too much on LASIK. As a result, practices forget about their other services of value.
At the end of the day, patients just want good vision. Focusing your goals on the services with better returns is smart but having many revenue streams is critical for a healthy business.
Do not be afraid to get creative here and try new ideas. When it comes to marketing, it’s important to understand that comprehensive ophthalmology marketing is NOT LASIK marketing. As result, you need a different type of plan.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t be marketing LASIK. It means your practice needs to plan and allocate differently for sub-specialties like retina.
Have you ever done research on keyword visits from the term “flashes and floaters”? How you approach the retina population is far different than what you need to do with LASIK.
Important to this strategy should also be the focus on inbound marketing. Inbound marketing means promoting your practice through a series of digital media in a very educational way.
Examples of inbound marketing include:
- Video distribution
- YouTube channels
- Email newsletters
- Social media marketing
This type of publishing marketing differs from traditional marketing. Inbound marketing is designed to bring customers in to ask questions instead of interrupting and broadcasting.
Who Are We?
What is my value proposition in the community?
Where do you stand in your community? Are you an authority in ophthalmology for your community?
Is your brand recognized? Do you take part in community events? Involving your brand with your community is vital to your practice’s long-term success.
There are so many ways that this investment will result in ROI. The saying goes that your best marketing is word of mouth, right?
Then let’s feed this part that is often left forgotten. There are endless ways to make this happen.
Certain brand names have increased brand identity to a form of art. Think IBM, Ford, or Nike.
Others have made it their entry into the playing field, like Warby-Parker. Regardless of if you are a small eye care practice, your specific brand identity should be important.
Many in ophthalmology have said it is impossible to brand practices. There are some that have done exceptionally with this crusade.
You can build a solid foundation for your business by making the necessary investment in branding. Now, there are digital branding options that can make this more of a reality.
- Discovery and Ideation
- Create a logo for the practice
- Create a value proposition
- Create a differentiation statement
- Create a branding style guide
- Create business cards, letterhead, and envelopes
- Printing for business cards letterhead and envelopes
- Long-term branding strategy report
Based on our years of experience in ophthalmology, Glacial has seen a lot of re-branding. We’ve worked on several campaigns and created new names for practices.
We have seen a lot of mistakes made as well. Your money would be well spent to consult with a branding expert in addition to a design team.
Keys to a Good Brand Identity
A logo and a color palette alone do not make a brand identity. A good identity is well-thought-out to make it:
- Scaleable and flexible:
- Easy to apply:
It stands out among competitors and catches your audience’s attention.
It makes a visual impact. (Consider Apple: The logo is so memorable!)
It can grow and evolve with the brand.
Each piece complements the brand identity.
It’s intuitive and clear for designers.
Your Customer Experience
Customer Experience Marketing Will Assist Practices in Better Conversions.
How do you manage to move leads from interest to the consultation? Are you using touchpoints?
Are you using a CRM with automated responders? Practices that manage touchpoints are able to do more automatically.
They also achieve top of mind awareness of interested patients. This ultimately leads to achieving more conversions.
Customer satisfaction surveys controlled and executed by the practice are also a touchpoint satisfaction mapping tool. Today’s modern marketing is trending towards focusing on the customer.
What are your touchpoints and how are you creating a better customer experience? How does your digital marketing strategy engage your website visitors in a way that your competition is not using?
In 2020, Glacial only expects the trend of managing the total customer experience to continue.
Your Pricing…You Are Not A Commodity!
You have differences. Technology, Patient Experience, Surgical Qualifications.
You need to build this story. From the moment the phone gets answered or a web form is filled out, your practice needs to be in tune with great customer service. It may sound old-fashioned, but it works!
This can be so exciting! There are so many great examples of how to differentiate and distance yourself from being a commodity and beating the malaise of mediocrity.
As a company, Glacial has been influenced by many people in the past. They’ve succeeded and more than that, they’ve overcome the malaise of mediocrity.
Jeff Kissinger at Clear Choice with event marketing and cookies by the fireplace. Troy Cole with Parkhurst vision differentiating the entire phone and practice experience.
Matt Jensen going way back with Vance Thompson and his engaging employee concepts, videos, and music. Draw some enthusiasm from people and practices like this.
Interior Design as Marketing
If you have not read our blog post on interior design as marketing, it’s well worth the read. It’s something that you should definitely keep in mind and consider as you put together your 2021 marketing plan.
The post makes a good argument that there is a profound impact on your patients if your interior is well put together.
Understanding The Marketing Funnel
The future of marketing funnels and automated drip campaign marketing
Setting up marketing funnels with a capable CRM or marketing automation tool is highly suggested. Glacial uses MDprospects because it was made for ophthalmology and is the longest standing ophthalmology CRM to date.
When your marketing campaign starts to work and generate leads, they may or may not call you. They might not even be ready to buy.
Your leads may only be researching the best ophthalmology practices. They might be price shopping if they are seeking an elective ophthalmology procedure.
When your prospective patient fills out a form on your website or landing page, you need to have a few things in place:
1. Marketing automation and a funnel to email the prospective patient
2. An internal system for calling these patients and getting them to book an appointment
If your marketing funnel is designed correctly, this will act as engagement for the patient to book. If they procrastinate the automated drip campaign emails will keep reminding them.
According to Sprout Social, the biggest benefit of marketing funnels is their measurability. Your funnel shows you where you’re losing customers to help you pivot your strategy.
The CRM works hand in hand with the funnel so you can always know the status of the prospective patient. At Glacial Multimedia, we have funnels for various sub-specialties in ophthalmology that have proven reliability.
We must understand that all leads are not ready to buy. We must think of this as a pipeline of new patient prospects that needs nurturing and convincing. As the lead begins to get cold, you can offer incentives and educational content to re-engage them.
What makes sense to focus on during COVID-19 for ophthalmology marketing?
1. Now is the time to be proactive with cataract marketing.
Glacial has plenty of case studies and a game plan that we’ve road-tested. Our efforts will increase traffic which ultimately leads to more cases.
Glacial did an AAO case study in 2018 and just completed one during COVID19 for a case study that is part of a David Chang ASCRS 2020 seminar.
You may also find excellent results with resources like blog articles, pillar pages, PPC, and more.
2. LASIK leads are at an all-time CPA low (cost per acquisition)
Now is the time to win your market with LASIK advertising on the digital level. Win your market using SEO, PPC, and social ads.
3. Don’t Forget About Eye Exams as a keyword (also floaters)
These keywords generate a lot of generic interest that can be pushed to the appropriate procedure. Many people are just looking for options and solutions to fix their bad vision. Is your practice reaching these people and other low-hanging fruit?
4. Establish Better Authority with Reviews
If you want your practice to succeed, especially right now, you need reviews. What is your practice management software and do you have a review system integrated?
If you don’t have reviews, then you’re missing the opportunity to get in front of potential leads.
Being Proactive on Cataract
Being Proactive on cataract makes sense in 2020
Let’s look at the facts on baby boomers and cataract surgery
- 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day
– Transamericxa Center Retirement Studies
- Cataract surgery lost 97% of patient volume year-over-year when comparing 2-week volumes in March and April 2020 vs the same period in 2019
- By 2030, all baby boomers will be age 65 or older
- The typical Boomer feels nine years younger than his or her chronological age
– Pew Research
- Baby boomers are staying in the labor force at rates not seen in generations for people their age
– Pew Research fact-tank
- Global IOL procedures expected to climb to 31.4 million in 2022. Growth expected to continue for the next 5 years.
– Market Scope
The Importance of Ranking Well
“The lost opportunity costs associated with not ranking well in natural search have become too great for companies to ignore.”
It has been stated by various ophthalmology consultants that organic search positioning is one of the most important for patient education and lead generation factors. Organic search typically generates organic clicks on over 80% of traffic. This means paid traffic is 20% penetration at best. Having a solid organic search presence is vital.
Content development and marketing are very hot topics right now and are closely associated. Ongoing content is absolutely necessary for high-quality SEO but this concept goes well beyond SEO.
Practices need to add content regularly to see a content strategy that works for them. This may look something like the following model:
- 2 blog articles
- 2 regular secondary pages of content
Each one of these pages will need to have on-page SEO elements put in place every month.
The content strategy should focus on quality over quantity and should provide value to website visitors.
The content strategy should be in sync with a social media distribution calendar or close to this. Social media should be used to distribute content, articles, videos, and any other assets like infographics, microsites, or blogs.
Paid Search Strategy (Google Adwords)
Glacial has determined that (SEM) also known as paid search marketing is a critical part of lead generation for many practices.
Our approach is different than the typical “big box” paid search companies for 3 main reasons:
- We use landing pages to track and convert leads. We do not call clicks leads. An actionable interest event like a form completion or phone call is tracked as leads. Landing pages also enable remarketing for medical practices where remarketing has been banned on medical website home pages.
- We have 100% transparency. The costs and data are 100% from the Google or Bing systems and are not manipulated in any fashion for commission.
- We have a human Google AdWords specialist making changes, not automated software. (Google Certified) They have officially passed rigorous tests to use this accolade.
The SEM work entails a variety of ad copy development, testing of ad copy, landing page offer variations, and lead tracking work. This method of search marketing will enable the client to test both the longtail and root search term viability of website traffic without constructing a huge website and performing organic SEO.
The campaign will be geo-targeted to the relevant areas where patients will be coming from.
Your Internal Conversion Process
Your internal conversion process is vital to marketing working. Without the proper process and internal people, the entire effort will fail. The graphic below represents a process flow for educating patients on premium IOL upgrades.
Ophthalmology Marketing Checklist
Branding Guidelines Creation
Traditional Marketing Objectives
Digital Marketing Objectives
A Word on Reporting
Reporting can be one of the most frustrating things for a practice to analyze with a digital agency. Many marketing firms provide too much data that is useless and has nothing to with the business.
Setting goals and metrics that have an impact on the bottom line of the business is really what matters. For example, there is a measurable correlation between site traffic and volume of procedures.
The more traffic, then the more procedures. Something like bounce rate (which is overrated) can often be meaningless.
The more traffic and marketing that happens usually leads to a higher bounce rate. But more traffic is what you want.
Stick with a small group of metrics that makes sense. If you spend more on marketing you should have more surgical volume. If this not the case something is not working.
A centralized digital marketing dashboard is a great suggestion so that you can one report with metrics that are meaningful.