For optometrists in the US, the biggest challenge for their practice is not the lack of demand — but possibly, the means to market their services effectively.
A recent study by AOA Excel and Jobson Medical Information, LLC revealed that an overwhelmingly majority of the American population seek the help of optometrists for primary eye care. In fact, optometrists perform an estimated 85 percent or 88 million refractive eye exams each year of the total of 104 million performed by all eye care professionals, including ophthalmologists, opticians, and vision therapists.
Apart from carrying out eye examinations, as well as diagnosing and treating injuries affecting the eyes, optometrists also prescribe correction devices to patients with vision problems. AOA Excel and Jobson Medical Information’s study further indicates that nearly 65% of Americans wear some type of vision correction device, with optometrists prescribing at least 90% of these devices.
Because of the growing population that recognizes the importance of eye care, the demand for optometrists continue to increase. Eye care becomes a primary concern for Americans today, and they are taking advantage of the modern technology to gain better understanding of this topic.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, 74% of adults use the Internet, and of those, 82% say they have looked online for information about health topics, such as medical eye care, eye exams, prescription eyewear, and contact lenses. To start their research, 77% of online health seekers use search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
SO HOW DOES YOUR OPTOMETRY PRACTICE TAKE PART IN ALL OF THESE?
Judging by the figures above, it’s easy to say that potential patients are not going to be convinced right away to obtain your optometry services. They do a lot of online research first before selecting an optometrist who matches their eye care needs.
With the demand for optometrists climbing steadily year over year, many optometry businesses expect to see growth happening in their own practice in terms of increasing number of customers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen to some. While primary eye care becomes more and more important to potential patients, many optometrists will miss out on huge business opportunities if they don’t develop and implement a digital marketing plan for their practice.
OPTOMETRISTS NEED TO DEVELOP A DIGITAL MARKETING PLAN TO CATER TO TODAY’S TECH-SAVVY PATIENTS
Most healthcare professionals still market their services the traditional way, occasionally seeking the help of newspapers and radio stations to reach patients who might need their services. While these platforms are tested marketing tools (and they were great decades ago), they are not the most effective solutions in today’s digitally driven world.
Here’s the truth: A huge majority of your potential patients are searching for optometrists on the Web. Most of your colleagues know this, as they are bringing their practice online in an attempt to reach more patients who need their expert help.
A study by AOA Excel and Jobson Medical Information, LLC found that 69% of optometry practices and 80% of independent practices have a website. Is your office showing up on the search engines when potential patients in your area search for an optometrist? Are you getting quality traffic from organic, referral, social, direct, and paid sources? Will potential patients find any listings about your practice when they search locally?
With an increasing number of searchers using their mobile devices to find quality eye care services and optometrists they feel comfortable with, optometrists who don’t have a mobile-friendly website won’t be able to target potential patients who use their smartphones and tablets during their research process.
But that’s not all. Even if you have a professionally designed, mobile-friendly website and local listings in place, will potential patients find positive online reviews about your services? Online reviews play a major role in helping patients decide whether to contact you or to just jump to another optometry website. Do you have active social media accounts that let potential patients learn more about you and your practice? Will they find any relevant and compelling content on your blog and other online platforms?
To successfully stay on top of your game, you need to develop a digital marketing plan for your practice.
You need to know your visibility grade across different marketing categories, target locations and against your competitors, as well as gain marketing insights to help you develop your digital marketing plan.
For busy professionals like yourself, this means a lot of work! Plus, you also need to stay focused on more important matters about running your optometry office.
You don’t have to worry—we’re here to help.
With our Brand Optimization and other Online Marketing Services, we will help you strategize, and develop a digital marketing plan — and implement it— to build and expand your brand’s presence online.
With the tools and technology we have, we will provide everything you need to boost your digital marketing campaign and eventually grow your business.