Maximizing Your Ophthalmology Practice's Profitability with Digital Marketing
As an ophthalmologist, you’re dedicated to providing high-quality eye care to patients. But as you’re aware, running a successful practice requires more than just excellent clinical skills. You also need to market your practice effectively to reach new referrers, attract new patients and keep existing ones coming back. And of course, you still have to be profitable.
Juggling these priorities is especially critical during situations where there’s a capped revenue per patient. You need to ensure that:
- You’re seeing the greatest number of patients that your schedule allows;
- Your cost per acquisition for new patients is as low as possible; and
- You’re maximizing your revenue per patient from services and optical sales if you have ODs on staff.
And it can all be done with your digital marketing.
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The Importance of ROI in Ophthalmology Marketing
So how do you reach more elective patients with a better ROI? And if you have ODs on staff, how do you motivate them to buy more of your optical? By speaking to the needs of your patients (and prospective patients) in your digital marketing. In order to do so, you need to reach them with this unique message when and where they’re most likely to see it. This hasn’t always been done well.
In the past, most marketing activities cast a pretty wide net. When you required new patients, it might have involved calling out your services on your road sign, a newspaper ad, or a bus bench display. These ads were reasonably effective in letting those who saw them know about your practice…you just had to hope they were looking for an ophthalmologist.
The ROI from such advertising was usually difficult to discern. There was little you could do to track sales form the advertisement, unless by chance a patient mentioned seeing it. That’s because the targeting (who’s seeing the ads) on that type of traditional marketing was too broad.
Smarter Targeting for a Better ROI
In contrast, the best way to reach patients when and where they’ll be motivated by your marketing is by using comprehensive multi-channel campaigns. These campaigns typically involve a similar message shared through multiple marketing activities which include email, social media, blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), and in-practice signage.
When done properly, these campaigns do the trick of speaking to your patients’ and local prospects’ needs when and where they’re looking for it—ideally when they’re deep in their ‘sales journey’ and ready to visit your practice. At the very least, this approach focuses your targeting to improve your ROI and lower your cost per acquisition.
Are they seniors who are visiting your website? They’ll know your services, availability and exactly how you’ll help them. Are they a younger demographic following you on social media? You’ll be able to educate them on your procedures when they’re looking at cat photos. Are they searching for help on Google? They’ll find your site sooner on Google—when they’re ready to book an appointment—thanks to your SEO optimized website and blogs.
PPC—The Cheat Code for Targeting
If SEO is the unsung hero of ROI-centric search engine marketing, then Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is the cheat code for racing to the top of Google search results. Note: Google is not a search engine, they’re a marketing company. With a small ad-budget, you can create a targeted Google AdWords PPC campaign that successfully reaches people in your local area who are searching for ophthalmology services.
When considering ROI, AdWords are amongst the most cost effective and best performing advertising you can buy. PPC allows you to target specific demographics and geographic areas, effectively reaching the people who are most likely to become your patients.
This is especially true if your practice’s stage of growth has expanded to include specialty patients with conditions like Droopy Eyelid. Besides opening the door to new patient revenue and referral opportunities, servicing specialty patients like Droopy Eyelid gives you the opportunity to set up an ad campaign that includes keywords related to Droopy Eyelid to motivate all locals within a geographic range who are searching for help with the condition. The same goes for practices that sell optical—running ads for your brands and targeting locals that are searching for them are an easy way to sell more frames.
Increase Profitability with Your Website Alone
Answer patient questions on your website before they have to ask. Your top pages shouldn’t leave your services ambiguous to visitors. Answering questions about their condition or your treatment may help in removing any hesitation or uncertainty to booking an appointment—and could save your staff a phone call too.
- Put your forms on your website. The more patients can do on your site before their appointment, the more efficient your staff can be during their appointment.
- Remind patients of their appointment. Every missed appointment is lost revenue, so sending an email or text to patients before their exam helps retain the booking.
- Ask for Google Reviews (and display them if you can). Asking for reviews shows patients that you care, displaying great reviews builds trust, and having great reviews will improve SEO, helping you get found sooner on Google.
Tracking and Improving Your Digital Marketing Results
The last part of any high-performing marketing plan is measuring the results of your digital campaigns. This is crucial to ensure that you’re getting the best return on investment. Luckily, all the marketing activities we’ve talked about here are trackable, especially in comparison to traditional marketing. You can easily track website visitors, phone calls, social media interactions, impressions from ads, clicks from ads, and most importantly, booked appointments.
By tracking your results, you get the data to see what's working and what isn’t so you can make adjustments as needed to improve your results. If tracked properly, you will be able to see how full your schedule is from your marketing efforts and your cost-per-acquisition for new patients.