Optometry Marketing Ideas
As a busy practice owner, should you devote your time and resources to Facebook or your Website?
I’ve been looking forward to writing about this topic!
I wanted to give you the best answer I can. So here’s seven reasons for and against sticking to Facebook.
Here’s 7 Reasons for Prioritising Facebook:
- Facebook will love you back! If you’re good to Facebook, they’ll be good to you. In other words, the longer that your patients spend on Facebook, the more Facebook likes it. This is because Facebook is supported by ads. The more ads they show, the better their bottom line. They help you by offering to drive more patients to your practice., by offering faster speeds to show your content. Thanks to Facebook Instant Articles, you don’t have to wait for a website to load. This means that patients are more likely to read/watch/digest the content that you show them. (At least they will see your most recent content anyway.) Then patients are more likely to know who you are and trust you. And make an appointment.
- Social Proof (a.k.a. apparent popularity) the more activity, reviews, shares, comments and likes your practice gets, the more popular it feels. In general, we like following what other people are doing. So do your patients. With Facebook, it’s super easy to collate all of your interactions in one place. (And it feels great too, when more and more people ‘like’ your page!)
- Free to Use: You don’t have to pay Facebook to signup or use your Practice Facebook Page. It’s free. And you can share interesting content and leave it there. And a computer virus won’t destroy it, or make you pay to ‘unlock it’.
- Facebook Canvas: Facebook recently introduced a new feature called Canvas. It’s similar to a traditional website, and you have the (relatively limited) ability to customise it. Since it’s stored within Facebook itself, it loads really fast. Currently, it’s limited to businesses who advertise on Facebook. However, I would predict that this will become widely available, as businesses like the customisation available. (Although, it’s by no means as feature-rich as a website.)
- Familiarity– Your practice staff already know how to use Facebook. They don’t have to spend time learning to write computer code. It takes seconds to add them as an Editor on your Facebook Page, and they’re ready to start adding things
- Patient Expectations– You don’t have to educate patients how to browse your Facebook Page. They don’t expect a fully customised look and feel, unlike a Practice Website. This is great for you, because you can use what Facebook gives you. However, if you want your Facebook Page to look polished, you can pay a freelance designer a few hundred dollars, to have everything looking just right. You can customise your Facebook Page Cover Image and Profile Image. (And a designer can do your Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn images at the same time too). Overall, it’s far cheaper than a website.
- Virtual Reality (the future): As you know, Oculus (and parent company Facebook) recently launched the Oculus Rift. This launch is a big step forward towards Virtual Reality. Why does this matter for you? Virtual Reality will change the way that you market your practice. It will allow patients to ‘visit’ your practice before they set foot in your store. They can browse your frames, try them on, and see what they look like. Seamlessly. Also, consider explaining Exudative AMD or Glaucoma to patients in Virtual Reality. They can ‘dive in’ and see the computer generated eye, and view all of the structures in 3D. And control the explanation by themselves. Their understanding would be far better than even the best drawings or animations today. Perhaps we can even customise it, to add OCT Angiography too. Naturally, Facebook will make it easy to show your upcoming Virtual Reality for marketing your practice. Because it’s good for them too.
This sounds good right?
Wait. Here’s 7 Reasons why you shouldn’t delete your Practice Website:
- Your Page could go missing or get deleted: In November 2015, a Facebook Page with over 400,000 followers went missing. No one could access it. Normally, it takes two-to-three weeks to hear back from the (small) Facebook Page support team. There were lots of requests for help, even from super-influential people. They were able to get it back in four days. Most likely you or I don’t have contacts in Facebook like them. Think about that for a moment…what if your telephones went down for four full days? Or two-to-three weeks?. How frustrating would that be for you (and your patients)?
- Traffic from Google: Google is still driving over one Trillion searches per year. And over 70% of internet users searched for health-related information. For your practice, you can’t afford to ignore Google as a source of new patients.
- Know what’s working online: with your own website, you have the ability to see where you are growing online. That is, where your new patients are coming from. This is done through a tool called Google Analytics. You might ask: Is Instagram driving more traffic to your website than Facebook? Do more people on Pinterest call your practice to make an appointment? Facebook has a lot of information in their Analytics. But the data assumes that you don’t have a website, or care what goes on outside Facebook (i.e. that you don’t care about new patients from Google and other social media.)
- Full website customisation: your website is your opportunity to explain what you do and why you’re different. It’s your always-on advocate for your practice. (You don’t have to pay sick leave either.) Unlike Facebook, you can customise your website to be just the way you want it. And why wouldn’t you? It’s yours!
- Step patients through the process: with your Practice Website, you can guide new patients around. While learning about your Practice, you can show them what they need to do next. Which pages would you want them to look at first? Step them through what they need to click on. Where you want them to enter their email address. The simpler they can understand your practice, the more likely they are to make an appointment with you.
- Limited Facebook Visibility: Lets say that you have 833 followers on Facebook. Only 5% of your Facebook followers are seeing your interesting posts. If you pay Facebook, more of your audience can see what you post. On the other hand, if you collect patient email addresses on your website, 100% of patients have the opportunity to see what you email them. And over 22.74% of patients open what you send, according to Mailchimp. That’s four times more than Facebook. And it costs you nothing.
A smart Optometrist/Practice Owner wants exposure online. Most of your patients are online anyway. You want to show them how you can help them. You need to be where they like to spend time. So you can get more of your ideal patients, and grow your practice. And have the lifestyle you want.
To continue to grow, you need new patients from both Google and Facebook. To do this, you need a great website! And an active Facebook Page!