There are over 33 million small businesses in the U.S., and each one can benefit from a strong marketing strategy. Focusing on marketing can help your optometrist business:

  • Gain new patients
  • Drive repeat business
  • Increase revenue
  • Establish itself as an expert in your industry
  • Find areas in your operation to improve and grow

To get your marketing strategy started, you’ll want to outline your:

  • Goals
  • Budget
  • Target audience
  • Customers’ specific needs

From there, you can create a marketing strategy that’s best for your practice. Read on to learn more useful marketing tips.

1. Create or update your website.

Your optometrist business’s website is an important communication tool. It can help you:

  • Showcase your brand to both new and existing patients
  • Establish more credibility
  • Outline your business’ values
  • Increase your company’s exposure
  • Promote discounts, deals and rewards programs

Keep in mind that the design and layout of your website can make a difference in your business’ success. For instance, you’ll want your website to load quickly on both mobile and desktop. If it doesn’t, visitors are more likely to leave your site without doing business. You’ll also want to include:

  • Clear headlines
  • Calls to action on each of your web pages
  • Images and videos to break up content

On top of these strategies, search engine optimization (SEO) is another key piece of a successful website. To optimize your site for SEO, be sure to include:

  • Identifying keywords — Your list should include words or phrases that people are frequently searching for on the internet. You can use Google AdWords to get started.
  • Content that’s 1,000 words or more — Any blog posts or articles you write for your website should be at least 1,000 words. Google gives higher rankings for content that’s longer and is high quality.
  • The right URL — Your URL shouldn’t include special characters. Ideally, it should include your business’ name and a keyword that’s related to the page.
  • Mobile-friendly design — Google ranks websites higher if they are determined to be mobile-friendly. More importantly, it offers a better user experience for your customers.

It’s also a good idea to show up in local searches on google. You can do this with:

  • Location-based keywords — This can include keywords with your town, city or general area.
  • A Google My Business profile — This can help improve the chances of your business showing up in the local three-packs when customers search online. Google pulls the local pack from Google Maps, which takes its information from the Google My Business database. Be sure to fill out your entire profile for the best results. You’ll also need to regularly update this page.
  • A business profile on other platforms — Creating a business profile on Facebook, Yelp or Angie’s List will signal to Google that you’re more credible. This will help you show up in more search results.

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2. Focus on content marketing.

You’ve probably seen brands that run a blog in addition to offering their products and services. Why do they do this? Creating original articles, infographics and other educational videos allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. It also helps you:

  • Continuously engage with your patients
  • Build a strong brand presence
  • Increase your customer retention
  • Establish trust with your patients

The content you create online for your patients can also help enhance your social media presence. For instance, you can link your website to your social media accounts and promote new content. Readers can also share your posts, which helps you get new customers.

To get started creating engaging content, use the following tips:

  • Understand your audience — You’ll want to gear your articles, infographics and content toward your target audience. To identify who belongs in that group, look at your current customers and research your competitors.
  • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your content — Some KPIs you can use include downloads, page views, returning visitors, average pages per session, shares, time on your pages, comments and subscribers. You can use Google Analytics to help you track your article’s success.
  • Create a content calendar — You’ll want to create posts and schedule them weeks or even months in advance. This can help you organize when to promote products or other services your practice offers.

3. Use social media to reach your customers.

If you use social media daily, you’re not alone. In fact, social media is a part of most people’s lives today. To make sure your business is part of the conversation, you’ll want to set up a business account. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help you connect with your customers and gain valuable insight from them. Some ideas for posts you can create for your optometrist business include:

  • Sharing quick eye health tips
  • Answering common FAQs
  • Showcasing your staff
  • Promoting discounts or new collections

You can also use your social media platforms to talk directly with your patients by responding to their comments and questions. This can help you establish a strong relationship with your patients.

4. Work on your email marketing approach.

Email marketing allows you to stay in contact with your patients on a regular basis. This can help you build strong, long-lasting relationships with your client base. The best way to get your patients’ emails is to have them provide their email address when they register at your optometrist office. You can then send them regular updates with:

  • Sales
  • Discounts
  • Reminders of their next appointment
  • Resources on eye health

While email marketing is an effective way to communicate with your patients, it’s important not to send too many messages. Over-sending emails can start to annoy your patients. In general, you’ll want to send no more than one or two emails a week. You’ll also want to consider the timing of your emails. For instance, it may be better to send emails during the day rather than late at night.

On top of this, you’ll want to make sure your emails have concise but creative titles to grab your readers’ attention and encourage them to open them. The content inside the email should also be concise and include a call to action. Whether you’re driving your patients to your new blog post or you’re trying to sell more eyewear, you’ll want to write content that drives traffic to your website.

5. Invest in print advertisements.

Even though digital marketing has become a focus in recent years, you still want to invest some effort into print advertisements. In fact, some advantages of print ads include:

  • Targeting customers easily — When you place an ad in a magazine that your customer base often subscribes to, you’ll reach them directly. There’s also flexibility in that you can choose which section of a magazine or newspaper to place your ads to better target your customers. For seniors, direct mail advertisements can also still be very effective.
  • Enhancing your online marketing efforts — Print ads can help enhance your digital marketing strategies by directing customers to your website or social media platform. Remember, it’s important to make sure your print ads align with your digital ads. You’ll want your brand to have a consistent voice and presence.
  • Lasting a long time — Digital ads disappear quickly, making it essential to replace them frequently. Print ads, on the other hand, can last much longer and be saved and referenced at a later time. For example, if your business has an ad in a magazine that’s in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, that ad will continue to reach people for however long the magazine stays in that office. Print ads in newspapers and magazines are also passed between readers to have an increased reach.

So where should you place print ads? The best place for print advertisements include:

  • Magazines or newspapers
  • Billboards
  • Sponsored events

You can also partner with local charities to have your logo included on materials for their events. This can act as an effective form of advertising while also showing that your business supports a cause.

6. Start a referral program.

You’ve likely received a recommendation for a product or service from a friend before. And you probably trusted it more than the options you found yourself, right? That’s the beauty behind referral programs. They rely on word-of-mouth marketing, where customers get a reward for recommending your optometrist office to their friends or family. The main benefit of these programs is that they help you expand your customer base without spending much money. They also help you create more loyalty with your existing customers as they receive rewards for each referral.

Some incentives you can offer customers as a part of your referral program include:

  • Gift cards
  • Store credits
  • Discounts

The key to creating a strong referral program is to make it as simple as possible. This means you’ll want to clearly state what your customers can do to get the reward. One good option for communicating this is to post about it on social media with a link to your referral page on your website.

7. Incorporate reviews into your website.

Today, reading reviews online is an important part of online shopping and finding the right small business to work with. This has made reviews an essential part of a small business’ website and social media pages. On social media, you should be engaging with your customers about what you can do better and what’s already going well. Making adjustments to your products or services can help improve your reputation and business.

You’ll also want your customers to leave reviews for products they buy on your website. Positive reviews can help encourage prospective customers to work with your brand.

Whatever marketing strategies you choose, be sure that you’re engaging with your optometrist patients regularly and staying in contact with them. The key to successfully promoting your brand is to get the word out about your business and make sure you have a strong digital and print presence. Once you do that, success is sure to follow.

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