Small business marketing is constantly evolving. Gone are the days when a small optometry practice could survive on marketing tactics like personal referrals, newspaper ads, and local radio spots alone.
Today there are countless touchpoints where people interact with brands — while looking for something online, browsing social media, reading a blog, or watching YouTube. As such, catching the customer’s attention has become more difficult than ever before.
When it comes to marketing, showing up at the right time, in the right place, with the right message is key to success. With all of these potential customer touchpoints, it is no wonder small optometry practices often feel overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to best promote themselves online.
But do not let it intimidate you — it is simply a matter of knowing where to focus your efforts. One way you can cut through the noise and reach prospects is through using digital advertising.
Digital Advertising Benefits & Platforms
Digital advertising, also called pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, can be a highly effective way to promote your products and services, generate brand awareness, increase sales, and more. Instead of being on billboards or the radio, your ads appear across the internet on sites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and more.
Unlike traditional advertising, which tends to be more expensive and less efficient since it shows to the masses, digital advertising excels in letting you target your ideal prospects at the perfect moment. With digital advertising you can:
- Drive more leads: Increase the number of people who contact your company rather than the competition.
- Increase brand awareness: Help local people recognize your practice, understand the services you provide and have positive associations with your brand.
- Fine-tune your targeting: Target people who are interested in your services, in your area, and are actively searching during your business hours.
- Easily track and adjust your campaigns: You can access detailed campaign analytics to track what is working and what is not. You have the power to test and optimize campaigns in near real-time. Based on results, you can easily pivot your ad campaigns to target the right people and further increase your ROI.
- Control your budget: Digital advertising platforms allow you to decide how much you bid, how much you spend over the month, etc. You can also set up that your campaigns automatically pause if they reach a certain spend threshold to prevent accidental overspending.
Digital Advertising Channels for Optometrists
Three primary forms of digital advertising have a proven track record for helping small optometry practices reach marketing goals like lead generation, brand awareness, etc. They are:
- Search Advertising: This form of digital advertising is like spear-fishing, where you hone in on people within close range, right at the time when they are ready to make an eye exam appointment or buy contact lenses. Showing relevant ads when customers are searching with strong purchase intent is very efficient, making search advertising a great channel for lead generation. Currently, the two major platforms of search advertising in the US are Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.
- Social Advertising: Optometrists can also take advantage of digital advertising on social media networks, which can sites platforms like Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, Nextdoor, etc. A major benefit of social advertising is that social media platforms offer a wide variety of ad formats, such as text ads, image ads, video lead ads, and more which can result in higher engagement. Moreover, social media sites have amazing targeting capabilities to get your ads in front of interested people.
- Display Adverting: Display advertising can be thought of as the digital equivalent of a billboard or TV commercial — where the goal is more about branding, education, and general awareness-building. With display, your ads appear on websites like YouTube, news sites, entertainment sites, and blogs across the internet. With display ads, you are still able to more finely target your audience than you can with traditional advertising. For example, you can target specific websites or pages that you know are popular with your audience, or whether the viewer has visited your website before. This makes display advertising great for remarketing campaigns to stay top of mind with your target audience.
Top PPC Advertising Tips for Optometrists
Like other small businesses, optometry practices can face several marketing challenges — the number one being limited budget. It can be intimidating to try paid advertising at first when you have a small budget. You do not have a lot of room for error and every dollar needs to have an immediate return on investment. Another barrier can be the fact that digital advertising campaigns require a certain amount of knowledge, skill, and time to manage properly.
However, do not let the challenges intimidate you or stop you from using these super effective marketing channels. The rewards of finding new customers online and growing your business are worth it. Here are six important PPC advertising tips for optometrists to help you develop and execute a solid digital advertising strategy plan for your practice.
1. Set Goals
Successful digital advertising depends on designing well-planned campaigns that support specific business goals and objectives. It is not enough to say “oh, I want more patients” or “I want to increase awareness of my practice”. Rather you need to have specific, measurable objectives in place such as “I want X many new patients in the next three months from X campaign”. You should use your goals, objectives, and success metrics to help inform your marketing decisions. Understanding your goals in advance makes it easier to organize your campaigns, wisely allocate resources, and optimize performance. Without advertising strategy goals in place, you will end up wasting your money on ads that don’t offer any meaningful return for your business.
2. Fine-Tune Targeting
Another key step is really understanding who your target audience is. This goes beyond demographic information. Rather, you need to understand their needs, motivations, responsibilities, goals, interests, and technological preferences. Once you know that, you can leverage the knowledge to make sure your ads appear before them at exactly the right place and time. It can take some work to flesh out your ideal customer profile, but it will be an invaluable resource to help you engage your current audience and reach new customers.
3. Craft Quality Messaging
Another critical tip is to develop a compelling message that centers on how you can solve your customer’s problems or take care of their needs. Carefully consider the words, layout, and imagery you use in your ads and landing pages. All of these elements work together to convey the value of your offer and brand to your prospects. Your message is not only what catches people’s attention, it establishes a clear path to lead the prospect from being someone searching the internet, to a lead, to a customer. The right person, at the right time, in the right place, but with the wrong message, is a missed opportunity.
4. Set Up Tracking
Do not forget about tracking and reporting! Imagine you set up a campaign that turns into a huge success. If you do not have analytic tools in place, you will never be able to analyze performance and understand how you might replicate results again in the future. Without good data, you might not even realize the extent of the success of your campaign and make a mistake like turning it off prematurely.
5. Continually Optimize
Launching a campaign is just the beginning. With good tracking in place to monitor performance, you will want to regularly optimize your campaign (i.e. make small changes to improve performance) to maximize ROI over time. Ad copy, targeting, keywords, and many more elements can be tweaked based on insights from your campaign analytics. If you set and forget a campaign, you will end up wasting money and losing potential customers.
When you first get started, we recommend focusing on search advertising to grab the low-hanging fruit of people who are looking for an optometrist right now. However, you will eventually want to expand into social and display advertising to reach prospects in earlier stages of the buyer’s journey. Coordinating ad campaigns across search, social, and display can help you dominate your market across the entire customer journey.
Take Charge of Your Digital Advertising with Surefire Local!
At Surefire Local Marketing, our mission is to help small businesses grow profitably by making online marketing easier. Through our flagship product, Surefire Local Marketing Platform™, you can effectively manage your search, display, and social advertising campaigns from a single dashboard. Our expert team members will also help you obtain the knowledge and skills you need to master your marketing destiny. Book a demo today and see how we can help you achieve local dominance and unlimited growth!