In order to be found by new patients, you need to be active online. Today’s patients spend the majority of their free time online and it’s the first place they go when they are looking for information on an eye care practice. Simply put, if you aren’t investing time into online marketing, you could be losing business. As an optometry business, it’s important to have a strong online presence.
An online presence is an important part of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. When you make yourself and your optometry business known online, you get incredible benefits and will be able to boost your practice’s local reach and reputation. In this article, we’ll help you learn what an online presence is and how you can grow yours. We’ll also help you understand how Surefire Local can help you improve your online presence efforts and build a better brand reputation.
What is an Online Presence?
An online presence refers to your efforts to be noticeable and present online. Three main components make up your online presence, no matter what kind of business you run:
- Your Efforts: The actions you take to be noticeable online and the content you produce in order to be found.
- The Internet: How social media algorithms and search engine algorithms regard your business.
- Public Perception: The way the public and your audience perceive your business, what they say about you, and how they engage with you.
Benefits of Having an Online Presence
These are just a few of the reasons why your optometry business needs to invest in an online presence strategy as part of your digital marketing program:
Get Discovered Easily
It makes sense that the bigger your online presence, the easier it is for your practice to get discovered online. Digital real estate is incredibly valuable, and the more “space” you take up online the easier it is for potential patients and audiences to find you. In fact, if you have a strong online presence, they won’t need to search for you at all. Instead, you’ll appear in their space on your own.
Be Seen as a Legitimate Business
The bigger your online presence, the more legitimate your practice seems. Think about it: when you come across a business that doesn’t have a website, doesn’t have social media profiles, or doesn’t have any content published online, it can raise some eyebrows. In order to be viewed as a legitimate and trustworthy optometry practice, you need to have an online presence built up.
Promote Your Business Around the Clock
Usually, marketing activities seem to be limited to working hours. However, when you have a strong online presence, you can be found no matter what time of day it is. Someone looking for your business at midnight will have the same results as someone looking at noon. And your online presence can help you gain new business no matter what time it is.
Save Money While Attracting New Patients
Many activities that help to build an online presence are free or relatively low-cost compared to other marketing activities. Even though they are inexpensive, they still have a major impact on attracting new patients and gaining new business. That makes building your online presence a cost-effective effort that has big results.
Earn Google’s Trust
An online presence isn’t just about making your patients happy. It’s also about pleasing the Google algorithm. When you regularly publish content and post online, it shows Google and other search engine algorithms that you are dedicated to your practice. It gives them more trust in your company so that you become a more authoritative, trustworthy source in the algorithm.
Nurture Customer Relationships
Another powerful benefit of an online presence is the way it helps you improve your relationships with patients. The more places you can be found online, the more ways you have of communicating with customers and providing key details to them on how they can interact and engage with your optometry business.
How to Increase Your Online Presence
Now that you understand the benefits that come with a strong online presence, let’s take a look at some actions you can take to increase your brand reputation with this online presence guide for optometrists.
Step 1: Optimize Your Website for Local SEO
The first, and possibly most important area of your online presence, is your website. It’s the place your patients go to find information and begin their interaction with your practice. It’s important to build a modern, attractive website that is easy to navigate and provides clear information for visitors.
You should also work on optimizing your website with SEO best practices. It’s also a great place to publish relevant content, such as published blogs and photos that help boost credibility and give you more valuable digital real estate.
Step 2: Maintain Social Media Activity
The next channel to tackle is social media. Being active on social media is one of the best ways to improve your digital presence. It’s also important to maintain consistency and engagement, so make sure to limit the number of platforms you use to what you can realistically maintain.
Being active on social media means showing up for your audience. You need to share educational content that gives them valuable information. You also don’t want to focus solely on increasing followers or selling your services. Instead, be authentic with what you post and write and optimize your social media with SEO best practices.
Step 3: Claim + Set Up Your Directory Listings
Directories are online sources where you can list important information about your optometry practice. You should claim your business on the biggest and most important online directories, like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Bing. Then you simply need to complete your listings with consistent, accurate information.
Directories are also where your business reviews will be displayed. You need to proactively work to get new reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more mitigation you can do for negative or 1-star reviews that will be posted. You should also maintain and monitor your listings for consistency, new questions being asked, new reviews, special offers, and any other pertinent information.
Step 4: Run Hyperlocal Targeted Online Ads
Another important area of your online presence is your online advertising. While this area isn’t as easy to maintain and keep active as a website or social media, it still has a big impact on how you increase your optometry business’s reputation and reach online.
There are multiple types of online ads that you should invest in. Search ads, social media ads, display ads, and retargeting ads should all be included in your digital marketing strategy. Taking the time to explore each option and having consistent ad campaigns running throughout the year can help you increase your online presence and gain more traffic to your website.
Step 5: Keep in Touch with Email Marketing
While email marketing is part of digital marketing, it isn’t always thought of in terms of an online presence. However, it plays a role in staying top-of-mind. When you are consistently in your patients’ inboxes, you increase the amount of time they think about your optometry practice. Regular email nurture campaigns can help you maintain your presence with your current patient base and encourage them to recommend you to others.
The more present you are in your patients’ minds, the more likely they are to spread the word about your practice and help you grow your practice through word-of-mouth marketing. A recommendation from a happy patient can sometimes do more than months of marketing efforts and tactics from other sources.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
Maintaining an online presence requires control over many moving parts. Reviews, websites, content, and social media all play a major role in how your online presence is maintained and grown over time. But trying to manage all these different elements can be difficult, especially as you also try to run a successful optometry office.
Surefire Local takes the stress out of maintaining your online presence by providing an all-in-one solution for optometry marketing. The Surefire Local platform allows you to take control of all your important marketing tasks in one single location. You can respond to reviews, post social media updates, publish new content, and monitor results with one single login. And Surefire Local comes at just a fraction of the cost of other platforms or agencies. Take control of your marketing efforts and get a bird’s-eye view of your marketing initiatives with the help of Surefire Local.
To learn more about Surefire Local and how it can help your optometry business grow, attend a Surefire Local marketing demo and discover how Surefire can take you to the next level and increase your online presence.