The Digital World is Constantly Evolving: Five Ways to Ensure You’re Not Five Steps Behind

Today’s digital landscape is evolving so rapidly, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. During the first quarter of 2018, there was an average of 6,140 new apps released through the Google Play Store every day. Each month, Yelp’s 186 million users post over 150 million reviews. Smartphone use is expected to grow to 2.5 billion worldwide users by 2019. How does this affect your optometry business? Are you able to keep up with your patient’s digital expectations? Is it easy for them to find you online, and interact with your website on their smartphone? Or, are you at risk of losing patients to more tech-savvy practices?

Maybe you’re thinking that your patients aren’t that tech savvy, therefore it’s not your concern. A study commissioned by YP Marketing surveyed 750 U.S. adults and asked how they searched for local businesses across major verticals. Consumers from all demographics reported that they go back and forth across different sites and apps, virtually “zig-zagging” by using multiple devices from multiple locations. Practices should keep this behavior in mind.

Between “zig-zagging” patients and their ever-growing short attention span (now less than your average goldfish), it’s becoming difficult to engage new patients and even harder to maintain their loyalty. Here are five ways to capture new patients and maintain your current ones in the constantly evolving digital world:

  1. Incorporate a variety of devices into your marketing plan so searchers can find you when they “zig-zag.” For example, over 70% of YP’s survey respondents reported that they regularly use two or more devices when conducting a local search. Therefore, a brand’s website and marketing material should be easily accessible in a desktop format and a mobile format to deliver a pleasing experience no matter what device they are using at the time.
  2. Create a social media calendar and stick to it! According to the Digital Marketing Institute, social media users spend an average of 135 minutes a day on social networks. Utilize social media to engage current customers with relevant content and reach new customers through ads and promotions (download some free social media flyers here.)
  3. Try engaging audiences with video content. Do you find you receive frequently asked questions throughout different seasons? Connect and build trust with your audience by sharing helpful health tips and advice through video. It’s estimated that video will account for 82% of consumer internet traffic by 2021.
  4. Find a way to mix the “digital” and “physical,” which will create a seamless brand experience. Patients today have come to expect convenience. Make this as easy as possible for them by showcasing your latest frame lines online so they know what to expect when they arrive at your store or consider a contact lens eCommerce solution so they don’t have to make that extra trip.
  5. Ensure you’re being found in the right places. Update your Google MyBusiness listing and talk to your webmaster to ensure you’re optimized for your location and common searches. The more places you have the accurate information listed, the better (check out Reach, our supplemental digital marketing program.)

By trying out just a few of these strategies, you’re giving your business the leg up it may need. Let us know how it goes!

The Importance of Online Reviews

A powerful marketing asset for businesses is a positive reputation. In today’s digital world, it has become extremely common for people to take their experiences straight to the web. This shift to online reliability has led 92% of consumers to read online reviews when making decisions.

Reviews are a key factor in improving customer experience and customer retention. 88% of people will rely on online reviews as much as personal recommendations. While positive reviews are great, it’s important to have a proactive approach with negative reviews. By being proactive, you can show that your office is engaged and values patients’ feedback.

Along with responding to reviews, it is important to grow positive reviews. In a recent local consumer survey by Bright Local, 73% of consumers felt that that reviews older than 3 months were not relevant. The more relevant and current reviews your practice has, can directly build the trust of future patients.

Reviews also impact search engine optimization and how your business is displayed. Major search engines like Google have specific algorithms in which review count and score are factored into local search rankings: more reviews and positive ratings will help improve a business’s local ranking* (Google My Business). So, how can you gain more current and relevant reviews to grow your online presence?

Request a review
7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review if they’re asked to*. We are not suggesting you beg your patients for reviews during their appointment. However, requesting feedback from patients at the end of their appointment is a good way to remind them that you value their input. Especially when someone has a good experience, their feedback acts as important information for potential patients to know the services you are promising are validated.

Make it easy for customers
Streamlining the survey process is important in encouraging patients to write reviews. Our patient management system, Nexus, allows patients to post reviews directly on your primary review pages via email or text surveys. This is an easy and fast way to drive traffic to your primary pages and maintain consistent and relevant reviews. Find out more about the importance of texting patients here.

Make reviews a part of your work process
Encourage all customer service and sales employees to remind patients to leave reviews. By creating incentives for your employees, you can turn reviews into a friendly competition and make it fun for staff. Another way to integrate reviews as a part of your work process is to remind patients with office signage and counter cards. Whether in the waiting room or in the exam room, visual reminders are an easy way to catch the attention of patients.

As social media expert Brian Solis said, “Welcome to a new era of marketing and service in which your brand is defined by those who experience it.”

References:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2014/08/28/6-simple-ways-to-get-customers-to-review-your-business-online/#12dedf9e14c5
customerthink.com/how-important-are-your-online-customer-reviews/
www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/
http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/why-customer-feedback-is-important/

Consumer Mobile Trends

Mobile devices have quickly become our go-to for a wide range of digital services that consumers rely on to help them accomplish more all day, every day. Mobile is becoming increasingly important, but it is about so much more than sending a text message or reading the latest issue of New York Times.

This change goes well beyond the use of smartphones — It’s a complete shift in the way people behave and how they think. As the digital world expands, consumers become accustomed to accomplishing tasks and finding information instantly, they expect immediate, always-available convenience. They want what they want immediately. Give it to them, and you’re a hero — and will receive their loyalty. Fail to deliver, and they’ll move on to another solution. To meet this rising demand, practices have to embrace their new imperative: Use technology to make their customers’ lives easier and shorten the distance between what customers want and what they get.

With mobile device usage on the continual rise, texting has emerged as one of the most efficient ways to communicate a message effectively. According to a study, mobile now represents 2 out of 3 digital media minutes and consumers spend five times longer messaging (texting) than they do on voice calls. This is true across all demographics. So, what does this mean for your practice? You should get on board.

Last year, mobile devices surged ahead of desktop internet usage. This indicates that practices should implement some type of mobile marketing strategy to align with the modern day consumer. An easy first step? Text messaging. Millennials exchange an average of 67 text messages a day, and older consumers don’t fall too far behind. The average open rate of a text is around 99%, compared to just 30% for an email. To reach a customer as quickly as possible, consider text over voice calls and emails.

With Prime Nexus it is now easier than ever to reach your patients and get the feedback and attention they and you deserve. With automatic and customizable text reminders for appointment confirmations and Rx pickup reminders, your office and staff will never miss a beat. Text your patient a customized, mobile friendly survey, that makes it easy for them to provide you feedback and share with others. Learn more about the most current patient relationship management technology in the marketplace by scheduling a demo today!

Resources:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2017/01/18/heres-how-texting-is-transforming-customer-service-and-customer-support/#fbe291836818
https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/03/u-s-consumers-now-spend-5-hours-per-day-on-mobile-devices/?utm_content=buffer2d573&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/293519?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email
http://www.business2community.com/infographics/text-marketing-vs-email-marketing-one-packs-bigger-punch-infographic-01249186#ZDkEbOCxiLMqzQgB.97
http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/
https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/mobile-marketing-statistics-for-2016
http://marketingland.com/digital-growth-now-coming-mobile-usage-comscore-171505

4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Online Presence

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Over 85 percent of adults in the U.S. use the internet, so it is no secret that online presence is a necessity in today’s digital age. With a simple search, everything about a doctor and practice can be found almost instantly¬. Make sure your information is correct, up to date, and highlighting the important aspects of your business.

Here are 4 simple ways you can improve your online presence:

1. Optimize Your Local Listing

According to a Google statistic, 97 percent of online consumers use the internet to search for a local business. Google will often rank completed listings higher than those missing information, so it is important to make sure your business listing information is accurate, complete and up to date. Claim, verify, and update your business information on Google to provide your patients with as much information about your business as possible. It is important to consider how your information shows up on a variety of local listing sites. Make sure your information is synced and optimized with all of these sites.

2. Create and Post to Social Media Pages

Brands who engage on social media channels will experience higher loyalty from their customers. Creating social pages for your business will provide you with the opportunity to continuously update your customers. Each thing you share will potentially promote a reaction. Each reaction could lead to a new share or page like, which eventually could lead to new patients. Social media provides you with the freedom to post what you want, when you want, and to target who you want. A study found that 53 percent of people who follow brands on social media are more likely to promote that brand. Posting compelling and engaging information will give followers a first hand and personal experience with your practice, thus eventually leading to more page likes, follows, customers, etc.

3. Promote Positive Reviews

A recent study found that over 62 percent of patients will use online reviews as a first step to find a new doctor. Having a positive presence on review sites will promote new business and help retain already existing patients. Another study found that 45 percent of patients stated quality of care was most important when assessing reviews. After a positive experience, ask patients to leave reviews for you.

4. Add Keywords to Your Website

In order for patients to find you, it is important to target them correctly. Keywords are the words and phrases in the content of your website that will make it possible for patients to find your site via search engines. When designing and updating your website, be sure to add headers, descriptions, and content with information you know a patient will be searching for.

Key Takeaways:

  • Increasing your online presence can do nothing but benefit you in the long run. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will see results.
  • Keep your clients up to date and promote open communication. Gaining loyalty can potentially lead to more business.
  • Continuously update and enhance your business information. Keywords, correct addresses, and rich content will go far to increase your online presence.