Leveraging Google and Facebook to grow your optometry practice

Recently MyHealth1st ran the first of its free masterclass webinars, designed to help healthcare practitioners grow and thrive in the post-Covid world. Hosted by Jodie Green, head of customer success at MyHealth1st, this inaugural webinar featured talks by MyHealth1st’s marketing manager Will Williams and Google’s strategic partner manager Sunny Lo and technical solutions manager Andrea King. The key points are summarised here by MyHealth1st’s Daniel Wilks.


Why go digital?


Leveraging the power of Google and Facebook should be an integral component to any marketing strategy, especially in the post-Covid business landscape. Not only has the pandemic affected revenue for practices across the region, it has also driven the population online in numbers never seen before. With so many people becoming accustomed to doing everything online, it makes sense to focus your marketing strategies on their browsing habits.


Around 93% of New Zealanders have an active home-internet connection. The number of mobile connections is even higher. According to the Digital New Zealand 2020 report, in January 2020 the number of mobile connections in New Zealand was equivalent to 135% of the total population. In 2020 Google saw a 200% increase in people looking to shop or book services online, and 94% of all online searching in New Zealand is done via Google, while around 60% of all social media interactions are on Facebook. If you’re looking to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ from your marketing budget, you need to go where the audience is at scale. 


According to Google and the Boston Consulting Group, a switch from traditional marketing to best-in-class digital marketing can increase revenues by up to 20% while simultaneously decreasing marketing spend by up to 30%. The increased revenue and decreased expenditure can be attributed to better targeting a more receptive audience online, driving incremental income while avoiding costly or poorly targeted traditional marketing methods.


A good first impression


The vast majority of new patients will discover your practice through digital channels, either by searching for the service they need using keywords, such as ‘eye exam in Aranui’, or via an advertisement or social media post that has targeted them. Your website is a virtual front door to your practice, so if it’s not well constructed and inviting, patients may look elsewhere, no matter how compelling your marketing campaigns may be. 


Your website should differentiate your practice from the competition, represent your brand, your personality and give patients an easy route to booking an appointment online. It also needs to be mobile friendly. The majority of all web traffic is now mobile, so if your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices then potential patients are likely to look elsewhere.


Consolidating your online reach


As well as your website, another vital marketing tool for increasing your practice profile is Google My Business. This service allows you to build a business profile featuring website links, treatment types, contact details, opening times and the like that appears both in Google search and on Google maps. A Google My Business profile can also host user reviews, with positive reviews greatly increasing the likelihood of your practice being found during a search.


Social media, particularly Facebook, is not simply an avenue for paid marketing, it is also an invaluable way to keep your practice connected with your target audience by promoting attractive content, demonstrating your practice’s skill, such as blog posts, infographics or videos. Blogging on your website not only serves to improve your site’s SEO (search engine optimisation: the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of your website traffic), it also provides more ways potential patients can find your practice. Be warned, though, a social media presence is not a ‘set and forget’ tool. Regular posts, updates and content drops are essential for growing and maintaining a community. An inactive social media profile can be worse than having no social media profile at all. 


Solid foundations are vital to any digital marketing strategy. Without them your campaigns are unlikely to convert clicks to bookings, no matter how well constructed they may be.


Daniel Wilks is the senior content producer at MyHealth1st, the more convenient way to book and manage your appointments. A journalist, editor and content producer for more than 20 years, Daniel now specialises in healthcare and marketing content. You can contact Daniel at dwilks@1stgrp.com or visit www.myhealth1st.com.au for more information.


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