Ophthalmology Digital Marketing Trends Forecast for 2018

If you want to attract more patients to your ophthalmic practice, you have to know which methods of marketing will give you the best return on investment.

This isn’t just about doing what’s cool or trendy in marketing right now – it’s about choosing the right mix of messages, tools, and strategies to help grow your practice and help more patients discover your services. To do this, you need to know what performs best now – and what will work well into the future.

Keeping abreast of current trends and best practices can seem like a daunting task, but fortunately, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explore the four key areas that will be vital to solid ophthalmic practice marketing in 2018.

Search

Let’s face it: Google is king. In this day and age, more than 80% of patients will Google your name (or search for related terms) before they ever call your practice or come in for a visit. That means you need to be optimized for search.

More than regular search engine optimization (which we’ll get into in the next section), you need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Over 50% of Google searches are performed on mobile devices, so making sure your Google MyBusiness listing is up-to-date and full of the relevant information is especially important for those on mobile devices.

Speaking of Google MyBusiness, you’ll want to make sure your practice has accurate information – and lots of reviews – on your local business page. Google isn’t shy about the fact that they prioritize those businesses with a Google MyBusiness listing and give them higher search engine rankings.

Having reviews is another boon to your local business listing, and having good (and plenty) of Facebook and Yelp reviews is also important, as Google will display these social cues as well.

Voice Search

Voice search will also grow in importance in 2018. With the rise of home assistants like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple’s upcoming HomePod, it’s important to make sure you’re optimized for voice search.

And while it’s not extremely likely that someone will search for a cataract or lasik surgeon via their Google Home or Amazon Echo, anything is possible, and such practice will become more and more accepted in the future…so it’s important to make sure you’re optimized across all platforms.

Search Engine Optimization

We’ve written extensively on Search Engine Optimization for ophthalmologists in the past, but its importance can’t be overstated. Put simply, SEO represents the biggest opportunity for most ophthalmologists to improve their marketing…and it’s impressive the ROI that a good SEO strategy can have.

While SEO has been around for a long time, we will see SEO grow substantially in 2018, and the practices that do their homework and have a strong SEO strategy in place to attract more patients will win.

Business listings and social profiles that are linked to your practice website will also be important to a good SEO strategy, as Google likes all the opportunities it can get to index content. Making their job easier will produce the best results.

Another (often overlooked) factor to good SEO is having positive reviews across multiple platforms. Not only are they strong trust signals that offer social proof to prospective patients, but Google looks to those businesses that have solid online reviews and seeks to highlight them with better placement in their rankings.

Content Marketing

One of the most important pieces of a strong SEO strategy is a detailed and robust content marketing plan. Content is still king, and it’s not going anywhere in 2018. Those practices that can consistently churn out content that educates and inspires their patients will have more for Google to index, and will in turn rise to the top of Google’s rankings.

Consistency is the name of the game here, so if you don’t have a staff at your practice that can keep up with posting on your blog 3x or 4x a week, don’t worry. If you can manage it, great – but if not, consistent blogging and pushing out social content can yield impressive results. Consistency, not volume, is key.

Video

Patient engagement is perhaps never higher than it is when viewing video. The stats surrounding video are powerful, not just

We predict that video will continue to rise in 2018, and that new mediums may overtake existing ones. Don’t get us wrong – YouTube and educational videos embedded on your website are still crucially important, but consider new “social video” mediums as well.

The emergence of live video has upended much of what we know to be true about video marketing. Platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope, and other live-streaming features can be powerful tools to increase patient engagement and promote your practice in new, fresh ways.

The secret of these live-streaming platforms applied to a local business such as your practice is that they’re powerful marketing tools – without feeling like marketing at all. By sharing stories, behind-the-scenes experiences, and everyday snippets that may not seem interesting to most, your practice can rise above the rest and elevate your marketing in 2018.

While there’s no perfect solution or any one “magic marketing bullet” for any practice, these tools will be important in the new year. Those practices that stay on top of current marketing trends and seek to stay ahead of the curve, adopting new ways of reaching patients will have a competitive edge and ensure their success in 2018.

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