- March 13, 2019
- February 25, 2019
The healthcare industry is changing rapidly, and vision practices are feeling the speed of innovation very acutely. While medical and technological advances that make examining, diagnosing, and treating patients easier are often welcomed, the changes in what patients are able to learn about their vision health options are intimidating at best.
Consumers have more information and power than ever to make decisions about exactly what they buy, why they buy, and from whom.
In times past, consumers had little ability to make healthcare-related decisions the way they did with things like computers, luxury goods, or entertainment. But now, consumers are interested in knowing how your service fits in their bigger life picture—not how they fit within yours. The narrative around practically all purchase decisions is now about, “What can you help me do?”
This means the buying process for healthcare services has lengthened and expanded beyond the realm of insurance companies, TV commercials, and accessibility in the local town shopping center or office park. The digital space creates an opportunity for patients to ask questions, research, and compare providers and alternatives—all before they make their first move.
In marketing-speak, we’re talking about top-of-funnel activity where potential patients (and honestly, even current ones) make choices about how they’ll solve their problem. This funnel is bigger and more competitive than in the past because of the dominance of the internet, mobile technology, and increased competition across the healthcare space. And for better and worse, LASIK is in the middle of this major transformation.
So, how does a growing practice compete with ever more options, like other practices, large ophthalmology networks, hospitals, and yes, the rise of popular purveyors like Warby Parker?
SEO Can Boost Your Ophthalmology Marketing Efforts
It can seem difficult to think about what a practice’s digital presence can do, aside from providing more screens to promote your offer or more social media posts with single-digit likes.
But a digital presence can work well for your LASIK practice if you understand how websites work—and what tools can help.
Even though they require a device to access, websites are simply digitized systems of file folders. Each time you click through a website’s main navigation and select something—a subtopic, for instance—you’re actually accessing a document living within a folder. A website is just a document.
Enter Google search. Digital marketing agencies that specialize in SEO aren’t magicians or hackers (well…they’re that cool, but maybe not THAT mysterious!). But they do have the skills to translate what search engines like Google are built to do—and how online properties can be optimized to attract search engines’ attention.
SEO is a central component of a digital strategy that helps your service, brand, or offering show up more competitively (read: higher) on search engine results pages. If we continue with the document/folder metaphor, SEO helps your company’s folder—ideally, the part of a document where patients can learn about your practice—stay on the top of a cluttered desk.
It’s not only disruption in the healthcare, vision, and LASIK industries that’s moving at warp speed, though. Google is known to change their search engine algorithms anywhere from 500 to 600 times per year. That’s an average of almost twice per day! SEO strategy is constantly changing and needs active support to stay effective.
So, why go through the effort of discussing all of these things?
Because the ophthalmology marketing landscape has changed for LASIK and vision firms to compete for patients. You need to understand the intent of your patients, what they’re interested in achieving by engaging with your practice, and ultimately, why they want to undergo an actual procedure.
This may sound like a scary statement. An impossible task. But it’s easier than you think—and it carries enormous upsides.
It’s important to ask the right questions. What do your future patients think about or research before they decide on your LASIK practice? What will help them make a significant life decision? Thinking strategically about the new LASIK shopper can strengthen your digital efforts—and help you find new patients in an increasingly competitive healthcare landscape.