Approximately 65% of the population is made up of visual learners. Even if you’re not a visual learner, nobody wants to be bombarded with text, especially about a topic they may not understand completely. The majority of people will watch a video before they will read an article that covers the same points. We spend most of our days glued to screens (computers, tablets, cell phones and smartwatches), which is why as business owners, we need to be utilizing this market as a way to target our clientele, especially now.
These are unprecedented times. With limited socialization, we are more than ever seeking out our human contact from online sources like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. How we are interacting with our patients is drastically different than it was five weeks ago. How can we use this technology to our benefit, and engage our patients with the goal of connecting, educating, and informing?
Well, put on your director’s hat, because you’re not just a business owner anymore. You’re a filmmaker—reality TV and docuseries. No one is expecting you to be Stephen Spielberg or Martin Scorsese, but you can use these tools to take your practice presence to the next level. In a world where the average attention span is a mere ten to twenty minutes, what would it take to throw together a quick 30-second clip that could appear in a social media story? Especially today, where the most exciting thing to happen in real time is watching a bird out the window, you could preview a new frame collection, or address patients directly who are messaging with questions and concerns about what to do during this pandemic, specifically with regard to eyecare. Going beyond a clip or a social media story and creating a video that may itself span two to ten minutes, delivering a more in-depth presentation of something new on the market, new technology and products, or even new guidelines from the CDC for essential businesses may be more difficult but will be worthwhile. Your patients will feel informed, in-the-loop, and safe. You can try to have a little fun with it; do I see a spoof on “The Office” in our future?
YouTube itself is a powerful tool. If you’re not already on social media, creating a YouTube channel could be a critical step for your practice’s visibility. Google will index any video you upload to YouTube and if it’s embedded on your practice’s website, it will boost your overall SEO. The almighty hashtag will help your video to turn up in more places than just your website, and any exposure is good exposure.
Over time, generating short videos for your practice, your patients will come through the door more educated than before. Sure, they may still have questions, but that gives you the option to educate further. The content of the videos should range from personal to technical. Give patients an “in”. Who are you and what makes you unique? What can you offer that the shop down the block can’t? You could even use YouTube or other social sites as platforms for satisfied customers to show off their latest eyewear. Here is a link for step by step instructions on how to upload to YouTube: https://www.eyecarepro.com/uploading-to-youtube/.
These platforms are especially important with our patients today as most of our offices are closed. Our patients, just like us, are spending more and more time on the internet as a result of this pandemic and videos and posts are a great way to reach out. We can share information about the current state of our practices and anticipate questions that likely go unasked. Are we open for emergency care? Able to fulfill contact lens orders? It’s natural that contact lens patients may be concerned about whether or not it is safe to wear their lenses. A short video from the doctor or staff talking about proper hygiene and safety helps personalize the message. This is also a great time to do a video tour of the office. Show off your space to both current patients and potential ones. Our practice has been communicating regularly through email newsletters, Facebook and Instagram. Connecting with our patients through these channels while we can’t interact face-to-face is a great way to keep them engaged, educated and ready to see us when we return to business.
Marketing today has to fit into the palms of our hands. Let’s face it, if it isn’t on some kind of social media, we’re less likely to notice. By generating short videos and hashtagging, not only are we reaching more of the general public, prospective, and existing clients in ways that feel personal, we are boosting our SEO which is an integral part of marketing. And who knows, someday maybe someone will even nominate you for an Oscar!
Evan Kestenbaum, MBA is the co-founder and COO of GPN Technologies, the landmark company that created EDGEPro. Evan’s entrepreneurial expertise and his focus on continuous improvement were vital in the development and success of EDGEPro, which has revolutionized analytics and business intelligence for ophthalmic professionals. Evan has also been deeply engaged in coaching and dispensary management for hundreds of practices during the past 10 years. He is the co-owner of Optix Family Eyecare in New York, one of Long Island’s largest Optometry practices. In his free time, Evan enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jennifer Stewart is a partner at Norwalk Eye Care, a multi-doctor practice located in Norwalk, Conn. She is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer, a sports and performance vision training center in Stamford, Conn. She can be reached at email@example.com.