How People Research Ophthalmology Has Changed; Is Your Marketing Adjusting?

For Lawyers, Doctors, and Dentists

Many ophthalmologists recognize the need to cater to the perceptions of online patients and prospects and have re-designing their website within the past two or three years.  In most cases, this was also driven by the need to address the growing number of mobile website visitors, particularly smartphone users.

Recognizing and adapting to changes in online consumers is essential to ensure your marketing dollars continues to go farther and with greater impact.  Although many practices have addressed online consumers’ perceptions and use of websites by developing new mobile-responsive websites, they continue to market and promote the website in the same way they have always done in the past.

Most practices continue to focus almost exclusively on SEO and PPC (Google Adwords) to generate new Internet leads and target the same keyword phrases they have for years, never adjusting their campaign.  Unfortunately, the manner in which consumers now research eye care services has changed and your online marketing needs to adjust accordingly.

For instance, most practices have not researched of revisited how consumers research and search for their services.  What are the most important keyword phrases? What is the search volume for each? Is the volume of searches increasing, or decreasing?  I would like to share some insights and what you can do to take advantage of key consumer trends.

Most practices focus on search phrases that incorporate a local qualifier along with target services.  For example, the below Google Trends research identifies the search volume trends for “Los Angeles LASIK.”

Google Trends Los Angeles LASIK

This one shows the search trends for “Los Angeles.Cataract Surgery”

Google Trends LA Cataract Surgery - Ophthalmology Marketing

This may give you the initial impression that consumer interest in utilizing the Internet to research eye care services and providers is declining, and may also create some significant concerns.    However, before you panic, the below Google Trend report shows search traffic trends for “LASIK.”

Google Trends LASIK - Ophthalmology Marketing

This one shares insights on search trends for “Cataract Surgery.”

Google Trends Cataract Surgery - Ophthalmology Marketing

The fact is, if you are only focusing on a handful of traditional search phrases that you have always targeted to generate high-quality website traffic, then you will likely see diminishing returns on your marketing dollars, particularly when PPC costs continue to rise, even when there are fewer searches.

One consumer trend that doesn’t surprise anyone is that online consumers are spending more and more of their time online, particularly when they are on their smartphone.  A recent study by Flurry indicates that people now spend more time using mobile apps than even watching television.

Other research by Forrester Research, Inc. shows that where Americans spend their time in apps is very diverse and certainly not concentrated on Google.

Time Spent on Apps - Ophthalmology Marketing

So what how should ophthalmology practices adjust their online marketing campaigns to maximize their ROI?  Here are three important tips that can help you.

Tip #1 – Don’t panic.  Avoid the urge to quickly dismiss the value of search engines (Google) and abandon your efforts to attract search traffic, whether it is through SEO or PPC, or both.  Targeted search traffic, particularly branded searches for variations of your practice name and providers still attracts the highest quality visitors that are demonstrating they are in the research and buying cycle.  And compared to other industries, competition is relatively low.  Search campaigns should remain a high priority for your practice.

Tip #2 – Don’t Assume; Research.  Of course it is now obvious that you or your webmaster need to conduct keyword research in how consumers are look for and researching your services.  However, research shouldn’t stop there.  Whether it is dissecting the analytics of your website visitors, or evaluating the demographic and targeting data of growing digital platforms, there is a plethora of data on a wide variety of online marketing opportunities.  Take advantage of them, before your competitors beat you to the punch.

Tip #3 – Advertise on Apps (Display Ads that are different than Google Adwords PPC).  As shown, people spend a lot more time in a variety of places online.  Most of them offer highly-targeted marketing opportunities to secure timely reach to local consumers that have demonstrated in interest in your services.  This includes retargeting display ads to recent visitors of your website, video pre-roll advertising and animated display ads that utilize a user’s location and recent contextual search history to generate a high volume of targeted exposure and stimulate qualified leads. This is also another way to target local users that do open-ended, or non-geographically-defined searches (ex. “LASIK”).

If you are interested in diversifying your traffic and lead-generating sources, call Page 1 Solutions at 800-916-3886,  or email us.

~ Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing

P.S. – If you are attending a the ASCRS meeting in New Orleans this weekend, ask to schedule a personal consultation with Dan Goldstein.