|MUST-HAVE WEBSITE FEATURES
Keep these important tips in mind as you spread your wings as a social media butterfly. Considering that roughly 864 million people visit Facebook each day, some eyecare professionals wonder if they really need to maintain their practices’ website. In a word, the answer is yes.
There’s no arguing that engaging with people on your social media accounts can be good for business, but your online marketing pursuits should center on the one true home base for all of your products and services: your practice’s website. That’s the best place to communicate your marketing message to patients who’ll feel more comfortable patronizing a business that boasts a reliable web presence.
Make sure your website anchors your practice’s brand-arguably your business’s most coveted asset, as it establishes that first critical and often unforgettable impression. After all, your site serves as a virtual welcome mat for patients, inviting them to contact you or request an appointment.
DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE
Need more proof that you have to maintain-and grow-your practice’s website? Here are the top five reasons why it’s imperative to do so:
- New patients will be able to find you.
Ninety percent of the time practices are searched for online prior to being called. While scouring social networks for a provider is popular, the majority of online surfers still rely on search engines. Build your website with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind so you can pop up in the top search engine results.
- You can control your destiny.
Relying on Facebook alone puts your business in the hands of a third party. You don’t own your Facebook page so you have no control over changes Facebook makes. In the past few years, Facebook has updated its design at least eight times. Do you really want your online impact to depend on the direction that Facebook developers feel is best for its customers and not your patients?
- Not everyone ‘likes’ Facebook.
According to the Pew Research Center, 74% of adults use social media. Not everyone, though, is on Facebook. A personal website is essential to reach that 26% with limited or no access to social media.
- Social media is about connecting, not marketing.
Patients don’t want to be “sold to” on social media, which is best suited for connecting on a personal level. Seventy percent of your social media posts, then, should add value or personality to your brand; 20% should be shared articles and pictures. Keep posts of a promotional nature to just 10%. Your website is the better tool for marketing and online promotions, so occasionally post social media links that drive patients to your website to retrieve special offers.
- Things change.
Sure, Facebook is popular right now, but trends shift. Your website is the only permanent, trusted destination where your patients can find you and interact.
It’s clear professionally designed websites are a must. The good news is they’re more affordable than ever. Many optical-specific website solutions offer both customizable designs and robust features designed to generate new patients.
Your practice’s website, in fact, might be more important than ever. That’s why it’s essential to understand how they serve a different purpose today now that social media is part of the equation.
Samantha Toth is the resident Marketing Rockstar for Innereactive Media, a full-service marketing company specializing in the optical industry, in Grand Rapids, MI.