Optimizing Your Ophthalmology Practice: A Comprehensive Plan that Includes Digital Marketing & More!

This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Bernadette Giacomazzo

Doctors are often so caught up in the day-to-day operations of being a doctor -- which includes, of course, caring for patients -- that they don't think to take the time to market their actual ophthalmology practice. And, in today's digital age, that marketing includes a plan for optimizing a website and performing a wide variety of digital marketing services for yourself and for your practice. In this blog post, then, we're going to discuss the various ways that you, as an ophthalmologist, will be able to market your business quickly and effectively using some of the best known digital marketing techniques. In addition, we'll explain how you can integrate these digital marketing efforts with other marketing efforts to get maximum results. Finally, but certainly no less importantly, we'll discuss some of the common concerns that doctors such as yourself have when it comes to effectively marketing their practice...and how to address those concerns effectively. Optimizing Your Ophthalmology Practice: The Basics One of the biggest problems that doctors in general -- and ophthalmologists in particular -- have with their marketing is that they're competing with several different doctors in the area that offer the same types of services that they offer. However, one of the biggest things that doctors do to set themselves apart from other doctors is that they identify who their patients are, rather than differentiate what they do that's so different from others. And this is where effective website marketing comes in: once you, as a doctor, know who your ideal patient is, you'll be able to set up a year-long, and even a five-year long, plan to be put into effect. This will also help you choose the appropriate website keywords to implement onto your site -- for example, if you choose to handle pediatric ophthalmology, you'll be able to appropriately deploy the target keywords that you'll need to make sure that your website is seen by the people who need to see it (in other words, your newest set of patients). How do your keywords work to your advantage? Simple: via a trusted and respected technique known as SEO (search engine optimization) marketing. What this type of marketing does is turn your website into a lead-generating machine. It does this by integrating appropriate content into the website (which leads to the potential patient repeatedly coming to your website, thus establishing yourself as an authority in your field) with other marketing efforts (such as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and social media interactions) to keep the customers -- and, subsequently, the money -- flowing directly into your practice. Ophthalmology Marketing: Other Concerns Of course, it's never as easy as simply just integrating a few important keywords into your website and its content. There are quite a few other things that need to be done in order to make your marketing plan become more comprehensive and more effective. For example: As was mentioned earlier, you need to create a one-year and a five-year marketing plan, so that you have goals that are attainable and easy to follow. This will also allow you to narrow down your efforts if you need them (refer to the previously-mentioned "patients vs. doctors" marketing that you'll be doing), and provide scalable efforts and results to bear in mind as you go forward. Consider your recall system. As you are undoubtedly aware, many changes have been implemented in the various medical systems, and some of your records may be extremely out of date. You may have to audit up to five years worth of records in order for all of your records to be up to date and compliant with the standards of today. When it comes to your insurance reimbursement contracts, figure out what works (from a business perspective) and what doesn't. Of course, as the Affordable Healthcare Act (a/k/a Obamacare) takes hold, different insurance policies will work in different ways for different doctors. Make sure that you go over which insurance companies take the longest time to get your reimbursement paid to you, and when you determine which ones take the longest, get rid of them. Overall, this won't affect your paying customer base, and may in fact get you some more paying customers thereafter (since you'll be able to free up your schedule to accept more customers under the existing insurance's plans). Encourage your patients to continue to refer clients to you (i.e., cultivate your referral sources). A doctor's best patients come to them via word of mouth -- because people are more likely to trust those whom their friends trust. If your patients are happy with you, they're likely to refer other people to you. The best way to encourage patients to refer people to you is by incentivization -- in other words, give them a reward for the referral. For example, if a patient comes to you from your existing patient John Smith, give John Smith a discount (say, $100 off) his next visit or procedure. Finally, but certainly no less importantly, don't ever underestimate the importance of integrating non-digital marketing with your digital efforts. Don't hesitate to network with other doctors, and other potential patients, at mixers and other networking-type events. Join your local Chamber of Commerce. Do whatever it takes, within reason, to make sure that your name is at the forefront of patients' minds so that they know to come to you when they need it. For more information about us and our services, contact us today to see what we can do for you.

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Bernadette Giacomazzo
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I'm an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist with more than two decades of experience in the entertainment arm of the industry. My work has been featured in more than 100 digital and print publications, including Teen Vogue, People, The Daily Mail, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Post. Topics I'm passionate about include law, medicine, digital marketing (and other SEO related materials), entertainment, real estate, health, pet health & care, and vegetarian/vegan living. Finally, I'm also Google Adwords certified. On Scripted, specif
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