thumbtacks

A marketing checklist for the new year.

When you go out to get a new wall calendar for next year, are you buying one for 2018 or 2008? My point is can you recognize whether your marketing is stuck in 2008 or ready to face the challenges of 2018?

None of us has a crystal ball. Will the stock market boom or bust next year? Who knows? Will the Middle East find peace? Closer to home, will you still be advertising in the Yellow Pages? 

Consider that 69 percent of digital time is spent on mobile. The average American spends 240 minutes a day staring at their 5-inch screens. What are they viewing from your practice? Is your website mobile friendly? One third of ECP websites aren’t. 

Are you on Facebook? Your competitors are. Are you using it to market your practice? Only 11 percent of businesses advertise on Facebook. Yet 75 percent of Americans access it every month and those that do spend an average of 40 minutes there. There’s a reason media buyers spend almost $10 billion a quarter on Facebook ads: it works.

What about video? It is estimated that online videos will constitute 80 percent of consumer Internet traffic by 2020. Facebook video posts have increased 94 percent annually for the last three years. That means that over 60 billion video views per day occur on Facebook now. How many are for your practice? YouTube has over 5 billion views each day and their library grows by 300 hours every minute. Again, how many are yours?

Are you on Instagram? It’s just seven years old, but growing fast. At the end of 2015, Instagram had about 500 million monthly users. As of September 2017, it has over 800 million. 

Perhaps you and your practice have a mobile-friendly website, advertise on social media and produce new video content regularly. Congrats! As I have pointed out, you are well ahead of most ECPs.  

Are you using chatbots? Chatbots are the next big thing for your Facebook page and perhaps even your website in 2018 and beyond. Over the next three years, chatbots will account for upwards of 80 percent of all interactions online. Chatbots are computer programs that conduct conversations (mostly text now) online. They simulate how a human would converse answering most of the commonly asked questions and learning along the way. 

Say for example, potential customers are always asking when you are open. A chatbot can reply immediately saying something like, “We are open today from 9:30 AM until 7:00 PM.” The patient’s questions can often be answered before you’re ever even notified there is a question, and all the questions and answers are cataloged to help you better understand the needs and wants of your customers. 

Space is limited here, but one thing is certain. The world of marketing never rests on its laurels. If you haven’t changed your marketing plan over the last 10 years, you are losing market share to those that have adapted and evolved. It’s never too late, and 2018 is a great time to take the next big step forward.

DANIEL FELDMAN is CEO of dba designs & communications (dbadesigns.com), an optical website design and marketing firm specializing in improving eyecare practices, and a co-founder of the Visionaries Group (the.vg).


This article originally appeared in the November-December 2017 edition of INVISION.

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