Daniel Feldman: To Play Catch Up

Website advice from Daniel Feldman

Your customers have gone mobile.
Has your marketing kept pace?

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of INVISION.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. — George Bernard Shaw

It’s human nature to be satisfied with the status quo. If something worked for us yesterday, we plan to repeat it tomorrow. We fall into a predictable routine, deliberately or accidentally. That’s one reason why, at many optical businesses, your boards are filled with most of the same brands you carried five or even 10 years ago. The only real change may be the point-of-purchase materials the vendors sent along as you reorder twice a year.

But plenty has changed outside our little optical world. When the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, mobile Web browsing was barely 7 percent of all Internet traffic. Today, more than 55 percent of all Web traffic occurs on a mobile device. Over 80 percent of smartphone users will research a practice on their phone before ever stepping foot inside. In 2016, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are losing visitors and patients to your competitors whose websites are.

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. — Benjamin Franklin

How many of you subscribe to your daily newspaper today compared with eight years ago? How many of you watch the network evening news? I bet most of you are having trips down nostalgia lane right now, because newspapers delivered to your door and network TV newscasts are fast becoming relics of a bygone era.

We spend more time on digital devices each day than we do with television. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Spotify and Pandora are today what ABC, CBS and NBC were a decade ago. And not only has the mobile revolution changed how we look at websites; it has changed so much of how we do everything. Ninety percent of Facebook users access the site via mobile, and half of all Facebook users log in only from a mobile device. Most top news websites now get more traffic on mobile devices than desktop computers. Close to 40 percent of all audio in cars now comes from something other than traditional terrestrial radio stations.

If you are still relying exclusively on your local newspaper, radio station or TV station to bring people into your practice, you are living in the past. This is not to say local media doesn’t matter. It does, but we have grown far beyond those few local media institutions. Whether you live in a city of 10 million or 10,000, our world is so much bigger than the 10-mile radius the majority of our customers come from.

Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. — Mark Twain

So what is the purpose of spelling all this out? Simple: Where are you spending your marketing dollars? Traditional media or digital media?

For most ECPs, digital is somewhere near 10 percent of their marketing — but if most of your patients and customers spend their time online, why don’t your marketing efforts reflect that? Why isn’t your website up to date and mobile-friendly? Why aren’t you spending money on locally targeted Google AdWords and Facebook campaigns?

As you visit Vision Expo this spring, ask your vendors what materials they have to help you. Do they have digital co-op? Will they share images to help you update your website and your marketing? Do they have search functions on their websites so people can find you?

Even if you aren’t going to Expo, you should always be asking your reps how they can help you. After all, the best time to ask for someone’s help is when you are spending money with them. Working together, you and your suppliers can build partnerships that’ll help your businesses thrive in the new digitally driven, mobile-focused marketplace.

“If your customers spend their time online, why don’t your marketing efforts reflect that?”

Daniel Feldman is CEO of dba designs & communication, a web design, marketing and social media firm specializing in helping eyecare practices succeed. Learn more at dbadesigns.com.