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3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

Virtual tours let customers and patients see what they’re missing.

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VIRTUAL TOURS ARE a great way to set yourself apart, boost SEO, and give customers and patients an idea of what to expect when they visit you in person; a 3D journey around your beautifully lit frame displays and into your hi-tech exam lane may be the X-factor that tips a potential new client in your direction. They can be especially valuable if you are a niche practice by, for example, letting parents see your children’s playrooms or giving athletes a feel for your sports vision clinic. Virtual tours that link to Google business listings and Street View are of course very popular (according to Google, business listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest, and 62% of visitors prefer listings with photos of store interiors) but you can go it alone, shooting, editing and uploading your own virtual tour to your digital platforms.

The most common approach we encountered among eyecare business owners is hiring a professional photographer or digital marketing company to handle it; they will take care of the photo shoot, putting together the tour and will usually help you embed it to your website and social media. Fees are often based on the floorspace covered. Google even provides a list of approved vendors that provide such services in your neighborhood at google.com/streetview/business. The five businesses below talked us through the steps involved and the benefits gained.

3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

Invision
Salem and Christiansburg, VA

Invision (no relation) has a Google virtual office tour link for each of its two locations on its website. A local photographer who was an early adopter of the technology approached owner Dr. Scott Mann and offered to shoot the offices for free at no cost in exchange for using the results as an example of his work in order to market to and attract other clients. (See if an ambitious photographer in your area might be open to the same arrangement…) “We are convinced an office that presents nicely inside and out is a time-honored marketing strategy in itself. Hopefully the visual appearance helps attract the demographic we target,” Mann says. The shoot itself was not disruptive at all he says, involving a 10–15-minute walk-through, which was done early in the morning just before they opened.

3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

Spring Hill Eyecare
Spring Hill, TN

According to Melanie Jenkins, Spring Hill Eyecare’s Google virtual tour “allows guests to connect with us at any time they choose, at their convenience, before ever setting foot in the practice.” The cost was under $400, a bargain given the office’s large footprint: the photographers were so enamored of the converted 1870s farmhouse they shot extra rooms in exchange for being able to feature them on their website. “Visitors do enjoy the tour and comment on the space, selection of frames and the specialty we have created. We are very pleased with the investment,” she says.

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3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

Krystal Vision & LFVR Eyewear
Logan, UT

Krystal Vision has had a Google Street View 360-degree virtual tour available on their site for a few years now. “They are some of our most viewed photos on our Google profile,” says owner Travis LeFevre. He went through a company that happened to cold-call him. “We had just remodeled and were looking for ways to differentiate ourselves. It seemed a good opportunity, especially for the cost” of around $350. Two photographers stopped by for 45 minutes and later stitched the photos together. They handled the editing and sent the practice a file 2-3 weeks later with instructions for how to upload to Google and their website. “They were great, working around what we had going on in the office, but we were sure to schedule it on a slow afternoon so they were in and out pretty quickly. Overall our experience was good, and a relatively minimal cost to attract a few new clients,” says LeFevre.

3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

EyeStyles Optical
Oakdale, MN

Offering further proof of the value of local business networking, owner Nikki DeMeglio got the idea to add a virtual tour to EyeStyles Optical’s Google listing from a trade group she is part of. The organization helped her organize the tour, which she says “has been viewed regularly, wasn’t terribly expensive, and … converts people into our store based on their ability to see the environment they will be entering when they come in.” Get onto your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration group or SCORE branch (those are just for starters) to see if they can help you.

3D Office Visits: Five Eyecare Offices Gave Us the ‘Grand Tour’

Precision Eye Care
Mt. Juliet, TN

After significantly expanding and updating her clinic at Precision Eye Care, owner/OD Dr. Amber Fritsch wanted to show it off to potential new patients, as well as existing patients who may not have been in for a while, and figured a Street View virtual tour would be an ideal way to do it. She consulted Google’s list of approved vendors, looked at their work, and reached out to a few. The photographer she chose arranged a time when she and her team were not seeing patients, so there was no disruption. “He came through with his camera/moving tripod set-up and went through all the clinic areas I asked him to.” Her total outlay was $500 for 5,100 square feet, “and I do believe it is worth it, both for the SEO boost and for patients to get a feel for your office before coming in.” The photographer also gave Fritsch the file so she could add the tour to the practice’s website. Fritsch adds that the technology has greatly improved since Precision Eye Care first created a Google tour for their original space eight years ago. “The new tour is a 360 immersive tour and it is very modern.”

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