by Alan Glazier, O.D.
You’ve all heard the old business adage “location, location, location”. While location is and likely will always be the most important factor in deciding where to place your business, certain aspects of choosing location have been made less important because of the way people search for the products and services you hope to be found for. For example, let’s look at that office on the first floor of a medical building with prominent signage. Pre-internet, it was a wise move to pay the extra rent a prominent first floor location would cost compared to a third-floor corner office in the same building. But the internet changed the way people “find” your business. Signage not so important, unless in a high walking traffic area. First floor, not so important either. Why?
Envision your typical patient, a 40 year old mother, head of the household, who makes all the decisions for the family. It’s likely she’s getting two kids off to school and has the other 1/2 kid on her lap with the phone on one ear searching google on her kitchen laptop for an “eye doctor” near her. When appointment time comes around, she straps the kids in the car seat, plugs the address into her Garmin or google maps on her PDA and navigates her way to your office. Instead of looking up and around their environment these days, more and more busy moms get the information they look for on their PDAs then GPS their way to the business. They probably rarely even lift up their head to look around! If you’re spending extra money for first floor space and/or signage, this might be somewhere you can cut back and save. Your potential patients are empowered with digital-age tools that enable them to find you easier and enable you sit back and let them find you. That is IF you take the proper steps to “googlocate”.
Googlocation entails understanding the mapping and local internet search functions offered by google. It entails ensuring your brand is represented on all the google location apps such as Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile, Google Earth, Google Panoramio and a whole host of other sites. It entails ensuring your “NAP” (Name, Address, Phone Number) are consistent across all location-based social media sites like Yelp, Foursquare, GoWalla and others. When you are “plugged in” and your information is consistent across these apps, google can recognize you easier and as a result your listing will be made more prominent in search so that busy mom has more of a chance of stumbling across your listing and finding you.
Your website and social media pages are no longer virtual extensions of your practice, they are real extensions. When people connect with them, it often doesn’t matter where your suite is in the building – if it is in their vicinity, they will find it, sign, first floor space or not. Why not save the money, and direct your marketing efforts to the space where your future patients search for the products and services you offer – on Google and it’s myriad mapping and search tools.
Photo: Copyright: bloomua / 123RF Stock Photo
Dr. Glazier is the owner and founder of Shady Grove Eye & Vision Care in Rockville, MD, a large medical model 4 doctor optometry practice. Dr. Glazier holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland and a Doctorate from the New England College of Optometry. He is a fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. Dr. Glazier is an author, lecturer, professional blogger and industry consultant. In both 2011 and 2012 Dr. Glazier was selected as one of the most influential optometrists in the country by the VisionMonday organization. He is the recipient of many awards and honors related to his cutting edge use of the internet to market his practice, including a DARE award, Optometric Business Innovator awards and a Voltage award by SmartCEO magazine. He is co-founder of the industries first virtual conference, CEingIsBelieving and founder of the industries most influential social media group, ODs on facebook, with over 10,500 members. Dr. Glazier’s patient care interests include dry eye and specialty contact lenses. He lives in the Washington, DC suburbs with his wife Laura, sons Jacob and Ari and goldendoodle Tbone