By Alan Glazier, OD
If you’re thinking about internet marketing, odds are you don’t know where to start. People are starting to realize how important it is; the audience you seek, and the audience who is searching for the products and services you hope to be found for is online. Perhaps you’ve asked an expert, or hired someone like EyeCarePro to do it for you through their social media marketing tool ODLingo. Either way, it’s beneficial to understand the basics and engage with or alongside of your paid efforts. I have put together this simple guide on the basics of driving business using internet marketing and hope it sparks a deeper understanding of your goals and how to achieve them.
The basic tenet of any marketing, internet or traditional, is the creation of the content you hope to share. Content creation is the most labor intensive, but the most crucial part of your entire effort. What you produce and ultimately speaks volume about you and your business. Content creation requires you extract a little piece of yourself and your expertise and put it down in a format; either a blog post, a “tweet”, a YouTube video, a pod cast or some other means of content creation. Once you have the content, you have the flint to create the first spark of your internet marketing effort
Henry Jenkins, past professor of communication at MIT now at USC coined the phrase “if it doesn’t spread it’s dead”. You have your content, now you need to get it out there. If you are unsuccessful at sharing it, you either don’t know how or it sucks. Sharing the content you created in step 1 is like launching a rocket. When you share it, you get a chance to gauge your success by observing how often and how far it travels across the internet. The better the fuel, the further the rocket travels, and this “distance” is crucial to your campaigns benefit
As you might realize from using the internet to accumulate information in your daily life, you appreciate content created and shared by those you trust. When you identify those sharing good content, you take special note of it making you more likely to share content from that source moving forward. The act of building trust in your network is a major goal within your internet marketing strategy. To do this, the content you create in step 1 must be honest, trustworthy, original and compelling enough so when people read it they feel it might be valuable to their friends and family. Then what happens? People start doing step 2 for you! People become your customer opinion leaders, your raging fans and by sharing your content, create more “fans”, helping to spread your content around the internet. Building trust creates a positive internet reputation that is vital to your internet marketing success.
Build a Network
The early goal of creating and sharing content is to build your network. The more people you are connected to, the more opportunity for sharing of your content. The more your content is shared, the more people who are exposed to it. The more exposures, the more opportunity to have new followers find you and connect with you and, possibly, share your future content. As your network builds, so does your marketing power.
Move Connections from Social Platform to Website and/or Blog
Remember, your internet marketing effort is world-wide; the number and amount of people who actually look at your content and share it who are in your geographical vicinity is miniscule to the amount of people exposed to your content. You’re not going to have an effort that drives people directly through your door, yet your goal is to increase business. How does that happen? One of two ways. When you have an active internet presence and are creating expert-driven content (content around your area of expertise) Google is able to “tag” you as a person of importance in your field in the content creation area. When a random person on the internet makes a Google query for an “eye doctor in (your city)”, Google favors the content creators and content sharers. If Google has tagged you as an expert content creator and sharer on eye and vision care topics, when someone in your region searches randomly for an eye doctor, they’re more likely to find you than the practice down the road who is not involved in content creation and sharing. When your “search engine optimization” or “googlocation” as I now call it increases, you will directly and financially benefit from your internet marketing efforts. Secondly, you want your “shared” content to reach connections who are friends of your friends. Why? “Friends” (connections) of yours on social media already trust you; when they share what you create, the people they are connected to who trust them are more likely to read your content as it comes from a trustworthy source. If your “Friends” are local, it’s likely many of their connections are to, and this increases your exposure to people who may call and schedule an appointment.
The “Direct” value proposition of internet marketing is when friends-of-friends find your business and schedule an appointment. The “indirect” value proposition is when the content you create and share causes Google to favor you when people in your vicinity search for an eye doctor or optical services. Be sure your content is rich in keywords and key phrases people use to search for the products and services you offer and always remember Glazier’s rule from my book “Searchial marketing” – You can never create too much content as long as the content you create has more value to your audience than it does to you”.
Photo: Copyright: scanrail / 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