Forget the Yellow Pages…How’s Your Website?

Date: September, 15, 2009 / Author: Jennifer Anderson
Categories: Ask The Expert, Growth and Profit Tips, Opening First Practice, Productivity Tips, Trends

If the discussion forum at ODWire is a reliable indicator, many OD's consider Yellow Pages advertising a waste of money. Most who voiced an opinion on the topic recently had considerably cut back on Yellow Pages advertising without any decrease in the number of new patients. A surprising number have dropped it altogether and don't miss it at all.

If you don't need the Yellow Pages anymore, then what DO you need? A great website. You'll be better off putting those marketing dollars into a good website optimized for local searches.  Here are a few tips on how to get noticed on the web.

Tip #1: Grab these domain names if they are still available for your town:

(Your town)optometrist.com -- (Your town)eyedoctor.com

Go to GoDaddy.com (great cheap domain names) and search to see if the name is available. If it is buy it, then point it to your website. There are instructions on how to do this on the GoDaddy site.

People who are NOT looking on insurance lists for an eye doctor ARE looking on the web and will likely type in "Smithfield optometrist" or "Smithfield eye doctor" into the search box. If you own that domain name you will likely come up much higher in the search results than all your competitors.

Tip #2: People search the web because they are looking for information. So make your website about THEM, not you. Anticipate their questions and write mini-articles that answer their questions. Show them that you know what their problems are and how to solve them.

Search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) LOVE your site when it has helpful information for visitors. They rank your site low if it's all about "Our Practice, Our Hours, Our Staff, etc." which is how most optometric websites are set up. This type of website is not interesting to visitors who only tune in to Station WIIFM (What's In It For Me).

Tip #3: Show a big photo of your dispensary on your home page. If you are not proud enough of your dispensary to have a photo up, how do you expect to attract those desirable private pay patients? They want to come to a sharp looking office with a great selection of eyewear. If your website has no photo of your retail area they'll pass you by and look for one that does.

Here's an example of a darn good website: Dave Ziegler, OD - http://www.zleyecare.com/
Notice how it immediately gets you to choose between "New Patient" or "Returning Patient." New patients are funneled into pages that address their eyewear needs according to lifestyle, hobby and fitness activities. Very smart.

The web is the new Yellow Pages and can do so much more than any single print ad ever could. Make sure your website is doing all it can to attract new patients and provide convenience for existing patients.

Yes, the Yellow Pages are dead--long live the web!

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