Outsourcing Web and Social Media Functions Is Working for Many Busy ODs

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COLUMBUS, SC—Fully 65 percent of all adult internet users now say they use social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61 percent one year ago according to Pew Research. Poll results also show that the total number of adults who use the internet has reached an estimated 163 million in the U.S. and one-third of those users are over the age of 50. For prospective patients, the Internet has become the unequivocal first step in making social and consumer decisions and now, the audience closely mirrors the demographics of the optometric patient population.

Optometrists and eye care professionals are rapidly addressing the idea that they now have two store fronts—the physical location where patients are seen and the cyber location where eye care professionals are meeting and greeting prospective patients. The quality of that welcome, its ability to attract eye care seekers, hold their attention and assist them with their decision making process determines the number of prospective customers that move from the cyber store front to become new patients in the physical store front.

That's the perspective of Daniel Rostenne, CEO of EyeCarePro who observes that many practices are starting to realize how powerful this medium has become for speaking to their community members of all ages. "We serve practices that only need a web site along with a spectrum of services to develop a fully outsourced solution that we call ODLingo," he explained. "We believe in a partnership with the practice that says 'We'll keep the new patient volume coming, and you practice optometry'."

Tommy Lin, OD, of Berryessa Optometry, San Jose, Calif., an avid marketer of his practice online, commented, "Unless you are an expert in optometric websites, search engine optimization and social media, which I am definitely not, outsourcing these initiatives is the way to go." Lim uses EyeCarePro and ODLingo, noting, "Before I started with them, I had your typical 'cookie cutter' website. Now I have a website that is dynamic, gets the attention of prospective patients by shouting, 'Try this office, they look like a practice that is up to date, professional and have a caring staff."

Another client, Eric White, OD, of Complete Family Vision Care of San Diego, reported that outsourcing has produced results. "In December, our practice had 55 new patients of which 27 were from our online activities through EyeCarePro. Because each practice community is different, a generic strategy is unlikely to work. EyeCarePro helps me generate over 20 patients every month, either directly or indirectly and that is a great return on my marketing investment."

ODLingo is a suite of services that combines website design, a SEO search engine optimization plan that gets the site to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing pages, local search management that optimizes a practice site's visibility in their own geographic market, social media posting and content management and reputation management which helps a practice nurture its relationship with patients through surveys, reviews, newsletters, emails and texts.