By Steve Vargo, OD, MBA
Post videos on your practice web site and social media sites to educate while promoting your services. Create your own videos—or link for free to existing ones.
In marketing,video is a great tool to get our message across. Whether it’s direct mail, print ads, e-mail or our Facebook page. Video creates a much more personal connection with patients and it can improve visibility and brand identity for your practice. My practice has just started using marketing videos, and we don’t know yet the full benefit to our bottom line, but we are excited about the possibilities. Here is a video I recently posted on YouTube:
Video marketing is not new, but it has become a powerful and widely used marketing tool. The power of video in marketing can be seen in the fact that YouTube is now the second most used search engine to Google. According to comScore’s May 2011 US Online Video Rankings, 83 percent of the US Internet audience (176 million people) viewed online video in May, averaging 15.9 hours worth of video in one month. There’s never been a better time for practices to jump on the incredible opportunity of online video.
It’s not as hard as you might think. The ease of marketing via video stems from the ease of recording on something as simple as a smartphone, and easily uploading to a free YouTube account, where the link or HTML code can be used to link/post to web site, social media, etc. From there you can adapt to greater complexity (i.e. more expensive camera options) as you feel more comfortable.
Link to Ready-Made Videos (for Free)
on Your Practice Web Site
Transitions, Essilor VisiOffice, The Vision Council, Eyemaginations and other vendors have ready-made videos you can link to on your practice web site. Doing so will demonstrate that your practice is current and tech-savvy. In addition to linking to these videos on your web site, you can provide links to the videos on tablets in your waiting room, or show the videos on a big-screen in your waiting room. Show patients the full range of services you offer–at no cost to your practice.
Here are a few suggestions for integrating online video into your marketing strategy:
Provide value. Your videos must provide real value to the end user. How can you solve their problems? Educational videos are a great way to deepen relationships with current customers and convert prospects into new patients. Demonstrate punctual plug insertion on a staff member, vision therapy exercises on a child, etc. Video is a great way to appeal visually and emotionally to the demands of your patient base.
It’s the visuals that people remember. While you will likely prepare a script before making a video (or at least have something rehearsed), it’s typically what’s seen and not what’s heard that people remember. A script will enhance a video, but it’s the visuals that people remember. That means shots of you interacting with patients and shots of your office at its best such as the comfortable, well decorated reception area many of you have, or your well-stocked, hip optical shop.
Be remarkable. Using your “right-brain marketing approach,” create content that’s engaging, entertaining and separates you from the rest. The biggest sin in marketing is to be boring. Remarkable videos get remembered. For example, a patient testimonial about a serious vision or health issue that you caught or a testimonial from a patient on how you helped them get needed replacement eyeglasses the night before an important event hits the spot.
ROB Editors note: Before featuring patients in videos to market your practice, review HIPAA regulations and consult with your attorney. Make sure you have a signed HIPAA Marketing Release form for each patient in your videos.
Keep it short. People are used to seeing 30-second commercials. Anything over two minutes is an eternity in the online video world. The key is keeping your sentences compact, and focusing more on the visuals than the script. That’s what people will remember! Focus on one or two key points, or you risk losing your audience with an over-complicated message.
Post videos everywhere. To be effective, video marketing has to be brought directly to your patient’s attention. Fortunately, technology and social media makes online video very “spreadable.” You can post links to social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn, post on your Facebook Page, or include a link in your e-mails. You could also embed videos on your web site or blog. Statistics prove your web site bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce,” or leave the site, rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site) will decrease with video clips. Video can really grab a hold of a visitor on your web site that much longer.
Use search engine optimization. To improve your odds of popping up near the top of the list on search queries, it’s important to tag your video with as many relevant keywords as possible. If you’re confused about which keywords to use, visit Google’s Keyword Tool. Input a few key phrases and Google will provide you with a list of suggested keywords. Forrester research found that videos were 50 times more likely to receive an organic first page ranking than traditional text pages.
In terms of pricing for a video, it doesn’t cost much to get started. You can start with an inexpensive video solution (i.e., iPhone) and upgrade later if you like.
Here are a few options ranging from free to big budget:
• Free: You could use the video feature on your smartphone. This might be a good place to start if you are intimidated by all the camera options. After you shoot a video with your phone, you can embed it to your web site and upload it to social media sites like YouTube and Facebook. For example, you could upload the video to a site like YouTube from an iPhone. You then click the YouTube video link on your phone, and you’ll see a “Share” button underneath the video. Click that and you’ll see a box with the HTML code which is used to embed the video on your web site. Most people would probably just forward the HTML code to their web designer/host. The quality of the video, although not HD, is typically very good.
• Low-budget: If you want to upgrade from your smartphone, you could invest in a video camera. Plan to spend at least $300 for a decent camera. Flip cameras are popular because of their small size and ease of use. In about three steps you can have a video online. If your budget allows it, you could also invest in a lighting kit, external microphone and tripod.
• Higher budget: Maybe you want an online video presence but you don’t want to hassle with video production. You could hire someone else to do it. Consider freelance videographers or video school students. Craig’sList might be a good source. Ask for references!
• Big budget: Your video does not have to be professionally produced to be successful, but if you have a cutting-edge practice and your marketing budget allows it, you can hire a professional crew. You might pay several thousand dollars for this option, but they will likely have the breadth of equipment, knowledge and support system to turn out a video that is going to be as good as if a professional company did it.
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