Video sharing sites like YouTube have created a powerful forum for marketing a practice.

Video content sets you apart from the competition and brands you as an eyecare authority.

Are you looking for new and innovative ways to market your practice? Video is a great way to get your message across. The rise in popularity of video-sharing sites like YouTube have created a powerful forum for marketing your practice, educating your patients, and establishing yourself as an expert. Our practice has made video marketing a key component of our marketing mix. And, yes, it’s made a difference, raising our profile exponentially.

What follows are suggestions for integrating online video into your marketing strategy.

Provide value. Video content helps brand you as an authority in eyecare. People are more likely to click on something that’s relevant to their needs and interests. Our practice began making short videos that addressed commonly asked questions such as “why do my eyes burn?” and “why can’t I read up close anymore?” as a way to educate not only our patients, but potential patients.

If you’re wondering what to include in your videos, consider what type of content would be most helpful to those around you. Many folks are seeking solutions to their problems online. Short videos that provide this information will help build trust, establish your expertise, and hopefully bring in some increased foot traffic.

Post videos everywhere. Thanks to the Internet and social media, the potential audience for your videos has skyrocketed. Once a video is uploaded to a site like YouTube, it can be easily shared across multiple channels, i.e., posted to your Facebook and Twitter, embedded on your website, and linked in your e-newsletter. You can even post QR codes in your offline marketing that link to a video showcasing your practice.

Special consideration should be given to posting videos on your website. Video has been shown to keep people on your website page much longer than sites without video, increasing the likelihood of them calling or scheduling an appointment. Not sure what to post? Start with asking satisfied patients to share their experiences via a video testimonial. The endorsement of a satisfied patient is more compelling than anything you could say about yourself. Welcome videos also integrate well into a website. This can be a tour of your practice which includes clips of you or your staff discussing various products and services. The best videos keep the focus on the patient and limit self-promotion.

Be shareable. In the world of social media, sharing is king! All the hard work of creating a video doesn’t mean much if nobody sees it. According to the book Contagious, people are more likely to share information they believe will help others. Consider this when deciding what type of video content to create. Provide information that is helpful and valuable. The social currency that comes from your patients sharing your videos on their social media sites makes this a very powerful medium with the potential to reach a large audience.

Keep it short. Statistically, people have a short attention span. Depending on the type of video you’re creating, try to keep the length between one to four minutes. Focus on one or two key points. If you have a lot of content, it’s best to separate it into smaller segments. As doctors, we tend to be fascinated by nuance and complexity, but an over-complicated message can risk losing the viewers interest.

It’s also important to grab the viewer’s attention in the beginning; otherwise they may not be around at the end. I like to start off videos with a question, and then reveal the answer (or answers) throughout the video.

Be searchable. Google loves video! Which makes sense, considering Google owns YouTube. If you have video, you’re 53 times more likely to appear on Google’s first page, increasing the chance people will find you when searching for the services you offer.

To rank high with Google, it’s important to optimize the videos for the search engines.  Some simple yet effective strategies for this include using your keyword or keyword phrase (the terms people are searching for), along with the name and location of your practice, in the title of your video. Popular search engines like Google and Yahoo put a major emphasis on what’s in the title. When you upload a video to YouTube, there is a description section. Use this section to describe your video, mentioning the keywords many times throughout the description. Also include your website URL and contact information. You’ll also want to pinpoint your keywords in the “tags” section at the end.

Technology has made video marketing very affordable. You can start with an inexpensive video solution (i.e., your iPhone) and upgrade later if you like. Consider the options listed below, ranging from no-cost to big budget.

  • Free: Use the video feature on your smartphone. While it’s not the same quality as a high-definition video camera, it does a decent job. For a few bucks, you can purchase an award-winning app called FILMiC Pro that does a good job of enhancing the video quality. After you shoot a video with your phone, you can embed it to your website and upload it to YouTube and Facebook.
  • Low budget: If you want to upgrade from your smartphone, invest in a video camera. Plan to spend at least $300 plus more if you want to add more quality images with 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. Hire someone else to do it. Freelance videographers or video school students abound (prices vary); just be sure to ask for references.
  • Big budget: If you have a cutting-edge practice and your marketing budget allows it, hire a professional crew. You might pay several thousand dollars, but thanks to their professional equipment, knowledge, and support systems, you will no doubt have an end project that will be the centerpiece of your marketing mix for many years. In other words, well worth the money.

Online video marketing is an evolving, exciting area, and a great way to increase your visibility. Although video marketing is not a new subject, many practices have yet to align their marketing with this increasingly popular channel. People are searching online for the products and services you (and your competitors) offer””wouldn’t it be wise to have videos that not only showcase your practice and staff, but also educate and inform potential patients?

Steve Vargo is president of St. John, IN-based New Media OD, a company that specializes in online video marketing for doctors.


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