When most people think of a company using social media to communicate with customers, they think that a blog is the first place to start. This may be the case, but you should really have an experience professional who understands the various tools and the way they should be implemented. Dr. Alan Glazier, a successful optometrist who specializes in Lasik surgery (lasers that correct your bad eyesight) was looking to overhaul his web site and communicate with those thinking about getting Lasik done. He loves blogging and actually has a personal one dedicated to music, but to implement it in his business, he looked to a seasoned social media professional to lend a hand.
Enter Larry Genkin. Larry is CEO of Larstan Publishing, most known for publishing “Blogger and Podcaster Magazine” and the “Black Book of …” series of books. Larstan is not just a publishing company but also has a consulting arm that builds web sites and incorporates social media strategy into their overall online presence. I was able to sit down with both client and consultant and talk about the process of overhauling a successful small business site that has traditionally worked in the past more on referral than on a full court-press web site promotion. This is part one of a two part article. Here is the transcript of that interview:
Steve: This business has been through many growth phases and the web site has evolved over the years. When you initially approached this project, what were your goals for the site?
Larry: Initially the project started because Dr. Glazier was spending a fair amount of money advertising on Google and he wanted me to examine his ads and make sure they were as effective as they could possibly be.
Dr. Glazier: There has been a fundamental shift over the past 15 years in how patients find my practice. When I started I felt it imperative to have a yellow page ad, then around 1996 I found it important to have a website parallel to that. This year I totally eliminated my yellow page ad and market externally specifically with the website, making the website imperative, and Larry helped me understand that to stay ahead of the competition it was imperative to improve the functionality of the website, incorporating bells and whistles that are imperative in todays more successful websites. This also creates the impression that our practice is cutting edge, modern and concerned with the needs of our patients, which it is, of course. My goal was to modernize the website and make it central to our external marketing efforts in this way
Steve: Has it changed over the course of the project?
Dr. Glazier: No
Larry: An ads’ effectiveness is determined by more factors than just the ad itself. It’s relatively easy to get someone to click through on an ad. What’s infinitely more challenging and vastly more important is to get the RIGHT person to click through. If they’re not a legitimate prospect then the ad was a complete waste. Then once you get the click through what happens to that prospect on your website. If they’re not quickly and compellingly directed to exactly what they’re looking for they’ll leave your site and never return. And who can blame them?
Steve: Larry, you mentioned that you “recommended that all Internet advertising designed to drive traffic to www.youreyesite.com should be put on hold while the site is redesigned to make it significantly more effective at turning that traffic into business”.
Larry: Absolutely. Dr. Glazier’s website looks beautiful and professional to the untrained eye. However when it comes to converting the leads he’s paying into clients it’s wholly ineffective. Why should he pay to drive traffic to his website if none, I mean absolutely zero, of these prospects are turning into business? Doesn’t make any sense. He understood and to his credit, stopped in the middle of our meeting when I made this recommendation to log into Google and pause his campaign on the spot.
Steve: How do you see Social Media tools like blogs and social networks adding value to a site like YourEyeSite.com?
Dr. Glazier: I see our practice standing out in the fact that I make my email available to my patients and prospective patients to communicate with me. This has impressed a lot of people; social media tools are the next step in accessability. It also provides a marketing opportunity within the marketing opportunity the website provides. I have a practice facebook page, which I haven’t totally taken advantage of, and am considering other social networking tools to help the business grow.
Larry: Eye doctors are a dime a dozen. However few practices have the skilled level of doctors as YourEyeSite.com. Social network tools are invaluable for allowing Dr. Glazier and his team to demonstrate their expertise and thought leadership. When it comes to eyes, not all doctors are equal and these technologies allow Dr. Glazier’s vast expertise to shine through.
NEXT TIME IN PART 2 – We continue our conversation on advertising and SEO, we talk about transforming site visitors to customers and we get a top 5 list on making your web site more appealing.Google+