5 Pitfalls of DIY Marketing

5 Pitfalls of DIY Marketing

Thanks to online resources like Pinterest and YouTube, the Do It Yourself (DIY) craze is more popular than ever. If you are looking to restore a funky old piece of furniture or repurpose household items into something useful, DIY projects can bring a unique flair to your home.

However, if you take a DIY approach to marketing your ophthalmology practice, you may fall into one of these 5 pitfalls:

  1. Reactive Marketing
  2. Futile Messaging
  3. Platitude Writing
  4. Warped Self Image
  5. Eleventh Hour Habit


  1. Reactive Marketing

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing. This means that if your practice does not have a finger on the pulse of the most recent updates and trends, your lead flow could be negatively impacted.

For example, when Google makes an update to their search processes, your once-prominent, first-page-appearing website could fall off the map. Without a dedicated search engine optimization (SEO) expert on your team watching for these updates and making time-sensitive changes to your site, online surfers will be hard pressed to find your practice.

No online presence = stagnant lead flow.

The result is a scrambling of reactive marketing efforts to rebuild your online presence. While your team is working to identify the problem and devise solutions, your practice will be missing out on dozens or hundreds of leads (depending on how long your site is invisible).

This can also apply to inaccurate online local business listings for your practice. Unless you are continually claiming the online listings available for your practice and monitoring all of them to ensure you have up-to-date contact information, potential patients may become frustrated in trying to find you – virtually and physically.

Incorrect or absent information = an open door to your competitors.

  1. Futile Messaging

When you are surrounded by an ophthalmology work environment all day, it’s all too easy to forget that the terms you use on a daily basis are not always familiar to the general public. For example, using a term like IOLs in your marketing messages may sound completely foreign to a person who has no idea what cataracts are – let alone know what the acronym means.

Technical terms = tuned out people.

To be truly effective, the messaging of your marketing efforts should take a more human and casual approach. Speak to symptoms of certain vision problems and/or the life benefits of your services, rather than touting your specific technologies or advanced options. In our cataract scenario, the time to get specific about the brands of IOL options you offer is during the consultation.

Attention should also be placed on the target audience of your message. You may need to use a completely different tone within a message to speak to a LASIK-age prospect. Touting the lifestyle benefits of LASIK will be more effective for this age group.

It is estimated that people today are bombarded with over 5,000 marketing messages every day. Your online and traditional ads need to somehow break through this clutter and grab the attention of your intended audience. Your internal staff may not have the time or expertise to create messages that cause action.

  1. Platitude Writing

How many times have you seen or heard ads that include wording like state-of-the-art and high quality? These words are called platitudes. They are clichés that could be put into almost any type of ad for any medical practice, but stir absolutely no emotion in the reader.

Platitudes = tuned out prospect.

An experienced marketing writer will be able to use hot button words that grab attention and make people want to read on. DIY marketers don’t always have the ability to step outside the cocoon of their practice to know what potential patients want to hear. Falling into platitude-rich writing is easy but ineffective.

  1. Warped Self Image

When you work in a medical office, you may only view your practice from the inside. Internally, you may view your surgeons as the best in the business…your staff as the most accommodating…and your physical office space the most comfortable and welcoming than any of your competitors.

However, your inside perception may not match up to the outside reality of your practice. Imagine that just a few patients have negative patient experiences with your doctors or office staff. A negative review of your practice could be posted online for thousands to read even before they leave your office from that one-time bad experience. Reviews spread like wildfire, effectively tainting your reputation.

Bad reviews = distrust of your marketing.

You need a marketer to not only monitor your online reputation on a daily basis, but also make sure that your inside reality truly matches your outside perception. You may need to make internal changes to get your office on solid ground. Only then will your paid marketing messages have any chance at success.

  1. Eleventh Hour Habit

DIY marketing in ophthalmology practices is often given to staff members who are already responsible for other important tasks such as OD relations, front desk duties, inbound/outbound LASIK calls, etc. Marketing can easily get pushed to the backburner, resulting in last-minute ad creation, missed deadlines and incorrect information going out. This is not a way to professionally present your practice.

Rushed marketing = money wasted.

Even if your internal staff know how prospects think, what their buying patterns are and the right keywords and topics to use in marketing, time needs to be spent in flushing out a strategy and being mindful of deadlines. This requires that the person responsible for marketing allocate enough time every day to do their job successfully, without interruption.

When to Seek a Professional

If you are satisfied with your monthly lead generation, your DIY marketing efforts are probably working. However, if you don’t know how to strategically achieve the goals you have set for your practice, it may be time to solicit help.

You can add a full-time marketing expert to your office staff. This still may not give you the robust experience of a full marketing agency which has effectively mastered all aspects of the broad marketing umbrella, especially in today’s constantly-changing arena. It may be more cost-effective to hire an external marketing firm that has specific expertise working with ophthalmology practices. An external marketing firm will have an entire team of professionals who are experts in their area such as graphic design, copywriting and media buying. Some firms may also provide staff sales training to help your practice convert the leads they generate into paying patients.

Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration Inc., has developed a Management Services Organization (MSO) that has partnered with ophthalmology-focused marketing firms to help practices make the most of their marketing dollars. If your staff is too overwhelmed to perform quality strategic marketing in-house, or if you are not seeing good results from the money you are currently spending on your DIY marketing efforts, don’t view this as a failure. Most DIY ideas stem from other ideas; let our resources be your guide.

To learn more about your options, contact Advantage Healthcare Consulting today.