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By Leigh Plowman
Optometrist, blogger, digital marketer at Optomly


Think about a specific group of people who bring the most value to your practice. What age are they? Where do they live? Do they have private health insurance?

In your marketing strategy, you may have a theme for each month. For example, a practice with a large number of paediatric patients may have a ‘Back to school’ campaign. Use your knowledge of your patients to work out who your target audience is on Facebook.

For example, you may target 40-year-old mothers of primary school students. Even the most diligent parents may not know that their child has an eye problem or that your practice is just around the corner.

It’s critical that your Facebook Ads target potential patients depending on their awareness. The Perpetual Traffic Podcast (Episode 86)1 shares an acronym of the five stages of awareness, called UPSYD. The five stages are:

1. Unaware of Problem
2. Aware of Problem
3. Aware of Solution
4. Aware of Your Solution
5. Deal

Let’s take a closer look at these stages.

1. Unaware of Problem

In this step, potential patients are unaware that they have any type of eye problem. In our example, potential parents may believe that their child’s eyes are fine. They might not have ever seen an optometrist.

The child’s school teacher may notice that a child doesn’t like to concentrate for long, and tell themselves that ‘that’s just her’. Even the child may think: ‘Maybe everyone has to strain their eyes when they read.’

If you showed the parents an Ad saying that you have a stocktake sale of frames, they might say: ‘That’s fine but I don’t need glasses,’ so you need to be more strategic about this.

If you wanted to attract potential parents to make an appointment, you would need to make them aware of a problem. Your Facebook Ads need to help take potential patients from unaware to aware of their eye problem.

To target people who are unaware of any problem, you might create a short article on your website called ‘7 signs that your child isn’t having fun at school.’ You might talk about things like reduced attention, getting in trouble for talking during class, fidgeting with pencils and so on. Notice that it’s not directly about vision but it helps parents to start thinking ‘Is my child actually doing well at school or does she need help?’

After a parent reads your article about ‘7 signs …’ they start to ask themselves whether their child may have an eye problem. They pay more attention to their child’s behaviour at school and home when concentrating.

2. Aware of Problem

In this step of the Framework, potential patients or their parents know that there is a problem, but don’t know that there’s a solution.

For example, the child might be struggling with reading. She may have started reading recovery during school hours. Her parents may spend some time online at night looking at solutions to help her read better but they still may be unaware that an optometrist can help their child to perform better at school.

3. Aware of Solution

One day during reading recovery, the teacher’s aide may ask the parent: ‘Have you had your daughter’s eyes checked?’

Later that night, one of the parents brings out their phone and starts looking at the websites of local optometrists.

4. Aware of Your Solution

Parents know that they need to find an optometrist for their child. They find your website and look in detail. They see that you offer appointments for children or discover your interest in vision and learning-related problems.

The parent knows what you do, but spends time thinking about whether it’s right for their child.

5. Deal

After thinking about it, the parent knows that they want to bring their child to see you. They know that you are a vision expert and can help. Now, they just need a reminder to make an appointment. Perhaps it’s the middle of the school holidays and they’ve been busy with the children. It’s important to recognise that parents have different levels of awareness of vision-related problems and your expertise.


For most people, it’s important that they see different Ads to bring them through the five stages. Facebook allows you to attract potential patients back to your website by ‘retargeting’ them later. For example, you might see a product while browsing on Amazon and add it to your shopping cart. Soon after on Facebook, you may see the same product from Amazon on your Facebook Newsfeed.

Setting up Website Retargeting is straightforward. Facebook uses a small piece of code, about a paragraph in length, called the Facebook Pixel. Whenever someone taps a page on your website, the Pixel is activated. This tells Facebook that the person has made it to your website and is reading your article.

The Pixel creates an anonymous list of these potential patients. The more people who click onto your website, the larger the list. This is a group of people whom you can retarget with a new Ad to bring them further along in awareness and closer to making an appointment.

Facebook Video Ads have the Pixel system in-built. That means that you can attract people who watch a percentage of your video (25 per cent, 50 per cent, 75 per cent or more of your video). The further someone watches your video, the more likely they are to move to the next step or skip a couple. Like your website, you can target them in a new Ad later. For example, you might target someone who has watched 50 per cent of your initial video.

How can you measure return on Investment?

Before you start a campaign, it’s important to think about the final result that you want potential patients or their parents to make. Most of the time, this means having them schedule an appointment. There are a couple of ways to do this:
·  Online appointment bookings (for example, MyHealth1st)
·  Facebook Messenger messages
·  Phone calls

The advantage of using Online Appointments is that parents can book an appointment at any time of the day or night. If online appointments had been available for your practice, you may have received a booking from the parent much sooner. Instead, the parent had to wait until you were open and remember to call your practice.

If you use Sunix Vision or Optomate, you can subscribe to MyHealth1st to easily set this up for you. Optometry Australia currently has a partnership deal with MyHealth1st.

Facebook Messenger is a new place to encourage potential patients to click through. If you don’t have online appointments set up yet, you can use Facebook Messenger. Your Ad can encourage potential patients to send you a message. Perhaps offer a gift voucher, then one of your team can follow up during business hours.

Phone calls are an alternative to online appointments or Messenger. They allow you to track how many people called your practice as a result of your Facebook Ad. This is useful but doesn’t show whether an actual appointment was made. Phone Calls rely on patients calling you during business hours and recalling that they saw you in an Ad.

Leigh Plowman’s Optomly website


Part 1: Why use Facebook Ads?



1. The Perpetual Traffic Podcast (Episode 86)


Leigh Plowman 2 - Online

Leigh Plowman

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