When I decided to start a business focused on rehabilitative and functional optometry in 2012, my goal was to help people see how vision truly shapes us. It’s a huge component of who we are as people and how we see the world. And because of its profound effect on our self image, it’s also deeply personal.


I knew that, for my business to be successful, I needed to build trust with my clients and prospective clients. I needed to provide a safe, supportive place for people with vision issues to educate themselves about their treatment options.


Of course, social media seemed like the perfect platform for introducing myself and educating the public. However, I knew nothing about it—so I hired a social media marketing expert. Her idea was to engage my clients using YouTube videos.


Generating customers through YouTube

At the time, YouTube wasn’t used nearly as much for small business marketing—particularly in the medical field. My colleagues argued that I was giving away all of our trade secrets and warned me that posting videos wasn’t “professional.” They were sure it would turn off prospective clients. 


But I was certain that giving viewers the opportunity to get to know me as a trusted expert in my field would only motivate them to reach out to my practice.


I was right. Since posting my first video in 2012, my business has grown exponentially, attracting clients from around the country and around the world. We’re all over social media now—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter—but the lion’s share of my clients and revenue come through those YouTube videos.


All about content, not gloss

My goal for the videos was to empower people with vision issues with information—and not overpower them with fancy production. My first videos were about 30 seconds long with just me sitting at my desk telling client stories. Without naming any names, I’d explain the issue they had, the treatment and show data about their eyesight improvements.


Eight years later, the format and production haven’t changed much. What has changed is the volume of the videos I record. At first, I did about three a month. Now, between my YouTube channel and the training I do for other doctors, I record six to 10 videos a week.


That may sound like a lot, but they don’t require much preparation. When I have a minute, I flip my smartphone camera to selfie mode, set it on video and put it on a tripod. Then I pull out a client file and start recording. I upload the raw videos to Dropbox, and my marketing director usually does any editing and posting. I easily have 2,000 videos floating out in the world, and in February 2020 alone, I had 26,000 views.


I promote the videos widely across all of our social media channels including Facebook and LinkedIn. In early 2020, we started a new video series called “Ask Dr. Julie.” We get hundreds of questions every month across all of our social media platforms, some from as far away as Pakistan. 


Why video marketing is so effective

Video is only a piece of our overall marketing strategy, but it’s been a game-changer for my business. We still do snail mail and email campaigns, but video consumes 60% to 70% of our total marketing budget and pulls in at least 70% of our revenue. We have families flying in from all over the world to meet with me who found us through YouTube, and our biggest challenge has been building out the infrastructure to keep up with our growth.


When people lose their vision, it’s a very personal loss. They want to work with a doctor who understands what they’re going through. Videos have allowed me to establish that trust before they even walk through the door.


Every business needs to build that level of trust and likeability to stand out in today’s increasingly disconnected society. I’ve discovered that if you keep videos short and simple, and just be yourself, people will respond.


What type of marketing has been most effective for your business? Share your insights in the comments section below!

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