While most marketing strategies and tips can be applied to almost all industries, some strategies applied with a twist that is specific to the eye care industry can result in higher impacts for your eye care practice.
Here are 5 tips that can turbo-charge the growth of your practice:
- Patients don’t want to see the 2nd best doctor
- Referral marketing: “You Should See My OD”
- Tune up your Recall System
- Be active where your patients “hang out”: on social media
- 3D Direct Marketing with eye care twist
1. Patients don’t want to see the 2nd best doctor
There is no such thing as a “best doctor”. While medical competence is critical, your patients will “assess” their experience with you from their perspective. Focusing on providing the best patient experience possible will help you create a powerful reputation which in turn is your single strongest marketing asset. The patient’s experience goes beyond the medical exams and assessment, so beside being “a good doctor”, try to think about other aspects that could create for a better patient experience: your premises (modern, cozy, clean, well-lit, accessible…etc), your welcome & check-in process, the timeliness of appointments, the attitude and communication of ALL staff, …etc.. Being “Available, Able & Affable” is part of shaping their experience. Once you create this great patient experience you will become the “best doctor” for them.
2. Referral marketing: “You Should See My OD”
Most if not all medical practices rely somehow on referrals for developing their practice. Some more than others. We all know the power of a personal recommendations as the most trusted form of advertizing, whether the recommendation is from another Doctor or from a personal contact.
To optimize how referrals can work to grow your practice, you will want to make it a “system”, that is a defined process that is legal, effective, repeatable and which fits your operations.
Regulations and local professional corporations might dictate what you can and cannot do. Usually the restrictions pertain to incentivizing patients with a commission to refer friends & family, as well as to “self-referrals” where the doctor has a financial interest.
With that being said, here are a few actions you can make part of your referral system:
- be referrable – see tip 1.
- offer discounts on opticals and eye care services for any referral
- create marketing material (like business cards) with a special discount on which you can write your patient’s name so she/he will feel good about giving it out to her/his friends & family
- create a draw for opticals (or something else) & enter patients who make referrals – make sure to promote the draw (signs, online, in person).
3. Tune up your Recall System: Text & Phone reminders to get patients to show up on schedule
Use your patient management system to search for patients who have not responded to recall notices and are past due for eye care. Have a very friendly staff member call these patients and ask how they are doing.
There are several software / online services that will automate the tasks of sending personalized SMS text and/or phone reminders to your patients. That should reduce the number of no-shows and increase revenue.
4. Be active where your patients “hang out”
While this might not be specific to the field of optometry, using social media to become a trusted source for eye care related information can help put your local eye care center on the map. According to research, 34% of consumers use social media to search for health information (source: iCrossing & Opinion Research Corporation). It means that you need to find a way to engage your target audience on the social media platforms they use. However, I strongly encourage you to have a good plan and be disciplined when it comes to using social media for your practice, or it could be a big waste of time. Coming up with relevant content, publishing regularly enough to engage your audience and knowing how to get them to take action while not spending too much time on this whole strategy is key in making it work. If you want to know more about how we could help implement something that works in your clinic make sure to contact Florian at (802) 347-2234.
5. 3D direct marketing with an “eye care twist”
No direct mailing is not dead ! Direct marketing using small 3D physical objects (or “lumpy mail”) is a great way to stand out in the mail and not to head straight into the trash can. To get the highest return on your campaign make sure to mail in sequence, ie 3 touches of the same “offer” to the same target group. Seasoned marketers such as Dan Kennedy emphasize the importance of doing sequential mailing campaigns to increase results – the power of repeated contact.
The secrets of targeting the right audience for your 3D Mailing campaign is beyond the scope of this article, but you can read more here by the experts in 3D mailing campaigns.
To add the “eye care” twist to the campaign, choose a 3D object related to eye care as well as your marketing message. Magnifying glasses, miniature eyeglass frames, …etc.
If you have trouble locating eye wear/care related lump mailing products, you can always plan your campaign around a relevant topic such as “we want you back” to reactivate former patients – using a miniature boomerang for example as the lump piece. You’re only limited by your creativity when it comes to this type of marketing.
Voila – 5 strategies that could give your practice a serious boost in growth !