Whether you are creating a new optometry practice, or you are looking to expand – you need patients.
Today, we will look at marketing strategies that will make it faster for you to maximize your marketing resources and boost your practice.
That means, if you’re trying to:
- Gain new prospective patients
- Build a patient base
- Highlight your new services
- Retire early
- Or just boost your appointments
This post has been designed with you in mind.
Optometry Marketing in 2020
Marketing ideas for your practice of optometry
Let’s face it now. You ‘re wearing a bunch of hats.
When you became an optometrist, you probably thought you would spend a lot more time looking at patients’ eyes.
And yet, today, you’re overseeing books, serving as HR director for your team, and fighting insurance companies.
It’s barely enough time to practice your craft, let alone market it.
But telling people how to solve their problems is critical.
Most optometrists see the value of spending thousands of dollars on new equipment and technology, but they fall short when it comes to letting people know they have it.
But what are people buying? We all purchase the most effectively communicated solutions to our problems.
So, start with the correct message.
You need to clarify your message before you start marketing.
Start with a couple of simple questions:
- Who are you, huh? Consider, in particular, how you relate to those you serve, and why they should trust you.
- What are you offering? If you already have a large number of people who want this service, there’s probably a lot more people who want it, too.
- What makes you different from your competitors? Tell your prospective patients why you should be chosen for another practice. How do you solve the problems of your patients?
Now that you have a clearer message, it’s time to get it on the market.
Traditional marketing services
When you think about marketing – advertising in newspapers, on the radio, or in the telephone directory, you may think about it first. These practices are the ‘Traditional Marketing’ practices used by companies and marketers alike for years to come. They are tried and true to results, and although it may be difficult to measure success, many practitioners still choose these traditional marketing methods for classic touch and proven effectiveness.
A great ad never fails to attract the attention of those who see or hear it.
Think about how many times you ‘re driving a billboard and looking at it, or you’re hearing a catchy jingle for that car on the radio.
You may not buy what they’re selling right away, but after seeing / hearing it a couple of times, you ‘re definitely going to remember the message.
These traditional advertising tactics are great for attracting prospects who might not plan to go to the optometrist soon, but are likely to remember the ad when the need arises.
This type of advertising gives a surround-sound effect to your other marketing activities.
2. Promotional branded products
Promotional products are a great way to raise awareness and brand recognition of your practice.
Have you ever heard of Nike? Their swoosh is about everything they make and has become a world-wide signature brand.
Wearing your brand is a great way to spread awareness of your practice.
Not only does it help with brand recognition, but it also shows patients that you are proud to be part of the business.
Make sure your name or logo is on everything you’re giving away – lenses, cleaning cloths, cases, cleaning sprays.
It will not only remind patients who have given them that the lens is cleaner they use all the time, but it is also an opportunity to attract the interest of the people around them.
You may not be personally cleaning their glasses, but your brand is.
A happy patient who cares about your services and products will become a free marketer, whether the patient realizes it or not.
Referral programs are a great way to give your patients the opportunity to actively market their practice and get something out of it.
Consider offering a small discount or giving a gift card to those who refer new patients to the practice.
By rewarding those who help your business grow, you show that you see value in them and their referral, which will increase their loyalty to you.
4. Business Partnership
Do you have a few companies around the corner from your practice?
Give them a call or stop for a quick visit and introduce yourself. These companies may be looking for nearby practices that can provide eye exams or safety glasses for their employees.
Another great way to do this is to talk to your existing patients and ask them what they’re doing to live or where they’re working.
You’ll quickly find out the names of the right people to talk to in their company or get a first-hand introduction from your patient.
5. Networking with other doctors
Look for independent and private practices, such as yours, and suggest a co-management arrangement.
It’s not going to have to be an iron-clad agreement bound by the contract.
It could be as simple as referring a health care provider to another patient’s health needs, and asking how the other practitioner would like the referral to be done.
“If I were to refer my patients to you for their other health needs, do you have a preference for how I do that?
“Can I have a few business cards to hand out to my patients if they need your services?
As your name comes up more and more, you’ll start seeing referrals from the other health care practitioner as well.
6. Lecture on Optometry
These events are a great opportunity to educate people about eye care and share their expertise as an optometrist.
As you share goodwill and show that you care about it, it also boosts your reputation and your practice.
7. Give time to local charities
It’s a great way to build trust and establish your practice as reliable and accountable.
Your patients will see that you give back to the community and share your talents outside your workplace, giving them a higher opinion of you and your practice.
They might be more inclined to go back to a practice that cares about their community.
In addition, contributing to a worthy cause can re-energize you and your team. Show your passion for helping others, and it will come out of all that you do!
Digital Commercialization Traditional marketing works, especially in small towns.
But, if you’re on your own, you’re missing out on opportunities to maximize your time and marketing resources and, ultimately , increase your practice.
What ‘s best about digital marketing?
It offers real-time data that accurately measure the success of your campaigns and statistics for your target audience.
That means you can stop wasting money on the stuff that flops and start focusing your resources on the best-performing efforts!
8. Creation and maintenance of website
Most people today find things they need online, including finding a doctor to look after their eyes.
A website will not only be your online presence to find you, but will provide insight into who you are as a practitioner and a practitioner.
What patients see is what they get, so the better the more information you can give them.
At the very least, you should have a basic website that provides the essentials: background information, services offered, schedule, map listing, and contact information.
This gives patients the things they absolutely need to know, not much else.
The best option, though a little more work, is to have a detailed, information-filled site that communicates an identity and a unique story.
This is always preferred because it shows the personality of your practice and can give patients a better idea of what to expect in person.
Things like blogs, FAQs, news articles, photos and staff bios, frequent updates and up-to – date information all help you share your story about your patients, making them comfortable before they ever walk in the door.
Tip: Remember that your patients are heroes, not your practice. Show how you help them on their journey rather than give them a ‘slide show’ of year-by-year history.
9. Consistent messaging
The key to gaining authority and trust is to be consistent with your messaging.
It is important that both your technique of messaging and the way you communicate with your patients is consistent – and subconsciously sends a message that they can rely on you.
For instance, sending updates and messages with different fonts, sizes, formats and even text can make you look sloppy and unprofessional.
Simplifying it all to be consistent will make you appear more trustworthy immediately.
You would also appear to be more trustworthy by keeping your patients at the top of your mind.
Inform patients when the appointments are and when you’re closed for the holidays.
Whether it’s through email or chatbots, keeping your patients in the loop will make them feel important, up-to – date, and part of your community.
Do you have a new clinical service or a promotion offer? Let your loyal patients know about it first via email, before you officially publish an announcement in your practice or on your website, will make them feel valued and part of an exclusive insider’s group.
Videos allow prospective patients to see who you are.
It’s the closest thing to a one-to-one meeting, and it’s a vital way to build trust in your potential patients.
Simple videos can make patients see that, aside from all your accomplishments, you ‘re a neighborly health care provider who’s there to help them.
11. Social Media Presence
The presence on social media has never been as important as it is today.
Most of your patients are using it, and if you’re not, they may see you as less credible.
Having social media allows patients to see how you interact online and what you think is important.
Are you just posting your achievements, or are you showing ways to give you better patient experience?
Facebook has more than two billion active users. Instagram is catching up with over one billion active users.
These platforms have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives and also influence the decisions of most potential patients.
It goes without saying that having active accounts on these platforms can significantly increase brand awareness.
Your presence on social media is a great way for patients to interact with you online, whether it’s by checking on your Facebook practice, tagging your Instagram account, or sharing your practice with others (by choosing a word-of – mouth effect online).
12. Online Searches
You want to make sure that you show up when potential patients are looking for the services you provide.
Google My Business is a free listing service provided by Google that has become a common practice for businesses.
It’s a quick reference for patients to use when they ‘re looking for an optometrist near them.
You can customize it to show more about your practice by adding photos, descriptions, hours and more.
You can even measure how many people are calling you or asking for directions.
Likewise, your website must keep up with the latest SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) techniques to rank high when searched.
13. Online Ads
Online Advertising is one of the most efficient ways to reach a wider audience.
By putting ads on Facebook or Google, you can reach a specific niche by targeting characteristics such as age, gender or interest.
As a matter of fact, 58% of eye-care consumers are mobile, searching for mobile devices. It’s so important to have a good mobile experience right now when it comes to someone searching and finding you.
14. Managing Reviews
Prospects trust other patients’ perspectives about health care providers, like you, more than they trust your degree, awards, website and everything else you do.
Just think about the last time you bought something from Amazon.
Ask patients to leave reviews for you on Google and on social media, and ask your best and most loyal patient for a testimonial to use on your website or other marketing services.
15. How to handle Negative Reviews
Obviously, we only want great 5-star reviews to show up, because having positive patient reviews on Google, your website, or your social media pages can greatly increase your practice’s credibility.
Whether or not a review is good or bad, you should always respond to it.
Remember these two steps when you come across a bad review:
- Thank them for letting you know about the issue. Acknowledge that you hear what they’re saying, and that you want to make it right. Take a conversation offline, either by email, message, phone or mail.
- Never go back and forth with the reviewer on the review himself. Irrespective of what they say, you ‘re going to look bad to argue with a patient.
If all of these things sound overwhelming, fear not! RAMSEY Healthcare Marketing takes care of all of the digital marketing tactics you could possibly need for your practice. Contact us today.