Growing your patient base in optometry can be a challenge when you consider direct, local competitors as well as online glasses and contact lenses brands that offer low prices or quick delivery. However, there are quite a few perks and benefits that your optometry practice can offer potential patients alongside the actual eye exam. With a little bit of brainstorming, creativity, and knowing your value, you can attract more patients as well as retain your current patients' loyalty.
From creating a long-term marketing strategy to rethinking the layout of your space to social media posts, we've compiled the ultimate guide to attract more patients to your eyecare practice. If you're fresh out of ideas, read on to find some inspiration.
A Guide to Attracting New Patients to Your Optometry Practice
First, try something unique.
You'll want to stand out from your competition with new technology (bye-bye air puff machine!), streamlined interior design, and trendy frames. See what eyecare practices in your area are doing to market themselves and improve their practice, because it could inspire you to change your shop layout, add personal touches to your exam rooms, or create a promotional video where you showcase your modern equipment. Impress your existing patients with monthly newsletters that include interesting articles, news from you, a personal photo from your life outside the practice, and appointment reminders. Staying in touch and visible to your patients keeps you relevant in their minds well past their annual appointment.
Differentiate yourself from inexpensive online retailers by posting about your return policies, selection of designer frames, or frame adjustment machine. If it's possible, get an artist to paint a fun, geometric mural on one of your walls to encourage visitors to pose with their frames and post on Instagram. If you're unsure how to decorate, millennial pink always attracts a crowd. Whenever you do update your practice or hire someone new, tell your network of doctors and patients.
- Check out our blog here on the specific ways to improve the design of your eyecare practice.
Do you have a referral program?
One of the basic principles of marketing is social proof. The psychology behind why referral programs work is simple: people listen to the people they trust. If someone they respect is speaking about your practice, they're more likely to visit you over another optometrist they might see an ad for, but have no personal connection to.
When your patients have a good first experience at your eyecare practice, they're highly likely to talk about it to their coworkers, friends, and family. A referral program incentivizes your existing loyal patients to send more people to your practice. From Yelp reviews and giftcards to discounts and a monthly lottery, the incentives don't have to cost you much.
Pay attention to your online presence.
An increasing percentage of patients do their research for a new doctor or eyecare needs online. In addition to having a simple and easy-to-navigate website for your optometry practice, you'll need high-quality photos of yourself, your practice, and your staff to share on other pages. ODs will want to appear on websites like Zocdoc, the American Optometric Association, and social media searches. You can encourage your existing patients to leave reviews on Zocdoc and Facebook to entice people who are browsing.
Social media marketing doesn't have to take up a large amount of your time, but you should post at least once a week on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay consistent. We encourage you to post photos, funny GIFs, a bespoke hashtag, or giveaways when you update your office or optometry technology, grow your staff, or need to announce special holiday hours. Remember to keep things light and fun. Your social media posts are meant to showcase the personality of your team, a welcoming atmosphere, and a loyal patient base.
- Read our article on Instagram marketing here for more ideas.
Try good old-fashioned marketing.
We hope you're already utilizing word-of-mouth marketing by connecting with your patients, attending medical networking events in your area, and leaving your business cards with general physicians nearby.
Although direct mail may sound dated, it's quite effective if you concentrate on specific locations. You can hire a person from taskrabbit or ask a staff member to leave postcards in mailboxes of the houses within a few miles of your practice to increase your visibility to the people who are most likely to come visit. The postcard should be simple and include a photo of you in your practice, your mission statement, e-mail address, phone number, and location. You don't want to overwhelm potential patients with information, but gently inform them that you're within walking distance.
Overall, there are quite a few marketing techniques that can get your optometry practice recognition, reviews, and exciting new prospective patients. However, all the techniques require ODs and their staff to bring energy, organization, and optimism to their business process everyday. So, make sure your staff is onboard with any campaigns you'd like to launch and definitely ask them for ideas or opinions before executing.
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