Maintaining a personal relationship with your patients can be difficult when routine exams only last 15 to 30 minutes once a year. That's why we usually encourage that you send personalized patient recall messages, holiday or birthday wishes, and maybe even events in your practice.
Another way to connect with your patients is through art. Adding artwork to your walls can create a welcoming atmosphere for your patients and staff, but adding art that your patients made can be even more rewarding on a few levels. We'll go over the benefits and step-by-step process for hosting an art contest in your eyecare practice.
Why Hold a Contest?
Holding an art contest for patients does a few good things for your practice. First, it allows you to furnish your space with local art, rather than generic pieces anyone could buy. It also can be a fun, unique way to connect with and get to know your patients. Also, sending out messages about your art contest will be another way to get your patients to return to your practice, get to know you better as their regular optometrist, and build loyalty over time. A bit of healthy competition might be good for your social media accounts and website, you could even create localized Google Ads to increase submissions. If you expand your marketing of the contest past your existing patient base, there's a high chance you'll gain new patients.
How to Start
Start with deciding the walls or corners of your practice that you want to display the art and take a photo of that space for the promotional materials. We encourage you to set a theme for the art contest in order to make sure the art is appropriate and relevant. This theme could be related to eye health, current events or even just based on the colors of your existing decor. You also don't need to limit your patients to painting a canvas--they could create sculptures, mixed media art, murals, video installations, or anything that would be useful and interesting for your practice.
Incentive is the most important part of any contest. Offer a full cash reward for those who win, it will most likely cost you less than purchasing new art from a box store. First prize could be $250, with $100 for second place and $50 for third place. You can display the winners' art, names, and social media accounts on the walls of your practice to provide publicity if they're a local artist.
Finally, maybe ask each patient to submit a short paragraph either about themselves or why they decided to create the art they made. This can spark conversation in the waiting room of your practice as well. Give them ample time, around a month, to submit the art before you pick the winners and announce over email. If you find that you're not receiving as many submissions as you'd like, advertise with local businesses in your area.