Generating more patients for your optometry practice can be quite a challenge in the present day, where many brands sell glasses and contact lenses online at a very low price.
But there are many advantages of an optometry practice that you can highlight apart from an eye check-up. A few creative ideas can be quite fruitful to bring in more patients to your practice and retain them.
We’ve tried to come up with some strategies that can help you to find some fresh ideas to attract more customers.
A lot of optometry practices face difficulties in marketing themselves. Most of the time optometrists assign a low budget for their marketing costs. Ideally, any business should assign 4-7% of their income towards marketing costs, whereas most optometry practices spend only 1-1.5% of their gross income.
How a business communicates about its products or services makes a huge difference in the success of the business. You may not be aware of the practices that make that difference, so don’t hesitate to hire a team of professionals. Many companies provide high tech marketing resources for the new millennium.
You should always market your strengths and what your practice signifies. Know which kind of customers your practice can cater to. If you feel that your practice has a big child-friendly zone, you should call your practice a child specialist. If your practice has a very efficient vibe, highlight that, and make sure your customers feel that when they visit your practice. Know your target market, and ensure that your marketing is targeted towards them.
Many optometry practices feel threatened by the corporate American brands. Remember that corporate brands are almost always about the convenience of speed. But convenience might have many other forms. Your practice would be conveniently located in your neighborhood, so make sure that your market in the nearby homes and offices. Many customers might be looking for something more than just convenience. They can be attracted by a personal touch or a promotional gift. Use direct mail for advertisements and offers. People notice direct mails more than any other form of advertising.
Make sure you do not mislead your customers while marketing your practice, otherwise they will never step inside your doors. Your practice should reflect what you advertised. If your customer finds that your practice falls short of what you advertised it to be, they will never return to your place.
External marketing can bring customers to your doors, but internal marketing will help you retain them. A good customer retention ratio will help your business all year round. You must ensure that your practice exceeds a patient’s expectations after they step inside. Divide the timeline of a patient’s visit into parts:
- When the patient calls for an appointment.
- When a patient checks in at the reception.
- When a patient is waiting for the eye exam.
- When a staff member escorts the patient to the examination room.
- When you enquire about the patient’s medical history and complete the eye exam.
- When the patient goes to the dispensary.
- When the patient leaves.
Make a chart with the parts on the timeline and assign standards that need to be achieved. Your description of the standards must be comprehensive so that you and your staff ensure your standards exceed the patient’s expectations. The outcome at each part is critical to mark the success level of your practice.
You need to give your practice a unique standpoint that can set you apart from the competitions near you. It can be a new technological feature or modern interiors with trending glasses and frames. Survey the competition to distinguish yourself from them. You can brainstorm unique ideas about your shop’s layout, or adding personal touches to the waiting area, examination room, or the frames display.
Invest in promotional materials that can showcase your modern types of equipment or your exclusive offers. You can start a fortnightly mailer that can contain details of your practice, promotional offers, news, promotional gifts, and appointment reminders. The mailer will show your customers that you care enough to stay in touch.
There is no greater marketing than word of mouth. People always listen to sources they trust. A good experience at your practice ensures that your patients will speak good things about your brand to their friends and acquaintances. A referral program can multiply this action manifold. The beauty of a referral program is that you turn your existing customers into your marketing agents because they get incentives for talking about your brand. Such references work much better than regular ads and are way more cost-effective. Between gift cards and discounts, the cost behind reference programs is quite minimal with high returns.
It is important to ensure that your staff is comfortable with any kind of marketing technique that you apply because at the end of the day your staff can ensure customer satisfaction. You can also speak to them about their opinions or ideas about these marketing strategies.