Marketing Your Optometry Practice during COVID-19

In March 2020, the entire world came to a steady halt in an attempt to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19. Due to the virus, most optometric clinics have either closed or have a limited number of patients. They were even instructed to postpone any non-essential or non-emergency treatment plans.

How can the eye care clinic survive during the pandemic? How do you work while following the new guidelines? What is your plan for reopening? How do you connect with your patients during the pandemic? s

Marketing your optometry clinic during a pandemic is different from normal seasons. Here are some things you should be mindful of.

Every Optometry Clinic is Different

In the early weeks of the crisis, most optometry clinics were told to start marketing only emergency eye care services. Many optometry practices rely on routine care and selling products as major income for their practices.

By creating a marketing plan focused on patient retention and experience as well as the brand is a better option. If you don’t do this, you will end up spending much more money and time.

Marketing Rules to know!

The basic rules of marketing for eye care clinics, even during the pandemic season is the same. You need to follow this 80/20 rule:

At least 80% of revenue needs to come from the existing patient base. Focusing on newsletters, texts and social media will help to recall patients and gain family members. The cost is much less than trying to attract new patients.

This doesn’t mean that you complete side-line new-patient acquisition. Getting new patients will make your eye care clinic grow, and the best way to do this is to have high word-of-mouth referrals. Every practice should have a marketing budget to attract new patients. We try for 20% of our marketing budget to attract new patients. We have been successful with google ads and Facebook boosts.

The Value of the Existing Patient Base

There are some questions that every eye care owner needs to ask before they begin marketing for COVID:

ü Which patients bring in the highest value?

ü Which communication platform do they prefer?

ü What is the yearly value of your existing patient base?

ü What is the annual value of a new patient?

ü What is the cost of bringing in a new patient?

You need to do this math in order to make a good marketing strategy. Going back to this data when you are designing your marketing plan will allow you to focus on how you need to communicate when you open your eye care clinic.

You may need to focus on making sure they have a good experience outside of the office too. You can do this by using marketing tools like email, social media, and video. Staying connected with the patients, you will be able to connect more easily with them when you return to normal business.

Stay Empathetic and Authentic

Your practice, team, and you must strive to deliver hope to your community to result in positive change. Empathy will be the key to unlock the right marketing strategy. You should opt for a calm, warm tone as well as supportive, strong messages rather than fear-driving messages. Rely the message to your patients that you are taking the necessary precautions to keep them safe during their visit and what you are doing differently. Focus on using the different digital platforms to get your message out there. Partner with other organizations or healthcare professionals to promote your services and providing critical care during this time.

Marketing after the Crisis

Pivoting from the Trends

Use google analytics to find the trends in your area. What has brought patients to your website? What keywords are patients looking for? Many patients are home and using digital devices more than ever. Evaluate which platforms they use and how to get their attention. Consider working on SEO strategy to attractive new patients.

You need to work on how to capitalize on patient funneling through other sources. More and more practices are realizing that word-of-mouth recommendations result in the biggest new patient acquisition. They are more likely to trust their friends and family when it comes to such decisions.

Embracing Social Media

Social media is the best way to reach people who are seeking medical advice online. By guiding your social media towards providing high-value information, you can utilize your resources into creating valuable connections. You can create an educational blog and promote in on social media. Getting new patients to your website is half the battle! Once they are on your website reading the article then should be directed to making an appointment online.

By shifting your approach, you will be making sure that you have a lasting COVID-19 strategy in place. Marketing your optometry clinic in such conditions is possible as long as you have the right approach.

Top 10 Optometry Practice Management Mistakes

To have a successful optometry practice, you need to have goals for the practice and implement systems to complete those goals. However, the hardest part about managing an optometrist clinic can be to stick to the action plan. While trying to implement the plan, there are some common optometry practice management mistakes you could be making.

Here are the 10 most common optometry practice management mistakes that are made.

1. Failure to Take Control

If you fail to take control of your practice, your personal life and happiness can be affected as well. You need to make a total commitment to the practice. When you set out to make changes in the clinic, you may notice a dilemma that the staff is not really ready to make these changes. If they aren’t willing, nothing will happen.

If the staff is not committing to the new program and the new culture it initiates, they will not understand the dedication that is necessary to take the office to a whole new level. If you really want the optometric office to make those changes, you need to step up. The cost begins with creating goals for the clinic, implementing them through action plans, and measuring the result.

Take support from your family and your staff. The staff should carry your program on their shoulders and become partners in moving the practice along. Be assertive and take control!

2. Bland Office Image

The first impression your office gives is crucial to making the patient see value in your office appearance. By offering them a comfortable and appealing appearance, you are ensuring that they look forward to getting the care they need. Having a visually aesthetic clinic that you take pride in is necessary to provide the staff support in offering patients good-quality care.

3. Under-Utilization of Techonology

Hi-tech equipment can help make patients perceive the clinic as a state-of-the-art practice and result in optimal performance. Equipment can help create a more efficient and effective system that helps you provides better care. Investing in such equipment can be a step in the right direction.

4. Unable to Project a Positive Image

While your office décor and environment can be aesthetically pleasing, it may not project a positive image as you intended. Your patients should know that they stepped into the right place when they enter through the doors. The office needs to have a ‘successful’ look; hence, all the staff needs to look professional too.

5. Not Treating Staff Members As Partners

If you want a successful and productive office, you cannot get one without a group of strong people who give you support. Treating your co-workers with the utmost respect and professionalism is necessary. Treat them like partners in the clinic and initiate a bonus plan to keep them motivated.

6. Lack of Control of at the Front Desk

If you don’t pay attention to how your staff is dealing with patients, you are making a very common optometry practice management mistake. You need to be in control of front desk training and interactions. Your staff must be trained to properly greet and accommodate patients.

7. Failure to Emphasize and Understand New-Patient Experiences

Every patient that walks into the practice has a monetary value. Have you calculated this value so that you know the exact value of new patients? Knowing these metrics and be very important for your practice.

Their experience of the new patient begins from the first phone call they make to book an appointment or ask for details. How are the calls handled at your practice? Do you ask so much information that you drive the patient away, or do you tell them you are happy they called you?

Making a patient feel welcome and special can be quite a game-changer when it comes to having a successful practice. Make sure you are able to accommodate walk ins and same day appointments.

8. Failure to Cultivate a Proper Team

You need to have the support of a group of dedicated, talented people who believe in the goals you have made for the clinic. While it can take serious effort and time to develop such a team, it can be totally worth it to have such a team.

The team members need to think that the optometrist can deliver the best care to sell it to the patients too. This attitude and self-esteem of believing in the practice can make it fulfilling, exciting, and fun. Remember your vendors are your partners as well. They will help to grow your team as well.

9. Lack of Great Attitude

Optometrists need to believe in their practice and have a great attitude as well. They may have a tendency to become too comfortable in the current environment. This can limit their ability to make any necessary paradigm shift. However, the world is constantly changing around you, and the clinic needs to keep up with it. Materials and procedures that worked 2 decades ago may not be the best options right now.

Hence, you should believe in yourself and your clinic.

10. Confidence

The biggest optometry practice management mistake is lack of confidence.

While optometry school may have given them adequate knowledge to provide great patient care, we don’t get a lot of practice management. An optometrist who can share the treatment plan, value, and benefits of the plan clearly will be perceived as valuable by patients. Becoming more confident in billing, coding and marketing will help grow your practice.

If you want a successful practice, you can’t make optometry practice management mistakes. If the management is perfect, everything else will fall into place as well.

Improving Patient Satisfaction: 5 Questions Optometrists Should Ask Themselves.

The optometry industry is so highly competitive. If you want to rise above the competition and take your practice to great heights, improving patient satisfaction should be your top priority.

There are many ways in which you can build a strong relationship with your patients so that they stay loyal to your services for the long term.

Following are the five most important things you need to consider when growing your brand.

What Tools Do You Need?

Technology can help your practice in various ways. Certain tools can help streamline operations and enhance productivity, whereas others can help reduce bottlenecks, unnecessary redos, ease scheduling, and so on.

To build your practice, the first thing you need to decide is the type of tools that you will need. For this, you need to look into the main areas that need improvement.

For instance, if you want to make patient scheduling more efficient, a software system might help. Or if you want to build a stronger rapport with the patients by providing pre and post-treatment support, starting an online blog that discusses different issues might be the way to go. You want to promote those blogs on your Facebook page and in your newsletters.

What Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

If you aren’t leveraging social media to improve your brand, you are only shooting yourself in the foot.

Being active on different social media platforms can help create brand awareness. However, you shouldn’t use these sites for advertisement purposes only.

Rather, you should use social media to establish a smooth and efficient, two-way communication with your patients and potential patients.

Are You Showcasing Your Practice Reviews Online?

Encourage your patients to rate and review your services online. Positive online reviews are worth their weight in gold and can be far more beneficial for your practice than you may have imagined.

Moreover, positive ratings push your website higher up on the search engine results page. So, your practice is likely to become more noticeable to people when they look for terms such as “optometrist in Chicago”. Think like your patients think and you will be ahead of the competition.

However, keep in mind that while positive reviews can work wonders for your brand image, a negative one can easily taint it too. Using a technology solution such as online reputation management services can prevent you from losing potential patients due to negative feedback from an angry client.

How is your website appearance?

In today’s digital age, it is common for patients to search for and browse the clinic’s website when considering a new OD.

First impressions matter. Therefore, make sure that your website has a prim and proper presentation. It should be up-to-date and offer vital information at a glance. This includes the services you offer, hours of operation, contact details, and other info.

Also, pay attention to the message you send out.

Your website presentation and the info it contains should make the visitor more confident in choosing you.

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? According to google analytics, more than 65% of all web traffic comes from mobile phone users.

Put simply, having a great website may not provide you with the best benefits unless it is optimized for mobile phones too. Make sure it loads quickly and looks impressive on desktops, tablets, and smartphones alike. It needs to be a seamless experience. You have a few seconds to capture their attention!

Bottom Line

Happy and satisfied patients stay not only committed to your services but also enable new patient acquisition by generating positive feedback.

Focus on the aspects of improving patient satisfaction discussed above, and you can take your practice from surviving to thriving.