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.