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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.

5 Tips to Manage Your Anxiety during COVID-19 Lockdown

As Coronavirus cases continue to rise, people all over the globe have decided to go into self-isolation to protect themselves and their loved one. With incessant media coverage and increasing unemployment rates, there’s no doubt that these uncertain times are creating stress and anxiety for the global population.

If you’re struggling to look after your mental health during the Covid-19 outbreak, here’s a guide on how you can manage your anxiety and keep your mental well being as your topmost priority.

1. Avoid Obsessing Over Coronavirus Updates

It’s important to know what’s happening all around the world, but when you’re stuck at home and watching constant news about the pandemic, you’ll end up putting your mental health at risk.

You need to figure out a way to balance watching important news and news that could make you feel depressed. Take regular breaks from social media and mute keywords and accounts that can trigger your anxiety.

2. Use This Opportunity to Focus on Self-Care

Even though the world may seem dismal and dull right now, you need to focus your energy on the positives. Take advantage of the mandated work-from-policy and use it as an opportunity to explore your interests and create something you’ve always dreamed about.

If you approach this time with a negative attitude and stress about feeling trapped inside your home, you’ll only cause your anxiety to worsen. This can be your chance to focus on self-care and rediscover yourself.

Make an effort to reach out to family and friends and talk to each other on a regular basis.

3. Try Your Best to Maintain Your Normal Routine

If you have children at home, working from home can become stressful and you may be tempted to fall into a more laid-back schedule. This may lead to having negative thoughts about yourself, which is why you need to try and maintain at least some form of your normal routine from the pre-quarantine days.

It’s advisable to wake up and go to bed at the same time as you used to, make time to have proper meals, and do household chores just like before. Sticking to your normal routine will allow you to feel more active and make it a lot easier for you to readjust when things go back to normal.

4. Make Time for Exercise

Don’t give up on your exercise regimen during this global crisis. Studies have shown that exercising regularly releases chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, which are just as effective as anti-depressants for treating mild depression.

Since you may not have access to a gym, you should create your own exercise routine at home and try to reserve at least 30 to 40 minutes of your time to exercise about three or four times every week.

5. Get 8 Hours of Sleep

It’s also necessary to get good quality sleep every night to increase your chances of handling your emotions and staying healthy. It’s recommended to achieve about 8 hours of sleep every night after taking a hot bath and making sure there’s no screen time at least two hours before your bedtime.

Final Words

It may be difficult for you to keep up your normal routine, make time for exercise, and avoid watching the news when you’re uncertain about what the future may hold. Follow the tips mentioned in this blog post and take little steps each day to keep your stress and anxiety under control.

Contact Lens during Covid-19

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s that one of best ways to stay protected against the Coronavirus is to avoid touching our faces and washing our hands for at least 20 seconds.

We’ve also been advised to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers in situations where water and soap aren’t available as these are found to be quite effective in fighting off most germs.

People have started wearing glasses as opposed to contact lenses to avoid contracting the disease.

The AOA and doctors of optometry want the general public to know that contact lenses are perfectly safe and effective for millions of people. Here’s what you need to do to take proper care of your contact lenses and protect yourself from contracting the Coronavirus:

1. Don’t Touch Your Face While Inserting or Removing Lenses

It’s important to note that wearing contact lenses alone won’t give you COVID-19, but you should maintain good hygiene when you’re handling your lenses and avoid touching your face and eyes when you’re inserting or taking your lenses out.

2. Wash Your Hands Properly

It’s also necessary to wash your hands properly with soap and water and then dry them with clean and unused paper towels. You should do this right before inserting your contact lenses and right after removing them.

If you don’t have water and soap at hand, it’s advisable to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Touching your face, including your nose, mouth, and eyes with unclean hands will spread germs and increase your risk of getting Coronavirus.

3. Disinfect Your Contact Lenses

You should also disinfect your contact lenses regularly. Dispose of your daily disposable contact lenses every evening or disinfect your two-week or monthly lenses as per the instructions provided to you by your doctor of optometry. If you’re feeling sick and showing COVID-19 symptoms, it’s best to stop wearing lenses.

People who are switching to glasses should note that glasses aren’t proven to provide protection against COVID-19 and other viruses.

4. Postpone New Contact lens fits

Offices should postpone new contact lens fits because of being close to the patients and handling of the lenses between the two parties.

Final Thoughts

You must avoid touching your eyes when you’re in high-risk places. If your eyes feel itchy, resist the temptation to rub them. It’s recommended to keep a cold compress or a bottle of artificial tears just in case.

Guidance for Optometric Practices during Covid-19 Outbreak

In the light of Covid-19 pandemic, doctors of optometry, who happen to be frontline healthcare providers, have an obligation to make sure appropriate guidelines and requirements are being observed in their respective clinics.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some guidance provided by the AOA so you can ensure the well-being of all your staff members and patients and maintain a healthy and safe environment.

Steps to Take Before and After Patient Care

Educate yourself and staff on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19

It’s also necessary to ask your staff if they’re experiencing as these can be presenting signs of Covid-19. If any of your staff remembers report that they’re ill, you should ask them to seek immediate medical attention.

Make sure all your equipment is properly disinfected with a diluted bleach or alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol.

Staff members are also required to wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds right after they arrive, before and after interacting with a patient, prior to eating and after using the restroom.

Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers to your staff, if possible. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers that have greater than 70% isopropanol Everyone must maintain social distancing and disinfect all technologies devices before and after use.

Stock up masks, gloves and goggles. Breath Shields are available via Topcon for free to providers. Make sure there are protocols to wipe surfaces and equipment before and after the patient.

Steps to Take During Patient Care

To make sure your patients are aware of the guidelines provided by the AOA, you need to share them via email and post them on your official website and social media pages. Advise them against coming into the office if they’re experiencing any flu-like symptoms.

Instruct the patients to seek medical attention right away if they’re showing any of the following emergency warning signs:

Temperature

Flu like symptoms

· Continuous pain or pressure in the chest

· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

· coughing

shortness of breath

conjunctivitis

Inform your patients via email and on your office door about COVID-19. If they have traveled or have a temperature they are to reschedule and return after quarantine.

. Tell your patients to only bring a limited number of people to accompany them.

If any of your non-emergent patients are 60 years of age or older, have pre-existing conditions with weaker immunity, offer to reschedule to avoid putting them at risk. Make sure there are limited points of entry into the office and only a limited number of people can sit in the waiting area. Try and book 1 patient per hour and limit number of people in the office.

The chairs should be placed at least six feet away from each other to maintain social distancing. If there isn’t enough room in the waiting area, you should ask the patients to wait for their turn outside or in their respective cars.

These are just some of the guidelines offered by the AOA. For more details and clarity regarding these instructions, go to their website

Podcast

Purchasing a Pearle Vision Franchise.

Corporate Optometry Nation podcast interviews Dr Camille Cohen. Dr Cohen purchased an established Pearle Vision Franchise in New York. She just purchased it before COVID-19 put New York on lock down. Listen in to learn what to look for when buying a franchise and why Pearle Vision was the best option for her.

Vision Benefits of America Offers $1 Million in Loans to Optometrists

Corporate Optometry Nation Podcast host Dr Maria Sampalis interviews the VBA CEO Jeff Hollowood. We divide into the great things VBA is doing for ODs during this pandemic. VBA set up the Pennsylvania Optometric Emergency Assistance Program. It currently has provided close to 500k in loan assistance to optometrists.

Questions that were asked during the interview highlighted. The Pennsylvania Optometric Emergency Assistance Program.

· Who is eligible?

· What is the eligibility criteria?

· When did the program begin?

· How long do participating providers have to pay back the loan?

· Why did VBA decide to offer POEAP loans?

Listen in to learn more about this great program to help the OD community.