If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either an optometrist reading for some free marketing advice or you’re an optometry student looking for some ideas on how to promote your business.
Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into the details.
If you’ve been doing optometry for any length of time, you’ve more than likely participated in the traditional marketing mix of advertising, public relations, and word of mouth. If you’re looking for some fresh ideas to grow your practice, keep reading. If you’re looking for specific tactics to pull in patients, turn to the marketing section below.
Optometry professionals have been placing ads in the local yellow pages for years. However, with the increased popularity of online search and social media, there are now more opportunities to promote your practice online. Places like Google Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter allow you to target potential patients with relevant ads based on their search and social preferences. Even eyeTV, a digital marketing firm focused on optometry, reports that 56% of their patients learn about their services through social media.
2. Word of Mouth
When your patients learn about your practice from someone they know and trust, that’s known as “word of mouth” marketing. In an era of increased information-sharing through social media, this type of referral is more important than ever before. Just like with traditional advertising, though, you can use social media to target the right audience with your special offers, discounts, and upcoming events. Since patients and their social circles are the best source of information when it comes to choosing a new doctor, be sure to learn from them.
3. Public Relations
When an optometrist gets positive press coverage in the media, that’s known as “public relations” marketing. The key to attracting media coverage is to have something meaningful to offer that will make headlines. If you can get journalists and columnists to write about you and your practice, that’s a great way to gain exposure and increase your patient base. Many optometrists participate in professional organizations that will help get your name out there. Just remember that the media are always looking for compelling stories, so be sure to target what’s meaningful to them.
New Marketing Platforms & Tools
Even before the pandemic, online marketing platforms and tools were becoming more important to doctors. With more people working from home and less face-to-face patient interactions, virtual health appointments became a way of life. Unfortunately, not every medical practice has the budget to hire an online marketing firm to help them connect with patients online. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and platforms that can be used individually or in combination to grow your practice online.
Here are just a few of the things you can do.
1. Create an Online Store
If you’re looking to attract new patients, it’s a great idea to have a website where they can learn more about your practice. Not only will this make patient acquisition much easier, but it also gives you the opportunity to showcase your practice’s services and products online. If your website is well designed and contains the necessary information, patients will have no problem finding what they’re looking for. From there, they can either make a call to schedule an appointment or continue researching online until they find a provider in their area.
2. Start a Blog
Blogs have been a crucial part of online marketing for years. As the name implies, a blog is simply an online platform where you can share content that’s informative or entertaining. If you’re looking for something compelling to write about, choose a topic that you’re passionate about. For instance, if you have a general practice that specializes in pediatrics and childhood eye ailments, you might want to get into the habit of writing about childhood eye health. The advantage of a blog is that you don’t necessarily need to have the budget for expensive ads to get the word out there. Additionally, most optometry practices already have a blog, and it’s a great place to build credibility with potential patients.
3. Market Through Twitter
With social media growing at an astronomical rate, it’s important to remember that not every platform will help you build your practice. The best ones will. One of the most popular social media platforms among optometrists is Twitter. Not only does it allow you to connect with other healthcare professionals, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to market your practice. When you choose to market through Twitter, you’re not reaching the general public; you’re connecting with people who have an interest in your specialty.
4. Use Video Tutorials
Another great way to attract patients to your practice is through video tutorials. If you’ve ever tried to search for an optometrist in your area, you’ll notice that the majority of the search results are typically videos of doctors explaining various eye procedures. Video tutorials provide a quick, concise method of educating patients while also engaging them emotionally. If your practice offers video tutorials, consider using them to educate and entertain your audience. If you’re looking for a free platform where you can create and share video tutorials with other healthcare professionals, look no further than Blender.
Optometry Is A Viable Business
Despite the economic hardship caused by the pandemic, the demand for optometry services did not decline. In fact, according to AHREFS, the American Association for Health Care Finance and Policy, the medical community experienced a 13% increase in revenue during the pandemic compared to the year before.
This confirms what many have believed all along: eye care is a viable and growing specialty. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the reasons why, it’s clear that the traditional, in-person method of getting eye care is still highly valued. Due to the increased emphasis on virtual health, though, patients are learning to value alternative methods of getting their eyes checked. Since most medical experts agree that optometry is a valuable and necessary part of medical care, it’s essential that medical students learn how to market themselves in order to provide the best possible care to their patients.