Optometric Management Tip # 337   -   Wednesday, July 16, 2008
A Review of Marketing Strategies for Eye Care

Practice Management includes a wide range of business and administrative topics, but the most basic concern of all is how to increase patient demand. New and established eye care practitioners (ECPs) alike are looking for ways to increase the number of people who want their services. Typically, the word that comes to mind when we think of increasing the number of customers for any business is marketing.

Marketing

Marketing in this context conjures up ideas such as advertising and other promotional efforts like newsletters, frame trunk shows and special discount offers. These ideas can all work to some extent and I believe in external marketing projects if they are true to the desired image of the practice. Marketing is complex and the specific promotional tasks should be continuously tested for effectiveness. Consider these marketing strategies:

The best way to build your practice

The biggest factor in growing a successful private practice is word of mouth referral. To that end, the best marketing strategy is to thoroughly impress each patient you see. This goes way beyond having high tech clinical instruments or a great selection of frames; it’s really about how you treat people. That may sound a bit boring to some, but ask ECPs with million dollar practices if they think it’s boring! Evaluate your practice with regard to the following personal service factors. Do you have doctors and staff members who…

Marketing defined

Remember that the true definition of marketing is: identifying and satisfying customers’ wants and needs. Many office policies and procedures in use today, however, are designed to meet the doctor’s wants and needs or the staff’s. If you and your staff look at everything you do from the patient’s point of view, you will dramatically increase your referral base. That referral base grows exponentially, so it may take a few years to reach a critical mass but you will create a referral machine that is stronger than any other marketing tactic. Excellent personal service is the one marketing gem that always works and is always cost-effective.


Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management