Tell Your Patients and Community Why Optometry Matters
December 18, 2019
By Maddie Langston, IDOC Practice Marketing Consultant
I’m writing this article toward the close of 2019. An article in which eye exams are called “scams” has been published and was even in Apple News stories this week, and many optometrists are upset about it.
While I’m an experienced marketer, I’m a relative newbie to the eyecare industry. I’ve been consulting with optometrists in private practice for almost four years now on marketing – and one thing which stands out to me so far about my experience is how much I didn’t know about optometrists and the amazing healthcare they give their patients.
Many people assume optometrists are only about the glasses and contact lenses prescriptions. If they see relatively well, they don’t go to the optometrist at all until they reach their forties and presbyopia starts to take hold. They truly don’t understand how important eye exams are – how you as an optometrist can spot diabetes, for instance, or cancer, or so many other conditions.
That’s why it’s so important to communicate with patients when they do come in for an exam. While it would be ideal to run highly visible advertising campaigns on television and across social media on a national level in the United States letting people know about the importance of optometry delivered by human doctors, I think it’s equally important to educate people in person – one exam at a time. Telling people while you look into their eyes what you’re doing and what you can spot is one way to clarify the work you do. When I tell people in my personal life that optometrists can spot seemingly unrelated health issues such as diabetes, people are shocked. They truly just don’t know.
Really the same principle applies to contact lenses and glasses – education is needed, every day, with every patient. Explain to us why you prescribe certain brands and modalities, how personalized the contact lens and eyeglasses prescriptions really are and why we should choose human beings with expertise to achieve our best vision. People perceive them to be commodities because they don’t understand why they’re not.
An informative and empathetic optician can be life-changing for people. Great optometrists save lives. It is time for your powerful stories to be told – in the practice, and on social media. All of you have access to social media through your business accounts. While of course you can’t share details about specific patients, you can blog, share image-based posts with quick snippets of information and share videos regarding the amazing healthcare you do every day in optometry. There is no better person than you, the OD, or you, the optician, to talk about what you do and why it matters.
It is time for us to use technology to spread the good word about optometry. Please consider making time for this valuable endeavor in 2020. While you may not reach the entire country, you can reach your community and make a real difference. If we all commit to doing this, we can shape the perception of optometry in the general public.
Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies to drive sales for various industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Liberty University. Maddie and her husband Jim have a teenage son and two beagles. She enjoys reading, watching documentaries and hiking in her spare time. For questions or comments about this article, please contact email@example.com.