Optometry How to Get New Patients (5 Simple Ways)
What’s the hardest part of being an eye doctor? The schooling? Dealing with insurance companies? Staying up-to-date with the latest research?
None of the above (though the education is tough and insurance companies can be merciless).
If you’ve been working in the optometry and vision care field for any amount of time you know the hardest part is getting new patients. Or, it was, until you found this article!
5 Simple Ways to Get More Patients
People sometimes think we have a sort of “special sauce” that we use to lure leads out of the dark and into your office chair. That sounds nice, but it’s really more simple (and less creepy) than that.
Having an optometrist on our team helps us apply what we know about consumer research and marketing strategy to unique healthcare settings like optometry. We take the basics, put the work in, and translate results into optometry patients.
Without further ado, here’s Number 1, SEO!
1. Attract New Patients with Your Website
Google Search is THE place people go for answers. Not only are there more answers (and questions) than ever before, there are more eye doctors too!
Websites have been described as today’s billboards and flyers. The truth is, they’re something else entirely. Marketing strategies of the past worked in the past, now we’ve needed to do more than share information. You have to prove that you are the best of many options.
A properly set up website does exactly that. For example, A prospective patient might be searching “dry eye causes” to see if that’s what they’ve got and if an eye doctor could help. If you show up on the first page of their search above other optometrists, using relevant keywords to their query and intent, that person will land on your site.
Once there, you can prove to them that you really are the expert. You shouldn’t have to put down other eye doctors, but once the searcher is on your site you can determine how they view you. You want to be the expert, who understands their problems and has all of the answers. Plus, the searcher can easily become a patient with a simple click that leads them to schedule appointments online.
Using SEO to Get More Potential Patients In Your Office
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the set of techniques that get Google to rank your website high–preferably at the top–for a search with a given keyword.
Done well, SEO gets your website to jump out at a prospective patient saying “Hey! We have what you need!” SEO includes:
Search engine results page showing top results (underneath ads)
This is the stuff of niche podcasts and coding ninjas. Technical SEO involves things like backlinking, site architecture/schemas, title tags, and meta descriptions. These cater more to the Google robots searching the web for the best answer for questions.
While it can become quite complex, most website builders have built-in tools for some of these features, especially title tags and meta descriptions.
Title tag and meta description labeled on search engine results page
With quality technical SEO, you’ll roll out the red carpet for these Google robots and they won’t be able to resist crawling your site!
On-Page SEO and Content
These are the more “user-facing” parts of SEO. Google’s search engine has learned a lot over the years and pages that are set up to benefit the user tend to get more time on-site and be clicked/shared/linked to more often.
By optimizing your on-page user experience with SEO best practices, you’ll get potential patients to stay on your site longer–which means they’ll have a greater likelihood of converting into a scheduled patient.
Your on-page SEO also benefits your existing patients, by providing a sort of “headquarters” for all of their optometry questions. You can create long-term, loyal patients out of first-timers by engaging them on your website (and getting them to come back, via email marketing.
2. Show Up On Google Maps with Google My Business
When’s the last time you didn’t use Google Maps to find the way to get where you’re going? Almost everyone uses Maps. It’s become a widely used tool from Google, and often people will begin their local searches on Maps instead of Google Search.
So, have you built your Google My Business profile? That’s how you show up on Maps, receive reviews, and connect with people looking for you. Also called a local listing, these red pins serve to show people the best (and closest) options for a certain search.
Setting up a Google My Business (also “GMB”) is fairly simple. Just make sure the information is displayed exactly the same as it is on your website, Facebook page, or anywhere else your business is represented online.
Patients searching on Google Maps are often higher “intent” customers, meaning that they already plan on going somewhere and procuring a service. It is absolutely essential to have and optimize a GMB profile for your local optometry office/s.
3. Getting New Patients using Social Media
Social media and social marketing are nearly synonyms nowadays. Social media poses unique challenges and opportunities to eye doctors. It’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunities in spite of the challenges.
OR, you can hire us to help you out.
Another option is to buy a software tool that makes things make sense. We include a quick comparison and explanation of two well-known social media tools, Buffer and Hootsuite, in our article called 6 Optometry Marketing Tools For Your Practice.
Social Media Ads Can Reach More Patients
Using PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Ads on social media platforms can be a cost-effective way for eyecare clinic owners to expand their marketing reach and patient base.
SEO is the gold standard for digital marketing, but it takes a long time to perfect. PPC ads can bridge the space and get new patients in your office while your main site SEO is developing. PPC can also be a way to get in front of and attract patients who might not think they need vision health services–and when they do, you’ll be their first choice.
The only thing you need to have to run PPC ads are a budget, an actionable landing page (the site they go to after clicking the ad), and a clear call to action. Enticing visuals or interesting videos can both be effective social media marketing methods.
4. Promote Your Clinic In-Person at Schools and Other Healthcare Offices
While social media’s influence on what people do with their money and time is inarguably increasing, your physical presence carries value.
Use your time wisely! Find opportunities to multiply your reach. For example, consider visiting an elementary school and handing out promotional gifts for the kids and informational material for the students’ parents.
Or you could go to a family practice that often refers to you and offer to provide lunch in return for their lunch hour so you can educate them on the importance of regular eye exams for patients. Don’t forget to give them something with your name/logo that they’ll use every single day so you’re the first optometrist on their mind when they do remember to refer a patient to an eye doctor.
5. Utilize Coupon Books and Other Local Publications
Coupon books and websites can be super effective marketing tools if they’re combined with an offer that’s worthwhile to people. Using local publications not only has the benefit of displaying your investment in the community, it can–if done correctly–inform prospective patients of an offer you’re running.
These coupon books–or similar publications–might be placed in cafés, libraries, post offices, grocery stores, or any other local establishment where people with eyes go. Valpak, as one example, also offers online access to local deals and discounts.
6. Stay Connected (and refer back!) to Referral Sources for Your Optometry Practice
Your documentation not only needs to be “defensive” as they say, it needs to be marketable. Your daily and progress notes can be a super-efficient way to get yourself front-of-mind for referral sources while also maintaining and defining your credibility.
Instead of waiting for offices to request notes on patients, make a plan for regularly sending progress notes to primary care physicians. This can increase your own credibility and give the PCP office confidence in your practice–all to help make them more likely to send you new patients.
Still have questions? Need help getting started with your optometry marketing?
We love working with optometry practices on their digital marketing! Get in touch with us for a Private Strategy Session. We’ll listen to where you’re at now and help you make a plan to get where you want to be.