By Rachael Click, OD
Oct. 25, 2017
Optical promotions are a great way to boost revenues, I’ve found in my practice. A successful promotion generates excitement, and makes it easier for patients to get the products I prescribed.
Promote Multiple Pairs
The best promo for us has been “Pair 50,” a program from EssilorLabs. Essilor offers 50 percent off for multiple pairs of lenses for the same patient when they are all ordered within 30 days of the original invoice. What has worked well for us is extending the 50 percent off for complete Rx orders to the patient on the same date of purchase. If they return any other time, then we give them 20 percent off complete Rx orders.
A word of caution: Pair 50 does not work for us when we extend it beyond the date of purchase to include 30 days past original date of sale. The call to action is not there if not purchased the same day.
Offer Ongoing Promotions
We give a 30 percent discount on plano sunglasses the day of the patient’s contact lens fit, and then 20 percent off the remainder of the year.
Another ongoing promo is 20 percent off complete prescription orders for established patients who have purchased any eyewear within the year. Our capture rate for all types of sunglasses (Rx, plano, polarized, etc) is about 20 percent.
More You Buy, More You Get
Recently, we implemented the promo, “Buy More, Save More.” This promo gives an escalating discount based on the number of complete pairs a patient buys. The first pair is full price, or billed to insurance. The second pair is 40 percent off. The third pair is 50 percent off, and the fourth pair is 70 percent off. If a patient were to buy a five or more pairs, they would receive a 50 percent discount on all additional purchases.
Get Your Whole Staff Talking to Patients About Promotions
What makes a promo successful for us is the whole team talking about it. If we don’t actively educate patients on our promos then our capture rate for the specific promo decreases. That means mentioning it to patients when they check in for their exam, and are waiting for their appointment to begin while they browse the optical. Mentioning it again during the pre-testing and exam phase, and then after receiving education from the doctor, having the opticians close the sale in the optical.
Your promotion should be simple enough for your staff to easily remember, so they can repeat it without difficulty to patients throughout the day.
We talk about our optical promotions as part of our health and wellness plan for each patient. For example, we point out the importance of protecting eyes from the sun and blue light, and educate on how glasses like driving eyewear can make your life safer, in addition to more comfortable.
I discuss promos in the exam room as it pertains to health and wellness. When I am summarizing the exam results, I tell the patient that my optician will explain our multiple-pair savings in greater detail, but I tell them they can get up to 70 percent off on their glasses.
Effective Promotions Require the Doctor’s Leadership
Our capture rate for multiple pairs used to be about 10 percent, but over the past year it has decreased to 6 percent. I think the biggest reason is the large amount of change that has happened to the practice. Over the past year, we went from a one-doctor practice to a two-doctor practice. I was on maternity leave the end of 2016, and beginning of 2017, which are usually big sales months. They weren’t for us this year because I think my physical absence of leadership made a difference.
My presence in the office, and active management of everyday affairs, means that I can ensure that patients are receiving the needed education and products and promotions from the staff. I also can observe, and overhear, how promotional messaging is being delivered, and can suggest adjustments when I notice a needed improvement.
Be Fully Staffed to Optimize Promotions
Upon my return from maternity leave, we grew our patient data base 25 percent without adding additional staff. We were almost in a survival mode in patient care, rather than proactive mode, due to the fast growth. I don’t want to make excuses for some of our sales metrics decreasing, but I think it is important to understand why things happen. I am expecting 2018 sales percentages to be back to our historical numbers, as both doctors will have worked on a full schedule for 12 consecutive months.
We plan to be more aggressive in our internal marketing for promos in 2018 by doing web site specialties, e-mail blasts, posters, etc.
Our office is modern in design with high technology, and minimal clutter. For that reason I have been resistant to having a lot of point-of-sale materials like posters. In the coming year, we are going to work on finding ways to present promos while maintaining our clean, streamlined look.