By Zvi Pardes
Head of Content Marketing, EyeCarePro
Dec. 4, 2019
As every calendar year comes to a close, there’s always a sense of urgency and also excitement surrounding planning for the next year. And this is as true for marketing your practice as any other planning, regrouping and balance-sheet examinations you might be undertaking.
The vibe is palpable as everyone thinks,“It’s a new year, so whatever slack and missed opportunities characterized this past year, next year will be better. I’m going to be proactive. I’m going to put in the time and effort into my marketing this year and really get the growth going that I’m always meaning to do.”
But will you? The problem is that, for many practices, this fleeting enthusiasm gets lost in the hubbub of everyday practice stressors: seeing patients, putting out fires, hiring and firing staff. When planning how you hope to grow your eyecare clinic in 2020, there is one thing to keep in mind: Change is constant, whether you’re an active participant in it or not. What’s more, doing the same thing over and over while expecting the same result is…well, insanity! Obviously, this goes for inaction, too.
If Not Now, When?
2020 is drawing ever closer. All lame puns about 20/20 aside, this is the time to really look at how you want your practice to grow in a rapidly changing environment for owning a practice. Whether you’re a small operation or part of a large group, there is no denying just how much is changing. Consolidation is becoming the norm at all levels of the optical and optometric market. The presence of domineering online vendors and big-box retailers can’t be denied. Basically, everywhere you look the landscape of optometry is in flux.
Now, more than ever, if you aren’t actively growing, you are falling behind—in imminent danger of losing ground, possibly being sucked into a corporate machine that ultimately cares more about squeezing revenues than delivering the kind of patient care you believe in.
So What’s Your Growth Plan?
Given all the changes we’ve been seeing in the industry, this is the year to plan for real, system-wide growth as an eyecare practice. Naturally, no two practices are the same. As we shift into 2020, the only real way to stay on top of this changing financial landscape is to strategize and plan. And it starts with a basic question: What are your most important revenue streams, and what do you plan to do to strengthen those or diversity your practice model?
Think about this carefully and about what it takes to build up each revenue stream. Then, think about your specific growth trajectory:
Is Your Growth in Optical?
● Are you seeing revenues from optical grow or decline?
● What are you doing to improve optical revenues?
● What’s your strategy? More new patients? A wider range of offerings?
● Are you promoting lenses medically from the lane?
● Is your dispensary effective for your needs?
● Are you planning to add an associate or a new lane?
Are You Offering Medical Specialties? Or Considering It?
● Are you making optometric specialties a part of your practice?
● How has that affected your revenue, or how do you hope for it to affect revenue?
● What are you doing to grow your specialty? How are you reaching new patients and potential referral sources?
● What will it take to get your practice moving in this direction (if that’s what you want)?
The Secret to Success is a Strong Online Presence
Whether your practice is moving away or toward optical, or, choosing to focus on medical specializations, or even just maintaining great comprehensive eyecare—your growth depends on new patient acquisition.
Sure, good recall is essential, but the math is simple: new patients are new potential sources of recurring revenue around which every other metric (including capture rate and recall) stands to grow or decline in terms of overall revenues over the course of time.
The key to new patient growth is a strong online presence. Eighty-five percent of people look online to find medical services, and 90 percent+ of searches in North America occur on Google. Is your practice taking this into account? Showing up prominently on relevant local searches is a core indicator of growth.
Likewise, the Google Reviews that will display for any top search results—in terms of average rating and total number of reviews—can make or break a practice. And that’s just the lowest hanging fruit. Social media reach, branding, video and authoritative medical content—these are the things that build the kind of online presence that define a thriving and profitable practice.
Marketing Acuity in 2020
OK, so we couldn’t help one 2020 pun! But only because marketing your practice matters more now than ever. Does this all seem overwhelming? The key is to take things one step at a time.
A fantastic resource for planning your 2020 marketing is a quiz that assesses your current marketing acumen score. Provided by EyeCarePro, the quiz then provides a custom strategic guide for 2020 based on your specific results. This planning guide makes use of EyeCarePro’s vast library of optometry marketing e-books, blogs and webinar recordings, and spans topics ranging from SEO to optometry branding. You can check out the custom assessment and strategy guide HERE.
Zvi Pardes is the head of content marketing at EyeCarePro, which provides ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing. EyeCarePro serves both industry and practices and is the only company of its kind solely focused on the optometric space. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org