By Anita Mizrachi,
Sept. 13, 2017
Optical promotions give patients a chance to purchase the products the doctor has prescribed at a more affordable price, and gives your practice the chance to generate revenues. As the lead optician at Dr. Melman’s Eyeland in New Jersey, I’ve gotten a chance to see what works, and what doesn’t, in promoting optical sales.
Here are three promotions that cost little, but yielded high revenue returns for our practice. The ideas for these promotions were mine, with our whole staff helping with implementation. The end-of-the-year bonus for optical staff factors in the revenue generated from these promotional events.
Election Day Trunk Show
Every year for the past three years, we’ve hosted an election day trunk show. It’s a minor holiday in which some schools are closed (to be used as polling places), and some of our patients even have the day off from work. Conveniently, Tuesdays also happen to be the day of the week when we have evening hours.
We’re a Vision Source practice, so we always invite Vision Source Elite Vendors Luxottica, Safilo and Marcolin, along with a few additional vendors, which we rotate each year. Last year we invited Tom Ford, Lafont and Silhouette.
We offer 40 percent off on frames and 50 dollars off on complete pairs of eyewear, along with a second-pair discount. Patients are not permitted to use their insurance with the sale prices.
In addition to the lower-than-usual pricing, we get a sponsor like ZEISS to sponsor the cost of refreshments like hors d’oeuvres, desserts, sparkling soda and sparkling cider, which we serve in wine glasses. We also offer goodie bags with giveaways varying year-to-year. Over the years, we’ve offered miniature chocolates, CDs featuring eye-related songs and makeup bags.
Along with the goodie bags, attendees can enter a raffle for a free frame, which we get a vendor to donate.
Result: Last year, we sold 25 complete pairs of glasses in two-and-half hours, generating $17,000 in revenue, factoring in the discount we offered. We spent less than $1,000 altogether.
First Responders Educational Event: Promote Medical Eyecare
Last year we invited our local first responders–police, fire department and EMTs–to our office to meet the community. The responders explained what they do, and what people in an emergency should do to ensure the best outcome.
To promote its dry eye products, Allergan provided free samples of re-wetting eye drops, ZEISS donated thermal lunch bags and Oakley, which showcased its whole line of frames and sunwear, donated a frame for a raffle. Allergan sponsored the refreshments, with catering by Chick-fil-A.
The fire department and EMTs brought the trucks they use to respond to emergencies, and gave presentations in which they pointed out all the features of those vehicles. Families with children particularly liked this event, so it brought in new appointments.
Result: We got at least 10 scheduled appointments for comprehensive exams for the event, and sold $10,000 of products the day of the event. It cost us less than $500. There were many multiple-pair sales, with at least half the purchases ophthalmic lenses in both clear and sun. We also sold many premium progressives. When we host promotional events, we package only premium products. There was no discount given on the exams scheduled that day.
“It’s Raining Cats and Dogs”: Social Media-Based Fundraiser for Local Animal Shelter
We organized a benefit this year for one of our local animal shelters, partly to do a good deed (we are all animal lovers in our office), and partly to increase engagement with our practice on social media.
We asked patients, whom we reached by e-blast and by signage in our office, to send us pictures of their pets. Once we had those photos, we overlaid virtual images of glasses. The people who sent the photos that got the most likes were rewarded with a free pair of sunglasses.
For every complete pair of eyewear purchased for a month-and-a-half, we donated $5, and we gave patients a free t-shirt provided to us for free by the animal shelter.
The event was a great morale booster for our staff, with nearly all of our staff members sending in pictures of their own pets, and it was another way to introduce our practice to our community. The shelter organized its own event to host our practice presenting the check with money raised.
Events like this, in which a local charity is supported, brand the practice as a place to come not just for great eyecare and products, but because patients want to support a business with values they relate to.
Result: At least 20 people sent in pictures of their pets, with one of those people getting 1,000 likes on Facebook–most of those 1,000 were not patients of ours, so that provided us the chance to introduce ourselves to close to 1,000 potential new patients.