If you’re an individual, general practice ophthalmologist, competing with large corporate providers to offer LASIK may seem like a daunting – if not impossible – task. Corporate providers often have large budgets that allow them to offer a variety of deals and promotions to get prospective customers in the door. How can a small practice hope to compete when larger providers are offering heavily discounted LASIK?
The answer? Promote your whole practice!
You may not be able to match the budget of your larger competitors, but you can take steps to highlight your benefits beyond your LASIK prices: for instance, you can emphasize your range of eye health-related services, your community focus, or your commitment to your patient’s vision health throughout their lifetime.
If you want to promote your practice – and not just your LASIK services – we recommend following these five steps
- Make a plan. Promoting your entire practice is the same as marketing your entire practice, and marketing requires planning. Make concrete, measurable marketing goals for your team to follow. At the end of each year, evaluate how these goals panned out and adjust next year’s goals accordingly.
- Network with ODs. Optometrists often serve as gatekeepers into the ophthalmology world. Make sure to foster strong, mutually beneficial relationships with the ODs in your area. Regularly meet with them, share branded material, and participate in OD education events. You want your practice’s name to be on the tip of their tongue when their patients ask for a recommendation.
- Maintain a strong digital presence. Whether you like it or not, we’re living in a digital world – practices who don’t have a website or active social media are liable to be left behind. Current and prospective patients alike will look for your website, so make sure it’s easy to navigate and informative, not unlike an office brochure. Test out search engines to make sure that your website will be found if patients look up eyecare in your region.
- Encourage your patients to refer others. Word of mouth is an excellent way to get more patients. (For more information about the power of referral marketing, check our recent blog.) Identify patients who would make great advocates, and consider asking them to write a testimonial or an online review.
- Provide exceptional service. The better your service, the more likely your patients will refer you to their friends and family members. What are some little things you can do to make your patients feel heard and important? Think back to a time when a company has made you feel cared for, and try to implement similar policies in your practice.
Try not to be intimidated by corporate providers who offer inexpensive LASIK and enticing packages. You can make your entire practice look appealing, regardless of your budget. In the end, patients want physicians who are reliable and compassionate – and you don’t need to spend much money to accomplish that.