Is your refractive market swimming with low-priced LASIK “factories?” You know the type – they have ads on every social media network claiming to provide LASIK for $250 an eye, or some other unrealistic amount. They might even have paid spots on Google.
Is your practice in danger? How can you compete with someone whose budget seems to be endless?
Below, we’ve listed three ways you can compete with low-priced LASIK providers – and three ways you shouldn’t.
What shouldn’t you do?
When you’re facing off against a low-priced LASIK provider, what are the three worst things you can do?
1. Drop your prices
When a large corporate LASIK provider enters the market, it can be tempting to lower your prices to match theirs. Resist the urge! Lowering your prices just because you’re panicked is guaranteed to throw your practice out of whack.
2. Ignore the problem
You don’t really need to worry about that new LASIK provider, do you? After all, you do great surgery! If you continue doing what you’re doing, you’re sure you’ll be fine.
“We’ve had customers ignore their competitors in the past, and they regretted it,” said Kim Bradley, our Senior Account Manager. “You don’t want to wait until small problems become big problems.”
3. Go into marketing overdrive
Should you start buying billboards? What about television ads? Maybe you should sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, and every other social media platform you can think of.
Slow down a little. Relax. Marketing is important, but you need to make sure you’re focusing on the right things. Your time is limited, so you need to invest it where it counts.
What should you do?
What’s the best way to compete against a low-priced LASIK provider? We spoke with the experts at Sightpath Creative to find out.
1. Highlight your practice’s unique value
The best way to compete with large, inexpensive LASIK providers is to highlight your practice’s unique value.
“When you compare your prices to your competitors, are you really comparing apples to apples?” asked Sarah Moon, Account Manager. “Do their lower prices include follow-up care? Eyedrops? Expertise? In other words, what do you provide that they don’t?”
Free LASIK consultations are an excellent way to convey your practice’s value to prospective patients.
“Most of our customers provide their prospective patients with free consultations, and we think it provides a huge advantage,” explained Kim Bradley. “It gives you a chance to explain to them exactly what you’re providing, and why your prices might differ from the big LASIK center down the road.”
2. Strengthen your OD network
Large LASIK providers might try to steal your optometrists out from under you, so it’s important to maintain a strong – and loyal – OD network.
“Your optometrists should be sending their patients to you because they trust you,” said Sarah Moon. “If you’re reliably providing their patients with excellent care, that will help.”
But being an excellent surgeon isn’t enough – you need to make sure that your optometrists understand the value you offer both their practice and the community. Provide your optometrists with branded materials, continuing education, and a listening ear. Never take this relationship for granted!
For advice on how to build a strong OD network, we recommend the following blog.
3. Manage your online reputation
Whether you like it or not, people on the internet will talk about your practice. If you want a voice in that conversation, you’ll need to invest in online reputation management. This includes addressing negative reviews, encouraging your satisfied patients to leave good reviews, and fostering positive engagement on social media.
“When patients leave negative reviews, it’s rarely about the quality of the surgery,” said Kim Bradley. “It’s usually a complaint about the wait time, or a bad experience with someone at the front desk. This is all fixable.”
Sightpath Creative offers campaigns including comprehensive social media management and SEO optimization. For more information, check out our services page.