Back to school season is a busy time for families, but we know an eye exam for their children should be a priority on the list of things to do. As a marketing consultant for optometrists in private practice, the topic of back to school marketing and promotions comes up in conversations with practice owners and office managers in early to mid-July and continues through the end of September. I know it’s an important time for practices in areas with many families with school age children, so I’d like to share some tips.
Many school systems in the United States have shorter summers now, with some school systems going back to school as early as the first week of August. Families barely have time to breathe after vacations before it’s time to take those first day of school pictures of kids sporting backpacks and first day of school outfits. Follow the local school district(s) calendars and realize that August is a good time to promote the importance of eye exams for children on Facebook and in email campaigns, but you may not see the appointments set until September or even October because of busy family schedules, so continue to promote back to school eye exams even in October.
Eye Care Themes
An eye care theme for the month of August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety, so you have the perfect opportunity to share your expertise around children’s eye health on social media with your local audience, your customized messages on hold recordings and in any print marketing. The eye care theme for September is Sports Eye Safety awareness, and many school aged children are ramping up in their fall sports season so again, a great opportunity to promote eye exams for children in all your practice marketing channels.
Product Promotions and Pricing
My friend and colleague at IDOC, Pat Basile, CT LO, ABOC, NCLEC recommends package pricing to keep things simple for your patients. An example of back to school package pricing: One frame (Up to a specific retail price) and lenses (single vision, polycarbonate) for $99.00 / 2 pair for $179.00. In her experience, parents preferred this offer to a “buy one get one free” promotion if they were only purchasing one pair of glasses, although it’s always a good idea to promote second pairs, sports goggles and sunglasses.
Customer Service Tips
It’s important to provide excellent turnaround time for glasses, especially if a family visits you before the school year begins because they want their child in their new glasses for the first day of school. Be sure to follow up with mom and/or dad on the day of the exam to make sure their annual exams have been scheduled, too, while they’re physically in the office and it’s top of mind for them. Encourage the parents to try on glasses and sunglasses during their visit – it makes the whole experience more fun for the family and makes the child/children there for an exam feel more at ease.
This is an important season in an optometry practice which serves families. Know when the kids go back to school in your practice area, and plan on talking about children’s eye health and the importance of eye exams on social media, email and any other marketing channels from late July through October to accommodate your busy patients’ hectic schedules during the back to school season.
Learn More on Practice Marketing: https://blog.idoc.net/tag/marketing
Hayley Stewart, IDOC Financial Services Manager
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Your optometry practice is incredibly valuable to you. “Well, Nathan” – you may say – “of course it is!” But have you ever thought of why it’s valuable?
You spend most days pouring your blood sweat and tears into it: hours and hours of patient care, planning,... Read more
The internet isn’t usually a popular topic in conversations I have with owners and staff members of optometric practices. Dealing with reviews and competition from web-based retailers along with the challenge of creating and maintaining a website and good social media marketing may have many... Read more
Optometrists in private practice sometimes fail to offer a clear reason why someone should choose them for their vision care over competitors - on their websites or in other marketing collateral – sometimes when you try to market to everyone, you fail to capture... Read more
When working with small business owners to create marketing plans and strategies, I run across the following scenario far too often: “Hey, I’m not sure how to log in to my Google listing. My office manager used to handle that for me, and she’s not on the team anymore... Read more
“You might as well ask me to describe the essence of music, or the color of starlight.”
Did you make any New Year Resolutions? Well, I did. I do every year, and in keeping with my obsession with goals and metrics that I have professed here repeatedly, I write them down... Read more
For starters, I’m not a licensed psychologist, I just play one as a practice management consultant. It’s been my observation that whenever human beings come together in an environment where they are required to work together and interact, inevitably some tension and conflict will arise.... Read more
Your schedule has gotten busier and you’ve hired an associate OD. While you would like to keep the associate’s schedule filled most of the time, it’s not uncommon for an associate to have some gaps in his or her schedule – at least in the beginning. This often leads to some resentment by the... Read more
Before anyone panics, I am not suggesting that most practices go out and spend $80,000 or $100,000 on a COO tomorrow, or that your manager is due a large raise for 2018. I typically only recommend that type of role for multi-location practices grossing over $2M-$3M per year: practices... Read more
Sometimes it’s not the inventory you choose to carry or the reps you choose to indulge. It’s not the pricing or the shipping or the cadence of your reorders. As we head into the tail end of the holiday season, I can’t help but think of the process of opening presents.
Everyone has... Read more
Texting is an incredibly tempting mode of communication for marketing-minded businesses competing for the attention of consumers, primarily because the open rates on a text from businesses to consumers are incredibly high (98%) compared to other forms of communication (email is around 20%,... Read more
“How many frames do I need?” “How many frames should I carry?” “How much stock should I have in inventory?” It doesn’t matter how you phrase it, at least 1/3 of my consultations start the same way. I’m going to make this all very, very easy for... Read more
If you are in a competitive area, you’ve already learned that marketing is a necessity to attract brand new patients to your practice. It’s easy to confuse marketing tactics – sending email, creating Facebook posts and advertising in a community magazine, for instance –... Read more
A practice owner pulled me aside at our most recent conference in Denver to start thinking of an exit plan. I always ask two questions when these discussions come up:
“How long do you see yourself continuing to own your practice?”
“How is your retirement savings coming... Read more
A consumer-centric culture with a focus on customer service is becoming increasingly important for brick & mortar businesses. While I do believe most practice owners strive to deliver on great service, it requires a team effort. I often hear owners tell me they want to be known in their... Read more
Most businesses have polices that employees are required to follow. In general, office policies are a good idea. Policies provide structure for how to conduct business and create consistency around processes and operations. But in a service-based industry, well intended but rigidly executed... Read more
With all the talk of private equity roll-ups and regional alliances, many practice owners are concerned that if they aren’t a large, multi-office, multi-doctor practice, they don’t have a future in independent optometry.
Is that... Read more
One of the interesting mysteries that I get to unravel in many practices is the mystery of tight cash flow. Sometimes it’s obvious – a small practice with low profitability, for instance. But other times it’s not.
First off, what is tight cash flow? Here’s my simple definition:... Read more
Doctor: Would you like to order your contacts today, Mrs. Smith?
Mrs. Smith: That’s OK. I’ll just take the prescription and get them online.
What happened here? You just did a thorough, high-tech eye exam... Read more
For practices looking to grow, there are basically two paths: see more patients or generate more revenue per patient. Ideally, a practice will do both. One thing I consistently hear from ODs is that it’s hard to generate high revenue from contact lens patients. Even when selling annual... Read more
Can you find 20 or 30 minutes a week to hold a staff meeting? You might be surprised at the impact that it has on your optometry practice.
Your staff is your most valuable business asset. Your investment in optometry marketing, technology, office design, etc. will fail to deliver an... Read more
The very phrase can cause irritation, anxiety and bewilderment in the minds of owners who understand that they should somehow be participating in the conversations across the various social media platforms – but which ones are the best for optometry practice... Read more
While there is more than one way to achieve success, there are a few common traits that successful independent optometry practice owners have in common.
They refuse to accept the status quo. While others remain stagnant, ignore trends, and complain about the... Read more