Keeping your patients loyal to your practice is crucial to the long-term success of your practice. This is especially true for eye care patients who may not need to visit the office as regularly as other traditional healthcare checkups. The use of a consumer oriented approach to your healthcare services is the key to retaining your patients from year to year, but it is a more difficult task than it sounds. To keep customers coming back to your practice, it’s important to hone your patient engagement strategies. Here are some of the top tools used today by optometry practices:
The power of social media platforms cannot be understated. Over the past decade, social media engagement has risen to the top as one of the primary ways to engage with your patients outside of the spectrum of an office visit, and keep in touch with them throughout the year.
To get started, create accounts or claim your business’ existing profiles on the top 5 primary social media platforms: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Develop a social posting calendar to schedule informative and interesting content on your profiles. Engage with your audience by posing questions that your patients can provide feedback for – which can offer opportunities for open discussion and further engagement.
Be sure to include backlinks to your website, and post any news, content or blogs that your followers may find relevant and informative. Offering a new service? Be sure to let your followers know, they might find a relevant service they never knew you offered in the first place.
Be sure to let patients know about your social channels, and ask patients to follow you when they are in your office and on your website.
Your optometry website should come with a built-in blogging feature that makes it simple to add time-relevant articles for your practice. Regularly update your blog with informative articles that discuss daily eye health issues, practice news, community events that you’re involved with, and other relevant information that your patients may find valuable. Share your blog posts on social media websites like Facebook and Google+. Over time your current patients and even prospective new patients will see the articles that you post and will choose to come back to your practice because of the relevant and personal information.
Along the same lines as a blog, a video blog (or vlog) is an entertaining and fresh way to visually engage your patients with your practice brand. Create 2-4 minute videos about frequently asked questions that patients ask. You can also post photos and videos of events you have held in the recent past. This can make your clientele feel part of your community, and gives them opportunities to advocate your brand as they share these videos with their own family or followers.
Email marketing is used by healthcare professionals to send out promotional emails and newsletters, remind clients of upcoming visits and promotions, and to announce news and updates about the practice.
You can use emails not only as an educational tool for your current patient base, but as an informational one for prospective clients whose email address you’ve collected through your website lead generation or newsletter phone, or from community outreach. Don’t forget to collect the email addresses of your patients once they visit your office so that when you conduct your email campaign they receive your news, updates, and newsletters.
A patient portal is a secure website that allows your patients to conveniently access and update their personal information, confirm appointments, complete brief interviews about their exam, check the status of their glasses and/or contact lenses order, and review their billing information. Some portals feature secure messaging and various health articles for your clients to peruse as well. Many people appreciate this type of resource as it allows them to quickly manage their vision care from their smartphone or computer. While not all clients may choose to use this, you may find that implementing a portal can relieve a busy front desk. Many portals come with an option to download an app as well, which will live on your client’s smartphone screens and remind them of your business when the time comes for their annual or semi-annual eye care appointment.
Do you use any or all of these tools? Which are your favorites? Join the conversation by commenting what works best for your practice.