You may have heard that the most effective marketing tool is word-of-mouth marketing. This is likely because this form of “marketing” is considered to be the most accurate, honest review of a product or service and it’s likely coming from someone the interested party trusts. So, how can you increase your practice’s word-of-mouth marketing referrals? An article from the AOA details a few suggestions.
Form and Maintain Relationships With Patients
First and foremost: patients are people, not just their eye health problems. They appreciate being listened to, so take the time and make them feel welcomed and heard. To give yourself time to do this, don’t overschedule and have appointments overlapping. Make sure your staff knows your intentions. Finally, when patients speak, make sure you are truly listening. Show empathy for what they’re saying and/or going through instead of just waiting to respond with a passing “oh yeah?”
Have a Strong and Reliable Staff
While you as the practitioner are an important piece of the patient journey, your staff is arguably even more important. Your staff members will be the first and last people your patients interact with, and their presence will likely leave a lasting impression on your patients. Be sure your staff is made up of trustworthy, friendly people, by implementing a rigorous hiring system.
An additional helpful tip is to put your best staff member on the phone so that the first interaction your patients have with your practice is a pleasant one.
Create a Patient Journey With 7-9 Patient “Touchpoints”
Selina McGee, OD, said, “It’s not enough for our patients to just show up at our doorstep once every year.” There need to be several “touchpoints” between appointments to keep your practice top-of-mind and, of course, encourage patients to keep their next scheduled visit. However, you can’t simply bombard your patients with emails, postcards, and phone calls. You need to strategically determine how and when you reach out to them. Some examples from Dr. McGee include:
- Send a text after they’ve picked up their eyeglass or contact lens prescription.
- Create a newsletter or a blog to share relevant news and information with your patients.
- Use social media as another way of connecting with patients and share relevant practice and staff information.
- Send a handwritten thank-you card to new patients and consider sending a thank-you to your repeat patients, as well.
Partner With EyePromise®
There are many eye vitamin companies working with eye care practices, but few will partner with you the way EyePromise does. With an expert team aligned with your goals and aspirations, we become part of your practice outreach plan. Here’s how.
- Your Regional Account Manager will be your personal practice contact and can work with your staff to ensure confidence in the program. Additionally, they can help streamline your processes, reducing frustration for both patients and staff members and allowing for more time to connect.
- Our Customer Support team reaches out to each patient individually on behalf of your practice. They ask how they are liking the product so far and if they have any questions and remind them that they are available Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm CST to help with any future questions and concerns they have. This helps your patients feel comfortable with the product and keeps your staff focused on their daily tasks.
- If they choose, EyePromise will send them educational emails specific to the product you recommended on behalf of your practice. Not only does this keep them engaged with the vitamin you recommended, but it helps keep your practice top-of-mind.
- Whether it’s through the educational emails or Customer Support, we always encourage your patients to schedule and keep their annual/bi-annual appointments.
Word-of-mouth marketing can make or break practices. To help ensure only positive messages are spread, build and maintain a rapport with your patients, employ people you know will continue that mentality throughout your practice, and keep in contact with your patients throughout the year.