Make the Most of Your Digital Refraction System with Quality Marketing
Congratulations on your new digital refraction system! You’ve taken the next steps to grow your ophthalmic business and provide your customers with a better overall experience. This investment will pay off greatly in the years to come, building you a solid, steady additional income stream while giving your patients the same high level of quality of service they’ve come to expect.
Your new digital refraction system isn’t just a tool for your exam room, though. Now that you have this piece of technology, it can be a powerful component in your practice’s marketing plan. By showing customers exactly what this will add to their experience during exams, you can see an even greater return on your investment than you would by quietly incorporating the new technology into your exams.
Why Will My Patients Care?
Purchasing a digital refractor is a significant step toward long-term growth, and an exciting development for your practice and staff. Your patients, on the other hand, probably won’t understand the technical benefits of your upgrade. Most people who don’t work in the industry don’t know what a digital refraction system does, and your patients will typically see this as just another piece of equipment.
However, this is only because they don’t understand the huge implications of the system in your ability to serve them. By shifting your marketing focus to your new and improved equipment, you can make your patients—and soon-to-be patients—eager to visit your office above others.
Highlighting the Benefits
Each piece of content you publish should emphasize the relationship between your customer and the digital refraction system. Highlighting the benefits to customers will re-frame their vision and understanding of your practice’s new purchase:
- Cleaner: These systems are easier to clean and maintain than manual systems. Fogginess or dullness on the mirror can affect the readings taken by the doctor or technician using a manual system, but a digital system eliminates that challenge.
- More Efficient: Manual phoropters require the ophthalmic professional to enter data during the pretest into the refractor, as well as the patient’s individual charts and records. A digital refractor, though, allows professionals to synchronize each of their pieces of equipment, which makes sure each piece of equipment is pre-set to the exact specifications needed for each patient. Additionally, this data is automatically uploaded into the patient’s digital records.
- More Streamlined: A manual refraction system requires doctors and technicians to complete a wide variety of administrative tasks to make sure the phoroptor is ready for the patient and the numbers are accurate and consistent. Digital systems eliminate the need for many of these processes, allowing the doctors and technicians to spend more time focusing on the patient.
- Faster: As a result of the increased efficiency and streamlining, doctors and technicians spend about three minutes less per patient with a digital refractor. This doesn’t mean you’ll spend less time with your patient; in fact, now you can spend more face-to-face time in the office, as opposed to repetitive manual data entry.
- Better Accuracy: A digital refraction system allows for a greater degree of consistency while reducing the risk of human error. Digital refraction systems give professionals a higher level of accuracy and is helpful when working with children, individuals who are nonverbal or unable to respond, or those living with disorders like dementia.
Recognizing Manual Inefficiencies
At the same time, it’s important for patients to understand the inefficiencies caused by manual refractors. Professionals using manual systems have to take into consideration a variety of factors, including:
- The cleanliness of the mirror system
- The length of the exam lane
- The lighting in the exam room
- The chance for human error and multiple entries in a data system
- The doctor’s awareness and comfort during the exam
- Providing enough patient-doctor time during an exam to answer questions and provide support.
Your New Equipment and Content Marketing
One of the best ways to present these benefits and differences is through a concentrated content marketing structure. While this may seem like just one more thing to do when running your practice, content marketing can make a difference in your patients’ and prospective patients’ understanding of your new digital refraction system.
There are a variety of subjects for your content that can catch the attention of your patients while subtly pushing them to take the next step toward scheduling an appointment with your practice:
- Explain what a digital refraction system does
- Talk about the primary differences between the digital and manual refraction systems
- Teach the importance of an accurate reading from a digital refraction system
- Let customers know they’ll have more time with you, the doctor, because of the new system
- Promote the ability for better, more clear vision as a result of the digital refraction system
- Create a diagram about the parts of the digital refraction system as they relate to your patients
These are just a few of the many subjects you can use when building a strategy and structure for marketing and publicizing your office’s new digital refraction system. Record any questions customers ask about the system, as well as any pieces of positive feedback and testimonials about their quality of care because of the use of the digital system during their exams.
Your content should clearly show patients how the new digital refraction system will improve lives by increasing the accuracy of eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions and saving them time during their exams.
The Best Ways to Reach Customers
Content marketing uses a variety of platforms to reach customers, with most of them being online. The best ways to promote your new digital refraction system will be a combination of both push and pull marketing.
Pull marketing is another term for content marketing, where you write and publish content that attracts customers and prospects to learn more about you. These pieces educate, inform and engage clients, and prospects are drawn to you because you are presenting yourself as an authority on the subject.
Push marketing involves traditional marketing practices that present information for customers to read, rather than having them seek out and be drawn to the information. It pushes information toward the customer.
Blending these two techniques can help your practice reach a higher number of qualified prospects and future customers who will be excited to try your new piece of equipment.
Sending e-mail campaigns to your current customers is one of the best ways to let them know about your new digital refraction system. These are people who have knowledge and experience with your practice, your technicians, and you, their doctor. They will be the most excited to try your new equipment, as they’ve been faithful to your practice when you had a manual refraction system.
Consider a series of emails that shows customers what they can expect with the new refraction system, highlighting each of the benefits and how it will directly relate to them. If you have an online scheduling system, it would be beneficial to include the hyperlink in the emails; if your content is written well, customers will want to schedule appointments, and making it easy for them to do so will increase your response rate.
Some practices have also found that including incentives or discounts for current customers has helped them increase the number of appointments booked from the e-mail campaign.
Press releases are sent to print publications to let them know about newsworthy topics. Writing a press release is similar to writing a news article, and should be structured like an inverted triangle, with the most broad, important, base information at the top, getting narrower and more focused toward the end of the piece.
Press releases should always include your contact information so reporters interested in covering the story can reach you with more questions. You should also include quotes from yourself, as well as a client testimonial, if you have one available.
Sending out a press release that is ready to print increases your chance of publication.
Printouts, Flyers and Brochures:
Despite the increasing number of people who are consuming information digitally, on smartphones, mobile devices, desktops and laptop computers, there are many people who prefer physical, tangible pieces of marketing material.
These can include printouts, flyers, brochures, rack cards, coupons, and more. Each piece should clearly state your practice’s name and contact information, and the content regarding your new equipment should be clear, brief and relevant to the reader. List the benefits for customers and include patient testimonials, as word-of-mouth can influence 20 to 50 percent of all purchases. Ask your customers to help with the distribution—give them a certificate for a free exam, for a significant discount, or another valuable service to pass to a friend or family member. Your current satisfied customers will be your biggest allies when promoting your new digital refraction system.
If your practice isn’t using social media yet, now is the time to start. Social media is a growing way to expand your reach and spread the word about your digital refraction system. Millions of people are on social media and these are all potential patients ready to read your content.
While digital technology is a leader, about 65 million millennials alone listen to the radio each week—broadcast media is in no means a lesser player in the publicity game. Sending out a public service announcement to local radio stations can alert them to your new technology and services. You aren’t guaranteed any air time by sending a PSA, or a mini press release, but you will greatly increase the odds of reaching new customers.
Once you have time scheduled, be sure to publicize the program with your current and prospective patients; after it’s aired, share a copy of the recording online. You’ll increase your credibility and make yourself easier to find for the customers who might be searching for you as a result of your airtime.
Your website will be the first place patients look for more information about your new technology. Whether you use this to publish and share blogs about the new digital refraction system, or direct them to your site to schedule appointments, keeping your website updated and easy to navigate will result in a higher conversion of qualified prospects.
Your New Equipment Is News-Worthy
Overall, use your digital refraction system to your best benefit—not just in appointments, but in increasing your number of appointments. This is a fantastic opportunity to position your business for long-term growth.