The past two years have brought unexpected challenges for many business owners, and your ophthalmic practice is no exception. Since the start of the pandemic, you have had to contend with social distancing and stay-at-home mandates, stricter safety requirements for your staff and patients, and even temporary closures as you learned to navigate the "new normal" of doing business in the age of COVID-19.
Now, as you put together your growth plan for 2022 and look for ways to expand and scale your practice, the following strategies will be the key to your success. By focusing on these three directives, you will be able to expand your patient base, increase profitability, and set your practice apart from your competitors in the new year and beyond.
1. Focus on patient engagement.
Now more than ever, focusing on your patients will be crucial to growing and maintaining a successful practice. Your patients are at the heart of everything you do—and word-of-mouth marketing from happy, satisfied patients is one of the most powerful promotional tools you have at your disposal. However, patient engagement is more than just making sure patients have a good experience when they arrive at your office for an appointment.
Connecting with your patients begins with the very first phone call or online form. Not only should your staff be friendly, knowledgeable, and compassionate when speaking to patients over the phone, but your website should be both informative and easy to use. Even older patients who were reluctant to use online tools before the pandemic are now more internet savvy, which means a complete website audit may be in order to ensure your site is optimized and ready to serve your patients better in 2022.
It is also important to communicate with patients after they leave your office. A simple phone call or email to ask about their experience and allow them to provide feedback will go a long way toward building strong relationships and ensuring patient loyalty. This is also a good time to make sure they understand their results or diagnosis and to answer any questions they may have about caring for their healthy vision. Click here for more tips on developing an effective patient education strategy.
2. Make marketing a priority.
Though they excel at patient care, too many eye care professionals fall short when it comes to actually marketing their business. Your practice is, first and foremost, a business—one that needs to continually evolve to meet the needs of your customers (i.e., your patients) so that it can grow and thrive.
Take the time to develop an effective marketing campaign that aligns with your goals for 2022 and beyond. Did you recently upgrade your equipment or are you planning to incorporate more digital technology into your exam lane? Faster, more accurate equipment means increased efficiency and shorter patient exam times, and you can build your marketing strategy around those enhancements and how they will benefit your patients. Also focus on areas of specialization and/or anything that sets your practice apart from others in your location, and use those unique selling points to build brand awareness and bring in more business.
Once you have the basics of your marketing strategy in place, you will need to decide between organic or paid advertising. Organic marketing is the "DIY" approach, meaning it is handled by you and/or your staff. A common organic marketing strategy is to add blogs, articles, and other valuable content to your website to increase your internet search rankings naturally (in other words, organically). Other methods include using social media as well as updating your information on Google My Business, Yelp, and other popular business directories to highlight and promote your practice.
3. Brainstorm opportunities for new revenue streams.
Offering new products and services is one of the most effective ways to grow your practice and boost profitability. Examples include adding new equipment such as a digital refraction system or anterior segment imaging equipment, both of which have been shown to improve diagnostic speed and accuracy, increase patient referrals, and even shorten exam time to boost efficiency. In fact, just by adding a Veatch Digital Refraction Suite to their practice, doctors report seeing up to five more patients per room every day.
Offering new procedures and cutting-edge technology will also help you maximize profits and expand your patient base in the new year. If you don't already, consider offering minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, and early diagnosis and treatment is critical to protect and preserve healthy vision. Likewise, incorporating the latest intraocular lens (IOL) technology will go a long way toward improving cataract patient outcomes.
Count on Veatch for all your ophthalmic equipment needs.
As you look ahead to 2022 and take steps to grow your ophthalmic practice, count on Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments for all your equipment and supply needs. Whether you need to restock everyday supplies like bulbs and batteries, upgrade your exam lane with the latest digital equipment, or have your existing equipment serviced or repaired, our dedicated team is here to serve you. Call us today at (800) 447-7511 or contact us online to learn more.