April 15, 2019
By Zvi Pardes
Marketing Manager, EyeCarePro
You’ve invested time and money into the skills and equipment required to provide cutting-edge myopia management. Perhaps you’ve purchased a state-of-the-art topographer for fitting ortho-k lenses? Now you’re wondering, “How do I reach potential new patients?”
Reaching patients, especially potential new patients, is the real challenge. The first place to start is with your existing patient base. Make sure you speak to parents of children with progressive myopia about their options and the importance of managing myopia at an early age. If you offer ortho-k, multifocal soft contacts, and low-dose atropine make sure you take the time to explain why you are recommending a particular treatment plan. But parents of kids with progressive myopia are only the tip of the iceberg.
Think Beyond Myopia Management
It’s important always to be thinking about who can benefit from treatment, particularly if you offer ortho-k. Don’t restrict yourself to only talking about it to parents of children with progressive myopia. Parents of athletes or athletes themselves (young and old) are great potential candidates for ortho-k. Think about it. Ortho-k means no more worrying about daytime contact lenses falling out in the middle of a crucial play. The more physical a sport is, the more of a concern this can be for an aspiring athlete.
Another great target for ortho-k is adults as a general alternative to LASIK. Most people know about laser vision correction but aren’t aware that there are non-surgical alternatives. Anyone who expresses interest in LASIK is someone you should speak to about ortho-k as a non-invasive alternative. You can and should also discuss the complications associated with LASIK, such as dry eye. Be proactive. If a patient has been disqualified for surgery, then ortho-k may very well be a viable alternative and, if so, bring it up.
Think Beyond Your Existing Patient Pool
The real trick to growing your myopia management practice is to think beyond your existing patient pool. As an experienced marketer for myopia management practices, I can tell you that this boils down to two crucial areas of focus:
- Online, using a solid content strategy to draw in and engage local relevant Google searches, and;
- Building a referral network.
Let’s jump into the online realm. Simply stating on your website that you provide myopia management, is not going to do much to bring you new patients. Most prospective patients don’t know what those terms are. Your content strategy needs to match what people are actually searching for. People don’t Google “ortho-k” or “myopia management” unless they are already familiar with these terms, or are themselves a practitioner. And even if they make an informed search for those terms, it’s detailed, authoritative content which will perform well in search results.
So…Vary Your Online Content
I’m going to mirror what I’ve said above: Maybe a parent is concerned about their child’s prescription getting worse all the time? Or perhaps an athlete is looking for an alternative to his or her daytime contacts. Or someone is looking for a non-surgical alternative to LASIK? The point is that these different questions/concerns result in different searches being made. You have to vary your online content with enough breadth to capture as broad a range of relevant topics related to your services as possible.
Think about how your patients ask about symptoms and treatment options. What phrases are they likely using to find answers? Then, craft content that exactly matches those questions and concerns. Fine-tune your writing to match the words people are likely to use. Combined with some local search terms for your city, Google will do the rest, and those searches will be landing right on your doorstep. That’s your chance to educate and engage while establishing yourself as the local expert in myopia management. This is the approach that will turn these Google searches into website visitors, and then bring those visitors from your website and into your examination room.
Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
Not everyone specializes in myopia management. Being proactive is crucial. As important as a robust online presence is, referrals from other professionals are even more critical. Do you have a specific surgeon that you refer patients to for cataract surgery? Or corneal cross-linking? Well, some reciprocity is due! If they feel that a patient would benefit more from ortho-k than surgery, you should be in the back of their minds as the place to send patients. Give him or her a call and ask to meet for lunch to discuss. It could mean a steady stream of high-revenue referrals.
And don’t stop there. Own your expertise and introduce yourself to as many relevant practices and professionals in the broader area around your office, maybe with a nice brochure or write-up that you can leave. In particular, optometrists working in corporate offices often do not offer myopia care. Drop by and discuss your expertise. Ask if they’re willing to send patients who need myopia management to your practice—just promise not to take the patients away for general optometric care or eyeglasses. You can even get creative by reaching out to local coaches and leagues to talk about ortho-k for athletes. The point is that the more you reach out as a local provider and expert, the more referral sources you can nurture. And that means a thriving myopia management practice.