Looking for ways to stay connected with your patients between visits, while making the in-office experience more interactive? Mobile is the most dynamic and ubiquitous communications channel available today, and easily integrates into existing traditional marketing channels. Check out Seeing is Believing – optometry’s first virtual conference dedicated to teaching practitioners about online tools, techniques and technology. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the topics I’ll be discussing as part of my presentation – Mobile Marketing and Communication – Go Where the Eyes Are!
We love text messaging! Everywhere we go we see people feverishly tapping away on their mobile devices. What was once just for personal use is slowly finding a place in our practices, mostly for things like appointment reminders and alerts (ie. “your glasses are ready for pick-up”). But what about SMS as a marketing tool? SMS marketing is permission-based, meaning patients must opt-in to receive your messages. As opposed to mass marketing like e-blasts or direct mail, permission-based marketing creates opportunities to define a niche market and design marketing campaigns specific to that group. Got a dry eye specialty? Vision therapy? Sports vision? Looking for ways to build awareness and attract new patients? I’ll discuss a few ways to get people interested in joining your “mobile club”.
QR codes are basically a link that connects to digital content when scanned with a smartphone. They are a fun and interactive way to direct people to your website, Facebook page or even Youtube videos. They are also a great way to drive sales by making your optical more educational. For ex. “scan the image to see how sunglasses protect the eyes from harmful UV radiation”. I’ll provide a list of free informational vids you can use in your optical. Read more »
EyeXam is currently the #1 app on the App store when searching for “eye exam” or “eye doctor”.
From a consumer standpoint, consumers can download the free app to conveniently communicate with VSP offices. The most popular and highly-rated features of the app include appointment scheduling anytime-anywhere, instant messaging offices to ask questions, place optical and contact lens replacement orders, set personalized reminders, view on-going promotions for eye-related products and receive notifications from VSP offices regarding upcoming promotions, sales and trunk shows.
From a practitioners’ standpoint, the EyeXam Dashboard will connect the eyecare provider’s office with new and existing patients by providing valuable information about perspective patients who are in the area looking for eyecare providers and have looked at the practitioner’s profile. This enhanced marketing tool is crucial in the eyecare providers ability to expand their practice. Offices who subscribe to the mobile platform can promote sales at their offices, send reminders to their patients and communicate with their patients via EyeXam without bombarding their email and text message inboxes. VSP providers are already listed in the mobile app and can take advantage of the app’s great features by upgrading their profile for a low monthly subscription fee.
More information about EyeXam can be found at: http://www.eyexam.com
QR codes are still a bit of an enigma for many people. If you’re one of those people, you might think that most people share the same indifference toward these funny looking bar codes. However, you might be surprised to hear that more than 50% of smartphone owners have scanned a QR code (ComScore), and they have grown by 120% from this time last year (NeoMedia).
Any smartphone equipped with a camera and a QR reader can scan a QR code, which serves as a link connecting you with digital or web content. This technology allows you to interact with your patients and customers on a higher level. Patients can scan these codes to learn about your products or services in a more interactive way. Consider placing these in your optical or dispensary inviting patients to scan the code to see a video on the benefits of polarized lenses, progressives, etc. Although we train our opticians to discuss these benefits, people tend to have a stronger emotional reaction to visual imagery. If patients can “see” the value, they may be pre-sold before even sitting down with the optician.
Showrooming is when a customer enters a brick and morter store to touch and feel the product and then goes online or to a big-box competitor to purchase at a lower price. While this is most common with electronics and retail clothing, I think its nonetheless worthy of our attention as online frame vendors become increasingly prevelant. Research has shown that the longer you can keep customers in your business and engaged in the products you sell, the greater the chance you will keep the sale in-house. Click HERE to see a quick video on QR codes and the showrooming effect.
Make it Easy!
A few suggestions on QR codes: If room permits, provide brief instructions for your tech-averse patients (ie. visit scan.mobi on your smartphone and download the QR reader). Also, let them know what will happen when they scan the code. Don’t simply assume they will scan it just because you placed it there. Lastly, consider that people who scan QR codes are on their mobile phone. Don’t send them to your desktop website. People on-the-go have short attention spans and want quick info, a full website does not render well on a 3 inch screen. Now if you have a “mobile website” – that’s a different story!
Turn Scans into Revenue
It should also be noted that a third of people who scan a QR code have a household income over $100K, so these might serve to attract consumers of a higher income level with greater spending power.
If you’re looking for ways to make your optical more interactive, click HERE to access a list of QR codes that link to educational videos. Take as many as you like – they’re free! (author’s note: I do have permission from the various companies to use / distribute these videos for patient education purposes)
About Steve: Steve Vargo, O.D., M.B.A. is in private practice in St. John, Indiana where he lives with his wife and 2 sons. He also founded iMobile Communications, and frequently writes and lectures about using technology for marketing and communication.