Published in Ocular Surface
Let’s Make Things Clear: Tips for Marketing Your Dry Eye Practice
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Marketing a dry eye practice requires a combined effort of networking with classic marketing tactics. Here are tips to help you kickstart and promote a stand-alone dry eye business.
After seeing legions of patients suffering from dry eye symptoms in my optometry practice, I saw a clear need for a dedicated resource for those dealing with this progressive, debilitating condition. A focus on education, solid professional relationships, and standard marketing tactics are all key in promoting a stand-alone dry eye business.
I’m sharing my best tips to help you kickstart your own practice.
Focus on personal outreach to area eyecare providers.
It’s a digital world for sure, but networking with a personal touch with local eye doctors is key. After all, you’re working to prove who you are over time as an eyecare and dry eye expert. I’ve introduced myself to other eyecare professionals by visiting them in person with a branded bag filled with referral tear off sheets, business cards, and some swag.
Make it clear you’re a partner, not a competitor.
When I initially started my dry eye practice, it was within the same walls as my optometry business. As I’ve networked, I’ve made it clear that there is a hard division between my dry eye and my optometry patients. Patients that are referred to me by other providers for dry eye treatment cannot stay for primary eyecare.
My goal is to build trust as a dry eye specialist, so that providers know their patients are in good hands when they are in my care. When working with referring doctors, my ultimate goal is to return each patient to their original provider with improved symptoms, ready for ongoing care. My dry eye practice is not a mechanism to poach patients for my optometry practice, which I make clear in every interaction with potential referring doctors. These professional relationships are all about mutual trust and an essential component to my marketing is building this trust over time.
My work with referring providers does not stop with that initial contact, either. I foster that relationship with diligent follow up, charting back with my recommended treatment plan and subsequent results.
Invest in your website and social channels.
As important as the personal connection is in establishing a new dry eye practice, a digital presence cannot be ignored. It is not only a virtual calling card, but a way to provide more information about dry eye symptoms and treatment. It gives a platform for both patient and professional education. Plus this type of information is so easily shareable, for word-of-mouth marketing.
Share your expertise.
I frequently lecture on my subspeciality of dry eye on a local level. In the greater Cincinnati area, I’m known as the hometown expert on the subject, frequently speaking with professional groups and writing a monthly column on dry eye education to fellow optometrists. It’s not just in the professional setting either. I network with local journalists and am happy to lend my expertise too, as a community service, since dry eye is both pervasive and under-diagnosed.
Become a resource to healthcare specialists and experts.
Dry eye isn’t just a subject for ophthalmologists and optometrists. I network with other specialists, like allergists, endocrinologists and rheumatologists. Patients with conditions managed by these subspecialists often suffer from dry eye symptoms and I make myself available as a resource for ongoing patient care.
Prepare patients for elective procedures.
Dry eye symptoms can limit a patient’s ability to undergo elective ophthalmic surgeries, like LASIK. My partnerships with ophthalmologists with a focus on elective procedures have been quite successful. Positive results from dry eye treatment in my office can lead to positive results from their subsequent surgeries, which is a win for all involved.
Treatment success is the ultimate marketing tool.
I see so many patients who have come to accept that dry eye symptoms are a part of adult life. I have seen patients in absolute misery, who have been seeking relief from dry eye for years. Often, by the time a patient is in the chair of a dry eye specialist like me, it is their last option to find relief before just giving up.
These patients want results and are willing to do what it takes to get there. Once they find a successful dry eye treatment, their positive results are very powerful. Someone who has found relief after years of dry eye symptoms is ready to cheer from the mountain tops. The results-driven nature of this business makes organic, word-of-mouth marketing a great tactic to harness.
Marketing a dry eye practice really requires a combined effort of networking with classic marketing tactics, which do require time and effort. However the positive results that many patients experience, often after years of suffering, makes the entire process much easier than you might think.