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How Do I Grow My Optometry Practice?

Eye care professionals today must navigate through challenges that can make staying afloat, let alone growing, complicated. With rising living costs, patients are increasingly cautious with their spending—which means regular eye exams and updates to eyewear, once considered routine, are being pushed off. 

Then we have to factor in the eye care industry’s retail giants. In North America, names like Specsavers, LensCrafters, Warby Parker, and more continue to expand their reach. With aggressive pricing strategies and extensive marketing reach, they can pose a significant challenge to independent optometry practices.

Even with economic pressures and competitive challenges, your opportunity for growth still exists. 

The key to growth lies in understanding the unique value of personalized, high-quality eye care and communicating this effectively to your patient base. Here we’ll explore strategies that can help your practice not only survive but thrive, from digital marketing to community engagement. 

Optimize Your Website

An optimized website is the digital version of a great storefront. You want to make sure it’s built with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, which makes it easy to find—so when your patients are looking for eye care, they come to you first. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Use the Right Words: Think about what people type into Google when they’re looking for an eye doctor. They might use words like “eye exam,” “best glasses,” or “contact lenses near me.” Make sure your website talks about these services using these words. This shows Google that your site has the answers people are looking for.
  2. Make Your Website Responsive: No one likes to wait, and if your website takes too long to load, people might leave before they even see what you offer. You can check how fast your site is with tools like WebPageTest. If it’s slow, you might need to make some changes, like reducing image sizes or simplifying your design.
  3. Optimize for Mobile: Over 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. Make sure your website looks good and works well on mobile devices. This means buttons should be easy to click, text should be easy to read, and pages should load quickly.
  4. Use Local Keywords: Since you’re a local business, make sure you mention your city or neighbourhood on your website. This way, when someone searches for “eye doctor in [Your City],” your practice has a better chance of showing up.

Leverage Social Media

Social media has become a powerful tool to help your audience find out about your eye care services. Here’s how you can use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to connect with potential patients:

  1. Share Helpful Tips
  2. Offer Special Deals
  3. Engage with Your Followers
  4. Show Behind the Scenes
  5. Use Hashtags and Location Tagging

Your social media accounts are about more than just selling—it’s your chance to create a community that trusts your expertise and enjoys interacting with your brand.

Claim Your Google Business Profile

When it comes to local visibility, your Google Business Profile can significantly boost how easily potential patients can find you. Claiming and optimizing this listing is crucial because it directly impacts your presence in local searches and Google Maps. 

Start by ensuring all your practice’s information is up-to-date and accurate, including your location, hours of operation, and contact details. High-quality photos of your practice, your team, and any products or services you offer add a personal touch and can make your listing more appealing. 

Encouraging satisfied patients to leave positive reviews can also improve your reputation and visibility, as these reviews are a key factor Google considers when ranking businesses in search results. Posting regular updates or offers directly on your Google Business Profile can keep your practice top of mind and inform potential patients about what sets your practice apart.

Start a Patient Referral Program

Implementing a patient referral program can significantly boost your patient base by leveraging the trust of your current patients. Here’s a structured approach to creating your own:

Step One: The Basics

  • Define the Rewards: Decide what incentives motivate patients to participate. This could be discounts on future services, free products (e.g., a pair of lenses or eyewear accessories), or even gift cards.
  • Set Clear Terms: Outline how patients can refer others and how rewards are earned and redeemed. Specify if there are any limits, such as a maximum number of referrals per patient or a timeframe within which the referral must book an appointment.

Step Two: Spread the Word

  • In-Office Promotion: Start by informing your existing patients during their visits. Use printed materials like brochures or flyers—but staff should also be trained to discuss the program and answer any questions.
  • Email Announcement: Send out an email to your patient list introducing the referral program.
  • Social Media and Website: Use your practice’s social media platforms and website to promote the referral program. 

Step Three: Make it Easy

  • Referral Cards: Provide physical referral cards that your patients can give to friends and family. These should include information about your practice and the referral program, as well as a space for the referring patient to write their name and receive credit.
  • Digital Referral Options: Offer a way for patients to refer others through your website or a digital platform. This could include a form to fill out or an email template they can send.

Engage in Community Events

Participating in community events can grow your practice’s visibility and connect you directly with potential patients. This could look like sponsoring a local sports team, having a booth at a community fair, or supporting local causes. Being active in your community demonstrates a commitment to their well-being, helping you cement yourself as the go-to eye care provider in the area.

Hosting your own event can be a great way to bring people together and create a buzz around your business—especially when you’re offering an exciting new treatment like dry eye care. 

Consider Collaborations and Partnerships

Identify possible partners like local businesses, schools, non-profits, community centers, and local events. The key is to find organizations that align with your values and where your products or services can add value. 

You can get creative—If there is a salon near your practice, for example, you could create a collaborative referral that patients sent to either business from the other receive a small discount. Whether you create a unique service together or combine your current offerings in a way that makes sense, everyone will benefit from the agreement. 

Start Your Growth One Step at a Time

It can feel intimidating to put together and execute a marketing plan—especially when you’re running a business. Breaking down your big goals into smaller, achievable goals for each week can help. We recommend putting together a checklist and keeping yourself accountable with a calendar, or even by looking into productivity software.

We also understand that even with the best tools and intentions, marketing can take precious time away from your primary focus: caring for your patients. This is where there’s value in partnering with a marketing team. 
This partnership allows you to dedicate your time and effort to what you do best—providing exceptional eye care to your patients—while your marketing team focuses on growing your business. For more information on taking your practice to the next level of growth, reach out to our team—we can put together a tailored strategy and outline your next steps.

Written by hailey

More Articles By hailey

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