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How Did We Grow An Optometry Practice By 20% In A Global Pandemic?

At Marketing4ECPs, we work with a wide range of eye care practices all over North America. The fantastic strategy our Marketing Directors do with our clients is truly what sets us apart in the industry. But what goes into our marketing strategies?  And how do we help grow your eyecare practice? 

We had the opportunity to chat with one of our amazing clients, Dr. William To, entrepreneur and owner of Optical Illusions, and Marketing4ECPs co-Founder, Trudi Charest as well as Marketing Director, Joe Van Kampen. 

This blog recaps the video interview with Dr. To, including how we develop strategies and marketing plans. Dr. To was able to see incredible results, even during a global pandemic of over 20% growth. 

Check out the full video at the bottom of this blog!

A Brief History of Dr. To’s Practice 

Dr. To purchased his practice in the fall of 2019, 6 months before COVID-19 became a global pandemic and forced businesses to close for extended periods and for consumers to be forced to be at home. At the time Dr. To purchased his practice, it was 40 years old and primarily retail-based, and he wanted to expand the practice to offer more medical and comprehensive specialties. 

Joe Van Kampen met Dr. To at EyeInnovate, a marketing and growth conference hosted by Marketing4ECPs in 2019. Dr. To and Joe started chatting about his recently purchased practice and how customized digital solutions could build a stronger online presence. Dr. To joined Marketing4ECPs and started building a brand new practice website.

What Prompted Dr. To to Join Our Marketing Agency?

While Dr. To had digital marketing experience through building his own personal brand, chatting with Joe made him realize that he didn’t know what he didn’t know, and there were gaps in his knowledge when it came to marketing his new practice. Dr. To was a digital marketing enthusiast and wanted experts to step in to help him build Optical Illusions. 

As an entrepreneur and practice owner, Dr. To did not have the time to focus on marketing his new business the way Marekting4ECPs could. Having an entire team focused on selling his practice based on its unique needs, whether through a la carte services or our membership, was just what his practice needed. 

We never pressured Dr. To to spend more money when he didn’t see the results right away, and Joe encouraged him to trust the process, which was hard to do at first, but something he came to appreciate. Because money is not the primary focus for our agency (it is overall results), Dr. To was able to trust Joe and his recommendations when we felt he needed to increase his budget or scale back because his business may not have handled all of the opportunities we saw at once.

What is Joe’s Role as A Marketing Director, and How Did He Develop A Relationship with Dr. To? 

When we begin to work with practices, we develop a strategy that focuses on understanding where the practice wants to be in a year and three years from now. When we started working with Dr. To, he was three months into the purchase of his new practice, and his primary goal was growth and patient acquisition. 

Once Dr. To’s custom website launched, we started an aggressive lead generation strategy to bring in as many new, high revenue-generating patients as possible. Once we were able to see that the lead generation was working, we began to open up the top of the marketing funnel and focus on awareness and branding his business through avenues such as Google Display ads. Once we saw the display ads were performing well, we branched out to Facebook and YouTube ads, followed by organic social media. 

One of the main aspects that sets Marketing4ECPs apart from other agencies is our stepping stone approach. If we were to jump in with all of these different marketing services at once, we would overwhelm the practice. It is imperative to look at where the practice is at, where it wants to go and develop a plan to get there gradually. 

Joe works with our clients, like Dr. To, to build quarterly strategies and meets with clients monthly to ensure we are reaching their desired goals. Working this way allows us to make adjustments when needed and fail fast and move on when things are not working. We are also eyecare-only experts, which means we get to pull marketing strategies from experts and eyecare professionals across Canada and the USA. We know what has worked in the past for other eye care businesses and watch closely and make adjustments when needed. 

When working with Dr. To (and all of our clients), Joe’s primary goal is to get the practice to where they want to go and build a strategy to assist in doing that. 

We have seen a lot of success from the strategy we created with Dr. To. The practice usually saw 500-600 new patients a year; however, after he started working with Marketing4ECPs, even during COVID, he saw almost 1000 new patients last year. 

What is it Like to Work with A Seasoned Marketer Like Joe and have Ongoing Access and Meetings with Him?

Our Marketing Directors are one of the best parts of our program. Each team member knows about the eye care industry and are seasoned digital marketers.  They know what can grow an eye care business. Each person brings their insights, data, and analysis to the table when working with a practice. 

When Dr. To first started working with Joe, he appreciated the time we took to understand his new practice, objectives and goals. This was a big game-changer for Dr. To as part of him wanted to jump right in and get to work, but looking back, he understands the importance of setting the foundation and working gradually. Once Joe felt he understood Dr. To and his practice, he started to roll out the marketing initiatives slowly. The gradual step-by-step approach helped him to realize what was going on within the program in its entirety and the meaning behind each of the services we were implementing. 

One of the most critical aspects of marketing is understanding your target market and the best way to reach them. When we first started working with Dr. To, Joe took the time to understand the demographics inducing age, income, and location. Of course, Dr. To would have loved to work with everyone, but Joe helped him understand the importance of choosing a target market by looking at the practice location and who is most likely to want to visit the practice. 

A Marketing Director was the integral piece in helping Dr. To understand the why behind the methods we were implementing. It’s easy for a practice owner to say they want more patients, but can the practice handle more patients? How many new patients need to be brought into the practice before new staff are hired?  Helping our clients such as Dr. To understand these aspects when it comes to marketing was important. 

He also felt that by working closely with Joe, he was able to prepare his practice for what was to come during 2020, and he is thrilled with the place his practice is at now. 

How Did Joe Build A Strategy for Dr. To? 

We always start with the foundation which is the practice website.  All roads lead to the website. If a practices’ website is outdated or not converting, the practice isn’t going to see an ROI. Your website not only helps you bring in new patients, but all digital and social advertisements usually lead to the website as well. 

There are generally two types of businesses out there: those who build beautiful websites and those who know how to market. We do both at Marketing4ECPs. 

When we build a website, we first do a deep dive into the demographics – where the target market lives, income level, and their unique needs such as blue light glasses,  dry eyes, or fashion-forward consumers. It is essential to discuss this at the beginning of developing a strategy because the consumer you want to reach are not necessarily the people you are currently reaching. 

We then build a catered website to the demographics’ unique needs and advertise on platforms and avenues we know will resonate with these individuals. 

Ultimately, each practice we work with is unique. So many things go into creating custom strategies in addition to the website. We look at the life of the practice owner. For example, Dr.To is an entrepreneur who wants to own multiple businesses, so it is vital to identify what we can take off of his plate to achieve his goals to allow him to grow as an individual. Moreover, this may also involve taking items off other individuals’ plates, such as the office manager, to focus directly on the practice needs. 

Which Part of the Strategy has Worked the Best? Any Surprises? 

Dr. To was very surprised with how quickly the marketing worked. While there was a slow ramp-up during the first 3-4 months, it wasn’t long after this that Dr. To started feeling the effects in his business. While the positive data may be prevalent initially, it can be challenging to believe the results if you’re not seeing them right away. However, the monthly meetings with Joe helped to ease Dr. To’s concerns. 

According to Dr. To, our marketing accelerated his growth and made everything more accessible, as he has a lot more time to focus on other ventures than he ever has before. While having more free time, he has also seen immense growth within his practice and has hired more staff because of the number of new patients coming through his doors. 

Marketing Tips

Now that you’ve heard about the incredible success Dr. To has had working with Marking4ECPs let’s go over a couple of marketing tips your eye care business can begin to implement today. 

Tip from Joe Van Kampen

Understand what your marketing budget needs to be, and it can’t be zero! Look at your sales and delegate 3% to spend on marketing to maintain your current position. If you’re looking to grow, you need to be spending at least 10% of your annual sales on marketing. 

Tip from Dr. Will To

Set aside your pride and ego. It can be hard to let go of control because we have such a high knowledge level as optometrists and practice owners. It can be challenging to give up control, but it’s essential to admit that we are not the best at everything. 

Tip from Trudi Charest

As a business owner, invest your money to make more money! Don’t do it yourself! You may think you are trying to save money, but you are probably losing money by spending your valuable time on marketing. Digital marketing done right will make you money, and at the end of the day, marketing should be an investment for your practice, not an expense. 

If you want to learn more about what we can do for your practice, book a demo.

Watch the Full Video Interview

Written by Lauren Muirhead

More Articles By Lauren Muirhead

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