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The Optometrist’s Guide to Understanding Your Ideal Patient

It can be easy to fall into the trap of “marketing to more patients means more revenue”, but the majority of the time that is not the case. This is especially true for optometry. After all, everyone needs to see an optometrist at some point, right? While everybody requires eye care, not everyone can visit one optometrist. In order to reach the best patients for your practice, you first need to figure out who your ideal patient is.

Understanding Your Patients to Maximize Profits

Understanding your ideal patient will allow you to use your marketing budget in the most effective way possible. By ideal patient, we mean the most profitable patient for your practice. Through understanding your most profitable patient, you will be able to market to them better and better marketing means:

  • Fewer wasted marketing dollars
  • Higher return on investment
  • Better understanding of your patient’s needs

At the end of the day, a better understanding not only benefits you but your patients as well. It allows you to reach your patients better and gives you a better idea of what they want from their optometrist. This understanding will allow you to provide more value to your patients by offering the products and services they are looking for.

To start to determine who your ideal patient is, ask yourself:

  • Who will find my service and products valuable?
  • Who will become a brand advocate?
  • Who will develop brand loyalty?
  • Who will spend the most, the most frequently?

Targeting Your Optimal Patients

Now that you have a general idea of who you’re looking for in an ideal patient, it’s time to go in-depth and determine their characteristics. To do this, we’ll use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. It can sound complicated at first, but as you go through the process of analyzing your ideal patient you will begin to create a comprehensive profile of who they are.

Market Segmentation

It’s important to use data to help determine who your ideal patients are. To do this we segment the market based on the following characteristics:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, income, education, family status, occupation.
  • Psychographics: Interests, hobbies, values, attitudes, lifestyle.
  • Geographics: Neighbourhood, city, region, country.
  • Behaviour: The how, what, where, when, and why behind their purchase.

Some of these traits will be easier to measure than others, but they’re all important factors to consider when thinking about your target market segment, and ultimately your ideal patient. Once you have your target market, you’re ready to move forward and create a patient persona.

Patient Persona

At this point, you should have a good understanding of who your ideal patient is. You know what they’re looking for in an optometrist and you understand who they are. The next step is creating a persona with this information. If you could create your perfect patient, who would they be? That’s your patient persona.

A patient persona helps you create a marketing strategy that speaks directly to who you are trying to target. Many people make the mistake of using marketing that speaks to them and what they like, instead of their patients. By creating a persona, you’ll have a better idea of what your ideal patient likes, where they are, and how they behave so you can reach them as effectively as possible.

To build a patient persona, consider the following:

  • Personal background: Values, personality types, motivators.
  • Career info: Education, income, industry, title, business goals.
  • Challenges: Daily pain points or objections.
  • Goals: Aspirations, inspirations, personal development.
  • Decision making: Shopping, criteria, behaviour.
  • Daily influence: Their car, house, neighbourhood, responsibilities, what they eat, activities they do.

The more in-depth you go with your patient persona, the better you’ll be able to reach your ideal patient. You can even take it a step further and create a visual representation of your ideal patient using pictures from an image search online.

Tailoring Your Message to Your Patients

Now that you know your ideal patients inside and out, you can begin tailoring your marketing messages to those patients. Knowing your ideal patient will allow you to determine the right messaging and medium, in the right place, at the right time.

Some questions to start asking yourself are:

  • How does their behaviour influence what kind of messaging will speak to them?
  • Where do they live, what do they do, what kind of hours do they work?
  • When is the right time to reach them and where?

Basically, think about where your ideal patient finds their information. For example, if your ideal patient is a senior with cataracts, you shouldn’t be trying to reach them through Instagram ads. Similarly, if your ideal patient is a trendy young professional, don’t take out a newspaper ad. Keep your ideal patient in mind at all times when making marketing decisions.

Need help finding your ideal patient? We’ve helped optometrists across North America determine their ideal patient to create a better marketing strategy and better business outcomes. Give us a call at 1-877-707-3459 or book a demo online and start understanding your patients better.

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Sarah Hood / Director-of-marketing-communications

Sarah is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Marketing4ECPs. She has over ten years experience in community relations, communications and digital marketing. Outside of work, Sarah is a working mom who enjoys traveling to speaking engagements and teaching Post-Secondary Marketing.

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