Mobile Marketing – Seeing is Believing!

Seeing%20is%20Believing[1]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!

SMS Text

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”.

13251619-scanning-qr-code-with-mobile-smart-phone-isolated-on-white[1]QR Codes

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.Continue reading

EyeXam: Connect with Your Mobile Patients

Guest blogger: Nikki Iravani, O.D., founder of the EyeXam app

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.Logo

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

Use QR Codes to Drive Optical Sales

13251619-scanning-qr-code-with-mobile-smart-phone-isolated-on-white[1]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.

QR4EAvoid Showrooming

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.

Trouble Getting Organized? Try Evernote.

Guest blogger: Chad Fleming, OD, FAAO…

There is a need among optometrists  to be highly organized and technology affords you the ability to do this.  Due to the demands of practice efficiency this is a must in being successful.  Interestingly enough, I have met many ODs that are not organized and I wonder how they do it.  They attempt to utilize sticky notes or scrap paper.  Or they have a “technology” of using a word document to put their thoughts into.  I’ve also heard ODs that bookmark everything in their browser but then are unable to locate what they bookmarked because it is difficult to search bookmarks for content.  They attempt to juggle all the balls in their mind and then frustrate others by forgetting the little things.  They can’t find that piece of paper or bookmark that had information on it.  Unfortunately, the information is needed for the meeting that started 15 minutes ago.  For some it works, others, utter chaos!

Technology has changed this old way of project and task management.  The best organizational program available, in my opinion, is called Evernote.  This piece of software allows you to be organized from any computer or phone and it all syncs together simultaneously.  I currently use 3 main technology devices (iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air) and Evernote allows me to access data from any of them.  One key feature that I enjoy with Evernote is the ability to easily clip any web page and send it directly to Evernote for reference later.  Evernote will also efficiently search all notes and content within the notes.  I would not be capable of going completely paperless in optometry and in life if not for Evernote.  There are many other great features of this software.  The greatest thing is that it is free.

So where does this fit into transitioning an optometry practice.  It fits into the demand for you to be highly organized and efficient.  Having all your notes, quotes, recommendations, numbers, etc., all at your fingertips gives you a competitive advantage among your peers and give you the information you need when you need it to make good practice management decisions.  It also helps de-clutter that mind of yours.

About Chad: Chad Fleming, OD, FAAO  is an owner of a 4 doctor practice in Wichita, KS where he lives with his wife and 2 boys.  Dr. Fleming is also the Business & Career Consultant for AOA Excel.  He coaches doctors in becoming associates, transitioning to partners and selling optometry practices.  He is also founder/ceo of OptomteryCEO, LLC.

Need Help Finding The Right Contact?

The Right ContactGuest blogger.. Jason Compton, O.D.

For decades, contact lens professionals have used journals to obtain contact lens information.  While this was an adequate tool in the past, this search method is quickly turning obsolete.  Traditional print sources are just unable to assist practitioners with the thousands of contact lenses currently on the market.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to sift through all the excess to find the right product for one’s patient.

Times are changing and analysis shows that more and more people are turning to computers and mobile devices to find the information they need.  Has the contact lens market kept up with these changes?  Simply answered… No.  In order for doctors to learn about the various contact lens designs, and better understand their differences, there needs to be an easily accessible centralized location where one can review these lens specifications.  This location should be updated in real-time, offer new ways of analyzing contact lens products, host an online community and provide an overall next level resource for practitioners.  This is where TheRightContact.com comes in – a website designed to do just that, and much more. Continue reading

Add the Eye Health News Feed to Your Facebook Page

You have a Facebook page, but you can’t seem to find the time to post regularly.  To encourage repeat visits and practice loyalty, your practice Facebook page should provide frequent updates that are up to date and informative.  The Eye Health News Feed offered by AllAboutVision.com automatically updates your Facebook page with reliable, interesting and educational information… without any effort or cost.

How it works:

The Eye Health News Feed is designed to help keep Facebook pages up-to-date and informative for eye care practitioners. Doctors sign up for the feed here, and have the choice of a feed that posts once a week, or one that posts 2-3 times a week. There is also an international news feed for practices outside the U.S.  They recommend that practices have a member of their staff add the feed for them, but doctors do have the option of adding it themselves. Once it is added to a Facebook page, the Eye Health News Feed will update automatically with weekly posts.

Type of content:

The feed only posts eye health and vision news. It does not include any product news, so there’s never a conflict between the products a doctor uses in his or her office. You can see a feed-enabled Facebook page here for a reference of their recent posts.  It is a great way to educate patients and build Facebook traffic.

Added benefits:

The feed is completely free and can be paused at any time. The automatic updates of relevant news allow eye care professionals to focus on their own practice-related posts and promotions.

Steve Vargo, OD, MBA is president of iMobile Communications, a digital media marketing service.  He also writes and lectures on ways to improve practice efficiency and profitibility through technology and social media.

Power Practice: Dr. Gary Gerber Chats with New Media OD

Dr. Gary Gerber is president and founder of the Power Practice, an optometric consulting firm that specializes in making optometrists more profitable.  His own optometry practice was among the top 1% of practices in the world, and he has given lectures and presentations across the globe (and he also does magic)!

We recently had a chance to pick Gary’s brain on some of the ways technology and social media are changing the ways we market our practices.

New Media OD:  For those unfamiliar with Power Practice, please give us an overview of your services and business philosophy.

Dr. Gerber:  We provide customized, premium practice building services that are laser centered on powering a doctor’s personal and professional dreams.  Unlike some of our competitors, our programs are individually tailored to each practitioner’s personal goals and business aspirations.  Our philosophy and mantra is simple:  Our doctor’s have to succeed!  Ensuring our doctors succeed isn’t a task.  It’s our purpose.  And working with our doctors isn’t a job – it’s a relationship.  One that we take VERY seriously!

New Media OD:  From a business and marketing standpoint, how has technology and social media changed the marketing landscape for optometric practices?Continue reading

WOW Your Patients with Educational Videos – Interview with EyeMotion

In a recent post, Video Marketing – Demystified, I discussed the value and marketing potential of creating promotional or educational videos for your practice and sharing through a variety of digital media channels (website, Facebook, YouTube, emails, even text).  I also attempted to debunk the myth that creating and distributing video was difficult or even expensive.  That said, I understand that the idea of creating patient videos will not appeal to everyone.

But fear not my camera shy colleagues!  This week I bring you the magic of pre-designed video.  We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Rod Yost, president of EyeMotion.  EyeMotion is a website design company that also produces patient education videos.

New Media OD:  Let’s talk about EyeMotion.  Could you summarize the products and services you provide?

Rod:  EyeMotion is a full service website design company offering website hosting packages and patient education videos.

Because we concentrate only on the Eyecare industry we can focus on offering our clients great value on website designs and all related services and backed by great customer service.  Most of our clients choose to incorporate our EyeMotion Patient Education Center into their website and to my knowledge we are the only company that can offer both design and animations from one company.

New Media OD:  Discuss the impact that video can have on the viewing experience when patients visit your site.Continue reading

How are your colleagues using mobile devices in practice?

As part of an upcoming article in Review of Optometric Business on using mobile devices in an optometric practice, I reached out to my colleagues for feedback on how they are using smartphones and tablets to educate, inform and entertain.  I’ve listed a few of the more interesting ways our fellow ODs are using this technology.

  • Dispensary:  Harry Wiessner, OD uses an Android Acer “slate” to take pictures of patients wearing different frames.   It has a 10-inch screen and a front and back facing camera.  After a technician takes the pictures, the patient can view themselves from different angles, plus the pictures can be sent directly to the patient or their family.
  • Developmental Vision:  Dr. Dominick Maino, developmental optometrist, uses the Parks 3 Step, Sight Selector and VisionSim from the Braille Institute to help diagnose problems, show patient examples and provide patient education.
  • Entertainment:  Jenny Carter, OD uses movies and games to help keep kids still while the parents or siblings are having their eye exam or choosing glasses.
  • Translating languages:  Dr. Mark Degainis recently used Dragon Dictation to communicate with a deaf mute.  He dictated and the patient read the transcribed side of the conversation.  There are also apps, such as Google Translate, that can translate words and phrases for almost any language.  You simply speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translation.
  • Clinical: Several ODs mentioned they use the smartphone to take slit lamp photos to educate patients or family members.  You simply hold your phone up to the oculars and draw back to focus the image, or use hardware such as the iExaminer.  You can take anterior seg photos through the slit lamp of everything from fluorescein photos of RGPs, corneal pathology, iris anomalies, lens changes, weiss rings, etc.  You can even send the photos to the lab for consultation assistance.

These are just a few examples.  Be on the lookout for the full article.  Care to contribute?  How do you use mobile devices in your practice?

Viddy: Promote Your Practice in 15 Seconds or Less

Ever considered using video to connect with your patients?  Don’t have enough time, you say?  Got 15 seconds?  Viddy is one of the hottest video sharing apps available for mobile phones.

What is Viddy?

Viddy is a relatively new social network centered on creating and sharing 15-second video clips.  Since your video uploads are limited to 15-seconds or less, it’s a similar experience to Twitter’s 140-character limit.  You can start by downloading the app in the Apple iTunes store.   It will ask if you want to add Viddy to your Facebook timeline, which you can accept or decline.  Videos are either shot with your iPhone camera (the recently released Android version is called ViddyMe) or selected from your photo library.  You can easily edit your videos with special effects, color filters and music soundtracks.  When you post a video to the Viddy network, it will invite you to post it to your other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr.

Viddy has a user base of 26 million people, and is used mostly on smartphones and mobile devices.  Americans spend 2.7 hours a day socializing on mobile, and video streaming increased 93% from 2010 to 2011.  The rise of mobile users makes this a great tool to connect with on-the-go patients.

Here are a few ways to use 15 second videos to promote your practice:Continue reading