Video Marketing – Demystified

So I had this great marketing idea…create video of yourself demonstrating all the great services your practice has to offer, and offer patients a way to sign up to receive this free, compelling eye information.  For example, you’re trying to grow a vision therapy specialty – create video showing how VT/DV can improve learning and sports performance.  What parent or high-school athlete wouldn’t be intrigued?  Invite patients to opt-in on their phone to receive these videos, and occasionally send out the videos to everyone on your list.

Video Production : Cameraman in a computer monitor. Isolated on whiteI recently pitched this idea to a management consultant.  We’ll call her Megan, because that was her name.  Not her exact words, but she basically informed me that most ODs would crawl into the fetal position at the thought of having to produce videos.  And you know what..she’s probably right!

Why Video? 

Video marketing is not new, but its importance as a powerful marketing tool is becoming increasingly clear. YouTube is now the second most used search engine to Google. According to comScore’s May 2011 U.S. Online Video Rankings, 83 percent of the U.S. Internet audience (176 million people) viewed online video in May, averaging 15.9 hours worth of video in one month.

Visuals are typically more appealing than written text or even pictures. Video creates a much more personal connection with your patients.  Video gives people a chance to get to know you personally and a great way to establish your authority.  Investing in online video can have a great impact on your marketing and improve visibility and brand identity for your practice. Continue reading

4 Ways to Use Text Messaging in Your Practice

Remember when cell phones were just, well…phones?  Nowadays we increasingly rely on those little hand-held devices to perform everything from paying bills to making dinner reservations.  People of all ages and economic backgrounds are becoming more mobile savvy.  Mobile cell phones have become the epicenter of all digital convergence – fixed telecoms, the internet, banking, social networks, and even advertising are all migrating to mobile. Morgan Stanley reported in 2007 that 91% of the owners of mobile phones keep the phone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day, and Nokia reported in 2010 that the average cell phone user glances at his phone 150 times per day. In just over a decade, the mobile phone has become the most widely owned and used technology in the world.

While the primary use of cell phones is still communication, the past few years have shown a dramatic shift from voice calls as the primary use of cell phones to SMS (simple message service) texts.  SMS text messaging is used by 59% of the planet’s population, and nearly every mobile phone is capable of receiving text messages.  There are almost 3 times as many active users of SMS as there are total number of personal computers on the planet, and nearly twice as many people text than email. As more or our patients rely on text messaging as their primary means of mobile communication, it may be time to consider this a viable patient communication tool.

Here are 4 ways to connect with patients via text:

  1. Appointment reminders.  Due to the time-sensitive nature of SMS texts, appointment reminders are ideal for this mode of communication.  This will likely be more popular with the younger patients, although the generational lines are becoming blurred when it comes to texting.  Most offices that offer text appt reminders also offer traditional methods such as email, postcard, or phone calls.Continue reading

Improve Patient Compliance with the EyeDROPS app

As most of us are aware, compliance can be a major obstacle in patient care, especially for chronic conditions such as glaucoma and dry eye.  EyeDROPS is a free app that patients can download to keep track of all their eye medications and remind them when to take them.  Recently I spoke with Thomas Harbin, M.D.,M.B.A., co-developer of EyeDrops – The Eye Drop Reminder App.

Eye Drops : Senior man putting eye dropsNew Media OD:  Let’s discuss the EyeDROPS app.  What inspired its development?

Dr. Harbin:  I have been practicing with a specialty in glaucoma for over 35 years and non-compliance has always been a huge frustration.  We work with our patients, have written schedules and do our best, but the problem continued.  After loading a number of apps on my iPhone, the light finally dawned on a way to help patients remember when to take their drops- develop an app!!

New Media OD:  What features are available with this app?

Dr. Harbin:  The basic version, which is free, allows the user to schedule all drops via a pull-down list and receive notification when a drop is due.  Tap the screen; the event is recorded; and a pop-up reminds the user to close the eyes for a minute. The app keeps track of the number of drops used per bottle and warns when a given bottle is low.  One can then tap to call the pharmacy.

We will soon release a premium version which will involve a nominal fee.  With this version, the user will get weekly reminders of how well their compliance is doing and be able to send their compliance record to their doctor or concerned family member. They can record their personal eye health history- drops used in the past and reason for stopping, past surgeries and all other pertinent details. These details, including the ability to record IOP’s at each visit on a graph, will be synced between phone and website.  There will be a chat room and games to stimulate compliance.  Users of the premium version will be able to enter the schedule of a family member as well as themselves. Continue reading

eyecareScore: New Tool to Measure Patient Feedback

As increasing numbers of our patients are seeking information about health care providers from the Internet, review sites and social media, monitoring patient satisfaction has never been more important.  Recently New Media OD had the pleasure of interviewing Ronald Krefman OD, founder of eyecareScore,  a survey tool to measure, understand and improve patient feedback.

New Media OD:  Please describe your background and what inspired you to create eyecareScore.

Dr. Krefman:  Some 30 years ago my first position as an optometrist was faculty in the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Illinois Eye Hospital. This led to research and conducting clinical trials that rely on patient outcomes reports.  With that knowledge I was inspired to develop an evidence based measure of the eyecare patient experience based on the following observations: an over-abundance of unsolicited reviewing going on, and its potential negative impact on practitioners; the lack of a standardized measures of the eyecare experience; health reform calls for transparency and accountability in reporting that may lead to pay for performance based upon patient satisfaction scores;  and the lack of an eyecare specific patient experience measuring tool.

New Media OD:  How does your system work?

Dr. Krefman:  eyecareScore® measures patient feedback through an online survey. Patients are either invited by email to take the survey, or given the website and an authentication code to access the survey.  Results are tabulated instantly and subscribing eyecare practices can log in and view their confidential results and compare their performance over time, and to an aggregated score of their peers.

The survey questionnaire is broken into composite scores for the Dr., the Staff, Access to Care, the Optical Dispensary, and the Managed Care Plan. Each composite summary score is based upon five to six of the best questions to ask, as proven through detailed statistical and psychometric analysis.  These questions are the key drivers of patient satisfaction and advocacy  in top performing practices. For each question we have established representative and validated peer benchmarks for subscribers to measure against. We measure Net Promoter Score and also have tools to easily sort and read through open comments. Continue reading

Apps in Eye Care – EyeDock Interview with New Media OD

As mobile devices and applications have become more user-friendly and affordable, the appeal to businesses of all types, including eye care professionals, has grown considerably.  Information that previously required online searches or flipping through printed references is now available in just a few clicks on a smartphone.

Established in 2002, the EyeDock website has become a leading online clinical reference for optometry.  Through positive word-of-mouth and press coverage in several trade publications, EyeDock now has a subscriber base of nearly 3000 eye care professionals.  New Media OD had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Todd Zarwell, founder of the EyeDock website and app.

New Media OD:  Dr. Zarwell, thank you for taking the time to discuss EyeDock with us.  Can you tell us what inspired the development of EyeDock?

Dr. Zarwell: Well, in about 2000 or so I was working at multiple clinic locations and I was always forgetting to bring my contact lens catalogue with me.  I kept doing web searches for contact lens parameters and was frustrated that I wasn’t getting any results.  It seemed like the internet would be a perfect place for a contact lens database because it would allow for searches by names, company, parameters, etc.

After a while I started to wonder if I could make something like this myself.  I enjoyed writing little programs as a kid in the 80’s and I was interested in learning more about websites.  I thought this would be a fun little project, so I bought an introductory book on HTML and learned enough to know I had a lot more to learn.  I bought books on database structure and server-side programming and slowly cobbled together the first version of EyeDock. Continue reading

5 Ways to Attract New Patients with Mobile Marketing

In today’s fast-paced and mobile world, mobile marketing must be considered as a viable addition to the marketing mix.  By placing truly relevant and targeted marketing messages where the most eyeballs are focused, a message is sure to be read and responded to. And nowhere are there more eyeballs than on the screens of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

According to a recent poll by Web.com, 84% of small businesses it surveyed that had a mobile presence saw new business activity as a direct result of their mobile marketing activities

Attracting and retaining patients with mobile marketing typically involves either pulling people toward your messages or pushing your messages out. Here are 5 mobile-marketing channels that’ll help your efforts:

  1. Text-messaging (SMS).  Pull patients to your SMS messages by asking them to opt-in to your text-messaging list. This is typically most effective when combined with an incentive like a discount or promotion.  Once the patients has signed-up to join your list, their contact info is captured for future marketing campaigns. SMS text promotions should be relevant, not too frequent (we’re selling eyewear, not pizzas), and should respect your patients privacy.
  2. Multi-media messaging (MMS).  MMS messages are like SMS messages, but they can contain pictures, sound and a lot more text. Pull customers in with the same opt-in process as SMS, and then push out multi-media content like video or content-rich promotional offers. Continue reading

Use YouTube to Convert Prospects to Patients

Youtube : youtube Logo on a laptop screen Stock PhotoWhen it comes to marketing, we tend to rely on words and pictures to get our message across. Whether its direct mail, print ads, email, or our Facebook page; often times our advertising comes across as static and impersonal.  Visuals are typically more appealing than written text or even pictures.  Is there something interesting about your practice that differentiates you from the competition?  Consider using video to show people what makes you great.

Here are 5 tips for using YouTube to attract patients:

  1. Provide value.  Your videos must provide real value to the end-user.  Educational or how-to videos are a great way to deepen relationships with current patients and convert prospects into new patients.
  2. Be remarkable.  Using your “right-brain marketing approach”, create content that’s engaging, entertaining and separates you from the rest.  The biggest sin in marketing is to be boring.  Remarkable videos get remembered. Continue reading

How to Run a Social Media Contest for Your Practice

Looking for a great way to leverage social media to grow your brand and attract patients?  Run a social media contest.  This can be an engaging and effective way to increase followers on social media sites.

Here are 5 tips for integrating this strategy:

  1. Advertise a Facebook contest.  Give people a reason to “Like” your Facebook page, and then to keep coming back.  70% of people who “like” a business’s Facebook page never return.  Some brands have seen a dramatic jump in fans with Facebook contests.
  2. Offer a special product as a prize.  Promotions and incentives can range from small discounts on future exams to free designer eye wear.  Obviously the greater the incentive, the greater the level of customer engagement.
  3. Consider different strategies.  Filling out a form involves little work and may generate more participants, but at a lower quality.  In contrast, a contest that involves submitting pictures or video is much more authentic and highlights a positive consumer association with your practice.Continue reading

Rise to the Top of Google Listings: Interview with Dr. Alan Glazier, author of Searchial Marketing

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Alan Glazier, author of Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0.  In this interview we discuss methods of interacting within the world of social media and how interacting with this strange new world can elevate your profile in internet searches for the products and services you offer.

Product DetailsNew Media OD: “Searchial” is an interesting term.  Could you elaborate on the meaning?

Dr. Glazier:  “searchial” is a chimera of “social” and “search”; many people have questions about how social media can help drive new business; by creating content and posting in social media, search engines recognize the keywords your “conversations” revolve around, thus place you higher in searches for those keywords in your geographic region.  Being “Searchial” means interacting in social media in such a way that your actions help raise your listings profile in google.

New Media OD:  How have social media and the Internet changed the way we search for products and services?

Dr. Glazier:  For one, they’ve virtually eliminated the big yellow books that used to take up cupboard space; there have been positive changes, such as ease of access of information, and there have been negative changes, as when you use an engine to search they control the information that is found and can steer you where they want to .  A very positive way is we can use these tools to find products and services that others have rated and reviewed, and newer tools enable us to find ratings and reviews from people who we have real life relationships.  These types of ratings and reviews carry much more weight than those of, say a stranger on Yelp.

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iPads in Eye Care: DocPIES Interview with New Media OD

This post is the second part of a two part series with Mr. Blaine Ung, President, HeartSmart Technologies Eye Care Division and DocPIES.  Last week’s post on Carotid Artery Ultrasound discussed the benefits to patients and practitioners of the early detection of atherosclerosis.   Today’s post discusses DocPIES, an iPad solution for In-Office Patient Communication.

NewMediaOD:  Let’s talk about DocPIES.  What is it and what inspired the creation of DocPIES?

DocPIES:  DocPIES is a patient communication tool for physicians and staff.  DocPIES is used by patients on an Apple iPad or on a practice’s website.

As we deployed HeartSmart’sCarotid Artery Ultrasound Screening solution in eye care offices, doctors asked us to help them educate patients on the benefits of the screening and why it’s being done by an eye care physician. 

At first we used email campaigns to send out an overview of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and the response was very good.  However, many practices didn’t have all of their patients’ email addresses so we started looking at in-office patient communication tools.

While there are great tools from companies like Eyemaginations and EyeMotion for educating patients, we wanted to do more than broadcast a message.  Our goal was to engage and interact with patients.

Continue reading