Today, over 30 million senior-aged Americans and perhaps an equal number of baby boomers suffer from hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of the most widespread, chronic health care problems facing the aging population today. Recent studies have shown that almost 50% of the baby boomer population is experiencing significant hearing loss as much as 20 years earlier than previous generations. So what is being done to meet the needs of these patients? Are these patients getting routine hearing exams at audiology practices? Surprisingly, most of the hearing deficient population does nothing about hearing degradation or inability to hear to difficult environments. As medical professionals we might want to think about evaluating hearing in a different way. Some early pioneers have actually started adopting hearing in the field of eye care.
The first time I ever heard about the integration of audiology and ophthalmology was at Dr. Jim Lewis’s office in Philadelphia in 2001. Dr. Lewis mostly recognized for his excellence in the field of ophthalmology had actually separated his office into two main sections. One section was built with lanes for ophthalmology and on the other side was a practice built just for audiology. At first I thought this was a bit enigmatic for an eye doctor, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that this was a great revenue generator for his practice. Dr. Lewis had mentioned that he routinely sees a large volume of cataract cases and that most of his patients had difficulty hearing him during his initial cataract evaluations. Since he was already seeing the ideal hearing aid patient he figured why not perform hearing tests and sell hearing aids to them at the same time. In retrospect, Dr. Lewis was years ahead of his time as we now see multiple companies that provide physician-hearing services in the field of ophthalmology.
If you are an ophthalmology practice seeking to create new lines of revenue you might consider the power of selling hearing aids and conducting hearing screening tests at the practice level. Of course many expansion opportunities cross the path of ophthalmology offices. In recent years we have seen the skin care and cosmetic eyelid enhancement field emerge from within ophthalmology practices. Many practices have been successful at this but many have not been successful. For those practices unaccustomed to external marketing these revenue extension businesses have proven difficult at best. The cosmetic enhancement effort requires significant marketing dollars and “know how” that might not be easy for a comprehensive marketing practice. Hearing healthcare in ophthalmology on the other hand offers a better chance of success.
Why does a hearing program in your ophthalmology practice make sense?
Why do patients go to an ophthalmologist when they cannot see but why do they not go to an audiologist when they cannot hear?
We know that most cataract-aged patients have some level of hearing loss but they typically do nothing about it. Studies show that people unnecessarily struggle through life with hearing loss. Many people are simply not aware they cannot hear well. Many people also do not like the idea of seeing an audiologist because they are afraid to wear a noticeable object in their ear. Many people think hearing aids are the mark of old person. Believe it or not many people that need hearing actually have some level of marked frustration with their spouse over not being able hear the TV or always asking what was said in a noisy room.
Important Factors for setting up hearing services at your ophthalmology practice
Working with a reliable partner
A systematic relationship will need to be established in terms of providing hearing aids and hearing tests. Practice level implementation will be key and developing an overall pull-through system will be vital to the success of the program. Various companies in the ophthalmology forum can help you design a system that works for you.
Practice-level buy in
In much the same way many practices have needed to shift from a Medicare cataract reimbursement methodology to a more retail oriented cash based system to sell premium intraocular lens implants they will need to use the same mentality when applying hearing services. Buy in from staff and physicians alike will be one of the most critical components of success.
Setting up for ophthalmology hearing clinic FAQ
1. Q: What is involved with the hearing tests that are conducted at the practice in order to prescribe hearing aids?
A: You will need to research the process of a process to provide hearing tests. Hiring an internal person can be costly and not the most efficient method. Check with consultants or hearing aid companies to see if hearing professionals can travel to your practice for weekly evaluations.
2. Q: What is involved with marketing hearing services at my eye care practice. Do I need to establish a website dedicated to promoting hearing health at my ophthalmology practice?
A: Marketing is not required to run a successful hearing program at your practice however; the success can be greatly enhanced by doing some basic things. Creating offers for your already present database and sending out information is highly suggested as well as creating a patient information website that will help educate our new online patient population.
3. Q: Do I seek my own relationship with a hearing aid vendor or do I work with a company to that provides these services.
A: Critical to success is an efficient low cost system. By enlisting the help of consultants or companies you can achieve your goals faster and avoid making poor decisions at a time when revenue generation is important. If you know of any practices that have tried to set up a hearing program ask them about their experience.
Concluding Remarks – Ophthalmology Hearing Services
Setting up your hearing health division of your ophthalmology practice.
Given the potential setbacks that ophthalmology practices will face with upcoming cuts to Medicare it makes sense that practices need to survive. In order to survive new lines of revenue generation will need to be developed. Hearing tests and hearing dispensing are conservative and logical approaches to meeting new revenue challenges. Before you consider launching aesthetic medicine divisions be sure to review the benefits of a hearing program at your ophthalmology practice. If the potential benefits work well at your practice starting is not as hard as you might think.
Page Topics Include:
Hearing services available at eye centers, Hearing in Ophthalmology, Adopting hearing at your ophthalmology practice.26e2 ]]>
As a practice you have the daunting task of trying make sense of these kinds of companies and whether or not they practice legitimate techniques. The SEO world is comprised of white hat (legitimate) and black hat (cheaters according to google) companies. Most companies operating in the field of ophthalmology practice legitimate white hat SEO techniques and are a solid bet for reliability, performance and safety from SEO malpractice, however, after attending several LASIK marketing seminars I was literally shocked at the confusion surrounding SEO in ophthalmology. Some practices justified saving a couple hundred dollars a month and ended up with serious problems resulting in penalties. Others just got NO results and spent a lot of money. Some even had outgoing links to pornography websites. If you are a practice that wishes to take the high road and practice correct and appropriate SEO you should continue reading. If you are a practice that has no problem trying to cheat google or work with “shady” companies you should probably stop reading at this point. The remainder of this article will attempt to help you understand the issues surrounding SEO malpractice. Remember, you are a medical practice! Act like one!
1. Discussing the 3 C’s of SEO.
Engage in a conversation with the SEO companies you would consider to HIRE. What are the techniques used to get first page results? Your SEO company needs to address how they appeal to the search algorithms. Be skeptical of companies that have a “PROPRIETARY METHOD” that they are secretive about. Your conversation should be centered around the 3 C’s of SEO which are content, code and connectivity. These three elements are the core of a good SEO program. As a medical practice you should be concerned with these elements and what the SEO company doe to appeal to the algorithm.
For more information please read Onur Birsen’s article that coined the phrase The 3C’s of SEO.
2. Unsolicited emails from people claiming they are SEO experts
This seems to be a surefire to waste a lot of time and money. I have heard numerous stories from practices who hired these kinds of companies and simply got nothing in return. No results and a website littered with keyword stuffing and poorly developed tags that hurt the website SEO more than helped it. Take the time to find the right company on your own. Word of mouth usually works the best. Some of these illegitimate companies are downright hilarious. The sales people in many cases having been selling SEO for 2 weeks, but they claim to be the best. They are not even educated enough to know what they are saying.
3. A WORD FROM Google (content source – Google)
A statement from Googles Webmaster Help Center: “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or through the Google Sitemaps program, and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.”
NO COMPANY can guarantee anything with SEO. What if the algorithm changes tomorrow and it determines the techniques on your website are now spammy. What happens next?
4. Do Not USE duplicate content
This topic is quite amazing to me! I am completely surprised at how a medical community like ophthalmology could unintelligently engage in this practice. Not only is duplicate content the work of other people, but it clearly has issues on the search engines. When duplicate content first became an issue on ophthalmology websites, many companies and people pushed back. Many people claimed it was a MYTH. Today, I am more confident than ever that websites will have issues if they do not take the time to write their own unique content. Is it worth it to have a possible SEO penalty dropping your results to page 40? Once this occurs you have a bigger and more expensive problem. My suggestion is to develop a robust set of content for website that is well written. NOTE: A duplicate content penalty does not just come in the form of text it may also have to deal with your URL structures and usage of domain name.
check your site and articles with tools like copyscape.com.
5. Use proper redirects – Use the 301
Do not let your SEO company engage in the use of shadow domains or domains that drive traffic to your website by deceptive redirects. Many of these types of domains can be actually owned by the SEO company and can be used without the awareness of the practice. Insist on 301 redirects and ask the company to not engage in shadow domains.
6. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing does not work and makes your website look ridiculous. I think it is important to have visible keywords within the website content, but just limit the over usage of keywords. Additionally work the SEO around the content on the page. Many ophthalmology practices still have tags on a page with no relevant content. All this does is limit the focus of the quality content on the page.
7. Do Not Hide Text in the Website.
Sometimes you can find hidden website text really easy by highlighting the blank area at the bottom of the page. Hiding text from humans or human website editors is an old black hat trick that non longer works and can get your website in big trouble. When consulting your SEO company make sure to address how the website tags are developed.
8. Differentiate Between SEO and SEM
Make sure the SEO company explains the difference between SEO(organic) and SEM(paid). Some practices think they are optimized for organic searches because they are on the google adwords program doing pay per click advertising. A SEO company should have a strategy to deal with both paid search and organic search. Make sure that there is a clear distinction between the two methods of search.
9. Avoid LINK Farms
Link farms are another completely misunderstood topic. According to Google, a link farm is a collection of UNRELATED website links put together for the purpose of tricking link popularity. LINKING with relevant websites such as other eye doctors is NOT a link farm, LINKING with your local media is NOT a link farm.
10. Hire a Professional But Know What They DO!
It is certainly possible that an ophthalmology practice could attempt SEO internally with a potentially savvy employee. Typically speaking SEO people with little experience make mistakes. Take for example to refractive coordinator who bounced from page 2 to page 40. Simply understanding how to construct proper and SEO friendly URLs and understanding the duplicate content penalty could have saved them the aggravation. Now, no patients will find you. You have to ask yourself this question. Is it worth saving $300 per month to get penalized and end up on page 40 where you are certain to get NO leads? Of course I am saying this as a SEO professional but I can say for certain how to avoid penalties and how to handle the situation if one does occur.
Page Topics Include: Ophthalmology website search engine optimization, ethical medical SEO, 10 keys to avoid SEO malpractice in ophthalmology.
About the Author: Michael Dobkowski is a seasoned ophthalmology practice marketing consultant for Glacial Multimedia Inc. If you need assistance with internet marketing, you may consult him at: 207.878.59003c07 ]]>
In actuality, phones are often answered by unprepared, uninformed, unenthused and often uncaring staff. Most of us experience poor customer service in some form every day, but when delivered over the phone it is most frustrating. When poorly treated, the customer’s choice is to deal with it or go elsewhere. “Can you please hold?” Most people don’t want to!
Our goal as a leader in the ophthalmology industry should be to always stand out as exceptional. There are no second chances to make a first impression. A bad first impression in the competitive Lasik and IOL market, simply leads to your potential customer finding someone else. It’s hard to imagine how disposable your premium lasik services really are. On recorded calls from practices across the country, we often hear the same potential client shopping price at competing practices. We’re here to tell you from experience, you are disposable until the caller has decided that you are the right place for them.
But how do you make the consumer realize that you are the best choice? The answer is to match your perception to your reality, and to become as excellent as you think you can be.
We have made over 400 secret shop calls to practices nationally over the past 3 months. During this time, we were able to reach a counselor directly only 66% of the time! The other 33% of calls were either transferred to voicemail, or asked to leave a message. Of the counselors reached directly, just under 1/3 of them, or in total about 18% of the calls, resulted in any effort to keep us as an active lead.
With our ACE program, we have the ability to listen to real patient calls for practices, we monitor every call. On average, before the ACE program is implemented, most practices were losing 30% of their new lasik leads by not capturing any information from the patient before ending the call. With a few changes we can help “lost leads” become a thing of the past.
Many practices boast a 90% phone inquiry to consult conversion, but don’t actually capture every lead. In effect they only convert 50-60% of their inquiries into consultations because the only calls documented are those willing to commit to a consultation now. Everyone else became a lost lead. Talk about missed opportunity! The stakes are high when each incoming call represents upwards of $5000 a pair of eyes. If the initial caller does not enter your financial funnel, most likely they will find another. Our point, lead capture is essential when in today’s market every call counts. The ACE program’s crux is lead capture and cultivation, but that’s not all. There is much more involved in maximizing your potential along with bettering your potential client’s experience.
Treating Lasik and IOL callers as if they were regular ophthalmology patients calling for the first time is one of the biggest mistakes that practices make. Answering Lasik calls like this……“Can you please hold? ,” or “ The price? Oh it’s $2600 per eye. Is that all ?, ok then, bye now.” …are more common than you can imagine and have a grave effect on the bottom line. Remember, these folks do not consider themselves to be patients of yours yet, nor do they have the time or patience to deal with poor service.
Here’s nine ways to improve your lasik calls and avoid the average practice’s pitfalls.
Imagine if every call were handled as if the caller had reached the most knowledgeable person in your office, every time, without interruptions or unnecessary holds. That’s our perception. It’s up to you to match your perception to your own reality. You may soon be busier than you ever imagined.
About the author of this article: Bill Mercier is the president and CEO of OptiCall, Inc, a provider of consumer communications solutions for the refractive industry which increases conversion rates of prospective callers into viable patient consultations.]]>
When is the search engine optimizer responsible for failure and when is it the client’s fault? Can clear lines be drawn between the borders of responsibility and when is the equation right for success? In this article, I attempt to provide some insight into these critical questions by making an analogy to a simple expression commonly used in basketball called a ”triple double”. A triple-double is defined as an individual performance in a game in which a player accumulates double-digit totals (i.e., 10 or more) in any three of these categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots.
All professional search engine optimizers agree that it’s their job to educate clients as much as possible so that they have realistic expectations about results. However, in some cases, even if the search engine optimizer does just that, clients can have difficulties coming to terms with certain basic facts about SEO. Of course, SEO is very technical and can be difficult to understand. Also adding to the stress, it’s their money on the line. They want to get a quick ROI like in any other business, but in today’s SEO world, “quick” is just NOT feasible unless some very important and specific set of requirements are met on three levels. These requirements (two pre-requisites, two client responsibilities, two search engine optimizer responsibilities) form the basis of my concept for achieving a “triple double” in SEO:
The Double Pre-Requisites for Quick SEO Success
It should be noted that the word “quick” is a relative term, and in the world of SEO, quick usually means approximately three months.
My experience with SEO in the last 8 years has shown me that a large portion of clients who want SEO services have domain names and websites that do not satisfy the pre-requisites above. As a result, it is an unfortunate fact that for the most part, expectations by clients and actual early SEO results by search engine optimizers often don’t align.
Clients, generally speaking:
On the other hand, SEO providers:
The magic element for success is an honest reconciliation between the two parties involved. In order to achieve this, both sides need to clearly understand their responsibilities. These two sets of responsibilities for each side complete the “triple double” in SEO.
The Double Responsibilities of the SEO Client:
Be patient and prepare for the process. Assuming the domain name is not brand new, the typical SEO campaign starts delivering results within three months. For new domain names and websites, this can take up to one to two years. Clients may want to call each week asking where the results are. Rather, they should communicate with their SEO company about how to get involved and speed up the process. They should also be prepared for additional recommendations and requests from the search engine optimizer that fall outside the original contract and related budget. During implementation, optimizers frequently uncover new issues and challenges which were not possible to determine at the beginning of the project. Don’t downplay these strategies in order to save money because they may be what are needed to get you to the top.
Contribute, since search engine optimizers cannot be expected to learn everything about your business. While they are implementing the SEO strategy, clients will have to contribute by approving keywords and content, pursuing links and write articles. Genuine content can not be made up by non-experts. If you make your SEO write your content it may discredit you in the long run. Provide all of the content, and then let the search engine optimizers work their magic on the words and sentences to make the content more SEO friendly.
The Double Responsibilities of the SEO:
Explain to clients what their expected involvement during any portion of the campaign will be. Most clients don’t mind getting involved, but nobody likes getting tasks assigned to them when they thought someone else would be taking care of them. If more programming and development may be involved and extra funds are likely to be required due to a competitive marketplace, let clients know of these possibilities before they sign on the dotted line.
Treat each campaign individually. Certain strategies that work for one project may not work well for another. The resources where you go to find links, the keyword density in the content, the types of keywords used and the structure of the website pages will have vary from one clients website to another. The search engine optimizer must take these details into consideration and formulate plans which are specific to the challenge.
Achieving a triple double in a search engine optimization campaign comes as a result of the understanding and fulfilling of responsibilities by both the search engine optimizer and the client. Assuming this is accomplished, the speed at which the “SEO triple double” will come depends on whether or not the double pre-requisites mentioned at the beginning of this article are met. Three to 6 months is a fair time-frame to accomplish a “triple double” if the pre-requisites are met. Otherwise, when starting out with a new domain name and no incoming links, clients should be ready to wait one to two years before seeing any significant results.
Most importantly, it should never be overlooked that the success of a business itself lies solely with the owner of that business. Therefore, clients must be sure that their businesses can succeed with or without a triple double in SEO. Just like a basketball team needs to play as a team, and win a game regardless of a single player racking up a triple double, a company needs to be able to succeed without SEO in the first place.SEO should be like the butter on top of the bread. Any business solely depending on a SEO for success will probably fail anyway, regardless of the SEOs success or failure.
About the author of this article:
Onur Birsen, M.B.A, C.P.A. is currently a partner and the Chief Technical Officer of Glacial Multimedia, Inc. He has been lecturing for over 6 years within the medical community on the topic of search engine optimization, and holds a degree on e-commerce from Harvard University.2da5 ]]>
Over the past ten years LASIK has become a very common form of laser vision correction. Millions of people have had successful LASIK eye surgery. More than 1 million Americans will most likely undergo LASIK surgery this year, and the majority will get improved vision. This relatively safe procedure can be very effective when provided by an experienced LASIK surgeon. With the success of this procedure has also come attempts to create the southwest airlines business model for LASIK. Although these corporate centers are not always successful, the state of the LASIK eye surgery business has moved closer to commodity levels. But has LASIK eye surgery become a commodity? Is this a good or a bad thing for prospective LASIK patients? What will this mean to the independent ophthalmologists and the small practices?
By definition a commodity is a homogeneous and undifferentiated product sold largely on the basis of price. Commodities are sold on price not on features and benefits or the quality nature of a product. Has LASIK eye surgery entered this realm? It is hard for me to grapple with the concept that this type of eye surgery has really met this level. It is hard for me to ascertain that someone would choose a low price for eye surgery over a quality surgical option. It does happen, however; the LASIK eye surgery business is not at the commodity stage yet! Some corporate LASIK centers would like prospective patients to think that getting LASIK is like buying sugar or electricity, however; the reality is that quality practices can still differentiate! Despite the surge of illegitimate LASIK advertising claiming “LASIK as low as $199.99″ or other bait and switch advertising techniques we somehow find the state of this medical procedure not in the depths of commodity, but in a position to add further differentiation. Although discount providers often advertise that LASIK is available for only a couple hundred dollars, many ASCRS members and leading market research experts, note and debate that the actual price of LASIK from a discounter averages $1000.00-$1500.00 per eye for the conventional procedure and in many cases higher than that for custom LASIK. (ASOA LASIK Marketing Roundtable ASCRS 2006)
There is no corporate center that has completely turned their business model into the southwest airlines of LASIK eye surgery. In fact many of these corporate centers have difficulty and have posted low earnings in years past. The question for your practice becomes do we just surrender or do we differentiate and compete? As an Internet marketing consultant I hear a lot of stories about selling LASIK based on pricing and how unfair this is. The good news is that you still have time to differentiate your practice but the bad news is that you have to deal with misleading advertisers because Federal and State regulation is rare.
Both Federal and State regulators have taken some action against misleading advertisers, but enforcement and regulation seldom occurs. It takes a lot of time and resources to pursue legal action against a corporation and not many doctors have this kind of time. The fact of the matter is that LASIK is surgery! Patients need a quality surgeon with experience and one that can determine candidacy! It still baffles me that lasik is still done on patients who are clearly not good candidates.
For More Information regarding deceptive LASIK advertising watch! Please visit www.savelasik.com
Can your LASIK Practice differentiate itself from the competition? TIPS for differentiating your practice
There are other differentiation ideas so check back with our website on a regular basis for NEW articles relating to differentiating your LASIK business.
1. Using Your Patients To Differentiate
Ophthalmology Social Search 101
In Internet marketing we are seeing increased results and awareness of social search usage. Social search can be detected on blogs, facebook, and even the new Kristin Cavaleri website developed by VISX (If you have not seen this it is a must see). I am often surprised to see very few patient stories on websites of refractive practices. This is a surefire way to differentiate your practice! Oftentimes practices will even have a book of letters at the practice. These patient testimonials need to become part of the overall differentiation strategy and eventually used on the Internet. With the increase in reality shows, and social networking it is important to grasp the value of a system geared toward attracting patients through this medium. There is a reason that word of mouth referrals dominate lead generation for practices all over the country.
2. Using EyeOR or Intraocular Refractive Surgery to differentiate your entire refractive surgery business!
Differentiate your practice with unique procedures
If we want to be able to offer refractive surgery to all perspective patients we must realize that LASIK alone will not get us there. For many years now the refractive surgery business has been under siege by price discounting corporate lasik centers driving this surgery to a near commodity level. The features and benefits of laser vision correction have become blurred. Product differentiation has been difficult for many practices to achieve. Bait and switch low priced advertising has been effective in attracting patients and the playing field has weak enforcement mechanisms to prevent this style of marketing. The overall effect is the commoditization of refractive surgery. With the advent of Intraocular multi-focal lenses, practices now have a new opportunity to differentiate their offerings. SEE: www.eyeor.com
3. Doing what is best for the patient!
Refractive surgery candidates come in many shapes and sizes with varying levels of age. Each candidate has a unique situation. Lasik is not right for everyone. By having a wide base of surgical choices for your patients you can open the door to a new value proposition. The new position is quite simple. Provide surgical solutions that are the best for each patient. If the patient is 50 years old they might consider refractive lens exchange, If the patient is very myopic with a thin cornea but young maybe consider the new Visian ICL. Practices can do a good thing for their patients by offering multiple solutions for their unique situation. As a surgeon you can feel good about suggesting the best procedure for them not the most convenient. This is the first step to differentiating your refractive surgery business.
4. Create a value proposition and differentiation statement
Practices need to review their current communication strategies and create a differentiation statement that will surely be different than others. Does your practice have a value proposition? If not you should consider spending a little time to create such a document and furthermore educate and train your practice employees as to the merits of such communication. If your team understands the goals of the practice and has methodology for implementing these ideas you may be surprised that your internal patients converting to LASIK increases or that your word of mouth continues to grow.
You may understand that LASIK isn’t a commodity and you may also know what separates you and makes you different from your competition. Have you ever asked your practice employees what the main points of differentiation for your practice are? Have you ever invited your techs and COTs to a marketing meeting that discusses the practice value proposition and differentiation statement? Your staff has direct contact with patients and routinely has the opportunity to educate patients and interject their opinions on the matter. If your employees are not empowered to do this then they will fail at delivering this information. A simple marketing meeting with a marketing manager may make a tremendous difference and as the practice makes progress in this area good things will happen.
5. Develop a great and informative ophthalmology website
Developing a nice website with great information, patient education, and easy to navigate page structures can not only help you find new patients, but it is a great method of practice differentiation. If you are a practice that uses state of the art technology but has a very ugly website, you have a double standard in effect. The patient will actually question the technological capability if you present a poor practice website just like they would if the office was dirty and messy. For a small cost any practice can have a nice and functional website. What you choose to do to promote the website is a whole other story (SEE Building Brand New Ophthalmology Websites Article)
There are many other differentiation ideas so check back with our website on a regular -basis for NEW articles relating to differentiating your LASIK business.
Page Topics Include: Is LASIK a commodity?, LASIK pricing, LASIK commodity, alternatives to misleading LASIK advertising, differentiating your lasik practice, 5 differentiation TIPS for lasik practices, In office surgical suites, intraocular surgery suite consultants, LASIK patient testimonials, LASIK pricing
According to the FTC, an advertisement is deceptive under the Federal Trade Commission Act if it contains a material representation or omission of fact that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances. Advertisers are also responsible for claims that are reasonably implied from their statements. These rules apply to all advertisements, including consumer testimonials. In addition, advertisers must be able to substantiate all objective claims they make about a product or service.26ed ]]>
Public Relations is not only making yourself known but also is, in fact, making your “Good Works” known. If the public – prospective patients - know what you are doing in and for their community then they will already have a positive image of you and your practice.
Marketing in a simple statement is the creation, packaging, getting to market your goods or product and advertising that they are there to be consumed. While there is more to this, if we get down to brass tacks, this is what one is doing.
How They Tie Together
When starting your marketing campaign the preliminary step is Public Relations. As a result when you start to market your practice and services they will be much more receptive to what you are saying because they know you and they know what you are doing in the community.
But how do you do that? There is a multitude of ways. You can partner with a charity that is raising money for their program, or work with a non-profit and help sponsor their event by actual participation not just giving money. You have to be out there working with them by either holding an event in your practice or at their event. And then make that activity known. And the list goes on.
An important aspect of this is your purpose. If you are simply doing the Public Relations activity to get more sales it will be disdained by your potential public. However, approaching this endeavor as a way to give back to your community, remember you would not be there without their support, is the best. And you also will receive the satisfaction of making a difference.
One practice we work with recently held an event that resulted in the Doctor becoming widely recognized in his community. There was radio coverage by multiple stations before the event and the event was reported on the 3 major TV networks in the area. The result was the Doctor is now recognized in his community and some patients reported coming in just because of this event and what it meant to them personally. But the marketing is now producing better results than ever with the highest-ever surgeries for a month of October, traditionally a slow month.
So they do tie together. But in actual fact, Public Relations precedes Advertising.
About the author of this article:
Doug Sims is the President of Fast Track Marketing, which specializes in LASIK and refractive surgery marketing and advertising. Doug has over 30 years of experience in marketing and now implements the Maximize Your Marketing System to the field of Refractive Surgery with clients across the United States. Doug can be reached at email@example.com. More information is also available on the Fast Track website: www.fast-trackmarketing.com]]>
Their Fears and Concerns Versus Your Assumptions.
Why wouldn’t someone who is curious about LASIK come in for a no-obligation FREE consultation? After all they have nothing to lose, right? Wrong! Read these reasons and see if you have run into these blocks.
A Consultation is something most people would do only when they are fairly serious about having LASIK done. The problem is that at any given moment in time, only 5% - 8% of the candidates out there are at the point where they are that serious about having LASIK done. This means they are ready to sign up if they have their last questions addressed. Let’s face it, everyone has heard about LASIK. They all know it’s available and have an idea that it might mean freedom from glasses and contacts. So, why haven’t they investigated it further? All of the reasons line up under one or both of two headings; fear and cost. There are natural fears everyone has related to the thought of having a doctor work on eyes that seem perfectly healthy. There is also the cost element lurking and a good bit of confusion about that.
There is an educational process, which a person almost always goes through from the first time they begin thinking seriously about LASIK until the time they actually have the procedure done. We call this the Educational Spectrum. In the beginning they are just starting to look for information. In the end they are ready to come in for a consultation. 92% - 95% of LASIK Candidates are not far enough along their educational process to jump at the chance for a consultation. Almost all LASIK Marketing ignores those 92% - 95%.
Many candidates are reluctant to talk to a LASIK Consultant or a doctor for two reasons: Looking foolish and being sold. First, they don’t want to look foolish by asking silly questions. Second, because they don’t want to be sold something. They are afraid that if they meet with a consultant they may sign up based on emotions and they are NOT yet ready. They know that if they show up there is going to be pressure to make a decision, and they have fears and questions they want answered before they make a decision. What they really want is a no risk way to learn more about LASIK and about you and your practice.
Every LASIK practice already offers a FREE consultation so it has lost any value that drives Candidates to action. They know that any doctor will give one at anytime. In their mind they have plenty of time to think about it so why come right now when they are not yet ready. Incentive offers are only effective for “now buyers”, the 4 to 8% of people who have learned enough to satisfy their fears and are now seriously interested in investigating a solution.
The Solution Is a Convenient Risk Free Way for The Candidate To Learn More, on Their Own Terms.
You must offer potential candidates a means to address their questions and fears in a no risk format. In this way you give them a safe way to get more familiar with you and your practice in the comfort of their own home. Your offer now appeals to people anywhere on the educational spectrum, whether they are just starting to investigate or are picking which doctor they want to do the procedure with.
There are many ways to accomplish this – Educational DVDs, emails, educational mailers, newsletters, reports and others. But by doing any or all of the above you will be educating your future patients and when the time is right, who will they call? That’s right – YOU.
About the author of this article:
Doug Sims is the President of Fast Track Marketing, which is a marketing company specializing in LASIK and refractive surgery marketing and advertising. Doug has over 30 years of experience in marketing and sales. The Maximize Your Marketplace System is now being implemented by Fast Track Marketing in the field of Refractive Surgery with clients across the United States. Doug can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is also available on the Fast Track website: www.fast-trackmarketing.com2e72 ]]>
Due to the fact that search engine optimization is such a complex field, understanding what it takes to make it to the top of the search engine results can be extremely challenging. Getting lost in the countless details of search engine optimization is easy and common. In this short article, I attempt to provide a bird’s eye view of the organic SEO process with the ultimate goal of making it easier to understand for the average person with no programming knowledge.
In my opinion, the easiest way to understand search engine optimization (SEO), or almost any topic for that matter, is to start with the basics, use everyday examples from other better understood topics, and focus on the similarities between them.
Let’s start by imagining that the internet, like the physical world, is comprised of continents, countries, counties, towns, neighborhoods, and ultimately houses where individuals live. Each website can be thought of like a house, with different sections of the website corresponding to the various floors in the house, and each web page corresponding to each room.
In order for a house to provide optimal living conditions, the following three factors need to be present: construction, furniture and transportation. The house needs to be built from the ground up, with a solid base, using safe and strong materials, and well thought out architecture. Once the structure is complete, it needs to be outfitted with furniture. Finally, the house needs to be reachable by roads, preferably close to large highways/intersections to make it more accessible.
In the same exact way described above, a website requires the following three factors to be implemented in order to become optimized for search engines: code, content, and links.
Code (i.e. construction)
A website’s information architecture needs to be carefully thought out prior to building it. It then needs to be built using quality programming code, compliant to professional standards. Just like one can build a house out of wood, bricks or steel, a website can be built using different programming languages. Depending on where the house is, and where it is in relation to other houses, using certain programming languages can yield better results.
Content: (i.e. furniture)
Immediately after a website has been coded, it is basically an empty shell. As a house needs furniture, a website needs content. The higher the quality of the furniture, and the more appropriate the type of furniture, the better. In the same way, higher quality and more relevant content is extremely important. Too much, or not enough content is also detrimental.
Connections: (i.e. transportation)
For both the tenants and their visitors, it should be easy to get to and leave a house. Convenient houses offer options for public and private transportation, have multiple avenues and highways around it with clear signs and directions. Typically, the more densely populated a neighborhood is, the more options there are for transportation, and the higher the market value of the houses in that neighborhood.
In the same way, the more links there are pointing to a website from other websites (incoming links), the easier it is to find it, and the higher the page rank (similar to market value). The easier it is to get to other quality, relevant points of interest from a website (outgoing links), the better. Having a road from a house to another small neighborhood is not as valuable as having a direct road to a major commercial center or vice-versa.
Covering Your Bases
Everyone would agree that having a large house with quality construction, and fabulous furniture is virtually worthless if there are no roads to get to the house. Even you have a well built house, right next to a busy commercial district, you will not live in it if it does has no beds to sleep on. Having the trendiest furniture in your house, located in the best neighborhood is just as useless if passing rain showers cause the ceilings to crack and collapse. Likewise, if you fail to ensure that your website has the three pillars of search engine optimization, you will be facing an increasingly uphill battle marketing your website.
About the author of this article:
Onur Birsen, M.B.A, C.P.A. is currently a partner and the Chief Technical Officer of Glacial Multimedia, Inc. He has been lecturing for over 6 years within the medical community on the topic of search engine optimization, and holds a degree on e-commerce from Harvard University.]]>
As someone heavily engaged in refractive marketing I was disheartened to realize that marketing does not drive most practice leads in the case of comprehensive practices. From a purely speculative point of view I came to realize that the three main drivers of refractive surgery volume are 1. co-management relationships, 2. Patient referrals/word of mouth and 3. Search Engine Optimization. I have concluded this over the past 5 years of working on refractive practice marketing plans and tracking all inquiries from prospective patients. This is of course just an opinion and may not be the same for each practice. Practices tend to become very frustrated with marketing when they are engaged in marketing efforts but they are not returning their investment. This frustration typically leads to practices cutting marketing budgets and marketing related efforts. It makes logical sense to spend your marketing dollars wisely but the fact remains that putting your eggs in one basket is definitely no way to go. Despite frustration, practices need to create multiple pathways for patients to find them. Of course pursuing the previously mentioned major drivers of volume is a great start but a good marketing plan will entail diversity in effort. Creating multiple pathways for patients to find your practice will increase the opportunity to put your message in front prospective patients. This is certainly not rocket science but actually quite logical.
Diverse Marketing Plans
Creating diversity in marketing planning can be difficult and relative to the practice value proposition or marketing strategy. Brand based advertising and response advertising need to be discussed. Both types of advertising are great within a diverse marketing plan. Brand based and top of mind awareness advertising takes on a certain role in a refractive marketing plan. If you are a quality based producer you must be willing to accept a very low return on investment from this type of advertising. Radio and television with no call to action will fall into this category. Response driven marketing should probably be the focus of the marketing plan. Search engine optimization, direct mail, direct e-mail, event marketing, contest marketing, giveaways and other call to action marketing should be given priority and strategic focus within the marketing plan. Consider both models of marketing when planning but make certain you understand what brand based quality producer marketing means. It means no patients concerned about price will react but your identity will be presented.
Investing in Co-Management
If your practice has the opportunity to build relationships with optometrists and primary care doctors this could be a great usage of time and money. Patients trust their doctors and usually listen to the recommendations of the optometrists. Building relationships with these doctors can be time consuming and almost impossible of nurture by a busy ophthalmologist. Every practice should have a co-management strategy that both surgeons and staff can participate in. A sales based refractive coordinator may be a good employee to start forging these relationships. Investing in your OD relationships can help you win in your marketplace. After a face-to-face program has been completed with a presentable fee structure the practice needs to think of additional ways to prove value to the optometrist. By creating CE seminars with web portals to manage these events you can offer continuing education with practice promotion at the same time. MD/OD web portals with blog systems are an easy way to get the surgeon to interact with the optometrist. By answering the questions of your referring doctors you can sustain legitimacy and let them know that you care about their involvement. Is there anything wrong with pursuing world-class service with your referring optometrists as well as your patients?
Your happy patients may be your biggest allies! Every practice should have a post-surgery system for communication system with existing patients with the intention of getting them to refer their friends and family.
Michael Dobkowski is an ophthalmology practice marketing consultant for Glacial Multimedia Inc. If you need assistance with an Internet strategy please contact us 207.878.59001146 ]]>
Branding is the process of creating and disseminating the brand name.
A brand is a product, service, or concept that is publicly
distinguished from other products, services, or concepts so that it can
be easily communicated and usually marketed. At Glacial Multimedia we
take pride in helping our clients achieve their branding goals.
Starting with a thorough analysis of the business goals and the
development of a logo we start to position the brand to meet its goals.
Print Advertising Design - Creative Through Visual Representation
Creating Your Image:
• Call to action advertising
• General advertising services
Glacial Multimedia provides advertising and graphic design services
tailored to meet the specific needs of business professionals. Our
creative staff combines traditional American marketing values with a
blend of European design flavor.
Pre-Press & Printing Services - Creative Through Visual Strategy
Glacial Multimedia offers full service digital or analog printing. Our
multiple years of experience working with printers and pre-press
manufacturers guarantees a professional solution for your printing
• Business Cards
• Letterhead & Envelopes
• Newspaper Inserts
Direct Marketing - Elicit Immediate Reactions
Direct marketing efforts are designed to elicit immediate reactions
from consumers. These marketing efforts for businesses can be an
excellent alternative to display advertising and further play an
integral role as a marketing call to action. The Glacial Multimedia
staff will develop direct marketing and grass roots campaigns on a
local or national basis. We offer complete direct marketing solutions
and design-only options as well.
• Postcard development
• Campaign concept development
• Complete direct marketing solutions
Digital Video Production - Emotion in Motion
The DV Team offers a full range of digital video services including
production work for TV commercials, music videos, corporate training
videos, or patient education videos. In addition to the actual
production of the video we can actually direct and write the material
needed for your project.
Audio Recording Production - Custom Developed Digital Audio Tracks
Glacial Multimedia Recording provides digitally recorded materials. In
addition to our recording capabilities we custom build audio tracks for
presentations, commercials, flash web sites, radio spots, and
multimedia CD-ROMS. All tracks can be custom built and mixed to meet
your specific audio needs.
• Custom developed music sequences
• Digital recording and mixing