Paul M. Stubenbordt focuses his blog on what steps a practice can take to optimize traditional and Internet marketing, public relations, social media as well as non-traditional marketing tactics that can help maximize your current practice development program.

BLOG: Three marketing strategies from 2016 to help your practice in the new year

1. Facebook check-in and free Wi-Fi

If you have tried to connect with your patients on Facebook, you probably have learned that it’s more difficult than originally thought to get them to like your page. You may also have noticed that more and more patients are asking, “What is your Wi-Fi password?” while waiting in the lobby. Now you can kill two birds with one stone using Facebook Wi-Fi. With Facebook Wi-Fi, you can set up your Wi-Fi router to have patients manually check-in to your practice via Facebook before they can connect to your free Wi-Fi. This eliminates the need to give out passwords and virtually guarantees that your practice will receive not only Facebook check-ins, but Facebook reviews as well. In addition, Facebook now automatically requests a review the day after you check into a business. Learn more about this program by visiting www.facebook.com/business/facebook-wifi.

 

2. Google Business reviews via the Google Maps app

As we all know, traditional marketing outlets such as newspaper, television and radio are slowly dying. More and more consumers are relying on reviews and word-of-mouth to make a decision about a place they might choose to eat, shop and receive eye care. For the most part, Google still remains the most significant search engine to receive business reviews. In the past, it has been proven difficult for patients to locate the designated place to write a review, and completing the review itself was somewhat cumbersome. This past year, Google has made it easier than ever to allow someone to do a business review. Below are the easy-to-follow steps that you can share with your patients to earn a review. Please note that Google Maps must be loaded onto their smartphone, and they must have a Gmail account.

Easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1: Open up Google Maps and search for your practice name.

Step 2: Your practice will be listed at the bottom of Google Maps. Once found, simply swipe up until you see five blank stars.

Step 3: Choose your star rating (hopefully five), write the review and submit.

Because most smartphone users are already logged into Google via Google Maps, there may be a requirement to login before or after submitting the review.

 

3. Optometric co-management portal

Most practices are involved in some form of co-management for cataract or refractive surgery. In the past and even nowadays, referring optometrists will use a fax machine to send patient referrals over to your practice. Now, there is nothing wrong with this tactic; however, we live in the 21st century! Recently, we have begun adding OD portals to our websites to make it easier than ever for optometrists to refer patients to our practices. This is all completed though HIPAA-compliant encryption and email services. Most optometric practices have front-office staff under the age of 30. For this generation, going online and completing a form is substantially easier and more efficient than sending a fax. The form itself is quite simplistic. It has the practice’s name, the referring doctor’s name, the practice’s phone number, the patient’s name, the patient’s phone number, the patient’s date of birth and the reason the patient is being referred. Once submitted, this form is typically sent to the optometric liaison’s HIPAA-compliant email.

 

Conclusion

Even with the presidential election taking place, 2016 proved to be one of the best years for several ophthalmology practices. Here’s to a hopeful continuation of this past year’s course in 2017! Happy new year!