5 Ways Your Patients Can Help Your Practice Grow [Marketing Tips]

Highlights

  • You can use patient-centered marketing tips to attract new patients to your optometry practice.
  • Patient-centered marketing includes strategies such as streamlining patient visits to increase patient satisfaction, promoting word-of-mouth referrals, and automating requests for social media reviews.
  • Completely integrated optometry EHR supports your marketing efforts with patient engagement tools and streamlined patient management functionality.

Your optometry practice can use helpful patient-centered marketing tips to boost patient retention and attract new patients to the practice. By maintaining a streamlined patient experience, promoting word-of-mouth referrals, and engaging with patients through automated communication tools, you can build trust and get new patients in the door.

Let’s explore five ways your patients can help your practice grow.

1. Prioritize Patient Experience

The most integral element of patient-centered marketing is to provide an excellent patient experience. Long wait times, inefficient intake processes, and poor customer service can drive existing patients away and lead to poor online reviews.

How long do your patients have to wait to see a provider? Long wait time is directly tied to patient satisfaction. In a report based on a 2018 study by Vitals.com, doctors with the shortest wait time (13 minutes) had the highest patient satisfaction rating (5 stars), while the longest wait time (34 minutes) correlated with the lowest satisfaction rating (1 star).

Long wait times can lead to decreased word-of-mouth referrals, or worse, patients talking negatively about your practice to their friends and family.

Look for ways to shorten your wait times. Streamlining the patient visit is an excellent way to retain the patients you already have and keep new patients coming in.

Consider offering online scheduling, digital intake, and automated appointment reminders to create an organized, efficient patient flow that doesn’t keep patients waiting or frustrated with handwritten forms.

2. Promote Word-of-Mouth Referrals

The number one way to grow your optometry practice is word-of-mouth referrals. According to a Nielson survey, 83% of respondents reported that they trust their family and friends’ referrals for products or services.

To promote your practice through word-of-mouth referrals, provide your patients with excellent care and superior customer service.

In addition to short wait times, areas to focus on include:

  • Online scheduling and automated appointment reminders
  • Efficient intake process
  • Friendly, caring front-facing staff
  • Excellent optometric care
  • Easy payment options at checkout

You can also promote word-of-mouth referrals by offering incentives to patients who refer friends and family. You can email or post a discount code that a patient can use if they refer another person to your practice or offer a free item or service, such as a glasses case or contact fitting.

3. Ask for Social Media Reviews

In today’s digital age, online ratings, reviews, and testimonials act as word-of-mouth referrals. Nearly 75% of patients report searching online to find a healthcare provider. What’s more, 69% of respondents said they wouldn’t consider a healthcare provider who had a star rating lower than 4.0 out of 5. Nurturing a positive social media presence is more important than ever.

You can use patient communication tools to request reviews from your patients in the form of online testimonials, ratings, and reviews.

Testimonials and reviews allow your patients to write several sentences telling others how much they enjoy your services and the excellent care they receive. Star ratings provide potential patients a quick, visual way of seeing how others rate your services. Both types of feedback are important.

You can post invitations for reviews and testimonials on your social media accounts. With the right patient communication tools, you can also send patients automated emails or texts after their appointments, inviting them to fill out a survey, post an online review, or submit a testimonial.

leaving a review

4. Encourage Helpful Feedback

While public ratings and testimonials provide feedback for you and your staff, you can also encourage feedback from patients that you can use to create a better patient experience. According to an industry survey, 85% of businesses credit online feedback with benefiting their organization.

Honest feedback can give you insights into how your patients feel about your staff, your practice environment, and the care you provide. You can use feedback to make adjustments that will increase satisfaction and attract more patients.

Encouraging feedback also creates trust with your patients. When you ask for their feedback in a convenient digital survey or post-visit text or email, you allow them to tell you what they did or didn’t like. They feel heard and validated and are more likely to refer you over an impersonal provider who doesn’t consider their opinions.

5. Focus on Patient Engagement

An effective way to expand your optometry marketing efforts is by focusing on patient engagement. Patient engagement can include activities such as:

  • Building a blog
  • Engaging with followers on social media channels
  • Sending newsletters or email marketing campaigns
  • Sending SMS text reminders and messages

64.1% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers — because it works. According to Marketing Insider Group, newsletters have a 17.8% click-through rate, and emails to inactive customers have a 19.5% click-through rate. (In case you’re new to the marketing world, these numbers are high!)

You can use these patient engagement strategies to retain current patients, engage with patients who may have missed appointments, and attract new patients to your practice.

typing on a laptop

How RevolutionEHR Supports Patient-Centered Optometry Marketing Strategies

RevolutionEHR is an all-in-one, cloud-based optometry EHR and practice management system that can support your patient-centered marketing efforts. RevolutionEHR is completely integrated and offers a wide range of automated features to help your practice run smoothly and provide an excellent patient experience.

RevolutionEHR features and ancillary tools make patient-centered marketing a cinch.

Streamlined Intake and Patient Feedback

With RevolutionEHR and RevIntake, you can provide a better patient experience in several important ways.

With RevIntake, you can:

  • Offer online scheduling. The ability to self-schedule appointments is fast becoming a patient expectation. A Healthgrade study reported that 80% of consumers prefer online scheduling. If your practice is not offering this service, you are likely losing patients to those that do.
  • Email intake forms prior to visits. This is a most-requested service by respondents of a 2020 survey —  50% of patients responding said they would choose one healthcare provider over another if they were able to fill out intake forms online.
  • Measure patient satisfaction. RevIntake automates post-visit surveys so you can gather continuous feedback and make adjustments before minor complaints become major problems.
  • Invite social media reviews. In 2021, 74% of patients surveyed said that online reviews were a very or extremely important consideration when they chose a healthcare provider. With RevIntake, you can send automated post-visit invitations so satisfied patients can conveniently leave reviews on social media sites.

Patient Engagement Tools

A 2021 survey found that 36% of respondents had left a healthcare provider in the previous two years. Eight out of ten of those said they left because of a poor patient experience and/or lack of communication from their provider. In the same survey, 66% said they prefer to receive appointment reminders by text message.

Clearly, a positive digital experience has become a critical component of patient retention. RevolutionEHR ancillary product RevConnect is a powerful tool that can make providing that experience easy and convenient.

RevConnect is a patient communication tool that allows you to increase patient engagement and boost referrals — all while respecting your patients’ preferred communication methods.

RevConnect includes the following features:

  • Automated emails and SMS text messages
  • Automated appointment reminders
  • Email campaigns

Convenient Payment Options

Electronic payment options have become the norm now that 97% of Americans own a smartphone. In 2020, 85% of healthcare consumers said they preferred to pay their healthcare bills electronically.

With RevPayments, you can easily meet this need by offering your patients multiple ways to pay for their eye care. In addition to convenience, e-pay options motivate patients to pay their bills on the day of service, reducing the likelihood of a surprise balance on their bill.

Because 87% of patients in 2020 said they had been surprised by a medical bill, offering digital payment options that eliminates surprises is a powerful way to improve patient satisfaction.

Grow Your Practice With RevolutionEHR

Learn more about how RevolutionEHR makes it possible for your patients to help your practice grow while giving you more freedom to focus on their care. Schedule your free demo today.

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