5 Spooktacular Ways to Drive Patient Engagement This Fall
By Mary Hollis Stuck October 12, 2021
While fall technically began on September 22, even weeks before then you may have noticed the influx of social media posts from people getting excited for cooler weather. Instagram seems to have been made specifically for people to post pictures of pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, and flannel. While the months of September and October are traditionally slower in the optical world, you can still use the change of seasons to help create opportunities for you to connect with your patients. Here are a few ideas to help you keep people engaged online, in your practice, and in the community.
1. Look the part! While you may not want to create a full-on haunted house in your optical dispensary, hit up the dollar store, Trader Joe’s, or your local farmers market for inexpensive fall decor. Little displays of orange and red silk leaves, miniature pumpkins and gourds, and even jack-o-lanterns can go a long way.
2. Engage your team. Host a pumpkin-carving party after hours or on the weekend, and make it a competition. You can provide carving pumpkins for your staff without shelling out a large amount of money. Consider having a mini party at your office or a team member’s house, complete with pumpkin carving tools, and possibly a themed cocktail (or mocktail, if more appropriate). Once the masterpieces are complete, show them off to your patients! Place them around the office as decor. Take pictures of the pumpkins and post them online, asking your followers to vote for their favorite. Give the winner of the competition a gift card to pick up a new fall flannel, or a Venti PSL at the local coffee shop.
3. Get the kids involved. If your practice has a large number of pediatric patients, ask their parents if their kiddos would like to draw a jack-o-lantern to place on a bulletin board in your practice. You can provide a simple cartoon image of a pumpkin, give them a clipboard and a few crayons, and keep them occupied drawing their masterpiece while they wait to see the doctor. Give them the option to take it home, or put it up in a noticeable area of your office, where other patients can see. Seeing drawings from children will enforce the family-friendly aspect of your office; it can also prompt new patients to ask questions about eye care for their children. Remember, many parents don’t realize how beneficial eye exams are for children, even before they are school-age.
4. Remind patients of the importance of eye health during the colder months. Just because the weather is getting chilly doesn’t mean they don’t need to protect their eyes with a polarized sunglass lens. Who wouldn’t want optimal vision for apple-picking or a football game. Promote sports goggles for young children playing sports, and remind patients of the relief optometrists can provide for itchy hay-fever eyes.
5. Get involved with your community. Many local organizations may be hosting donations or drives for under-privileged neighbors, wanting to ensure they stay warm during the cold months, or are able to provide for their family during the holidays. Keep up with what’s going on around you, and pick an event to promote or collect donations for. In Columbia, SC, for example, our office is donating to an auction benefiting youth programs at a local YMCA, for a golf event that takes place in October (Suicide Awareness Month) in honor of a local business owner who was lost to suicide. In November, donations will be collected for the Harvest Hope Food Bank, to provide meals and groceries to those in need. This reminds your neighbors and your patients that you are a practice who cares about the community around you, and those in need.
All sorts of opportunities are available to engage with those around you during this time of year. Take time to talk to people in your network about what they do to engage with the community. Remember, it’s not just about getting patients to interact with you; it’s important to create a bond with the community around you, and for your office to provide meaningful services throughout your local area.