Understanding your Patients to Maximize Profits
By Kayla Groves December 09, 2020
When it comes to marketing, there’s a school of thought that the more people we market to, the more money we will make. However, it is not true in optometry. Most of the time, marketing to more people will not necessarily generate more income. Usually, when we think of how to market to our patients, we think of reminder cards and flyers. However, effective marketing includes understanding patient needs, proper products and placement, motivation, and establishing a strong presence within the community. To maximize our profits, it is essential to make sure you are marketing to your ideal patient. To determine your perfect patient, you need to consider demographics, psychographics, geographics, and behaviors.
Age, Location, Gender, Marital Status, Income Level
Demographics are a crucial part of your small business marketing strategy. This data can help you identify who your target audience is. Chances are you already have this information about your existing patients listed in their records, and most of this information is accessible through public resources. By collecting this data, you may discover that:
- Most of your patients are between the ages of 45 and 65
- Only 3% of the population is under the age of 3
- 60% of your patients are men
With this type of knowledge, you can make smarter decisions regarding purchasing eyewear, purchasing equipment, and setting up realistic expectations. If you plan on catering your practice to pediatrics, but your demographics cannot support your business plan, you should reset your business niche or change locations to support your goals.
Values, Attitudes, Interests, Lifestyles
Psychographics focus on understanding the patient's emotions, lifestyle, and values to market more accurately. In your intake paperwork, you should have a category that asks these types of questions. This way, you can obtain this information directly from your patients. These questions are vital when it comes to frame purchases and what kind of marketing you should consider.
For instance: If most of your patients work at one of the local factories, you need to make sure you offer safety glasses that comply with their needs. If 40% of your patients actively snowboard, you know that you should provide a wide variety of snowboarding glasses. You can say the same for sunglasses. Do your patients value eye protection? These gaps in what we could learn about our patients can help us cater to our practice more efficiently. Most practice management software offers the availability to gather this data.
Region, Size, Density, Climate
Gathering data on your geographics is simple and readily available for your area. When you serve patients in a particular area, you can consider preferences based on their location, state, region, or even neighborhood. You can use this information to help you market more effectively. For instance, you may market all year long for sunglasses in California or Florida. While sun protection is essential in all weather conditions, it may not be your primary marketing strategy if your practice is in Washington. A more rural area may or may not keep up with the latest trends, and that is something you can learn from gathering information about your geographics.
Purchase, Usage, Loyalty, Attitude
Behavioral data focuses on the logic behind the purchases. Why are they purchasing your products? When are they purchasing your products? What is the reasoning behind the investment? This data can help you determine what type of buyers your patients are. Do they buy products because you recommend them? Are they loyal to you? Typically, you can use past purchases to help see trends for the future. For instance, if your patients naturally come back every two years instead of every year, you know that you need to educate your patient to ensure they are getting their eyes checked yearly. You can learn a lot about where you are falling behind by looking at your patients' purchasing trends. Another way to keep up with your community's latest trends is to follow local Pinterest accounts and pay attention to trending Instagram ads.
Once you have a good understanding of your ideal patient, you can start speaking to them directly. Knowing who they are, what they are looking for, and what they believe in can help you tailor your marketing campaigns to them, and in return, adds money to your bottom line. Not only is it essential to reach your target audience, but it is also crucial to make sure you are marketing to them on the right platform. Simply put, if most of your patients are 65-year-old cataract patients, you would not want to send them ads on Snapchat. Everyone needs to see an optometrist at some point in their lifetime, and at the end of the day, we want to make sure we are providing our patients with products that fit their needs.
Understanding your patients will allow you to determine the right message, platform, and products that will help your practice excel.