8 Tips for Starting an Optometry Practice
So, you’ve decided to open your own private optometry practice. Having a private practice is an exciting yet challenging endeavor. You finally can show the world your skills and make money from your career. It takes courage to start something new, especially as life-changing as your practice. Naturally, you want your optometry practice to succeed, so you should take the necessary steps to ensure you have all your bases covered.
This blog breaks down the key things you should consider as you open your own optometry practice cold. This guide will help optometry professionals pave the way to success in their new business.
1. Choose the Right Location for Your Private Practice
First, ask yourself, what is one of the most important factors to consider for your new practice cold? Location, by far. The importance of location is not limited to health care. Location matters for every business, regardless of the industry.
A location’s reputation is a crucial business factor, especially in small cities or towns where people have preconceived perceptions about a place. If you open your new cold start practice in an upscale neighborhood, you can attract residents with more money to spend on eye care.
For example, opening an optometry practice in the middle of an urban city allows you access to its residents and people working or studying there. If your practice is near a school, you have a better chance of selling children’s frames to parents even though they live far away.
In comparison, if you start a practice in a quieter suburban community, your clients will be limited to people who live in your area. Catering to a niche community is optimal for new practices that don’t have the budget to open a massive clinic. However, your patient volume will be confined to the number of people who frequent that neighborhood.
Your lease agreement may be hefty if you have your optical setup in an expensive neighborhood, but a good location means good foot traffic. While existing practices may exist in that area, you still have an excellent opportunity to attract more people to your practice in the long run. You must capitalize on what makes your practice unique to entice more patients.
Therefore, when looking for a location, you should assess the population in that area. Given your vision for your optometry practice, you should open a practice in a place that fits your market and would help you realize your goals. If you don’t have the means to extend a big clinic in the city, you can start with a small space and upgrade once you grow your practice.
2. Plan Out Your Marketing Strategy for Your Optometry Practice
Never underestimate the power of marketing, and don’t undermine how your efforts will make a positive impact on your practice. As a newcomer in the eyecare industry, you should explore both traditional and digital marketing strategies. This allows you to reach a wider audience and maximize your budget.
Traditional marketing allows you to channel your creativity into your practice. This is an excellent opportunity to distinguish yourself from competitors in your area. This type of marketing is easy to understand, allowing you to get the attention of many people.
This is also vital for a new practice because it raises awareness in your local area. Here are the options you can explore as you develop your business plan:
- Business cards will help people know where your optometry practice is located and how they can contact you and your team.
- Print ads – This allows you to spread the word about your existing practice and attract new patients who need your services.
- Brochures – This details your services and products for people to know what they can expect from your practice.
In contrast, digital marketing offers high returns on investment. Spending money on digital marketing isn’t as expensive as you might think. You can start small. As your practice grows, you have the opportunity to increase your investment.
Moreover, digital marketing paves the way for deeper patient engagement and targeting levels. You can build strong relationships as you start your optometry practice. It’s also very cost-effective. You don’t need millions to get started with a stellar business plan.
Here are some digital marketing tools you should know about:
- Website: Having your own website establishes your practice’s legitimacy. It provides the platform to showcase your offerings, including your office design and refurbished equipment.
- Pay-per-click advertising: This cost-effective tool allows you to grow your business. The entire process is relatively easy, and you literally get what you pay for. In terms of basic accounting principles, it’s an excellent bargain.
- Social Media: This is an essential factor as you build a community. You can also use your social media channels for scheduling appointments or hiring new people.
- Email Marketing: When opening a practice, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of well-crafted emails. You can attract more patients and build strong relationships through this tried and tested tool.
3. Invest in a Stellar Website Design for Your Own Practice
Your optometry website is your digital business card, so you must make it part of your marketing efforts. Your optometry website allows you to market your best services and set up your online store. This is where most people can obtain information about your specific location without physically visiting your practice.
While your website should be informative and include all the sophisticated diagnostic equipment you invested in, you should also consider its aesthetic appeal. Younger patients would probably browse your website before booking an appointment, so you should make their experience convenient.
An effective optometry website design has the power to attract potential patients while strengthening your relationships with existing patients. Because most people browse the internet on their mobile devices, your website should also be mobile-friendly.
Patients should be able to easily navigate your web pages and know the things happening to your practice quickly. Moreover, you should make it easy for people to schedule an optical check-in or appointment through your website.
You can take inspiration from other optometrists and find the website design that suits your target market. This is an individual component you shouldn’t take for granted. Because your business specializes in eye care, your website should be pleasing to the eye.
4. Advertise Your Practice with PPC
A stellar way to attract patients to your cold start optometry practice is pay-per-click advertising or PPC. PPC is an advertising model that allows you to bid on particular keywords that are relevant to your cold start practice. When a person searches relevant keywords on search engines, your website will come out on top.
With PPC, private practices pay only every time a person clicks on their ad. Moreover, you can set a monthly or daily budget to stay within your means. This is a very cost-effective marketing strategy even small practices can pursue. If you’re a new practice looking to entice people to visit you, this is a fantastic way to introduce your clinic to more people.
5. Engage Your Community Through Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool to promote your new private optometry practice. Not only is a fantastic platform to show a bit of your personal life, but it can also do wonders for your optometry business. Social media can be a valuable tool to increase awareness of your business.
Through social media, you can publish posts relating to your clinic opening and invite people to visit accordingly. Moreover, you can educate potential patients on the value of your services. Social media can also be a platform to engage with your local community and build a loyal following.
What’s excellent about social media is that is lets you showcase your expertise while taking your lead generation to the next level. If you’re a new clinic and you want more people to get to know your business, it’s a must for you to be on social media.
6. Customer Service Matters in Your Reviews
Once you’ve opened your optometry practice, you should understand that you can’t do everything alone. You should take time to train your staff so they know your core values and mission statement by heart. In turn, they can provide the best customer service to increase your profit margin.
As a business owner, you should know the importance of reputation management. When people leave 5-star reviews on your website or other platforms, they help position your private practice in a positive light. Knowing that you provide stellar services, more people would flock to your business.
At the same time, you should be wary that anyone can leave a bad review. Even if you and your team provided excellent services, some might still be dissatisfied with your work. First impressions matter, so you should work to provide a great experience in every step of your client’s journey.
As you improve your customer service, you should encourage people to leave positive reviews. Kind words can help your business develop a good reputation and entice more people to visit your practice. Nowadays, people trust online reviews as much as recommendations, so you should encourage your patients to leave reviews to share their experiences online.
7. Maximize Your Network Through Email Marketing
Did you know that email marketing can be a powerful method to foster relationships with clients? As the old saying goes, your network is your net worth. Your new business is missing out on plenty of opportunities if you don’t use email marketing to your advantage.
Email marketing is a marketing channel that enables businesses to promote their services or products, follow up on potential leads, and educate patients. If your business has an introductory promo, email marketing is a stellar platform to spread the word.
What’s excellent about email marketing is you have control over who gets to see your emails. Thus, your business has the opportunity to develop customized emails to patients. With solid email marketing software, you can maximize your email list and entice more people to visit your new business.
8. Take the Time to Expand your Business Knowledge
Opening a practice is challenging, but maintaining your optometry practice is equally important. Everyone starts from somewhere, and you’ll encounter some learning curves along the way. Research is critical to expanding your business knowledge and continuously improving moving forward.
Your optometry practice is your business, and you should open yourself to learning more about the business aspect to optimize your expenses. The staff you hire helps you provide excellent service, so you should read up on human resources materials to help attract and retain good staff.
While you may leave the bookkeeping to experts, you should also arm yourself with accounting basics. As you grow your practice, you’ll determine which investments you should capitalize on and which are not working for you. You can maximize your budget with accounting skills.
You should also understand the primary principles of profit margin, finance, and expenses. Once you see the money, you should know where it is going. You need to make the best decisions to help you make the most of your budget in the future. With these skills, you can grow your business further and maybe even open another location in the future.
If you want to improve your digital marketing plan, there are plenty of resources online you can refer to. Information is at your fingertips. You have to make time to continuously learn so you can improve your optometry practice in the long run.
Digital Marketing Solutions for Your Optometry Practice
With everything you have on your plate as you open your own practice, digital marketing may not be your current priority. Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything alone.
Our marketing experts at iMatrix would be more than happy to help you develop an effective marketing plan to help your new optometry practice stand out from the competition. As you open your new business, we’ll be with you every step of the way so you can focus on what you do best.
Using the latest tools in the market, we’ll help you develop a winning strategy that capitalizes on what makes your business unique and fits your budget, so you don’t have to worry about marketing online. For more information on digital marketing packages, including content creation, call 800.792.8384 or click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the size of the optometry market?
The size of the global optometry market is expected to reach USD 88.1 billion by 2027, indicating a promising outlook for the field. Factors such as an aging population, increasing eye health issues, and advancements in optometric technology contribute to this growth. Given the market’s trajectory, opportunities for optometrists appear to be on the rise, making it a robust sector for investment and career development.
Where do optometrists make the most money?
In the United States, optometrists earn the highest salaries in states like West Virginia, North Carolina, and Nebraska. The median annual income for this profession is approximately USD 124,300. These figures can vary based on factors like experience, location, and specialization, but generally, these states offer the most financially rewarding opportunities for optometrists looking to maximize their earning potential.
What is the future of optometry?
The future of optometry appears to be secure, with sustained demand for healthcare professions like this that are less susceptible to automation technology. With an aging population and increasing eye health concerns, employment opportunities in this field are expected to remain high. Advances in medical technology also offer new avenues for practice, ensuring that optometry continues to be a viable and rewarding career path.