Ideas to boost business during the slower months

Think business has to slow down for medical practices in the summer? Think again! The longer, lazy days of summer can be the perfect time to bring in more patients and more revenue – if you’re savvy about your marketing. Here are some ideas to beat the summer slump and boost business.

Educate patients on summer safety

With Memorial Day being the unofficial start of summer, many people are thinking about whether or not they’re “summer-ready.” What can you do to promote that theme?

Eye care practices can focus on educating patients about sun safety and highlighting their eyewear offerings. This short video is an easy way to show patients that, just as they protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, they need to protect their eyes as well with the right lenses:

 

Do you have pediatric patients? Studies have shown that the earlier children begin wearing sunglasses outdoors, the better their chances of avoiding major eye health problems later in life. Play this video in your waiting room or on your practice web site as a reminder:

 

Skin safety is especially important in the summer, of course. With many practices now offering cosmetic services, your patients may be concerned about skin protection and skin cancer risk. This video shares easy-to-remember tips for when you should see a doctor about a suspicious mole:

 

Now might be the perfect time to consider hosting a patient education seminar. Opening your doors to the public for a low-pressure informational event is a great way to showcase your offerings and position yourself as an expert in the community. Giving away something for free – sample-sized products of sunscreen and lip balm, light refreshments – doesn’t hurt, either.

For more on this topic, see Should You Host Patient Education Seminars?

Offer special promotions

With the longer days and more foot traffic, summer is a great time for sales and special promotions. The optical where optician Colleen Hannegan, ABOC, CPO, works hosted a one-day-only sale, offering 20 percent off all frames and sunglasses. Advertised with a pre-printed window banner along with announcements on social media, “Our revenues increased by more than $2,000 for that day. Instead of generating our typical Saturday revenues of $2,500-$3,000, we sold $5,000 worth of eyewear,” wrote Hannegan in the Review of Optometric Business.

Another way to generate more business and get rid of old inventory at the same time is to hold a buy-one-get-one free (BOGO) sale. Consider what packages you might offer – say, buy one pair of glasses, get a pair of sunglasses free. You could also offer special tints or lens treatments.

Presentation is the key, according to Hannegan. You can’t pull out a dusty box of old frames and expect good results. “The free frames need to be cleaned, adjusted, and looking their best, even if they’re old stock. Place them in a colorful display area with a balloon attached and colorful signage. Make the take-home presentation nice as well, with pretty bags and bows.”

For more on upgrading your practice’s décor and displays, check out How to Set Your Practice Apart from the Competition

Step up your social media presence

If business is a little slower for you in the summer, take the opportunity to get more involved with social media. Today, 69 percent of U.S. adults of all ages are social media users, according to Pew. And many of them are looking for health information and doctors. Having a presence on social media allows doctors to help shape the narrative about health care and humanize themselves in the process, said Kevin Pho, M.D., social media expert and founder of KevinMD.com.

An easy way to enhance your online presence is by posting high-quality patient education videos to your practice’s social media sites. Rendia allows you to promote your practice’s brand with a personalized watermark and practice profile displayed alongside every video you share. This video walks you through the process: Tutorial: Getting Started with Rendia on Social Media

What should you post? Aim for a mix of patient education, such as the videos mentioned above, along with fun content like trivia (see our First Lady Sunglasses vignette) and holiday-themed posts for Father’s Day (June 17), the 4th of July, or National Selfie Day (June 21). Better yet, consider turning it into a contest on Twitter or your practice’s Facebook page: “Post a selfie in your specs for a chance to win a gift certificate!” This will encourage more engagement from current and prospective patients.

For much more on this topic, download our latest eBook, How to Build a Strong Online Brand: The Doctor’s Guide to the Internet.