By Vince Zingaro, OD
March 17, 2021
The products you sell in your office have the potential to improve patients’ lives while making your practice more profitable. Here are three special offers to patients that resulted in greater profitability in the practices where I worked.
Fifty Percent Discount on Sunglasses with Purchase of Annual Supply of Contact Lenses
At a private practice where I worked, we offered a 50 percent discount on sunglasses with the purchase of an annual supply of daily disposable contact lenses. We ran this promotion for a quarter, and it was a good way to entice patients to purchase an annual supply of contact lenses through our office and also to clear out the existing inventory of sunglasses.
We noted a boost of about 20 percent in practice revenues for the quarter during this promotion. Much of this increase stemmed from increased sales of daily disposable contact lenses.
To promote this offer to patients, we created signs that were placed near the sunglasses in our optical, so it would be hard for patients to miss. The staff also explained the promotion to patients upon checkout. In the exam room, I explained to patients that the cheapest way for them to buy their contact lenses was through an annual supply because of manufacturer rebates, along with our special offer for discounted sunglasses. The rebates combined with our special offer assured patients they were making the most economical decision when buying an annual supply of contact lenses.
You can take this promotion one step further. At one of the offices where I currently work, a MyEyeDr. location, all patients are offered free sunglasses with the purchase of an annual supply of contact lenses.
Free Contact Lens Trial Fitting of a New Brand of Contact Lenses
When Dailies Total 1 launched, we selected 15 of our patients who would be good candidates for the new lens. We brought them into the office and let them try on the new lenses to see how they liked them. We had the contact lens rep from the company on hand to answer questions about the lens and assist as needed. There was a festive atmosphere with food served, which was provided by Alcon. Patients were encouraged to take the lenses home and try them out for a few days, and could order them if they chose to do so. We exchanged unopened boxes of other contacts that were purchased from us, for the new brand of contact lenses. Patients loved the new lens, and the majority of them upgraded to wearing them.
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We e-mailed the patients we thought would be a good fit for the new lenses and asked them to schedule a time on the day of our event. We told them they would be among the first to try this brand-new lens with the latest technology, and could purchase them if they needed more contact lenses, or could exchange them for previously purchased contact lenses.
The patients told many of their friends, who came in days and weeks later to try the lenses for themselves, and also order them. We even had some new patients referred into our practice from this promotion. Altogether I estimate that we got 10 new patients from this promotional event.
This promotional offer worked well for us and our patients, and the contact lens rep was happy to help organize it since her product would be prominently featured.
Gift Certificate to a Local Restaurant with Purchase of Second Pair of Glasses
When a patient purchased a second pair of glasses from our office, they received a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant. We ran this promotion during the summer months when we were more likely to sell sunglasses as a second pair of glasses. The owners and staff of the restaurant were thrilled, and in turn, referred patients to our practice.
This promotion cost us a small percentage of our profits on the second pair of glasses, and was not a huge profit-generator directly. However, we enjoyed many new patients referred to our office who hadn’t realized how easy our office was to get to, even though the restaurant that was part of our special offer was within walking distance to us.
To promote this special offer, we made posters, which we placed near the optical, and also told patients about it as they browsed for glasses.
In addition to generating about 10 new patients and additional eyewear sales, this special offer was a nice way to build goodwill for our practice in the community while helping another small business.