By Janelle Davison, OD
March 30, 2022
Setting practice growth goals each year is a way to ensure you stay on track for long-term profitability. Here are some of the actions I am taking this year to grow and improve my practice.
As a conservative estimate, I’m planning for the practice investments I am making this year to add $100,000, or more, in annual net profit to my practice.
Expanding Myopia Management Practice
I am currently a participating doctor in the CooperVision Brilliant Futures program. By the end of the second quarter of 2022, I plan to expand the number of patients receiving treatment via the MiSight 1 day lens, along with adding Ortho-K services.
The hardest part of expanding this part of my practice has been educating parents about the benefits of myopia management and getting them the consent form to sign once they agree they want their child to have this treatment. I found a software program, HOOT, that automates patient communication and education specifically for myopia management.
HOOT will allow me to input contact information for parents who have expressed even a slight interest in myopia management. The technology then facilitates e-mails and texts, trickling out information to these parents about how myopia management works and how it can benefit their children. Once they agree to go forward with the treatment, all the necessary consent forms are sent via this software.
The software comes with QR codes you can display in your exam room. One code is yellow and the other is green. If I am talking to a parent who only wants to learn more about myopia management, I ask them to scan the yellow code. HOOT then starts sending them basic, big-picture information about myopia management. If the parent tells me they definitely want to move forward with myopia management, I have them scan the green code. They are then sent the consent forms and other information we need to immediately start moving forward with the treatment plan.
HOOT comes with a setup fee and monthly cost. I estimate spending $5,000 in total for the first year of using this technology.
In addition to the addition of this software, I am planning to purchase technology that will allow me to measure axial length. I am doing research to decide whether I want technology that does nothing but axial length measurements, like Haag-Streit Lenstar Myopia ($19,000) or DGH A-Scan ($3,600), or whether I want the Oculus Myopia Master, an autorefractor that also takes these measurements. This technology would cost my practice around $29,000.
With each myopia management patient bringing up to $3,000 into the practice, I project breaking even within 9-12 months, or much sooner, from HOOT and the technology I purchase to measure axial length.
Improving Digital Marketing & SEO with Use of a New Outsource Partner
With the addition of myopia management, I will have three major specialty areas in my practice: dry eye, aesthetic optometry and myopia management. I currently use a platform for my website that looks good, but doesn’t do anything to drive patients to my specialty services. It also doesn’t do anything to help us improve our ranking in search listings. I am looking for a digital outsource partner that can focus on search engine optimization, targeting and lead generation.
Other Articles to Explore
I am exploring options like Marketing 360 Pro, IDOC Marketing Services and Digital Healthcare Professionals. I plan to implement one of these services, or another, by the end of 2022, at the latest. I also am considering using a public relations marketing firm, which would help me promote my practice in local media outlets. For now, it does not make financial sense for me invest in a digital marketing firm and a PR firm at the same time, so I will choose one or the other.
I may start off with a digital marketing agency, and if my revenues have increased substantially from increased specialty service patients, I may at that point also begin using the services of a PR firm.
Most digital marketing agencies that do website hosting, SEO and blogging cost $800-$1,200 monthly. PR firms are usually $1,500-$2,500, and typically want you to commit to a minimum six-month contract, whereas a digital marketing agency is usually a yearly commitment.
According to my research, it takes about six months to see a return on investment from use of a digital marketing or public relations firm. I project seeing an ROI on this investment by mid-2023.
Expand Luxury Frame Lines
When patients want luxury frames where my practice is based, Smyrna, Ga., many assume they have to travel to an upscale area of Atlanta like Buckhead. We are making an optical niche for ourselves by offering luxury brands. For example, we are one of the only places nearby that sells Dior frames, and we recently added Saint Laurent Paris frames.
This year, we are planning to add frames from Fendi, Balenciaga and Celine, and possibly another luxury brand. These frame lines often require that you buy as many as 18-36 pieces at one time. It is usually a $5,000-$7,000 upfront investment to bring in a new luxury frame line. My plan is to slowly add new luxury lines to our optical, bringing in an additional line once the last one we added has been paid off and is turning a profit.
I expect a strong ROI on the new luxury frames we add to our optical based on the performance of the ones we have already. Our Dior frames typically sell almost immediately after arriving at our office, especially if they are new styles. Recently, we sold the same Dior frame four times in one day. These kinds of sales allow us to keep our per-patient revenue well above $400.
Having luxury frame styles makes it easy for our patients to purchase from us. I found that patients want to buy from the same office where they have their eye exam. When a patient walks out the door without buying glasses from you, it may not be that they didn’t want to spend money. It may be that they didn’t want to spend money on the products you sell.
In addition to outside luxury frame lines, we sell a private-label luxury frame line that is exclusive to our office, Joy & Jane Lux. These frames are priced at around $300 and are branded with our logo and practice name. We have a propriety frame line that is a value option that is priced at $199.
We always train staff ahead of the debut of a new frame line in our office. We want our staff to be able to answer all of our patients’ questions about the frames we sell, and if the frame line comes with an interesting story, we want our staff to be able to share that story. Along with staff education, we power sales of our luxury frames with trunk shows. Our Dior rep has already committed to presenting a summer trunk show in our office.