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Use "Mindshare" to Create Long-Term, Loyal Patients

Use "Mindshare" to Create Long-Term, Loyal Patients

You can lock in patients for the long-term by ensuring your practice occupies a greater slice of patient "mindshare."

Gaining a greater share of patient mindshare is based on frequent touchpoints that help you to possess a piece of the space in their minds where the brands they see everyday reside.

The “new” economy has reset the rules of the game--for everyone. We no longer can assume that “good” or “adequate” service will be offset by our specialty or proximity to the patient.

Win Mindshare with Annual Supply of CLs

When your patients purchase an annual supply of contact lenses from your practice, you have successfully managed their mindshare for a year.

With no need to seek contact lenses elsewhere, patients will view your practice's brand as having satisfied a year's need. --ROB Editors

Test How Easy to Find Your Practice-The game has changed, not only for you, but for your competition as well. Everyone is dealing with a consumer who is less loyal, more mobile and most importantly--more informed than ever before. It is amazing to realize the number of patients who know more about you before they even walk into your practice, than you will ever know about them. Take this simple test: Google your own name, or your practice's name and see what happens.

With so much information at your patient’s fingertips, it becomes increasingly important to take steps to occupy "mindshare."  Mindshare is simply the act of keeping your brand in their mind by using strategic or “nurture” marketing techniques. Look back for a moment from a patients’ perspective. A typical "experience" with an eyecare professional happens at best, once a year for 90 minutes. Many times, this experience happens once every two years. What happens to your patient the remainder of the year?  Radio spots, television commercials, recommendations from friends, unsolicited comments from others--all ways that you are competing for mindshare, and you may not even know it. 

Create Multiple Patient Touchpoints-Instead of leaving your patient dormant, take time over the next year to develop a continued relationship with them, even if it is as simple as a newsletter or an e-mail blast. The key is to focus on maintaining that mindshare. There are many ways to attract, retain and develop patient relationships. The two key areas that have the greatest impact happen before the patient shows up--your web presence and the initial phone contact with your office. Prior to their visit, patients will read your web site, check opinion sites to see what has been written about you, and hit Facebook to see if you have a page. A term that is emerging to describe this activity is “webutation.” Next, the first impression received from your front desk will set the tone for the whole expected experience.  

Retention is a parallel action to attraction. The same efforts we put forth to attract a patient are the same efforts required to maintain them. Are you presenting information to them that is relevant? Are you visible? Are you adding value to their lives as their primary eyecare professional?  Are you establishing yourself as the provider who cares more for their eyes than anyone else can or will?

Brand Your Office Visits-The office visit itself is very important--it’s your brand. Marketing is what people see about you, branding is what they say about you. The graphic above demonstrates the importance and opportunity to maintain mindshare with a patient and keep the competition out of your office.  If we look at what happens after the visit occurs, there is ample opportunity for education and events like personal shopping days or trunk shows, surveys, newsletters and seasonal experiences such as the arrival of summer or ski season.  Each opportunity for a personal conversation with a patient drives home the fact that you want a relationship with them, and that you intend to be the expert caregiver in charge of their sight.

It takes as much work to attract a patient as it does to retain them. But it is much more expensive and less predictable to build our practices with new patients than establish a relationship with the ones we already have.

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