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    P.S. Use this cost-effective marketing tactic to increase end-of-year profits

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Donna Suter, president of Suter Consulting Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.

    I love post scripts. They allow my internal marketing campaigns to succeed. Harnessing the power of the post script can be a powerful internal marketing strategy targeting patients who have not been seen in a few years.

    In marketing articles, this is called database marketing. Marketing to your own database can increase your year-end profits and build your brand as a practice that stresses follow-up care and patient education. (Two important standards to demonstrate as MACRA impacts practice revenue.)  

    Your patient records contain contact information about healthy eyes that haven’t been seen is over 24-months as well as diabetic, glaucoma, and cataract patients who need your care. This fall, many healthy, diabetic, glaucoma, and cataract patients are in good financial shape to receive and act on your message. Why?

    These patient types may have already satisfied their medical deductibles, either through Medicare or private insurers and that portion of their visit will be covered. The patient also wins because a return visit improves their level of care (MACRA). Those still working may also have employer contributions to a health saving account that must be either used or returned by December 31, 2017. 

    Understanding the 4 T’s of a marketing campaign

    Launching a fall marketing campaign requires your marketing person to think strategically about what I call the 4 T’s of any campaign: target, timing, time, and traffic.

    1. Target 

    Begin by querying your software to identify and provide names, phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses for your target audiences. Your sort criteria might look like this:

    •      Pseudophakes who have had cataract surgery on just one eye
    •      Medicare-age patients 65 and older
    •      Glaucoma or glaucoma suspects
    •      Vision care plan patients who haven’t been seen in three years
    •      Diabetics

    2. Timing 

    Patients must have enough time to respond. Is your telephone-handler prepared to answer questions and squeeze all those that respond into the schedule? If she is off viewing the fall leaves, the patient you have now informed about the importance of returning will typically not leave a message on voice-mail. He or she will hang up and call another practice.

    3. Time

    Donna Suter
    Donna Suter is president of Suter Consulting Group.

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