the business of contact lenses
Real Success Stories are an Effective Marketing Tool
BY GARY GERBER, OD
"I feel your pain." It's a phrase that illustrates one of the most powerful and yet hardly used tools in contact lens practice building marketing efforts: testimonials. If I believe you really do feel my pain, then I can relate to how you eliminated yours. To do that, I have to relate to who you are and believe your pain is like mine.
Those are the two most important points of any testimonial. Namely, pick a person to deliver your message that prospective patients can instantly relate to and then, make sure the message is perfectly aligned with your prospective patients' issues. Here I'll discuss some of the keys to properly using testimonials.
In Their Own Words
It's a great idea to have a photograph of the patient delivering the testimonial. This shows that the person actually exists instead of the more common signature with initials. "I love my contact lenses.– JS" isn't nearly as credible as seeing John Smith's picture with his real signature.
Have the patient state his chief complaint in his own words and do little, if any, editing. This helps relate the problem to other prospective patients. For example, a patient might report, "My eyes were so dry at the end of the day I couldn't wait to rip my contacts out of my eyes." Resist the urge to change this to, "Bill was suffering from contact lens-related dryness."
Strive for chief complaints that are common and genuine. A typical one is, "My last eye doctor couldn't fit me with contact lenses because he said I have astigmatism." Anything you've heard repeatedly is probably worthy of using as a testimonial.
Common objections to wearing lenses also make for great content. The common, "I never thought I could wear contact lenses. I can't touch my eyes, I can't even use eye drops," is a great segue into how your staff will spend time showing patients how to properly care for lenses.
Confusion about the myriad of available lenses resonates with many new wearers. "I never wore lenses before and I wasn't sure which ones would be best for me," sums up the concerns of many current non-wearers.
Patients' personal goals in wearing lenses are also good choices. "I wanted to be able to play tennis without my glasses constantly fogging up and sliding down my nose," is much more meaningful then, "We can fit you with contact lenses for sports."
Use testimonials to report success stories. They too must be authentic and relate to a broad base of patients. "Now that I'm throwing my lenses away every day, my eyes aren't always red. People have stopped coming up to me and asking, ‘Are you okay? Your eyes are so red!’"
How do you get testimonials? The answer might surprise you. Just ask!
The next time you have a patient who clearly and succinctly illustrates the current problem with his lenses, ask in the form of a challenge if you can use his comments as a testimonial. So, when he reports, "I've always had problems with my right lens. The vision gets foggy after only three hours of wearing the lens," say, "I'm going to do my best to try to solve your problem. If I do, would you give us a testimonial that states that exact problem?" Most patients are flattered and gratified that you asked them and it's rare that they say no.
Know the Guidelines
Be aware that some state regulatory boards have specific guidelines about how you may use testimonials. Make sure to check these regulations before using any in your advertising. CLS
Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice – a company offering consulting, seminars and software solutions for optometrists. You can reach him at (800) 867-9303 or DrGerber@PowerPractice.com.