The Business of Contact Lenses
Using Testimonials in Marketing Dry Eye Treatments
BY GARY GERBER, OD
Testimonials are viewed as dated and tired. But in this age, where social media is being heralded as the main marketing vehicle for many businesses, they are the neglected gem in marketing dry eye treatments. The reason why they are becoming more important now is because of the recent flood of new treatments.
The marketing challenges with any new product or service in any business are the same. The two biggest obstacles are creating awareness and instilling credibility. With anything medically related, such as dry eye, these challenges are magnified:
• Awareness: “A supplement for dry eyes? If it works so well, why haven’t I heard of it before?”
• Credibility: “You want me to pay $1,900 for a 15-minute in-office procedure that is going to magically help me feel comfortable after years of being miserable? And insurance doesn’t cover it? How can it possibly work?”
To address both of these, stroll down marketing memory lane and use the power of testimonials. But before doing so, check with your individual state’s advertising laws; some states have strict requirements about the method in which testimonials are used or stated. For example, some states require a disclaimer asserting that patients haven’t been paid for their testimonial. Even if your state doesn’t require it, this is something to consider anyway.
Making Testimonials Successful
While patients respect your knowledge and value your opinions, your “expert-ness” isn’t always enough to vault the awareness and, especially, the credibility hurdles. After all, unless you work for free, offering new treatments is an obvious financial incentive.
One reason why practitioners shy away from testimonials is that they often sound cliché and hackneyed. “I was suffering from uncomfortable dry eyes until I stumbled across Dr. Jones’ dry eye treatment center while I was surfing the web.” However, this isn’t necessarily bad as long as the message is credible.
To that point, video testimonials often work best. That way, the authenticity of the patient (presumably not an actor) is instantly apparent. I’d recommend not videoing this with state-of-the-art equipment. Instead, make them feel more genuine and believable by using a low-budget camera or even a good-quality smartphone. You can even ask patients to record video selfies for a genuine-looking and sounding message.
If you’re not paying patients for testimonials, how do you get them? That’s the easiest part. At the “point of success”—when a patient says, “My eyes finally feel great!”—simply ask if he’d be willing to share his experience in a short 30- to 60-second video. If he says yes, offer to shoot it right in your office. If you used any technology to treat the patient, take the video next to it. This adds another layer of credibility.
Once you have the videos, and the patients’ permission to use them, you have many options. Put them on your website and Facebook pages. Play them in a loop in your lobby. When prospective patients ask about a particular dry eye treatment while they’re in your office, offer to show them a few videos from patients who “were feeling just like you.”
When prospective patients call and express symptoms that may be dry eye-related, or ask relevant questions, direct them to your web videos (you can put them all on your own Dry Eye YouTube channel, along with a link to your appointment scheduler).
They’re an old-fashioned marketing technique, but testimonials should still have a prominent place in the marketing mix for your dry eye practice. CLS
Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice, a company offering proven and comprehensive practice and profit building systems. You can reach him at www.PowerPractice.com and follow him on Twitter @PowerYourDream.