Research suggests that around 39 percent of adults consult an eye care professional once a year. While an eye visit is a routine consumer activity, getting your share of the right types of patients is anything but ordinary.  And, doing so on a small budget is even more challenging.

Marketing your optometry business involves a careful analysis of marketing strategies and organizing a well thought-out marketing plan. Here is how you can attract and retain your ideal patient on a budget:

Benefits of Targeting the Ideal Patient
To make your optometric practice more effective and cover all your costs, it is imperative that you use relevant marketing tactics to attract the ideal type of patients. With the right patients coming in, you will be able to:

· Earn a higher return on investment

· Understand patient needs better

· Market your services in a cost-effective manner

Being able to target the right client base through better marketing strategies will enable your clients to have a better understanding of what services to expect. Having a good idea of what your customers want will also help you add value to your products and services.

There are 2 simple steps to identify the ideal target market:

1. Marketing Segmentation

Analyze the primary characteristics of your ideal patient. Start with segmenting the market intodemographic, psychographic, geographic and behavioural categories. Evaluate where your target market stands in order to move closer to achieving a holistic overview of your ideal patient.

2. Patient Persona

Once you have completed segmenting the market, you are bound to have a good idea about your ideal patient. Ask yourself what kind of patients you enjoy working with the most. List down some common attributes based on health attitudes, income, occupation, interests, habits, age and method of payment.

Figuring out the ideal patient does not mean you should refuse to treat those who do not meet your criteria. The goal is to make your business more profitable by prioritizing quality over quantity.

Marketing Tactics to Attract and Retain Your Ideal Patient
Good marketing strategies for your optometric practice do not have to be expensive; they just need to be efficient. You should aim to market your products and services in a way that they provide valuable information to your target audience while increasing brand loyalty.

You can easily minimize your budget once you figure out details regarding your ideal patient and optimize your marketing tactics and spending accordingly.

Both traditional marketing and online marketing strategies are likely to benefit your business as long as you ensure you pick and choose the right ones based on the clientele you wish to attract and retain.

Conventional Marketing
Although the internet is gaining popularity as a marketing platform, it has not yet eliminated the need for conventional marketing practices. Some vital tactics include:

1. Referral program

A patient referring your practice to other people is not only an efficient marketing strategy but is also a compliment as it assures you that you are doing your job well.

Start a referral program by offers such as a voucher, discount, gas card or lucky draw token. This is a good way to show your appreciation and promote your services.

2. Take out time for local charities

Strengthen your brand loyalty by joining charities. This will help build trust and establish the reliability of your optometry practice.

When patients notice your efforts to give back to the community, they will hold you and your practice in higher regard.

3. Broadcast or outdoor ads

An eye-catching advertisement or an infectious jingle will not fail to get noticed. Radio is an effective and reasonable medium to tap the local market.

A well-designed billboard ad is also likely to be retained by people. Whenever they will feel the need to consult an optometrist, they may recall your advertisement.

Online Marketing
In this day and age, the scope of digital marketing is growing tremendously. Having a noticeable online presence allows you to attract a large customer base and is easy on the pocket.

1. Email Marketing

Keep sending emails to your clients from time to time to reinforce their preference for your products and services. Ask people for their email addresses when they register with your services.

You can email people about new offers, newsletters, and reminders for yearly check-ups. Moreover, you can also market in subtle ways by sending out informative emails regarding eye health.

2. Website and SEO

Focus on developing a website that is designed well and provides visitors with valuable information about your products and services. When patients search for an optometrist’s services, they are bound to use a search engine rather than a traditional phonebook, which is why it is important to have an effective and professional online presence.

Make sure the visitors on your website enjoy a good user experience. In order to be visible to the right kind of users, your website must be optimized for search engines.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process that ensures that the site is structured in a way to rank higher on the search engine results page. It involves tweaking your website to increase its loading speed, making it mobile-friendly and placing visible calls-to-action to convert visitors into customers. Consider hiring an expert.

3. Social Media Marketing

The latest findings show that as many as 2.7 billion people are active on Facebook every month. The importance of maintaining your presence on social media cannot be overstated.

Make sure you are visible to your target audience on leading social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Routinely update your clientele about new offers and practices to keep them engaged.

Choose your marketing platforms wisely in order to attract and retain your ideal patient. Both conventional marketing and digital marketing avenues can be used in a cost-effective manner one you have a clear idea of your target audience and the way to reach them.


1. Statista

2. Statista


is the founder of Corporate Optometry, a peer-to-peer web resource for ODs interested to learn more about opportunities in corporate optometry. Canadian ODs and optometry students can visit to learn more.


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“Show me the money!” is a famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire. We’ve also heard it from our clients. How much should I expect to be in my bank account each month?  How much should I spend on new equipment? And even, where did the money go?

Ultimately, the answer to all of these questions is found in the practice’s budget. The budget is a roadmap for how to manage the practice’s finances. Many practices, however, don’t have a budget. The best way to create a budget is to follow an idealized P&L and actively manage it to achieve financial success.

All this takes time and dedication. However, if you want to see success in your optometric practice, it means not just working in the business, but on the business as well.

Keep in mind too that the budget of the practice must support the strategy the business has chosen to adopt. For instance, equipment costs may be a higher percentage of gross for a practice that has decided to specialize in Dry Eye and is investing in new equipment to support that revenue stream.

Below are the Key Parts of a P&L and some considerations for each category.


The top line of the P&L is Revenue or Gross Revenue. This is all the money coming in from all sources; professional fees, spectacle lenses, frames, contact lenses, therapeutics and other items. How much you are projecting to grow this line is directly related to the Goals you have set out for the year. There are many things that can impact Revenue; if you are introducing a new service, bringing on a new associate, or investing in marketing, among others.


Cost of Goods Sold (25% of gross revenue)

The next line to analyze is Cost of Goods Sold. The highest expense category, it is difficult to get it below 25%. A practice that has more than 12% of gross revenue coming from contact lenses will have an especially tough time due to the low margins in contact lens sales. Buying Groups, and more recently, Buying Alliances, are a great way to reduce product costs since they are able to offer volume discounts to their members. As a general rule for primary practice, 35% of the COGs is spent on frames and sunglasses, 40% on lenses, 20% on contact lenses and 5% is on therapeutics. Running a specialty practice will have a slightly different COGs breakdown depending on the focus. Product cost is the expense that you have the most control over.  Provide this budget to your buyers and insist that they stick to it.

Staff Costs (19% of gross revenue)

Staff cost is normally the second largest expense category. This category should not only include wages but also paid holidays and staff retention strategies, which could include continuing education opportunities and staff bonuses. There is a real cost to recruiting and re-training. It is beneficial to invest a little more in nurturing your current staff to ensure a positive work environment to avoid having staff turnover.

Operating Costs (8% of gross revenue)

This category includes everything needed to run the practice but is not directly associated with sales. From telephones and computers to office supplies, the prices for these items should be researched and optimized. Ideally, we would like to see this number around 8%.

Overhead (6% of gross revenue)

Rent, utilities, building insurance, maintenance and cleaning are all part of this category. Obviously rents fluctuate depending on location. Our recommendation is that you allocate more for this category if it means you will have retail visibility and accessibility in terms of parking. As a general rule, this number should represent approximately 6% of gross revenue.

Marketing (5% of gross revenue)

Traditionally, optometrists have not spent a lot in this category. At one time, minimal ads in the Yellow Pages and the local newspaper were all that were necessary or allowed. Increased competition, particularly in the form of the internet, has necessitated a change in thinking.

Equipment (2% of gross revenue)

Testing and exam lane equipment is a fundamental necessity to the clinic, and so gets its own category. As well as needing to maintain the diagnostic equipment and paying for the lease, owners need to account for the depreciation of the equipment and the eventual necessity to replace and update all equipment. 2% of revenue should go towards keeping your equipment current and relevant.

PRACTICE NET (35% of gross revenue)

Once all of the expenses have been paid, the Practice Net is what remains.  The associate(s) and the owner are paid from this balance.

With a goal of increasing productivity by 10%, this is how a practice budget might look:

By laying out a budget, and managing it diligently, you will be able to anticipate how much money you can expect to earn this year by making great decisions that adhere to your budget.



is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at


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