Today’s practice owner has access to more information and insights into how the practice is performing than ever before. With a focused approach, you will be able to monitor key metrics delivering improved results.
In our daily interactions with practice owners, we find that the most important term to be familiar with is “conversions”. A conversion is simply the successful result of a patient responding to your message with the desired outcome - a booked appointment, a practice visit, a purchase or a positive word-of-mouth testimonial.
In the past, conversion tracking was an expensive exercise and tracking tools were not well integrated into practice management systems, often resulting in information gaps. Did the patient book an appointment? Did the patient buy something? If you can’t measure it, you are missing out on very valuable information which can help shape your future activities.
Conversion measurement can be applied across all facets of practice management. Here are some of the more important ones:
The most important conversion tracking is your recall process, which is usually entrenched within your practice management system. Although you can view recall statistics over a longer period of time, we recommend monitoring recall effectiveness at 90 days. Beyond this, there is an increasing probability the patient may find an interim eye care solution elsewhere. Recall rates can be split by phone, SMS or email, and you can use a combination to increase response effectiveness.
You may already be familiar with Google Analytics as the most common way to track the performance of your website. An example of conversion tracking is to identify how many visitors click your “Request an appointment” button or web form. There are other website plugins that sync with your marketing list to reveal who within your database is viewing your webpage and how long they are engaged with reading your content.
Facebook is a viable way to generate new appointments and to showcase all the great things that you do in practice. Likes, shares and comments are all the visible ways you can monitor activity on your page, but this represents only a very small portion of people who are viewing your posts. Installing the Facebook Pixel, a tracking code, on your website will allow you to track conversions from Facebook to your website and through to online booking.
Sending occasional email communications to your database can be an effective way to keep patients informed of your latest offers, campaign messages or promotions. Email is a way to create a digital on-going connection with your patients, which also brings additional insights because you can track what patients are viewing on your website after they click from the email.
You have a message you want everyone to know about? Be sure to include a measurable call-to-action. SMS campaigns should use clickable links to capture who has shown interest to read more. Alternatively, you can use two-way SMS, asking the patient to reply via SMS in response to a yes/no question. Printed letters should include a call-to-action which uses a specific campaign phone number or a webpage that is unique to the message you are promoting so you can get some idea about patient response. Remember to ensure you have patient permissions in place before contacting them with any SMS or email promotions, however.
How can you increase “conversions”?
1. Reduce the points of friction - Put yourself in the shoes of your patient. How can you make the booking and eye care process as easy as possible? Which technology systems will you offer to appeal to your target audience: online self-booking appointments, pre-appointing with SMS reminders, Facebook Messenger, personalised letters, phone calls from your staff… all of these can make it easier for patients, so chose the technology stack that’s right for your practice.
2. A/B message testing - How do you know if your message will be effective? You need to test it! Put simply, an A/B Test is running two simultaneous versions of a message to see which one gets the better response. Use the one that gets greater conversions more often!
Ensure that everything you do can be measured and create a simple monthly dashboard for yourself which includes the areas you are actively investing time and money into. Every successful conversion will reinforce that you have a process that works and will build your confidence in taking proactive steps to grow your practice successfully.
About the author
Robert Springer is the technical director of OptomEDGE, an optometry-focused marketing agency covering campaigns, printed and digital recalls and patient communications. To learn more, please call +64 9 889 3179 or email email@example.com.