Where to start? The tools and resources to leave a positive impact on your patients and community

March 27, 2024
In the bustling world of eye care, introducing oneself as a new optometrist isn't just about clinical skills; it's about weaving oneself into the fabric of the community. Learn best practices for carving your niche in both your new practice and community.
Optometrist Marketing Strategies 2024

The challenging world of optometry can be daunting to new doctors of optometry starting out in practice. A new doctor’s success is realized through a fine balance of clinical expertise and the ability to embed themselves into their respective communities to ensure they understand the community, build rapport and actively engage the community to provide quality patient-centered care.

A recent article by Inrava Khasnabish, O.D., called “Marketing a New Eye Care Provider to a Community” delves into the nuances of equipping new doctors of optometry with the tools and resources necessary to leave a lasting and positive impact on the communities and patients they serve.

“The responsibility of getting our name out into the community we serve falls upon both the provider and the practice they join,” says Dr. Khasnabish. “Introducing a new eye care provider to a community is a substantial undertaking that necessitates the formulation of a comprehensive marketing strategy by both the proprietor of the practice and the incoming clinician.”

She states that the foundation of success as a new doctor of optometry rests in collaborative efforts between you and the practice you join. This newfound teamwork will help you develop the right message at the right time, as well as identify what communication channels will best suit your needs.

“By aligning your marketing strategies with the practice's vision, you can leverage their experience and insights to navigate the intricacies of community engagement and their specific demographic,” she adds.

Know your audience—and make sure they know you

When joining a new practice, identify your niche or specialized services that can differentiate your practice. Then develop a growth and marketing plan to build up your practice, which includes strategies for expanding your patient base, reaching your target audience and promoting your specialized services.

Dr. Khasnabish recommends first diving into the information and data before doing any outreach. Learn about your community’s demographics (age, gender, etc.), needs and preferences (health concerns and other relevant criteria). Knowing what they want and need will drive how you communicate with them.

The next step is to develop your message and identify specific communication channels to deliver said message. Craft key messages that underscore your unique contributions to eye care, emphasizing expertise, services and unwavering commitment to patient well-being.

She advises that you share your credentials, patient testimonials and affiliations with reputable health care organizations to instill confidence. Beyond traditional marketing, immerse yourself in the fabric of the community through local events, health fairs and volunteer initiatives, among others.

Once you have determined your target audiences, the message and what communication channels you will use, you can begin reaching out to them. She believes embracing a multi-channel approach, spanning online platforms, social media, traditional media and community events can increase message effectiveness.

She shares several more tactics to reach and engage your audience, from creating a referral network of specialists and efficiently communicating with specialists to sending thank-you letters and update letters to referring providers to express appreciation and develop goodwill in the community.

Dr. Khasnabish goes on to reinforce that building trust within the community requires transparency, authenticity and active engagement, which takes time and effort. She adds that “entering the world of eye care as a new provider is a journey filled with opportunities and challenges. It's essential to embrace your unique skills and establish trust among peers within your practice.”

Read the full case study on the AOA’s EyeLearn Professional Development Hub.

Have questions on an ethical debate?

The AOA Ethics and Values Committee routinely produces hypothetical case studies concerning ethical challenges and how best to approach such situations based on the AOA Standards of Professional Conduct, AOA Code of Ethics and the Optometric Oath. Members may access these ethical case studies through the AOA’s centralized education portal, EyeLearn Professional Development Hub.

Have an ethical challenge or question you wish to share? Submit your idea or a case description to legal@aoa.org. The case description may be reviewed by the AOA Ethics and Values Committee and featured in future Ethics Forum discussions.

Interested in professional ethics case studies?

Read more case studies and ethical discussions from the AOA’s Ethics & Values Committee on members’ exclusive, centralized education portal, the AOA EyeLearn Professional Development Hub.

Related News

Does your practice do in-house billing? Here’s something to know

Save 10 hours, see 11 more patients each week—that’s how much time doctors say they recapture weekly by delegating nonphysician tasks to well-trained or certified staff.

Protecting patient privacy when a clinical observer visits

An optometry student is shadowing you at your practice. Does your patient need to give their consent?

AOA boosts support for optometrists rocked by Change Healthcare cyberattack

In light of the recent cyberattack and its national impact on health care, Optometry Cares® —The AOA Foundation announces immediate financial relief. Learn how to apply for a grant.