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  April 3, 2013
Promos & P.O.P.

Marketing to Patients As Well As to Doctors,
One Size Does Not Fit All for MyEyeDr

By dba Staff

The almost handmade feel of the MyEyeDr website was designed to convey a personalized approach to vision care.

VIENNA, Va.—Switching from traditional advertising to the internet has resulted in a surge in business for MyEyeDr. "Since I came aboard in 2009, we've abandoned a lot of the print and guerrilla marketing such as flyers on the street, to more online based, including a new website launched June 1, 2011," Tim Gorin, VP, business development, told dba. "As a result we've also seen a huge increase in traffic, unique visits, and a lower bounce rate. All the metrics have grown tremendously."

The design of the MyEyeDr website itself has served as the basis for much of the unified look and feel that permeates the overall message presented by the regional eyecare group. "It almost has a handmade feel to convey our personalized approach to vision care," president Sue Downes told dba. That in turn helps the company reflect its basic tenets of welcoming all insurance, encouraging annual exams and comprehensive vision care while offering both value as well as luxury products.

Electronic marketing beyond the website includes Facebook and Twitter, but in addition, MyEyeDr has also fully embraced the use of the consumer review site Yelp as well as the daily deal site Living Social.

"While we don't get a lot of negative reviews on Yelp relative to the number of offices we have and the amount of patients we see, we do respond to every single one that comes into the office," said Gorin. "It's a good reality check for us, another tool that we use to identify offices or individual staffers that may need some help. We demonstrate that if there is an issue we are there."

Gorin also explained how MyEyeDr was in the vanguard in the use of daily deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social. "This is one of the ways we pioneered our industry," he said, "because when we were talking with Groupon and Living Social about changing our deals in the beginning, and when we asked what the others were doing, they said, 'Everyone's looking at you.'" After experimenting with these two daily deal sites, MyEyeDr established a relationship with Living Social. "We felt their strategies and approach were more in line with what we do," said Gorin.

Although electronic marketing has proven effective, MyEyeDr still retains some traditional promotional techniques. For example, Downes explained, "Marketing, advertising, inventory, staffing, everything we do is based on the location and its community, so in more rural communities we still use Valpak opposed to social media."

Patients can choose how MyEyeDr communicates with them, by email, text message or phone call.

In other cases, tried-and-true programs such as patient recalling have also maintained some of their original formats while evolving to also include new electronic systems as well. "We still recall patients," Downes told dba, "but now patients can choose how they would prefer that we communicate with them, by phone or in print as well as by email and text messaging." This electronic communication is performed using Acuity Logic software interfacing with 4PatientCare.

In addition, MyEyeDr also still uses radio advertisements (listen to some below). However, while the regional eyecare group decided against television commercials because of their expense, it is currently developing videos for online exposure this spring.

Patients are not the only ones MyEyeDr is on the lookout for. On an acquisition course fueled by an infusion of new private equity capital (see A Regional Leader Brings Its Expertise to Bold Expansion Drive), MyEyeDr currently operates nearly 50 locations with more joining the group regularly.

David Sheffer, EVP of corporate development is leading the effort to bring doctors and practices into the group. He told dba that his message to doctors they are looking to acquire is, "You should spend your time seeing patients, and let us do everything else." From a marketing viewpoint alone, he said, "It's hard for an OD to find the money and time to focus on marketing at all. We have a full team dedicated to it."

Acquisitions are under the auspices of a division of MyEyeDr known as Capital Vision Services, LLC, which is focused on optometric practices nationwide. Much like the marketing techniques employed by the group, which are based on the belief that one size does not fit all, engagement with doctors who are potential MyEyeDr partners is similar. Sheffer describes them as "deals customized to each of our practices," and he reports that there have been six so far this year, two of which took place just this week alone, putting the group well on its way toward achieving its goal of 60 practices generating revenue of $100 million by the end of 2013.

Listen to sample radio advertisements for MyEyeDr:
Great Selection

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Marketing to Patients As Well As to Doctors,
One Size Does Not Fit All for MyEyeDr

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