The Crowd Goes Wild: How to Score New Patients for Your Sports Vision Practice
Whether you're just starting out, or you’ve been playing the game for a while, there’s one thing about the sports vision industry that’s always true: The need for new patients never goes away. In this article, EyeCarePro explores proven marketing strategies to get more fans in the stands. So start getting warmed up, because it’s time for a comeback story.
Better Than the Best
For most athletes, it’s all about pushing the envelope. Running faster, jumping higher, throwing farther. Exceeding the limits is part of what makes professional sports so exciting. Every time we see a player take their performance right up to the edge, and then just keep going, it’s inspiring. We just can't help but marvel at all.
Professional teams hire trainers to help players work on their strength and dexterity, but there’s another facet of an athlete’s performance they can’t train: Their brain. Or more specifically, how their eyes and brain work in tandem to help them reach the top of their game faster. Better perception and quick reflexes can be the difference between preventing an RBI or adding another embarrassing error to the scoreboard. That’s where sports vision comes in.
Many people don’t realize just how insanely awesome sports vision training is. You’re literally retraining the eyes, brain and muscle memory to detect something and react to it in most cases before the brain has even fully processed what’s happening. It sounds like something that would be more at home in a Jason Bourne movie than on a baseball diamond. The fact that most people don’t recognize this about sports vision is a great loss to professional sports, but presents a unique opportunity to sports vision practices.
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Choose Your Position
Sure, everyone loves a utility player when your starting lineup begins to get a bit tired midway through the game. But if your team really needs a shortstop and you show up with ice skates and goalie pads, you aren’t going to be much help. Similarly, If you live in a football town, chances are you’re probably going to have far less success selling sports vision services to baseball players.
Before you even start marketing your practice, the first thing you need to do is figure out what main role you need to fill. Do some research and find out what kinds of sports teams operate in your area. Reach out and talk to them, ask them what they’re looking for and if they’d be interested in sports vision. Then come up with a strategy based on your findings. The more targeted you are, the better off you’ll be. Every practice will be different, but getting the legwork done now will make the next part much easier.
Teach Them the Playbook
Alright, huddle up! Now that you’ve nailed down which sport(s) you’re going to focus on, it’s time to start thinking about marketing content. As we mentioned before, sports vision as a whole suffers from a serious lack of general awareness. Educating potential patients is one of the best ways to both raise awareness of your practice, and convince them to try out your services.
Here’s the play. Pick out some of your more commonly used pieces of equipment. Explain the training techniques, what they do and what sorts of benefits athletes can gain from sports vision therapy. This is a great way to engage with patients and pique interest in your practice. Best of all, it doesn’t cost too much. You already have the equipment. It’s just a matter of explaining how it all works and then posting the content to social media and your website. This can be done in the form of blogs or articles, static image posts or video (more on this later).
Don’t be afraid to hype it up either. Remember, you’re teaching people how to tap into superhuman reflexes. That’s nothing to shake a stick at.
Ready? New patients on three...
Let’s face it. Sports are all about action. Those nail-biting close calls, those last minute comebacks, that’s what we live for. So it makes sense that a simple text article or image post doesn’t always cut it. What better way is there to market sports vision than to give your patients a play by play inside look at your services?
Video marketing is hands down the best way to get patient engagement, though it requires a bit more time and involvement. As the doctor, you’re your practice’s allstar. Ideally, videos showcasing your equipment and therapies should feature you. First, pick a piece of equipment. Demonstrate how it’s used, then explain how it works.
Describe exactly what is being trained, and how that helps athletes perform better. Finally, list off a few sports and positions where the chosen therapy would be helpful, and what sorts of scenarios it can help with.
Aside from equipment tutorials, there’s another type of video all sports vision practices can benefit from. These involve breaking down sports moments. Go over some clips from last night's big game and dissect good plays and bad plays. Break it down for the audience. Why did Tarasenko miss that goal? There was a perfect opening! Why did Pat Mahomes change course at the last second and pass to Tyreek Hill for the touchdown instead of Travis Kelce? Kelce wasn’t covered, but Hill was. How did he know it would work?
Explain the role vision and reflexes play in each of these clips. If the play failed, explain why it failed, and how it could be improved. Link it back to your services. Was Pat Mahomes just lucky, or was he able to pick out where the defense was going before Kelce did? Make sure to discuss how the training you offer can improve the skills necessary in these kinds of plays.
Not only does this give patients real world examples to relate to, it makes the world of sports vision much more interesting.
Tips From the Professionals
So you have a winning content strategy and the perfect method to get it to people in a way that interests them. Don’t step up to the plate just yet! There are still a few little things that can really help make a difference in your marketing you should know first.
Don't Forget Halftime!
As we’ve said, videos are a super engaging way to get your content in front of patients. But people have limited attention spans. You don’t want to overwhelm them with a glut of information in a massive 14 minute video. Try to give them insights into sports vision in bite-sized chunks that are easily digestible. Remember, your content doesn’t have to be a marathon sprint. It’s perfectly fine to take things inning by inning.
Be a Team Player
Sports are about coordination. The St. Louis Cardinals’ 17-game winning streak didn’t just happen. It was the product of many hardworking individuals acting in unison towards a shared goal. As we mentioned before, sports vision doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Your community is your most important resource. Building relationships with your local sports organizations is a must. But it doesn’t happen by itself. Get out there and show some team spirit. Introduce yourself, make yourself a regular fixture at games, root for the home team both on and off the field. Become a valuable member of your community’s team, and you’ll be amazed by the kind of support you get in return.
Practice Your Post-Game Handshake
At the end of the day, whether you bat for the Giants or the Red Sox, you’re all there to play the same game. As a specialty practice, referrals are how you generate business. We’ve already discussed connecting with your community, but equally as crucial is connecting with other optometrists in your area. Optometric specialists are in the unique position to fill roles many other optometrists just can’t. If a neuro-optometric rehab patient is seeing someone down the road, but they happen to be in for a sports injury, there’s a chance that the patient would be a great fit for your practice too. By working together, you can both grow your practices.But you won’t ever see those types of patients if you don’t build a working relationship with the doctor down at the rehab clinic.
In part 3 of our educational series, Dr. Jennifer Stewart goes into detail about just what it takes to build up a networking roster so good you’d think you had stumbled into a fantasy league competition. Make sure to keep an eye out for the video here!