One of our favorite movies is the 1999 Mike Judge classic, Office Space. A box office flop, Office Space has turned into a cult classic, selling millions of VHS and DVDs. Entertainment Weekly ranking it fifth in their Top 25 Comedies Of The Past 25 Years.
We look at a lot of optical websites around the world. We look at manufacturer websites, distributor websites, optometry websites, optical shop websites, and more. We look at websites for design and for content. One of the pet peeves we pointed out a couple of years back was how many optometrist websites put instruments like a phoropter on the front page like having a phoropter would convince a new patient to choose your shop over the shop down the road with another phoropter.
Over the course of the last several months, we have noticed how many optical shop websites put so much effort into showcasing the biographies of the optometrists, the various services, the practice is proud of offering, and forms each practice would like for patients to fill out prior to coming in. What s missing is almost always what is the biggest revenue center for most optical practices.
When analyzing an optical practice, the general rule of thumb is that the front of most shops or their retail sales area is responsible for upwards of 60% of the revenue, while the back of a practice or the exam rooms earns the remaining 40%-50%. Like any business specialty, there are of course exceptions to the rule, but the standard baseline is 60/40.
Yet when you look at most optical practice websites, that ratio is skewed not just slightly the other way, but in many cases, almost entirely towards the exam portion of the business with virtually no attention paid to the retail portion practice. In websites that span the country from the largest metropolises to the coziest of small towns, optical practice website after optical practice website are compiled with page after page of dry eye, LASIK consultation, contact lens fitting, sports vision, computer vision, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, etc.
Imagine visiting the website of a steak restaurant only to find most of the website devoted to the resume of the chefs and the appliances used in the kitchen, with almost no attention paid to the actual steaks, side dishes, desserts, or drinks offered. Or looking at a tropical resort hotel and finding their website devoted almost entirely to the resumes of the hotel management and the housekeeping equipment they use and the brand of bedding they provide their guests.
Do a Google search for dry eye and you will find 1,250,000,000 results. Now do a google search for eyeglasses. You will find 862,000,000 pages devoted to eyeglasses. Pages with eyeglasses are only 69% of the number of pages that mention dry eye. This means that optometrists and the people who built their websites have insisted on publishing content about dry eye over 30% more often than they have about eyeglasses. Yet, on any given week more than nine times (9X) as many searches are made for eyeglasses than dry eye. The numbers don’t come close to being aligned. Optical practices are shouting answers to questions patients and customers aren’t asking.
Practice after practice is investing time, money, and digital real estate towards a specialty the doctors and practices are justifiably proud to specialize in, while virtually ignoring what patients and customers are seeking eyewear. Optometrists want to talk about Scleritis and Blepharitis. Most of your potential patients and customers have never heard those words and probably never well. How many calls do you get from potential patients asking about Lattice Degeneration? Or do they say they are seeing floaters? Do potential patients call and say I have Nystagmus? Or do they complain of rapid uncontrollable twitching of their eyes?
So why are you spending so much time and effort sharing your knowledge with no one who cares?
Think about that tropical resort hotel above. How likely are you to book a room there if instead of highlighting their oceanfront views and white sandy beaches, they instead emphasized their new Kohler faucets or Samsung big-screen TVs? What if their website spent page after page talking about the steps they go through to clean each room or the reservation software they invested in? Looking for a place to take your car for maintenance? Would you rather visit a shop that talks fast turnaround, affordable pricing, and shares the accolades of past customers, or one that has page after page devoted to such things as crankcase ventilation filters and sequential manual gearboxes?
I will even go out on a limb and say you are the best optometrist within a 50-mile radius and you want everyone to know it. You plaster your website with every award known to man. How many more exam slots are you able to accept in a day? How many more dollars are you able to take in each day, especially if your pricing is being controlled by insurance plans of any sort?
Why do you have a website? What is its purpose? Your website should be speaking the language of your consumer, your patient, and your customer. It should never be a tech manual to impress another doctor.
We started this story off by speaking about the movie Office Space. If you were wondering what the h#ll that paragraph had to do with this article, please spend one minute watching this clip from the movie. Consultant Bob Slydell asks Initec employee Tom Smykowski an important question.
Take another look at your website. What answer would your website give to Bob Slydell’s question, “What would ya say you do here?” Your website is one of your employees, in many cases, one of your most valuable. Your website is your marketing ambassador to your community. One that works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…if you let it. Is your website working for you? Is it accurately reflecting what you do and how you make money? Or is it just burning electricity? Ask yourself, is your website good for the company?
Are eye exams 100% of your business? 80% 50%? Or do you sell eyeglasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, and more as well? If you are a relatively established optical practice even doing 50% in products and 50% in services, then your website should reflect that with an equally similar emphasis on both products as well as services. Barely mentioning one because you are proud of the education and training you have spent your life acquiring and specializing in, does a disservice to your practice, your patients, your customers, and your bottom line.
Office Space images and video courtesy Twentieth Century Fox