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Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 10:46 by NancyRausman

 

April marks the last month of Seeing is Believing 2014, which goes "offline" on May 1st, bringing its 90 Day OnDemand period to a close until next year’s conference.  The event brought some of the industry's top speakers to laptops, desktops, and mobile devices across the globe to discuss the latest developments in clinical eye care, innovations in Practice Management and even staff focused tracks.  SiB2014 also brought online education for opticians with insightful talks from Mark Hinton, Cathy Ives and Jody Shuler.  

While Mark joined SiB for his second year, discussing Social Proof and Say This and NOT That, this was a first for Cathy and Jody to step up to the virtual podium.  Both are certainly no strangers to educating in a virtual setting, though, as regular contributors to the Optical Vision Site blog.  Indeed, you can read Jody's latest post discussing how to do sales without being a sales person here: (http://www.theopticalvisionsite.com/sales/selling-without-selling/#.U0EBZfldVuM). Cathy and Jody didn’t fail to impress with their topics for this venue which included, How to Compete with Online Eyewear and Secrets to Making your Practice Exciting.  

We caught up with Jody Shuler, wherein he discussed how he found himself joining the eye care world, his thoughts on education, and what he believes is the most important thing you can be doing right now to survive in the industry.  

#1.  You had an interesting entry into the industry at a young age, namely as a lab technician in your hometown, La Fargeville, NY.  How did that come about and is it a path you would recommend for others?

"I started working as a lab technician about 6 months out of high school, which was a job I knew I could do because I enjoyed working with my hands doing technical and mechanical things.  My brother had started in the field a year prior to me.  I found myself there for 15 years, with the better portion of my career there spent learning the trade.  

It is absolutely a path I would recommend to others.  I enjoy teaching and helping people learn the trade correctly.  I have been at an independent Practice for a little over 7 years now, near my hometown.  It's very much a small, community practice; we've been here 100 years with a strong base, quality customer service, and quality client care.”

#2.  What do you like most about working for an independent Practice?   

"My Practice is the same one I had gone to as a young child for my first pair of glasses, Meade Optical in Watertown, NY.  I did previously find myself working at a Lenscrafters for a year and knew that I wanted to be at an independent Practice that would allow more flexibility, the ability to change products, and to create and do things that an independent has the freedom to do.

There are many memorable experiences.  We fix problems.  My interaction with clients consistently opens up my eyes to the quality of products and top dollar lenses.  Being able to help people and doing it right the first time stays with you.  "  

#3. What are the secrets to surviving in today's optical landscape?  

“We need to not only hand-off inventory, but knowledge.  Help your clients to better understand the products you offer them, which means that you must always educate yourself.  Taking CE courses helps, as well as going to annual meetings and possibly even smaller venues that your state program may offer.  Forums like ODs on Facebook and others help me to stay abreast of technology.  Always research products, engage with others in the industry, and talk to the labs.  I'm always willing to listen to get a different view point.  I'm just a small oval that doesn't fit inside the box of the traditional lens idea that has been around for 20 years. I ask, ‘If it's worked for 20 years, what can we do differently?  Is there something new?’  Always research the details and know who you're buying from: who owns them, what they do, how they do it, and how it helps you as an independent. “

“Strongly educate yourself and your clients.  That’s really been my mantra for years.”

#4. What are some innovations you're looking forward to this year?  

“I look forward to seeing what we can do as skilled opticians and what comes out of the design market, and the next level that physicists and tech experts are bringing to the market, too.  In particular, digital design lenses have been my passion for the last few years. “

#5. Any further words for other optical professionals out there?

“Do your best.  Offer the best.  Don’t ever assume that somebody doesn’t want the best products that they can get.  Always educate yourself as to what’s available in the industry with regard to lenses and frames.  Be consumed in your trade.  It’s a trade, not just a job.”

For more great advice from Jody, all SiB registrants are invited to visit his full lecture "Three Secrets to an Exciting Practice" OnDemand to learn more about what you can be doing now to build enthusiasm for your optical dispensary.   

Listen to Jody along with 26 other informative and inspiring speakers before time runs out.  Even if you weren’t registered to attend the live conference, you can still register here. We’d love to hear your thoughts about the event at sib@eyecarepro.net or through our attendee survey at www.sib2014.com/attendee-survey.

 

Posted on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 05:43 by Nancy Rausman

Despite some opinions out there that suggest you don’t need a website for your Practice, for most ODs, a website is an absolute must. If you don’t have a website because you just haven’t gotten around to it yet, you are showing how out of touch you are with the times. If however, you are thinking that having a presence on other online channels such as Yelp, Facebook and other social media is enough, read on before you jump to this rash decision.

Want to start with some statistics? According to a recent PEW Internet and American Life Study, 80% of U.S. Internet users have searched for health related topics online, that’s up 62% from 2001. And with the increased use of mobile technology, these numbers are just expected to grow.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are seven crucial reasons you need a website for your Practice’s online presence:

  1. Create and control your image. Unlike other places your Practice will be found online, your website is the only location you can completely control how you want to present yourself to make the first impression. Your website is essentially your online office, where you will create the feel and the image you want to show to your potential patients. In fact, this is the only place where others can’t chime in, so take the opportunity to put your best foot forward and make an impressive, unique and lasting first impression.
  2. Another piece of the puzzle. Now-a-days consumers refer to multiple sources before making a purchase decision. If you are looking to buy a new camera you would look at the company’s website as well as reviews on Amazon.com or consumer reports and you might also ask friends on FB for input. Just like the camera manufacturer, an OD should want to make his voice part of the big picture of information consumers are getting.  
  3.  A central hub to funnel all of your online efforts. Everything, and I mean everything, that you do online (and offline) should be connected back to your website. This allows for a single, consistent and well-planned message that you want to spread among any potential clients. This branding focus will also help to give you control over your online image by continually pointing back to the impression you want to portray.
  4. Your professional side. While much of social media has a more casual tone, which reveals the friendly and fun side of your Practice, your website presents the professional side of your Practice. The website is your destination to provide the important facts people will need, practical applications and educational content to show your expertise. These critical details may or may not be found on other online locations but users will know to rely on a website for thorough information. While you can use social media to educate as well, you have the ability to offer more value and deeper information on your website. 
  5. Getting found on the search engines. If you want to show up high on search results, you will need more than a Facebook page. From an SEO perspective there are certain factors you can’t obtain without a website which help Google determine whether your practice is relevant to be returned in a search query and be ranked high in organic search. However, if you have a Facebook page, a Twitter stream, a Yelp page, Yellow Pages, Google+, Google Places, and a website, you can dominate organic search results and ensure that users can find you when they are searching online.
  6. People expect it. It's that simple. If you don’t have a website, people will either never find you (because they assume if you exist you have a website) or think that you are still in the dark ages. A website gives your practice legitimacy and shows that you are up with the times.
  7. "All" small business are doing it. This includes your competitors. And if you aren’t there with them, you are giving your competitors a huge advantage over your Practice. It means more advertisement and a larger presence for them with out you in sight. People are looking online, so you want to make sure you are part of the picture.

If you need a website or a website facelift, contact us for a free website consultation with one of our website professionals. 

 

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Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 06:33 by Nancy Rausman

Don’t forget! Seeing is Believing 2014 is running OnDemand until May 1st.  Registration is open and provides full access to the courses and Exhibit Hall. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear SiB’s fantastic speakers provide valuable insight on the topics that interest the modern OD and optical staff. We have 11 continuing education COPE approved courses, in addition to excellent lectures on Practice Management, developments in clinical treatment, educational tracks for Staff and Opticians and more.  

Check out the full list of sessions, available here. (Click on “Sessions in the above link.  All CE courses have a red COPE ID number.)

If you haven’t already registered and attended SiB, register here.

Some CE related questions are answered here already in our COPE FAQs page, but if you have any further questions feel free to contact Amelia Yzaguirre, SiB’s coordinator at amelia@eyecarepro.net.

Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 12:06 by admin
If you missed out on the SiB conference, registration is still open to attend the event OnDemand! Video OnDemand is available inside SiB: sessions can be accessed through the Sessions Lobby once you enter the event.
 
Take advantage of our selection of 11 COPE Online CE credits, insightful courses on Practice Management, and more.
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Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 09:52 by Nancy Rausman

Shh! Don’t tell our creative colleagues we told you this, but the visual design of your website is less important than you may think.

People tend to get stuck spending hours on nitty gritty design details making their website as sleek, beautiful and eye catching as possible, but the reality is, all of your efforts are likely to go unappreciated and unnoticed.

Think about why people are visiting your site. Patients are task oriented - they want to get in, get what they need and get out efficiently and effectively. They aren’t going to choose your Practice based on the color scheme of your website. They will choose your Practice if your website provides clear value and easy to digest information.

While it is important to take pride in the site’s appearance to ensure that it is professional, readable and yes, even attractive, there is no need to get hung up on the finer points of design that few will notice and that have zero impact on conversions or patient satisfaction with the site.

So what design elements should you focus on?

Visual Design

  • Keep your focus on your patients and identify where you want to drive them on your site.
  • Use color to highlight key elements
  • Use layout to keep calls to action clear and prominent

Architecture

  • Use clear navigational tools to drive visitor to key functions
  • Ensure visitors can always determine where they are and what they can do on every page

Content

  • Use clear language to define what action visitors should take
  • Streamline content to reduce competing messages
  • Establish credibility
  • Educate
  • Engage visitors with tools such as online forms

You want more out of a user experience than just a one-time visit. To create active users which will translate into customers, your site must sell, educate and prove to be useful for potential customers.

If this doesn’t sound like your current website, it’s time for a Facelift, and we are here to help!  Ask us about our Website Facelift where we will review your current site to make it more efficient, user friendly, educational and of course, professional looking.  Learn more about our Website Facelift package or contact us at 1-866-886-4442 or email us at info@eyecarepro.net.

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Daniel Rostenne Daniel Rostenne is a leader in the online optometric community and has made a career of creating and promoting effective web sites for optometric practices. He is a COPE educator, editor of Optometry Web, a regular speaker at eyecare events & conferences and has been widely published in Optometric e-zines. Daniel is an expert in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization, in particular as it relates to best practices for Optometrists. You can sometimes find Daniel daydreaming on Google+.

Contact Daniel: 866-886-4442 or danielr@eyecarepro.net

Nancy Rausman Nancy Rausman is the managing editor of the EyeCarePro blog and Optometry Web Newsletter. She is responsible for providing ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing.

Contact Nancy:nancy@eyecarepro.net