Americans don’t have a 20/20 vision—at least a growing number of the population. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), about 16 million people have either an undiagnosed or untreated eye problem. This is because fewer than 60 percent see their physician or optometrist for an annual eye exam.
This concern, however, has been going on for years. Back in 2016, a Harris poll for the American Academy of Ophthalmology revealed that around 33 percent of Americans complained about an eye problem that ranged from blurry vision to blindness. But only 13 percent approached a doctor to know the answer.
Listing the Excuses
An annual eye exam can be life-saving. It can detect underlying causes, such as diabetes, that may lead to severe and often irreparable problems later. While not all eye issues can be cured, doctors can help manage them to delay the progress of the disease.
But why aren’t Americans getting themselves checked? Some may skip an eye doctor because they feel okay. Others, particularly men, say they don’t have the time. Two of the biggest reasons are the high costs of treatment and the lack of insurance.
1. Expensive Costs
The costs can vary between states. Definitely, getting the eyes checked in states like New York or California may be more expensive than in places like New Jersey or Utah.
However, on average, a consultation alone can already be worth $200. Those with a diagnosed eye problem or are susceptible to one may spend double that amount. A visit to an optometry clinic may be cheaper at around $100 for an eye exam, but those on a tight budget will still find this expensive.
Procedures are not cheap either. LASIK, one of the most popular options to correct corneal issues, may cost up to $6,000. However, this is considered elective surgery; health insurance rarely covers it.
2. Lack of Insurance
One of the surest ways to afford an eye exam or treatment is to get health insurance, but even that can be costly. About 65 percent of Americans today believe they couldn’t afford coverage. Meanwhile, millions more are underinsured.
How to Market an Eye Care Clinic
Those who operate an eye care clinic sure know that these financial challenges can scare away many Americans, but it doesn’t mean that marketing to them is impossible. Many brand-building and management companies now specialize in eye care PR services to help design the right marketing strategies.
For example, the team can explore the following options:
1. Focus on Value than Costs
Does price matter? Yes, many Americans will usually go for a lower price. However, businesses need to consider two things. First, iPhones remain some of the best-selling products in the market. Each new unit costs over $500—way pricier than a consultation.
Second, price becomes a major factor when consumers end up comparing products or services with similar features. In other words, it’s not always true that customers will always pick the cheapest option.
Thus, instead of focusing on the costs of the service, highlight its value. Promote its benefits, which interestingly include lower healthcare costs in the long-term, reduced risk of mortality, and better quality of life.
2. Tailor Marketing Strategies with the Demographics
Social media presence, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) work, but their success depends on many factors, such as demographics.
According to studies, vision problems commonly affect older adults. However, a poll by AARP and the University of Michigan in 2018 revealed that over 40 percent of this group had not seen an eye doctor for at least three years because they hadn’t experienced vision problems yet. Others believed that these issues are a normal part of aging.
Seniors, therefore, are a potential market—and a growing one since the population is aging. And yet, these individuals are less likely to be heavy Internet users. Instead, according to AARP, at least 81 percent of those between 60 and 69 years old and around 60 percent of seniors 70 and above use smartphones. Marketing to them may then involve text messaging, for instance.
3. Offer Corporate Rates
Reports showed that at least 200,000 eye injuries occur every year. Vision problems are also a growing concern even in offices as workers spend more time indoors and in front of their computers or mobile devices.
A possible marketing strategy is offering corporate rates to these companies. Not only can the eye care clinic expand its clientele, but it can also offer an attractive proposition. Better healthcare for employees can help retain and acquire talent.
Selling eye care won’t be easy in a market that believes it is a dispensable service, but the right strategies will also bring the right people for the business.