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New Ways to Build Your Eyecare Practice's Online Impact With Patients

More ECPs are recognizing the capabilities of new web communications to amplify their connections with patients. The availablity of new easy-to-use web tools and services can leverage a practice's ranking on search pages and reach out via messaging tools to patients old and new.

This edition of CLICK, Vision Monday's twice-a-month e-newsletter that helps brief ECPs about web technology and Internet developments, explores more of these.

See what other practitioners have to say about their own web/social media experiences by catching up on what happened at our first CLICK Conference, “Social Climbing,” sponsored by Hoya Vision Care. Make sure to check out the special re-cap in our CLICK Archives. Those archives are easy-to-access and feature dozens of stories, tips and interesting ideas. It's located at

Have you tried something new on your website or launched a special social media campaign? Tell us about it and we'll consider it for an upcoming feature in CLICK.
—The Editors

in focus

Carl Zeiss Vision Debuts Demandforce D3 Solution to ECPs

SAN FRANCISCO and SAN DIEGO—Today's eyecare practices are searching for ways to attract new patients, retain existing ones and use the efficiencies of Internet technology to enhance business.

Carl Zeiss Vision, a global leader in precision optics, and Demandforce, Inc., a leader in consumer demand generation for small business, have developed a new partnership that will offer eyecare professionals nationwide a solution incorporating these services to improve customer relationships and drive success in the Internet economy.

From a series of easy to use templates, ranging from appointment reminders and marketing campaigns to referral tools and new ways of capturing good patient reviews to their site, Demandforce, a fast-growing provider of web-based applications, is gearing up its efforts toward the optometric field. With Carl Zeiss Vision, the company is offering Demandforce D3 to ECPs through the company's Carl Zeiss Vision Rewards program. With Demandforce D3, practices can use text messaging, email marketing, and automated appointment reminders to communicate with patients, and will benefit from online profiles enhanced with consumer reviews, surveys and customized business data.

“Carl Zeiss Vision Rewards allows us to extend our support to practices beyond offering the best in lenses, labs, coatings and equipment,” said Heidi Noorany, Carl Zeiss Vision's director of market development. Carl Zeiss Vision is a leader in lenses, coatings, Rx Lab services and equipment, via its ZEISS, SOLA, Teflon Clear Coat lenses and American Optical brands. “Our goal is to help practices retain current patients and acquire new ones, which is why we have partnered with Demandforce. This relationship will bring eyecare practices the tools to communicate with consumers using email and text messaging, as well as enhance their online presence.”

Practices leveraging the Demandforce platform can deliver targeted and segmented communications to patients via email and two-way text messaging, while also customizing messages to help reactivate lost patients, retain existing patients, and reduce no shows, thus increasing the overall revenue for the practice. Demandforce will also help attract new patients through a unique data feed with 90+ leading Internet websites and search engines. Demandforce is a software-as-a-service offering that is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

CLICK has learned that Demandforce has developed a new microsite to explain what the service can do for ECPs.

Designed specifically for Carl Zeiss for ECPs and Zeiss business development reps to learn more about the partnership, visitors can click into the Sample Communications to see some screenshots of the types of communications that are sent for welcome emails and recall emails to reactivate lost patients. There are also videos under “What does Demandforce do?” Demos can also be scheduled via (800) 246-9853.

“Eyecare professionals utilize advanced technology every day in their practices. The partnership between Demandforce and Carl Zeiss Vision further enhances those offerings,” according to Sam Osman, vice president of sales and business development at Demandforce. “By partnering with Carl Zeiss Vision, we are able to combine our award-winning software with their industry expertise to make important advancements in the industry for both consumers and eyecare professionals alike.”


Happy Holidays! Could Eyewear Gift Cards Work for Your Website?

The National Retail Federation's group reports that gift cards are the number one, most requested holiday gift item that consumers say they'd most like to receive. The group has tons of data on the subject.

Among the highlights, according to Fiona Swerdlow, head of Research for

  • Fully three-quarters of consumers surveyed said they plan to buy at least one gift card this holiday season, and will spend an average of $41.48 on each card (up from $39.80 last year).
  • According to the survey, 77.3 percent of shoppers will buy at least one gift card.
  • According to NRF’s 2010 Gift Card Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, Americans will spend an average of $145.61 on gift cards, up from $139.91 last year. The survey polled 8,778 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch from Nov. 3 to 9, 2010. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

“This holiday season, we expect Americans to gravitate toward both sale and non-sale items, including gift cards, which in recent years have been passed up for heavily discounted merchandise,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “With people focusing less on price and more on value this holiday season, Americans may choose to buy gift cards due to their convenience and popularity among gift recipients.”

For online retailers, of course, downloadable or print-at-home gift cards are the magic gift that can keep the registers ringing long after shipping deadlines have passed, Swerdlow writes on the blog. “Given clear consumer interest, don’t wait to promote gift cards, but rather give them good visibility on your home page now while consumers are putting together their holiday shopping lists. Make sure gift cards appear as cross-sell items on the shopping cart page, in your customer emails (order confirmation notices, promotional emails, etc.), and of course in your social media outlets (“gift cards” is a pithy 10 character tweet...).


cool tools

Finding ways to manage your social media presence on multiple sites can be a challenge. Postling is a service that lets you engage your online community from one place, and save time by managing your social media interactions from one “dashboard.” It enables you to monitor streams and mentions from Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other sites, providing daily recaps and analytics. Registration is free for small businesses. You can organize multiple accounts by brands or topic and share them with others on your team.


“Remember Everything!” That's the message of Evernote, a solution for organizing things big and small by using your computer, your phone and the web. Evernote enables you to clip a web page, snap a photo, grab a screenshot. Evernote is organized and made searchable, with choices you make that let you search for notes by keyword, title and tags.

A range of tools and clever video tutorials help you make sense of the potential of Evernote.

sites to see

Sunwear company Arnette's website just re-launched and features a host of updates like a revamped blog, product section, dealer locator, events calendar, and homepage with team rider Twitter feeds. The site features social media integration and ways for fans to track Arnette’s developments and connections with a range of sports and connected athletes, from surf and skate to BMX and wake. The new-and-improved site is the central hub for all Arnette social media efforts, and regional versions are available for Arnette fans around the world.


Solstice Sunglass Boutique has launched a new online site, with an eye toward reaching “a more style-conscious, digitally connected fan base,” the company said. The site mirrors the company’s upscale store design and will support e-commerce while integrating with many top social networking sites.

Customers will be able to send detailed product info and photos from the online site to their mobile devices and can share info and photos with others. Starting with its San Francisco store and into next year, select Solstice locations will offer customers the unique opportunity to interact with the website while in store using touch-screen kiosks. The exclusive feature allows further browsing through the entire virtual inventory available while providing detailed product information.

“Our goal was to set the standard for selling luxury, designer and sport sunglass brands on-line,” said Rick Talmage, chief operating officer of Solstice, which operates 160 Solstice and Solstice Outlet stores in North America. “In our stores, we always present the brands in an upscale and tasteful fashion and we want to mirror that. The new on-line store leverages the best in class e-commerce platform, design and product photography to give our customer the ultimate on-line shopping experience.”