Does cataract surgery marketing work?

Many eye surgery marketers approach cataract surgery in a similar way to what they would approach laser eye surgery or LASIK marketing.

It’s a lot harder than LASIK marketing and laser eye surgery marketing, and it’s unexpectedly so.

So let me tell you why that is and some of the ways that we found to get around some of the common pitfalls that come from addressing cataract surgery in the same way you would market any other eye procedure.

Cataract marketing has one of the strongest competitors you can ever have on the planet going against you and that is you’re not only competing against the guy down the street but you’re usually competing against a government option that is free.

How do you compete against FREE?

Well, at first, if you put it that way and immediately, you might think, well, why bother? And I think many people believe that. However, you need to find an aspect of the service that is different from the free service.

If it’s apples to apples, you’re not going to win, except for with a very select few people that just must have something private because they wouldn’t sully themselves by going with the government option.

There are people like that, but many people in the middle aren’t aware of their options, and that is the golden opportunity for you.

So these are people that do require some education, and the tricky thing about teaching in marketing is that we want to often work with people that are already somewhat educated. Why? Because education in marketing requires much bigger marketing arsenals (i.e. budget). Bigger companies have a much bigger war chest because they can spend money on education.

How cataract surgery marketing is more about SALES than marketing

Now, what do I mean by that? When you go on Google ads and somebody types up “cataract surgeon near me”, that’s somebody who’s putting their hand up saying, “Hey, I’m wanting a cataract surgeon.”

Let’s just say private cataract surgeon near me, to be precise. So they’re saying, “Hey, I want that private option.”

Well, when you type in LASIK marketing near me, that’s a given that it’s private. It’s a given that I’m going to pay for it. That’s somebody who’s saying, “Yep, I’ve got money. I want to pay for that. I’m up for having this discussion. I don’t need to be educated that I have to pay for it.”

With cataract surgery, whole other story. Your patients could be looking for a free cataract surgeon near me. So what we need to do is set up an opportunity, and maybe you can talk about this a little bit, where the cataract option is a completely different animal, and it competes well against the free.

The way that I look at cataract surgery marketing is as cataract surgery sales and marketing. Sales is an instrumental word for the whole idea of offering private cataract surgery.

I think that a crucial distinction you need to make when you’re making your offering is that you are serving someone’s wants or are you’re helping someone’s needs. Now cataract surgery services someone’s needs. They have a cataract; they need to get it out. You go in there, apply your surgery, get the cataract out to be solved.

Private cataract surgery addresses someone’s wants. Now, of course, the typical punter who wants cataract surgery wants to get their cataract out, too, but this is the distinction. You know that when you’re inserting a premium lens, that person will have wants that are distinct from the person who simply wants to elect for standard cataract surgery.

The difference between wants and needs is often established in the first consultation. So when the patient comes in, that’s where, even more, important than when in a laser eye surgery consultation, it is vital to understand what those wants are. And that’s why we have a proven technology to ask specific questions in a specific sequence to get at those wants.

What are those main drivers? What are those motivations? What are those concerns? What are those fears? What kind of lifestyle do they want to have after their cataract surgery, in which they can really enjoy the value that these premium lens offerings can provide? That’s where it becomes much more of an emotional discussion as opposed to a medical or clinical discussion.

So if you’re going to get into cataract surgery marketing, which I encourage you to do so, you’ve got to consider the entire funnel.

You can’t just think about generating awareness because you’re competing against free; that’s difficult. You can still do it, but it’s challenging. Where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck is converting people at the first consultation, and we know just how to do that. I encourage you to discuss that with us because it’s a process, a technology, and it works.

How can you prime patients to be more receptive to refractive & premium cataract surgery?

Suppose you’ve now reframed that problem as a sales and marketing challenge and you fixate on the consultation as the centrepiece of that funnel. In that case, when you start to think about that sales process, there are some things that you can build into your funnel before they arrive at prime them for the idea that they will be given an option. For example, many people don’t realize that they can read again without glasses. Let’s face it nowadays, 70 is the new 50.

So baby boomers are ageing differently. And depending on what country you’re in, the sunnier your climate, the earlier people are having cataracts, so they’ve got a lot more living to do.

I think there’s a lot more of a sentiment of YOLO; you only live once. I think if you think about living out the rest of your life, it’s not so much how many years you’re going to live; it’s the life in those years that matter. And people are catching on to that sentiment. So you can set it up so that they realize, “Hey, you know, there’s bog-standard cataract surgery; but, there’s also premium, and this is going to give you a much better quality of life”.

So setting it up before in some kind of engagement piece on your website, some kind of a quiz, as some sort of a lead magnet. It’s incredible. Do that, and then they come in prepared for the sales conversation that we mentioned.

Then what you can do is enable that sales conversation afterwards with financing because many people are not expecting that price tag. So what you can do is you can, just like LASIK, fit it into their life, have a financing package, have monthly payments. Even if they tend to have more money in this age group, they still appreciate the fact that you can fit in this unexpected cost around all of the other fixed costs that they have going on. You have a much higher chance of closing at that consultation and bumping more people over the fence from standard to premium.

I think that’s the actual game for helping more people take advantage of premium cataract surgery.

(NOTE: Want to see how your practice marketing measures up against the best in class? Take this 5-minute quiz to see how you stack up in the 9 areas of practice marketing and get specific tips and advice on how you can improve your weak points and better leverage your strengths).

About the author


LiveseySolar’s mission is to double the size of 150 cataract and refractive surgery practices. Using our proven marketing frameworks and deep market knowledge, our customers can predictably and sustainably grow their practices so that they can enjoy a healthy balance between both worlds – a successful private practice and a happy life.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK