ECPs can use the TOM tool to produce countercards, inserts for dispensing mats, postcards (shown here), Rx pads, and much more.

Transitions’ patient-outreach tool gets a reboot with an easier-to-use layout and new materials.

It’s common for eyecare professionals (ECPs) to get so involved in day-to-day operations that bigger-picture goals such as maintaining patients and attracting new ones can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Transitions Optical, Inc.’s Transitions Online Marketing tool, also known as TOM, makes it easy for busy opticians to reach out to their existing and potential patient bases.

TOM is a Web site that enables ECPs to create customized advertising and promotional materials from a series of simple-to-use templates. After setting up a free account, users can produce countercards, inserts for dispensing mats, postcards, Rx pads, and much more.

Although TOM has been around since 2003, this past spring, Transitions recreated the tool from scratch and relaunched it. The goal was to make the program more intuitive and similar to the company’s other programs so that users could figure it out with little or no training. The resulting site is visually driven and feels like a cross between online shopping and word processing.

Users are asked to select which type of document they’d like to create, their audience, and language. Then the real customization begins: ECPs can choose from different images, change text, and upload their own logos and pictures that are stored in a personal library for future use. The end product is a professional-looking document that is 95% about the practice, and 5% about Transitions® lenses.

OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD Before beginning with TOM, Transitions Optical recommends that users develop a plan using the Transitions Marketing Wiz, which guides eyecare professionals (ECPs) through a practice self-assessment and then makes recommendations for marketing plans. Additionally, the Transitions Market Area Profile (MAP) tool explores the market area surrounding the practice location and analyzes key consumer segments that help to further refine marketing and outreach plans. By starting with these programs, ECPs can maximize the TOM materials they create.

For each account, Transitions will print 500 pieces a month for ECPs—at no charge. (The only exception to this is Rx pads.) And if users want additional materials, they can get them at cost. Unsurprisingly then, the most common use of TOM is for direct mail (postcards with appointment confirmations, promotional information, coupons, etc).

Transitions estimates that it sends out about 150,000 pieces of direct mail a month. Users can upload their patient base for automatic mailings. They also have the option of buying mailing lists based on their target audiences. The only cost for ECPs is postage.

Transitions already has the next TOM update in the works, scheduled to become available early next year. It will be a customizable e-mail newsletter for which users will have several formatting options and can choose from a library of articles about eye health. All of the materials will be updated quarterly so that they are timely and patients receive new and different messages rather than the same ones over and over. Autumn brings reminders to have children’s eyes checked just in time for back-to-school. At the end of the year, ECPs might find postcards reminding patients to use their insurance benefits.


One of TOM’s main goals is to help ECPs be specific in thinking about their patient base and how to target it. The pictures in the library show people of varied demographics, which can help with targeting specific audiences. And TOM is just one part of a larger set of practice-marketing tools that Transitions Optical offers through its professional site,

With the TOM tool, ECPs can stay up on the outreach game without making practice marketing a daunting task.

Kate Jacobs is an optician at the optical shop at Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.


Transitions Optical, Inc.

800-905-2240 ext. 2068 •


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