The Ingredients for Optometry Marketing Sauce
A recipe for real growth!
There’s a lot of “marketing” advice out there.
Some say, “do more social media”, while others are all about email, or YouTube videos... all pulling practices towards one medium or another for campaigns and marketing in general.
At EyeCarePro, we know that all these are tools, not the purpose. The medium isn’t always the message, and it certainly isn’t the end goal. You don’t post to Facebook for its own sake. Instead, you want to be engaging in marketing in line with a higher-level strategy. In short, determine your goals based on your target patient audience, and make each act of marketing count towards that bigger picture.
We last discussed how to plan your campaigns, based on where you are in your practice growth journey. Once you’ve figured out if you’re aiming for general vs. high-revenue patients, you can start breaking that down into the granular parts of an omni-channel campaign.
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What Makes a Great Campaign?
First off, what are you trying to achieve and who are you trying to reach? More importantly, why? For us at EyeCarePro, the barometer of success is new patient appointments and the improved revenue that comes with it. But not all patients are the same. Even if you’re mainly focused on filling your schedule with any kind of appointment-type—as opposed to targeting higher-revenue patients—you can still break it all down with a specific message to a target audience based on your objectives. As mentioned in our last article about campaign-marketing strategy, this could be a seasonal audience of fall allergies, or a fall frame show, or an information campaign about vision therapy aimed at concerned parents—the topic matters less than having a goal in mind and tailoring your campaign accordingly.
Where Should My Practice Messaging Live?
Before diving into this, it’s worth saying that the primary growth engine for your practice is the search engine optimization AND content geared towards the type of patient you’re trying to attract, be it general optometry, big optical spenders, or potential scleral lens patients.
Once you have that in place, you can begin to do focused marketing campaigns.
The media you choose for your campaigns should be selected based on the type of campaign you’re running. For example, a sale on an exclusive optical line you carry might have broader appeal than, say, reminding your patients that you now have an online contact lens store for their convenience. Therefore, the optical launch might do better on Facebook and Instagram, while the online store announcement would be most effective through email.
Generally, the basic channels for most messaging campaigns are:
- Social media
- Your website
- Print for your practice
(interior or exterior, wherever it gets the most eyes on it)
Your patient email list is a powerful marketing tool. Use it wisely! If you don’t have one, start collecting those addresses from every patient you see. Patients are very likely to open and engage with an email coming from their local practice. Just avoid bombarding them too often or coming off as too “sales-y.” Again, it comes down to nurturing the right practice brand.
Many EHR and Patient Communication Tools have built-in email functionality. If you don’t have that option or functionality, you can always manually export your email list to a spreadsheet or .csv file, and then use that to create an account with an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp or, Constant Contact, or whatever system catches your fancy. For our own clients, we regularly design and create these emails within whatever system they have, and then send them out once the copy and design are approved.
Playing the social media game well takes practice and effort. You can learn a lot from this webinar we co-hosted with Review of Optometric Business. Once you’ve built up an engaged audience, social media can be a powerful tool to get the word out. Whether your messaging is a use-it-or-lose-it reminder campaign, promotion of a trunk show (post-COVID, of course), or a focused message about sports vision for aspiring athletes, social media is a great choice.
But which social media platform should you prioritize? Your limiting factor is always going to be time, so focus your efforts on the platforms that will yield the most bang for your effort-bucks. So think about which platform is used by your target audience more regularly. For example, millennial parents of young children are mostly to be found on Facebook, with a subsection heavily into Instagram. So, for our clients whose goal is general care appointments, we tend to focus on Facebook, which appeals broadly for folks in their mid-twenties through to baby boomers. Instagram, as a highly visual medium, is a strong second, and takes on greater importance for optical campaigns focused on the fashion-savvy patient.
Summing that all up:
If you’re seeking higher-revenue patients, your social media strategy needs to be in line with your general marketing plan: more focused campaigns that are more narrowly targeted. These will last longer and serve to educate and/or engage your target audience with a more specific message than general patient-oriented marketing.
Website and In-House Print
Your website is an easy win, and there’s no reason not to put your important messaging on there for the right audience to see. Afterall, your website content is hopefully already drawing your target audience to it, and this applies to existing and prospective patients alike. This is true for optical sales or promotions, and equally true if your goal is ebuilding awareness about specialty services like scleral lenses or myopia management. Naturally, in-house printouts can get that message across to the patients coming in and out of your office, while street-level or exterior signage can also be a relatively inexpensive way to get that exposure. Marketing -- banners, images, informational pages, and the like -- on your website puts that information in front of potential new and existing patients interested in your practice.
> Creating Creatives
Once you have a campaign schedule or initiative conceptualized (you can see an example of a yearly schedule here), you can turn the idea into something tangible that your patients and community can interact with. The creatives you make depends entirely on the media you choose to make them for. So a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t is essential.
The basic building blocks of any campaign creative portfolio always come down to copy and design.
Click To Enlarge Images
Examples of Campaign Creatives
Take a look at the three designed creatives above for different types of campaigns. Two of them are medical and one is an end of year reminder to remind patients to use their unused flex or insurance benefits at years end. Note that for each it's a specific message, targeting a specific audience at a specific time, as both the allergies and the use-it-or-lose-it campaigns are seasonal.
Pro Tip: If your practice strategy is to focus on high-revenue dry eye patients specifically, you would do many more of these over time, in order to educate, engage, and convert those specific patients. Different patients manifest different symptoms, so try and reach all of them while highlighting your specialized technology and expertise. How often you focus on a specific type of message depends entirely on where you are in your growth journey!
Think about what you want to say and the most effective way to say it. Your message should be engaging, consistent with your brand and targeted to your intended audience based on your practice growth stage. You can download our Guide to Practice Branding here. Keep it short and to the point.
How your creatives look makes a huge impact on how well your campaign performs! Your promotional material should reflect your brand and the professionalism of your practice, so good design should not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency. There are online tools, such as Canva.com that can get you reasonable results. However, if you’re doing this yourself be prepared to spend a lot of time on it, especially since the design and copy should be consistent across all media forms. For truly professional results and zero stress, we stand ready to provide you with great campaigns and a powerful online presence tailored to your specific stage on the practice growth journey—see below!
Wow! That’s...A Lot That Goes Into Great Marketing!
No doubt, marketing is tough. But it’s a lot easier if you go into it with a specific set of goals, based on where your practice is in it’s growth journey. If you’re focused on filling your appointments with any kind of eye care patient (we call this Stage One), your creatives and messaging need to be in line with that goal. Likewise, if you’re at a point where your schedule is booked out, you can be a bit pickier and focus more on higher revenue-patients, your messaging and approach need to be in line with that. And regardless, you’ll want great creatives and the means to get the word out there.
Does all that sound overwhelming? We provide marketing solutions for every kind of practice, regardless of where they are in their growth trajectory. Our marketing clients are all paired with a dedicated Marketing Manager specific to their growth needs and aspirations. He or she will meet with you monthly to develop a campaign strategy to suit your unique practice. We take care of the professional design, the emails, posting to social media, and will even design the print assets for you. And, of course, the powerful online presence we do for you on an ongoing ongoing basis.
So...if you would like to get your marketing off the ground and launch your practice into the stratosphere of new-patient growth, just fill out the form to speak with us. We’ll ask you the right questions and recommend the perfect marketing solution for you.