One or Two? What's Your Marketing Focus?
The COVID backlog is nearly over, and it's time to get your marketing on. But what does that mean? We often hear a lot of confusion about what optometry marketing means. After all, you can't plan for success if you don't have a strategy.
Marketing can take many forms, but for it to work, it needs to be focused on your immediate goals. If you try to market to everyone, you will market to no one.
OK, Which Looks Better:
One or Two?
So, this depends on what you're hoping to achieve. Most practices we talk to come under two stages: Stage One and Stage Two.
Stage One Practices
If you're a Stage One practice, you're either fairly new or just starting out on in your growth trajectory. You probably have only 1-2 doctors (including you!) with a single location for your practice. And what's your need? Simple! Filling appointment slots. The patient type doesn't matter so much at this stage either, you'll take what you can get! Your marketing, therefore, is, focused on generating as many general care patients as possible from within your immediate area. Remember, new prospective patients won't go too far for a comprehensive exam, so your strategy should absolutely include hyper-local SEO (for prominent search rankings in your area for terms like "eye doctor" and "optometrist near me"). You also need to proactively generate Google reviews and put out omnichannel campaigns focused on your immediate community.
Want help on your practice growth journey? Ascend with us!
Stage Two Practices
Are you feeling a bit choosier about what kind of patient appointments you want to be generating? At Stage Two, you have no trouble filling your calendar. You're more advanced and matured in your marketing and the time has come to change the focus to the type of patient you want to reach. For example, maybe you specialize in myopia management or vision therapy, or custom contact lenses? Or, alternatively, you might be interested in reaching bigger optical spenders or a more fashion-oriented patient. Or simply a younger demographic (e.g. Millenials with young kids rather than aging boomers). A Stage Two practice isn't interested in "any 'ol appointment" and your marketing has to adjust accordingly—your focus will be geographically broader (folks will drive quite a ways to see a specialist, after all), while significantly more narrow in terms of whom you're trying to reach.
The Role of Campaigns
“Campaign” is an ambiguous term that’s used to mean very different things in different contexts, so let’s start there.
Campaigns are a planned and intentional messaging push, intended to reach your target audience with the right messaging at the right time, according to your practice stage of growth.
Campaigns act as a way to keep your practice fresh in the minds of your existing patients and introduce your practice to new ones. The content can take many forms and we suggest you mix up the topics in line with what you're trying to accomplish.
We call these "omnichannel campaigns" as they use media such as email, social platforms, print, and—of course!— your website. We dive deeper into the creative formats here. For now, let's hone in on the idea of a cohesive marketing strategy that will define your campaign focus throughout the year.
What's Growth Got to Do With It?
Your growth stage will define the way you plan and launch your campaigns. Let's take an optical promotion, for example. If you're a Stage One practice, your goal here is (obviously) to sell optical...but the bigger picture here is a bit more abstract. You want your patients and your community to start thinking about you as a great place to buy glasses and contacts. A Stage Two practice, on the other hand, can target existing big spenders with unique offer or event, or reach new high-end fashionistas with your amazing lineup.
Want to let folks know that you have solutions for dry eye or seasonal allergies? What about vision therapy for treating undiagnosed or misdiagnosed learning disorders? A Stage One practice will focus on common maladies that are treated as a matter of course —relief is here and we can help! A Stage Two specialist, on the other hand, needs to primarily educate the right audience about lesser know treatments that can make a huge impact on wellbeing. The entry-level campaign is saying, "Got allergies? We can help!" The more advanced marketer is targeting a specific population to teach, establish trust with your expertise, and get a more sophisticated conversation happening, which will hopefully lead to high-revenue appointments.
Planning Your Campaigns
As I mentioned recently in "How to Deal with No-Shows", we suggest you plan your campaigns well in advance. Ideally, at least 3 months ahead. Sync your plans with the calendar year. Sure, you might change direction and choose to promote an impromptu sale or trunk show (COVID-19 allowing, of course) but you can always bet on things like back2school, the holiday season, end of year use-it-or-lose-it, etc.
Example Campaign Schedule (below)
You can't reach all people all the time and be effective. Here we have an example of a segmented yearly campaign that we might design for a Stage One practice. You may be looking for as broad a variety of patients as possible, but simply saying "we're great" all the time won't work too well either. Each month you're trying to reach a different segment of your prospective patient base, according to your stage of growth. Use clear and easy-to-access messaging that effectively communicates a great sale, a solution to yearly eye problems, reminders to use up flex spending—with you of course!— back2school appointment generation, and other seasonal topics to help you grow your practice.
A Stage Two practice, on the other hand, needs more focused messaging for more time, to convey the complexity of the topic.
Click To Enlarge Images
Take the “Pain” Out of Your Campaigns
Yes, it does take time to build a strategy for your marketing and then translate that into a campaign calendar. Let alone the time and skill needed to design and implement messaging blasts across multiple channels, like email and Facebook. Luckily, we’ve got you covered! Our marketing plans are customized to suit your exact growth level and your specific offerings, interests, and passions.
You'll be paired with the right Marketing Manager for your practice, who will draw on the experience of dozens of other practices like yours to create campaign and marketing momentum that sings. On your monthly consultation plans, your Marketing Manager will help you to choose and plan out the right campaigns for your practice. Not only that, but we'll give them the professional design they need and launch them without you needing to break a sweat—we do that for you. We even send out the campaign emails to your patients.
And it’s never one-size-fits-all. A Stage One practice generally needs entry-level marketing to get the basics down. We do that with ODEssentials, which provides you with a campaign strategy and the support needed so you can reach those crucial goals of general new-patient growth with an established online presence.
A Stage Two practice, on the other hand, might be aiming to attract patients for optometric medical specialties such as vision therapy or scleral lenses. This type of Stage Two practice would be on our ODSpecialty plan, with focused campaigns to reach those target audiences. Or, another Stage Two type practice may be seeking advanced growth and optical sales and belongs on our ODCapture plan. In that case, you would get exceptionally focused custom campaigns, with particular attention paid to fashion-savvy audiences on Instagram and Facebook…
With over 15 years of experience, our Marketing Team can take the load off your mind and do the legwork, so that you can focus on what counts—helping more patients. If that kind of practice growth sounds right to you, just fill out the form and talk to us to learn more. What's more, you will always be paired with a marketer who can meet you at whatever stage of growth you find yourself, and help you to reach greater growth, the way you want it.