For optometry practice owners, getting marketing right can mean the difference between rapid growth and stagnancy.
Some optometry practices achieved good growth. Many practices experienced little or no growth in the 2019 Financial Year and are wondering what they did wrong and how to turn it around. What was the difference? Here are some of the top marketing mistakes that practically guarantee failure. Or, in other words, here’s what not to do.
1. Forget the Plan
Marketing is one of the key pillars of practice growth (and that’s absolutely true). Great, so where’s your marketing plan? Don’t have one? You know what your customers want and how to reach them, right? Wrong.
First lesson: assumptions are the enemy.
Your marketing cannot be driven by your gut feeling or the recommendation of a friend. You’re going to lose money and likely go out of business.
Many practices don’t have a marketing plan. If pilots operated without a flight plan, the rate of airline crashes would skyrocket. A plan aids in navigation. No matter if it’s an optometry practice or an aircraft, If you’re trying to get from point A to point B, you need a plan to get you there. No exceptions.
Market on purpose. Marketing works, but you need to do your homework. Figure out who your target audience is, what media they consume and what pains them. Then find out what you need to do to get them to buy from you and keep buying from you.
Get your marketing plan right and you’ll be well on your way to expanding your patient base — and your cash flow.
2. Target Everyone
You’ve decided that anyone with a pulse is a potential patient because you’re concerned about excluding people or you think you’ll maximise growth this way. Convincing yourself that a broader audience for marketing in strategy terms equals more new customers can be a mistake.
Second lesson: niche down.
Let’s get real. By targeting everyone, you’re really targeting no-one. A tighter niche allows you to create a highly targeted message that grabs your market’s attention and results in a better conversion rate.
You also waste less on marketing that falls on deaf ears. Become a big fish in a small pond. If you’re trying to be all things to all people with particular marketing tactics, your message will be weak and ineffective.
3. Prioritise Your Products
You’ve spent years building this product. It’s your baby, and like any proud parent, you show it off to everyone. You also prioritise its features and benefits in all of your advertising.
Third lesson: no-one is that fussed about your product.
Bad marketing is highly product-focused. Good marketing focuses on the customer. It targets their needs and wants, and offers a solution to their problems (not just vision problems).
Get into your customers’ minds. Once you’ve decided on a niche audience, craft a message that speaks to them directly. Ask yourself, What are the common challenges patients face with not just vision, but also getting the right solutions and making the right decisions?
Talk about the pain these problems cause and show how your practice can solve them. Then go to market with that message. It’s highly targeted, so it will resonate better.
4. Hope For Referrals
No matter how much you visualise your patients referring their friends, relatives and colleagues to you, or how much positive energy you put out into the universe, you won’t get referrals until you have a referral strategy in place.
Fourth lesson: hope is not a great referral strategy.
You need to make the relationship a priority. During the onboarding phase or after completing the care process, ensure you have a systematic way of integrating it into your workflow.
If you’ve delivered an outstanding service and product, the patient will be happy to refer you to their network. If you provide the same care for their friend, it makes them look good. Also, since 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product referred by a friend, you’d be crazy not to work on this.
Thank your patients for choosing you. They don’t have to. Acknowledge their custom and connect with them on a continuing basis. Give them information that they can pass on. Be active on social media and make connecting their friends easy. Follow up after their visit and make sure they are happy. Provide opportunities and benefits after they have seen you.
Referrals can be a huge part of your customer acquisition strategy but you need to be deliberate about the process.
Consistent marketers don’t just survive, they thrive. The key to success in marketing is persistence and consistency. Test, measure, deploy then rinse and repeat. Learn from your mistakes, and always follow your data. It will show you what’s working and what isn’t. In marketing, the more you know, the more likely your campaign is to succeed.
Based on a article originally written by Allan Dib and published Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at SmartCompany.com.au