I recently spoke at a conference for independent optometrists (eye doctors). Like people in many other industries, these independent healthcare professionals are facing difficult times, with competition from major chains and even the Internet impacting their business.
Optometrists rely on repeat business and referrals to sustain their practice. For years, this has meant physically mailing their clients appointment reminders and very little else.
At the conference, one attendee alluded to me that one of the biggest hurdles optometrists face in marketing their business is the fact that many consider themselves healthcare professionals first and businesspeople second. Therefore, they found the prospect of upping their marketing strategy and perhaps being a little more aggressive in business a little frightening.
Of course, optometrists and other healthcare professionals are not alone in this feeling. I’m sure many artists, craftspeople, musicians, chefs, and writers feel their profession of choice comes first and the business of marketing comes much further down the list.
Here are 5 tips I gave to the room full of optometrists. If you are struggling to release your inner marketer, perhaps you will also benefit from a quick look.
- Reduce Costs, Save Time: Email marketing is cheaper and more time-efficient than physically mailing letters. Because people now carry their email and diary around with them all the time via their smartphone, it makes sense to ensure your reminders are sent to the same device.
- Automate: You could save even more time by automating the process with simple technology like autoresponders, which deliver email content at a specific time (e.g., to remind a customer that an annual checkup is coming up).
- Segment: There cannot be too many businesses where you know so much about your customers as optometry. With details like customer age, gender, family details, prescription, whether they prefer spectacles or contact lenses, previous purchases, etc., you’ll have no excuse to ensure your email marketing campaigns remain relevant, engaging and timely.
- Get Seasonal: Prescription eyewear doesn’t come off when the sun comes out, and if your customers are like me, they lose a pair of sunglasses almost every summer. Use this opportunity to sell to them throughout the year.
- Sell, Sell, Sell: While you might see yourself purely as a healthcare professional, your customers also see you as a fashion consultant. They want to see a selection of stylish eyewear and, just like in the apparel industry, will buy again and again if they are presented with great-looking products at the right price.
This abridged post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.