Marketing your eye care business in 2019
As 2019 kicks off, it is always a good idea to start the planning for what you will do to market your business this year. Marketing, especially digital marketing, is changing so fast that the average business owner or manager is struggling to keep up with what are the latest trends and technology. What’s new, what’s cool and of course…what’s trending!
1. Digital Ads
Digital advertising on Google with Google AdWords, Google My Business and Google Display are becoming the only way to truly compete online against your competitor down the street. If you want to show up when an eye care consumer is searching for a provider, you need to be in the ads and Google maps. SEO, while still important, is not the only factor in showing up for vision-related searches. Over 75 percent of searches are done on Google. The second-largest search engine is YouTube.
2. Social Advertising
You noticed I didn’t say social media as social has become a pay-to-play model. Facebook changed its business pages to primarily display boosted posts. So, unless you’re investing in boosting posts, you can be posting all the time and no one is seeing them even if they are following your page. Therefore, don’t post just to post… post relevant content and put a few dollars behind it (even $10 a day) will at least get you some exposure. Then, there are Facebook ads which work like posting except more advanced options and also post automatically to Instagram. The good news both can be geo-targeted to your location and demographics getting you qualified traffic.
3. SMS Marketing
Thanks to millions of consumers using their smartphones, SMS (short messaging service) marketing has grown exponentially over the last few years. There are over 3.2 million vision-related searches every month and over 56 percent are done on a smartphone. There are a few great technology-related companies that assist in making text-based marketing easy to set up and simple to send. A few to check out are Solution Reach, Weave & Eyeconx.
4. Digital Signage
Bill Gerber, a good friend who owns Contentlinq, says “merchandising is the most underutilized marketing tool.” If you look at all the big retail stores, you will see a lot of digital signage from digital window displays to interactive digital media on racks and shelves. This is the way of the future in optical as well. Take your merchandising digital and new wave with some of these new technologies like Contentlinq & Vue Care Media.
E-commerce is alive and growing. Every eye care business will eventually need to consider if they jump into the online game or not. It started as online contact lenses, but now there are thousands of sites selling eyewear, sunglasses and nutraceuticals. Online eye exams are a real thing now and will be a disruption for sure. Some companies to check out if you’re ready to get online: Fitting Box, Purple Go, Frames Data, Opternative & DigitalOptimetrics.
6. Lead Generation
This type of marketing is the process of attracting your ideal customer and getting them to give you their contact information. Sounds easy, but it’s anything but simple. It is a science of building the right incentive that would make me give up my email address, so you can market again to me. There are a lot of businesses out there doing this as their only source of marketing. They build their own funnel of potential clients and then keep reminding them of their services through automated e-mail campaigns. You can build surveys that help determine someone’s severity of dry eye, landing pages that have case studies to offering a contest as a way of getting people to submit their info. Some technology that can help with this: Unbounce, Hubspot & Typeform.
Last note…as we wrap up this article, I want to leave you with one last marketing thought or suggestion. Think of marketing as an investment, not an expense. Eye care businesses use to pay up to $30,000 a year for listings and ads in Yellow Pages, but have not taken that money and reinvested in the new way to search, which is online. People are looking for your services, but you’re not showing up. Don’t let this happen anymore by taking the initiative and starting to advertise in new ways. Wishing you all the best in 2019.
Bonus…want some extra tips on marketing? Go to OpticalPrism.ca and download the “40 Top Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Eye Care Business.”