In tough financial times, usually one of the first business practices to get cut from the budget is marketing. However, a savvy business person invests in marketing during this time because others are not! In business, the customer is the key to success – marketing is a way of communicating with your customer, and an easy way to reinforce them of how important they are to your business. We’ve listed a few friendly reminders to make sure you’ve got your marketing bases covered:
• Position Your Practice – you can’t be everything to everyone. It’s just not humanly possible! You should position your business based on something that is unique to your practice. Are you a mom & pop kind of shop? Are you a first-mover, someone who adopts the latest technology before it becomes mainstream? Were you the first one in your area to open up an eye care practice? Are you open for business past normal 8-5 hours? Do you have better, faster, higher quality customer service? Figure out what differentiates your practice, and make this promise in your messaging and marketing. This will help separate you from the competition, and make your practice an easy choice for your customer base.
• Choose a Target Market – again, you can’t be everything to everyone. To narrow your focus and provide better service, you should target a particular market. Do you specialize in presybopic patients? Do you have a large child/teen audience? We’re not encouraging you to turn away all of your other patients, but when it comes to advertising, you should have a “sweet spot” of customers that you would like to focus your ad-spending on. Your target audience will resonate with your positioning that you’ve identified above.
• Messaging – now that you’ve determined a positioning strategy and narrowed down your target market, you’ve got to get the word out about your practice! (Even if you’ve been in business for years, it’s not too late to take this step!)
Advertising and social media are easy and low-cost ways to get the word out. Make sure your messages are aligned and that you are reinforcing your positioning. It is also a great way to build relationships with your patients and drive referrals. One of the most important concepts of your messaging is that it needs to be integrated into your overall business strategy – deliver on your promise (differentiated offer) every time to you make contact/communicate with your patients.
• Consistency – ensure that your practice’s name (address, website, facebook fan page information, etc) is consistent in all of your marketing collateral, your messages are aligned, and that you keep everything up to date. Remember to use all of the touch points you have: appointment cards, on-hold messages, reminder post cards, referral programs and all advertising. Remember, your business is a brand regardless if you are building it intentionally or not!
Do you have any marketing tips you’d like to share with us? What worked for you? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment or ask us a question. Stay tuned for the next post in our mini-marketing series: Getting Started with Internet Advertising.