By Aaron Neufeld, OD
May 24, 2017
Marketing needs to return more than it costs. Marketing return on investment (ROI) is measured by the income produced by new and returning patients in exam chairs, divided by the total cost of the marketing campaign.
Here are three marketing investments that work for my practice. Do the math on your own current marketing investments. Promotional investments similar to these, which work so well for my practice, may also do the trick for yours.
Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament Sponsorship
Origin & Goal: We first participated in this annual tournament in June 2016. The goal was to increase awareness of the practice and bring in new patients from the Chamber of Commerce.
Cost: $2,000 for sponsorship for one full day on the links for all five doctors of our practice, and sponsorship of a golf team.
Details: Our name and logo was displayed on a sign at the hole that we sponsored, and our team was named after the practice.
Sponsoring the Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament allows us to show our support for the Chamber, get our name out among other small business owners in our city and meet and network with many people from our community during the day of the event.
Being a sponsor allows us to set up a table at the hole that we sponsor. We have handed out fine cigars with the practice sticker on them, which has been met with great delight by all golfers. This year we hope to add drink coolers (Koozies) with the practice logo on them, along with cleaning/cloths and spray for golfers to clean their sunglasses.
Return on Investment: Last year we had three new patients, who were new Chamber members and saw our signage, and decided to come in following the tournament. These patients subsequently referred family members, specifically spouses and children, which in total gave us about 10 new patients. The golf tournament also acts as a reminder for our existing patients, who are active in the Chamber, to have their eyes examined. We typically see an influx of Chamber members and their families come into the office in the couple weeks after the tournament. ROI calculation: 10 x $400 (avg. based off exam+materials) = $4,000 – $2,000 (cost of event) = $2,000
The EYE Digest (Weekly Practice Web Site Blog)
Origin & Goal: We launched the blog in April 2017. The goal is to improve search engine optimization for our practice web site, increase online visibility and boost potential patient interaction both with our web site and social media
Cost: $7 per week to boost post on Facebook and 1-2 hours per week of doctor time, usually in off hours or down time, to write an article of about 1,500-2,000 words.
Details: In March, I began listening to Dr. Gary Gerber’s podcast, The Power Hour, religiously every morning on my way to the office. On one episode he had a social media/internet marketing expert talk about the importance of blogging on your web site to keep it current and relevant. Later that day I picked up a recommended book on boosting SEO. The one recurring theme in the book was to publish a blog post every week to keep your web site relevant and in contention SEO-wise.
I decided to take the challenge in April, and have been writing one long blog a week and publishing it on Monday. I then post a link to the blog to our Facebook page, and pay $7 to have it promoted on the Facebook pages of individuals within a two-mile radius for exposure (the post shows up as a Facebook advertisement). Analytics have shown that our web site traffic has increased, which has subsequently pushed us up to the top of the search results for local residents.
Return on Investment: Since launching the blog in April, we have had two new patients come in, who told us they learned of our practice through our blogs. The content sparked their interest because it specifically related to them. I also had a woman stop me as I was walking in the street to compliment me on my blog! I gave her one of my cards, and we hope to have her as our third new patient who came to us because of our blog posts. ROI calculation: 2 new patients x $300 (dry eye workup/treatment) $600 – $0 (cost) $600 + additional potential patients.
Senior Community Speaking
Origin & Goal: We started speaking publicly to seniors in March 2017, and will continue to speak regularly to them. The goal is to raise awareness of eye health conditions in seniors and the treatment options our practice offers.
Cost: About $50 to print brochures and about two hours of doctor’s time, but sometimes can do these events outside of work hours.
Details: A few months ago I met an individual in our Chamber of Commerce who ran a home health care and transportation service for senior and disabled individuals. As part of his marketing plan for the business, he wanted to host “expert talks” at senior centers and senior living centers on health and wellness. I agreed to do a series of expert talks on senior eye health and vision throughout the year.
At my first presentation in March 2017, we had a great showing of over 100 individuals. I gave a presentation and led a lively conversation on the material. At the conclusion of the talk, we gave out informational brochures that I created on some of the conditions I talked about (which also included practice information and phone number and web site address) to each senior as they were leaving.
The manager of the senior center later told us that we had given the most engaging presentation that she had ever seen during her tenure.
Return on Investment: Shortly after the presentation, I had two seniors schedule glaucoma exams with me. We also had an additional senior come to our office to order glasses, and another come in for an annual eye exam. ROI calculation: 2 glaucoma patients x $350 (glaucoma work up) + 1 regular patient x $1,000 (exam/materials) $1,350 – $50 (print brochures) = $1,300