By Scott Huffer, OD, FAAO
Sept. 6, 2017
Marketing dollars spent should make an impact in additional revenues. Over the last several years, our practice has made five low-cost marketing investments that have contributed measurably to practice profits.
Before making marketing investments, set an annual budget and hire a professional if you can afford it. Solicit preliminary plans and price quotes from several firms before making a decision. After getting help from a marketing firm last year, our office gross revenue grew more than 10 percent, and is on pace for 9-11 percent growth this year. You cannot measure every nickel an advertising campaign earns you, but make sure that overall business is growing as a result.
The following are five marketing campaigns we have conducted, and the impact and ROI we have measured as a result of them.
Spotlight Sales Campaigns as Patients Wait
Goal: For campaigns like increasing second-pair, or sunwear, sales, we spotlight different products and services in a slide show on a big screen in our reception area.
Work & Cost: We work with a marketing company that designs the slides. I talk with the company once a month, and we have worked out a schedule with the marketing firm on different campaigns we want to promote in the slides. We have invested approximately $4,000 to develop a bank of 100 slides. It costs us about $150 per new slide.
Impact: Our second-pair sales are up about 30 percent since premiering the slides, and our plano sunglasses sales are up around 40 percent since we showed the slides on sunwear.
Update Practice Signage
Goal: Promote a name change of the practice and add a new logo, as we have transitioned practice ownership.
Work & Cost: Contacted local sign company and showed area. Obtained quotes. Chose sign and had it installed, all of this equaling maybe one hour of time.
Impact: I am often asked by patients, and people in our small New Hampshire community about the new name and logo, and patients comment on how the new signage enhanced the appearance of the office. We can offer an updated office environment, and are now able to better capture the attention of our community.
Video Promoting Daily Disposable CLs
Goal: Increase new patients and daily contact lens wearers among patients with 30-second videos that run on a web site and social media, and even one that ran in a local movie house, prior to the movie being shown. More than 60 percent of our contact lens patients are in daily disposables, but we wanted to try to get even more to wear this modality.
Work & Cost: About an hour per week after hours, or on the weekend, for a few months coordinating with marketing professionals from an Alcon products-based contact lens buying group that our practice participates in.
Impact: More patients are introduced to daily disposable contacts as an option before they come for their appointment, priming them for a conversation in the exam room, and a week of trial lenses. New patients are also visiting our practice to inquire about daily disposables.
Sponsor Events at Local Baseball Stadium
Goal: To increase awareness of our practice by hosting events like 4th of July fireworks at our local baseball stadium, Holman Stadium. As part of our sponsorship of the events, we were given a sign advertising our practice that appears on the outfield fence.
Work & Cost: Several hours after hours, or on the weekend, to approve the design of the sign promoting our practice.
Impact: We are still monitoring the number of new patients that arrive after having seen the sign. Anecdotally, though, I am talking about baseball with many more patients than usual. More baseball fans come to our office now.
Practice Facebook Page & Facebook Advertising via Paid Posts
Goal: Have a presence in a place online where many, if not most, of our patients spend a lot of time. In the process we hope to remind existing patients of our practice, and let their friends and family, who are not yet patients, know that we are here to serve them.
Cost: Less than a hour of time per week. Our marketing firm plans and implements these ads for us.
Impact: Our Facebook advertisements reach more than 1,000 people for each $10 we spend, and we get between 30 and 40 clicks for that same $10.