By Rachael Click, OD
June 17, 2015
Drive patients into your office with sales promotions around secondary holidays and back-to-school season.
IDENTIFY HOLIDAYS TO PROMOTE. In addition to Christmas and Thanksgiving, promote holidays like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.
TREAT BACK-TO-SCHOOL AS HOLIDAY. Market and offer promotional deals at end of summer in honor of back-to-school season.
GET STAFF INVOLVED. Have staffmarket, decorate, offer special deals and tie in practice charitable contributions for aportion of sales made during theholiday.
Secondary holidays and the back-to-school season can be used as prime opportunities to promote your services and products. At my practice, we make the most of holidays, both big and small, to let patients know we are ready to serve them, and provide the products that make their lives better.
A post Dr. Click added to her practice’s Facebook page last year to mark the Fourth of July. Dr. Click says it’s worthwhile to draw attention to secondary holidays, both to draw patients into your office, as well as to provide related eye health and vision information.
Identify Secondary Holidays to Promote
Secondary holidays my practice has decided to develop promotions around include Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, along with the back-to-school season, which we treat as a secondary “holiday” for its importance to families with children.
Using secondary holidays as a vehicle for promotions and decorations creates top-of-mind awareness of your practice. Patients like seeing your office decorated, and minor changes can give a big impression that something new has been added to your office–something worth staying longer and shopping for.
Treat Back-to-School as Secondary Holiday
We treat back-to-school season as a secondary holiday because other businesses do. In South Carolina, where our office is located, we have a tax-free weekend for school supplies, clothes, computers and other items. Big department stores will have multiple aisles dedicated to school supplies. We try to tap into that excitement by offering special deals of our own.We have offered several discounts in the past, ranging from percentages off of certain lens materials, frames or Transitions.
Our practice is currently trying very hard to convert monthly contact lens wearers into wearing the one-day modality. Our plan this year is to have drawings for several different levels of prizes when you purchase an annual supply of contacts during the back-to-school season, which we think of as July 15 – August 15.
Only Small Budget Needed
I am keeping the budget for marketing secondary holidays very small, less than $200.
We primarily market secondary holidays through Facebook posts and e-blasts to our patients. Facebook is free, and our e-mail campaign is managed and sent by our practice management system, Websystems3, which we’re already paying a monthly fee to use. We buy most of our decorations at the Dollar Store, which tends to have decorations for every holiday.
For Valentines Day next year, we are thinking about giving a discount on all red frames in the office. For St. Patrick’s Day, we are thinking of giving the same discount on all green frames. I’m not sure that we have that many frames in those colors, but the point is to use that narrow promotion to send out social media messages that create interest in our overall selection.
For Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, I would like for the practice to give a percentage of sales to the Wounded Warrior Project or another charity that supports our military.
I think for President’s Day it would be fun to have a trivia question about Presidents that would allow patients to win a small gift certificate if they answer correctly. I am thinking along the lines of a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks.
My staff is a big help in coming up with ideas for promotions, including frames we have in stock, or could purchase, for the Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day sales. There is always one employee who enjoys decorating more than the others, so don’t be afraid to let that person run with their enthusiasm and guide the rest of the staff in generating ideas and spearheading the effort.
Use Frame Vendors to Offer Promotions & Decorations
Frame vendors are always a great resource for matching merchandise with special promotion, and for decorations. They may have special point-of-purchase material that can be used to decorate. For example, for our Valentine’s Day promotions, one frame vendor suggested displaying red frames around a large heart-shaped box of chocolates and giving pieces of chocolate to patients.