“Optometry marketing is tricky”, she said. “The digital channels are a hit and miss for us. Sometimes they work, sometimes not — it isn’t predictable and we are burning money like a mad man.”
Unfortunately, it’s a story I’ve heard far too often and it tends to boil down to confusion between the marketing channels and offers we use to attract customers.
I’m not talking about lazy incentives like discounts but rather which trade-off we offer the customer in return for their cash and troubles of using our services. Sometimes, the decision is obvious to consumers because they have a huge problem they’d like to solve, like getting screen protective glasses after LASIK surgery.
Compare that to buying sunglasses that often are a “nice to have” with no particular deadline for when to buy them or why. A good chunk of customers consider it a beauty accessory and would strongly consider buying other types (e.g. a necklace, wristband, etc.) if presented with one that is attractive when they were browsing.
In fact, spending more time picking the channel to market on with the offer almost as an afterthought tends to lead to these unpredictable marketing results.
There are many types of channels available to promote eye care marketing such as TV, social media, and offline billboards. I’ve found that digital marketing tends to be the most flexible, cost-effective, and easy to tweak on the fly for growing businesses, so that’s where I’ll focus my energy in this article.
The examples I’m sharing with you in this article will not create the hockey stick growth effect that many venture-backed startups dream of. That would be a wild overpromise.
Rather, they are meant to drive more topline revenue fast and build momentum towards a big impact.
3 quick optometry marketing wins with impact
Quick wins are smaller projects that make an impact fast but might not be memorable by the end of the year. They’re great to get things going and build motivation for the team but eventually need to be converted into big wins.
A big win could be one of the key projects you look back on at the end of the year that made a serious impact on overall business growth.
For example, within patient acquisition, a quick win might be a headline tweak on your automated welcome email sequence that increases the appointment booking rate by 10%. On the other hand, a big win might be building out a new patient acquisition channel that doubles your monthly patients over time.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into three examples of quick wins in optometry marketing.
- Double the number of qualified leads in your optometry marketing funnel
- Developing the right offer
- Not every optometry customer is created equal
Not every example will be a quick win for all types of health startups. At early-stage startups, for example, a quick win might not be optimizing certain parts of the sales funnels but instead, discovering a way to rapidly and effectively test their services and get the first patient cohorts in the door.
That can take ages with some channels like SEO but just days or weeks with ads or even direct outreach.
Quick win #1: Doubling the conversion rate from random visitors to qualified leads in your optometry marketing funnel
In the digital sphere, the most popular way to capture leads tends to be via an email newsletter.
Whether the customer behavior skews toward email or other channels (like SMS) in your market, I’m sure we can agree that the element itself has more or less the same job in our marketing funnel: converting random visitors into qualified leads.
In fact, this is one of the few elements that have the ability to double your leads with only a few hours of work. In this simple breakdown of the math, I’m using a monthly example but the timeline could be weekly or yearly as well — it doesn’t matter.
In this rather modest example, we see that even though the traffic and conversion rate from lead to bookings stay the same, we are able to double the number of appointment bookings.
For the sake of the example, let’s assume that the traffic is relevant. The difference in terms of what the opt-in offers could be one that helps the visitor find the right sunglasses for them (the “Standard Example” in the screenshot above) to find the right protection glasses that look good on them after their LASIK surgery.
Hurray for the scale of digital media!
The difference comes in the work itself as a newsletter opt-in box tends to be much faster to update and experiment with than, say, in-app tweaks or an automated email sequence as they often work best with multiple emails and sometimes even longer ones than we might imagine.
It usually takes many experiments to create a single newsletter opt-in that has a double-digit or high single-digit opt-in rate and performs well across the entire site. I’ve found that creating several different ones with different offers depending on the page and traffic can give us a head start and faster returns.
For example, if your startup is banking on SEO and health-related articles to drive patients, the opt-ins could be different depending on health category, disease, or symptoms.
I’ve found that opt-ins with a more personal feel (like quizzes) tend to produce better results but ultimately, it comes down to offering the right solution and accurately pointing out the patient’s problem to show that we truly understand them.
Quick win #2: Digital marketing for optometrists & developing the right offer
Everyone is so fixated on where to promote their stuff and which format the marketing promotion should be in as if it’s the only thing that matters.
“Let’s make an Instagram short video! No, a Facebook newsfeed ad!”
It took me far too long to realize that these formats are mostly created to offer marketers fresh new alternatives for the sake of ‘freshness’, rather than truly making a difference in marketing campaigns. Kinda like when we go check out our favorite fashion store to see if they have anything new.
The channels and campaign formats are an important later step in the process — not the first decision to make. We all love to hear “the one thing” that’ll make a difference. Usually, it’s a combination of things as with the problem we help the patient solve being the most important since every other element doesn’t give us the same opportunity to stand out (ad format, channel, etc.)
Some offer ideas I’ve seen in the wild are:
- Vision test for a specific purpose (e.g. driver’s license)
- Buy glasses and sunglasses with the same strength for free/at a discount
- Lense subscription discount
- Test quiz to figure out which type of glasses looks good on my face
- Screen protection glasses after Lasik surgery
I’ve found that rapidly testing the offer(s) with ads to gauge its performance fast works well. Use platforms depending on if you think the offer is something they know and are looking for (search) or if they have to be introduced to the idea first (social media).
One of the best ways I know to rapidly develop kickass offers and incentives whether for opt-ins or products is to speak to your customers or survey them to understand patterns in their problems. Even if the outcome isn’t perfect, covering the right problem with the right solution is the quickest way to improve conversion rates from visitors into leads.
If we can make the offer specific enough, people often want to sign up simply because they rarely see anything being tailored specifically to them.
Quick win #3: Not every optometry customer is created equal
Everywhere we turn we see these promos to attract new customers “20% off only for first-time customers”.
It’s like a slap in the face if you’re a happy long-time customer and it begs the question: if we become unhappy with the service one day we might be enticed to try that trial offer from a competing optometrist clinic. We might even come to like it and switch permanently. My point is that it’s expensive not to treat existing customers well. As we know from exploring customer service in healthcare if our patient care isn’t competitive a competing business might attract our customers.
In fact, in many businesses, it’s usually easier to convert an existing customer again, assuming that they are reasonably happy than to persuade a new one to trust us with their eyes.
At venture-backed tech startups, the customer lifetime value (LTV) is an important metric and by solving more problems for existing customers we can increase that, which ironically gives us more leeway when we acquire new customers since we are able to make a higher CAC profitable, which in turn opens up new patient acquisition channels that were too expensive before. Or, it allows us to scale one by trading a lower CAC for more overall patient volume and revenue.
The challenge with not doing this is that our patient acquisition becomes a leaky bucket, meaning that our patient acquisition isn’t as effective as it could be which tends to result in a high CAC and more expensive patient acquisition.
Looking at the average value of a customer is fun but often doesn’t show the full picture. It tends to be made up of different segments, most worth less than the average and a small portion worth a lot more.
Targeting existing customers with more stuff can be a big project and not exactly a quick win.
To make this more attackable we can look at our customer data to find power customers (sometimes referred to as “whales”) and their behavior to look for abnormalities that we can create an offer around.
In my humble experience, the best place to start is by helping them solve other related problems that you don’t have the facilities to solve in-house (e.g. Lasik surgery) by referring them elsewhere, collecting a commission, and experimenting with potentially bringing this in-house eventually.
- Quick wins are a good way to go get traction but will not drive the yearly business impact you are looking for, so it’s key to build on the momentum to create big wins
- Turning random website visitors into qualified leads is often the quickest win you can get considering the energy required to optimize and the impact it can bring
- Read more: 7 optometrist ad examples