Article Date: 9/1/2005

marketing makeover
Make Your Walls Work for You
Point-of-purchase materials are free ... But you often get what you pay for.
SUSAN ABRAMOVITZ

While your patient waits between tests, does she idly flip through a magazine? This is wasted time, time you can use to sell your products and services to an audience that is primed to buy.

Hunt and gather

The typical waiting room is adorned with a hodge-podge of manufacturer's product posters — that is, point-of-purchase (POP) materials written in adspeak. These materials are free, but that's where the benefit ends. Instead of displaying a poster of frames that you already have in the display case, take this golden opportunity to communicate with your patient, build your own brand and potentially increase sales.

What makes your patients return? Do you have a warranty, a money-back guarantee, special services for children or older adults, a discount on multiple pairs when purchased at one time? Make a list and start a pile of the literature in your office that promotes these points.

Check for clutter. Is the receptionist's desk littered with little signs such as your billing policies or the HIPAA statement? Put these signs in your pile.

Now with all of your essential materials together, take a visual inventory. Chances are that you have a jumble of graphic material. Your challenge is to make these materials appealing.

Group similar materials such as your office policies, warranties and hours. Can you combine these into one sign that can be posted near the receptionist's desk?


What do an artichoke, a peanut, an eggplant and a tomato have in common?

They present an integrated, consistent, personal approach to deliver the messages in Dr. Mann's practice.

Educate

Place posters throughout your office to educate patients about special services or promotions. For example, while the patient sits in the exam chair waiting for you, she could read about the warning signs of a particular eye condition or indications that a child is near-sighted. This information can trigger appointments for other members of her family. In the dispensary, Dr. X's top ten tips for eye safety in the sun would dovetail nicely with a sunglasses promotion.

Personalize

While POP materials are readily available from manufacturers, they are impersonal and do not promote your practice. Invest in a graphic artist to design materials that incorporate your own logo, your words, your office colors and your personality. Make sure that all of your new signs have similar elements to give a look of consistency in the office.

In Dr. Mann's Salem office, we used humor to draw visual interest to an otherwise wasted space. In keeping with the new slogan, "Eye Fitness + Fashion," the graphics are large and funny, but the message is loud and clear — we have great glasses for any face. In the Christiansburg office we will use the same artwork in the floor-to-ceiling windows on the sidewalk to draw pedestrians in to the space.

Point-of-purchase materials can be very powerful for your practice. Spend some time and put your walls to work for you.

DR. SCOTT MANN OPERATES INVISION WITH TWO PARTNERS: DRS. BECKY COOK MANN AND JON GUDEMAN. THE OFFICES ARE LOCATED IN SALEM AND CHRISTIANSBURG, VA. DR. MANN WAS CHOSEN AS THE WINNER OF THE EXTREME PRACTICE MAKEOVER, SPONSORED BY HAAG-STREIT USA, IDEOPIA AND OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE.

MS. ABRAMOVITZ IS PRESIDENT OF IDEOPIA, AN ADVERTISING, INTERACTIVE AND BRAND STRATEGY AGENCY WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE OPHTHALMIC FIELD. FOR MORE ON THE MAKEOVER, VISIT WWW.IDEOPIA.COM/MAKEOVER.ASP.

 



Optometric Management, Issue: September 2005