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Common Marketing Mishaps
Some advertising avenues are better left alone.
often written about new and different ways to market your practice. It's gratifying
to get e-mails that you've used the strategies and witnessed success. But this month,
I'd like to concentrate on marketing that, while popular, is historically poor and
has a low return on investment. Just as with previous articles, your mileage may
vary, and your results may differ from what I'm writing about here. Those differences
between "expected" and "actual" are attributed to the "art" part of marketing as
opposed to the "science." Here are some generalities of marketing that don't work.
In our experience, nearly 85% of doctors have
a Yellow Pages display ad. Keep in mind that in most parts of the country, if you
have a phone (and we think that applies to 100% of you), you'll get a listing in
the Yellow Pages for free or for a very low cost. We have measured no difference
in return on investment between having a free or low-cost listing and having a display
ad. We believe this occurs because by the time prospective patients look in the
Yellow Pages, their buying decisions have already been made usually from
referrals. Patients use the Yellow Pages as a directory and reference to find your
Screenings and seminars
Many of you believe that if you uncover a problem
in a prospective patient, he will transition to a patient. The oft-overlooked fact
is that many or most of these prospective patients already have an eye doctor or
will seek the referral of a friend or family member. A school screening might actually
leave you marketing for other doctors instead of yourself.
Receipts, park benches, etc.
The use of grocery store tape, park benches and
other similar marketing efforts collectively go into the category of "wrong place
at the wrong time." Are you considering putting your practice logo and phone number
on a pharmacy shopping bag? If so, think of the circumstances under which someone
would respond to that sort of "ad." The prospective patient is presumably sick,
which is why he is in the pharmacy. If the prospect isn't sick and is in the store
for a birthday card, for instance, he will leave the store eager to get to what's
in the bag, not what's on it.
Assuming the prospective patient even
sees your message on the bag, he would have to write down your name and phone number
assuming he doesn't currently have a doctor or that your message is strong
enough to break that relationship. While this type of marketing could be productive,
a lot of planets need to align for it to do so.
High-school yearbooks, band programs
and little league schedules are also not targeted enough or timed correctly to be
effective. This isn't meant to say you shouldn't support these types of programs.
Just recognize that they aren't typically effective marketing tools.
New mover lists
Marketing to people who have just moved into the
neighborhood is very popular and also generally ineffective. The success of this
type of marketing assumes the new mover is motivated enough to save your announcement,
remember where he put it (remember, he just moved into a new house) and that this
person won't seek a referral from a friend or coworker.
Marketing your practice in these ways
might work for some O.D.s but, there are better places to spend your hard-earned
DR. GERBER IS THE
PRESIDENT OF THE POWER PRACTICE, A COMPANY SPECIALIZING
IN MAKING OPTOMETRISTS MORE PROFITABLE. LEARN
MORE AT WWW.POWERPRACTICE.COM, OR CALL DR. GERBER
AT (800) 867-9303.
Optometric Management, Issue: January 2007