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Article Date: 5/1/2006

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contact lens economics
Marketing to Multi-Taskers: Turn Up the Volume
BY GARY GERBER, OD

It's a rare event in contact lens marketing when you can have your message read continuously and uninterrupted by your prospect. In a world that runs on hyperdrive, it's unreasonable to think that the four-color brochure you spent so much time working on will be read, digested and remembered in one cohesive viewing. Indeed, while you're trying to read this article, there's a good chance your phone will ring or your e-mail program will alert you to a new message.

Nowadays, everyone multitasks to one degree or another. Sending your message to a current or prospective contact lens wearer should attempt to take this frenzied reality into account. You should acknowledge that a patient giving his undivided attention to your message is unlikely.

My own experiences with my iPod have me recommending its functionality to our clients as a great marketing tool. The iPod and similar electronic audio players, as well as having audio files on your Web sites, are great ways to get your message heard. Utilizing this marketing tool will set your practice apart from the pack.

Start with Meaningful Content

Think of all those newsletters you've been meaning to mail or e-mail but never had time to send. Now, you can record them electronically by speaking into your computer and then putting them on your Web site to be listened to there or downloaded as a Podcast for patients to listen to later. All you need for a Podcast is a microphone and a Web site to upload the file to. From there, patients can download the content onto their iPod or other audio player. Think of a Podcast as an electronic, downloadable recording of your message.

Any content suitable for a newsletter would probably work in an audio format. For example, discussing new contact lens technology or lens care products would work well with this medium. Of course, you should take the opportunity to close every audio program with a chance to have patients circle back to your virtual office by mentioning your Web site address.

Store and archive each audio message in an easy-to-find directory on your Web site. That allows patients to revisit or refer family and friends to the site. For example, our clients who have done live seminars on corneal reshaping uploaded the content and had seminar attendees refer their friends to the clients' Web sites to hear the audio portion. Of course, you could do the same thing with video — but let's get back to the multi-tasking component of an audio program.

More than background music, prospective contact lens wearers can listen to your message while doing other things. Also, the way the message is delivered via the Internet may give a sense of "it's current and important" to your content. This encourages more patients to actually listen to it soon after downloading and if they're busy, listen when it's convenient. This flexibility is difficult to achieve with conventional marketing such as newspaper and Yellow Page advertising.

Easy Listening

With a small bit of work and perhaps a bit more talent, you can even consider producing your own Internet radio show by adding some intro/outro music. Doing these electronic "eye radio shows" on a consistent, perhaps monthly basis and e-mailing the show or a link to the show to your patients is a great way to keep your message in front of your patients at a very low cost.

It's not rock and roll, but go ahead and start recording. From here, as your patients "crank it up," expect to see your bottom line get cranked up, too.

Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice – a company offering consulting, seminars and software solutions for optometrists. You can reach him at (800) 867-9303 or DrGerber@PowerPractice.com.



Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: May 2006

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