Your Contact Lens Practice Over and Over Again
GARY GERBER, OD
I said we need to recognize that technology that seems commonplace and mundane to
us might seem earth shattering to our patients. This month I'll talk about one of
the most overlooked and easiest to use marketing weapons
in your arsenal: Repetition.
Many of us struggle unnecessarily to constantly come up with new
marketing ideas and messages. If you're constantly marketing to your patients because
you want to keep your name and message in front of them, that's great as
long as you do indeed keep your name and message in front of them. If you continually
change your message, then you're doing more work than you have to and you're not
taking advantage of the benefits of repetitive marketing.
Repetition Breeds Recognition
For example, while you may grow weary of the recall postcard you've
been using and feel that you'd like to freshen up the message, be aware that you
see these cards daily and your patients (hopefully) see them only once a year. If
you've been mailing the same cards and they've been working and that assumes
you've been measuring the results why would you change them? If you do, you
potentially lose the visual recognition you've built through the years by sending
the same card.
This is the reason why companies rarely if ever
change logos or company colors. Coca Cola's image has looked nearly the same for
years with only minor tweaks to its logo, colors and look and feel. BMW, Starbucks,
Chevrolet, McDonald's and just about any other big company you can think of have
their own distinct look and feel. Just saying their names conjures up vivid graphic
images. That magical conjuring is only possible because they've all been consistent
and repetitious in their marketing.
But Can't I Always Do Better?
Maybe. What if you've mailed a newsletter to your patients four
times a year for the last 10 years and each month after mailing it you see an increase
in business. Should you tamper with success? If you historically see a 20-percent
bump in patients after each newsletter, how do you know whether making a change
to the look and feel and freshening it up won't cause a 30-percent increase? You
don't, unless you try.
Test and Tweak
In this case it's advisable to go slowly and to carefully test
your new idea. In this example I would recommend that you make the changes but mail
them only to a small percentage of patients and then carefully measure your results.
If they're favorable, mail the changed newsletter to the rest of your patient population.
If not, you haven't lost that much traction by only doing one new type of mailing
to a very small segment of patients.
Another technique you can use to freshen up a potentially tired
look is to make changes slowly. Graphic artists can help you morph a dated image
into a new one in small stages. Instead of a wholesale change from a dated logo
and colors to a new one, you can plan to make changes over a few months or even
years. This will allow your current look and feel to keep working for you and still
allow you to move things forward.
Proceed with Caution
If you consider changing your marketing, be careful and resist
the urge to make the change for change's sake. Don't assume that because you're
tired of how your marketing looks that your patients are also tired. After all,
Campbell's soup has been "M'm! M'm! Good!" since 1930! CLS
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
Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: November 2006