Follow these strategies for a successful back-to-school campaign.
Summer is here and the school year seems so far away, but now is the best time to prepare your back-to-school strategy. Planning ahead gives the office plenty of time to get the word out and people in. Here are some super-smart ideas to think outside the box!
ASSIGN A LEAD
Before getting into specifics, designate a key person to compile the timeline and manage the game plan. The office will need to decide on a target area, for instance, all surrounding schools within a specific radius. The next step will be to find out school registration dates and get an estimate of how many kids are expected to register for each building. Determining a target area and the number of kids makes it easier to estimate the amount of materials the office may need.
The general rule is to limit printouts and other tangible materials because people tend to throw out anything not immediately necessary to their daily lives. However, you’ll need some physical paper material for people who need information in the moment. Keep a small amount of brochures in the waiting room and throughout the office, but it’s going to be most powerful for back-to-school purposes if you can distribute in the local schools.
Be aware that each state has different laws, and each school will have different rules for printed materials. You will need to contact an administrator to ask about their particular rules and most likely submit the material for approval. Send brochures to each registered child for kindergarten who has never had an examination as well as students who may be interested in a new eyecare provider or those new to the area. In this way, it is more likely that the money spent will go to those actually interested in what your office has to offer.
There is an overabundance of ways that people can be reached online: email, social media, portal messages, online advertisements and more. Social media is one of the easiest ways to reach a lot of people for very little cost. There are many different platforms, but the big ones include Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. No matter if the office uses just one or multiple platforms, the posts should be eye-catching with captions and photos that reflect the personality of your business. Posts can encourage people to share the word about deals, remind them to come in before school starts or just educate about the importance of eyecare and who to call…you, of course!
Online advertising through social media allows you to pinpoint demographics that are ideal for your campaign. Most important in this category is to get people’s attention so that they share your ideas with little effort (and money) on your part.
While email is still an option, it tends to fall into the junk mail category. Some offices may work with a third-party recall system that allows an email blast to push out specific deals or programs; however, if you overuse this function it will become just another email that patients delete.
Lastly, go old-school and place a sidewalk sign (may we suggest a chalkboard?) or a poster in the waiting room that shows people what your office offers (services, specials). Do this now in preparation for school when parents are busy making all of their children’s healthcare appointments. Make sure the staff reminds parents and kids about the importance of eye health, and jazz up the optical to make the pediatric area look fun and inviting to both children and parents.
The above ideas are easy enough that any office can implement them. Be creative and make the programs and promotions specific to what your office does best! Just get started now.
It’s easy as 1, 2, 3 partners for back-to-school promotions
Optical companies and labs may also have programs and promotions that can up the ante on catching patient’s eyes. Make sure to call and ask or visit their websites for programs. Here are three:
1. Walman Optical’s campaign includes frame and lenses, plus the company offers a back-to-school kit to help you with patient education and packages. ECPs can receive cash bonuses, lab credit and premium gifts through the frame and lens promotions for kids, teens and grown-ups too. walmanoptical.com/bts
2. ClearVision offers complimentary merchandising with qualifying orders. This includes a large, 30- x 40-in. banner, counter cards and a frame display. The company also has a promotion on its Dilli Dalli pediatric collection. cvoptical.com
3. Hoya Vision has two programs for back to school: SuperKidz and Modern Advantage frame and lens packages. hoyavision.com
Rachel Foster, OD, is assistant clinical director for Vision and Learning Solutions, LLC, and is in practice at Midwest Vision Care, LLC, both located in Columbia, IL.
Walman Optical 877.863.2759 • walmanoptical.com/bts