In the age of social responsibility, it is important that you incorporate some form of giving back into your marketing strategy. This is often referred to as cause-marketing, a strategy that implements supporting a cause as a way to elevate your brand’s public perception.
People now show a strong preference for businesses associated with a cause or who participate with nonprofits. If your eye care practice doesn’t stand for a cause, your patients may consider switching to your competition. Over the last few years, the number of consumers who would consider switching to another business who were associated with a good cause has climbed to 87%.
Eye care practices are now realizing that you can give back to the community while still getting a return on investment (ROI). The benefits of community outreach can include getting more new patients, increasing patient retention, and creating a more positive perception of your practice. It can be a great investment for your long term growth and creates a win-win for your business and your local community.
Many eye care practices would love to incorporate cause marketing but are unsure where to start. The challenge is to make your practice’s socially responsible efforts beneficial for the cause you support, the community and your business. We have gathered our top tips to make sure that any community outreach you participate in can have a positive impact on both your practice and your community.
Choose the Right Cause
To make philanthropy an effective part of your marketing strategy, it is important to choose the right cause. The cause or non-profit that you choose to support should in some way align with your corporate vision or mission statement. As your primary skill set is in eye care, it’s a great fit to choose a cause that somehow relates back to eye health. This isn’t essential but it does make your marketing more effective and more memorable for your target audience.
It is also important to choose a cause that you personally feel passionate about. People can tell the difference between a practice that is excited about what they are doing and one that is in it solely for self-promotion. There are so many worthy community outreach opportunities that, with a bit of research, you will be able to find the right initiative for you and your practice.
Make it a Long Term Commitment
If you take a one-and-done approach to cause-marketing it won’t be as effective. Just like any marketing campaign people need to be exposed to it a few times for them to associate your practice with a particular message. Make your cause-marketing a long term strategy and people will associate your practice with giving back to the community. Staying with a particular cause over a longer period of time also allows you to develop deeper relationships with those involved, making you and your brand more recognizable.
Don’t Over Promote Yourself
Make sure that when you are promoting how you are helping the community the focus is always centered around the cause, not just you and your practice. It can be tempting to want to highlight how amazing your practice is for supporting a charity-but this can come across as overly self-promotional and can have an adverse effect. It’s okay to spotlight what you are doing in the community but make sure it doesn’t cross the line.
Start a Blog
If done correctly, this is an incredibly efficient way to serve your community without taking too much time away from your practice. You can think of your blog as virtual community service. As a health care expert, your advice on eye care has great value to anyone in your community who might not have access to good quality eye health information. You can use your knowledge in a number of ways to improve people’s eye health ranging from basic preventative care tips to identifying symptoms that may be a sign of a serious health issue.
As you create your blog make sure you are sharing on social media and with your patients. It may take time but your act of goodwill will drive traffic to your website. By creating free, quality content with no strings attached it shows that you are willing to put in extra time and care to make sure that your community stays healthy. If you’re not sure how to start with a blog, reach out to our team. We can give you guidance on how to set up your blog and help you with the writing process.
There are many opportunities to sponsor local events or initiatives in your community. By being aware of any community fundraisers or events that require sponsorship you send the message to your patients that you care about the community and their families. Check with any local schools in your area to see if they are looking for quality sponsors. Sponsoring a youth sports team is also a great cause to fund as it creates a great deal of exposure for your practice. People in your community will take notice and your brand will become associated with these generous acts. This can then increase patient retention and brand awareness within your local community.
Fundraisers can be a great way for people to become familiar with your practice and the causes you are passionate about. There are many eye care charities that you and your staff can raise funds for. A great way to get your patients involved is to match any charitable donations they provide. It’s a fantastic way to raise more money and create a feeling of teamwork between you and your patients.
If you want to gain awareness in your community a great way to do so is to create a fundraiser that strategically gets people to come to your location. You can use your online resources to promote bringing in donations for people in need. This gives potential patients a first-hand view into your practice, allows them to become familiar with your location and your staff. Having a positive touchpoint like this can help sway them towards choosing your clinic when they are in the search for a new eye care professional.
Volunteering is an amazing way to help out your community. You and your team have a wealth of knowledge in eye care and can do a lot to help out those in need. Of course, you can do this strategically so that your practice can receive a marketing boost. People love to see businesses helping others so make sure if you take lots of photos and videos if possible. These can then be posted on your business’s and staff’s social media pages. Create posts to promote the cause and people will love to engage with your content.
Often homeless shelters need health care professionals to donate their time to get people the care they need. Or alternatively, you can volunteer at a school and educate children on the importance of eye care. Whatever cause you choose, it will allow you to reap the benefits of word of mouth marketing as well as providing you with some great content to showcase on your social media channels.
There are a variety of ways that you can help your community and also create a great marketing opportunity for your practice. By participating or initiating local outreach events, you can lay the foundation for a great relationship with your local community. When you commit to these initiatives over time, you will become familiar with people in your area who may very well become your new patients. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box for your marketing. If you need help framing any of your community outreach as a marketing opportunity for your practice feel free to reach out to us. We are experts in creative marketing solutions.