Business is going to be different, period. It is not going to go back to normal at least for a while. So, what does the new normal look like for an eye care business? It will likely be staggered appointments, protective masks, sterilization protocols, and social distancing inside the office. Everything will be different…everything you do inside the practice will matter. What else will matter? What you do online from virtual appointments, consultations, and communications.
There is no doubt that if a practice owner did not know the value of their online presence before COVID-19, they certainly know it now, as it was really all they had once their practice was shut down. The website became a hub of activity and a foundation to drive patients to for information on closures, emergency services, product orders, and delivery options. Although social media is crucial in times like these as well, all roads lead to the website, so even though you might be posting to your social channels they are still clicking through and ending up on your website.
Now is the time to build a new post-COVID-19 marketing strategy. It’s a new era, a new mindset, and a scared, price-conscious consumer. You have to reach out to them where they are, at home, on their computers, surfing the internet. Time to roll up the sleeves and pivot the business. What worked before for marketing, patient acquisition and sales previously, may not necessarily work for the future so be ready to adapt
Here Are 5 Post COVID-19 Marketing Strategies to Consider:
Get a new website…NOW!
If your website is old, outdated and hasn’t been touched in over a year…get a new one. We can’t stress this enough. The practice website is the foundation for all other marketing efforts. Not only does it need to be beautiful in design, but it also needs to reflect your practice. If you are high fashion, it needs to exude fashion, if you are more medical it’s important to showcase that in the imagery as well as the content. Content today is KING and helps to win the search engine ranking battle, yet very few eye care websites have uniquely written, robust content. There’s a science to building an engaging, high performing practice website and that starts with working with a marketing agency that knows the industry and are experts at what they do.
TIP: Get a FREE website & marketing audit here:
Rethink your social media
Social media can be a valuable tool when done well. When not done well, it can leave a bad impression and may even cost you some business. Many practices hand this task off to a junior employee with little or no business strategy or direction. Instagram grids look messy and unprofessional, Facebook posts look hurried and not thought through, and Twitter…well that is a complete waste of time if not done a minimum of 3-5X a day. Pick one or two social channels, take some courses to learn how to do it properly, and spend the time and effort to do it well or outsource to someone who can do a great job.
TIP: Watch this social media webinar to learn more about what you need to do for better Instagram posts
Get selling online
It took a crisis to show ECPs that they need to offer their products online now. E-commerce has been a sore spot in discussions for years but in this turn of events its clear it has to become a part of the eye care or eyewear strategy. There are options out there from selling contact lenses and eye drops in an e-store to developing a full e-commerce site to sell frames, lenses, sunglasses, and coatings. Solutions are already available in our industry as well as some custom options to create an e-store from scratch with technology like Shopify or Woo Commerce.
TIP: Download this e-book on e-commerce options in our industry:
Don’t stop advertising
It’s a natural instinct to pull back advertising and marketing, yet this is one of the best times to advertise. Competitors have stopped marketing. The cost per click and cost per impressions are down which means you can get double, triple the exposure for the price you had paid in the past. Google tells us that eye care & eyewear searches are up during COVID-19 and if you are not showing up when someone is searching for keywords in our industry, you can bet that one of your competitors is. Advertising should be a revenue generator and therefore pay for itself and more.
TIP: Google “Eye Exam Near Me” or “Optometrist Near Me” and see where you show up.
Your patient database is a goldmine. Communication now is even more important than before COVID-19. Patients are looking for assurance that their service providers are back to business, that they are implementing safety protocols, and offering options for deferred payments or value packages in a time when people are worried about their funds. Show empathy and explain how you are helping the community, your employees, or patients in this crisis. Competition for eye care is only going to get more competitive and the practices that work hard to keep their patients are the ones that will thrive moving forward.
TIP: Email is a great platform for communication. You can use a service like Solution Reach or Mail Chimp or a marketing agency.
This is a time where you can create a brand that cares and shows support; one that stood out amongst its competitors as a beacon of hope and resilience. One that made them feel, we’re in this together!