Navigating a Different Playing Field
2020 has been a tumultuous year for pretty much everyone on the planet, with businesses struggling to survive, children switching to online learning, and families opting to visit each other via video calls rather than in person.
With the weather rapidly changing and winter on the horizon, it’s essential to start thinking about how you should be promoting yourself during the holiday season.
When COVID-19 became prevalent globally, many businesses shut their doors in favour of virtual operations (if it was possible). The optometry industry was no different, with telemedicine options and virtual consultations becoming more available when in-person visits were out of reach.
Many patients are spending their days and evenings at home, creating significant shifts in needs and wants. When preparing for a busy holiday season, it’s crucial to consider how the world has changed to accommodate it.
Some things to keep in mind when preparing promotions include:
- Virtual consultations are in high demand
- Online order forms are more convenient than ever
- Free contactless delivery is the cherry on top
Although it may seem early, getting a head start on your promotional plans can make a world of difference. When you’re prepared, you can get the ball rolling at the drop of a dime where your competition may still be putting things together.
Setting goals for your holiday promotions is an excellent way to start. That way, you can evaluate what you want to achieve and how you want to get there.
When choosing your goals, take a look at what you’ve done for the past few years. What worked? What didn’t? If you found a previous campaign to be unsuccessful, how would you have changed it to make it successful?
This can give you a good idea of what goals you want to hit and what you might need to do to get there. Plus, you may come across some content that you can repurpose to save you time and effort!
When you’ve got some ideas in mind, make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This will make it easier to stay on track and reach them.
Start Your Campaign Early
Scrambling last minute to put something together for one of the year’s busiest seasons probably sounds like your worst nightmare. Yeah, us too.
That’s why when you’re thinking about putting together your holiday campaigns, you should start early. You should expect an influx of web traffic over the holiday months and are prepared to handle it to take advantage of all the opportunities it offers.
Many folks have ample time off to spend with their families over the holidays, some of which they might want to use to get any annual appointments out of the way. To prepare for this, here are a few things to check and prepare:
- Optimize your website for increased traffic
- Test any email or contact us forms on your website
- Set up any email marketing or ad campaigns
- Create any associated banners or timers for coming promotions
- Update your SEO with holiday keywords
Having all of this ready before the holiday season rolls around will ensure that the patients looking for you will find you without any interruption. In fact, having a marketing plan set in place ahead of time for any season is never a bad idea.
Keep the Focus on Your Patients
When you’re brainstorming ideas for unique holiday promotions, try to keep the patient at the forefront. Compassionate care and understanding staff drive patient loyalty, so try to keep that top-of-mind when you’re creating new tactics to get patients in your clinic.
This also goes for retailing eyewear and eye care products. A study by Walker claims that by the end of 2020, customer experience will far outweigh price and product as the key brand differentiator.
The holidays can be incredibly stressful in the best of times, and combined with the added stresses of a global pandemic, it’s essential to be compassionate. By making things easier for your patients, they will, in turn, be more likely to pay you a visit for an exam or a new pair of glasses.
Gratitude as a Central Theme
With so many people facing some of the most challenging times of their lives, be sure to extend gratitude for your patients’ loyalty and support. There are several ways to express genuine appreciation to your patient base, many of which are incredibly simple but can mean a lot.
Some ideas to adopt include:
- Continued loyalty programs for retail items
- Holiday gifts for return patients, like glasses cases, branded gear, or free exams
- Dedicated follow-up calls to ensure patients are doing well
- Handwritten holiday cards from the office
- Feature patients on social media (with their consent, of course!)
Trying to maintain a feeling of togetherness in a time where a lot of us have been physically apart for a long time is imperative. Coming together and helping each other out has been a big part of 2020 and should continue as long as we can.
Appeal to Emotions
The holidays are an emotional time of year, and we expect this holiday season to be no different. However, with many individuals still choosing to self-isolate, the lack of family gatherings can be a difficult pill to swallow.
Try to invoke positive responses by appealing to your audience’s emotions. New approaches to old promotions with themes that reflect the world’s current state can help your patients feel seen.
Understanding how different life is for a big part of the population can help you develop practical ways to appeal to your audience.
Keep Track of Trends
Devising an effective holiday promotional plan is simple when you know what’s trending. Staying up to date on popular things in the optometry space can help you decide what will work best for your practice.
By knowing what may be expected, you can decide if you want to develop promotions that are in line with popular trends or if you’re going to go in a different direction.
With so many people at home, social media usage has increased tenfold. With more people using social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they are more prone to respond to thought-provoking posts.
When you’re creating promotions for the upcoming holiday season, think of some questions you can ask your audience to inspire a discussion in the comments. You can craft queries that relate to your practice so you can facilitate personalized responses that will help potential patients remember the interaction.
Some sample questions you might want to ask include:
- How are you getting ready for the holiday season?
- How can we play a part in making your holidays easier?
- What is your favourite holiday memory?
It’s best to keep it simple but still inspire thoughtful answers.
To Sum it Up
Creating unique and engaging holiday promotions may not be the most simple task, but you can be prepared with some of the tips we’ve mentioned. If you would like the help of a marketing expert, book a no-obligation website audit or demo today to see where you might improve.