There are many different ways of marketing your business on a very small budget. I have started two very successful optical stores from scratch using these methods and have proof that they work. You do not have to have a huge budget to make a difference to the bottom line.
With today’s economy, we need to look at different marketing ideas to attract new business and to keep the old. In order to do that, our marketing plan needs a shake up. To follow up on the first 10 tips to promote your practice in Part 1 of Marketing on a Budget, the following are ideas and examples on what you can do without much effort or expense.
Your business card is one of the first impressions a potential patient will have of you. Is it nice looking? Also, be sure to put your Web site name on your business card.
Create a brochure about you and your business. Tell potential patients why you are different and about your services. You can even increase awareness among those visiting from out of town by taking your brochure to Tourist Information Centers for display.
How is your window display? When you walk up to your practice, look again as if you are a patient seeing your windows again for the first time. Are your posters new or have they turned yellow? Are the display frames dusty? Are there cobwebs in the corners? If you were seeing this business for the first time, would you feel comfortable walking in and buying a pair of glasses?
Change your window display every couple of weeks. Even if you do not change the “big” pieces supporting the frames, at least change the frames inside the display.
Get styrofoam heads at a beauty supply store and paint them. Use acrylic paint for the first layer. Then you can use spray paint as a second or third layer. (Speaking from experience, if you use spray paint first the head will melt.) You can repaint these heads depending on the season: red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July; red and green for Christmas; yellow and purple for Easter, etc. Place different things on top of the heads such as feathers, knives and spoons, flowers, etc. Of course, place eyeglasses on the faces. Hang the heads from the ceiling or place them in the window. Vary the heights of the heads. Tie scarves around the necks of the heads for a different look.
Place a sandwich sign outside your business, first making sure that local laws allow for signage. Write funny sayings on the sign such as “We have dog-walking glasses.” or “We have eyeglasses for tall and short people." The Web has many ideas for optical jokes. “Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious: Optique of Denver, your headquarters for happy eyeglasses.” You can also list information about new technology such as “We have wavefront technology, do you?”
Place a jar with dog cookies inside the door. Dog people get excited when you address their “children.” Place a dog dish with water outside the door in hot weather. While the dog is drinking, this makes the dog owners stop, look in the windows, come in for dog treats, and purchase eyewear. On average, I sell one pair per month to dog owners whose dogs pull them inside to the cookie jar.
Get a couple of pairs of readers with your business name on them. Lend them to your local restaurants for their presbyopic clientele.
Talk to your vendors about co-op advertising. Many vendors have offers to share the cost of magazine ads, Internet advertising, and direct mailings.
Talk to non-dispensing ophthalmologists about new technological advances. You will be their source for lens designs and adjustments of frames. When a new lens comes out, visit the doctor with brochures for the waiting room, and educate the doctor and staff on new designs and technology. Get the doctor to refer patients to your office.
Above all, think and grow rich. The universe is your oyster when it comes to marketing your business on a budget.