1. Promote your store in the smart way.
The first one isn’t obvious to all, as it involves basic “digital skills”, and even those who do have those still get it wrong. You want to bring more customers to your store and you’re on a tight budget? Forget about direct mailing, you probably don’t have all the addresses you need, and at an average of €1/lead, that would quickly become expensive. Emails have the same problem: you don’t have the email addresses of people who aren’t customers, and buying lists online is the least recommended thing to do in the marketing world. What’s left? Putting posters on your windows and outside your store can get a few people in – if your ads are relevant (bonus points if they are topical/seasonal).
And then there’s Facebook advertising: probably your best bet, and the rates are really fair. It seems difficult at first, but it isn’t, and you can find a lot of content online easing things for you. Did you know that you can promote your business locally? You may want to create a “boosted post” that entails a temporary offer, a discount of sorts that your store is running temporarily. If your outreach is 5,000 people (which you can easily reach for less than €200) and that 10% of them take you up on your offer, that’s already a win.
You don’t have to worry about managing your Facebook page (as long as it’s established) and you will still get the benefits of Facebook exposure. All you need to do is to tailor your offer to your target, find a really nice picture, geo-localize your post to your area, and set the demographics that you’re after (age range, gender, etc), and you’re good to go!
2. Harness the power of the doctor.
We live in a time where entities offering eyecare services – hospital and eye doctors – cannot meet the growing demand in eye care (due to the aging baby boomers and the diverse eye changes and malfunctions that come with the aging process). Put simply, studies indicate that waiting times for basic eye care needs – such as basic eye examinations – are growing bigger, thus also impacting the quality of the services offered. Why not, as an optician, offering screening services while working hand in hand with doctors? By doing so, you can get customers referred to your store by a local doctor, who see his work overload being lowered, while the patients see the waiting times decreasing. Best part is that it brings new traffic to your store, for new sales opportunities, it’s basically a win for all parties. Of course, this works only if you have the appropriate screening devices, and if you can share the results of your examinations with the doctors in a formal document.
3. Increase repeat visits to your store or practice.
This one is a little biased since it is mostly coming from our observations on how our customers use our product. The average amount of yearly visits for an eye examination is normally nearing 0.5 times/year (one every year or two years) usually done only once customers start encountering issues, not when they are solicited by their doctors/opticians. However, our customers use the retina report to go, an eye examination report that is sent to their customers phones, showing the results of the eye examination along with the picture of their retina which consequently lead the user to have more consideration for the health of their eyes, thus often resulting in repeated visits. Repeated visits meaning… more opportunities!
4. Have your customers write online reviews for you.
This one is a no-brainer and a big cost saver. 68% of people say they trust businesses/stores that have positive reviews. Assuming you already have a core of loyal customers that keep on coming back to your store, why not asking them to write a review of your store/practice? Send them an email with a couple links to the platforms and websites where you want to be listed and reviewed and ask them to write something about you.
Perhaps offer them a free eye examination, or a discount of some sort in return. If they care about your services and dedication, they’ll want to help. It’ll take them only a few minutes, and it will do a lot for you. After all, customers move. They change locations, they change health plans, they are sometimes disappointed in their usual stores, and look online for new options. That’s where your store’s online reviews come in handy.
5. Post customer testimonial videos or experiences.
This one works for both your facebook page and website. As shown in the point above, people trust their peers more than they trust you, this is a phenomenon that changed the marketing world years ago, when people finally had means to express their feelings about a company, store or practice.
Again here, if you have satisfied customers, why not conducting a brief interview, video or text, and post their impressions online on your facebook page or website? Bonus points if it comes in the form of an “journey” that people can relate to. That’s what we call the power of storytelling, everyone likes a story better than a list of facts:
“My name is Jane, 54, and for a few months I could feel that I had issues with my vision. I went to a store where they diagnosed me with [insert eye condition name], and prescribed [insert eye product name], but still the problem was the same. Then I changed practices and met [insert your name] from [insert your store name] who really dedicated his time to help me. Since then, I am really happy with my new pair of lenses, and I am enjoying my life again”.
A bit excessive, but you get the idea. Customer testimonials, backed up by credible pictures or videos, always earn trust. Of course the list could be much longer, and we’ll get back to that in another post soon (make sure not to miss out by subscribing to our newsletter or liking our facebook page) , but for the time being, the five points above should give your enough benefits, and will take a little time to implement.