By Zoey Duncan
When your patients feel like they have a relationship with your eye care practice, they’re more likely to stay loyal, spend more and tell their friends about you.
And a strong brand is absolutely key to building that relationship.
But without a great brand? You risk seeming like just another practice.
What is a brand, anyway?
Your brand is the experience your patients have while they’re in your care. It’s the promises you make and how you deliver on them, from what your website looks like to how your team members answer the phone.
Essentially, your brand tells people what to expect when interacting with your practice in person or digitally. And when it’s done right, your brand will connect with them on an emotional level.
Five things you can do now to build your ECP brand
- Define your reason for being and your unique selling proposition
What do you love to do that both differentiates you and appeals to your ideal patient? Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the big thing that convinces patients to come to you over your competition. It’s what they’ll mention when they’re talking about their latest eye exam.
This might even be the reason you got into eye care—and something you’re really good at. For example:
- Lifelong health education;
- Quality affordable care;
- Deep roots in the community;
- Enhancing patients’ self-confidence.
Take the time to define your USP. It’s tough, but knowing your reason for being is integral to your overall brand.
- Understand what your ideal patient cares about
Nearly every decision you make in your practice comes down to what your ideal patient values.
Consider the different values a thirtysomething single professional who works downtown may have when it comes to their eye care needs as compared to a busy fortysomething mom in the suburbs.
Talk to your patients, research the industry and ensure the experience (AKA your brand) at your practice meets or exceeds your patients’ expectations.
- Get your team on board
Ensure everyone on your team, from your ODs and opticians to your office staff, are involved in building and executing your brand experience. When your team members are involved in your brand, they’ll feel more inspired to live it.
Be sure your office culture and branding align too. If patient education is important to you, do you also support your staff’s ongoing education? If you encourage clear, kind communication with patients, is that also how you work with your team?
- Create a website that shouts your brand and converts visitors into patients
Data shows you’ve only got three to eight seconds to convince someone to stick around on your site before they click away to do something else. To convert them, you need: stunning images; clear content; and smart web design that helps them easily make an appointment.
On top of that, you want the experience of being on your website and stepping into your practice to seamlessly align with your brand. If your website looks or reads like it could be describing any eye care practice in town, it’s time for an overhaul.
Work with a website company that understands the eye care business intimately and can build a modern, informative, cohesive website that turns visitors into patients.
- Invest in your marketing
Marketing is essential to attracting the patients you want, yet many eye care professionals are hesitant to invest in it properly. The investment can seem steep if the marketing you’ve done in the past hasn’t panned out.
The truth is, smart marketing works and hiring an experienced firm to lead your marketing investment will make all the difference. For example, did you know professional email marketing can earn $38 for every dollar invested? (Marketing4ECPs hosted a great webinar on that very subject.)
Don’t let your hard branding work go to waste by skipping the marketing side. Make sure all of your marketing follows your brand colors and brand guidelines.
Bring it all together
Building a strong brand is really about encapsulating the essence of your business, then ensuring that essence is clear to your patients and executable by your team. While it takes some effort, brand-building will go a long way to creating a meaningful connection with your patients for the long haul.
Zoey Duncan is a content strategist at POD Marketing where she crafts custom content imbued with each client’s particular voice. Zoey has been writing and editing for more than a decade as a journalist, author and ghostwriter. When she’s away from the keyboard, Zoey can be found sewing her own clothes or riding her bike around Calgary.