By Austen Kazakoff,
In 2022, the options available to market your optometry practice seem endless.
From social media to websites to Google pay-per-click advertising, there are a lot of choices available in the digital marketing space alone.
Deciding what to spend your money on, how much to spend and how to start can be intimidating and confusing.
A common misconception that many eye care professionals have is that marketing is, and should only be used for growing your current patient base. However, marketing your practice is much more than just filling appointments.
Marketing your eye care business should be used to create loyalty and trust with your current patients as well as educate and capture future patients.
These two aspects of marketing require different forms of messaging and platforms. Whatsmore, they are likely going to need different budgets to be successful.
Maintaining Your Practice
The idea of marketing an eye care business is no longer seen as something that is optional.
Investing in online marketing and communication tactics should be viewed as an essential business expense when reviewing your budget.
In fact, there’s an exact number your practice should be spending on marketing to maintain the value of your practice. At a minimum, your practice should be spending 3.5 per cent of its value on marketing. Meaning, if you have a $1-million practice, you should be spending at least $35,000 a year on marketing to stay right where you are.
Within this 3.5 per cent, it’s important you’re investing your marketing dollars into different forms of marketing. This helps to create a solid mix between lead generation and branding.
Roughly 70 per cent of your budget should be focused on lead generation. This is marketing that’s driving patients to a specific action. Lead generation is helping new patients book with you and ensuring your business shows up when a consumer is actively searching for an eye care provider.
The other 30 per cent of your marketing should be put towards branding. Branding helps to nurture current relationships and creates the correct image of your practice in the minds of your patients.
If you wish to do more than maintain where your practice is at, year after year, an investment of more than 3.5 per cent is needed.
Growing Your Practice
Just like there’s a percentage for maintaining your practice, there’s one for growing it too.
You should spend 8 to 10 per cent of the amount you wish to grow each year. This is on top of what your maintaining marketing budget is.
If you want to grow your million-dollar practice to $1.2 million by the end of the year, you’ll need to put $20,000 towards your growth. This would make your yearly marketing budget $55,000.
While many of you may view this as a high amount, marketing is an investment and when done right is going to pay for itself and more in growth. Marketing should make you money.
When you see or hear about a super successful eye care business, you can be almost guaranteed they are investing in online marketing.
Depending on how you want to grow your practice, it’s important to consider where you are investing your marketing dollars. If you need patients to fill out your schedule ASAP, it would be wise to lean towards lead generation.
However, if you’d like to focus on creating relationships with high-quality, desirable patients, branding is the investment you want to make.
Lead generation in digital marketing essentially comes down to answering the question: when a patient searches for a service you provide, does your practice appear?
Having your name pop up to answer could be from a blog or an ad. Both of these tactics are designed to answer a patient’s question and inform them that you’re able to help them.
Branding is much more focused on storytelling and taking a subtle approach. Tactics such as social media or display ads appear when patients aren’t necessarily looking to book an appointment or solve a problem, and that’s okay.
Investing in your brand is investing in your relationship with current and future patients. When a patient inevitably has a problem or is ready for an appointment, your name is the first that will come to mind.
Your Marketing Budget
Your marketing budget should never follow a “set it and forget it” strategy. As your practice continues to evolve, so should your marketing. Pay close attention to your goals and invest the money that’s needed to achieve them.
Marketing4ECPs is here to help you get started off right with your marketing budget in 2022.
Check out this recorded webinar on building a marketing plan and budget as well as FREE downloadable resources such as a marketing template, 2022 marketing playbook and a file of social media posts for every month in 2022. https://marketing4ecps.com/2022-marketing-plan/
Austen Kazakoff is a junior brand engagement strategist for Marketing4ECPs, where he gets the opportunity to share his love of storytelling with eye care practices all over North America.