Great marketers have a ton of tricks in their bag to boost their brand’s reputation. Of all the tricks in a marketers bag, in terms of sheer power to influence purchasing options, nothing comes close to getting a patient to connect with your business on a higher level – getting them to feel something about you, or as I call it getting them to emote. Making a customer emote around your business or brand, is a most rewarding marketing strategy on many levels, especially in optical. If they love you they buy from you, talk about you to friends and family and become bullhorns for your business, enabling a passive, free marketing that is arguably more valuable than any other kind.
With the advent of newer shopping channels such as online, we find ourselves looking for value-added services and strategies to retain our patient-customers. While multiple channels for shopping exist for our patients, many which we cannot compete on price with its imperative to even the playing field and provide something of value along with a purchase. That “something” may be a thing but it can also be a feeling.
By making people feel differently, more positively about their shopping experience at your business you connect with them on a higher level than great customer service alone can provide. For instance, there are many eyewear manufacturers with great stories behind their products. Whether it’s a commitment to beautiful and solid American made products, like State Optical, or a generational family business like ClearVision Optical there’s a story to tell that can make your customers “feel something” about their new eyewear and connect with the companies on a deeper level than retail alone can provide.
If there is a particular handcrafted aspect to the eyewear, talk about the passion and craftsmanship that went into making the frame. Ask your vendors about the stories behind their eyewear and make sure your sales people know and relate that story to those shopping your optical. Not only does it help to have your patient-customers emote in this way, but it is likely they tell the story to their friends and family, in turn having them passively market your business through storytelling.
You can tell storytelling about a particular brand, or find other ways to get patients to connect to your business emotionally. It might not be an optical sale but may mean looking into their eyes more in the exam room, expressing empathy and storytelling in the clinic as well. To see how we attempted to use emotion to market to head-of-household 40ish-year-old moms with anxiety about aging eyes this click this video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXymA8TK-ZU.
Next time a frame rep visits your business, have your opticians sit down and inquire as to any story behind each brand and frame. Seek out brands that have great stories and great products and bring them into your optical. Change your purchasing decisions to focus on not just size, color, and style, but the story behind the frame and train your opticians to use the stories to sell.
Giving your opticians a story to tell is like giving them a present. It will help increase sales, help your patients feel closer to your business brand and help market your business through social proof. Create marketing materials that tug at patients heart strings. Make it a goal when communicating with patients in the exam lane to look them in the eyes, express yourself more and empathize with them.
On your website share a part of yourself and make them feel connected to you on more than a doctor-patient level. Tell them the story of the practice (don’t be too verbose though). Talk about your family members. Emote on all levels at your practice, teach your employees to do the same throughout their different patient interactions and watch your business flourish and grow.