OBE awarded to Founder
The Prison Opticians Trust is proud to announce its founder, Tanjit Singh Dosanjh, has been awarded an OBE for his services to prison optometry and reducing reoffending.
“I managed to turn my dad’s 14 years in prison into a positive outcome for our family history and this honour closes a chapter on that part of my life. But more importantly I hope this OBE will help me raise awareness for the things we can do to tackle reoffending – training prisoners to make spectacles is just 1 way.
I thank the Sainsbury’s Family charitable trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Triangle Trust for funding my project when it was just an idea on paper”
Since the rules around opticians advertising were relaxed the independents have been on the backfoot to the multiples. Marketing for independent opticians is time consuming and expensive...so what do you do?
You could hire a practice builder or digital marketer but there’s no guarantee that what they say will work. I personally feel your time & money is better spent doing this yourself & using the people that work for you to their fullest. You and your team know your customers, area and products best to be able to figure out what will work, what is possible and how to implement it. It might require skilling up your current staff and paying them a bit of overtime but they will be best placed to help you grow your business.
Here are 5 ideas that I would recommend to any opticians struggling with this
- Incentivise referral schemes - find some “connectors”
- Social Media
- Google Ads (PPC)
- Google Custom Affiliated Audiences
- Networking & supporting local good causes
Incentivise Referral schemes - find yourself some connectors
You can’t compete with multiples when it comes to advertising but still the best advertising is word of mouth. So when you know you’ve given a customer excellent service & he/she seems like a connector then give them an incentive to tell their family and friends. We all know people are more likely to talk about bad experiences rather than the good so your team has to work out who to offer this to. In this context connectors are people with a personality & credibility such that others listen to their advice and connectors love giving their advice to whoever that will listen. As independents you get to know your customers so why not leverage this knowledge.
For credibility reasons your practice should be on Facebook & you should be posting once a fortnight. You could pay someone to create social media posts and then schedule them however these posts will be generic. It's faster and easier to take pictures of your own practice and create your own posts - it might be a bit rough but that’s fine. At least the customers will be seeing you, your practice environment, team members and products.
Make some posts about your practice/products, some about eye related stories in the press, some about what’s happening in your local area.
I would stay away from facebook ads because you’ll be paying for something that won’t move the needle much when it comes to attracting new customers. When running ads think about the time it takes to set the ad campaign up and evaluate its results.
You can use canva.com to make more professional looking posts. Canva is really easy to use and is free. You can also schedule posts from Canva to both Facebook and Instagram. You can also find content creators on freelancer websites like fiverr.com however I suggest upskilling existing staff.
You only pay if the customer actually clicks on them. These customers are searching for your services in your local area. Google Ads do take a bit of setting up but once its been done once then it's easy to manage them therefore little ongoing time investment will be required.
They’re simple & targeted so you’ll be able to judge whether they’re worthwhile for you quickly. A £500 investment should be enough to test this idea out for a couple of months. Google ad specialist can be found on freelancer websites.
Custom Affiliated Audiences
You can set up ad campaigns on google to target customers that have visited certain websites in a specific time period. Again its a relatively cheap option as you only pay if they click on the ad. You could specify the URLs you want to target and then Google will do the rest. To set this up you’ll need a google ads specialist
Networking/Supporting Good Causes
Networking & being part of the local community is an extremely good way to reach out to more people & do some good at the same time. The more good causes you support the more opportunities you will have to to leave an impression & meet more connectors. Connectors are more common in activist groups.
Practice builders and growth specialists are good but you’re better off upskilling your own team for this. This task is too important to leave to others. You and your team need to figure out what’s going to work and then implement your own strategies. Don’t worry if things don’t always work out - you’ll have more fun playing around with this & hopefully your team will benefit from the increased opportunities to learn. Finally remember the 80:20 rule, 80% of your business will come from 20% of your marketing activities….if you can work out what that 20% is then just focus on that.
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