Eyecare and healthcare are traditional industries whereas the technology industry values innovation and new ideas. Luckily, VisionWeb is at the intersection of both and has the pleasure of mixing traditional ideas with new execution methods and vice versa.
Nobody marries these disparate ideas more successfully than the head of our marketing team, Janelle Pauli. We interviewed her to get her secrets to succeeding on the creative side of a traditional industry. She talks about how she approaches and tackles new campaigns, her decision making process, and what trends she sees getting big in the next year.
Keep reading to see how you can apply her expert advice to your optometry practice's marketing.
Staying Relevant in Eyecare: An Interview with Janelle Pauli
1. So, what exactly is your role at VisionWeb?
I'm the Senior Marketing Manager and I've worked at VisionWeb for over 8 years now. I'm in charge of driving our marketing strategy and creating campaigns for our entire suite of services including our online ordering platform, Uprise EHR & PM, and Revenue Cycle Management Services.
2. What is the one piece of advice you have for eye care practices who want to market themselves better?
Don’t try to do too much all at once. Marketing in itself can be a full-time job, but this is just one of the many hats you wear in your eyecare practice. Pick low-hanging fruit and experiment with simple initiatives in the beginning. Make sure you’re able to measure the results so you know what to keep doing and what to stop doing in the future.
3. Would you recommend incorporating online or offline media in an eyecare practice’s marketing strategy?
Online. The escape route would be to say a little bit of both, but online has more of an impact currently. Creating a plan and investing some money into local search, Google keywords, or another SEO campaign would be a smart first move. Those are campaigns that can manage themselves more easily, so it’s good for busy practices that don’t have much time to dedicate. There isn't much upkeep until you have to measure your results and make some optimizations.
4. With so many social media platforms, how do you choose which are best for a practice?
Typically, Facebook and Instagram are the most widely used platforms among your patient base. If you're not sure, you can ask which platform your patients use in a follow up questionnaire or survey. But as a baseline, those are most widely used and adaptable for marketing campaigns. Unlike other platforms, you can tag your location and you can have business pages.
5. When marketing for VisionWeb, do you normally utilize tried and true methods or try to take new approaches? What has been most successful in the past?
It is definitely a balance of both. We use a lot of the usual digital channels for our marketing in terms of email, blogging content, industry publications, and social media but we get more creative and have more freedom around how we message. Whether we are creating videos or building interactive content, we like to attempt something new alongside our tried-and-true methods that have worked well in the past.
6. What do you anticipate to be the biggest marketing trend of the year?
There are a lot of trends we could talk about, but I think an important one that applies to both large corporations and small business is an increase in personalization within marketing. Everyday, we're all bombarded with marketing emails and digital ads that become easy to dismiss and ignore. Personalizing the marketing message will make your message stand out and help make marketing feel a little less like marketing
7. Would you recommend eyecare practices jumping on this bandwagon?
Absolutely. If you're looking for some quick and easy ways to personalize your own practice's marketing efforts I can offer a few suggestions. If you're utilizing email marketing (and using a software like mailchimp or another email software service) in your practice you should be able to personalize things like patient name within the subject line or message intro - even in a mass email send. Something as simple as, "Janelle, it's been a while since we've seen you" let's me know the message was personalized for me.
Another more subtle form of personalization could come in the ways that you segment different types of patients or customers in your practice or optical. If you're hosting a frame trunk show in your practice, you could create emails specifically for your heavy frame-buying customers, or messaging to customers who bought a specific frame brand that might be featured in the trunk show.
8. Since you’ve been in the industry, how have marketing strategies changed overall?
Inbound marketing has risen. Instead of spending lots of money on expensive direct ad campaigns, companies needs to be more of a thought leader and create content that is educational, memorable, and entertaining. This keeps their brand front of mind with repeated interactions. Even if the audience is not ready to purchase today, they might think of you first when they are ready. That's why we focus on evergreen content that we can share with our audience for years.
9. What do you like most about working at VisionWeb?
I look forward to work because of the people that surround me. We have a very supportive, smart, and engaged group of employees who come to work everyday, ready to tackle whatever comes their way. As a company, we are dedicated to our mission of building everyday solutions that create profitable practices.
Our OD Handbook: Small Business, Big Profits can also help you hone your marketing strategy. Download it now.