You’ve survived another Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Day! Another silly season is past. Pat yourself on the back and take a few minutes to evaluate the success of your 2015 holiday marketing campaigns.
Did you stand out from your competition? Did you capture the attention of loyal patients and potential patients too? Did you leverage fun, relevant and personalized marketing campaigns – toward growing connections and followers, while increasing 2015 revenue? Were your marketing campaigns more profitable than 2014, and do you have ideas for making this New Year even better?
Buckle up because 2016 is here! Realize that Valentine’s Day has arrived and Mother’s Day is around the corner. Ready or not, today is the perfect time to plan your annual calendar of upcoming seasonal celebrations. You can think outside the box toward engaging your patient base throughout the entire year.
WHAT IS SEASONAL MARKETING?
Seasonal marketing is an extension of your business, focusing on campaigns, programs, and resources specific to holidays.
As your eye care business evolves, holidays represent an opportunity to connect with your patients beyond the annual routine eye examination. You can give patients something to talk about, make them smile, and solve their eye care dilemmas throughout the year.
Done right- a series of holiday campaigns can deliver offers, prizes, and collateral that are emotionally powerful. You can win hearts and minds with the best eye care solutions and incentives. You can bridge gaps between providing a service and becoming a trusted friend.
Perhaps even more important, holidays can be used to build your personal brand. Likability matters. This is because people desire to connect with, and make purchases from, businesses that have engaging promotions. Effective seasonal marketing can influence purchasing behaviors, set trends, and create fascinating conversations. Imagine your patients talking about your promotions face-to-face, or through social media. You can be entertaining, plus informative while always keeping the big picture objective in mind. Ideally, every patient will smile when they think of you.
WHY IS SEASONAL MARKETING IMPORTANT?
Most businesses do experience some level of seasonality – meaning that purchasing patterns are interrelated with timing around seasons or dates. Think through your past months in 2015. Did you see a larger number of school age children in August or September, because great vision is important for success in the classroom? Did you see patients returning for sunglasses or computer glasses when their tax refunds arrived in the mail? If your patients understand that eyewear and eye care make great gifts, then you may have seen a spike in gift certificate purchases toward year end. You may also experience spikes around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.
Furthermore, if you continually grow your number of followers, and consistently give patients great promotions to talk about, then patients will ramp up their interactions with you. AND, you can snowball the effectiveness of your seasonal marketing from one year to the next.
Start early with a solid holiday plan. Whether it’s for New Year’s Day or National Ice Cream Day, follow 3 steps to plan and run your effective holiday marketing campaign.
1: START EARLY
Advanced planning allows time to get all of your promotion elements into place. These might include staff talking points plus the mediums you will use for communication. Consider patient email, text messaging, Facebook, your website, and campaigns on television or radio.
Start by answering some key questions. For each holiday, can you make your offer attractive, interesting, memorable, and worthy of active participation? Will you promote through use of discounts or simple product awareness? How will you snowball involvement from one year to the next?
As you consider each holiday, and the year in totality, decide upon the best offer for each occasion. During a Back-To-School promotion, you can share about vision and learning. During tax season, you can share about the benefits of computer lenses. Once you’ve identified your serial education themes with appropriate offers, then you can decide upon who will own each project. For each occasion, who will develop messaging, the marketing strategies, and then lead implementation including measures? Leadership is necessary to drive a successful campaign.
Next, weigh your internal and external marketing options. For each holiday campaign, decide upon the best ways to engage targeted patients. Will you use individual email addresses, your website, text messaging, or social media like Facebook? Can you gather testimonials and images of smiling patients? Will you incorporate television, radio, and mailers too? Can you include a tie-in with your window displays? Will staff incorporate targeted messaging during telephone conversations with patients?
Before you pull the trigger on any endeavor, identify some relevant indicators of success, such as click through count, or coupons used. Plan the date of your launch and perhaps trial a test run or two prior to takeoff.
Finally, track results from your efforts, and review the entire experience. What was your return on investment? From involvement and feedback, do you have ideas to make the promotion even more fun engaging, and relevant next year? Reflecting upon the experience, did you learn anything you can repeat for other occasions?
2: PROMOTE THE RIGHT HOLIDAYS
When you decide which holidays to celebrate as a business – with promotional offers and good will messages – consider traditional merriment’s like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Similarly, if you desire to stand out from your competition, create your own brand, and revel year around, then consider the wackier holiday options too.
For ideas, visit sites like www.brownielocks.com.
Each Month this website features, with graphic fun + informative style, a few of the unknown, unobserved, un-traditional, silly, strange, crazy, odd, sometimes bizarre, goofy, crazy, dumb, wacky, weird, and wild holidays or observances specific to the United States.
Imagine the fun that you can have in February. Yes, there is Valentine’s Day, when you can offer a prize for the best Facebook post of a patient wearing red frames. At the same time, imagine what you can do with additional observances. If February is Love The Bus Month,then you can encourage patients to share pictures and conversations about their favorite bus drivers who wear glasses. February also has National Secondhand Wardrobe Week: 7-13.Imagine offering a prize for the best images of vintage sunglasses. When you run a promotion, always request copyright permission to include the winning pictures. You can use them for the same occasion next year, or when sending appointment reminder text messages.
Wacky observances can be fun. Use them to inspire a sense of community – among loyal patients and potential patients -with pictures worth sharing. Give patients multiple reasons to talk about you. Differentiate your business from your competition. Develop the personality of your brand. Celebrate year around!
3: REWARD LOYALTY
When you plan your holiday offers, always build in rewards for your most loyal customers. With each promotion, think through the ways to provide additional savings for patients who have already purchased 2 pair of eyewear within the calendar year. You can include incentives for patients who have large families – who have purchased more than 5 pair of eyewear during the calendar year. You might even include a token gift when loyal customers forward your entertaining and informative messages to their friends. Carefully consider your enticements to increase your loyal fan base and keep existing customers happy. Again, ALWAYS REMEMBER the BIG PICTURE OBJECTIVE. Ideally, every fan and follower will smile when they think of you.
3 STEPS TO SUCCESS
If you desire to grow your business, by steadily increasing the number of patients who become ambassadors, then activate a combination of traditional and wacky seasonal promotions to keep patients engaged throughout the year. Today is the perfect time to plan upcoming holiday celebrations. Take 3 steps: start early, promote the right holidays, and consistently reward patient loyalty. Done right, your marketing campaign will cultivate fans while growing revenue in 2016. Plus your campaign can win-win-win because You and Your Staff and Your Patients will share merriment throughout the process!
Renee Jacobs O.D., M.A.