A good marketing plan for your optometry practice should include opportunities to meet people in your community, face to face. Time spent engaging in the right kind of community involvement for the practice is a valuable investment in building your brand.
While promoting your practice can and should be included in some types of community involvement, there’s also real brand building power in contributing to a charitable endeavor simply by participating and meeting other like-minded people. An optometrist once shared his story with me regarding a time he’d participated in a dog walk-a-thon to raise money for the local humane society. He’d given his business card to a fellow participant during the dog walk, and was surprised when a year later, the gentleman showed up for his first eye exam with him with that business card in hand. The optometrist clearly made an impression and a connection simply by showing up and participating in that event.
That said, there are a few ways to be strategic about your community involvement.
Consider participating in events where you’ll be well-positioned to meet the people in your target market.
Young Families with Children: If you know you want to attract more young families with school-aged children to your practice, then consider their interests and what types of community events they’d attend and make it a point to get involved. For most practices, this will mean either participating in a town festival with attractions for children or large communities/subdivision events where these families live.
Adults 55+: If you’re targeting older adults, say 55+, then consider approaching your local adult activity center or senior center to see how you can get involved with their activities. Most of the time, you can volunteer to assist at adult/senior activity centers and by spending time with them, you’ll be able to build relationships.
The optometrist who’d participated in the event to raise money for the local humane society is an animal lover, and he had the opportunity to meet others who share his interest to build a connection. What are your interests outside of optometry? Getting involved in groups which share your interests is a great way to build relationships in the community. If it’s local, you’ll most likely meet prospective patients. Group fitness classes at your local health club, church and running clubs are all ways to create relationships around a shared interest and build your brand.
Getting involved in local charities will enable you to meet people face to face and build your local brand, so consider including local charitable events in your marketing plan. You can search online for local charities and events in your town or city and see that there’s ample opportunities for you to contribute – it’s a matter of choosing the one which moves you to get involved.
If you aren’t signed up for any event or haven’t developed opportunities for face to face interactions so far this year, it isn’t too late! Participating in even a one-day event can have real impact on your local brand. Consider getting involved in your community as an integral part of your marketing plan, and set aside some time to make it happen!
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