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Multi-Generational Marketing for Independent Optometric Practices

06/15/2018

Good marketing for an independently owned optometric practice isn’t one size fits all, especially now when there are multiple generations with unique mindsets, characteristics, values and eye care needs in the United States. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and now Generation Z - it’s wise to note the habits and preferences of the different generations and to realize that technology usage impacts all your patients and prospective patients, regardless of their age.  

Baby Boomers 

Ages 54 to 72 in 2018, they’re either still active in careers, approaching retirement or fully retired. They’re very interested in maintaining health and wellness, and research their options. 70% of Baby Boomers make a purchase on Amazon at least once a month and shop online, but also want to be able to call the practice and talk to a person to have questions answered, learn more about the practice and schedule appointments. They are the most apt to search for your services on a desktop computer instead of a mobile device, and more than 82% of them have a social media profile 

Most Baby Boomers tend to be very loyal to their favorite brands, including healthcare. Make sure your website contains good information about the technology in your office, your services and optical products, as they like to conduct online research. Word of mouth advertising from trusted friends and family members still has great influence with Baby Boomers, so providing excellent, personalized care to generate referrals is key.  

You may also consider conducting direct mail campaigns to invite them to events hosted by the practice, such as a dry eye seminar or frames show, or to stress the importance of regular eye exams for detection of glaucoma.  

Generation X  

Ages 39 to 53 in 2018, members of Generation X have children entering college or in their early twenties, or conversely, may have delayed parenthood and still have young children in their homes. They’re very active in their careers and are tech savvy. Communication with patients in Generation X should be distributed through email and text.  

Good external marketing to reach Generation X includes collecting online reviews on the practice Google listing, Facebook and Yelp, as word of mouth is still very impactful but largely happens for them by reading online reviews. They’re active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

Google AdWords campaigns are a good way to market your practice to Generation X, as they’re likely to discover your practice through a Google search. General brand awareness campaigns can also be launched through Facebook, as well, and messaging from the practice should include the advancements made to help them with their presbyopia and maintain a youthful appearance.  

Millennials 

Ages 23 to 38 in 2018, older Millennials have young families and careers, while the younger Millennials have just graduated from college and are getting started in life as adults. One great characteristic of Millennials is their devotion to buying products from companies which are socially-conscious – companies that care about the environment and giving to people in need 

All of them are tech savvy and prefer to schedule appointments online, communicate via text versus phone calls, and they’ll likely discover you through a Google search or on social media.  

They tend to be more active on Instagram and Twitter than Facebook, although a fair number of them do participate on Facebook as well, and Millennials under the age of 30 are also active on Snapchat. They may not notice your more traditional forms of advertising in print or on the radio as they spend most of their attention on screens.  

Share the videos from any philanthropic endeavor in which the practice participates on your website and on Facebook and Instagram. Target Millennial moms on Facebook with advertising which communicates any special services for children at the practice, including OrthoK, vision therapy and InfantSee. Create a YouTube channel for the practice and add videos which educate potential patients about aspects of the practice, products on offer and testimonials from happy patients.  

Once again, online reviews are a key strategy to attract Millennials – the practice Google listing, Facebook and Yelp are most prominent.  

Generation Z  

Opinions vary as to the exact parameters of this generation, but its members range in age from early childhood (2 – 6) to very early adulthood (19 – 22). The oldest Generation Z members are graduating from high school and entering college years. While direct influence on these individuals for practice marketing is still a decade away, it’s important to note trends now and plant seeds within this age group to demonstrate the value of partnering with a good optometric practice for the health of the eyes.  

Gen Zers are digital natives, having spent their entire lives immersed online. They prefer using Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram rather than Facebook. Their attention spans are much shorter than previous generations as they rapidly switch between platforms on their screens. Very short videos are excellent ways to communicate with people in this age group and should be distributed through Instagram and YouTube. They are the least apt to listen to the radio, preferring music streaming services instead. They’re probably going to discover you through their parents at this point, but practices located in a college town should offer their Generation Z patients online appointment scheduling and two-way text conversations as this is their preference for communication.  

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AUTHOR

IDOC Optometry - Color Bar
Maddie Langston

Maddie Langston

Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies and platforms to drive sales for organizations in the fitness and business services industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers and auto parts stores. This is where she developed her passion for partnering with small business owners to help them compete with franchises and big box retail chains. Maddie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Liberty University.