Many small business owners think of marketing as an add-on. You do it to launch a product or service and you also do it whenever you think that sales need a little push. But what do you do in between? Wait. Social media seems to be what every shop is doing these days so let’s do it! And oh, someone offered to design a brochure so let’s do it too!

Pause. Don’t do these things on a whim. Marketing is a vital area of your business and it needs to be managed seriously and carefully. Regardless of the size of your business, your marketing activities still need to be formulated strategically. And this applies well to our sector. Independent optometrists are losing money on uncoordinated marketing programs and are losing their precious customers too due to the lack of a consistent effort to attract and hold them in.

A marketing plan is the by-product of careful planning and strategising. There are 12 key items that you need to include in your marketing plan. No need to rush in identifying them as again, you need to dedicate time and effort to studying your entire business and then planning what you can do to promote it to your patients.

What to include in your Marketing Plan?

1. Target Market.

Dig out as much information about your patients – age, gender, income, job, buying behaviour, social media habits, and much more.

2. Competitors.

Don’t be just one of the many optometrists in your city. Expect competition and push yourself to stand out. The only way to do that? Get to know your competitors first.

3. SMART Marketing and Sales Goals.

Repeat customers. Increase in sales. Referrals. Identify your goals but make sure that they are SMART. S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Achievable, R – Realistic, and T – Time bound.

4. Know your product more.

No one else should be an expert on the products and services that you offer in your store. Having sufficient knowledge sets the path to becoming an influencer which is a great marketing strategy that is being done by successful business owners.

5. Pricing.

Is your pricing competitive? What value-added offers can your patients get out of the money they spend inside your store? Will you be able to offer discounts? Studying your pricing scheme lets you decide these things.

6. Marketing channels.

Is your target market on social media? Do they read newspapers and magazines? Are they into reading blogs? Be where your patients are. Studying the channels where you can meet, talk, and interact with them will let you identify the marketing tools that you will need to use.

7. Sales forecast.

Marketing if done right will greatly influence your sales but you need to know the figures that you are aiming to hit within a period. Your marketing goals will usually be what is on top of your sales funnel so make sure to have those figures in mind when you think of promotion.

8. Budget.

How much are you willing to spend for your entire marketing program? Are you willing to DIY and try out free online tools? Is it more cost-effective to work with a marketing agency that knows your business type very well? These are just some points to consider.

9. Strategies.

Email marketing. Social media marketing. SEO. Content and blogging. Networking. Events. Sales promos. These are just some of the strategies that you can employ. The secret is in how to carefully mix, match, and implement these strategies.

10. Timeline.

You need to work within a timeline. Is your marketing campaign going to run for 6 months? Are you planning to repeat it after or launch a new one? Also, a timeline will help you stay focused.

11. Monitor and evaluate.

Know that marketing isn’t a one-time project. It should be a business mainstay. You have to monitor your marketing campaigns, document the results, evaluate, and then improve or redesign.

12. Network and support.

You are obviously an expert of your own practice. But some would say that they are not when it comes to marketing. This is totally alright that is why you also need to look at your network and see if you can find support from individuals or groups (Hey! Hello! We’re ReFocus Marketing 🙂 ) who have the expertise and experience in promoting a business like yours.

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