Refocus Marketing was established in 2017 by Michael Nasser, director of Opticare and a son of its founder, George Nasser. Opticare is well known in the industry for its innovative product solutions that support independent optometry. Now the company is drawing on its expertise in optometry practice, gained over 10 years, to provide digital marketing support as well.
When you look at the big budget advertising and marketing campaigns run by corporate optometry, it’s almost impossible to imagine coming up with a strategy to successfully compete.
So what should you do? Close the doors and walk away, continue on as you do hoping new patients will somehow hear about your service and keep showing up… or take a different, more positive and proactive perspective?
It’s true, the big guys are out there with their bells and whistles, creating awareness of different vision issues, eye diseases and the need to access their eye care services. So why not take advantage of the awareness they’re creating and use it to cost effectively draw attention to your existence and expertise… to attract your local market through your doors.
blogging… is about matching the content that you are creating to what your customers and prospects need and want
DIGITAL MARKETING IS CRUCIAL
Michael Nasser, CEO of Refocus Marketing, says digital marketing is crucial to doing this. “Strategic digital marketing is an effective way to expand your practice – it enables you to cost effectively target existing and prospective customers and patients in your local area and tell them about the specific products and services you offer that will meet their needs.
“The development of a professional brand and website, inbound marketing with high value blogs and other content, as well as Facebook Advertising will all help small to medium sized optometry practices compete with bigger players in the industry.”
Having worked at Opticare to supply optometry practices with lenses and equipment over several years, Mr. Nasser said he recognises that most practice owners are focused on growing their core business by investing the majority of their resources in operations, procurement, human resources, and retail sales.
“There is a gap in optometry’s knowledge and experience when it comes to branding and marketing that specifically fits their goals, budgets, target audience, and overall branding,” he said.
For this reason, he established Refocus Marketing to exclusively work with optometry.
“There is no question, Refocus Marketing has evolved as a direct result of interactions I have made with many Opticare customers who expressed the need for marketing support. We want to help them launch customised marketing campaigns and for them to have better access to cost effective digital marketing tools and strategies,” he said.
STRATEGIC INBOUND MARKETING
One of those customers was a small practice in New South Wales. Making their existing website work harder by implementing a strong inbound marketing campaign via blogs proved to be particularly successful. The practice now finds that 40 per cent of visitors to its website arrive via a blog and new subscribers are organically being added to the newsletter database. Repeat targeted communication with these subscribers aims to generate more business.
Mr. Nasser says the success if inbound marketing, or blogging, comes down to offering high value content to customers.
“It is about matching the content that you are creating to what your customers and prospects need and want. You don’t want to force any information on them just because you want to write about a specific topic – the reader needs to derive a benefit. For customers of optometry, that means blogs about eye care, eyewear, trends in eye health, and news about optometry or vision from all around the world.
“Before we started working with the practice in New South Wales, we did keyword research to analyse the specific words and phrases being used by the practice’s customers and social media followers. What do they look up on Google when it comes to eyewear and eye care? What type of topics are they most likely to read? What do they find interesting and entertaining? This enabled us to determine a guide for the keywords to use in blogs, the style and tone of writing we should use, how often should we publish blogs, how we should distribute them, even down to the day and time of upload.”
CLEVER WEB BUILDS
Australia remains one of the leading global adopters of the smartphone and 88 per cent of Australians now own one, with market growth driven by older generations.1 The number of Australians that browse online shopping sites on their mobiles rose 14 per cent in 2017 alone.1 This means websites must be responsive to different devices – desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones of various makes and models – which all requires technical expertise.
“A website that does not properly show on a specific phone brand or model is a big no-no – it needs to adjust flexibly and look good across different devices whether on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone,” said Mr. Nasser.
“Another important component is to make sure customers can seamlessly book an appointment or re-order contact lenses, regardless of the device being used.
“We worked with a practice in Perth to build this capability. Furthermore, we made sure the forms we built were easy for patients to complete, that the practice is instantly notified when forms are submitted and that customers are promptly replied to for booking or order confirmations. The practice has received good reviews about their website and we are now beginning to work with them on Facebook advertising.”
REFOCUS MARKETING GROWTH
As a Sydney based business, it’s understandable that most Refocus Marketing customers are concentrated within Sydney, however thanks to its national reach via Opticare, and its own digital marketing, the organisation is beginning to gain traction with practices in cities including Perth and Brisbane.
Importantly, Mr. Nasser says the company is having a positive impact on the growth of practices currently using the service and he’s looking to expand his offering in the future.
We like to think of ourselves as a pioneer in this field in Australia – to my knowledge there isn’t another marketing company that is totally dedicated to the independent optometry sector.
“We consider ourselves as an advisor, a partner, even a mentor for small to medium optical businesses. Currently, we offer main packages; Refocus Web, which is all about developing professional-looking websites for practices; Refocus Social which helps manage social media pages and Facebook advertising; Refocus Content which creates content; and Refocus Pro – a customised marketing program tailored to the specific practice, which may involve mixes of all of our services.”
The beauty of digital marketing is that it is continuously evolving, based on the behaviour of the market and on technology that is available. For Refocus Marketing that means ever evolving opportunities for its own business and its optometric customers.
“As a team, we continuously update ourselves with new trends and tools, and we recognise the endless potential for optical businesses to market their practices online. We are in the works of discussing Facebook Messaging as a potential booking tool. We are also looking at other online tools that can be used to re-engage inactive patients. We are eager to share more about digital marketing with the independent optometry sector, and to help them identify and achieve their own marketing goals.”