Shirlene Fuerst, Marketing Director and Vision Therapist at Eyecenter Optometric in Sacramento, CA shares how her practice creates successful promotions for back to school.

What’s your favorite thing about back to school season?

There are a number of seasons and holidays throughout the year. Back to school is unique, in that the importance of vision and vision care dovetail nicely within the messaging of the back to school marketing efforts. Big retail emphasizes new clothing, new technologies, pencils, paper, binders and folders. Ensuring a child’s optimal vision in order to perform well in school resonates with parents as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

How does your practice decide on promotions for kids and teens?

Our marketing team starts with choosing a promo and then communicating it to our office managers and doctors. Our back to school promotions bring focus to kids and teens and their visual health, glasses, contact lenses, and vision therapy needs.

Did you have a back to school promotion in 2016? How was it received?

Yes we did! It was very well received. The promo offered a single vision pair of glasses with AR coated lenses for $75. Parents worry about their child losing or damaging their glasses. Lowering the hurdle to allow parents to afford a second pair has been popular with our patients.

How do you promote your back to school specials?

We roll out a rather extensive marketing campaign for our back to school promo. We utilize a six-pronged approach, covering email, Facebook, in-office brochures, website, Twitter and Instagram. We start by sending out an email blast to all our patients, followed by a paid Facebook boost. The campaign is added to our home page on our website and we post on Instagram and Twitter. We have back to school flyers created to help with internal marketing.

Do you have any advice for other practices interested in creating a back to school promotion?

Start early on planning the campaign, and have a clear, concise promo in mind. What is your messaging? What is the ‘call to action’ you will use to encourage your patients to take advantage of the opportunity? Since so many patients have vision insurance, offering a complete package or percentage off on a second pair certainly can work. There are a number of tried and true approaches optical retailers use— pick one that appeals to you. The ultimate key here is to push your practice and the need for vision care into your patients’ consideration. The marketing onslaught people face can readily drown out our very important message concerning the value of good vision! back to school season offers the opportunity to loudly promote this message. Like Nike states, “Just Do It!”