When you shop for food, how often do you turn down a store’s own branded items for well-known brands, such as Kellogg’s, Heinz, or Pillsbury?
What about clothing? Are you more of a Nike person? Does it have to be Adidas, or is GymShark the one for you?
When you make a choice like that, it’s an emotional choice. While you may look at ingredients or materials too, it’s so often about the experience you think you’re going to get if you choose a particular brand.
While these are all well-known brands and your optometry business may not be so well-known yet, there’s no reason why you can’t also take advantage of the power of branding and build recognition for your company.
Wouldn’t it be great if potential patients knew about your business and your reputation as soon as they saw your logo or read your slogan? How much easier would it be to market to people if you already had a well-known brand recognized across your local area?
That’s the power of branding and below, in our branding tips for optometrists, we’re going to show you how you can have all that too.
Step 1: What is your brand?
Your brand is the factors that separate you from your competitors, the design assets and experience that are uniquely yours. A brand is a combination of how people perceive your business, their awareness of you and your brand, and the value of your brand to you.
Branding is the process of looking at your company and deciding exactly how you want to come across to your audience, not just visually but overall, and how you want them to feel about you. Part of that process is of course about choosing colors and creating your logo, but it is more than that.
A brand includes these core assets:
- Business name
- Color palette
- Slogan / Tagline
- Voice / tone
- Design style
However, these are only part of your branding and there’s a lot to do before you get to creating your visual brand assets. Good branding is about how you make people feel, not just when they’re meeting with you, but by email, on the phone, on social media, in online chats, on your website, and in your marketing materials.
You can’t directly control how other people think and what conclusions they draw, but you can control how you answer the telephone and how you present yourself online and offline. These things are just as much a part of your branding as your logo.
The most important aspect of your brand is creating a personality around your business that will compel a potential patient to pick up the phone and call you instead of a competitor. All of your core assets and how well you maintain your online presence play a factor in establishing your business’s personality.
Just as you think through and research your buyer personas to find out who is likely to buy from you, what they are like, and how to reach them, when branding your optometry business, you need to decide who your business is, what personality it has, and how to get that across to potential customers.
Think about what type of optometrist you are. Do you only sell high end, designer glasses with a price tag to match, or do you offer a range of styles to suit every budget? It’s important to make the distinction as branding would be very different for either option. It’s the same if you’re family-friendly or if you only deal with adults.
Each small piece of your business changes what your branding should be. As do your values and the way you see yourself.
Before you look at creating your brand, get comfortable with the personality of your business and who you are as a business. What sets you apart from your competitors and is unique to you?
Do people know of your optometry practice by name? Does your optometry practice rank highly in local search results?
What do people think about your optometry practice? Do you have great reviews? Do you have a high star rating? What are they saying?
Does your optometry practice deliver on its promise to help patients? What value does your optometry practice bring to the table that other optometrists in the area cannot?
All of these are good questions to ask and have the answers nailed down before you move on to building and maintaining your brand.
Step 2: Build and Maintain Your Brand
Before you can begin to build your brand, you need to know your audience really well. If you haven’t already done so, then it’s time to look at your buyer personas and work out who you are aiming at.
You’ll need to do some research, including looking internally at your business and externally at your competitors. You need to find out your audience demographics, what they like and dislike, what they are looking for from your business, and why they choose you and not another company.
If this is new to you, then check out our full guide, How to Create Descriptive Buyer Personas for Your Small Business.
Once you have your buyer personas ready to go, the next step is to find out what your current brand perception is. There are several ways you can do this:
- You can look at your social media mentions and comments.
- Check your reviews and star ratings to see what people are saying.
- You can directly ask your patients when you see them.
- You could do a survey or a poll either on social media or by sending a link to your email list.
- Social listening can also give you great insights into what people are saying about you and what they really think.
Once you’re clear on how your optometry business is currently perceived, you can then look at your current marketing materials, your messaging, and what you already have online.
Also, check your digital footprint. What comes up when you search for your business name and for yours? Have you claimed your Google Business Profile and are you listed on all relevant online directory listings?
You need potential customers to see a vibrant and engaging mix of posts, business listings, reviews, videos, and other great content when they search for your business. If that’s not there, then you need to work on building great content and making sure you create the right first impression.
Only when you have all of that information can you then move on to creating your logo, choosing your color palettes, selecting fonts, and refining your brand’s voice.
It is extremely important to get your branding right, so hire a professional designer for your brand assets. While your admin assistant or one of the directors might fancy themselves a designer, if they don’t have the experience and know-how, you could do real damage to your online and offline reputation if you use a poorly designed logo and colors that clash rather than complement each other. There are too many possible mistakes to be made from incorrect font pairings to logos that don’t give the impression you meant to give.
Activities that help you build and maintain your brand:
1) Run a brand sentiment analysis
You could do this exercise both before and after you build your brand, and then run the analysis at, for example, half-yearly intervals to ensure you’re staying on track with your branding.
Brand sentiment analysis allows you to listen in online to what people are saying about your optometry business. This isn’t always easy as you will get the good with the bad, but it is vital that you know how people are reacting to your business and your branding.
You need to know how people feel about you. Branding is so much about the experience you provide and what emotions your branding evokes that you can’t ignore this step.
2) Keep an eye on your reviews and write replies
Now more than ever, potential customers look at reviews and comments from other customers before they decide whether to use one business or a competitor.
You need to have a plan in place for acquiring reviews regularly. You need reviews on your website, on your Google Business Profile, on your Facebook page, and on any relevant review sites, such as Yelp.
Customers tend to look only at the most recent reviews before they make a decision, and they don’t want to see that you haven’t had any reviews at all, or that your most recent ones were months ago.
Acquiring reviews needs to be part of your marketing plan, rather than a “nice to have”.
You also need to make time to reply to your reviews and say, “thank you”. It’s all about engagement. People love to see that their reviews have been responded to. It makes them feel good. And you can make even negative reviews work for you if you handle them well online.
3) Measure your total average star rating
If you don’t know your average star rating across every review platform, then it’s time to take a look. Especially when it comes to health, many customers won’t even consider using an optometrist with an average of fewer than four stars.
It’s important to keep getting those reviews and ratings consistently. You could have a great reputation in-person, but if you only have a handful of reviews and non of which are 5-stars, then it will give anyone completely new to your business the wrong impression.
4) Survey your current clients
It’s easy to send a quick survey to your existing patients, and you can even put up polls and ask questions.
It’s important to stay in the loop with what your patients think about how you run your business and, of course, about what they think of your branding.
You need to know that you are giving the right impression and that there aren’t any problems with your branding.
5) Organize your brand assets well
It’s not just your marketing department that needs to use your logo and your other brand assets. Your whole company, both in-house and outside your business, should be communicating with properly branded letterheads, business cards, marketing leaflets, and more.
Everything should use the right colors and fonts, and your logo should be used correctly and in the right proportions.
You can’t control this properly if marketing hangs on to your brand assets and no one else can get to them.
Instead, it’s better to keep everything in a central location where everyone that needs them can get to them.
6) Be transparent and easy to contact
Customers nowadays expect to be able to reach businesses in a variety of ways. They want to be able to speak to you on the phone, send you an email or a text, and reach you on their preferred social platforms. Ideally, they’d also like web chat so they can message you there too.
It’s all part of creating a great customer experience.
However, don’t forget that all of those options are also great chances to use your brand voice and your brand assets. Think about how your company would sound if it was a person and keep that voice in your mind when you answer web chats or DMs on social media. Answer the telephone in the same manner and keep everything consistent.
Your brand voice is just as much a part of your branding as anything else, and it’s just as important.
Once you’ve created your brand and you have your visual design elements in place, ensure you use your branding consistently both online and offline. Everything from your store signage to your social media posts should look and feel the same and reflect your brand.
Think about what else you can use your branding on. You’d expect to use your logo and brand colors throughout your stores, on staff uniforms, and on all marketing materials. However, you could expand that further and print your logo and basic information on glasses cloths, glasses cases, chains and lanyards, pens, and any other products that you might give away or provide when you sell glasses.
The more professional, clear, and consistent your branding is, the more it will be memorable for existing and potential customers. Given how important brand recognition is, and how much it can add to your bottom line, it’s vital that you manage your brand carefully and use your branding wherever you can.
Achieve Unbeatable Brand Recognition with Surefire Local
From our branding tips for optometrists, you can see that there’s a lot to think about and to work on when it comes to creating the right branding for your optometrist business. It can be hard to keep track of all the data you need, the content, and your visual assets.
However, it is possible to do all of that, and more, with Surefire Local’s business intelligence marketing software. With our software, you’re able to do all of your branding activities from just one platform with one login, instead of having to log into multiple pieces of software.
Why make life more difficult when you don’t have to? Instead, you can manage your social media, your content, and more through our platform. You can store your brand assets in one central place for easy access and implementation. You can also manage your Google Business Profile and update over 80 business directories with a few clicks of your mouse.
Every aspect of managing and building your brand can be easily managed with our marketing software, and you can do so much more with it, including taking customer details and feedback from sales calls to refer back to, managing paid ads, managing your email marketing, and accessing detailed reports to show you how your marketing efforts are paying off.
Why not book a demo and see how much of a difference the right marketing platform can make?