Shop Talk: Should Your Optometry Practice Get on Groupon?
An Interview with Brad Childs
How much would you spend on an advertising campaign that you knew could bring 400 new customers, each spending at least $100 to your practice?
In a recent interview, Brad Childs of Eyetique (www.eyetique.com), a fashion eyewear chain retailer in Pittsburgh, told us how he used the collective buying site, Groupon, to attract new paying customers with minimal investment. "You have to spend money on attracting new clients," says Childs, "…and Groupon could be one of the best tools to drive people through your doors."
With over 90 cities across the US and Canada (and growing), Groupon uses collective buying and social media to encourage consumers to visit new businesses in their city. The site features a daily coupon for virtually every type of business; restaurants, spas, attractions and yes, even optometry practices. Users sign up for the daily deal and spread the word to others through social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
For business owners, this is a relatively risk free way to reach out and bring in new customers, which turns out to be more effective and probably cheaper than traditional forms of advertising. Sites like Groupon, FabFind, LivingSocial and TeamSave profile businesses for free, all you have to do is split your earnings with the company. The advantage of this, explains Childs, is that you are able to directly see your return on investment. When you put an ad in a newspaper, you don’t know how many new customers actually result from it, but here you are directly bringing customers who have already committed to purchasing your goods or services.
According to Mr. Childs, Groupon brought him customers to his door, giving him and his staff the opportunity to impress them with a high-quality, superior experience. The key to succeeding with a promotion of this type, he advises, is to train your staff to make sure they greet your these customers just like they would every other valued customer, because what really counts is what happens once they get into the store.
Eyetique offered a 75% discount on non-prescription sunglasses worth $100. Over 400 people purchased the deal, 87% of which were new customers. While technically, Eyetique is taking a loss on the cost of the glasses, Mr. Childs maintains that you can't view the individual sale as a profit loss but rather as a marketing investment. Many of the Groupon customers purchased other products, had an eye exam or brought family and friends to buy additional goods and services. Further, just by being one of the daily deals, you are putting your practice name in front of 160,000 people and you are getting paid back in the process. Clearly the investment pays off.
There are many sites like Groupon that may serve your area. Others include FabFind, LivingSocial and TeamSave. Through sites like these you can reach a very desirable target audience (young, college educated, socialites with money to spend) and guarantee that each one of your new customers is coming to your practice and buying something. So, go Social and you and your customers will benefit, a fact that Brad Childs can surely attest to!
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