You would have often come across businesses talking about branding and marketing, without realising how significant and relevant the terms are for you as an ECP. Many healthcare professions, while investing adequately in knowledge, education and skill-sets, fail to recognise the importance of enterprise in running a successful practice. Brand-building is just one aspect of it. But before we delve into the whys and hows of it, let’s take a look at what branding actually means for you.
In simple terms, your brand is a reflection of how clients perceive your business and interact with it. It’s effectively your image within the industry; so it’s easy to see why large conglomerates, as well as small-medium sized enterprises, pump in so much money and resources into brand building. If you view eye-care as a business, and yourself as a businessperson, you can understand how branding impacts and benefits your practice.
To be able to implement a successful branding strategy, it’s important to understand where it all begins. A client’s perception of your business is formed long before they even enter your office. This may be through word-of-mouth or your online presence. As someone who is looking to build a strong brand in the eye care space, you would want to get each step right from the word ‘go’. Broadly, these are the areas you should be focusing on to help improve your brand image, and increase your sales as a result.
Training your staff
Your employees can be the primary champions of your brand, considering they are the first line of physical interaction between a client and your business. There’s a lot your staff can do to enhance client experience and build customer loyalty. Providing information to a prospective client, booking an appointment, or guiding them through a procedure are just some of the ways staff play their part being a few examples.
How your staff interact with your customers, and potential new customers, needs to be a direct representation of what you want your brand to be seen as. By training your staff to understand your vision, patient communication will become more fluid and, should they buy into your brand, believable — helping your sales as a result.
Upgrading your facility
When it comes to consumer-facing businesses, the look of your office is a crucial part of putting consumers at ease. A modern, clean, and well-furnished facility is far more likely to evoke a positive customer experience when compared to an old, run-down practice. The look and feel of your clinic is also an indirect reflection of how seriously you take your practice. You will realise that these little things go a long way in building your brand image: furniture, interiors or a nicely-planned patient waiting area complete with reading material, television, and information resources make an invaluable difference.
And this one is a no-brainer really. A potential customer is more likely to purchase from a fully modernised practice than from one stuck in the past. We know renovating your practice to a more digitally-refined space can be expensive, but the sales growth as a result make it seriously worth considering.
Upgrading your interior with the latest tech will naturally lead onto a more digitally-focused practice. Businesses everywhere are going digital, so why should a technologically-driven arena like eye care be left behind? A prospective client's assessment of your business can be enhanced manifold by equipping your facility with the best of what’s available in the industry. It’s a common myth that digitalisation is only about investing in sophisticated technology and instruments. In fact, digitalisation goes far beyond that. Right from display screens and testing methods, to patient record documentation, and follow up communication, a digital upgrade impacts all aspects of your business and branding efforts.
This move to digital consequently frees up a lot of time you or your staff might have spent performing admin tasks — allowing you to focus on growing your business.
Strengthening your online presence
For any business, the importance of building a strong online presence cannot be emphasised enough. After all, brands are driven by visibility. Apart from setting up a professionally-designed website with a user-friendly interface, you might want to consider hosting a blog with helpful information for your patients — helping you to establish your credibility and authority in the field. Building your brand online is a brilliant way to gen erate leads to your practice, and boost your sales as a result. And this all starts with understanding how digital can help your business. As such, pop across to our Business & Marketing advice to find out more.
A large part of your branding strategy will also revolve around how well you are able to build and maintain client relationships, even after a consultation has taken place. Modernising your client record systems and switching to digital means of documentation is a helpful step in this direction: it helps you create assets like mailing lists and design communication for a specific target audience. This may range from newsletters, tailored resource materials, mailers or even festive greetings. A simple digitisation technique can therefore help you streamline your entire business communication, and target patients who are more likely to come into your practice as a result.
It's never too early or too late to focus on brand building, simply because it’s a terrific precursor to improving your sales. And you don't have to be a marketing expert to make the change! If you need a hand updating and modernising your services, our own Bespoke service provides the perfect platform for you to do so.