Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by David Evans, OD, PhD, MBA, chief executive officer, Ceatus Media Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.
Faced with an increasingly competitive environment, eye surgeons need to appeal to younger patients. The way to accomplish this is relatively straightforward: Be where they are. Of course, the more challenging part of this equation is “How?”
In the United States, there are currently 80 million Millennials. These Gen Y-ers, aged 20 to 35, have an annual buying power of $200 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
This provides a powerful incentive to reach out to this group, however, capturing the millennials’ collective attention span does not come easy or through traditional marketing platforms. A new marketing skillset is required and it starts with:
1. Embracing mobile
As anyone who has ventured out of their home knows, Millennials are on their phones or tablets 24/7 (even while at work). This platform is their only go-to source for information. If your practice isn’t mobile friendly, you can kiss their business goodbye. Furthermore, patience is not a Millennial virtue. This group has grown up with instant gratification and access to a plethora of information at a moment’s notice.
Bottom line; they expect easily accessible and understandable information. Right now. Seriously. So, if you expect this group to schedule with your practice, you have to always display contact information and hours of operation prominently.
2. Personalizing your brand
Millennials want to see who they are doing business with, i.e. you. Facebook and other social platforms have enabled them to “track down” and get a visual on everyone from their pizza delivery guy to the CEO of large corporations. They like companies, products, and services that have a name, a face, and a personality. This needs to come through clearly (while still being professional) on your website, marketing materials, and in social media campaigns.
3. Posting testimonials and reviews (and more reviews)
The Tried and True… isn’t, for Millennials at least. Fully 84% of Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising, as reported by the McCarthy Group. So what do they trust? Reviews. Reviews, reviews, and more reviews. And not just any review will do. Millennials are savvy, if the reviews aren’t recent or believable, they’ll ‘bounce’ (no translation needed, you get the gist).
All online reviews should be prominently displayed on separate and individual pages of your website and promoted throughout your site, with direct access from the main navigation. The reviews should come from credible third-party review sites such as Yelp, Google, RateMDs, Vitals, HealthGrades, and others. The current best practice is to have a reviews feed on the site, which ensures a constant flow of recent reviews.
4. Learning the lingo
Are you on fleek (Translation: on point)? Millennials have their own way of speaking, and if you want to be heard by them, you better pick up on the vernacular quickly. Generation Y-ers pay attention when they hear or read language that is familiar and that they trust, for example that sounds like their squad (Translation: their friends). If you don’t speak their language, they will simply say “Bye, Felicia!” (Translation: So long. You are so irrelevant to me that I don’t even care what your real name is).
5. Leveraging FOMO
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is the paramount Millennial phobia. A brand and image that can generate this sentiment will attract and engage this crowd. Positive reviews are a key component of your arsenal in this endeavor as are creative social media campaigns. Carpe diem is back in vogue, except it now looks like: YOLO (You Only Live Once). The Millennials live by this credo and want to make sure they do so to the fullest. Make sure to take advantage of this new reality by employing some savage (Translation: Really cool) marketing strategies like the ones recommended above.