January-February 2020

INSIDE THE PRACTICE

Marketing ROI: Measure the true value of your strategy


by William Rabourn Jr.

Marketing is one of the most valuable brand building tactics at an ophthalmic business’ disposal. The stronger the brand, the more likely it is to attract and retain patients and generate revenue. Building an effective marketing strategy is therefore highly important. Maintaining its effectiveness requires continual evaluation to ensure it is actually delivering a return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, measuring marketing ROI is a challenging job; it’s not always an exact science.
Marketing endeavors are often broken into campaigns, a series of integrated messages used to promote or sell that share a single idea and theme. Measuring how valuable the strategies are within these campaigns requires looking at the metrics from multiple marketing channels, some of which are hard to quantify. Despite how difficult the task may seem, it is not impossible, and it should be done. Calculating marketing ROI justifies current marketing efforts and reveals opportunities for improvement. Over the years, marketing experts have created a variety of useful formulas to help with these calculations, which businesses may customize to suit their own needs. However, while the combination of formulas used may be unique to each business, there are several considerations that benefit everyone looking to measure ROI with accuracy and ease.

Revisit the goal before measuring

Before calculating the ROI of a campaign, the ophthalmic business should remind itself what it originally set out to achieve with that campaign. Maybe it is maintaining the business’ current size and health. Maybe it is growing a patient base, growing the number of intraocular replacement lens procedures, growing optical sales, or growing brand awareness. Whatever the desired result, define it and keep it top of mind through the calculating process.
Why point this out when it seems like common sense? Because managing marketing campaigns can be noisy. Generally spanning multiple marketing channels, campaigns require a lot of coordination. Ideas are naturally exchanged throughout the process as the business fields initial audience responses to its marketing efforts. This can lead to exciting—but distracting—new goals that shift focus away from the original. While those new goals are important to note for future campaigns, they should not affect the ROI calculations of the current campaign. For example, if a campaign’s goal was specifically to increase laser cataract surgery procedures but the business later decided it also wanted to boost sales of premium IOLs, it would not make sense to deem the current strategy a failure if IOL sales remain unchanged. Having the correct goal in mind will help businesses gather and evaluate the correct metrics.

Pinpoint your marketing channels

As another simple yet essential part of the ROI process, compiling a list of the channels currently in use for a campaign can also help start calculations off on the right track. While a campaign in which all the marketing efforts work as a whole is often strongest, those efforts must be analyzed individually. If a list of these channels does not already exist, it should. Some of the most commonly used digital and classical channels include:
• Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
• Social media posts and ads
• Websites
• Email marketing
• Television
• Radio
• Print ads
• Outdoor/billboards

Start the ROI assessment with web traffic

Web traffic is often the easiest to track and can lead to some of the most straightforward ROI information. Among other things, tracking web traffic allows ophthalmic businesses to analyze how people are getting to their website. Through organic searches in Google? PPC ads? Paid social media ads? All of these are trackable. Knowing how people are getting to the website shows the business which of its channels are most impactful for generating qualified leads and even booked appointments.

Check your definition of social media success

Despite tracking technology, there are still times when it is hard to confidently link marketing efforts to changes within the ophthalmic business, even among some digital marketing methods. Consider unpaid social media activity. An ophthalmic business posting regularly to Facebook during a campaign designed to attract new patients may ask, “Has our practice revenue increased as a result of these posts?” They may compile a mountain of data showing the number of likes and shares and impressions generated from that campaign, but that data will not directly answer their question. Even if there is a surge of new patients over the course of that campaign, it is not proof of strategy success. Any number of other factors may be involved. When dealing with this kind of social media marketing, it is important to know that success is measured by brand improvement more so than short-term financial gains. With this understanding, ophthalmic businesses can begin to ask the right questions.
“Are we reaching more people?” Since the campaign was launched, has the business seen an increase in social media followers? An increased number of followers can be an indication of effective social media marketing. More followers may not immediately translate to more new patients, but it does mean the brand’s message is reaching a wider audience. With a wider audience, a brand may increase engagement (more people sharing, commenting on, and liking the brand’s posts), boost website traffic to generate more leads and conversions, and increase brand awareness. This last perk helps ensure that the ophthalmic business’ brand is top of mind when those in the audience are faced with deciding who to trust with their eyecare.
Social media marketers should also ask, “What does our audience think of us?” Reputation matters, and ophthalmic businesses need to know what people are saying about them on social media. Look at both comments and reviews. This online conversation gives businesses an idea of how people feel about their brand. Monitoring the overall tone of that conversation and how it has changed throughout a campaign is valuable because it reflects the state of patient trust, which is essential to growing and retaining a patient base.
It is important to remember that marketing value is not limited to short-term financial gains. By asking the right questions when looking at social media metrics, ophthalmic businesses gain insight into whether the current marketing strategy is effectively laying a solid foundation for future growth.

Conclusion

Even with the right formulas, the true value of a marketing strategy does not become clear unless an ophthalmic business looks at the whole picture, one that includes clearly defined goals, a comprehensive analysis of all utilized marketing channels, and ROI that takes into account short-term and long-term financial gains.

About the author

William Rabourn Jr.
Founder and managing principal
Medical Consulting Group
Springfield, Missouri

Contact

Rabourn: brabourn@medcgroup.com

Marketing ROI: Measure the true value of your strategy Marketing ROI: Measure the true value of your strategy
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