What You Need to Know About Marketing Your Lab

By Dawn West
With so many optical laboratories to choose from and so many new products on the market, it’s critical for labs–big or small–to differentiate themselves from the competition when interacting with current and potential eyecare professional customers.

To gain business and establish loyal customers, labs need to communicate what they have to offer–from new products, to promotions, to great educational resources. The most effective way to do this is by embracing fresh, inventive marketing techniques that will allow labs to grow their business and, in turn, help key customers grow theirs.

First and foremost, it is important to decide on a centralized message about the lab and what it has to offer–and make sure all employees are on board and are communicating the same information to customers. The majority of laboratories have one or more sales representatives that deal directly with customers. These representatives should become true business partners and make regular visits and follow-up calls to ensure all needs are being met. This helps promote customer loyalty and serves as a way for labs to work with the eyecare professional on a one-on-one basis to ensure that he or she is aware of all product messages and benefits, and knows tips on dispensing each product to patients.

It’s helpful for labs to present to customers any education available on products or presenting products to patients–or turn to key partners for assistance. For example, Transitions Optical, Inc. offers a number of educational courses that lab professionals can access through the STAR Lab Program. Courses available from Transitions span a wide range of topics, including: business building; customer engagement; tips on communicating with kids and Hispanic patients; Healthy Sight Counseling; and techniques for dispensing premium products, like Transitions lenses, to patients.

Another effective marketing technique is to develop communications targeted to customers, such as direct mail pieces on new products and promotions, and monthly or quarterly newsletters. With Internet use on the rise, it’s also important for labs to update their Web sites on an ongoing basis. Web sites should include information about the lab and contact information, product information, plus tools and resources for eyecare professionals to use in practice. Labs may choose to make certain portions of the Web site password protected – letting customers know that they have the exclusive rights to helpful marketing materials and information.

Finally, promotions are an excellent way to get eyecare professional customers excited about dispensing products to their patients – and meet and surpass sales goals. To help labs professionals effectively market and publicize their sales promotions and events, Transitions Optical recently added the “Design Your Own Promotion” component to its popular Transitions Online Marketing (TOM) tool (www.TransitionsTOM.com).

This new addition enables lab professionals to quickly create customizable promotional flyers, and have them printed and shipped, free of charge. The “Design Your Own Promotion” component allows for creativity and complete customization–featuring more than 30 themes and 400 images, plus spaces to include the lab’s logo, contact information and details about the promotion. Labs can also take advantage of additional, complimentary marketing materials including a variety of job/statement stuffers, point-of-purchase displays and print advertising, plus other useful practice management tools. The TOM tool is available for eyecare professionals as well, so it’s a great conversation point when discussing with customers how they can market their practice and high-end products, like Transitions lenses, to their patients. Dawn West is the marketing manager for trade at Transitions Optical, Inc.

CURRENT ISSUE


May/June LabTalk 2017