For refractive cataract surgeons striving for an edge in the competitive, elective healthcare landscape, starting with an effective, well-rounded marketing awareness strategy is paramount. This guide lays out a strategic marketing blueprint, pinpointing the top channels for reaching your target demographic (Baby Boomers), and my recommendations on how much to spend on each.
First, I’ll talk about cataract surgeons who are doing 1M or less. For more on this distinction, read how to get from 0 to 1 million pounds in your refractive surgery practice. For more general strategies for practice in this context, read Scaling Vision Correction Practice: Strategies for £1-£10M.
In this post, I’ll talk about the media mix that RLE and cataract surgeons can invest in, if they have already established a reliable 7-figure growth flywheel.
Furthermore, I’ve tailored my recommendations to create awareness among Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964). With their increasing affluence and willingness to invest in vision correction, this demographic is key to a successful RLE and refractive cataract surgery practice.
I appreciate that some RLE patients might be members of Generation X (especially in places like Australia and New Zealand), and I’ll write another post to specifically address that audience.
Navigating the Digital Marketing Landscape (20%)
Embracing SEO and Google Ads (10%)
I advise spending 10% of your budget on SEO and Google Ads.
With the internet as the go-to source for information, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Ads are essential tools. To eliminate all doubt as to whether this target audience uses the internet, consider the following facts:
- According to Forbes, 96% of Baby Boomers use search engines, one of their top resources to gather information.
- 5% of all Google searches are health-related, I’d venture to say that Baby Boomers are more focused on health than other generations.
- Search drives 3x more visitors to hospital sites compared to non-search
- Patients who booked healthcare appointments ran 3x more searches than those who didn’t.
- Consumers researching physical therapists, nursing homes, and optometrists are the most likely to use search engines. In most major healthcare verticals, over 60% of consumers run a search before scheduling an appointment.
This data suggests that the internet, and Google in particular, plays a significant role in how people gather health information.
Ensure your website ranks high in search results and use Google Ads to target specific groups effectively.
Exploring Social Media Opportunities (10%)
I advise spending 10% of your budget on social ads. Remember, most people in this age group are unaware of surgical solutions to their vision problems, and interruptive advertising works effectively to address this challenge.
More and more older users are turning to social media platforms, especially Facebook. According to studies by Sprout Social,
Baby Boomers use Facebook the most: 92% of those surveyed have an account.
Out of the Baby Boomers we surveyed, 63% report using WhatsApp and 57% use YouTube.
Two-thirds of Baby Boomers report increased social media use in the past year.
Regular posts and targeted ads can help you engage with this demographic while also educating them about cataract surgery.
Mastering the Art of Email Marketing (10%)
I recommend you spend 10% of your budget on email marketing. According to Forbes, 95% of Baby Boomers use email
Email updates to warm audiences (unconverted leads who have given you permission to follow-up) are an excellent way to keep your services fresh in the minds of potential patients. With engaging content and regular contact, you can convert interest into action.
Tuning into the Power of Television (20%)
I recommend spending 20% of your budget on television.
Despite advancements in digital media, television remains a key player in reaching the older adults demographic.
According to Statista, the weekly time spent watching TV among Baby Boomers in the United States amounted to an average of 2,822 minutes (47 hours and 2 minutes) in the first quarter of 2018. Boomers, or adults aged approximately 50 to 64 years old, are serious television fans, and 94 percent of adults in this age group watched television at least once per week.
Scheduling ads during news hours and popular evening shows ensures your message reaches the right eyes and ears at the right time.
Importantly, you must be inventive when tracking this source of referrals, especially since many will visit your website along the way to getting in contact with you, possibly resulting in misattributing some of these leads to digital. Using customised landing pages, call tracking, and using codes are all tried and tested ways to manage non-digital attribution.
Harnessing the Reach of Print Media (15%)
I recommend putting 15% of your budget into print.
Print media continues to hold its sway among older audiences. Place your advertisements in newspapers and magazines that cater to seniors or emphasize health and wellness topics, reaching your audience right where they are.
Similar to TV, you must be inventive when tracking this source of referrals.
Personalising with Direct Mail (10%)
I recommend spending 10% on direct mail.
Despite it’s overall decline in use since internet marketing as dominance emerges, direct mail is making a comeback in 2023, and it continues to deliver the best response rate, conversion, and ROI of any marketing channel. So, it’s no surprise that, according to The Mail Shark, direct mail spend—at $38.5 billion—accounts for the largest portion of US local advertising spend.
Even better, with fewer direct mail pieces landing in snail mail inboxes, you have an even better chance of standing out.
Through targeted brochures, newsletters, or personalized letters, you can reach out to your local demographic and create a strong connection between potential patients and your clinic.
Tracking is a similar concern here, so the usual advice about being inventive with calls to action remains important here.
Reaping Rewards from Radio Advertising (5%)
I recommend you spend 10% on radio advertising. Don’t underestimate the power of radio, which continues to have a strong listenership among older demographics.
According to Nielsen, radio has the largest reach with Generation X (ages 35-54), with 80.5 million listeners tuning during an average month (97% of the Gen X population). This is followed by Millennials (18-34 year olds), with 71.6 million listeners tuning in monthly (95% of the Millennial population). Meanwhile, radio reaches 41.2 million monthly listeners among Baby Boomers (ages 55-64), representing 98% of the Baby Boomer population.
Strategic ads during popular programs or time slots can catch listeners’ attention and generate interest in your services.
Tracking is a similar concern here, so the usual advice about being inventive tracking numbers and custom landing pages remains important here.
Building a Strong Community Presence (5%)
I recommend you spend 10% on community presence.
Investing in community outreach activities, such as presenting talks at senior centers or participating in health fairs, strengthens your reputation within the community. These personal connections can foster trust and help to solidify your name in the minds of potential patients.
Cultivating a Robust Healthcare Referral Network (10%)
I recommend you spend 10% of your budget or activity being in constant contact with optometric referrers.
Building relationships with – and adding genuine value to – optometrists and other healthcare providers can lead to an increase in referrals. Fostering these professional connections is a worthwhile investment that can significantly boost your patient base.
Capturing Attention with Outdoor Advertising (5%)
I recommend you spend 10% of your budget on outdoor advertising.
Outdoor advertising, whether through billboards, bus stop shelters, or ads on public transport, offers a wide-reaching medium for boosting your visibility locally. Well-placed, attention-grabbing outdoor ads can serve as daily reminders of your services.
While I’ve provided my starting recommendations for a marketing mix that will yield significant awareness for your RLE and refractive cataract surgery practice, I’ll leave you with three caveats:
- Your context may differ. I am only providing guidelines for a broad marketing mix, your specific circumstances may differ, thus you may need more customised advice.
- This mix is a starting point. Smart marketers track their leads and pay careful attention to proper first attribution, to identify which sources lead to more self-referrals, and which ones underperform. They respond accordingly with adjustments to the marketing mix over time.
- To fuel this spend, you’ll need a budget. See this post to learn more about forecasting a budget. That post specifically uses LASIK patients as an example, but the principles endure.
- Media buying is one thing, but knowing what messages work with Boomers is an altogether separate area of knowledge of expertise. Ensure you can rely on an experienced marketer who knows this avatar inside-out and can articulate a core message that resonates with avatar to compel them to engage with your advertising.
Strategically leveraging these channels can result in a comprehensive marketing strategy that resonates with your demographic. It’s not just about reaching out; it’s about making meaningful connections that translate into patient engagement. Keep tracking your marketing efforts across channels and adjust your strategies as necessary. Your visibility, reputation, and success hinge on your adaptability and strategic foresight.