24 October 2014
The Best £250 You Will Ever Spend! The Benefit of Embracing Modern Technologies
In the modern business world it is important to keep up with modern technology. This is even more important for independent optical businesses feeling the squeeze from powerful chains such as Specsavers, Vision Express and Boots. An underused weapon in the optical business is marketing. The majority of companies spend less than the recommended minimum of their turnover on advertisements and are therefore missing a great opportunity to reach more customers and in turn generate more sales. It is recommended that 5% of turnover is spent annually on marketing but the truth is that the average is a mere 1.7%. In order for your business to grow you have to spend money to make money. It is wise to invest in marketing, and in simplistic terms the general rule is that every £1 spent on marketing yields a fourfold return.
For the cost of an advert in a traditional directory, which let’s face it nobody bothers to read anymore, you can be a part of the latest innovation from the multinational internet giant Google. For an average of £250, and as little as £100 depending on the size of your premises, you could literally put your practice on the map by becoming part of Google Maps Business View. Previously Street View allowed customers to roam the streets from behind the comfort of their keyboard whereas now they can actually go inside, giving you and your customers a visual relationship before they have even stepped foot in your practice. The panoramic, moving image conveys so much more than a still image is able to. Imagine the impact of this if you have just invested in a refurbishment. The average cost of refurbishing an optical practice is £47,000. Isn’t it worth spending an extra few hundred pounds to show off that shiny new store? The extra cost is a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of the refurbishment so it makes sense to take advantage of one of the most economical forms of online marketing out there. £250 could be recouped after a day of eye tests or one or two customers buying a new pair of frames. When you put it into perspective like that it really doesn’t seem like a lot.
Google Business View has many benefits. It can open you up your new customers, who may have recently moved to the area. If they search Google for a local optician you are likely to be nearer the top of the search list if you are a Business View member. We researched using an opticians in Yorkshire who has recently joined Business View and discovered that it came up first in the rankings, below only the paid ads. This is great if you have a website as you should notice an increase in website traffic. Even if you don’t have a website you will still show up in Google searches if you have Business View. It is easy to embed the service into your website and to share on social media. Most agencies should offer to do this for you at a small cost if you choose not to do it yourself.
Another great feature of Business View is Tour Dash. For a little extra cost you can enhance your Business View listing further. Tour Dash uses “Hotspots” which allow for further interaction by providing well-placed pop-up boxes full of targeted information. These boxes can be input, edited, removed and updated. This is a great way of flagging up any special offers to visiting customers. Sunglasses season? Alert customers to your stylish new range. Special offer on a selection of frames? Let your customers know with a temporary pop-up box that you can control with just the click of a mouse. If you have a multi-room or multi-floor practice your customers will be able to jump to a specific area of your store, saving them time whilst browsing.
So make that jump! Spend that little extra on marketing this year and watch your turnover increase as a result. If you don’t, your competitors will!
Typically a small-sized premises would cost around £100; a medium-sized premises between £250-600; and a large one around £1,000. Tour Dash costs approximately £250 and also requires an annual license fee. Business View requires no such annual fee. Once you have paid the initial cost it will remain live forever at no extra cost. The agency should offer a free, no-obligation quote for these services.
Follow the link below and search for a photographer in your area. Agencies are authorised by Google after extensive training.
No. You may choose a quiet trading time to allow the photographer more space and to cause minimum disruption to your customers, but it should take no more than an hour or two. The photographer only uses a tripod-mounted camera so no large equipment is used.
It takes 2-3 weeks for your business to go live on Google Maps Business view once the photographer has visited you. The images taken during the shoot are connected, mapped and embedded into Google’s serves by trained and certified mapping engineers.
You, the customer.