This article originally appeared in the July-August 2015 edition of INVISION.
Earn High Marks With Eyewear Tips
➤ It’s back-to-school time, which means it’s an ideal season to market to families. Beverly Suliteanu of WestGroupe (maker of SuperFlex Kids eyewear) suggests seven points to share with parents as they prepare to send their children back to class: 1. Have your child fitted by an eyecare professional to ensure clear vision and comfort. 2. Proper fit means glasses do not slip or leave red marks on the nose or around the ears. 3. Choose a size that will fit for the next six to 12 months to avoid slippage that could change visual acuity. 4. Choose frames with spring hinges for for added flexibility. 5. Have a back-up pair since kids tend to play rough and leave belongings behind. 6. Let your child have a say in choosing their frames and reinforce that their glasses are a fashion accessory so that they will feel confident wearing them. 7. Polycarbonate lenses are a good choice for kids: lightweight and resistant to impact and UV rays.
Get Those Pics on Facebook
➤ Over the last year, Facebook has made it much more difficult for brand pages to reach the news feeds of their followers (without paying, that is). Facebook is insisting you earn your access: The more interactions a post receives, the more fans will see it in their news feeds. And what do Facebook users like? Social media analytics tool Quintly monitored over 70,000 pages and 49 million posts and found that photos had an average of 1,358 interactions per post, compared to a range of 250 to 600 for status updates, notes and offers. So, get more active with those photos, inspirational quotes and infographics.
Back To College
➤ Want fresh perspectives on how you’re managing your business? Offer your store as a model for a small business class at your local college. “You can gain great value from volunteering your business for a university class as a ‘working-study,’” says Duane Thomas, on his business blog EdYouCation. Just be sure to wear your thickest skin as your decisions can, and will, be challenged.
Add Fun Everywhere
➤ Smart eyecare pros look to add flair and personality to every area of their business. Exhibit 43708-A (left): this cute “Contact Us” page from Dr. Maria Higgins of Unique Optique in Frederick, MD. With just a small twist, Unique Optique has transformed an often-dull page into something way more interesting.
Don’t Be a Know-It-All
➤ Want to make better business decisions? Learn to say “I don’t know” more often, recommends Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner in his latest book, Think Like a Freak. “Nobody wants to look like an ignoramus — but it’s hard to learn anything if you pretend you already know the answer,” he says. Once you concede you don’t know the solution, you can start testing new ideas and gathering feedback, he adds.
Try an Antique Tweak
➤ Connect with the history of our profession with a display of antique optical gear, like this one from Heather Stearns of Fields of Vision Eye Care in Lebanon, NH, who shared this photo on DailyOptician.com. It’s a cool way to add atmosphere and build your cred as a true devotee of the eyecare business — and as Stearns notes, “the display consistently sparks a dialogue with patients.”
Change Your Title
➤ What is the title on each of your salespeople’s business cards? It’s best to not include the word “sales” anywhere, says Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide. In the food chain of occupations, salespeople rank just a little above lawyers. So avoid the word. Better titles include “eyewear stylist,” “eyecare consultant,” “licensed optician” and “frame stylist.” Or try something fun like “glasses guru” or “eyewear fanatic.”
Advice From a Literary Giant
➤ “Frames are where the money is.” So says no less a sage than Kurt Vonnegut in his 1969 masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five. The book is also notable in that protagonist Billy Pilgrim may be the only optometrist ever to appear in a literary classic. And despite the fact that he spent his last year at optometry school in a mental hospital, his belief that time is not linear, and that death is meaningless because the person who died still exists in other points of time, Billy is a highly successful optometrist. Looking for summer beach reading? Start here.