One of the very best ways to reach young athletes in your community is to sponsor a baseball team (as well as a girls softball team). Name your team the Eagles because, you know, pretty outstanding vision, right? And make sure that everybody in the league knows, via your website sponsorship and emails, that players can get discounted summertime checkups and vision products at your business. You can also keep the baseball theme going in your business this month by noting the 70th birthday on May 18 of one of baseball’s biggest-ever stars, Reggie Jackson, known for his gigantic swing, the candy bar that was named after him, and his stylishly tinted glasses.
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 edition of INVISION.
PLAY TO THEIR ENTHUSIASM
➤ To get better at selling eyecare products to children, work harder to understand them. Robyn Janz, who works at Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook in Los Angeles, says kids “want their glasses to be how they look at life: glasses that are the colors of their sports team, or their favorite color. Too often kids are left out of the process.” And for those kids who aren’t wearing their glasses as often as they should, Janz has a simple solution: “Ask them.” Says the optician: “Working with kids takes patience and a different spin on communication skills. My favorite moments: the kids who get super excited that their glasses arrived. One kid I dispensed squealed at the top of her lungs because her glasses matched her shoes. Future frameophile!”
DEDICATE A KIDS AREA
➤ Want to build your children’s business? Dedicate a portion of your floor space to children, and even if it’s small, make sure that area stands out. “If [customers] walk in and see you have a kids area, right away you’re making a statement that kids are welcome,” says Dr. Barry Tannen of EyeCare Professionals, PC in Hamilton Square, NJ. Tannen has been in practice 25 years and his specialty is pediatrics. “[You need] kid-friendly furniture and coloring books, but be careful about colors getting on your walls!” he says.
GET MORE FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
➤ Obviously, it’s smart to encourage every patient to post an image of themselves in their brand-new glasses on social media. But it’s especially smart to encourage and incentivize kids and their parents to do so. While adult social circles are certainly impacted by “influencers,” kids’ social circles are affected even more strongly. Reward every kid who posts a new glasses selfie and tags your business on Facebook with a free eyeglass leash or a free pair of movie tickets.
Medford Optical's "We Love Kids!" sign attracts the younger crowd.
SHOW YOU LOVE KIDS
➤ Here’s one quick way to make a huge difference in your revenues for 2016. Put a sign in your window that says “We love kids!” Medford Optical in Massachusetts did just that back in 1981. The business now serves a clientele that is about 80 percent children. With an inventory of 600 kids’ frames, more than 70 percent of Medford Optical’s customers come from 45 minutes away.
CREATE T-SHIRTS FOR SPECIAL EVENTS
➤ Meetings are an invaluable part of any successful business, but they can also be tremendous time-wasters. And since time is money, well, you get the point. The key to holding kids’ events in your store or practice is to make them bright and fun. One way to do that is to create custom T-shirts for your staff to wear that commemorate the event while describing the deals available. For instance, your T-shirt could read: “Acme Eyewear’s 2016 Back-to-School Blast — Buy One, Get One Free!” The T-shirts help show both customers and staff that this event is particularly special, and it also serves as additional marketing when your team goes out into the community on lunch breaks, etc.
ENCOURAGE THE RIGHT BEHAVIORS
➤ Win parent loyalty by encouraging positive behaviors from your young clients. Dr. Lynnette Cacciotti of Dr. C Optometry in Los Angeles held a raffle for an iPod to reward kids for good grades. Says Cacciotti: “The kids brought in their report cards, and for every A, they got a raffle ticket.” Dr. Kerry Gelb of Contact Lens and Vision in Woodbridge, NJ offers younger patients a branded bookmark. By rewarding positive actions, Cacciotti says parents can see “we care about what is happening in their kid’s life, we want them to be successful.”