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There’s no reason to buy a Super Bowl ad, when there are many options far below the $5 million required for a spot in the big game. To set the stage, let’s talk about some options that are generally a waste of money, especially if you don’t have a Super Bowl budget, like Yellow Pages (yes, they’re still around), television advertising on network affiliates, billboards and radio. None of these will hurt your brand, but they’ll definitely burn a hole in your wallet.

Rules of the Road

Keep a few simple guidelines in mind, you’ll keep your marketing on the right track.

1. Know your professional or patient audience and choose activities that target them as efficiently as possible

2. Be consistent and deliver regular messages to your audience, so caregivers, referral sources and patients are aware of you before they need a procedure

3. Don’t skimp. People are trusting you with their vision. If your presentations and materials are shoddy, they may draw the same conclusion about your professional work.

Speaking engagements. One of your best marketing tools is yourself. Hold a seminar for referral sources (optometrists) or speak to groups that include your prospective patients. Start with retirement communities. They’re always looking for speakers, and its low way to get your patter down. Then work on making yourself a source for local media.

Social media is a great way to buttress your bonafides with prospective patients. It will be most effective if you engage personally, but we’re sure you can find backup on your staff. Best bets: Facebook for patients, LinkedIn for colleagues, and a blog if you’re feeling ambitious. Social spurs awareness and brand loyalty once people get to know you.

Get the brochure done. Yes, we can feel your pain, but it’s more reasonable than you think with inexpensive digital printing. And it’s important. We live in a digital world but touching something sears it into the brain. The simplest way to get it done?

1) Steal the best brochures from your colleagues

2) Use them to create a copy outline

3) Write it in an evening

4) Hire a respected graphic designer

5) Have her supervise the printing (don’t skimp on the paper). You should be able to bring the whole project in at two- to three thousand dollars.