How can I better market my online store?
If you want to increase your retail sales, it is wise, once again, to use the entire team to bolster revenue. You may find it helpful to set goals, in measurable amounts over a specific time period, in order to track progress. Then discuss the goals with your staff and get them on board as to why you want to increase retail sales, what that increase will mean to the practice, and how they can help. Once you have an understanding of common goals, you are ready to begin marketing the store.
The most obvious method to increase visitors is to prominently place a link to your store on the home page of your website. But simply placing the link there will not be enough. You must also communicate the benefits of buying from you and let visitors know what they will find once inside. Then group complementary products together so that you can capture the largest transaction with each shopping experience.
Make sure you let clients know you have an online store where they can conveniently shop and get all the products you sell at the practice and more. Include information about your store on any client materials, such as reminder cards, electronic communications (include a hyperlink), advertisements, and brochures. In short, if you want to move goods, you need to get people to your store by first letting them know it exists and what benefits they will experience from buying through you.
For everything you sell in the practice, you might consider placing stickers on the goods that say something like "To reorder this product online, go to yourpractice.com/onlinestore." Make it easy to read and visible.
Whom should I put in charge of our website and social networking accounts to maintain consistent messaging: someone in the clinic or an outside entity?
Having the responsibility to "speak" for the clinic is a big one, so choosing the right person to handle your social media is critically important. If you wish to participate in this process as the owner of the practice, by all means do so. Otherwise, a manager you trust to speak on the clinic's behalf is probably the best person to assign this task. Keeping it in-house helps you control the messaging, helps maintain the timeliness of the communication, and gives you a better opportunity to view comments posted each day.
If you do not have someone you trust to manage these accounts on a regular basis, or if your team simply does not have the time, it may be wise to outsource. The key to outsourcing successfully is having a plan and clear expectations for the type of information you want to be shared on your behalf as well as how frequently and, even more important, what you do not want posted. Even if you do outsource, you should check your page frequently to get a true picture of what your practice is putting out there and how the information is being received.
How do we create emails that clients will actually open?
Just like any good advertisement, an email needs to be well written and compelling. The key to email success is the subject line. Think of it as a headline to grab attention and somehow convey enough importance to be opened. But keep it honestno bait and switch or you may anger the reader.
If your clients have given you their email addresses for electronic communications, chances are most will be opened, but you can increase this likelihood by being cognizant of your clients' time and making sure that anytime you communicate with them you are providing information that will be deemed valuable (educational), enjoyable (fun), or timely (product recall).
Think about the timing and frequency of your communications also. It is important to be in touch with clients on a regular basis, but getting the frequency right is also part of being there to provide helpful information without being annoying. The content of your emails will also help to determine how often they should be sent. Give some thought to when during the week would be a good time for clients to receive communications. Monday mornings, for obvious reasons, would not be the best choice. Create a schedule, but be cognizant of holidays, conflicts with other important communications, and the like, so yours can be a welcome item in the in-box.