Before we dive into the optical advertisements I’ve prepared for you today, allow me to start with a riddle. It’s about eye care ads and it goes like this:
Three men walk into a bar. Two of them are optometrists and the third is a mere mortal with an eye problem.
The mortal man tells the optometrists that he’s having trouble seeing clearly — that things feel blurry. The first optometrist pulls out his phone and shows him these optical ads:
The man smiles.
The second optometrist says “are you considering new glasses? Get two pairs for $99 incl. a fully comprehensive eye exam, free of charge. Here are my contact details.”
Which of the two optometrists do you think the man went to see the following day? Who would you?
I’ve noticed most customers in that situation would’ve picked the second optometrist who offers a clear solution to the problem. In fact, this scenario plays itself out with optical advertisements all the time, except we can’t be a fly on the wall and see their reaction as they are exposed to different ads.
The ads with humorous messages have their place in free social media posts and branding campaigns where we don’t expect a direct reaction from the prospect.
They are not well suited to drive eye exam bookings, newsletter signups or sell a specific pair of glasses with performance ads, where we expect a direct response from the customer as a result of the campaign.
However, this old-school eye care ad is:
It recognizes one of the biggest and most common challenges customers have–figuring out which glasses look good on them.
It then proceeds to give the answer right there in the ad by showing different types of eyes and the types of glasses that tend to fit those. How often do we see an ad and actually learn something that can solve our problem?
It builds trust and in part wins us over right then and there.
With that insight out of the way, let’s dive into the list of eye care ads I bet you came to see!
33 optical advertisement examples within your budget (and some that probably aren’t)
I took the liberty of finding a few optical advertisements in the wild as inspiration for your next ad campaign brainstorming session. They are divided up into the following categories:
- TV and video ads
- OOH – Outdoor ads (think billboards)
- General ads (those that don’t fit into any other category)
- Display and Facebook ads
- Google search ads (text ads)
- LASIK ads
Let’s look at the first category.
TV and video ads
OOH – Outdoor ads (think billboards)
You might not be looking for a high-end production and in that case, let’s look at some more affordable examples.
General ads (those that don’t fit into any other category)
Display and Facebook ads
Here’s an example of display ads from an optometrist in Maine (display ads are ads with images).
And a few more:
Google search ads (text ads)
LASIK ad examples
If some of these ads feel similar to each other and you catch yourself thinking “another one of those”, that means you’ve gotten a lay of the land and figured out how most other industry players advertise!
Now, the next step is making different ads so yours will stand out!
The easiest way to stand out in your local area is to look at direct competing eye care ads and then do something different. If you want to see more examples specifically for optometrists in your area, take a look at a few of my favorite tips for finding them fast.
3 simple techniques to find competing optical advertisements in your city this afternoon!
The obvious way to find more ads is to browse media outlets that show them and hope they pop up at some point.
It’s not the most time-effective approach and fortunately, there are tools to make the task easier. These tools aren’t perfect and sometimes ads don’t show up but that’s life. In order to use them, we first need a list of competitors and their websites.
If you don’t know your competitors, I’d go around the city and take note of the different brands or search online to find those that cover the same service area or type of customer like you, as a starting point. You could for example search for ‘eye exam near me’, ‘optometrist near me’ or ‘eye care YOUR CITY’.
One place to start is by plugging the competitor’s website into similarweb.com’s analyzing tool. On the positive side, it’s free and can sometimes offer ideas but I tend to get better insights with other tools.
How to find eye care ads on display and search networks
SEMrush isn’t a free tool but they tend to offer a free trial. I’m not familiar with any free tools with similar capabilities but that doesn’t mean they are not out there.
In order to see what competitors are doing, we paste the URL into the top search bar after logging into SEMrush.
Then scroll down all the way to the bottom.
Here we gain three insights. One is the latest publishers (in the top left corner of the screenshot above) that tell us which websites the competitor places their ads on. Often businesses buy what’s referred to as ‘run of network’ (RON for short), which means buying ads broadly across a network or group of websites selling ads. We’ll typically find some sites that are not performing well but after digging, we might discover some hidden gems.
If you’ve got a decent budget but struggle with time, as is the case for many venture-backed tech startups, this tactic makes sense because you’ll quickly be able to see which sites convert and stop running ads on those that don’t.
The second thing in the screenshot above is landing pages (in the top right of the screenshot). It gives us an idea about how often their ads have led to a certain landing page and the different ideas they’ve been experimenting with. In this case, it’s all the front page of the website.
Finally, at the bottom, we have examples of the ads and we can switch between classic display ads (ads with images) and text-only ads.
How to find optometrist ads on Facebook
Another option is to use Facebook’s free ad library. It requires a Facebook ad account, I believe, but that’s it.
It’s as simple as clicking ‘all ads’, ‘all ad categories’ (see the arrows in the screenshot below), and searching for either the specific brand you are looking for or with general keywords.
A little pro tip is to type in the brand name but wait until the dropdown menu appears before clicking enter. That way you can ensure you’ll select the correct brand since there can be many different businesses with similar names on Facebook.
So, you’ve found enough optical advertisements. What’s next?
At some point, we’ve looked at enough ads and it’s time to move on. Usually, for me, that’s when I see another ad and think “oh, another one of those”.
Next, it’s time to gather ingredients for your own ads and there are a million things that we can focus on, which can make the whole process feel overwhelming. But by focusing on the elements within the ad that makes a bigger impact, we can accomplish more with less. One of those is the offer.
Simply put, an offer solves the patient’s problem with a deal they can’t refuse. I find that examples tend to do the best job at explaining things, so here is a couple that I found in the wild:
Optical advertisements: offer examples
- Free eye test for a driver’s license
- Buy glasses and get sunglasses with the same strength for free/at a discount
- Buy two pairs of glasses for $99 and get a free eye exam
- Get a free eye exam and see if you unlock X discount on glasses
There are two ways to come up with the perfect offer: ask your patients about their problems or look at competitors, brainstorm ideas, and spend ad dollars A/B testing the ideas yourself. There is no right or wrong — it’s about whether you prefer to pay with time or money to figure this out.
Brainstorming ideas and throwing cash behind each one to A/B test them in the real world tends to be the fastest approach, but it requires us to come up with at least one idea that sells in order for it to work. Knowing what works before putting them in front of real people takes a lot of experience. In fact, even experienced marketers are often wrong, meaning that if we brainstorm ten ideas on our own there is a chance they might all bomb leaving us back at square one.
Asking patients about their problems takes extra work but usually ensures that there is at least some level of interest right off the bat, and when we A/B test them it’s more a matter of figuring out which one performs the best.
Sometimes the deal we earn the most from isn’t the one that works the best as an advertisement, but the ad itself might draw people in before we upsell them on a better earning product after. Just like when we eat at a restaurant and decide to get wine with the meal almost as an afterthought.
- Looking at what competitors are doing is useful, especially if you are stuck without creative ideas
- The offer is among the most important things to get right with your optical advertisements as it can make a major impact on performance
- Continue testing to get the best results – even seasoned marketers in the space don’t always know what the market will respond the best to
- Read more about patient acquisition on the blog
There are many ways to advertise your eye clinic. Digital ads such as those on Facebook and Google tend to offer the best bang for your buck if your budget is limited, compared to traditional billboards and TV ads where the minimum ad spend is much higher.
With digital ads, we can usually get started with less than $100 although I don’t recommend advertising without a bigger budget.
The best results tend to come from creative ideas that others haven’t thought of, such as sending one cent along with a note or link to people via payment apps or partnering with local niche websites other clinics might not have thought of.
Optical stores can attract customers in a myriad of ways. One is digital channels like ads or posts on social media, while another is by partnering with other local businesses.
Word of mouth tends to be among the best channels but it’s also challenging to manufacture as it comes down to the product offering more so than marketing itself.
Another important element if we want to attract customers at a reasonable cost is to consider where we do our marketing. For example, buying an ad in a national magazine might not make sense if we only have one clinic in one city, since we won’t be able to take leverage all the people we reach across the country.