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Inbound Success Podcast

What do the most successful inbound marketers do to get great results?

You’ve heard the stories about companies using inbound marketing to dramatically increase sales, grow their business, and transform their customer relationships, but not everyone who practices inbound marketing knocks it out of the park.

If you want to know what goes into building a world class inbound marketing campaign that gets real, measurable results, check out the Inbound Success podcast. Every week, host Kathleen Booth interviews marketing folks who are rolling up their sleeves, doing the work, and getting the kinds of results we all hope to achieve.

The goal is to “peel back the onion” and learn what works, what doesn’t and what you need to do to really move the needle with your inbound marketing efforts. This isn’t just about big picture strategy – it’s about getting actionable tips and insights that you can use immediately in your own marketing.

Nov 27, 2017

Sometimes, the quickest way to drive inbound marketing results is by leveraging someone else's audience. This strategy, known as "influencer marketing," is precisely what enabled Anna Nardone to deliver tremendous ROI on a small budget.

Anna, who is the CMO of Chesapeake Eye Care & Laser Center and One Vision Eye Partners, wanted to increase bookings for LASIK surgery and had a very specific audience she wanted to reach. By partnering with a local influencer, she was able to dramatically increase the campaign's reach and book over $50,000 in new revenue in just a few months.

Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript (below), to learn how Anna's influencer marketing strategy made her campaign such a success.


This week on 
The Inbound Success Podcast, my guest is Anna Nardone, the Chief Marketing Officer of Chesapeake Eye Care & Laser Center and One Vision Eye Parters.

Here’s what Anna and I discussed on this week’s show:

Kathleen Booth (host): Welcome to the Inbound Success Podcast. My name is Kathleen Booth, and I'm your host, and this week, my guest is Anna Nardone, the Chief Marketing Officer of One Vision Eye Partners and Chesapeake Eye Care. Welcome, Anna.

Anna Nardone (guest): Thanks, Kathleen.

Kathleen: It's great to have you here, and I am particularly excited because, for anybody listening, I've known Anna for a long time personally, and she's one of these amazing women marketers who manages to juggle it all, from work to family to ... She's very active in the nonprofit world, raising money for some great causes. Kind of a superhero, so I'm excited to have her on the show, and have her share with you some information about a really, really fascinating and very successful campaign that she oversaw for her company. But let's start with this: Anna, tell us a little bit about yourself and your organization.

Anna: Like Kathleen said, my name is Anna Nardone, and I am Chief Marketing Officer for a company called One Vision Eye Partners and Chesapeake Eye Care, which is a subsidiary of One Vision Eye Partners. Chesapeake Eye Care has been part of my life for almost 12 years, and it has been a very exciting journey. When I met Dr. Maria Scott, who started the practice, oh my God, probably 15, 20 years ago, and she said, "Come on board, I want you to join me," I thought, "What would I do with a doctor's office? I'm going to be so bored." Never been bored a day in my life here. Very exciting, always changing, super innovative.

A quick little bit about Chesapeake Eye Care is we are a full-service ophthalmology practice. We offer comprehensive vision care, everything from LASIK to laser cataract surgery, to eyelid surgerydry eye treatmentsreading vision correctionretinaglaucoma, you name it. We've got 10 doctors on staff. Eight of them are MDs, two are ODs, and that's optometrists. We have our own surgery center, and we are conveniently located right off of Route 50 in Annapolis, across from a hospital.

Kathleen: Great, and, you know, another reason I'm excited to talk about this is that I talk to lots of companies about their marketing, I talk to lots of marketers about the companies they're trying to market, and one of the verticals that I think people find the most challenging is health care and medical treatments, especially where they involve things like surgery to the eyes. These are not the easiest things to market, because you're talking about sometimes tough subjects, and serious decisions that people have to make, but you're also very often trying to market through other physicians who refer business to you, and physicians are notoriously tight with their email addresses, they don't like to give them out. So I think it's always fascinating to break down a successful campaign in the health care vertical and find out what made it work.

Let's actually start by talking about what your initial objectives were. How did this all get started, and what were you trying to accomplish through the campaign?

Anna: We wanted to reach the market where we could find people who are prospective candidates for LASIK, and that has become a little bit more tricky for us, as there are many more providers out there, more surgeons doing LASIK surgery, and oftentimes, they're offering surgery at very deep, deep discounts. We have maintained offering high quality, reputation, and outstanding outcomes, really, and so it's a bit tricky to figure out how do we do this with, also, a limited budget, because we have many lines of business to promote and educate the public about. So how do we do this? So we met with Quintain, and they really helped us put together a multimedia campaign that was unbelievably successful.

Kathleen: And Quintain was your agency at the time?

Anna: Yes, they were.

Kathleen: Okay. So you had really specific goals. You wanted to increase the number of LASIK eye surgeries that you sold, and layered on top of that was you have a very specific audience that you're looking to reach, both demographically as well as geographically. Tell us a little bit about that audience and how you define it.

Anna: Okay, so for the LASIK population, we really look at people who fall in the age bracket of 21 to 45, they have a very active lifestyle, they obviously wear glasses or contacts. So that's pretty much the three main qualities that we're looking for.

Kathleen: And geographically, what region do you mostly focus on?

Anna: We have a pretty big footprint, actually, here at Chesapeake Eye Care. Even though we're located in Annapolis, we go far down to southern Maryland, we go up to Glen Burnie, all the way over to Clinton, almost right into DC, but not quite into DC. So it's a pretty big geographic area that we pull from.

Kathleen: Great. And for anyone who isn't from the Annapolis, Maryland area, where Anna and I are both located, the practice that she works for, the lead physician there is really very well known as one of the leading, if not the leading LASIK eye surgeon in the Mid-Atlantic region. I want to go back to what you said, which is that one of the challenges here is that LASIK has become a bit price commoditized. There's a lot of supply on the market. You know, this is a supply-and-demand equation. There are a lot of people offering the surgery, and they're cutting their prices dramatically in order to get business.

Chesapeake Eye Care didn't want to just sell the surgeries; they wanted to make sure that they were able to maintain the, I would say, premium pricing, but it's ... You're paying for the quality you're getting. And so, without having to discount heavily as part of the offer, so we're not talking about big couponing, or "buy it now and get 50% off." You couldn't pull the prospective customers in that way, so you had to do it some other way. You started with the goal of wanting to sell LASIK, you identified the audience, and then you were, at the time, using an inbound marketing approach. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Anna: When we sat down with Quintain to go over our goals, and we had our specific audience, we said, "Okay, we're going to develop our buyer personas," as they call it, and we did that. And then we looked at the different aspects of HubSpot, and how we can use that to the best of our ability. We use their blogging application, where we published the journey of a key influencer ... And actually, let me step back for one second. When we discussed the capability of the platform and we discussed our goal, one of the key things that we needed to achieve was really finding somebody, an influencer to help us reach our market and engage prospective patients. 

Kathleen: Let's dive into that subject of the influencer, because this is the first time on this podcast that I've really interviewed somebody who's used influencer marketing so successfully. Obviously, you were using inbound, and you had a lot of different ways you could tackle this. You could have taken the traditional approach, and I think before this campaign, you had been using a very kind of pure inbound approach of "We'll blog, we'll create content offers, we'll send out emails, we'll promote things on social," and you were getting some traction, but when you launched this campaign, the traction was dramatically greater, and that was due to the involvement of an influencer. So let's take a step back, and I would love it if you could talk to ... You know, you knew what the goals were, you knew who the audience was. How did you identify the right influencer?

Anna: Well, we sat around and we discussed that, and we said, "Well, we need somebody who can reach this market, somebody who really represents our audience. We want somebody who has an active lifestyle, again, someone who falls in that age demographic, someone who's very involved with the community, and another key component is someone who really has a very strong relationship with their followers, and their followers really trust them and look to them for their opinion, their thoughts, and they have a strong respect and communication with each other."

When we did that, the person that came to light was Justin Berk. He's an online meteorologist, hugely connected to the social community, was able to successfully transition his traditional job as a meteorologist on TV to taking it online. When we first looked at Justin, he had just, I think, under 200,000 followers on Facebook; now, he has over 225,000 followers on Facebook. And what's critical, though, about Justin is that he is a very honest, open, authentic person. He's completely transparent, and for him, he always says, "I've got a really big mouth, and if I really like it, I'm going to promote it, and if I think it can make a difference in your life, I'm promoting it to everybody I know." And he has still to this day, years later, advocated and encouraged people to overcome their fear and to look at Chesapeake Eye Care, to consider LASIK as something that they might have thought about but never really considered.

But again, Justin was such a perfect person for us because he had that strong bond, because he engages his audience, and he regularly communicates with them, he shares his family, he shares what's going on in his daily life, he has a full-time job, he's a dad. So people could very well identify with him from many different stages in their life, whether they were younger and they're active ... He does a huge community trek across Maryland, 320 miles ... 321 miles, I believe, to raise awareness and money for kids with cancer. You've got, again, the working parent perspective. I think he was just an awesome, awesome person for us to pick.

Kathleen: I've been a Justin Berk follower for a long time, and he is great. He's so engaging, and he does practice kind of radical transparency. He shares the stories about his kids and his family, and you're absolutely right that there's a level of authenticity there that I think has created not just a big following, but a passionate following of people who really love him. And, interestingly, you were talking about how he parlayed his career as a TV meteorologist into an online Facebook personality. That, though, then got him hired by school systems and companies, so school systems pay him to say, you know, should we open, based on what the weather forecast is. And when you think about the calls that he's making, it's really ... You know, you do need to really trust that person, if you're going to think about "I'm putting my little child on a bus to go to school, and what does Justin say about the weather?" You tend to be turning to him for information in times of uncertainty, so that's great.

So you identify Justin as somebody who would be a great fit as an influencer, and then what? Then you reached out to him, and what happened?

Anna: It was really fun. We didn't know, of course, we're speculating in this room, "Oh yeah, this guy will be great, he's got this great reach, he'll be perfect." So we reach out to him not knowing whether he even needs LASIK surgery. Does he even wear glasses or contacts? We had no idea. Well, as luck would have it, he actually did wear glasses and contacts, and he had a lifelong struggle with his vision that started when he was 10 years old, wearing prescription glasses, which he never really did very well, and then he moved into needing contact lenses, and did the hard contact lenses, the gas permeable lenses, and soft contact lenses. And really, it was a very challenging journey for him, because he had a lot of irritation, and because of his super-active lifestyle, he would always kind of think twice about doing certain activities, going to an amusement park because of the wind on the rides. Whoever would have thought about that, right? Swimming, running, played baseball, all these things, he really gave second thoughts of doing different things because of the impact it would have on his eyes.

Kathleen: You know what? I can totally relate. I actually had LASIK back in 2001, and I was like Justin before that. And I was traveling a lot internationally for work, and I'll never forget, I was actually in Cairo, Egypt, and I had my contacts in, and I had the same problem, like constant red eyes and irritation. And there was one of those sandstorms, and you could see it coming in from far away, and I was like, "Oh my God, I have terrible irritation on a normal day with wind and just dust. There's a sandstorm coming. What am I going to do? I'm in this foreign country. What happens if sand gets in my eyes? I'm not going to be able to see where I'm going." And it was like this realization that this is actually ... It's not just a silly annoyance; it could actually really be a safety issue too.

So I can relate. I laugh, but I mean, it was serious at the time, but I can really relate to what he was feeling, and I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, what would it be like to wake up in the morning and be able to see my alarm clock?" And swim and not have to worry, and all those things.

Anna: And he even said in one of the blog posts he wrote for us that for him, he had to wear a digital watch when he woke up in the morning to just when he would go on air, on TV, because he couldn't see a clock.

Kathleen: It's amazing how much it affects your life. It's funny, having been through that experience myself, I'm super-passionate about it, and, I mean, I had LASIK ... I'm not here to promote LASIK, but I will say I had it in 2001, and 16 years later, I still have awesome vision, and I never had to have it tweaked or anything. It's been a great experience. So, you know, this is interesting. Okay, so back to the topic. LASIK commercial is over. So you came up with the idea of using Justin, and you reached out. People use influencers in different ways. Sometimes, companies hire influencers just to be spokespeople, and they pay them, and they say, "We want you to talk up our product," or "We want you to review our product," and in your case, it was a little different. You thought, "This is a great guy. Let's see if he actually needs the service we provide." Did you pay him, did you offer to pay him?

Anna: We did not pay him. We did, in the end, compensate and cover his surgery, so he didn't have to pay for his surgery, but we did not pay him to do any of the promotion ever. 

Kathleen: So this is fascinating, so the deal you had with him was "We will give you a free LASIK surgery," and in exchange, what? What were you expecting from him?

Anna: We wanted him to share his story very authentically. We wanted him to be able to tell patients what it was like firsthand, from everything from ... After we reached out to him explaining the process, he already did his thorough research on his own, and then decided, "Okay, yeah, I would like to do this." He had been thinking about LASIK for over a decade, but was afraid, and he didn't like people touching his eyes.

Kathleen: You shared with me that you reached out to him, and he didn't respond right away, because he wanted to not only do his homework on LASIK, but he wanted to do his homework on who the doctor was, because he wasn't going to take a free LASIK from just anybody. So that was interesting.

Anna: Yeah, he really did, and when he came in, I told him he had to be out of his contacts, he really hates his glasses for many different reasons, so he actually only took his glasses out the night before, which can sometimes skew whether you're a candidate or not, the results of the test that they do during their very thorough testing, when you come in for an evaluation. So he came in, he had only taken his glasses out for one night, and he thought in his mind, it's like, "Oh, I'm not a candidate, for sure I'm not a candidate." I think it was this fear, he's kind of secretly ... Even though he wanted it, hoping, like, "I'm not going to be ... I'm not going to be a candidate, I'm not going to go through this."

So he comes in, and he goes through expensive testing to make sure that his eyes are healthy, he's a candidate, et cetera, and Dr. Scott pauses and says, "I'm not sure. I'm on the fence, and I think it's because you've only had your contacts out once, because typically, we'd like them out for at least a week or two weeks, depending on the kinds of contacts you have." So she said, "I want you to go home, put your glasses on for the next two weeks, no contacts, and come back," and he was like, "Okay." So kind of a little bit of a sigh of relief, and he even said to me, he was like, "You know, I really don't think I'm a candidate for this. I'm not." I said, "Okay, well, we'll see. We'll see."

So he leaves, coming back two weeks later, you know, he's kind of like, "Yeah, that wasn't really very fun having to wear my glasses for two weeks, but I did it, I did it, because I'm going to try this again." Goes through all the testing again, lo and behold, his corneas had settled down, because the contact lenses can sometimes affect the shape of your cornea. Corneas had settled down, she did all the testing again, and lo and behold, he was a candidate.

So he was excited and nervous when she gave him the thumbs-up. And so from there, then, we said, "Okay," he's like, "All right, I'm in, I'm in. I'm a candidate, I'm in." He had gone to, actually, his Facebook fans the night before to say, "Hey, this is something I'm going to do, this is something I'm considering," and he was overwhelmed with the response from people who encouraged him, who actually had come to Chesapeake Eye Care, who had actually had surgery with Dr. Scott, so he felt a little bit more confident with the whole procedure.

Kathleen: In many ways, the stars had to align, because you weren't offering to pay him, so you were kind of taking a chance that he would be excited enough about having the surgery to want to participate. Then he had to be a candidate for the surgery, he had to meet certain qualifications in terms of his corneas and everything, and then he had to be willing to go under the quote-unquote knife.

And one thing that I was really fascinated by, and I thought was so cool, is that when you and I talked about this, you told me that you said to him, "We're not going to pay you, we're going to give you the free surgery, and we would like you to share your experience," but I remember you telling me, you said, "Share it, good or bad. If you have a bad experience, say it was a bad experience. If you have a good experience, say it was a good experience. We want you to be truthful, but we're also super confident it's going to be a good experience." Obviously, you wouldn't do it if you didn't think so, but I love that you said that to him, because honestly, especially when you're endorsing anything medical, there has to be that serious truth and transparency that's present, so ...

Anna: And I do have to say, too, as the marketer pushing out the message, in my role, even though 110% confident, and Dr. Scott's amazing — history, outcomes, just awesome — a little bit of me was like, "God, you know, this is surgery," and there's always things that can go wrong in surgery, regardless of the surgeon. It can just be something with your health, right? And I was a little bit like, "Okay, everything ... Come on, it has to go right, perfect, 100%," you know, that little bit of anxiety for me, and it did.

Kathleen: So now, you got his agreement, he decided to go forward. Walk us through some of the different elements of the campaign. What did he do to promote this and talk about it? What did you guys do to promote it and talk about it? Tell us a little bit more.

Anna: We took a multi-pronged approach. We obviously used the whole blogging capability with him, so he could share his story. So he did a post, and he actually did three posts. His first was "Life Before LASIK, part one," and he told his story about his vision, and where he was, and why he was even considering this. And then, with that one, he also did a video that's at the bottom of the post, that he videotaped himself taking his contact lenses out for the last time, and how that felt, and what he was excited about, and what he was nervous about. And then we pushed that out through our website, and he pushed that out through his website and social media, and then we shared back and forth through different social media platforms, particularly Facebook.

And then he did another one called "My LASIK Experience, part two," when he actually goes in for surgery, and he talks what it was like going ... You know, walking in the door, up until surgery, and right after surgery. And then he did a follow-up piece called "Life After LASIK," so he did a three-part series with that. And we also used, with the HubSpot platform, besides the blogging app, we also used their email app, and we used that to promote his story out to our audience, people who had signed up for newsletters or were interested in LASIK, and again, their social media app to really reach people out through that vehicle. In addition, we also did a bit of the traditional route, where we did push out through the local newspapers, we did press releases, we had some ads with magazines, and we did a little bit more with online advertising there as well, on some other local media news outlets. 

Kathleen: And he was in those ads, is that right?

Anna: Yes.

Kathleen: So he agreed not just to blog and promote this, but he actually ... I think I remember he participated in some photo shoots with the doctor, and he was really all in to all of this.

Anna: Yeah, and he lives far away from here, and he took his time willingly to come back again and again and again, because he felt so strongly about sharing his story with other people, so that they too could benefit from this procedure that he really is like, "It's not just having LASIK, it's changed my life, and I want other people who are in the same position or similar position to me to be able to have an opportunity to overcome their fears, to face whatever it is that's holding them back, to do something like this that will really change their life."

Kathleen: That's awesome. So you got some pretty amazing initial results in terms of social media reach, I seem to recall.

Anna: Yeah, huge. Oh my gosh, we had a 1,300x increase in traffic from social media and an 81% increase in traffic overall. It was crazy.

Kathleen: Yeah, and it actually translated into business for you, didn't it?

Anna: Yes, yes. From the campaign, we had 16,000 page views, we had 165 leads, which is unbelievable. I wish I had that for every campaign I do. That would be so nice. And of those leads, 57 people came in for a free LASIK consultation, to see if they were even a candidate, and of those people, 14 people — and probably even some more subsequently — booked surgery, because even ... You have kind of a residual effect later on, you know, word of mouth, years down the road, people are thinking about it. And that, for us, resulted in over $50,000 in revenue, and that's a gross number.

Kathleen: How did you track all that? I mean, how did you know that those were the results?

Anna: Well, the best thing, again, for us was through HubSpot's platform, is we use their campaigns app, and that was ... That really helped us organize and track our campaign activities, so that we could really see where people were coming from. And when we would share the different stories that Justin did, or we would post through Facebook, we also included an offer, where we offered, I think it was $790 off bilateral LASIK, that means both eyes. And we also created a LASIK eBook, because we wanted to be able to educate people on the whole process, everything from "Is LASIK right for me?" "How does it work?" "How do I choose a surgeon?" "What do I expect the day of surgery?" "What does it cost?" So we also created that as well, to help people, again, become comfortable with it, become educated about it, whether they were a candidate or not.

Kathleen: Great. So you had a couple of offers. I love the LASIK eBook, because obviously, even if somebody hears about this through Justin Berk and they think, "Oh, I want to do that," there are going to be a million more questions that need to be answered.

Anna: Right.

Kathleen: And then you did do a little discount offer, but it wasn't ... I mean, we talked in the beginning about how you're not a discount provider, so this wasn't like a slashing of prices, this was just a little bit of a teaser.

Anna: Right, no.

Kathleen: And you offered it only to people who came in through Justin Berk, correct?

Anna: That is correct.

Kathleen: So anybody that redeemed that offer, you could directly trace that surgery, then, back to his influencer network.

Anna: Exactly.

Kathleen: Talk to me a little bit about what's happened since then, because my understanding is that he has continued to work with you. Now, this original campaign happened, am I right, it was in 2015?

Anna: No, 2014.

Kathleen: 2014?

Anna: November 2014. Yeah.

Kathleen: Okay, and what's happened since?

Anna: He is still an advocate for us. There'll be even times I don't even see some posts that he sends and mentions Chesapeake Eye Care. I know, oh gosh, a while ago, he was at ... I think he was watching a football game, and I think a referee made a call, and he was like, "That's it, these referees need to get LASIK." I mean, he'll make comments all the time about how LASIK changed his life, and how LASIK could change somebody else's life. So he just has always been involved, and we reached out to him again recently, I think it was this past spring. Actually, we launched another campaign, because we thought, "You know, let's try this again. That was so successful, we were able to really reach a lot of people and help people." And we contacted him and just followed up, and he was like, "Absolutely, I would love to do something again."

And so we changed things up a little bit this time, where we used video more as our medium, and we pushed that out through social media, our website, et cetera. We did some, not as much, but some print advertising to kind of go along with that. And the one thing that we did not do as well this time, and I really saw the difference, is we didn't use HubSpot's complete capability. Like, we used some of the things, but not all of the things, and we didn't add the blogging component in there as well as we had in the past. So I do think it definitely had an impact in the number of people that we reached, and on the number of leads we generated. We still were successful; we had, I think, over ... I think it was 12 to 14 definite surgeries for that as well, so it was still successful revenues-wise, but it could have been even better, I think.

Kathleen: Wow. That's just amazing, and when I listen to you talk about this, it's almost even beyond an influencer campaign, because it kind of started that way, but he's really become like a partner for you.

Anna: He has.

Kathleen: And it's like a co-marketing, because you still haven't compensated him, really. I mean, it's just ... This is him, having become an evangelist for your brand, and wanting to talk about it on his own, which is pretty outstanding.

Anna: Yeah, it was awesome. We're so grateful that that relationship was able to be forged, because it not only benefited him as the individual, but all the people that it's reached because of him, so ... And it's also, of course, from a business perspective, it's helpful for us achieving the business goals, but ultimately, the patient care is the most important.

Kathleen: I remember seeing some really cool Facebook posts at the time of people ... It wasn't just him saying, "I had this surgery and it was great." I remember seeing posts where people said, "I had this surgery because you, Justin, suggested it, and I'm now thrilled," and it was like this viral spreading of the love for LASIK, which is awesome. Let's talk about the lessons learned, because we have a lot of listeners, and our listeners are the people that do marketing, right? They're like you, they're rolling up their sleeves, they're getting it done, they're doing campaigns, and ... Do you have any advice for them on either things that you think worked really well that would be easily replicatable, or things that you wouldn't do again that somebody should avoid?

Anna: I definitely think, like anything, there's a place and time for everything. I love, love, love, love that this campaign where we used the influencer worked so well. I would love to find more influencers to promote the different services we have, because I do think people really look to other people who they trust to hear about their experience, and I think that's so valuable, more than we just push out an ad, or even an article. I mean, people read that, that's great, it serves its purpose, but it's so much more powerful when you have a real live person going through something that you're thinking about going through, so I think ...

And with him, with the influencer, what I was thinking about that is that it just wasn't a person with a large reach, he just wasn't a person who had a lot of Facebook followers, et cetera, but he's a person who is really, like I said, active. He had that trust that not all people online have the way that he has, and he has very strong relationships with his followers because he does engage them. He is incredibly responsible ... responsive, excuse me, when they make comments on different blog posts that he pushes out. So that was a huge lesson for me, a takeaway, and when we look at other people as prospective influencers, that is a critical component that we weigh in, like "Does this person have all of these aspects?"

Kathleen: You and I had a very interesting conversation, before we jumped on and started recording, about differences between influencers, and how that impacts results. And you had worked with another influencer who has a big audience in the same geographic region, and the results were not nearly as dramatic, and what I found fascinating is some of the differences we identified in terms of why. Well, one was there was a demographic difference in terms of the age, and Justin Berk's followers are younger, they're very active on social media. But also, the difference was that Justin's followers are following Justin the person, and not some sort of brand that he has, and he really, like you were saying, he talks about his family. It's very, very, very personal, the connection that people have with him, versus another influencer that you worked with who has a very strong brand and a very big reach, but people are connected more with the brand as opposed to the person, and so there isn't as much of a personal connection there, and that could perhaps be why it didn't get as much traction, which I thought was very, very interesting.

Anna: Totally agree.

Kathleen: If you're thinking of looking for influencers, it's really about taking that into consideration. Do you need to find someone who people can connect with on a personal level, and already have connected with on a personal level, or are you looking for more of a brand, a company, a brand name for them to follow? I personally think that the former is more effective, and it certainly was in your case.

Anna: I agree, and especially because of the kind of service that we're providing being health care. It's not like we're just selling a widget, some other commodity out there, but because of the service, that it's all about your individual health, I think it was really important to have that aspect.

Kathleen: I couldn't agree more. Any other key lessons learned, or takeaways you think it's important for somebody to know?

Anna: The other lesson for me is, reflecting back again, is thinking, "Wow, we've got this platform that we use." We still use HubSpot. I'm not giving that up; I love it. We use it for all of our emailing, social media. But it just was a reminder in preparing for this call, is that we really want to go back to using that more effectively, because marketing is — marketers, as you all know — is not an exact science. It is very tricky to be able to demonstrate your return on investment with a print ad, with search engine marketing. I mean, you can tie to it, and people will click, and things like that, but sometimes, people, like, they call in to our call center, who is very good at asking people, "How'd you hear about us?" The person might say, "Oh, my mother," while meanwhile, it was really their ad that they saw, or it was a radio spot that they heard, or it was a Facebook post, because they'll come in for their appointment, and then they reference something else.

So for us, it's always tricky to justify ourselves, you know, to my bosses, and say, "This is worth it. I want this money because I want to do this and this with it." So marketing isn't an exact science, and it is harder when you're doing these other different things like printing, and search engine marketing, and seminars, and blogging, and stuff like that, to always tie right back. But again, with not trying to just promote ... I'm not paid for by HubSpot, but I really, really love the fact that you can track your results, and I could say to them, "Look, this worked. Here you go. Here are the actual hard numbers."

Kathleen: Yeah, that's fantastic. You told me a funny story once, I don't even know if you're going to remember this, but we were talking about this whole issue of the call center, and them asking "Where'd you hear about us?" and people giving answers that clearly were not correct, and I'll never forget you told me this story once where somebody said, "Oh, I saw your ad in the Capital," which is the local newspaper here in Annapolis, and at the time, you were like, "We haven't advertised in the Capital in ages, so there's no way it was that." But people's memories can play tricks on them, and it's not that they're deliberately telling you something that isn't correct, but you're right, it's very hard to attribute the original source of where a customer comes from, and so ...

You are an organization that does a lot of different kinds of marketing and advertising. You do inbound, you have an advertising agency that handles an entire media spend for you across print, and you've done ... I think you've done radio, you've done all kinds of different formats, you've got search engine marketing, et cetera. So it sounds like what you're saying is that this is one area where if you do it right, you're able to really have those concrete measurements.

Anna: Oh, and I do have one more thing. And it is also really knowing, like we discussed in the very beginning, who your audience is, because, for example, some of the stuff that we do with cataracts, and our seminars, when we do things with the Capital, when we do print, we kind of have our own little model of success there now, where that audience really responds to that medium. So when people say, "People don't read print," oh, yes they do. There are people who do that, so it's really knowing your audience, and so for something like LASIK, this was amazing. And I think something like this would be so applicable to another new service, a relatively new service that we have. It's called Raindrop, and it treats near vision reading, which is huge for many people once they get into their 40s and 50s and hate their little readers. So I was thinking something like this is a tremendous asset for a campaign to develop for that service. And again, so it's really knowing your audience and what you're trying to deliver to them.

Kathleen: Oh my gosh, I could be your next patient, because I am just ... The listener will not know this, but Anna and I are on video, and I'm now showing her my first ever pair of reading glasses.

Anna: I like them.

Kathleen: It's come to that. Yeah.

Anna: I'm fighting it all the way. I'm like, "No, no, not yet," as I stretch my hands going, "Okay, I have three little kids, I really need to read this prescription bottle, I think that says 10 milliliters."

Kathleen: I have an 11-year-old who likes to make me watch the video games that he's playing, and so he'll take the iPhone or the iPad and he'll say, "Mom, look at this," and he'll put it right in my face, and I have to sort of grab his hand and say, "Back it up, buster, I can't see anything." But yeah, we're getting to that point, so that'll be like chapter two of our interview. We can then talk about the next phase of Raindrop surgery for getting rid of reading glasses. But this has been so interesting, and I really appreciate you sharing this story. It was a couple of years ago, but I don't feel like anything you did is dated. You could take this campaign, you could start it today, and it would work just as well as it did, you know, back 2014, 2015 when you did it.

One thing I almost forgot to mention, too, is I want to call out that this is very doable on a small budget. A lot of people think that influencers cost money, and in fact, I remember when Anna and I first talked about this, and she was saying that one of the ... The genesis of this idea came from the fact that a long time ago — and you'll be able to tell this story better than I will — Tiger Woods underwent LASIK with some kind of doctor in this area, and he talked about it and that engendered this massive amount of interest in it. But, you know, Tiger Woods is a dude that's going to want to get paid, and not a small amount of money.

Anna: Mm-hmm.

Kathleen: So I think it's about getting creative, and it's about thinking on a smaller scale, who are these more localized ... Especially if you're targeting a geographic market, like you are, who are the local influencers who we can strike a deal with that's manageable with our budget?

Anna: But I do feel like that is an awesome point that you just made, because print is expensive, and here in Annapolis, print might cost X amount, and then I'm looking now at the DC market as we're expanding under One Vision Eye Partners, and oh my God, those print ads are outrageous compared to the budget that I have here. So this is definitely very manageable for, really, any size business.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Anna: And yeah, it is ...

Kathleen: That's great. And it wasn't a long campaign; I think this happened, the initial campaign, where you had about the $50,000 in ROI, happened over the course of three months, right?

Anna: I think, yeah, three months.

Kathleen: Yeah, it was short.

Anna: That was it.

Kathleen: So you can do it in a defined way, quick, get in, get out, see a nice impact, but it's led to a really long relationship, which I think is such a nice ending to the story.

Anna: Yes.

Kathleen: Thank you for joining me.

Anna: You're welcome.

Kathleen: For anyone that wants to learn more about this, can you tell us the URL of Chesapeake Eye Care?

Anna: Yup, it's

Kathleen: And I will put that link in the show notes, and I'll try to link to some of the blogs that Justin did, so that everyone who's listening can see some of these examples. But it was very successful; it's actually a case study on HubSpot's website as well, so I will link to that. They loved the story just as much as I did. So, thank you, Anna, and thank you, everyone, for listening.

Anna: Thank you, Kathleen.

Kathleen: So glad to have you here, and if ... For listeners, if you enjoyed this interview, please do give it a review on iTunes or Stitcher. We're still a pretty new podcast, and every review really counts and helps us get found by other people. And if you know somebody who's doing kickass work in inbound marketing and getting great results, I would love to interview them, so please tweet me at @WorkMommyWork. And that's all we have for this week. Thanks for joining us.