Marketing New Technology: How to Ensure Your Patients Purchase from You & Not Your Competitor

As we all know, hearing technology is rapidly advancing, and new products are hitting the market every few months. From a marketing perspective, it’s important for providers to understand their patients’ relationship with technology adoption.

Remember, everyone’s relationship with technology is different. Take the iPhone for example: some people will camp outside of an Apple Store just to be the first to own the latest model, some wait for their techie friends to try it first, and others refuse to upgrade their phone until they absolutely have to do it. 

But what about hearing devices?

Interestingly enough, there’s a very similar application of how patients adopt new hearing technologies. Below is Consult YHN’s take on the technology adoption curve applied to the hearing industry.

Based on nearly seven years of data and a sample size of over 70,000 patients, this curve points to insights on the different segments of your database, their relationship to new technologies, and the marketing touchpoints to drive conversions.

As a practice owner, how often do you think patients upgrade their hearing devices? Every 5 or 10 years? Our data shows that on average, patients upgrade their hearing devices every 3.6 years. If you want to ensure patients don’t go somewhere else to purchase their next set of hearing aids (which 40 percent of patients do), the below graph illustrates the number of times you need to contact your patient to ensure your patients remain loyal to your practice and purchase their next set of hearing aids from you.

 

FIRST ADAPTERS – Innovators

Also referred to as techies and visionaries, these are the patients who are eagerly awaiting the next hot device to hit the market. There are no sensitivities to price or technology for these folks. They are current users with a hearing aid that may even be less than a year old. Because of their readiness to purchase new technology, they only require a couple of touchpoints or marketing interactions to drive conversion.

Focus on the bells and whistles of the technology – what are the latest and greatest features that are really going to wow this audience? Remember, the first adapters may be the first to kick off sales of a new product, but they only represent five percent of current hearing aid users.

EARLY ADAPTERS – Enthusiasts

Although very similar, there are some key differentiators between first and early adapters. This group of customers value new technology but have purposely waited to make a purchase. They’re more hesitant to test drive new products and will most likely look to resources and reviews to consult first before purchasing. Gathering testimonials from your innovators (first adapters) will help move the early adapters along in their purchase decision.

1st MAJORITY – Pragmatists & 2nd MAJORITY – Conservatives

This is where a new device really gains momentum – it has now been road-tested and has built some credibility in the marketplace. The first and second mainstream customers are the peak of our contact curve, representing the majority of untapped opportunities. So, you want to make sure you are hitting this audience with the necessary touchpoints and the right messaging to convert them.

At this point in their hearing health journey, they are hovering around that 3.6-year mark of average device replacement. It’s important to tout the proven applications of your technology – not just the bells and whistles – how these new applications will impact real-life users in everyday situations.

This segment requires more nurturing – between 3-5 touchpoints for first mainstreamers and 5-7 for second mainstreamers. But making up 50 percent of hearing aid users, they’re worth it!

 

LATE ADAPTER – Skeptics

By this point, the newest technology has been on the market for some time. Anyone making a purchase after a product’s introduction is considered a late adapter or a skeptic. They are risk-averse and price-sensitive, so these individuals need the benefits of upgrading their hearing aid devices to significantly outweigh the cost.

If you can afford to offer discounts, value-added services, and/or accessories with a hearing aid purchase, this may be the only thing to entice this group. Be mindful though of the number of touchpoints required to convert skeptics: between 7-9 interactions.

RESISTANT ADAPTER – Resisters

Finally, the resisters. This is a group who are, yep, you guessed it: resistant to change! More often than not, this group of customers will only upgrade when they absolutely have to. Because they represent a small percentage of hearing aid users and require constant nurturing to convert, they are too costly (of your time, money, and energy) to build a separate marketing strategy around.

Of course, these patients are no less deserving of better hearing and can still benefit from your care – we just recommend focusing on other motivations outside of tech, like wellness, when marketing to this group.

If you want to learn about more ways to engage with your database, reach out to your Account Manager and schedule an appointment with the Consult YHN Marketing Team.

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.

The Benefits of Tracking Your Marketing Initiatives

Whenever practice owners claim their marketing isn’t working, we always respond with the same question: “Are you tracking your marketing activities?”

tracking-your-marketingThere are so many marketing tools available such as call tracking, Google Analytics, or even our Direct Mail Calculator that can help you be more strategic and deliberate with your marketing efforts.

Tracking is no longer optional—it’s essential. Executing a successful marketing plan requires taking a deeper look at results to gain insights and direct you on how best to market in the future.

So, let’s look at the different ways tracking your marketing initiatives can benefit your practice and offer some guidance to help set you on course for success.

 

Tracking Your Marketing Mix

Use your practice management software to track which marketing activity drove a patient to your practice. It is important to gauge what your current marketing mix consists of, how many leads each activity is driving, and where there is room for improvement.

A healthy marketing mix includes activities that target new leads from the community, taps into your current patient database, and secures a continuous flow of referrals from current patients and physicians. Identifying segments that are missing from this mix helps direct your focus towards future forms of marketing that will directly impact your schedule and bottom line.

 

INSIDER TIP

Establish an organized process for how you are labeling your opportunities in your practice management software. Create unique sources to detail exactly which activities your patients are responding to daily. Some practices even add secondary sources to capture a further level of detail. For example:

Primary Source Secondary Source
Physician Referral Doctor Name
Community Outreach Sunrise Nursing Home
Digital Google – PPC

To ensure accurate tracking, make sure staff members who are responsible for inputting this data are all on the same page regarding what each referral source represents.

Adjusting Your Marketing Strategy

Taking a close look at the results of a marketing campaign can help you course-correct any missteps in current marketing strategies. The primary goal of any marketing effort is to make the phone ring. If your tracking data indicates that you are falling short of industry benchmarks for call response rate, then there may be an issue with the audience you are targeting. Identifying this variable, via the data, alerts you that it’s time to reassess the variables making up your target audience. Often, this fix is as simple as readjusting the profile of the target audience – maybe you aren’t marketing to people in the right demographic, or are reaching out to areas too far from the office location. Tracking can help you identify these types of “red flags” and aid to steer you in the right direction strategically.

INSIDER TIP

Don’t wait until the end of the quarter to officially log your tracking notes. Keep a spreadsheet handy and equip your front office personnel with the right online tools to capture and appropriately track leads as they come in.

Improve Organizational Efficiencies

It’s important to own the patient experience from initial call/touch-point, to pre-and post-appointment, right through to purchase and beyond. Identifying where certain patients are getting trapped in the sales funnel can help your team members focus on their individual roles in generating more sales.

For example, are you seeing calls come in from a direct mailer, but they are not converting into appointments? Maybe it’s time to sit down with your FOP (Front Office Personnel) or Office Manager to understand how they are handling incoming calls and discuss the best ways to get the schedule filled. Are completed appointments not converting into sales? It might be time to meet with your providers to discuss best practices for closing sales. [FYI: the Consult Employee Development Program provides free training for your staff year-round.]

 

INSIDER TIP

Tracking can provide valuable details on where patients are in their hearing health journey, so you can tailor future messages directly to their situation. Instead of a generic message, reach out to your Tested Not Sold (TNS) audience with personal phone calls asking why they haven’t purchased and follow up immediately with your Cancel/No Show audience, communicating that you’re sorry they missed their appointment and it’s important to you that they reschedule to meet with your provider.

Send Your Data to Consult YHN

Once you’ve collected your marketing data, the biggest challenge is, of course, figuring out what it all means and what to do with it. Our marketing team can explain the data in real-time with quarterly marketing ROI reports to help you continuously refine your marketing strategy and drive more quality leads to your practice.

If you don’t already have a marketing plan in place for 2019 or if you have any questions about tracking your initiatives, reach out to your Account Manager today.

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.

2018 Year in Review

It’s that time again to reflect on the past year, and we probably aren’t alone in saying that 2018 was a whirlwind. We enjoyed a busy, but productive and exciting year.

Take a look at what we were up to and what’s on the horizon for 2019.

Market Your Practice on Facebook Like a Pro

The digital marketing landscape can be an intimidating space for some. New ways to advertise products, connect with customers, and promote your brand online seem to be cropping up every day. So where should hearing healthcare practices be focusing their time and effort when it comes to social media platforms?

A recent study from Clutch found that 86% of small businesses are utilizing Facebook as their preferred channel to connect with customers. Although Facebook started as a place for college students to connect with peers, it has since expanded from a social network to a marketplace, connecting customers with businesses every day.

Totaling at 2.13 billion users (and growing!) by the end of 2017, there are a lot of potential customers waiting to be connected to brands. With Baby Boomers coming in as the fastest growing segment of digital users, it should be no surprise that they are among the most active group of Facebook users too.

This is great news for the hearing industry: you have a swarm of potential customers age 65+ right at your fingertips – 62% of them in fact – and they are now using Facebook to make purchase decisions. So, are you doing everything it takes to connect with these potential patients on Facebook?

What can you do to put the right foot forward in your social media presence? Here are some tips for making the most of the social media giant that is Facebook:

Get set up! Follow these instructions for setting up your Facebook Business page.

  • Include a profile picture of your practice’s logo and some sort of relevant image as the cover photo (i.e. photo of the staff, office building, etc.)
  • Provide as much information as possible. Don’t forget to set up your office location, contact info, and hours of operation!
  • Link to your website and vice versa! Now that your Facebook page is set up, put a link on your website to drive traffic to your social media page.
  • Encourage current patients to ‘Like’ your page. Mention your Facebook page in the office using a handout and send invites to patients to ‘like’ your business page online!

Know your audience.

  • Keep in mind who you are talking to and where you are talking to them. Facebook is more social by nature, so use this space to connect on a more personal level. Remember your page will be visible to your entire community, so make a great first impression; lend a voice to your individual brand and share your story.
  • Keep it personal. Provide relevant, educational content on hearing loss and solutions, but don’t get too clinical – remember your viewers are consumers.

Get the content flowing.

  • Serve up content with a purpose – share what’s going on in the office that month, extend offers, invite patients to events, or announce what latest technology is available at your practice.
  • Recycle relevant content. Follow other thought leaders in the industry and repost their articles – you don’t have the reinvent the wheel.
  • Know your limit! The sweet spot for post length is between 40-80 characters. Any longer and your readers will get tired and move on to the next post in their feed.
  • A picture says a thousand words. Images and infographics are the top form of content for interaction at 54%. Give your readers a break from all the text and provide some visual relief.

Delegate!

  • We know your time is valuable, but someone’s got to do it! Assign someone in your office to manage your social media presence and make a habit of it.
  • Aim for posts once a week (twice, if you can manage!) – stats show that the most popular times for post activity are weekdays between 12 pm and 3 pm.
  • If you aren’t a wordsmith, consider hiring a third-party vendor to manage your social media accounts and/or blog page. Blog posts help boost your SEO rankings and sharing blog posts on your Facebook will drive more traffic to your website.
  • Check with your manufacturer reps on any available social media programs you can use.

This might seem like a daunting task, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. You’ll soon get the hang of what types of posts are most popular among your patients and lend a voice to your brand.

 

If you want to learn more about Facebook and other digital marketing activities, contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com, or download our Digital Marketing & Social Media Guidelines.

 

Additional References:

Social Media and Blogging: What to post and what to write about

How About LinkedIn?

Boost Your Brand with Social Media

Social Media 101

 

Sources:

https://clutch.co/agencies/social-media-marketing/resources/small-business-social-media-survey-2018

https://blog.hootsuite.com/best-time-to-post-on-facebook-twitter-instagram/#facebook

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-character-counter/

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.

2017 Consult YHN Year in Review

What did we do in 2017? The short answer: a lot…last year was a productive, highly-caffeinated year at Consult YHN.

As we look forward though, it’s important to reflect on the year that was. Take a look at what we accomplished for our Associates in 2017, and get ready, because 2018 is going to be even bigger and better.

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.