Database = More Qualified Leads: The Who, Why & How

Many of the practices that I speak to assume marketing is centered around bringing in new people. While that is a key component, that is not all that marketing is. The definition of marketing provided by the American Marketing Association states: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Notice how “customers” are the first audience they call out? They are the easiest people to market to, yet practices tend to leave them by the waist-side.

Here are three reasons why you should be marketing to your patients:

  1. You have an established relationship with them. You already invested the time (and money) to get them in the door. Regardless if they purchased or not, you should want to maintain that relationship with them, so they continue to come back.
  2. Out of sight, out of mind. The hearing industry has evolved into a heavily competitive environment, so your patients are bombarded with advertisements from the larger, big box competitors that have the million-dollar marketing budgets. If you aren’t communicating with them on a consistent basis, they are more likely to go elsewhere.
  3. It is less costly. As opposed to marketing to the whole 65+ community, it won’t cost you nearly as much to mail something to your patients. It would be even cheaper if you sent them an email! The ROI is also much higher because you are marketing to more qualified leads.

Here are the facts*:

  • Compared to ads, inserts, digital marketing and traditional direct mail results, database marketing had the highest ROI – 99%!
  • 68% of completed appointments that came from a database initiative, converted to units sold.
  • Practices who ran an Consult YHN Upgrade event where they targeted their TNS and OOW patients, on average made almost $31K in profit – just from one 3-day event!

Here is what you can do:

  • Document where your patients came from and what the result was from their appointment. This will help you tailor your messages to those specific audiences. It will also provide insight into whether your marketing is working appropriately.
  • Devote 10% of your marketing budget to database marketing and implement it. This can consist of letters, birthday cards, postcards, newsletters, etc. These messages can either be delivered through the mail or the internet.
  • Execute fun events to get patients to come back into the office. You can do different things like a patient appreciation week, a wine & cheese night or even host Q&A sessions with both hearing aid and non-hearing aid users.

Here is how Consult YHN can help:

  • We can organize your database by establishing the correct referral sources and working with your practice management software on developing segmentation lists.
  • We can design any marketing piece that you want to send out to your database.
  • We can host your next Upgrade event.

All you need to do is contact your Consult YHN representative or the marketing team to get started. We will work with you to make your practice profitable by keeping it top of mind with your patients.

 

*These facts are based on the data that our Associates provide to us that is captured in Consult YHN’s quarterly marketing ROI report.

About the Author

Lindsey Pierangeli joined Consult YHN in 2012 and serves as the Marketing Manager. Previously, she held marketing positions with advertising agencies and worked on accounts such as Amazon and Coca-Cola. Lindsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University.

Six Key Elements to an Effective Direct Mail Campaign

There are those individuals who believe that direct mail doesn’t work anymore, but our Associates’ numbers tell another story!

Based on our practices’ data, the average cost-per-call is $247 and the cost-per-appointment is $442. Over the past year, direct mail generated an average of 40 percent ROI for our Associates.

In fact, when it is executed properly, direct mail is still one of the top opportunity drivers for our practices! When the Consult YHN marketing team develops direct mail strategies for our Associates, we incorporate the following components:

  • 1. Vendor

Surprisingly enough, there are numerous direct mail vendors that specialize in the hearing industry. We recommend only working with these companies because they understand the market and how to speak to the target audience. All their pieces have been tested and proven to drive results and they will supply the distribution list at no additional cost. Contact us for Consult YHN’s preferred vendor list and pricing.

  • 2. Budget

Our general rule of thumb is to allocate about 45 percent of your total marketing spend towards direct mail. Every practice has their own objectives and goals that may require increasing or decreasing that percentage amount. It is up to the practice owner to decide what he/she is comfortable spending and how much they are already investing in other marketing efforts. All of this information helps us determine what funds are available to put towards direct mail.

  • 3. Distribution

This is a key attribute of the direct mail strategy. If you aren’t reaching the right people in the appropriate zip codes, then it defeats the purpose.

Here are the factors that you should consider:

  • Age — Typically between the ages of 62-65, depending on how many residents it pulls.
  • Income — We suggest adding a household income filter of $30K. If you need more residents to target, you can eliminate that filter, but we don’t recommend increasing it. Keep in mind that most of these individuals are retired and don’t have as much disposable income.
  • Zip Codes — We recommend looking at your database and identifying in which zip codes your current patients live. If individuals in certain zip codes are already visiting and purchasing from the practice, others are likely to do so. Once the targeted zip codes have been identified, send them to the direct mail vendor of choice to confirm how many residents they can mail to in those areas.

Note: Consult YHN offers free territory analysis reports that identify all your surrounding zip codes in a certain mile radius (varies by practice) and where your competitors are in relation.

  • 4. Approach

Now that you have an idea on the budget and who the target audience is, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. When it comes to a successful direct mail campaign, frequency and consistency are crucial. It is best to divide your total audience into groups and rotate them every mailer. Once you’ve reached everyone on your list, continue that rotation until you have sent a direct mailer to your total audience 3–4 times over a 12-month period. You don’t want to inundate them with direct mail, but you need to reach them more than once to make it impactful.

Another key factor is how many pieces you send out with each direct mailer. While direct mail can be successful, the response rates are relatively low (.25 – .5 percent). We recommend sending out 5,000 – 7,500 pieces for each direct mailer (per location) to drive the necessary amount of opportunities to make it worth the investment. If you think you need to send more than that, you may want to divide it up further so there is a steady flow of traffic to the practice on a consistent basis.

If you are curious as to what results you should expect, check out Consult YHN’s direct mail response rate calculator. It will tell you how many calls and appointments you should receive and the gross revenue that you should generate.

  • 5. Messaging

We rely on our preferred direct mail vendors to determine what messages are the most successful and what resonates the best with our audience. Those vendors will customize each message for the specific practice (i.e., logo, contact information, offer, etc.) and we do not recommend interfering with the overall message. When you change the content, it could skew the results. We also recommend incorporating an offer that will entice individuals to come in. Many practices offer a free hearing screening, but that may not be enough of an incentive to get patients to your office.

  • 6. Call Tracking

If you want to know if your direct mail campaign is successful, you must have a call tracking number on it! Even if you have the best front office staff, it doesn’t hurt to have a documented report that captures all the calls that came in. You can purchase your own call tracking number through one of Consult YHN’s preferred call tracking vendors or your direct mail company may provide one to you.

There is a lot of strategic thinking that goes into a direct mail campaign, which is why the Consult YHN Marketing team is here to help! We will work with you to determine the best strategy and if it is driving the necessary traffic and ROI.

For more information about how to optimize your direct mail campaign, click here. You can also calculate your marketing ROI with our new Marketing Calculator.

About the Author

Lindsey Pierangeli joined Consult YHN in 2012 and serves as the Marketing Manager. Previously, she held marketing positions with advertising agencies and worked on accounts such as Amazon and Coca-Cola. Lindsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University.

Seven Things to Consider When You Run Your Next Ad

your-ad-goes-hereWhile it is true that advertisements don’t drive as much traffic as they once did, they are still effective!

In Consult YHN’s most recent ROI report (compiled from Associates’ marketing data), ads brought in a slightly negative ROI (-4 percent) and brought in few opportunities, BUT 72 percent of those completed appointments were converted to sales!

We also noticed that few Associates are running inserts, but those that do generate a positive ROI. In fact, of all the marketing initiatives, inserts delivered the highest conversion from appointments to sales (75 percent)!

The next time you weigh the options of advertising in your local publication, ask yourself these seven questions:

  • 1. Is the ad at least a quarter-page?

WHY: If you want traction, your ad needs to be at least a quarter-page in size. Frequency in the newspaper is a tale of the past — if you want your ad strategy to be successful, run one larger ad once a month instead of smaller, weekly ads. In the hyper-competitive world of advertising we live in, frequency can become white noise. Allocate your budget to a larger ad or an insert that doesn’t run as often in order to make it stand out.

  • 2. Is your logo and contact information prominent?

WHY: You would be surprised how many ads we review that neglect to list a practice’s name or their phone number! Beyond your contact information:

  • Utilize your logo prominently to establish some brand recognition in your community.
  • Calling out a landmark close to your office under your address can help provide easy reference.
  • List your website URL under your address — it helps build your credibility as an expert in your field and your website is typically the place that individuals will go to after they see your ad and before they pick up the phone.
  • 3. Do you have a call-to-action that encourages people to call the practice?

WHY: You need to tell people what to do with the information you give them. As simplistic as “Call today” or “Schedule an appointment” are, you would be surprised how effective these messages can be.

  • 4. Do you highlight what makes your practice unique?

WHY: From a branding perspective, it is important to utilize your messaging to highlight what sets you apart from your competition. With the big box stores and OTC coming into play, you need to tell your audience why they should come to you instead of going to your competitors. Ask yourself if there are any services that you provide that no one else in the area offers. Have you been around longer or have more experience? Are you doing things in the community that no one else is doing? Your audience wants to know!

  • 5. Is there an incentive that will entice them to call?

WHY: Incentives provide an added value to the services you provide. While everyone loves a deal (e.g., money or percentage off a hearing aid device or a free hearing screening), this doesn’t always have to be the offer. For instance, Consult YHN’s wellness initiative encourages practices to have “Lunch & Learn” events or educational seminars within the community, which could be your promotion. Ads receive a greater response rate when tied to an event where there is no commitment to buy vs. advertising an offer for a hearing device.

  • 6. Is there an image that relates to the message?

WHY: It is important to feature an image in your ad that grabs your audience’s attention and visually communicates your message. We prefer imagery with multi-generational families or active seniors that the audience can relate to. If your message is focused on technology, include imagery of up-to-date hearing devices that showcase their sleek design and advanced features.

  • 7. Are you optimizing your ad results?

WHY: Based on industry benchmarks, the average response rate for an ad is 1-2 calls per run. If you run an insert, then it is 10 calls per run (est. 30,000 distribution). The calls may convert to appointments and sales, but that is not always the outcome. While ads are typically seen as a branding awareness initiative, you can promote them through digital marketing or utilize your community network to gain more traction.

You should be allocating about 15 percent of your marketing budget towards print ads. While there has been a decline in response rates, it is still an important touch point that should be integrated into your multi-media marketing plan. If you have questions or need marketing help, the Consult YHN marketing team can review your existing ads and provide feedback, develop and release ads, and assist you with your overall marketing strategy.

About the Author

Lindsey Pierangeli joined Consult YHN in 2012 and serves as the Marketing Manager. Previously, she held marketing positions with advertising agencies and worked on accounts such as Amazon and Coca-Cola. Lindsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University.

How often are you speaking to your database?

One of the challenges that our Associates face regularly is finding ways to bring leads in the door. Many practices focus on outbound marketing tactics like direct mail, advertising and events, which are all crucial components to marketing plans, but there are goldmines practices are sitting on that may not be fully utilized — their databases!

Database MarketingIn our recent marketing ROI analysis, we identified that database marketing:

  • Received the highest conversion from calls to appointments — 93%.
  • Had the lowest cost-per-unit sold — $261.
  • Generated the highest ROI — 103%.

When you see results like this, is there really a question as to whether to incorporate database marketing into your overall marketing strategy?

We see all individuals in your database as leads that fall into one of two groups:

Visited Leads

These are individuals who have been in the office. If a practice staff engages its database, they are likely focusing on this group, which includes:

  • TNS (Tested not sold)
  • TNC (Tested not a candidate)
  • Repair
  • Recently purchased
  • Purchased in the past 1–2 years
  • Purchased 3+ years ago/OOW (Out of warranty)

Many Associates will market to the TNS and OOW patients, but there are so many other audiences that you should reach. No matter if your patient purchased devices or just needed a repair, constant engagement will keep you top-of-mind and help avoid them going elsewhere in the future.

Invited Leads

These are individuals who haven’t been in the office, but had some level of engagement with the practice. Although they never committed to an appointment, these leads are typically a result of your outbound marketing efforts, which include:

  • Digital marketing
  • Patient referrals
  • Physician referrals
  • Community outreach
  • Cancel/No show
  • New patients

You may not be capturing these contacts in your database, but it is imperative that you do! You already invested your marketing dollars to have patients reach out to you, so why not go the extra mile to maintain the relationship in hopes they will eventually come into the office?

Now that you realize the importance of your database, you may be asking yourself how you can fully take advantage of it? Stress not — Consult YHN makes the process simple and will provide you will all the steps and tools to get your database marketing rolling. As a starting point, request the free database communication grid. Consult YHN Associates also have access to a variety of free marketing materials as well as a telemarketing service available for contract through our partnership with Your Hearing Network.

About the Author

Lindsey Pierangeli joined Consult YHN in 2012 and serves as the Marketing Manager. Previously, she held marketing positions with advertising agencies and worked on accounts such as Amazon and Coca-Cola. Lindsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University.

Omni-Channel Marketing: The Recommended Approach

As the hearing industry gets more competitive, it is essential to have a marketing communication plan that incorporates streamlined messaging via every medium. The path to device purchase can start or end at any time, in any location or any device for that matter — to be a leader in this market, it is imperative for your business to provide a seamless user experience.

That is where the omni-channel marketing approach comes in to play: Delivering the same message on different platforms, which not only optimizes your advertising dollars, but also better engages your audience.

For example, take a direct mail campaign that you tie to an open house event or, better yet, a community event like a lunch and learn or educational seminar. Instead of relying solely on that direct mail piece, here are a number of other avenues that you can utilize to promote that event:

Follow up phone calls.

Every direct mail vendor that we work with will allow you to obtain a phone list of the individuals you mailed to for a nominal cost — typically about 10 percent of the distribution list. You can also use this as an opportunity to speak to your database as another way to generate event attendance.

When you actively call your OOW, TNS, Cancel/No Show patients, along with your direct mail targets, 1 in 3 will schedule an appointment!

If your practice does not have the staff to make these calls, Your National Call Center can help. They will work as an extension of your practice to bring you quality opportunities and save you time, effort and money.

Promote through digital marketing.

Social Media: Post the event details on any social media page associated with your practice. Upload the PDF of the creative or simply outline the details within the post.
PPC: If you have an existing pay-per-click strategy in place, work with your digital marketing agency to pull the messaging from the direct mail piece, convert it to an online ad, and capture leads.
Email: If you currently have an email marketing strategy, use this event as another way to speak to your patients. Even if they recently purchased, they may know someone who may be interested in attending the event.

Consult YHN Associates who are investing in digital marketing doubled their marketing spend in profit! If you need assistance with your digital marketing strategy, Consult YHN’s Marketing Team can help. We can provide insight on your existing digital marketing strategy or provide recommendations on how to get one in place. We also have free white papers that review how to implement digital marketing and social media tactics.

Run an ad in the local newspaper.

Based on our quarterly Associate marketing ROI analysis, ads drive more opportunities when they are tied to a specific event.

Event-driven ads tend to bring in more qualified leads, which yields a positive ROI. We develop ads for Consult YHN Associates, free of charge! Check out the variety of ad templates available via Marketsource. We can easily adjust the messaging to be consistent with your direct mail piece and work on your behalf to negotiate ad rates, reserve placement, and release the creative.

Utilize your network within the community.

Another idea to consider is speaking to your local network of businesses to see if they would be willing to help promote your event.

For instance, if you have a Practice Development Representative (PDR), your event is another opportunity to speak to local physicians. Print out the direct mail piece or let us help you convert it to a flyer for presentation in their waiting rooms. Apply the same approach to any senior center, supermarket or other local business that has an event board you can post to — they represent other great ways to get your practice’s name out in the community without having to spend money.

At Consult YHN, we have Wellness representatives that can help you implement a physician marketing and/or community outreach strategy that is suitable to your practice. Contact them about your own ideas and any questions you may have.

As a marketer, I am a firm believer in the omni-channel approach in order to generate more leads. By adding one or more of these options to your direct mail campaign, you will decrease your dependency on the success of the piece itself and increase your branding/exposure within the community.

About the Author

Lindsey Pierangeli joined Consult YHN in 2012 and serves as the Marketing Manager. Previously, she held marketing positions with advertising agencies and worked on accounts such as Amazon and Coca-Cola. Lindsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University.