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.

Handling Price Inquiries – What FOPs & Providers Need to Know

On occasion, patients call asking about the price of hearing devices. They may ask for a price range or the price of a specific product. Nowadays, most patients have already done some extent of online research and are merely looking for you to confirm the information they have found.

From a customer service standpoint, of course, you want to answer the patient’s pricing questions over the phone. But here’s why you shouldn’t and how to handle it as a Front Office Professional (FOP) or Hearing Healthcare Provider.

 

Front Office Professionals

  1. If the patient hasn’t had his hearing tested, then you don’t know if he could benefit from amplification. The first thing you should do is find out if he’s had a hearing test and been told he could benefit from hearing devices.
  2. Regardless of the patient’s response, the device recommendation will still be based on hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget. So, without consulting with the provider, you don’t know what will be recommended as a solution. The best thing you can do for the patient is to schedule a consultation with the provider who is the hearing expert. Most important, communicate these reasons to the patient on your call. Don’t just say, “we don’t provide pricing over the phone.” Instead, provide the reasoning and emphasize how each patient requires individual testing and recommendations in order to provide the best solution based on hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget.
  3. Let the patient know that your practice works with a variety of manufacturers with a range of prices to fit their needs. If absolutely necessary, offer to have the provider contact the patient to further advise them on their options.

Hearing Health Providers

  1. Find out what’s important to patients and why they are inquiring about price. Are they asking about price because they have a preconceived notion about the cost of hearing devices? Are they getting second-hand information from a friend or loved one? Are they trying to sort through mailers, newspaper ads, and/or the internet to make sense of the price?
  2. Explain how the influx of information from the above sources can be confusing and how you can help them make sense of it all by being their trusted advisor. Let them know that although hearing devices can look alike, it doesn’t mean they all have the same functionality, and it’s important to understand how their ongoing hearing healthcare needs will be handled. Let them know why patients choose to come to you. 
  3. Invite the patient to visit your practice for a free consultation with you. Patients choose providers they trust. So be the provider they need.

Reach out!

Talk to your Account Manager today if you have any questions about how you and your staff can better handle price shoppers or cost objections.

You and your team may benefit from our Employee Development Program (EDP), which offers regional classes on a variety of topics, from increasing customer satisfaction to closing sales. We also provide weekly teletrainings which give practice owners the opportunity to openly discuss the challenges their personnel are facing and learn how to overcome them.

And don’t forget that there’s a wealth of information and free materials available to Consult members via Navigator, including scripts your staff can use as a guide for handling incoming calls, requesting patient referrals, asking for a Third Party, and more.

About the Author

Diana Dobo was as an Account Manager for three years and Divisional Vice President for the West Division for four years before being named Consult YHN’s Vice President of Strategic Accounts. She has nearly 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and business development. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was a Senior Sales Manager in the healthcare IT industry.

Take Your Website from Good to Great with These 10 Tips

You have a website. Today, everyone has a website. So, now what?

Does your website blow your competitors’ websites out of the water?

Almost every patient journey begins with or includes a Google search. Hopefully, your PPC (Paid Per Click) and SEO game is on point and driving prospects to your website. But how many prospects is your website driving through your front door? And, is it good enough that it would motivate someone to drive 10 extra miles to your practice over another?

It’s an ambitious goal, but certainly possible with the right tweaks…

  1. Optimize your page speed
    According to Google Analytics, 40 percent of web users leave pages that take more than three seconds to load. Meanwhile, another study has shown that even a five-second delay in page response can increase your bounce rate by more than 20 percent. Find out just how fast or slow your site is with Google’s free PageSpeed tools. Since image file size is one of the biggest culprits of lagging web pages, make sure the images on your site are compressed. There are several free applications you can use to compress your own images.
  1. Be smart about your layout and design
    Design is the main reason people don’t trust certain websites or the businesses behind them. For example, low-quality images or design inconsistencies between pages can be giant red flags to a visitor. That’s why everything from your spacing, fonts, and heading sizes to your colors, button styles, and design elements need to be consistent, cohesive, and clean. A consistent header and footer on every page that includes your logo, practice information, and social icons is equally important. And while we’re on the topic, have you ever thought about how your website’s colors might impact the user experience? 
  1. Check your mobile responsiveness
    With mobile searches finally surpassing desktop searches last year, Google recently announced that it is now indexing websites based on their mobile version instead of their desktop version. In other words, the content, links, speed, etc. of your mobile site are now the key drivers of your search engine visibility. Before you panic, know that Google has a number of tools to test how mobile-friendly your site really is and Search Console has a mobile usability report that outlines problems on a page-by-page level. One must-have feature of your mobile site: Click-To-Call. Why? Because 76% of consumers say they use mobile call features to schedule appointments for local services.
  1. Offer rich content
    For search purposes, Google recommends having a minimum of 250-300 words per page. But your content should go above and beyond providing basic information about your practice—it should engage and educate visitors. Hearing health tips, hearing loss facts, a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, a list of the devices you offer with details about the different styles, and a blog (that’s regularly updated!) are all great examples of rich content. Creating content with legitimate value not only helps to present your practice as the local expert, but it inevitably supports your SEO efforts. 
  1. Make your content easier to digest
    Step one: trim the excess fat. Did you know that white space around text and titles can increase user attention by 20 percent? Create that extra room by keeping your paragraphs as concise as possible. Step two: make sections of text easier to scan by adding headings and subheadings, choosing clear fonts, and breaking down key points, features, or services into bulleted lists. You can get more creative with your layout by replacing traditional bullet points with icons or using lines, borders, or different shading to visually isolate related content.
  1. Reconsider your images
    We all know a stock photo when we see one. Although stock images aren’t inherently bad, they are inherently generic and impersonal, which can reduce trust. If your website relies heavily on stock imagery, it’s okay, many websites do. However, consider replacing a few stock images with actual photos of your practice and staff. We promise that prospects will want to see you and your staff members’ smiling faces. Any stock images that you do use, should complement the content, not distract from it.
  1. Use calls to action and buttons to guide visitors
    Your website should provide a customer journey that is clearly mapped out and fluid from page to page. Visitors should always see a next step or action to take as they browse. That’s why every page should feature a distinct call to action (CTA), accompanied by a phone number, contact form, and/or button. A strong CTA is 2-5 words that urge visitors to take an immediate action, whether it’s “Click Here” for more information or “Call Today” to schedule an appointment.
  1. Add a contact form
    Current and potential patients alike need to be able to contact your practice when it’s most convenient for them. Contact form submissions are also a great lead generation tool. Any visitor that completes a form on your site is a prospect and should be contacted as quickly as possible. Some website forms can automatically send a thank you email to your new prospect and let them know the timeframe in which they can expect to receive a follow-up phone call. Now, this prospect can be added to your practice management system and to future marketing initiatives.
  1. Add patient reviews
    A 2018 survey found that 72 percent of patients used online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor and 88 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Boost your digital presence and reputation by including links to review sites, a dedicated testimonial page, or even better, using our Online Review Builder which gathers your positive online reviews in real-time and displays them on your website for you.
  1. Boost your SEO!
    You didn’t think we’d write an entire blog post about websites without mentioning SEO, did you? Simply put, ranking in the top positions on search engine result pages means significantly more traffic to your website, and then through your front door. Similar to PPC, SEO is an efficient marketing strategy because it targets online users who are actively seeking out your services.

While digital marketing trends come and go and change constantly, a solid website that entices potential patients, engages current patients, and reinforces your brand will never go out of style.

 

Think it’s time to give your website a makeover or even a complete overhaul? Consult YHN’s Marketing team provides website assessments to members.

About the Author

Nicole Finkbiner joined Consult YHN as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2018 with nearly a decade of communications experience. Over the course of her career, Nicole has created a wide array of different content for various mediums and outlets—news articles, press releases, arts features, product descriptions, small business websites, e-blasts, social media posts, promotional materials, and more. In her free time, the Philadelphia native enjoys soaking up the city’s culture and binge-watching TV shows.

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.

Creating a Robust Patient & Professional Referral Program

Attracting new patients is critical to your practice’s health, growth and long-term stability. Recently Dr. Howard Ong, owner of Seal Beach Dentistry, and Dr. Kathy Wentworth, owner of PetPoint Medical Center and Resort, two members of Insights from the Outside, a panel of clinician practice owners created by CareCredit from multiple disciplines, including dentistry, veterinary medicine, ophthalmology, audiology and optometry, shared their best practices on growth through referrals, many of which may provide insight and inspiration for hearing health professionals.

For healthcare businesses to be successful there must be people walking through your door and patients getting treatment. It’s absolutely critical for every practice, not just a new practice, to continue to build a new patient base.  You think that because you have something to offer people, that they will just find you. The problem is, for the most part, they’re not going to. And because it’s the nature of the business to lose patients who may move or no longer need your care, it’s important to keep increasing the underlying patient base. You have to start with the end in mind and create referral programs that help your practice grow.

There is a big difference between patients who are referred to you by friends, families or a health professional and those who find you through other mediums. When patients are referred, there is a sense of trust. That’s because they have a personal recommendation. It’s human nature to trust the advice of a friend or family member. And because the existing patient shared information about you, how you treat people and your services, the new one comes in with an understanding of what you do and what you offer and an expectation that they will be happy with your care and services. The quality of the patient is much better and the likelihood of the patient following through with your treatment recommendations is higher.

To create a robust referral program, you have to start with your current patient experience. No one is going to refer a doctor to friends and family if they are not 100% happy with every aspect of that practice – from the first call to treatment and follow-up. The entire experience must be exceptional so they’re excited to share that experience with others. If patients have a good experience, they are going to stay. And if they stay and you treat them well, they are going to recommend patients.   People want to feel like they belong and that they have chosen the right office for care.

Here are a few ways to increase referrals:

1. When the time is right – ask!

The best time to ask for a referral is when patients are delighted (i.e. when you’ve had a successful procedure or a successful delivery of a device). Anytime other than that, it loses its value. It takes time to develop that habit because it has to be a behavior in the team to recognize when that delight moment happens. Everything kind of freezes and we take the opportunity to ask for a referral.

2. Offer a small incentive.

It’s really not about the money for people; it’s about them being delighted and wanting friends and family to have the same experience. So, if they’ve had a great experience, ask and offer a small credit on their account as a thank you.

3. Get out and meet your “neighbors.”

Doing on-site promotions with property managers and business owners in the community can be very successful. Most property managers and businesses are excited because it doesn’t cost them anything and it’s an event they can offer their residents or employees.  Provide information and presentations on preventing hearing loss – any topic that will educate and encourage people to be curious about you and your practice.

4. Be part of the community.

Professional community talks are another way to expand awareness of your practice. It’s about building relationships with other colleagues and those in your referral funnel. It is great exposure and even though it may not be the number one draw for referrals, it will definitely make your practice visible and an authority of hearing health.

5. Be of service.

Being active in service organizations can not only be rewarding personally, it can be a source for soft referrals. When you participate in community events and fundraisers, people see you being helpful and involved and are more inclined to think of you when they or a friend need a great community audiologist.

6. Look for unique referral opportunities.

One unique source of referrals are patients who have come to our practice through the CareCredit Provider Locator on which we get a free listing. For us, CareCredit is part of the patient experience and our referral process, because it helps us help patients get the care they need.  If patients can’t get the care, they certainly aren’t going to be referring friends and family. We are seeing an increasing number of new patients come in through that source.

7. Be social.

Social media is obviously a hot topic today and can be used to generate referrals. Content can be educational and entertaining. Remember, being social also means being personable. Take pictures of staff during the day, from serious procedures to light-hearted pictures.  Existing and prospective patients like that they can get to know you and see what you’re all about.

Ultimately, when people know you care, that you’re committed to doing the absolute best for them, referrals are a natural outcome. It truly starts with why you chose to be a healthcare provider in the first place – to help patients get healthy so they can live active, connected lives.

If you and your team deliver on that promise in a way that is respectful, encouraging and unique, you’ll see your practice grow.

 

This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual business, financial, legal, tax and/or other advisors with respect to any information presented. Synchrony Financial and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, (collectively, “Synchrony”) makes no representations or warranties regarding this content and accepts no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions in this blog post are the sole opinions of the authors. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

About the Authors

Dr. Howard Ong started practicing dentistry 24 years ago and joined the practice 10 years ago. Dr. Ong is specially trained in implantology, and has focused his love for implants and surgery by completing his Masters ICOI. He has also completed his Masters in the AGD program.
Dr. Ong is a member of the ADA, CDA, Harbor Dental Society, AGD, ICOI and holds a certification in DOCS and the Seal Beach Dental Study Club.

Dr. Kathy Wentworth, owner and medical director, is board certified as a Diplomate in canine and feline practice. She has been practicing for 17 years in Southern California and has expertise in all types of pets in both conventional and integrative medicine. PetPoint is a family owned and operated 16,000 square foot premier pet care center that offers everything for your pets’ health and wellbeing.

Adding video to your marketing strategy just got easier with this easy to follow guide

A few months ago I wrote about the importance of video in your marketing strategy. There was a time not that long ago when shooting video required expensive equipment and hiring a specialist. Not anymore. Shooting video has never been easier and you have everything you need in your cell phone!

Chances are, you’ve already shot video with your phone, so you know how to access your phone’s video capabilities. Whether you’re shooting an owner or audiologist promoting a practice or a happy patient for a quick testimonial, here are a few tips to guide through the process.

The Basics

Ideally, you’re looking for 60-90 seconds per video without the use of a script. Anything longer and the speaker might get sidetracked and lost in thought. Make it look and feel natural. If you want to promote your practice and have a lot to say, consider breaking it up into a few videos, each on a certain aspect of why your practice excels or services you offer. If you have a testimonial, speak with that person first to see what they have to say as a short rehearsal, then give them the cue or prompt them with a question and hit record.

Location

You’ll need a quiet, well-lit room. It doesn’t have to be the nicest room in the office, but a nice neutral wall works best as the background. If you have elegant posters or works of art that you think will look good as the background, then have them stand in front of them. Make sure the room is free from the usual office noise (ringing phones, lobby television, office chatter, etc.) and foot traffic.

Camera Settings

You can use your camera’s default settings or have it in fully automatic if you follow these few basic rules:

  • Lighting: Lighting is key to video. A friend once told me that without lighting, it’s radio. Make sure the room where you’ll be shooting the video has plenty of light, preferably natural, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can wash your subject out and created harsh shadows. Under low light conditions, your video will appear too dark or, if the camera compensates for the lack of light, too grainy.
  • Sound: Capturing good sound is just as important as capturing good video. Believe it or not, bad audio is worse than bad video. Most viewers will tolerate poor video quality, but no one can stand poor audio no matter how clear the video is. Make sure you stay close to the subject and your hand is not covering the phone’s built-in microphone (a tiny hole located at the base of the phone).
  • Stabilize: Unless you’re using a tripod, you’’ll need to keep the camera as stable as possible. Hold the camera with both hands (still making sure you don’t cover the microphone) and keep elbows as close to your body as possible — maybe even rest them on your waist for added support. Keep the camera at eye level! Unless you’re shooting a sequel to the Blair Witch Project, you don’t want to point the camera up someone’s nose.
  • Focus: Press and hold an area of the shot (in this case, the face) to lock both exposure and focus.
  • Get close to the subject: First, this gets the microphone closer to the sound source. Second, it avoids having to zoom in to the subject. Zooming in can decrease the clarity of the video and intensifies any camera shake.
  • Composition: While the tendency is to hold your phone vertically, that is not the standard format for video. Keep your camera in the horizontal, landscape format. When composing your shot, don’t place the head right in the middle. Instead, place the head slightly above center and closer to the top. You want the eyes about a third way from the top.
  • Keep it simple: Avoid panning, zooming, and any other fancy moves or effects. Those will just distract from the subject.
  • Share: Once the video is done, simply share it to various social media outlets.

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Take a few test shots, make the proper adjustments, and you’re all set!

About the Author

Rolando Corpus joined Consult YHN in 2011 and serves as Art Director. He has more than 12 years’ experience in graphic design, digital marketing, and video production. He received a bachelor of arts degree from St. Joseph's University and a master of arts degree from The University of Pennsylvania.