Online Scheduling: Everything You Need to Know Fill Your Book

This is a sentiment we can all relate to. There are only so many hours in a day to check things off our to-do lists. We have places to get to, people to see, and things to do – you know how it goes.

When it seems like all we do is go, go, go, it helps to have some shortcuts to help us get our lives in order. At the end of the day, here are three things we know for sure about today’s consumers:

People are busy.
People want things to be easy.
People like options.

Gone are the days of calling in a food delivery order, thanks to apps like Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash. Between your phone, tablet or computer, everything is available right at your fingertips and presented in a way that busy people can easily decide between options (see what I did there?).

So, with the shift towards automation, it should be no surprise that online scheduling has become a preferred method of booking appointments. In fact, according to a GetApp survey, nearly 70 percent of consumers prefer online scheduling for service appointments compared to only 21 percent preferring to book by phone.

More and more healthcare providers are using online scheduling tools on their websites for the following reasons:

  • Enhances patient-experience with fast and easy booking
  • Provides 24/7 access to scheduling
  • Frees up time for front office personnel
  • Increases the number of monthly leads (on average, online scheduling tools generate four additional leads per month for hearing healthcare providers).

By offering patients solutions at the touch of a button, we remove the last barrier to entry standing between patients booking their appointments. Once we get them through the door, it’s time for the provider to shine and help patients hear well again.

Still not convinced?

Allow us to address the biggest objections you may have (skeptics, pay attention!):

 

You say: “Online scheduling is going to mess up my calendar/block scheduling/PMS.”

We say: Online scheduling tools such as those offered by Sycle and Blueprint are integrated directly with your practice management software and come equipped with the capability to only book during pre-selected times. The Blueprint OMS booking tool is specifically designed in a way to work with block scheduling and is always updating in real-time based on the practice’s Blueprint OMS schedule.

 

You say: “Patients who book online are more likely to cancel/no-show.”

We say: The benefits associated with providing real-time online appointment booking far outweigh a possible cancellation or no-show. Even if patients cancel or don’t show to an appointment booked online, their patient file will be flagged for follow-up so you can continue to nurture that lead.

Blueprint OMS will also display a patient’s cancellation/no-show rate. Therefore, if someone with a known, high no-show rate books online, the practice can take whatever measures necessary to ensure the patient will attend the appointment, be it a follow-up call, implementing a no-show policy, etc.

 

You say: “Is online scheduling HIPPA compliant?”

We say: Yes! Online scheduling tools were built out to be both HIPAA and GDPR compliant. Blueprint’s online booking system is fully self-contained—all data remains within Blueprint OMS, and no information is exchanged with any third-party platforms. Additionally, all online bookings are made on a secure website that uses HTTPS to encrypt all communications and ensure privacy.

Adopting a consumer-centric approach and offering your patients the flexibility to schedule their hearing appointments online can save you time, increase your monthly leads, and better serve your patients.

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 Importance of a Multi-Faceted Marketing Approach

Have you ever completed a new marketing campaign (whether it be direct mail, newspaper ad, or Facebook ad) and you’re waiting for the phone to ring, but it just doesn’t? Or maybe the phone does ring, you set a few appointments and sell a couple of units, but it’s not nearly what you expected for the money you spent.

During the time you spend reflecting on this result, a big question you need to ask yourself is: how many touchpoints did I have with my potential patients?

According to SalesForce, it takes six to eight touchpoints to create a real sales lead. When a patient receives a direct mail piece from a practice or sees a newspaper ad – that’s one! The goal of a multi-faceted approach, as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy, is to maximize the number of times a potential customer sees your practice, keeping a consistent brand image, and improving the overall customer experience. Utilizing a tool like the Consult Database Program can ensure that your practice name and brand becomes top of mind – and you always want to stay top of mind with your existing or potential patients.

When looking at your overall marketing approach, there are a few things you want to think about before you get into the fine details of the plan:

  1. How many times do potential customers see your practice in advertisements?
  2. How many different avenues do you utilize in your marketing?
  3. How many competitors are located in your target zone?
  4. Are you tracking all the sources of all your referrals and leads?
  5. Do you know your most productive marketing tool?
  6. How do most new patients say they found out about your practice?

Thinking about these key questions will help you judge where your current marketing strategy may be lacking and what other creative ways you may be able to reach your audience! The third question is especially important when considering the overall strategy. If there’s a higher level of competition in your area, you want to keep your marketing program constant and consistent to make sure your practice stands out and stays ahead of the competition. Brand awareness is key to driving patients through the door.

Now let’s discuss what exactly a multi-touch marketing campaign is and how it works. Imagine you’re flipping through your favorite magazine and see an ad with a coupon for a fall festival at a local amusement park. This might be something you’re interested in, but the magazine will likely end up in the recycling bin, and the ad will be forgotten. This is the same type of single touchpoint that a one-off direct mail piece or newspaper ad creates. Now imagine you read that ad in the morning, and on your way to the store in the evening, while you’re stopped at a red light, a commercial for that amusement park comes on the radio! A few minutes later, driving down the highway, you look up, and there’s another ad for that same amusement park!

Now according to the six to eight touch point rule, you are between 37 percent and 50 percent more likely to go home and look for the coupon in the ad.

While this is a grand example, the key principles remain the same: multiple channels of communication, close succession, and consistency! Each ad acts as a follow up to the previous one, keeping your brand top of mind with potential customers. For your practice, this is like a phone call follow up on a database mailer, an email matching a direct mail piece, or a Facebook ad that mirrors a print ad. This multi-faceted approach is achieved through a full and consistent marketing plan that utilizes multiple sources of communication.

If you feel like this is something you could improve upon or you’re looking for a comprehensive marketing plan – you can always reach out to Consult YHN’s marketing team for assistance! We can help you create a 12-month marketing plan that’s guaranteed to raise brand awareness, increase opportunities, and drive sales.

About the Author

Matt Gargano joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Executive, developing marketing plans and managing various projects for Associates. Prior to joining Consult YHN, he has worked in Financial Services, Non-Profit, and Education. Outside of work, Matt enjoys managing his farm, all outdoor activities, and writing music.

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.

Facebook 101: Navigating Posts, Boosted Posts, and Facebook Ads

As Facebook has grown over the years into a rich platform for marketers and clinics to advertise and promote their services, it has segmented into three separate pathways for promotion.

So what’s the difference between the three pathways: regular posts, boosted posts, and Facebook ads?

Facebook Feed Posts

Regular Facebook Feed posts consist of updates and posts made on your clinic’s “timeline;” one that shows on the front of your business page in chronological order. This acts as a bulletin board for any potential client or former client to learn about your practice and peruse through any updates or information you have recently posted. These posts made on your page will be shown to approximately 1-2% of your fan base on average, as organic reach has steadily decreased over the past few years due to an over-supply of content on the platform.

As your page receives higher engagement and your posts are deemed more relevant to your audience, Facebook will show your posts to more users organically in their news feed. It is essential for all clinics and small businesses to have an active social media presence, as it has become a core search component when potential patients are researching about a product or service. The more updated and relevant content that a clinic has on their Facebook page, the more likely a patient will be interested in using them as a provider.

Boosted Posts

Boosted posts provide clinics or marketers the ability to amplify their regular page posts to a larger audience than Facebook would show it to organically. You are provided with a simplified set of targeting options, including age demographic and geographic location, and you are able to optimize your boosted post to receive more engagement or reach the maximum amount of people for your budget. You are limited with this promotion to strictly boost your post on the Facebook or Instagram News Feeds.

On the user-end, they will see “Sponsored” in the corner of the post on their news feed, just as it would had it been run through the Ads Manager. This simplifies the ad-building process into under a minute and makes it easy for clinics to add additional exposure to their page posts/updates. However, it does not provide you with complex options to fully target your audience, build campaigns, implement eye-catching ad styles, and the ability to optimize efficiently to deliver the best results like Facebook Ads does. This can be a considered a shortcut to give your posts a small but necessary “boost” of exposure.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ads give you the ability to fully maximize the platform and deliver the best results for your campaigns. You are provided with a rich set of controls and campaign objectives, with the ability to optimize based on your goals of generating traffic, generating leads, sign-ups, or simply building brand awareness. Utilizing the Facebook Ads Manager enables you to utilize the varying ad styles most useful for clinics such as “Lead-Generation” ads or “Conversion,” giving you the flexibility to track the patient journey from seeing the ad to filling out a form. It also provides you with the tools to select the individual platforms your campaign should run on, whether it be on any of the varying ad spaces that Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger provides.

A/B testing is also provided so that you can truly test what ads work, and what ads are not resonating with your audience. Lastly, you will find better results in total reach, cost per impressions, total leads, and other key performance metrics by running Facebook Ads over simply boosting posts, as best practices follow building all ads through their back-end system.

Interested in learning more about how you can best utilize Facebook to grow patient leads?

 

Contact us here or give us a call at 866-950-3571 to get started!

About the Author

Ethan Bruno is the Search Marketing Manager at AudiologyDesign. He has an extensive background in digital advertising and brand development, working in a diverse set of verticals for small businesses, including healthcare, automotive, retail, non-profits, and e-commerce consumer products. Ethan is a Certified Facebook Blueprint Buying Professional and holds additional certifications in Google Analytics and Google Adwords. In his current role, Ethan plans, strategizes, and builds PPC and social advertising campaigns for hearing care practices throughout the US and Canada. He obtained his degree in Communications from Syracuse University and currently resides in New Jersey. In his free time, you can catch him sitting on a blanket at music festivals all over the globe.

Best Practices for Tracking PPC Leads

PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is a great digital marketing option for those looking for fresh prospects, especially if your market is flooded with traditional marketing efforts. The problem is that online marketing efforts can be difficult to track in the office.

Some people will simply say “Google” or “I saw your website” when you ask them how they heard about you, but they may not know to tell you they saw your paid ad—or even realize that they clicked on an ad! Another issue is that there’s an added complexity if you are running other initiatives like direct mail. A patient may say they got the mail piece, but their phone call is tracked to an online initiative.

So what do you do?

There are two sides to the equation: how your digital marketing vendor should be tracking your PPC and how you track it once prospects reach your practice. Let’s start with the first—the best practices when it comes to how a vendor can track their PPC efforts:

  1. Landing Pages – PPC best practices include having a landing page related to your paid ads that feature a contact form that you can track to that specific page. What is a landing page? This is a simplistic stand-alone web page where a visitor “lands” after clicking your ad. This page is designed to have one single focus and for the audiology industry that’s typically to contact your practice. It should include enough information to be relevant to the ad but not a recreation of your entire website; less is more in this case.
  2. Form Submissions – By featuring a contact form on the landing page, visitors can quickly and easily send you their information. This form submission is emailed to the practice and can be translated as that visitor asking your practice to reach out to them. The quicker you can reach out to them, the more likely you’ll book a new appointment.
  3. Google Analytics This tracking effort is typically set up by your PPC provider but may be even more important if you’re managing this effort in-house, especially if you’re not using a PPC-specific contact form or call tracking. Google Analytics tracks an overwhelming amount of data and one of the most helpful tools is the ability to set “goals” which could be contact form submissions or smartphone click-to-calls. If you’re not using a landing page, you can track the number of visitors to the specific page you’re directing your ads to.

Ok, you’ve gotten the lead. Here’s how can you track those prospects in your office:

  1. Office Follow-up – Someone in your practice should be following up on any prospects, both from phone calls and form submissions, within 24 hours of being received during business hours. Checking your voicemail after lunch (if the office breaks for lunch) and first thing in the morning can ensure you’re following up with those who want to hear back from you. Also, often times, you can set up the forms to be sent to multiple people so that an FOP and management can get them. This way the FOP can follow up quickly and management has a “receipt” of the contact and make sure any tracking matches.
  2. Call Tracking – Call tracking can be incorporated on both your website and PPC landing page to optimize tracking. By using different tracking numbers on your website and your landing page, you’ll be able to track PPC-specific leads. Tracking all calls from your website is a generally good idea so that you can understand how many prospects are calling to make appointments and how many are current patients. Some call tracking providers feature a technology called “dynamic number placement” which is great to implement in your tracking. The idea is that the numbers on the website automatically change depending on where the site visitor has come from—meaning organic search, PPC ads, and even social media channels! In other words, you’ll be able to track incoming calls from all of your digital efforts, not just your PPC. Call tracking is also helpful when patients are calling the digital tracking number but indicate that they received a mail piece. You would attribute this call to your digital efforts because it’s the effort that spurred the person to contact the practice.
  3. Practice Management Software – Making sure your front office staff understands that you’re running PPC ads can be very helpful when it comes to tracking in your practice management software. This way, they’ll know to ask callers which initiative they’re calling from as well as which referral source to use. Also, call tracking can help ensure you’re listing the correct referral sources as it can help you differentiate between general “online” activity and PPC-specific activity.

Why is tracking your PPC important? For ROI of course! Because digital marketing is happening in real time and doesn’t feature tangible collateral for someone to save until they’re ready to act (like direct mail), it can provide a shorter buying cycle.

Still not sure how you can track your digital marketing efforts? Consult YHN can help! 

The Consult YHN Marketing team can translate reporting into actionable items and make suggestions on how to improve your current tracking efforts. We can also consult on your overall digital marketing strategy, including reviewing proposals, developing budget suggestions, and more.

Contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com to get started today!

About the Author

Rachel Atar joined Consult YHN in 2015 as Marketing Account Executive. With experience in multiple industries, Rachel has consistently helped small businesses navigate marketing for their end consumers. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was Taylored Home Health Care’s Marketing Manager.

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.