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.

Online Chat: How to Start, What to Expect

For years, Apple, REI, Disney, and many other industry-leading companies have been using online chat to achieve superior customer experiences and increase sales effectiveness. Research shows that visitors who chat are 7.5 times more likely to complete a purchase than visitors who don’t chat. Chat also leads to greater customer satisfaction and more frequent repeat business, but is it right for professionals and private practices?

The theory behind chat is simple: Make it easier for potential clients to communicate with your practice, interact with a greater number of potential clients, and schedule more consultations and hearing tests. Though the theory of chat for your practice is simple, the practice of chatting professionally is difficult to execute. Is it worth implementing in your business? What are the costs and the benefits of chat? Should I manage chat in-house or outsource the management of my chat? What’s a budget-conscious way to get started?

Through our years of experience and testing online chat with more than 500 high-growth U.S. businesses, we have answered these questions and many more. Since our beta test period and launch in April 2016, we are now serving hundreds of businesses internationally and have used all of the data from our clients to compose these statistics. Our clients range from small rural one-provider, one-location practices to 15 provider practices in the urban core.

Adding online chat is simply a change in approach. Would you prefer clients leave without signing a contract, or would you prefer them to purchase today? Would you prefer your web visitors to be in control of calling you for a hearing test, or would you prefer to collect their information and have your most effective scheduler call them?

What Should You Expect?

Benefits

  • Interact with new clients outside of normal business hours and increase web conversions.
    • Because chat is more effective than a life-less, “Request an Appointment” button, you will convert more web visitors into new clients when your office is closed by live interaction with the client.
    • Our goal as marketers should be to meet the buyer where the buyer wants to buy.
  • Lower communication barriers help increase the frequency of communication with new clients on your website.
    • Our statistics show that 4-6 percent of web visitors are likely to engage with online chat.
    • Of the total chatters, over 40 percent will be new clients.
    • With an experienced and high quality chat agent, you can expect to collect contact information from 50-60 percent of those new clients.
  • Better organic search ranks due to longer user session duration.
    • When clients chat with your practice, they stay on your site for a longer period of time. Longer session durations lead to higher organic Google search results.
    • Because the average chat length is between seven and eight minutes, chatters are staying on your site longer.
    • Compared with the same period in the previous year, we noticed an average session duration increase of 10 percent.
  • Fewer current client calls to your practice during peak hours
    • Our client data shows that 61 percent of chats are taken from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST., 19 percent are taken before 10 a.m., and 20 percent are taken after 4 p.m. By answering client questions during the day, your staff can focus their efforts on outstanding in-office client service.
  • Increase in client satisfaction.
    • Your office will be more accessible to clients throughout a greater portion of the day. When accessibility increases, new client satisfaction increases. Not only will new clients be impressed, current clients will use it during your busy days and while they are at work

Costs

  • Professionally managed chat is a financial investment.
    • If you chose to have a professional manage your chat service, expect the starting rate to be $99-399 monthly.
  • Increased website bounce rate.
    • We noticed a slightly higher bounce rate after installing chat on practice websites, however, the evidence suggests that the benefit of session duration outweighs the negative effect of the slight increase in bounce rate. We only saw increases in Google organic rankings after adding chat and never decreases.
  • (Potential) Client frustration for poor chat execution and framing.
    • Chat is easy to do poorly. If done poorly, clients get frustrated, staff get frustrated, and chat is ineffective.
    • Just like the phone, if your team has poor service, poor phone skills, and poor scripting, your phone conversations will not be effective.

How Can I Start?

There are three options for implementing online chat for your practice. 

  1. Outsource chat to U.S. professionals.
    • Chat agents who are well versed in the hearing process and nuanced differences between different treatment types will be more effective at answering chats. This will lead to better client experiences and more effective collection of new client information.
    • Additionally, if the agents know about your practice offerings, they can build value for your practice.
    • Hiring U.S. agents who work in-office is an effective way to control quality and increase chat effectiveness.
    • This option is best for offices without large call centers.
  2. Outsource chat overseas (most chat companies).
    • There are hundreds of options to outsource your office’s chat. Service can range from per minute fees to a flat monthly fee, however, be aware that these chat agents do not know much about audiology or specifics about your practice. They often chat for businesses in a variety of industries and countries.
  3. Manage chat in-house.
    • Chat software can be placed on your site easily. There are services that range from free (Tawk.to or MyLiveChat) to more than $100 per month (BoldChat, LiveChat).
    • This works best for practices with a large call center already established for extended hours.
    • It is difficult to reliably answer chats if it is not the staff person’s main responsibility.
    • Beginner mistakes to avoid:
      • Having a pre-chat survey.
        • Do everything you can to decrease new client barriers…that’s the whole idea of chat!
      • Making the chat box look “spammy.”
        • You want the box to look trustworthy, not like a cheap service outsourced from another country.
      • Not tracking your results.
        • Make sure you are keeping track of the effectiveness of your chat.
      • Believing your clients when you survey them about chat.
        • If you ask a client, “Would you have come here to the office if not for our chat?” he/she is going to say “Yes!” 100 percent of the time. No new client wants to admit that convenience of chat alone was enough to get them into your practice.
      • Not having a “pop-out” window.
        • Pop-ups are generally annoying and detract from the web page, so it is important that your pop-out is tasteful and looks like a real human is on the other end.
        • Pop-out chat welcome messages are responsible for starting productive chats 75 percent of the time.

When you boil down these details, you need to make sure that you are achieving a better ROI with chat than you could with another marketing activity. That’s the golden question we should always ask ourselves before making any marketing purchase: “Can I use these marketing expenses more effectively in another place or on another project?”

Here is the proprietary calculation we use to estimate the ROI for our future clients based upon our current client data collection:

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Please Note: The above calculation will give you a likely ROI to revenue. Keep in mind that this is with highly trained HearingChats Specialists. Each practice’s results will be different.

Just like direct mail, Facebook marketing, and Google Adwords are not for everyone, chat is not for everyone. When chat is implemented deliberately and correctly, however, it can be an extremely effective tool for driving revenue and “wowing” existing clients.

If you are interested in implementing chat on your practice’s website, whether you are looking for a professional service or you are looking for help getting chat setup in-house, feel free to chat on our website and our team will gladly offer complimentary help.

About the Author

Scott Hansen is the CEO of HearingChats, the world’s leading professionally managed chat service for hearing professionals. While achieving his master’s in Business Administration at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, he was awarded a certificate of achievement by the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for his entrepreneurial work. Scott has owned and managed some the country’s fastest growing privately held businesses. Feel free to contact him at 816-205-8009, or chat online at HearingChats.com.

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.

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.

Top Trends in Digital Marketing

The Consult YHN Marketing Team recently attended the Philadelphia Digital Summit, a 2-day event focused on all things interactive — websites, SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, and more! We came back energized (much like our Associates do after Consult YHN’s annual Convention) and want to share some core findings to help you refine your digital marketing strategy.

Connecting with customers via content isn’t optional.

Content was one of the main topics discussed during the event because, in today’s world, marketing is all about storytelling. The content that you produce is key to connecting with your customers and establishing a rapport via your digital marketing activities. While it’s important to determine how you’re going to reach customers — through SEO, Social Media, PPC — it’s just as important to plan what you’re going to share so that customers engage with your brand.

Start by assessing the most visited pages on your website — this is intelligent insight that can influence your messaging strategy! Developing content around these pages allows you to generate information based on what your audience is most interested in consuming.

Individuals want information, not simply promotional messages and the most effective way to connect with people is on an emotional level. In fact, 88 percent of consumers say that personally relevant content improves how they feel about a brand. While crafting messaging, ask yourself questions like: What problem is my customer looking to solve? How will my services offer customers a better quality of life? What’s in it for the customer?

Still not sure where to begin? Think about the questions customers ask you and your staff most often and let those drive your editorial calendar for blog posts, social media content, and more. You stand a greater chance of effectively engaging your customers with the information that’s most relevant to them.

Stop sabotaging your email marketing efforts.

Email marketing was another hot-button topic during the conference. Across the board, the focus was on how to strategically influence your email marketing activities for optimal impact, instead of continuing to “batch blast” your entire contact list. It’s so important to pay attention to this activity to engage your customers because email is the preferred method of communication, according to 78 percent of consumers.

Enhance your email marketing game with these top two tips:

1. List Segmentation

Let’s start with your goldmine — your customer list, which is by far the biggest make or break factor in your email marketing strategy. It’s imperative to take the time to understand your customers based on their needs and start thinking about the customer journey for every segment of your list (think Tested Not Sold (TNS), Out of Warranty (OOW), and Wellness). If you spend the time to truly define your list thoughtfully, it will pay off.

2. Relevant Messaging

Put your consumer hat on for a second…do you ignore or delete emails that aren’t relevant to your situation at the time? If you answered “yes,” realize that your customers do the same thing!

Gone are the days when your entire email marketing strategy can consist of blasting out a quarterly newsletter to your full database. Today’s consumers expect more thoughtful, relevant and timely communication than ever before. One way you can appeal to this desire is to personalize content and messaging as much as possible based on what you know about that customer. Start small — in fact, personalized subject lines alone can increase email open rates by 26 percent, so add that one element to your next email communication before you hit “send.”

How much do consumers care about mobile?

Simply put, more people own a mobile phone than a toothbrush. Yes, you read that correctly. The world is more connected via mobile devices than ever before. In fact, mobile connectivity overtook desktop for the first time in 2016.

What does all this mean for your website? Be sure that your site has a responsive and/or mobile design to function smoothly on tablets and smartphones. Since nearly 60 percent of search queries now come from a mobile device, it’s important for customers to be able to easily access your site for research or location information on the go.

The Digital Marketing Wrap-Up: Top 3 Takeaways

  1. Content is king! If you have an authentic dialogue with your customers frequently — via emotional messaging that focuses on their interests — you’ll build trust and loyalty.
  2. Focus on your email strategy by developing a plan and mapping out which message will be sent to the different segments of your customer database.
  3. Accessing information via mobile devices is becoming a way of life for consumers. Be sure that your website is built with responsive and/or mobile in mind.

Digital marketing moves at lightning speed, but Consult YHN is here to help! Contact Consult YHN Marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com to discuss the latest digital marketing trends and how you can stay relevant.

About the Author

Keara M. Piekanski joined Consult YHN in 2010 and serves as Director, Product Management. She has over 13 years of marketing experience and develops products and services for Associates. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh, is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified, and is pursuing an MBA at Villanova 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.