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.

Getting Ready for Better Hearing and Speech Month

It’s almost that time of year again where we designate an entire month to emphasizing the importance of hearing health and wellness. That’s right – Better Hearing and Speech Month. This May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), has selected the theme of “Communication Takes Care”. Be prepared for your social media timelines to be flooded with this hashtag as well as #BetterHearingandSpeechMonth or #BHSM this upcoming month.

BHSM photo

As professionals involved in the hearing healthcare industry, we know that the cause of hearing health and wellness should be at the forefront of minds every month. The challenge is that the general public has still yet to associate the month of May with the support of this cause. So how do we bring BHSM awareness to the mainstream in our communities?

The answer to that question is found by looking at BHSM from a different vantage point: the marketer’s perspective. Let’s consider these marketing tactics to help increase awareness for Better Hearing & Speech Month:

  • Promotional Collateral: Whether it’s a poster hanging in your office or informational pieces to distribute to patients, having collateral to promote BHSM is a great tool to educate people on the importance of spreading awareness for hearing health and wellness.

There are plenty of marketing materials out there to help your practice promote BHSM all month long. Check out Consult YHN’s Wellness Marketing Tools, which can easily be repurposed to include BHSM messaging. There are also tons of promotional resources and ideas on ASHA’s website. Remember, having materials is one thing – but make sure you are actively using any promotional items!

  • Engage Your Employees: It all starts with you and your practice. No matter how big or small your practice may be the first step is for everyone to get on board and excited about the cause. Encourage your employees to pass out your promotional materials and mention BHSM by name – the more times people are exposed to the name, the more likely they are to form an association with it. Brainstorm ways that your staff can get charged up about BHSM in your daily huddles. Making it exciting for your staff will ultimately translate a positive attitude towards BHSM onto your patients.
  • Community Events: Involvement in community events is important for your practice no matter what month it is (read more on that here!), but May is a good time to start if your practice doesn’t already have an active presence. Use this month to get your name and face out in your local community; host an educational seminar, coordinate a hearing walk, sponsor a local organization, or volunteer! Whatever you do, make sure you and your staff are utilizing the BHSM collateral to reinforce your efforts.
  • Digital Buzz: Utilizing online platforms to spread the word about Better Hearing and Speech Month will give a voice to this cause in the digital media realm. Use this month to educate the public on hearing loss by sharing facts, studies, and any other informative tidbits on your website or social media pages. If you are actively participating in community events or want to highlight a patient’s story, take photos and share them online. Make sure you’re using hashtags like #BHSM or #CommunicationTakesCare to get this year’s topic trending on Facebook and Twitter!

Think of the heights that BHSM can reach if we do our part to bring attention to it, even if we start on a smaller scale within our local community. Consider the success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October is a month filled with pink ribbons, fundraising campaigns, and social media hashtags galore. This month of awareness has turned into a social movement, raising money for research and ultimately de-stigmatizing breast cancer.

Starting Small

It all starts with the conscious efforts that you and your practice make to increase awareness of hearing loss in general. Taking advantage of a month dedicated to hearing and speech wellness can be the push needed to bring mainstream attention to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. In order to reach the global scale that we know this cause deserves, we need to start small and focus on the initiatives within our grasp to bring awareness to our local communities first.

If you want to learn more about how Consult YHN can help get you ready to promote BHSM in your practice, contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com or your Associate Manager today!

The FitBit is Now HIPAA Compliant!

fitbit-forceConsumer device manufacturer Fitbit announced that it now supports HIPAA compliance. The changes they made ensure they are aligned with federal compliance standards. What it means though, is that covered entities and business associates can continue to use their devices without compromising personal health information.

This announcement highlights the importance of meeting personal privacy regulations, across all segments of the healthcare industry.  Yet, surprisingly, many organizations are still not in compliance with the more stringent 2013 Omnibus Rule and face an increased business risk if a data breach occurs. Failing to keep protected health information secure and private can lead to serious consequences and significant fines.

Putting robust security and privacy policies in place can decrease the chances of having a breach, not eliminate it completely.  Organizations that do so will be less likely to face significant enforcement action by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) with a compliance program in place.  At minimum, all Consult YHN Associates should perform and document a risk assessment, implement technical, administrative and physical safeguards and provide training and guidelines for all employees!

Fitbit is in HIPAA compliance, are you?

Don’t Just Operate a Practice, Operate a Community Practice

community involvement

Community involvement can help your business and contribute to its growth and success. People show loyalty to businesses that are actively involved in the community. Having a practice that is recognized for caring about its community sets your practice apart from the competition!

If you aren’t already involved in your local community, consider these ideas for ways to get started:

Community Events

Sponsoring a community event is one way to get involved, but you can also participate in events.  Interactions with people who need to learn about hearing healthcare as a part of their overall wellness (along with their family members) helps establish your presence in the area. It’s also a fun way to get involved and meet people!

  • Festivals, Fairs and Shows: Many festivals, fairs, and shows have opportunities for local businesses to set up booths to promote their businesses and engage with attendees. Think creatively and don’t limit yourself to the obvious ones. A home show, dog show, or hobby event may provide you with a sizable audience and considerably less competition than a health fair. Look into setting up a table with information on your practice and hearing loss. Bring along literature about the importance of hearing to overall wellness, hearing loss and your practice. Remember to bring giveaways with your logo to distribute!

festivals

  • Hospitals: Hospitals often hold various health-related events throughout the year that your practice can participate in. There may also be specific events geared towards hearing during Better Hearing Month in May or National Audiologist Awareness Month in October.
  • Malls: Check with your local mall for any relevant events open to local businesses. Many malls also have Mall Walker programs, which primarily consist of baby boomers and senior citizens. Ask the mall management about any opportunities to get involved with the group to promote your practice.
  • Retirement Communities: Reach out to local retirement communities. Many have various levels of living where you can target Independent Living, Personal Care or Skilled Care residents. Look into offering a free hearing screening on the campus or host Lunch and Learn sessions.

Networking

Networking groups are great because they encourage members to refer business to one another. Look for groups to join in your area; your local chamber of commerce, hospitals or professional organizations are good places to start.

Sponsorship

A sponsorship is a great way to get your business recognized in the community. Neighborhood youth and adult sports leagues are always looking for sponsors.  Chances are your target audience has grandchildren or other family members who participate in local organizations. Association with a team or group will not only create brand recognition, but may also create a personal connection.

Does your community host local events or a concert series at a local park? These are additional sponsorship opportunities to get your name out there to numerous attendees. Think of all the concert-goers who might have trouble hearing and can’t fully enjoy the show. Seeing your practice name on a banner or program might help give them the nudge they need to get their hearing checked.

commm,mmmm

Get Your Staff Involved

Find out what your employees are passionate about. Is there a cause that is near and dear to them that you can get involved with? Perhaps they are already involved in local community events or have a child on a sports team or group that has sponsorship opportunities so you have a connection to get started with those events or groups. Get together and volunteer for a local cause. Not only will it recognize your business as one who cares about their community, but it is also a great team building activity for you and your staff!

However you choose to get involved, make sure you incorporate a “doing well by doing good” attitude into your practice. Do you have a success story for how community involvement has helped your practice thrive? Share your story with us today!

What Is Public Relations and Why Should I Implement It Into My Marketing Plan?

What Can Public Relations Do For Me?

A strong and effective public relations plan can build your practice’s reputation and position you in the best light with your community/target audience. With a competitive market especially in the hearing device industry, you need to determine strategies to stand out among your competitors. Incorporating public relations into your marketing plan increases awareness and highlights why your hearing healthcare services are the best.

Successful Public Relations is the development and telling of a good “story.” You may be curious as to how you can turn industry news or clinical information into a compelling story? The key is finding the hook.

For example:

Oticon recently unveiled its new Alta hearing device. Ask yourself:

  • How can this hearing aid make a difference in the lives of my current and prospective customers?
  • What new technologies does it feature?
  • How can it improve the quality of life for customers?

The stronger you develop the “story,” the greater the acceptance by the media and public, which will add to the success of your public relations strategy.

Positioning Yourself as an Industry Expert

The importance of integrating public relations into your overall marketing strategy continues to evolve. According to The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR (Harper Business) – American marketing strategists argue that public relations has become the most effective way to build a brand. Business owners, like you, become known in their respective fields of concentration through public relations and the associated media generated.  Therefore, integrating a public relations strategy into your overall business plan will help solidify you as an industry leader while bringing focus to your individual services.

Explore the Benefits of PR

Public Relations, if done right, can reach a large audience without the traditional expense associated with advertising and marketing. A few of the significant public relations benefits include the following:

  • An economical way to reach your target audience in masses
  • The awareness of, and the demand for, your company’s products or services
  • Strengthening your company image and perception
  • Painting the picture of a company that is active and innovative
  • Creating additional credibility within your community
  • Giving you an advantage over competitors that are not utilizing PR effectively
  • Increasing online visibility, when integrated into your digital marketing strategy

If PR is not a part of your marketing plan currently, it may be time to consider implementing a public relations campaign to complement your existing initiatives. PR is an influential and cost-effective way to reach key audiences and influencers. PR focuses on promoting your company, establishing your business’ identity, and maintaining credibility – all with the end result of building an engaged and happy customer base!

For additional information on getting a PR campaign started, please check out our other PR blog post here: Public Relations: Beyond the Parties & On a Budget or contact marketing at marketing@consultyhn.com to explore Consult YHN’s PR archives and ‘How Tos.’

How Great is Your Practice? Let Customers be Your Biggest Fans!

It’s a great feeling when you get positive feedback in life.  Whether it’s kudos on a job well done, a compliment on the way you look or a ‘thank you’ for a good deed accomplished.  The same feeling applies to your practice, except it doesn’t have to be a passing note of gratitude.  Testimonials are a great and [semi] permanent way to tell the rest of the world how much your practice is loved, what a wonderful job you do and how satisfied your customers are – and even better, it’s feedback coming right from the consumer for other consumers to see!

If a customer gives you a 'thumbs up,' let the world know!

If a customer gives you a ‘thumbs up,’ let the world know!

Testimonials from customers can be used across various marketing mediums: in direct mailers, newspaper ads, on your website, in flyers [to physicians or the community] – the sky’s the limit!  The fist step is to ask for them.  A satisfied customer will be happy to compliment your practice.  Just ask them to fill out a compliment slip, complete a form on your website, write a recommendation letter or give a verbal testimonial – depending on the best format for them.  Always have the customer sign a release form so you can use said testimonials across all marketing and PR channels.  It’s no time to be modest – if you are providing excellent customer service while enhancing the quality of life for your patients the world has a right to know!

What happens if someone’s not satisfied?  Asking for feedback will eventually result in some negative comments as well.  But that’s okay.  This is an opportunity to find out what is dissatisfying the customer and quickly remedy the problem, turning a negative experience into a positive one for both the customer and you.

And what to do once you have all of these glowing testimonials collected?  Start integrating them into your marketing materials – where appropriate – based on the message.  For instance, in a direct mailer or newspaper ad, you’ll want to focus on the positive feedback regarding service and how long you’ve been serving the community [the mature and Boomers audiences LOVE this type of information]; for web based marketing, you want to show how you can save time for the Boomer audience and a sense of ‘well roundedness’ for the influencer audience; for physician marketing, you’ll want to showcase how important it is to the patient that their doctors work together to provide the best overall care possible.  You can utilize the testimonial in a variety of ways and speak to a number of audiences.

The best part is this is a free tactic that can be integrated into your messaging.  It’s the details in these testimonials that will set you apart from your competitors – positive feedback about your practice from your customers.

Get started today!