Community Outreach: Do It Right & Drive More Sales

Hopefully, you’ve spent 2019 focusing on your practice. Not just making sure you’re selling hearing aids but working on the internal health of the business: You’ve completed a pricing analysis, ensured every employee has the right training to be successful, and you’re executing a marketing plan (hopefully with Consult YHN managing it!).

But you haven’t brought yourself to do community outreach.

Why not?

Relationship
Even if your marketing is driving new leads and helping to grow your practice, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of the American public trust doctors’ honesty and integrity and want to have a relationship with their provider.

Whether it’s a health fair or the monthly hearing seminar you hold at your local active-living community, meeting potential patients at a community event starts the patient/provider relationship before the appointment. It’s always better to have an established relationship with someone before you ask them to spend money. It can also make asking for the sale easier during the appointment because they are not considered a stranger. You’ve learned personal details about this person (the voice and laugh they miss hearing or how long they’ve missed out on calls with their grandkids, etc.).

Public Speaking
A fear of public speaking often keeps providers from starting a community outreach strategy. The first step to getting out of that mindset is: to believe in yourself! If you don’t like standing in front of a group and teaching, consider attending a health fair where the atmosphere may be more casual, and you don’t have to prepare a speech or slides. Remember that you’re the professional and you’re there to educate the public on what healthy hearing means to their life—from missing out on their favorite songs to how it can relate to comorbidities, like heart disease or diabetes. By reinforcing that you’re the local expert, you can win over potential patients who may be receiving your marketing materials, but didn’t respond because they don’t know you.

Physician & Patient Referrals
Community outreach events can also help strengthen your physician and patient referral programs. You may not be the only health professional at a particular health fair, so by making connections with related exhibitors, you can work together and refer leads to one another’s booths. You may also reach a person who’s loved one is experiencing hearing loss and can provide them collateral to review at home.

Local Partnerships
If you’re still not sure about finding or hosting community events on your own, link up with local societies with service-minded missions. Did you know Lions Club International has a hearing aid program for its members? The organization accepts old hearing devices for recycling and will typically work with local providers to offer screening events for members! There is also the Walk4Hearing, a national program that focuses on raising awareness about hearing loss and hearing health. Fundraising for a local walk sends the message that you are a provider who cares about helping your community—not one who’s just looking to sell hearing aids. It also gives you easy talking points related to general hearing health.

Another great resource is Sertoma, Inc. (formerly known as Sertoma International), which is an organization of service clubs across the country dedicated to improving the quality of life for those impacted by hearing loss. Their website offers a wealth of community events help, from accepting donated hearing aids to information about how to start your own local Sertoma Club (if there isn’t already one in your area). Being the hearing practice that opens a local chapter of the Sertoma Club may be the best way to make yourself the local hearing health expert, regardless of the level of competition you have in your area.

Not sure how often to host or participate in community events? We recommend our Associates do (at least) quarterly events. This provides enough time for event collateral and/or presentations to be developed without stressing about deadlines. You’ll also have enough time after each event to follow-up with any leads. You should call everyone you meet within 24 hours after each event to thank them for attending and to schedule a time to come in for their free screening (if you didn’t offer one on-site). You also want to ensure that every name that you collect gets entered into your practice management system using relevant referral sources. This will allow you to build the “prospect” segment within your database so you can reach out on a regular basis. Even if they’re not ready to address their hearing health right now, you want to ensure that your practice is the first one they call the moment they are ready.

Tips for Filling Your Schedule with More New Patients

One of the most common questions I hear from practice owners is a crucial one:

“What can I do to bring new patients in the door?”

This fundamental question can be the difference between a practice that is thriving with year-over-year growth or one that is simply staying afloat. In the worst of cases, left unsolved, this question can lead to declines in revenue.

With an ever-changing landscape and a widening shift to managed care, practices want to know now more than ever how to specifically get more private pay patients in the door.

Here are the keys to success that I have utilized to help the practices that I work closely with:

1. One of the very first steps in this process is the need to determine the patient types that exist in your practice (i.e. Private Pay, Managed Care, Medicaid, and Workman’s Compensation). You will need to do a thorough analysis of your specific patient mix by tracking sales in your practice management system while simultaneously completing this same level of analysis in your financial management system. This will provide you with a detailed breakdown of your actual sales numbers and you can determine what your specific patient mix has been.

2. Once you have a good handle on how many patients you fit by type, you will need to determine your monthly revenue goal, current device sales by patient type, and current revenue by patient type. These numbers can help you build a forecast for non-private pay vs. private pay revenue based on historical trends. This will allow you to subtract out your non-private pay revenue from your monthly revenue goal in order to determine how many private pay patients you need to fit each month.

An example might help to solidify this concept: After completing the above review, you determine that your monthly revenue goal is $50,000 a month, your average sales price per private pay device is $2,000, and you normally fit 10 managed care patients per month with a fitting fee of $600 per patient. Your non-private pay revenue per month would be $6,000 in revenue from non-private pay patients that you can assume would come in regardless of other efforts to attract more patients. If we subtract this number from your overall revenue goal, you will see that you would need to bring in $44,000 in private pay revenue to hit your goal for the month. Now, if you divide this number by your average sales price per private pay device, you can see that you need to fit 22 private pay devices per month to hit your revenue goal.

3. Now that you know this answer, you will want to determine how many private pay appointments need to be on your schedule to achieve the 22 device sales for the month. This calculation is based on your specific practice’s numbers as each practice has different conversion, return, and cancellation rates. Consult YHN’s Plug & Play Calculator will do the math for you!

4. Once you know the magic number, you should block that many appointments on your schedule and focus on filling them. Now, this is where the answer to the main question lies: How do you fill your schedule? There are many different techniques that practices use, and no single strategy works best since every practice is different.

Some of the most common and beneficial ways to acquire new private pay patients are in the form of marketing. Direct mail, newspaper, and digital advertising are still the leading forms of traditional marketing that lead to patient acquisition. Other ways of attracting new patients are through physician outreach, community outreach, implementing a hearing wellness protocol, and most importantly, mining your own database for patients who may have older technology or originally tested but did not purchase a device. This is great for generating new leads without having to spend money on marketing as you already have the patient’s information and a relationship with them.

5. Once you have your plan in place, you’ll want to look at your schedule on a daily basis and aggressively attempt to fill any openings. One tactic that I normally advise a practice to employ is to meet with your team to customize and prioritize a plan that directs focus on calling individuals to keep your schedule filled. Contacting patients that are scheduled out in the future and bringing those appointments forward will help fill your current schedule vacancies and provide time for your team to contact other patients that may have previously canceled an appointment or been tested but not treated.

Your team can conduct an audit of the current schedule by looking at any non-revenue generating appointments, such as repairs and clean and checks, that are scheduled in the next week to check the age of their hearing devices and last hearing test date to see if they are due for an updated test or technology demonstration.

6. Last, but certainly not least, your team should be properly trained to handle customer calls. Being able to handle an incoming call, qualify these calls to schedule the correct appointment type, and calling current patients plays a vital role. If you and your team stay focused on filling your schedule with the correct amount of appointments needed to meet your revenue goal, I can assure you, growth will follow.

This is just a snippet of what you and your staff can do. If you want to implement these methods throughout your practice, our team is available to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Contact your AM or call us at 800-984-3272 if you do not have a Consult YHN representative.

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.

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.

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.