Seven Reasons to Call Your Patients

Telemarketing can be an unsettling word for some. It evokes the days of yesteryear when family dinners were interrupted by phone calls and last names were mispronounced beyond recognition.

Forget what you thought you knew about telemarketing. In fact, forget the word ‘telemarketing’ entirely. At Consult YHN, we’ve turned outbound dialing into a service essential to the success of your hearing healthcare practice – Your Patient Contact Center (YPCC).

Through YPCC, our Associates have access to a highly-trained, professionally-managed workforce committed to patient communications and the success of the practice. YPCC’s patient contact specialists act as an extension of your practice, devoted to expanding your reach, securing appointments, and driving new and existing patients through your door.

Retaining current patients while effectively acquiring new ones should be an ongoing priority for every practice. Considering that 45 percent of patients will purchase their next set of hearing aids from a different practice – reinforces the importance of consistent patient outreach and follow-up.

Calling patients, whether it’s your staff or through our YPCC call center, is a beneficial process to implement in your practice for the following reasons:

1. Revenue-driving activity

On average, YPCC books 0.5 appointments per hour, and practices that use their service realize a net gain of 8-10 units per 40 hours of calling. At their competitive rates, your practice could pay less than $100 to book a qualified patient on your schedule. Through our Consult Database Program, 75% of appointments booked are through the YPCC efforts – with the average program yielding $11,400 in total revenue.

2. Keep consistent touchpoints with your patients

YPCC has developed carefully crafted scripts for each segment of your database. This ensures that the patient contact specialists are speaking directly to each patients’ individual hearing health journey.

3. Alignment with marketing activities

Sending just a letter or postcard to your database doesn’t cut it anymore. Making phone calls behind each of your marketing activities – and with consistent messaging – will better convert your warm leads into appointments. Multiple touchpoints help keep your brand top of mind or maintain “stickiness” in the minds of your patients. Additionally, a follow-up call behind a database mailer removes the work by the patient to act on a marketing call-to-action.

4. Outbound and inbound options

In addition to making outbound dials, YPCC also offers inbound options to help with call overflow or after-hours and weekend calls. This ensures your practice makes the most of every call and reinforces your commitment to excellent customer service.

5. Database cleanup

The health of your database will have a significant impact on patient retention. If you haven’t recently scrubbed your database for patients who have moved or passed away, then any other outreach to those patients is precious marketing dollars wasted.

6. Seamless patient experience

With full access to your practice management software, YPCC’s patient contact specialists schedule appointments on the spot.

7. Time-saving

Employing someone else to call patients on behalf of your practice puts more time back on your schedule so that you can focus on what you do best: helping more people hear well again!

The truth is patient contact centers have become a staple in the healthcare industry. Whether you are a small private practice or part of a hospital network, utilizing a contact center is a cost-effective way to retain patients and fill your schedule with appointments.

Click here to learn more about Your Patient Contact Center or talk to your Account Manager today to get started!

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.

Marketing Through COVID-19: Key Considerations to Drive Leads at All Budgets

Communication is essential, especially during this time—and it will be equally important several months from now. Hopefully, you’ve used any downtime during the pandemic to stay connected with your patients.
As the economy opens, it’s important to forge ahead with your marketing efforts, including a specific plan to ramp up your marketing activities.

Practices that act now and adapt to the current environment will capture new patients as well as maintain a high volume of patients after the initial influx of demand has settled. Being proactive with your marketing strategy will ensure the near-term demand you experience won’t drop off in one, three, or six months, allowing you to continuously grow your business.

Consult YHN’s COVID-19 Resources Center provides healthcare professionals with strategic business advice and support, including virtual webinars, financial analyses, articles, marketing collateral, and more. A useful resource is our Cash Flow Analysis tool which determines your current and future months’ liquidity. This information allows you to forecast how much you can spend on marketing each month, with a goal to ramp up spend as your budget and timing allows.

Your messaging today is more significant than ever – it needs to be relevant, clear, and consistent across all of your marketing initiatives. It should address patients’ current needs and concerns, like providing a safe and caring environment as well as acknowledging that those struggling with hearing loss are even more challenged by COVID-19 safety measures.

Whether your practice is operating with a proactive marketing budget, limited budget, or no additional spend budget, we have solutions to help you drive new opportunities. There are many ways to stay top-of-mind with your patients without spending a lot of money. Below are Consult YHN’s marketing recommendations based on your practice’s current budget and timing.

Budget: No Additional Spend
Timing: Now

Planning Considerations:

  • Prioritize your patients and schedule
  • Fill your schedule with revenue-generating opportunities
  • Utilize no/low-cost marketing initiatives
  • Prepare for pent up demand from individuals seeking hearing help
  • Focus on marketing to maintain momentum
  • Depending on the response/how your patients are reacting, move on to higher-cost marketing initiatives

Sample COVID-19 Marketing Collateral, Available for Immediate Use

View More Samples Here  

Budget: Minimal Spend
Timing: ASAP

“No Additional Spend” initiatives +

  • Database Letters
    • Never stop reaching out to your database!
  • Consult Database Program
    • Our turnkey solution for database outreach enables your team to focus on closing more opportunities and helping more patients. We help you implement a consistent strategy, targeting each segment of your database with custom letters and follow-up calls that drive appointments and sales. From designing and printing to mailing and reporting—we handle it all, and at a competitive rate that’s included in your monthly Consult statement.
  • Email Marketing
    • Sending emails to your database is easy and inexpensive. You can check to see who clicked or opened the email in order to prioritize lead follow up via a phone call. For example, people who open and click on your email are the most engaged, so start with them, then work down the list. We recommend ConstantContact because it is easy to use and signs a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
  • Consult Upgrade Program
    • For over a decade, Consult Upgrade has been the most effective way for practice owners to reach their patients and increase sales. For a one-time flat fee, a dedicated Digital Technology Consultant will work with you on-site to organize and run an Upgrade event that, on average, yields an additional $51,250 in sales for practices. The schedule for 2020 is almost full – act fast to secure your spot!

Planning Considerations:

  • Once you’ve maximized your database outreach efforts, consider:
    • Are people responding?
    • Do you need to make any changes?
    • Have you exhausted all potential?
    • Is revenue ramping up?
  • Based on the answers above, decide on strategy and timing for direct mail drop and digital advertising.
  • Once you’ve seen all of your existing patients as well as all the new patients willing to come in regardless of COVID-19, the next step is crucial – and marketing will be key. Your marketing plan needs to be set now so that you can implement and capture the untapped group of new patients and your demand and revenue can consistently grow.

Budget: Pro-Active Spend
Timing: When Ready (Cash-Flow Dependent)

“No Additional Spend” initiatives + “Minimal Spend” initiatives +

  • Direct Mail
  • Digital Advertising
    • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
    • Facebook Advertising
    • Display Retargeting
  • Consult Digital Program
    • Drive and convert more quality leads with our industry-leading digital solution! We outperform the competition so that your website dominates the first page of Google for the top hearing healthcare keywords. We also track your results and provide you a return on your investment.

Planning Considerations:

  • Lead time considerations for direct mail: 3.5 weeks ahead of the event
  • If you have the budget, spend it on PPC. Cost per lead is lower right now, meaning your budget will go further than it did pre-COVID-19. For example, based on the current environment there are fewer businesses competing for keywords, etc. This trend will end as business returns to normal. If your budget allows, there’s a significant, yet, temporary opportunity to introduce your practice to as many patients as possible at a lower cost than normal.
Your Account Manager and the Consult YHN team are here to help you develop a comeback plan that’s guaranteed to position your practice for success in 2020 and the years ahead.

Start driving more leads today – contact Consult Marketing!

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.

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.

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.

Nine Marketing ROI Stats That Might Surprise You

Is your marketing working?

In other words, is it generating business in a profitable way?

If your answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” then read on to find out why it’s important to have a clear understanding of your marketing return on investment (ROI) and its impact on your business.

First, let’s define marketing ROI: It’s the practice of attributing profit and revenue growth to the impact of your marketing initiatives. Simply put, if you spend money on marketing, it measures your return.

Now, let’s discuss why your marketing ROI matters. Here are the top three reasons it’s a critical element of your overall business strategy:

  1. You can identify any “red flags” or missteps in your current marketing strategy so that you can make the necessary adjustments to drive greater results. For example, if your call response rate for your marketing initiative is below the industry benchmark, you might need to reevaluate your target audience.
  2. You can make informed decisions about allocating your marketing budget and creating your marketing plan for the coming year. If you don’t know what works and what doesn’t, then you’re essentially gambling with your investment.
  3. You can analyze your ROI data and know for certain if and how much your marketing efforts are contributing to revenue growth.

Now that you understand why marketing ROI is important, we can dive into the fun part—the data!

We reviewed a year and half of data from a select group of practices and below are some insights and benchmarks we uncovered. Some stats might surprise you or, more importantly, motivate you to take a closer look at your own marketing strategy and reevaluate your plan for 2020:
  1. Direct mail still works— in 2018 and 2019, our practices sent out 525 direct mail campaigns, yielding an average of $1,320 in profit per campaign. Find out if your own direct mail campaigns are successful with our Direct Mail Calculator.
  2. Thinking about advertising in your local magazine? You might want to give that a second thought! With a high cost-per-campaign and a negative return, magazine advertising serves more as a brand awareness tool than a true opportunity driver.
  3. Patients routinely check your digital properties before picking up the phone. 421 digital campaigns resulted in 2,935 calls with a total profit of $1,058 per campaign—a whopping 502 percent return!
  4. Over half (55 percent) of our Associates’ referrals come from physicians. This is encouraging because patients that come from a trusted opportunity source are more ready to buy. So, keep working to establish relationships with physicians in your area!
  5. Five thousand direct mail pieces resulted in 15 calls and 6 appointments with an average response rate of 31 percent. Although this appears low, the industry benchmark for response rates is 0.25-0.50 percent.
  6. Wouldn’t you like to make two months’ revenue in just three days? It’s possible with the Consult Upgrade Program! A total of 32 upgrade events averaged $58,000 in total revenue.
  7. Did you know that 40 percent of co-op dollars available are currently going unused? Every co-op dollar spent results in $5.39 in revenue for our Associates. If you’re not taking advantage of your co-op dollars, let our marketing team help you use them strategically.
  8. Calling Out of Warranty (OOW) patients generated an additional $215,000 in profits for our Associates while calling Tested Not Sold (TNS) patients yielded an extra $86,000 in profits. So, pick up the phone! Or, better yet, let Your Patient Contact Center do it for you.
  9. Due to blank categories in our Associates’ practice management systems, there was nearly $1.7 million in revenue unaccounted for. Meaning, many practices don’t know where all of their revenue is coming from each month. Don’t be one of those practices — let our marketing team help you establish an organized process for labeling opportunity sources in your practice management software.

*Based on the Marketing ROI data from a select group of practices between Jan. 2018 – June 2019

Consult YHN’s Quarterly Marketing ROI Reports offer invaluable insights that ensure every marketing dollar spent today is growing your practice for the future. If you don’t already receive a report, talk to your Account Manager to find out how you can!

About the Author

Laura Kegelman joined Consult YHN in 2018 and currently serves as a Strategic Planning Analyst. Her diverse professional background includes supply chain, forecasting, and marketing. Laura holds a degree in marketing from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. When she’s not working, Laura loves exploring the city she lives in (Philadelphia) as well as traveling to new cities and countries.

Three Reasons Why You Should Mine Your Data

You’ve been practicing for years and everyone in town knows who you are, but you’re not increasing the number of patients you help each year. If this describes your practice, you’re not alone! In fact, this is a common concern we hear from our Associates—they’re working hard, feel busy, and yet, the number of patients helped, and revenue generated is not increasing.

So, what can you do to reach more quality people? If you’re thinking the answer is “marketing,” you’re correct. However, it’s important not to get so focused on marketing to new patients that you forget – you’re already sitting on a patient gold mine: your database!

Whether it’s through a sophisticated practice management system or less sophisticated paper folders in a metal cabinet, you’re already keeping great records of your patients and tracking everything. Obviously, organization is key. But what you do with the data makes all the difference, especially with patient touchpoints.

We call this data mining and here are three reasons you should mine your data regularly:

#1. Stay Connected with Your Patients

If you’ve been on an airplane lately, then you’ve probably heard the flight attendant say something along the lines of: “We know you have many options for your air travel needs.” This is a very true statement and it’s not limited to the airline business—it applies to every business, even yours. Touching base with your patients regularly (at least twice a year) gives you a chance to show you’re thinking about their well-being and thank them for choosing you as their trusted hearing healthcare provider. This will also remind patients of the wonderful experience they had with you, making them less likely to go to one of your competitors.

#2. Help More Patients

Based on Consult YHN’s studies, 60 percent of patients with hearing loss will not purchase hearing aids during their first visit. That means, if you’re seeing 300 patients a year, 180 are leaving your office without accepting help. When you reach out to those patients, you can restate the impact hearing loss has on their overall health and remind them how you can help (yearly check-ups and cleanings, hearing aid troubleshooting, upgraded technology, etc.). This will fill your schedule with quality opportunities.

For example: If you’re a five-year-old practice seeing 25 patients per month, then you are helping 10 patients while 15 patients leave untreated. At this point, you could have about 900 patients that were tested but didn’t accept help as well as a database of about 600 patients whose technology is out of warranty. Over the next 3-4 years, you want to stay connected with those patients so that when new and improved technology is released, you can fit them with an even better device.

Our tracked data shows that for every 38 letters sent to patients for either new or upgraded technology, one appointment is scheduled. For every appointment scheduled, we see one hearing aid sold. From a business standpoint, think about what that can do for your revenue: if you reach out to 300 patients a year, you could possibly sell eight hearing aids for an additional $16,000 in revenue (assuming an Average Selling Price of $2,100 per device). The Consult Upgrade program is by far one of the most effective ways to reach your patients, with the average event yielding more than $51,000 in revenue.

#3. Minimal Effort and Costs

You’re already spending the right amount on your annual marketing, so what’s the cost associated with sending letters to patients? Minimal at best, especially compared to the average cost of a new patient: $760.

You can find several customizable database letters on Consult’s MarketSource that are proven to drive appointments. All you need to do is export well-constructed lists from your database and perform a simple mail merge to personalize the letters for each patient. Or, you can let Consult YHN’s marketing professionals handle all of this for you. From designing to mailing to reporting, we can execute a 12-month strategy for you so that you and your staff can focus on other important responsibilities, like follow-up calls, scheduling appointments, and more.

Starting mining for gold today! Reach out to your Account Manager to learn how Consult YHN can help you implement a database mailer strategy that drives results.  

About the Author

Mary Catherine McDonald is the East Regional Manager at Consult YHN. Previously, Mary Catherine served as an Account Manager in the company’s Southeast Division. Prior to joining Consult YHN in 2014, she worked in educational franchising and was responsible for the growth and profitability of 70+ locations. Mary Catherine has a master’s degree in Administration and Leadership from Niagara University.