We all know that marketing can be challenging! At Consult YHN we want to make sure our Associates are getting the most value from their marketing investment. To do that we routinely analyze our customers’ marketing program results. Then, we assess the performance of the individual practice’s efforts against their marketing plan and provide recommendations for investment adjustments to make it a stronger plan.
In creating these comprehensive marketing ROI reports we’ve noticed some trends. We’ve collected those results and summarized the data to reveal what is working, and what is not!
So… are you getting the most value from your marketing budget?
Contact the Consult YHN Marketing Department today for an objective review of your marketing ROI. Call 800-984-3272, select Option 8 for Marketing or email us at marketing@ConsultYHN.com today!
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A reliable marketing strategy relies on the use of multiple media resources. One of the best ways to reach the baby boomer generation (who may not even be home checking their traditional mail) is through email. Email is highly portable and as such can be checked from wherever they are, even via their smartphone.
In order to begin email marketing you must make sure you’ve been gathering email addresses. If you’re not already doing this, update your patient intake form or simply have your front desk ask every patient for their email address. One point of clarification before you begin–don’t send marketing related messages through your office email system (this includes Outlook or Gmail). These systems weren’t built for marketing purposes and your account will be marked as sending spam which will present business challenges for sending transaction related messages.
Here are some key points to consider as you start incorporating email into your marketing approach:
- What is the purpose? The overarching intent for your email marketing program should be to build and maintain relationships with people in your database. If you aren’t actively engaging your database, you’re missing out on a major opportunity! Current patients, TNS/TNC, and those who have had an interaction with your brand but not come into the office yet (like those from a health fair) are all typically more receptive to your messaging.
- Who is the target audience? Figuring out how to best segment your database is an essential first step of strong email planning.. Sending a “We Miss You” message may not be well received by your most active patients and you don’t want to alienate anyone. Consider your objectives first –monthly newsletters are a way to strengthen your position in the community and as a thought leader. Is there a benefit to your business by re-engaging your TNS and Cancelled/No Show prospects? Reaching the correct audience will ensure your success. If you’re using a practice management system like Sycle, your rep will be able to help you pull correctly segmented lists that include email addresses.
- What is the message? And, how does it relate to your target audience? For example, do you want to send a birthday message with a small gift offer or are you trying to reengage TNS patients with a ‘quality of life’ message? One key to successful email messaging is to make sure that your emails sound like they’re coming from a friend, someone you trust. Tailoring the message to your recipients, developing relevant content for each database segment, and making sure your message isn’t too clinical or too sales-y is the best way to make sure your desired call to action is completed. You also want to make sure the subject line account is well thought out too. You want to aim for something between a very generic and boring “Office Newsletter” and the highly promotional “50% OFF TODAY ONLY” (which may end up in their spam folder). Subject lines are critical to your message and ensure your emails are well received.
- Who is doing the work? There are a multitude of options when it comes to commercial email marketing platforms such as MailChimp (mailchimp.com) and Constant Contact (constantcontact.com). While these applications are generally user-friendly, someone still has to take the time to design, write, send, and track them. For a business owner trying to juggle all aspects of their practice, this may be one marketing initiative that source to a professional partner
- How will it be measured? Tracking results is important for any marketing initiative but especially for email! By regularly tracking all of the behavior, like opens and clicks, related to your email campaigns, you can learn which emails are working and which list segments are receptive to the messages you’re sending. Also, since each email address is tied to a person in your database, your office staff can follow up with people who may have read a newsletter article then clicked through to your “Contact Us” page yet didn’t submit the contact form.
Email marketing offers a unique way to tailor your marketing messaging to the patients and prospects in your database and strengthen your current provider-patient relationship. As a hearing health provider who specializes in high-end, personalized technology, incorporating personalized email marketing just makes sense as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Consult YHN recently rolled out an email marketing program that features preloaded content and is executed by a digital marketing vendor and is something the Consult YHN Marketing team is happy to help you with! We can also look over any proposals you may receive from local vendors to help evaluate exactly what you’re getting, what information you may have to provide, and how well it fits with your overall marketing needs.
Consult YHN Consumer Behavior Series: Message Framing
The way we communicate to customers through marketing materials is extremely important when it comes to their feelings and opinions about, and ultimately their purchasing decisions towards our brand. From the tone we set to the phrasing we use, the way we communicate in an advertising landscape can make or break the relationship between the customer and the brand. Especially in the healthcare industry, messages conveyed to patients must be tailored to speak directly to the audience and meet them at the exact point of their journey towards healthy living.
In the first installment of Consult YHN’s Consumer Behavior Series, we’ll examine the different ways to frame messages when speaking to hearing healthcare patients.
- Gain-Framed Messaging
- This type of messaging focuses on the benefits of acting on a certain behavior – put more simply, the benefits of purchasing the service/product in question.
- Ex: Hearing aids help people with hearing loss better connect and communicate with loved ones.
- Loss-Framed Messaging
- On the other side of the coin, loss-framed messaging stresses the negatives of not acting on a certain behavior – or the negatives of not purchasing said service/product.
- Ex: Without hearing aids, people with hearing loss experience a disconnect from loved ones and suffer anxiety.
- Mixed-Framed Messaging
- The combination of gain- and loss-framed messaging; usually introducing the gain as a solution to the loss.
- Ex: Hearing loss can lead to communication problems with loved ones, but the good news is that hearing aids can dramatically improve your ability to reconnect.
Consider the age-old idiom of using “the carrot or the stick” to change behavior based on either rewards or punishments. Gain-framed hearing messaging represents the carrot – or the future benefits of seeking treatment, whereas loss-framed hearing messaging represents the stick – the negative flipside to not seeking treatment. There are some campaigns that successfully employ the “stick approach” of loss-framed messaging (think the scare tactics of anti-smoking campaigns), but the hearing industry is its own unique landscape and therefore requires a different framing device to motivate patients to purchase.
Overall, gain-framed messaging tends to be the most effective approach in the hearing healthcare sphere. Patients respond better to positive language that emphasizes the benefits of seeking audiological treatment and the improved quality of life that results.
The doom-and-gloom nature of most loss-framed messaging instills a sense of fear in patients that does not translate into the positive mindset associated with ready-to-buy attitudes. Using a negative voice can come off as critical and judgmental to the audience, automatically isolating them further. Especially in a climate where hearing loss is already stigmatized and associated with weakness and old age, loss-framed messaging does not perform well with the target audience.
Of course, there is a time and place when the negative aspects of untreated hearing loss may need to be addressed, like in educational seminars and informational articles. However, when it comes to introducing your customers to your brand and practice – via print ads, brochures, direct mailings, etc. – show your patients the increased quality of life possible with better hearing, and how you can help them achieve that.
Wellness-focused materials are great tools for putting a positive spin on seeking hearing help. Make sure your practice has some sort of Wellness Program in place, and use promotional items to encourage patients to commit to hearing and whole body health. Help your patients look to a healthier, happier future and communicate the benefits of taking the first step towards hearing wellness!
If you have questions about gain- or loss-framed messaging, or would like any assistance in developing any wellness materials, contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com today!
American Marketing Association, Framing Health Care Messages: Why Interpersonal Context Matters
Health-Care Product Advertising: The Influences of Message Framing and Perceived Product Characteristics
Positive Messages Make the Most Impact in Public Health Campaigns
I have spoken with numerous Associates who turn to Consult YHN for help because their current marketing “isn’t working.” When I ask what they have been doing from a marketing perspective, they typically mention direct
mail, newspaper and digital marketing activities. While these initiatives are certainly important, the strategy that goes into delivering them in a coordinated way is certainly worth your time and consideration.
In order to have a successful marketing strategy, three important elements need to be integrated into your practice’s approach:
1, Database Outreach
Why is this important?
Some practices only focus on bringing new people in the door, which while important, fails to consider the opportunities that already exist in your database. Consider the marketing dollars and time that you have already invested to build your current database. You’ll want to make sure you focus on existing customers just as often as you try to reach new ones. Current patients (not just those who are OOW) are not only more qualified leads, but they can also help build brand loyalty by being spokespeople for your services. Then there are “prospects,” the names in your database who did not make a purchase, but who responded to one of your previous marketing activities. Prospects have demonstrated some level of interest in either your practice or in addressing hearing loss depending on how they came to be in your system. Think about the different names you have on file – there are likely TNS, TNC and cancel/no shows at a minimum. Make sure you are continuously working on your relationship with all of them, customers and prospects alike!
How to implement?
First, you need to capitalize on EVERY opportunity that comes through your door. It’s important to track where the patient came from (direct mail, phone call, website and referral) and the result of their visit (tested with or without a hearing loss). These “opportunities” can also include referrals that canceled an appointment or those that completed a hearing evaluation and presented with a loss but did not purchase. Remember, every customer falls into at least one category; and you’ll need to work to keep him or her tethered to your practice.
When analyzing your database and determining how to communicate with the different types of customers, begin by segmenting them into different groups. Develop relevant messaging that’s specific to the needs of each segment and determine the best way or ways to reach them – via letter, phone call, or both! Database marketing tends to be one of the top opportunity drivers – since the customer is already somewhat familiar with your business – and typically results in a higher percentage of hearing aids sold.
2. Referral Programs
Why is this important?
Many practice owners express hesitation about asking for referrals because they don’t want to be thought of as “pushy.” Consider this: if a customer has a positive experience, why wouldn’t you encourage them to tell others about it in order to potentially help more people hear well? Similarly, if a physician is concerned about a patient’s hearing, why not become a trusted referral partner to offer excellent care? Plus, referrals afford your practice the opportunity to educate more of the community on hearing health and conservation.
How to implement?
For patient referrals, the process is fairly straightforward – ask every patient if he/she knows anyone who can benefit from a free hearing screening. Then, obtain contact information and follow up with a phone call to schedule a free hearing screening. We also recommend handing out referral cards to patients and ask that they pass them along to others. This type of outreach – word of mouth – is an age-old form of marketing and it’s free!
Physician referrals, on the other hand, can be more time consuming. We recommend having a dedicated physician liaison on staff to visit local doctors on a consistent basis to establish and maintain relationships. Practices with a personal connection to local physicians enjoy a more active referral program over time. Some support tools for your physician liaison include educational handouts on hearing loss and referral slips for physicians to distribute to patients.
3. Marketing & Advertising
Why is this important?
While I have touched on the value of leveraging your current database, it is also crucial that you continue marketing efforts aimed at getting new people in the door. Before you can acquire those potential customers they have to know your practice exists. Building a content-rich website, sending out direct mailers, employing a telemarketer and running ads in the local newspaper all help to build your brand and encourage new patients to utilize your services (note: including a call-to-action and offers within these tactics increases response rates). This type of advertising also helps educate your community about hearing health and wellness.
How to implement?
Those tactics can get costly, so you’ll want to have a well-planned strategy. Develop a plan that reaches your target audience through a multi-channel approach. As you execute your plan, it is vital that you effectively track the results and review them frequently to course-correct where needed. If you are going to invest time and money in marketing your practice, you’ll want to make sure your budget is maximized! If you don’t know where to start, ask us. Consult YHN has helped many Associates overcome marketing inertia.
When all three approaches – database outreach, referral programs, and marketing & advertising – are integrated into your practice, you will be amazed by the results. Do you want to start driving more opportunities into your practice today? Call your Associate Manager or contact Consult YHN Marketing – we’ll work together to develop a customized plan for your practice.