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?

List Generation: Buying vs. Building

With any marketing strategy, it’s imperative to make sure you are targeting the right audience.  Development of target names and addresses, known as list generation, should be a priority in your planning and implementation strategy.  After all, if you don’t reach your intended audience, how will you generate sales?   But when attempting to reach this audience, is it better to buy a list or build your own?

Let’s look at the facts

When marketing, it's important to reach the right audience. Concentrate on your most qualified leads first and your target prospects second.

When marketing, it’s important to reach the correct target audience.

  • Buying a list is quick and easy.
  • Building a list takes time and resources.

So, what’s the best strategy?  The answer is: it depends.  Meaning, it depends   on who you are trying to target and what type of message you are communicating.

Buying a List

When your objective is to reach a new pool of prospects within your area, buying a list is necessary.  Whether that’s for direct mail or telemarketing, you’ll need to reach out to those prospects within the community who don’t yet know about your services.  Be sure that you are reaching the appropriate audience – in this case, the 65+ active senior and Baby Boomers.

While buying a list for the traditional outreach like direct mail and telemarketing will help feed the pipeline with new opportunities, we recommend steering clear of purchasing lists for digital marketing [i.e. email marketing].

Building a List

We all know that retaining a current customer is more cost-effective than bringing in a new customer.  That’s why developing your customer database for future marketing [out of warranty, tested not sold, etc.] is so important.  Your customer database [read more here] includes your most qualified leads – those that are not as price sensitive – and nurturing these relationships will reap continuous rewards.

Reaching out to your current database with targeted messaging across the traditional mediums – direct mail and telemarketing – will result in a higher response rate and more positive return on investment [ROI].  And as mentioned earlier, it’s best to take the time to build an email contact list by collecting email addresses from you customers – let them ‘opt in’ to receiving email communication from your practice.

What’s Next?

Once you have your targets identified [compiled from both your customer database and prospect lists], remember to develop a marketing plan to reach these consumers on a frequent and consistent basis.  Also, think about the communication strategy [i.e. “what you want to say”] in order to convey relevant messages to each segment of your list.  Your target audience will appreciate the time and effort you put into speaking to them based on their needs via the mediums they prefer and you will reap the rewards.

Questions?  Consult YHN Marketing is here to help!  Contact marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com

Integrated, Organized and Educated Marketing

Every marketing plan should start with an overarching, ‘big picture’ strategy to ensure the correct audience is being targeted, the budget is being used wisely across mediums that produce opportunities and everyone within your business is privy to and educated on how to capitalize on the marketing efforts.

Integrated Marketing

When approaching your marketing plan, it’s imperative to take an integrated approach when choosing the strategy.  By ‘integrated,’ we mean incorporating the initiatives that drive traffic to your business while targeting both your current and future target markets.

Why is this type of strategy important now?  We’ve been saying for a few years that direct response marketing to your current customer [the 65+] should be your focus.  Your marketing strategy still needs to rely heavily on this goal, but you also need to plan for your future target [the Boomer] via multiple marketing mediums.

The Marketing Pyramid

No doubt you’ve heard us talk about the strategic importance of the ‘pyramid’ approach.  That’s because it’s the best use of your time and marketing dollars, plus it produces the most opportunities.

The crux is this: focus 80% of your efforts on your current patient database, physician referrals and patient referrals.  These are your most qualified leads and will produce opportunities with the least amount of effort.

The other 20% of your focus and budget will be prospect marketing [i.e. direct mail, newspaper, telemarketing, etc.] to continuously feed the pipeline with new customers.

Using this combined strategy will leave no stone unturned and produce a constant flow of opportunities 

Marketing is a Collaborative Effort

In order for your marketing initiatives to be as effective as possible, your entire staff needs to be on board.  Successful marketing is a collaborative effort between all facets of your organization, from the front office through the audiologist/dispenser and everyone in between.

For example, make sure the front office personnel are generating patient referrals, identifying out of warranty opportunities and rescheduling cancelled appointments.  Plus, ensure that they understand the all current marketing initiatives [direct mail, newspaper, etc.] to handle incoming calls and set appointments.

Apply these same principles to all positions – practice development representative, telemarketer, and audiologists/dispensers – so the entire office is ‘on the same page.’

Many strategies and tactics need to work together for optimum marketing performance.

Many strategies and tactics need to work together for optimum marketing performance.

Ready to Get Started?

Beginning with these ‘big picture’ strategies will keep you organized and focused while working towards a path of positive return on investment when it comes to marketing for your business.  Reaching the appropriate target audience, capturing opportunities from both your current customers and new ones will keep the pipeline full and creating an environment where all employees are working toward the same goal will collectively help your  marketing dollars go farther and produce better results!

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!

Not Your Average Techie

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea of your current target audience’s preferences, characteristics and what makes them tick.  But what about the next generation of customers?

Your upcoming target audience – the Baby Boomers – is different from the current 65+ market.  The defining attitude and lifestyle of the Boomer population (broadly defined as consumers age 50+) is a new one.  What makes them unique?  One big differentiator is that these consumers are already more tech savvy than your current target audience.  From smart phones to mp3 players, to tablets and more, this generation of parents and grandparents is the hippest yet.  

From a marketing perspective, they present a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for practices.  Understanding how to appeal to this target market now will help you define your communication strategy for the near future.  Moving forward, your multi-media marketing strategy will need to have a strong digital component, in conjunction with the more traditional avenues, in order to appeal to the Boomer market.

According to a study from Psychology Today, “Boomers will be a driving force behind the use of information technology in the next decade, particularly in the health care industry.”  From a technology standpoint, the hearing industry is already ahead of the curve in appealing to the Boomer lifestyle.  Products are currently on the market integrating Bluetooth compatible devices, streamers and tiny, “discreet” instruments.  This wasn’t an accident – understanding the desires of the next generation of customers brought these products to market.

It’s important to understand how to reach this target audience with annual spending power of over $1 trillion.  Adding a digital component to your marketing plan will enhance the more traditional initiatives (direct mail, print, telemarketing, etc.) and help you corner a bigger piece of the market.

Consult YHN can help you get your digital marketing component in place!  Contact marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com for more information.