6 Steps for Hosting a Successful Lunch & Learn

Getting out into the community is one of the best ways to connect with the public, deliver your “why,” and remind people how important hearing is to their quality life. It can be intimidating though—leaving your office, patients, and staff behind to go out into the community and solicit new patients. But I can tell you from experience, once you complete your first community event and you sell your first set of hearing aids from it, you’ll be eager for the next one.

Now, I’m sure you have lots of questions. I led numerous events as the marketing director of a private practice and I, too, had similar questions. How do you plan an entire event that people will actually want to attend? How do you convey your message when people walk up to your table and all they really want is the free candy or to win the raffle prize? How do you build trust with new patients?

So, let’s break down the process and make it easier for you to launch your first event. A Lunch & Learn, also known as a Lunch & Listen, is exactly what it sounds like: you advertise and invite potential patients to join you for an hour or so, impart your wisdom, provide lunch, and voilà!

OK, maybe it’s not that simple, but here are six key steps to planning and running a successful Lunch & Learn:

Step 1: Determine the when and where.

Choose a date approximately six weeks out—you’ll need all that time to prepare. Find a place that’s quiet or has a private space, like a restaurant or a clubhouse. Fun tip: most of the time, a “senior” lunch menu is less expensive, but some practices like to go all out and will book a local steakhouse. You should do what makes the most sense for your vision and budget. 

Step 2: Create your guest list.

Anywhere between 10-20 is the ideal number of guests. Pulling patients from your existing database that are out of warranty or tested devices and never purchased is the best place to start. Second, target new patients through direct mail, print ads or digital marketing. Talk to a Consult YHN Account Manager for more details. And, be sure to include your website and your social media profiles on your invitation.

Step 3: Identify your goal and craft your message.

You want to keep your message short and to the point. If you’re able to confidently talk to an audience with only a list of bullet points, go for it. It’s more natural and creates a better overall experience for the audience. If not, use a PowerPoint presentation to help frame your message and guide your recital. Create your own or ask your Account Manager to send you one of Consult YHN’s sample PPT presentations. Either way, you should consider supporting your message with media or pictures, like showing a video that showcases people getting fitted for hearing aids and their reflections on how life is better with these devices.

Remember: you want to tell a story. Illustrate how hearing aids improve a person’s quality of life. It’s much more compelling than just listing off a bunch of facts and statistics.

Step 4: Invite your guests.

Once your mailer or invitation goes out, work with Your Patient Contact Center (YPCC) to personally invite guests. YPCC’s highly-trained patient communication representatives will call your database and encourage them to attend: “We sent you a personal invitation for an informative Lunch & Learn event we’re hosting, and we’d love to add your name to the guest list before it fills up … you’re free on Thursday at noon to join us, right?” A personal call goes a long way and can build up your RSVP list.

Step 5: Gather your supplies.

There are a few key things you want to make sure you have for the event:

  • Practice giveaways are always a hit, plus you want your name and number on everything you hand out so that it goes home with your guests.
  • Hearing health articles for attendees to read while they wait for the seminar to begin and to take home. Consult’s MarketSource has several informative handouts about the correlation between hearing loss and other diseases such as dementia/Alzheimer’s, a topic that many seniors don’t know much about. These should also have your practice’s information on them.
  • Appointment sheets for the next 2 weeks. Don’t take an iPad or laptop—you only have a short window of time with guests and you don’t want to waste it inputting their information into your laptop. Manually schedule appointments and enter patients’ information into your practice management software once you are back in the office.
  • A sign-in sheet. If someone RSVP’d but did not attend, call them the next day and invite them in for a personal hearing consultation—they are still a potential patient.
  • A survey so you can track your results and make sure that what you’re doing is effective.
  • A screen and projector if you are going to use a PowerPoint presentation or show a video and your venue doesn’t have one.

Step 6: Track your appointments.

The tracking work for any community outreach event is as critical as the content in your presentation. Running a report from your system is great and will tell you total number of hearing aids sold, revenue, etc. But consider the patients who booked an appointment and canceled? Or a no-call, no-show appointment? These appointments can make or break an event. Create a spreadsheet with the below information and review it every day, making notes on the following items:

  • When is his/her appointment scheduled?
  • What happened during the appointment? Hearing aid sale? For how much?
  • Did they miss the appointment and a call needs to be made to get them back on the schedule?

Tracking can seem tedious, but if you make it apart of your daily routine, it will become second nature and once you see the benefits of tracking your results, you’ll appreciate the effort.

So, there you have it, folks!

Becoming a staple in your community and sharing your knowledge on how to improve people’s quality of life can be rewarding if you dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s beforehand.

And if you still have any questions about planning a Lunch & Learn or other community event, you can always reach out to your Consult YHN Account Manager for guidance.

About the Author

Julie Gesuale joined Consult YHN in 2010 and currently serves as an Assistant Account Manager in the company’s Hospital and University Division. Her diverse professional background includes customer service, marketing, and project management. When not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her wife of 15 years and her two rescue dogs, Sheldon and Leonard. She’s also been singing in church and community choirs for over 25 years.

Adding video to your marketing strategy just got easier with this easy to follow guide

A few months ago I wrote about the importance of video in your marketing strategy. There was a time not that long ago when shooting video required expensive equipment and hiring a specialist. Not anymore. Shooting video has never been easier and you have everything you need in your cell phone!

Chances are, you’ve already shot video with your phone, so you know how to access your phone’s video capabilities. Whether you’re shooting an owner or audiologist promoting a practice or a happy patient for a quick testimonial, here are a few tips to guide through the process.

The Basics

Ideally, you’re looking for 60-90 seconds per video without the use of a script. Anything longer and the speaker might get sidetracked and lost in thought. Make it look and feel natural. If you want to promote your practice and have a lot to say, consider breaking it up into a few videos, each on a certain aspect of why your practice excels or services you offer. If you have a testimonial, speak with that person first to see what they have to say as a short rehearsal, then give them the cue or prompt them with a question and hit record.

Location

You’ll need a quiet, well-lit room. It doesn’t have to be the nicest room in the office, but a nice neutral wall works best as the background. If you have elegant posters or works of art that you think will look good as the background, then have them stand in front of them. Make sure the room is free from the usual office noise (ringing phones, lobby television, office chatter, etc.) and foot traffic.

Camera Settings

You can use your camera’s default settings or have it in fully automatic if you follow these few basic rules:

  • Lighting: Lighting is key to video. A friend once told me that without lighting, it’s radio. Make sure the room where you’ll be shooting the video has plenty of light, preferably natural, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can wash your subject out and created harsh shadows. Under low light conditions, your video will appear too dark or, if the camera compensates for the lack of light, too grainy.
  • Sound: Capturing good sound is just as important as capturing good video. Believe it or not, bad audio is worse than bad video. Most viewers will tolerate poor video quality, but no one can stand poor audio no matter how clear the video is. Make sure you stay close to the subject and your hand is not covering the phone’s built-in microphone (a tiny hole located at the base of the phone).
  • Stabilize: Unless you’re using a tripod, you’’ll need to keep the camera as stable as possible. Hold the camera with both hands (still making sure you don’t cover the microphone) and keep elbows as close to your body as possible — maybe even rest them on your waist for added support. Keep the camera at eye level! Unless you’re shooting a sequel to the Blair Witch Project, you don’t want to point the camera up someone’s nose.
  • Focus: Press and hold an area of the shot (in this case, the face) to lock both exposure and focus.
  • Get close to the subject: First, this gets the microphone closer to the sound source. Second, it avoids having to zoom in to the subject. Zooming in can decrease the clarity of the video and intensifies any camera shake.
  • Composition: While the tendency is to hold your phone vertically, that is not the standard format for video. Keep your camera in the horizontal, landscape format. When composing your shot, don’t place the head right in the middle. Instead, place the head slightly above center and closer to the top. You want the eyes about a third way from the top.
  • Keep it simple: Avoid panning, zooming, and any other fancy moves or effects. Those will just distract from the subject.
  • Share: Once the video is done, simply share it to various social media outlets.

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Take a few test shots, make the proper adjustments, and you’re all set!

About the Author

Rolando Corpus joined Consult YHN in 2011 and serves as Art Director. He has more than 12 years’ experience in graphic design, digital marketing, and video production. He received a bachelor of arts degree from St. Joseph's University and a master of arts degree from The University of Pennsylvania.

Video: A crucial component to your marketing strategy.

You’ve heard the adage “Content is king,” right? Content drives traffic to your website and increases your online presence.

So, who or what is the undisputed king of content? That can be answered in one word: Video.

Research shows that including video on your website is effective for marketing to your patients and prospects, as well as for tracking your marketing data. Here are a few reasons why video should be a part of your marketing strategy.

Video is engaging.

It’s easy to see why. Written text can feel clichéd and trite no matter how accurately it portrays you and your practice. Images are more compelling than text and the visual/auditory elements of video create a far more captivating experience. Video engages the viewer on a personal level and makes them more likely to remember you, your content, and your brand.

Speaking in front of a camera is not for everyone, however. Take me, for instance. I feel most at ease behind the camera. Flip the lens on me and I take on the personality of a rutabaga.

Thankfully, you are in the people business, selling a service and an experience. You interact with others all day. If you want to engage and make a personal connection, video is the closest thing to your daily, face-to-face conversations.

Video builds trust.

Any audiologist (or paid writer) can claim that “we offer the best care,” but only you can convey your uniqueness, credibility and sincerity. Only through video can you convey a true sense of who you are and what you’re like. Video captures your authenticity and differentiates you from the internet crowd.

The same holds true for patient testimonials. A 30-second video clip of a happy patient is far more effective than a well-crafted paragraph. It elicits emotional responses and makes a connection with your prospects.

Video has a wide reach.

Videos are multi-platform friendly. You can upload them on YouTube, post them on your website, and share them on all your social media outlets. Viewers, including third-party and referral sources, are more likely to share a video than a block of text with a relative or friend. A single video has the potential to reach hundreds (or thousands!) of patients and prospects.

Video is effective (and the research proves it).

If you’re still not convinced of the importance of video to the purchase process, consider these numbers:

  • 90 percent of users say that seeing a video is helpful in the decision-making process. (Forbes)
  • Retailers cite a 40 percent increase in purchases as a result of video. (Adobe)
  • Four times as many consumers prefer to watch a video than read text. (Animoto)
  • Four in five consumers say that video about a product or service is important. (Animoto)
  • Almost 50 percent of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (ThinkWithGoogle)
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49 percent faster than non-video users. (VidYard)
  • Enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent. (Unruly)
  • 80 percent of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month. (Hubspot)
  • By 2019, video will represent over 85 percent of all Internet traffic in the U.S. (Cisco)

If you’ve been working with our marketing team, then you know the importance of data behind your efforts. Here are a few more numbers that show how video can play an integral part in your marketing:

  • Video can increase landing page conversion rates by 86 percent. (WishPond)
  • Including video in an email increases click-through rate by 96 percent. (Forrester)
  • Content with video see 27 percent higher click-through rates. (VidYard)
  • Pages with videos are 50 times more likely to land on the first page of Google’s search results than text-based content. (PR Newswire)
  • 52 percent of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (HubSpot)

If you’re not incorporating video in your marketing strategy, you might want to reconsider.

About the Author

Rolando Corpus joined Consult YHN in 2011 and serves as Art Director. He has more than 12 years’ experience in graphic design, digital marketing, and video production. He received a bachelor of arts degree from St. Joseph's University and a master of arts degree from The University of Pennsylvania.

Social Media and Blogging: What to post and what to write about.

So you want to write a blog and post on social media?

Today’s digital marketing requires more than just a static website. Social media and blogging have become popular ways for practices to boost their online presence. Baby boomers are active on social media and blogging offers a great way to increase your SEO — so both activities attract potential patients — but thinking a blog needs to be a 2,000-word article or that posts always need to present new content can stifle the work that needs to be done.

To help get you started on your path to delivering online content, here are some tips to consider when starting:

  1. Develop a realistic schedule. Posting once a week on Facebook for a year provides more information to your patients than posting every day for one month. Similarly, a monthly blog ensures articles are up-to-date. Make sure you’re providing interesting content on a regular basis. No one likes reading a blog with outdated content!
  2. Provide relevant information. Don’t focus on one patient demographic. Instead, make sure you’re developing a mix of content that is useful for current hearing aid users, prospective patients, custom hearing protection for musicians or loud work conditions, and general hearing health information.
  3. Keep it personal. Your relationship with each patient is the basis of your practice. While you do want to be professional, you should make your posts relatable and inject your personality into your writing.

Here are a few tips for starting a social media strategy:

  1. Share content. Social media content need not be new or original all the time. Sharing video clips from relevant TV shows or news broadcasts, articles from scientific studies, and manufacturers’ posts can make up as much as 50 percent of your social media content.
  2. Create relevant stories. When creating your own posts, steer clear of the hard sell! Event invites, product announcements, patient testimonials, and introductions to blog posts are all great ways to get traction through social media.
  3. Have fun. Every so often, pepper fun human-interest content into the mix. Everyone likes a heartwarming video of a baby getting their first hearing aids. If you live in a tightknit community, local events outside of hearing might be relevant as well! Make it personal occasionally — do your patients know you’re in a tribute band? Feel free to let them know where you’re playing next.

Interested in blogging? Here are some tactics to get you started:

  1. Write for your patients. While you may be interested in scientific journals, it just may be too in-depth for your patients. You can always feature a study, but write about how that study relates to your patients and their hearing health. Also, 400 words is a good length — a little more or a little less is okay, too!
  2. Think in keywords. Including industry-relevant keywords throughout your blog makes the content search friendly and can increase your rankings in search engine results. Search engines have gotten smarter, so you no longer have to repeat the same phrase over and over again. Instead, include different variations of your SEO keywords. For example, if there is a new product launch, use the manufacturer and product names both together and separately throughout the blog.
  3. Plan ahead. Consistent blog writing is much easier to commit to when you have a plan in place. This limits the chance that you’ll get writers block because you feel you must get a blog out today. Keeping a content calendar will allow you to plan for event-related invitation blogs and product releases that may provide you with some pre-written content.

As digital marketing trends continue to evolve, social media and blogging are great ways to develop an up-to-date digital experience for both your current and prospective patients. If you have concerns that planning for and implementing these tactics will take too much time away from your patients, let the Consult YHN marketing team recommend a solution for you!

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.

Increasing Engagement and Strengthening Patient Relationships

email_marketingA 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.