I’ve worked in the hearing industry for over 16 years, and there’s so much that’s changed in that time. Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. The population of patients seeking help is growing faster than ever, and the connection between hearing health and overall wellness is indisputable.
On the flip side, there are countless new threats in the industry. The economy has gone through its cycles, COVID-19 has turned everything on its head, and patients are acting more like retail consumers than ever before.
Yet despite all these changes, there’s one thing that’s remained consistent. No matter the location, size, or type of business, when I talk to business owners or clinic administrators, they’re still asking the same two questions they asked 16 years ago: How do I generate more leads and how do I get more people through the door and on my schedule?
The marketing pitfall
The biggest mistake that practices make when trying to generate more leads is that they’re going about marketing all wrong. But before I can address that, you need to understand the traditional marketing pyramid.
At the bottom of the pyramid are the largest groups of people who are also the most competitive and most price sensitive. What I mean by that is that these people are the least connected to your practice, are least likely to identify having a problem with their hearing, and are more likely to be price shoppers because they don’t know what else is important in terms of hearing health.
As we go up the pyramid, the audience gets smaller, but they become more likely to be aware of your practice, have a hearing loss, be motivated to do something about it, and see the value in the services and care that accompany the hearing devices. Therefore, they’re less competitive and less price sensitive.
So back to the biggest mistake: it’s that most businesses rely too much on the bottom of the pyramid by focusing on traditional marketing efforts that drive NEW patients in the door. Don’t get me wrong, that should still be part of your strategy, but you must also make a significant effort to get your message to the people higher up in the pyramid. I see many practices taking those top four groups for granted and not mining their database to ensure that those people who have already been referred to you or seen in the practice have equal attention from a marketing standpoint.
Why providers neglect their database
I know, you feel like you’re bothering them, right? You think patients will come back to your practice when they’re ready to upgrade their devices because they already know and trust you and that patient recall feels too salesy.
But have you ever tried to see it through a different lens? Perhaps you’re not bothering patients but rather demonstrating to them that you care. Yes, some may return to you when it’s time for them to upgrade their devices. But if you haven’t kept in touch, many won’t. Instead, they’re more likely to respond to someone else’s marketing campaign and go elsewhere to purchase their next set of hearing aids (45 percent, in fact).
I’d argue that maintaining contact with your existing patients and the prospects in your database is actually the opposite of salesy—it’s the ultimate demonstration of caring. We can all agree that hearing health is a critical component of a patient’s overall wellness. If you as a hearing professional aren’t fanatical about getting this across to your patients, then I guarantee no one else will convince them of it for you.
Getting started with strategic database marketing
Why recreate the wheel when you can let Consult help you develop and implement your entire database marketing strategy? We have tried and true processes, programs, templates, and strategic partnerships to help you avoid the pitfall of ignoring the most important section of the traditional marketing pyramid.
But you don’t have to adopt it all at once. Pick one or two new strategies to try, then utilize Consult’s Account Management team to take on the planning, implementation, training, and tracking right along with you. We can help you minimize the workload and maximize your return on investment!
Ridgely Samuel joined Consult YHN in 2005. She has held several positions within the sales and operations teams but has found her passion for developing others in her current role as a Training Manager. Ridgely has experience working as a financial analyst for a former Fortune 500 company, holds a degree in Business Administration from Wake Forest University, and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. When she’s not working or acting as a chauffeur for her two daughters, Ridgely can be found relaxing in a hammock with a novel, tossing tennis balls for her dog, or paddleboarding on the lake.
How confident are you that your database is clean? Can you make accurate assessments about your business’s health with the data it contains? If you’re not sure, don’t worry—you’re not alone – not everyone enjoys data crunching, plus, Consult YHN has your back!
The importance of a clean database is that it allows your practice to operate more efficiently. As the leader of the practice, it allows you to set key business goals and effectively benchmark your progress towards achieving them. A clean database will support increased revenue by efficiently spending and/or saving money and improve patient satisfaction.
Think of quality data as the backbone of your business—it’s the central pillar that connects and supports all the facets of your business. With accurate data and reporting, you will confidently make decisions that will move your business forward.
What’s considered “data” within your database? These would be your appointment types, referral sources, revenue sources, etc. For example, are you running a Consult Database Program, Consult Upgrade event, or want to see how well your marketing campaigns are performing? Referral sources play a critical role in capturing your marketing ROI (Return on Investment) and identifying where your revenue-generating leads and sales are coming from. Referral sources should be labeled and updated properly so we can track your results and identify units sold and revenue generated per sale. If referral sources are not updated and tracked, you’re essentially throwing marketing dollars out the window.
There multiple benefits of tracking your marketing initiatives, but it is impossible without clean, consistent data. To run a productive and profitable practice, it’s vital to identify incorrect data, understand the root, fix it, and develop a plan for maintaining a healthy, more reliable database.
As we prepare for 2021, below are three resolutions for cleaning up your database, which will ensure it stays clean even after your other New Year’s resolutions have been forgotten:
1. Data Entry
Of course, it all starts with the data that’s being entered into the system. If there’s one takeaway from this blog post, it should be this: your data is only as good as the data you enter. As the leader, it’s up to you to ensure your employees are properly trained and understand the importance of entering accurate information into your Practice Management System (PMS). Everyone on your team needs to be on the same page when it comes to activities such as labeling opportunity sources and what each referral source represents. Once you have a process in place, don’t assume everyone is following it, day in and day out. Periodically poke around your database to ensure that it’s kept nice and tidy.
2. Data Audit
Second, audit your data to reveal any inconsistencies and/or errors. You might be surprised by the number of inconsistencies and how far they go back. If you and your staff are regularly inputting incorrect or bad data, this will cause a snowball effect—and no one wants a database full of duds! Once corrected, this will establish trust within your data. Our Sales Analytics team can help you get started by performing a PMS Analysis. This will help you get the most out of your PMS software by ensuring accurate tracking reports, patient lists, and QuickBooks integration.
3. Data Upkeep
The last step is upkeep. As previously noted, ultimately, you are accountable for monitoring the accuracy of your data. It’s not a ‘set-and-forget-it’ activity—consistency is key! Luckily, you don’t have to do it all alone. Working closely with your Account Manager, our Sales Analytics team will provide the insights and tools necessary to execute these steps and contribute to your business’s collective success rather than hindering it.
Remember: the more time you spend tracking and auditing your data today, the less you’ll spend correcting errors in the future. The reward for your hard work is a sparkling database that delivers better insights, better reporting, and sound business decisions.
Click here to learn more about Consult YHN’s Business Services and Financial Analyses or talk to your Account Manager today to get started!
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.
Most of us start the day raring to go – energized after our first cup of coffee, ready to tackle the day’s activities and anything that comes our way! Even though we may have the best of intentions and believe that we are expressing ourselves positively in front of customers, plus offering the best in class service, often, there’s a disconnect between perception and reality. What we believe to be true may not necessarily align with our customers’ viewpoint. That’s why it’s so important to solicit feedback from our customers – candid commentary regarding their experience on every visit.
Why Customer Surveys?
Beyond being a courtesy to customers – truly caring about their interaction with personnel by asking for their overall satisfaction – surveys gauge customer loyalty in real time. We all know that the records in the patient database are a primary key to business success, but did you know that businesses are fourteen times more likely to sell to an existing customerthan a new one? This means intimately understanding the patient journey and correcting any bumps along the way. Administering surveys and reviewing feedback regularly allows insight into any systemic issues within the business that need attention. Also, if there are any unhappy customers, reaching out ASAP to remedy their grievance is the best practice and may turn a soured customer into a champion.
The Net Promoter Score
One way to measure customer engagement is by establishing a business’ Net Promotor Score (NPS), a leading indicator of customer loyalty that has been adopted by more than two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies. The NPS, measured on a scale of zero to one hundred, establishes how connected a customer is to a business. Ultimately, every business’ score should be upwards of seventy, which equals “world class” service. The only way to evaluate whether a business’ NPS is on the “world class” level is to first understand the current NPS score and then make strides to improve customer experience, if needed.
As a consumer yourself, you likely know more about the NPS rating than you think. If you’ve ever rated a business via an online survey by answering the question “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” then you’ve helped a business better understand their own NPS rating!
By soliciting your customers’ opinions about their experiences, you are not only extending them a courtesy, but you’re actively evaluating how connected they are to your business. Your overall profit can benefit in a big way from keeping customers loyal to your practice – and that requires asking how satisfied every patient is with his or her experience after leaving your office.
Interested in learning more about customer surveys? Contact Consult YHN’s Marketing department for details about our exclusive Consumer Survey Program – 800.984.3272, option 8 or email@example.com.
About the Author
Keara M. Piekanski joined Consult YHN in 2010 and serves as Director, Product Management. She has over 13 years of marketing experience and develops products and services for Associates. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh, is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified, and is pursuing an MBA at Villanova University.
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.
In today’s business environment we’re fortunate to have access to a variety of marketing tools that let us communicate easier with our customers and prospects, observe competitors, and scrutinize the market. Many small business owners are competing more effectively using digital media (and extending the value of their traditional marketing efforts). These newer digital tools foster greater competition by enabling our businesses to reach interested prospects with highly relevant real-time communications and get measurable feedback almost immediately.
Successfully acquiring new customers through digital marketing is best handled by employing inbound marketing channels to obtain visibility and leads. These channels include search, social media and email marketing, all fueled by content marketing.
This post outlines the best types of tools and the most popular tactics in each category based on our experience.
We’ll start with a concept known as Content Marketing. Content marketing is the primary focus for business owners seeking to use digital marketing to increase reach, leads and sales. So, what is Content Marketing? Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and well understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Content marketing fuels:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Social media marketing
Event marketing (in person events as well as Webinars)
Paid media including Pay per click and display advertising
Lead generation and conversion rate optimization (through landing pages)
How do you go about developing a content marketing strategy?
Here is a quick checklist to get you started:
Define business opportunity for content marketing
Define key segments or target audiences
Review current content marketing
Review competitor content marketing
Define your content marketing strategy
Define content marketing plan
Prioritize audiences and personas
Prioritize content assets for audience
Define content marketing resources
Create communications timeline
Implement and manage your content marketing strategy
Update your editorial calendar
Manage social media distribution
Manage email marketing distribution
Manage SEO effectiveness of content marketing
Review analytics for content effectiveness
Great. Now what? Time to consider the tools.
One of the tools your likely to be using in your content efforts is social media. In our case, we strongly recommend Facebook as the starting place, but use the platform you are most confident in to get started. (More on social media selection in an upcoming post).
Why focus on social? Leverage social to help find ideal prospects and accelerate list growth. The adage that birds of a feather flock together sums it up nicely. People with similar issues, concerns, challenges, and life experiences typically are connected to others much like themselves. Social is all about connections. Go on, engage your audience.
Today’s consumers check out online reviews before making in-store purchase! Reviews are known as ‘user generated content’ or UGC.
But remember, you must craft content that does more than just ask contacts to buy. Your customers aren’t always in the market to purchase. If all they hear from you is “buy this,” can you blame them for tuning you out? To avoid this predicament, try creating content that helps your contacts solve problems, buy better, and even find interesting things they wouldn’t have uncovered any other way.
Here are a few topics to talk about besides “buy this”:
Present information that helps customers use your products correctly.
Go behind the scenes by introducing customers to key employees. Show off your offices or factories. Talk about your company philosophy.
Add customer voices to your emails by featuring reviews, endorsements, photos and other user-generated content (UGC).
Become the authority in your market niche by sharing “insider” news and information.
Improve onboarding for new customers with information that helps them find what they want faster or navigate better around your website.
What about email?
Do you collect email addresses? From whom – everyone that you meet, just customers, all appointments, third parties? Think it through. Why not collect them all if they’ll share them with you? Above we discussed the use of social media to interact and extend the reach of your audience. Those names are gold, email address gold to be exact.
Now that you have defined the ways you’ll collect email addresses, let’s turn to what to do with them. First, and this is a critical component, you have to keep track of where the names came from! Two reasons for this – first, to be CAN-SPAM compliant you must have permission to use the addresses (if you’ve been given the information freely, you’re good here – no buying or renting email addresses!). The second reason is more practical, since you absolutely want to tailor your messages to each type of audience you identified in the first step of the checklist.
What emails will you send? You really need to ask yourself what messages will resonate with the audience I am targeting. What do they want to know, what is important to them? This is not about your agenda, it must be content that is relevant to them first – then when you have their attention you can ask them to act a certain way, or react to your content. The opportunities are endless, and they are similar in nature to the list of content topics we explored for social media. This is all very connected. In fact, the more connected the content and media, the more effective you will be.
Time to jump in
That’s enough to get started, but remember, the foundation of any digital marketing plan is your website. All of the other digital tools and efforts rely on your website as the central element for customer and prospect communication and an informational base. Don’t overlook the importance of investing time and effort into shoring up your website from the content perspective!
Consult YHN Marketing has turnkey programs and solutions to get you started, just give us a call and we’ll review your situation with you and offer recommendations to get you digitally marketing in no time.