Once you have finally immersed yourself in the digital world with a strong web presence, the next step is to develop a strategy that will drive traffic to your website. Your website represents your practice online and the goal is to get customers from the web to your door. As with every marketing strategy – traditional or otherwise – in order to be successful, you will need to implement various tactics that will engage your target audience online.
In the past few years, the scope of social media and its evolution of tactics have grown tremendously, revolutionizing the digital landscape through the ability to connect people via online communities. If done strategically and on a frequent basis, any business – including those in the hearing healthcare arena – can take advantage of social media to increase their online presence and foster customer interaction.
Here are some tips on how to move the digital needle in the right direction.
Identify Feasible Platforms
Focus on two social media platforms at one time, determining which ones are best for your business.
The biggest challenge that many face is determining how to incorporate a social media strategy into their marketing plan. Research shows that for independent business owners it is more effective to only focus on two social media platforms at one time [e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter] in order to build a strong online reputation. The best way to determine what platforms might work well for you is to check out what others are doing in the industry. By reviewing the competitions’ activity and monitoring relevant conversations, it is easier to determine what your audience is interested in.
Develop Strong Content
Once the platforms have been established, the next big step is developing strong content on a consistent basis that people will want to read and share with others, in order to generate viral content. Getting your branding or other marketing messages out there to be shared within and among online communities is key. Although there are various types of online content, the most effective are ones with a simplistic approach. These will engage your target audience and will help you to build credibility as a knowledgeable expert in the hearing healthcare field.
Monitor Content Consistently
Having a social media strategy is imperative: know your audience, post relevant messages frequently and monitor your social sites.
It is also important to monitor the content once it is developed and posted. It is one thing to have a presence, but it is essential to be engaged. One way to achieve this is to monitor comments on your social media sites and then follow up with responses in a timely manner. Encouraging the audience to “like” or “share” the content is also a valid tactic, depending on which metrics you are measuring.
Promote Platforms Process
In order to promote these social media platforms, it is important to talk to your patients and encourage online sharing and reviewing. This process can be implemented into your process, where applicable, to encourage staff to ask patients after they had their appointment or made a purchase to submit an online review about their [positive] experience. Developing a handout with instructions on how to review via Yelp or Google+ to remind customers to go online is one idea to boost participation. Reviews help establish business credibility online.
Interested in learning about social media and other digital marketing tactics? Contact marketing at email@example.com.
Most of us live our lives on a fairly regimented schedule – waking up at a certain time each weekday for work, getting the family together for dinner around the same time in the evening, trying to attend a workout class at a certain time on the weekends and preparing for upcoming holidays with planning travel, organizing gatherings and decorating with seasonal flair. Sometimes the same schedule we follow in our personal lives can translate into good business practices. Believe it or not, your personal event schedule can be applied to your cyclical marketing plan.
Most marketing plans are developed on a 12-month schedule. Having an organized plan deters last minute scrambling and panicking and promotes consistent traffic and opportunities. However, once that plan is in place, the individual tactics [including messaging and design] like ads, inserts, direct mailers and promotions need to be developed. Think about planning the themes for these initiatives around the usual calendar events – seasons, holidays, etc.
It’s easy to tie the theme of your ad, insert or direct mailer into an upcoming holiday. Let’s use Thanksgiving as an example. You might consider showing an image of a family around the dinner table and including a headline that touches on both the holiday and what the prospective patient might be missing; e.g. “What’s more memorable…the meal or time with the family?”
Sample seasonal themed ad from MarketSource.
What’s powerful about this approach is that your audience is already in that ‘holiday’ mindset so your promotion will be relevant to their needs in that moment. And coupling that with the pain point of ‘missing out’ on family and friend interactions around the holidays is a poignant message.
This same approach can be used for patriotic holidays, changing of seasons and much more! Think about what your prospects will be focused on at a certain time of year. Then, tie your message into their organic thought process at that point in time.
Also, take your 12-month marketing plan one step further by developing a calendar of tactics and messaging focused on upcoming holidays and seasons. This will be the perfect combination of organization and subject matter for successful communication with your prospective patients!
Interested in seeing some seasonal and holiday-themed options with targeted messaging? Visit MarketSource – marketsource.consultyhn.com – and sign up to peruse seasonal marketing samples that you can order with just a few clicks!
A forgettable experience won’t bring customers back through your doors – an unforgettable positive one will.
All of today’s shopping, dining and entertainment experiences are just that – experiences. It’s more important than ever to engage customers and tether them to your distinct brand – what makes you different from your competition down the street or a purchase made online? The answer to this question – and the way it’s conveyed to your current customers – will keep them coming back for more.
Let’s face it, in today’s marketplace, it takes more work to make [and keep] the sale. Consumers have higher expectations, expect more value, look for discounts and demand better service – so your business has to focus on how to integrate or improve upon these factors. Use these influencers to your advantage by enticing customers to buy from you based on what they want, not what you think they should be getting. Maybe you can’t offer the best price, but you can give excellent service and you sell an amazing product – focus on your strengths and what makes your business unique to the customer so they’ll want to purchase from you.
Remember that the consumer experience does not end with the purchase; that’s just the beginning. Large and small ‘follow ups’ post-purchase are necessary to keep your business top-of-mind with the consumer. The establishment and retention of these types of relationships are becoming almost as critical as the actual product itself. We know that your current customers are your most qualified leads, but just because they purchase from you once doesn’t guarantee repeat business. So it’s up to you to nurture these relationships and create a strong connection between these customers and your business. This can be accomplished via targeted direct response [email and direct mail], personal phone calls, yearly birthday messages, etc. Stay connected to these customers to keep your business top-of-mind.
Businesses [especially privately owned ones] need to concentrate on selling the experience and differentiating themselves from the competition. It’s the positive and unique experience that will fuse a customer to your business – not the device they take with them. A forgettable experience won’t bring customers back through your doors – an unforgettable positive one will.
In this industry, our Associates are selling a lifestyle improvement, not merely a device. The device is the solution, but the customers’ journey is actually more important. Focus on the journey, the factors that are important to the customer and encouraging them to always travel back through your doors!
Remember these tips:
- How is your business unique? What differentiates you from the competition? Use the answers to these questions to help your business stand out.
- Raise the bar [especially related to service] to meet consumers’ increasing expectations.
- Keep current customers connected to your business to encourage loyalty and repeat sales.
We live in a world with so many choices. Some are simple, some complex. The beauty of these choices is that we are able to make decisions based on our preferences. Take a moment to decide if you prefer:
Batman or Superman
Chocolate or Vanilla
Coffee or Tea
Dogs or Cats
Mac or PC
All of these options are comparable; it’s simply a matter of a penchant for one over another – plus what’s right for you. The same idea – believe it or not –applies to your marketing.
Your preferences impact your marketing choices
For all intents and purposes, marketing and advertising has become the cost of entry for many businesses. If you are not putting yourself out there, you won’t be in the game. But when faced with the choices of the different messages and offers available, how do you know which one to choose for your business?
Since there are so many marketing options, let’s focus on the #1 response mechanism for Consult YHN Associates: direct mail. As we all know, not all communication is created equal. We believe that in today’s market, direct mail used to target prospect customers fall into two categories – Traditional or Aggressive – with the categorization based on message style. It’s important to determine which category best reflects the type of communication you want to have with your target audience and what type of customer your practice is ready to handle.
Sample of Consult YHN letter packages
Here’s an overview of each ‘type’ of direct mail, so you can determine which approach is right for you:
TRADITIONAL Direct Mail
This type of messaging is the obvious or ‘traditional’ offer route; savings on a pair of hearing devices, a free demo, free hearing screening/consultation, etc.
Response Rate –
Expect a .25% – .50% response rate with this type of direct mail communication; e.g. if you mail out 5,000 pieces, you should receive between 12-25 calls.
This type of mailer attracts prospect customers who are closer to making a decision to act on their [semi] recognized hearing loss. Your front office person will have an easier time scheduling the appointment and your Au.D. will have an easier time closing the sale if a hearing loss is present.
The traffic that this type of mailer brings in to the office typically results in less cancellations and a customer that’s easier to close.
AGGRESSIVE Direct Mail
This type of messaging takes on more of a ‘gimmicky’ or ‘aggressive’ angle; offering a giveaway for simply showing up for an appointment.
Response Rate –
Expect a .50% – .1+% response rate; e.g. if you mail out 5,000 pieces, you should receive between 25-50+ calls.
This type of mailer attracts prospect customers who are likely to be a more difficult opportunity. Your front office person will need to be well-trained in overcoming objections when scheduling these candidates for appointments and your Au.D. will need to invoke a different strategy to capture the sale if a hearing loss is present.
This customer is likely to be more of a challenge, prone to a higher incidence of cancellations.
Sample of Consult YHN folded direct mailer
So which one is right for you?
Above and beyond your preference lies the factor of preparedness. With either message [but especially the ‘aggressive’ one], it’s important to have strong processes
in place before a direct mailer is scheduled. From capturing the appointment through closing the sale, the tighter your methods, the more return on investment [ROI] you’ll reap. Depending on which format you gravitate toward coupled with the strengths of your process, will help easily determine the proper direct mail package for your practice.
The bottom line is that you have to feel comfortable with the message you are sending out – just like you want to feel good about any choice you make.
When choosing a marketing initiative, Consult YHN is here to help! Find out more about you direct mail choices by contacting marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com.
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 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.
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