The Importance of Tracking Your Marketing Efforts

Occasionally, we encounter a practice that comments “our marketing isn’t working.” So, the first question we ask is “are you tracking your marketing activities?”

All too often practices forget that there is still more work to be done even after a marketing initiative or event has come and gone. Executing a successful marketing plan requires taking a deeper look at the results to glean insight and direct you on how best to market in the future.

Let’s look at the different ways that tracking your marketing efforts can benefit your practice and set you on course for success.

 

Tracking Your Marketing Mix

tracking-your-marketingPerhaps one of the more overlooked aspects of tracking data is the insight into the number of opportunities your marketing mix is generating. By utilizing your practice management software, you can track which marketing activity precipitated a patient to come through the door.

While this tactic is more of a backend approach that indirectly relates to marketing spend and outputs, it is important to gauge what your current marketing mix consists of and where there may be room for improvement. A healthy marketing mix includes activities that reach new leads from the community, tapping into your patient database, and attaining a continuous flow of referrals from current patients and physicians. Identifying segments that are missing from this mix can help direct your focus towards future forms of marketing that will directly impact your schedule and bottom line.

 

INSIDER TIP

Establish an organized process for how you are labeling your opportunities in your practice management software. Create unique sources to detail exactly which activities your patients are responding to daily. Some practices even add secondary sources to capture a further level of detail; for example,

Primary Source Secondary Source
Physician Referral Pediatrics
Community Outreach Sunrise Nursing Home
Telemarketing Out of Warranty (OOW)

And take this one step further. To ensure accurate tracking, make sure staff members who are responsible for inputting this data are all on the same page regarding what each referral source represents!

Adjusting Your Marketing Strategy

Taking a close look at the results of a marketing campaign can help you course-correct any missteps in current marketing strategies. The primary goal of any marketing effort is to make the phone ring. If your tracking data indicates that you are falling short of industry benchmarks for call response rate, then there may be an issue with the audience you are targeting. Identifying this variable, via the data, alerts you that it’s time to reassess the variables making up your target audience. Often, this fix is as simple as readjusting the profile of the target audience – maybe you aren’t marketing to people in the right demographic, or are reaching out to areas too far from the office location. Tracking can help you identify these types of “red flags” and aid to steer you in the right direction strategically.

 

INSIDER TIP

Capture as much “good” data as you can! The more detailed your tracking data is, the more refined you can make the marketing strategy to yield positive results. Don’t wait until the end of the quarter to look at what you noted months earlier. Keep a spreadsheet handy and equip your front office personnel with the right online tools to capture opportunities as they are coming in!

Empower Your Team

We’ve discussed the ways that tracking can improve your marketing strategy, but capturing this information can also help identify areas where the practice can improve organizational efficiencies. For example, are you seeing calls come through from a direct mailer, but they aren’t converting into appointments? This may be an opportunity to identify any gaps in training and activate education for your team members. Maybe it is time to sit down with your FOP or Office Manager to understand how they are handling incoming calls and discuss the best ways to get the schedule filled.

Are the completed appointments not converting into units sold? It might be time to meet with your providers to discuss best practices for closing sales. It is important to own the patient experience from initial call/touch-point, to pre-and post-appointment, right through to purchase and beyond. Identifying where certain patients are getting trapped in the sales funnel can help your team focus on their individual role in generating more sales!

 

INSIDER TIP

Don’t ignore the patients who jumped ship along the way! Utilizing tracking can provide valuable details on where that patient is in his/her hearing health journey, so you can tailor any future messages directly to their situation. Reach out to your Tested Not Sold audience with personal phone calls asking why they haven’t chosen to purchase and follow up immediately with the Cancel/No Show audience, communicating that it’s important to you that they come in for their appointment with the provider.

Send Your Results to Consult YHN

One of the biggest challenges with amassing marketing data is what it all means and what to do with it! Consult YHN’s Quarterly Marketing Review provides valuable insight into what your marketing data means in real-time, helping you refine your strategy continuously. The benefits to Consult YHN’s Quarterly Marketing Review include:

  • Knowing where you stack up in comparison to other Consult YHN providers nationally.
  • Identifying areas in the marketing strategy that can be adjusted to bring more qualified leads into the practice.
  • Understanding your patient acquisition cost vs. the Consult YHN network benchmark.

To effectively market in today’s world, activities need to be tracked, measured, and refined.  We encourage you to get connected with Consult YHN Marketing to start tracking your activities today!

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.

The Importance of Customer Surveys

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 customer than 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

Net Promoter Score IconsOne 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 marketing@consultyhn.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.

Three Trends & Tips to Successful Marketing

The Consult YHN marketing department is here to assist Associates with their marketing efforts and provide recommendations on how to maximize their investment. In addition to the ROI reports that we develop for individual Associates, we compile of a range of hearing industry data to identify marketing trends.

Here are three interesting trends that we recognized in our most recent ROI analysis along with suggestions on what you can do to address the challenges they present.

TREND 1: Your website drives a volume of calls, but very few convert to sales.

WHY: When someone is looking to learn more about a business, the majority of people go online to do their research. If the practice has a call tracking number on their website (we highly recommend this), it will capture all calls that come from that source. The challenge is not everyone is considered a new lead.

WHAT TO DO: If you want to change the ratio of calls and help your website generate more leads, there are two digital marketing tactics that you can implement.

One route is to increase the social relevancy of your practice through online reviews — by asking your patients to submit an online review. In this manner you will help potential customers evaluate your practice and make the decision to contact your office to be treated in the same way that your satisfied customers have been. Not only is it cost effective, but it is the best form of word-of-mouth marketing. If you are interested in learning more, read this article.

Another option is investing in a Pay-Per-Click (also known as search engine marketing) program. When done correctly, it is a quick way to drive more qualified leads directly to your website.  This initiative can be complex, so we recommend working with an experienced contractor. If you already have a provider in mind Consult YHN can review their proposal and provide unbiased feedback. Or, if you are not sure where to begin, one of our preferred digital marketing vendors can get you started. Are you currently enrolled in a PPC program? We can review the results and provide additional insights and recommendations. Looking for more detail? This article explains the concept more fully.

 

TREND 2: Direct mail is profitable, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

WHY: When analyzing marketing results, Consult YHN looks at direct mail as a group and also by individual vendors. While some may have better response rates or bring in a higher ROI, there isn’t any single vendor that is tailored to all of our Associate’s needs. A good match really depends on the practice’s marketing objectives and their budget. All of the vendors that we recommend specialize in the hearing industry and offer pieces that have been proven to drive opportunities.

WHAT TO DO: Let’s discuss your needs! If your objective is to fill the schedule, then we may recommend one supplier. If your practice is brand new and has a limited budget, then we would likely suggest another vendor.

If you have an existing direct mail strategy, but you aren’t sure if it is the best approach, call the Consult YHN marketing department. Don’t have a direct mail strategy in place? We can develop a distribution strategy for you that is tailored to your budget. We’ll even serve as a liaison between you and the vendor.

Lastly, the Consult YHN marketing team can provide insight on the results you should be receiving — and if you provide your results data, we will prepare an ROI analysis as well.

 

TREND 3: Print ads still bring in qualified leads, but they are much more effective when they are event-driven.

WHY: While print ads consistently carry the highest cost per call and cost per appointment in Consult YHN’s ROI analyses, they deliver the highest conversion from appointments to units sold and still yield a positive ROI.

In the past, many people thought the more frequently they ran their ads, the more opportunities they would generate. While that methodology worked at one time, ads are now more expensive and compete in a more complex advertising environment.

WHAT TO DO: To get the most value out of your print ads, Consult YHN recommends they be tied to an event such as a lunch & learn or an educational seminar.  The event should be a no-strings-attached occasion targeting people who recognize the importance of hearing health. Ideally the ad should be a full-page but if the budget limits that, go with a half-page size. Anything smaller than that isn’t enough real estate to get a strong message across to your community.

Check out the variety of FREE ad templates that Consult YHN has available to our Associates. The marketing staff can also work with your local publications on negotiating rates, reserving placement and releasing the creative on your behalf.

The only thing that remains constant is change, and marketing is no exception. These trends are relevant and actionable right now and the Consult YHN marketing team is prepared to help you successfully plan and implement timely marketing activities.

If you have any other questions or would like a free marketing consultation, call (800) 984-3272, option 8 or email marketing@ConsultYHN.com.

Superheroes and Ice Cream Flavors

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

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

Messaging
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.

Audience
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.

Sales
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

Messaging
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.

Audience
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.

Sales
This customer is likely to be more of a challenge, prone to a higher incidence of cancellations.

Sample of Consult YHN folded driect mailer

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.

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