Tips for Filling Your Schedule with More New Patients

One of the most common questions I hear from practice owners is a crucial one:

“What can I do to bring new patients in the door?”

This fundamental question can be the difference between a practice that is thriving with year-over-year growth or one that is simply staying afloat. In the worst of cases, left unsolved, this question can lead to declines in revenue.

With an ever-changing landscape and a widening shift to managed care, practices want to know now more than ever how to specifically get more private pay patients in the door.

Here are the keys to success that I have utilized to help the practices that I work closely with:

1. One of the very first steps in this process is the need to determine the patient types that exist in your practice (i.e. Private Pay, Managed Care, Medicaid, and Workman’s Compensation). You will need to do a thorough analysis of your specific patient mix by tracking sales in your practice management system while simultaneously completing this same level of analysis in your financial management system. This will provide you with a detailed breakdown of your actual sales numbers and you can determine what your specific patient mix has been.

2. Once you have a good handle on how many patients you fit by type, you will need to determine your monthly revenue goal, current device sales by patient type, and current revenue by patient type. These numbers can help you build a forecast for non-private pay vs. private pay revenue based on historical trends. This will allow you to subtract out your non-private pay revenue from your monthly revenue goal in order to determine how many private pay patients you need to fit each month.

An example might help to solidify this concept: After completing the above review, you determine that your monthly revenue goal is $50,000 a month, your average sales price per private pay device is $2,000, and you normally fit 10 managed care patients per month with a fitting fee of $600 per patient. Your non-private pay revenue per month would be $6,000 in revenue from non-private pay patients that you can assume would come in regardless of other efforts to attract more patients. If we subtract this number from your overall revenue goal, you will see that you would need to bring in $44,000 in private pay revenue to hit your goal for the month. Now, if you divide this number by your average sales price per private pay device, you can see that you need to fit 22 private pay devices per month to hit your revenue goal.

3. Now that you know this answer, you will want to determine how many private pay appointments need to be on your schedule to achieve the 22 device sales for the month. This calculation is based on your specific practice’s numbers as each practice has different conversion, return, and cancellation rates. Consult YHN’s Plug & Play Calculator will do the math for you!

4. Once you know the magic number, you should block that many appointments on your schedule and focus on filling them. Now, this is where the answer to the main question lies: How do you fill your schedule? There are many different techniques that practices use, and no single strategy works best since every practice is different.

Some of the most common and beneficial ways to acquire new private pay patients are in the form of marketing. Direct mail, newspaper, and digital advertising are still the leading forms of traditional marketing that lead to patient acquisition. Other ways of attracting new patients are through physician outreach, community outreach, implementing a hearing wellness protocol, and most importantly, mining your own database for patients who may have older technology or originally tested but did not purchase a device. This is great for generating new leads without having to spend money on marketing as you already have the patient’s information and a relationship with them.

5. Once you have your plan in place, you’ll want to look at your schedule on a daily basis and aggressively attempt to fill any openings. One tactic that I normally advise a practice to employ is to meet with your team to customize and prioritize a plan that directs focus on calling individuals to keep your schedule filled. Contacting patients that are scheduled out in the future and bringing those appointments forward will help fill your current schedule vacancies and provide time for your team to contact other patients that may have previously canceled an appointment or been tested but not treated.

Your team can conduct an audit of the current schedule by looking at any non-revenue generating appointments, such as repairs and clean and checks, that are scheduled in the next week to check the age of their hearing devices and last hearing test date to see if they are due for an updated test or technology demonstration.

6. Last, but certainly not least, your team should be properly trained to handle customer calls. Being able to handle an incoming call, qualify these calls to schedule the correct appointment type, and calling current patients plays a vital role. If you and your team stay focused on filling your schedule with the correct amount of appointments needed to meet your revenue goal, I can assure you, growth will follow.

This is just a snippet of what you and your staff can do. If you want to implement these methods throughout your practice, our team is available to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Contact your AM or call us at 800-984-3272 if you do not have a Consult YHN representative.

About the Author

Diana Dobo was as an Account Manager for three years and Divisional Vice President for the West Division for four years before being named Consult YHN’s Vice President of Strategic Accounts. She has nearly 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and business development. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was a Senior Sales Manager in the healthcare IT industry.

SERP, Meta Data, SEM, CTR…what does it all mean?

You went to school to be a top-notch hearing healthcare provider, not a top-notch marketing executive, right?

Reaching your customers, however, requires you to engage digital marketing and the language that goes along with it.

Don’t stress yourself if you don’t know your site impressions from your unique visitors, or your bounce rate from your conversion rate — you have Consult YHN’s Marketing Department and this glossary of website/digital marketing terms to help you make sense of the information.

Website Design

Blog

A blog is a site page that features regularly updated content. That content could include office announcements/changes, event invites, and discussions about new device technology or health information.

Content

The copy, images and videos that make up a website.

Domain

The registered name of a website, purchased through a company like GoDaddy. For example, ConsultYHN.com, yourhearingnetwork.com.

Hosting

The “space” you rent on the internet where all the code and content (pictures, videos, copy) that makes up your website lives. A company such as GoDaddy must host your website for it be visible.

Keyword

A word or phrase that people use when searching for something online. Keywords are also the words or phrases included in a site’s content to increase search engine rankings.

Meta Data

Information built into the coded structure of a website that helps tell search engines what the site, individual site pages, images, and video are about. This can include meta-tags and meta-descriptions. Providing this information is part of the site design process and updating it can be a part of an SEO strategy.

Mobile Responsive

A site designed to automatically resize content and adjust to different screen sizes used across devices. The site would automatically resize to accommodate smartphone, tablet and desktop viewing. This is a must-have feature in 2017.

Platform

A reference to how a site was built. WordPress has become a standard platform used by many sites.

Search Engine

Website designed to provide a list of “results” based on the keywords searched. Google, Bing, Yahoo (in that order) are the three most used search engines.

SERP

Search Engine Results Page. The list of sites returned as answers to a search engine search. For example, if you were to search for “women’s suits,” you would want the search engine results page to list sites where you can buy women’s suits.

URL

The full web address of a website that is typed into an internet browser to access the site. For example, www.ConsultYHN.com, www.yourhearingnetwork.com.

Webmaster

The person who manages, and typically can make changes to, a website. If you use a “build-your-own website” platform like Wix, you are the webmaster. If you use a company to build your website or perform ongoing digital marketing, they may be the webmaster. Please Note: If you have a company managing your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, they may not be managing your website.

Website Analytics

Analytics

The data and statistics about the users of a website and how they interact with the website. This can include the device they’re using, where they are, how long they visit the site, if they perform an action on the site (fill out a form), and some demographics.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of site visitors that leave from the same page they enter. For example, a person visits the home page and exits the site without viewing any other pages.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of unique site visitors who “convert” to leads. For an audiology practice, this would typically be someone who filled out a form on the site or called the office.

Rank

The place in search results where a site appears. This is determined by an algorithm (Google’s is considered the industry standard). The actual factors are secret but include keyword density (how many times keywords are included across a site), mobile responsiveness, content quality, and whether recent and regular content updates are made. The Google algorithm is updated about once a year.

Session

Can be interchanged with “visit.” Each time a site is viewed.

Site Impressions

The number of times a site was shown in search results.

Traffic

A total of how many people visited a website. This is typically broken into three segments:

  • Organic Traffic — Those who visited the site as a result of a web search. E.g., they searched for “hearing aids Philadelphia” and they clicked on your site in the search results.
  • Referral Traffic — Those referred to a site from another website. E.g., a person may visit a site from a Facebook link or clicked on a link to your blog, which you shared on your Facebook page.
  • Paid Traffic — Those who visited the site because they clicked on an ad.

Visitor

A person who visits the site. Analytics software will typically break this count into unique (first time) visitors and total visitors.

Digital Marketing

Ad Impressions

The number of times your paid ad is displayed with search results. This is dictated in part by ad budget and quality of ad (how well Google says it matches a search keyword)..

CPA

Cost per “acquisition.” The average cost per conversion..

CPC

Cost Per Click. The price paid when a person clicks on an ad. This is determined by a bid system and can vary widely based on factors such as geographical location, keyword competition (how many people want to buy a keyword), and time of day.

CTR

Click Through Rate. The percentage of ads that were clicked on.

Display ads

Image ads that are displayed on outside websites to people who have not been to your website.

Landing Page

A page visitors are directed to after they click on a paid ad. These are specifically built to encourage conversions and feature information specifically tied to the ad, a form, and a strong call to action. These pages can have a higher bounce rate than the rest of a site because they are specifically built to capture lead information rather than provide overall education.

Local Listings

A term for online directories that act like phone books, confirming a business’ NAP (name, address, phone number) across the internet. Google Maps is one of hundreds of public local listing resources online that search engines rely on to confirm information.

PPC

Pay Per Click. Ads that appear at the top and bottom of search engine result pages based on searched keywords. The cost is based on a bidding system and you only pay for an ad when someone clicks on it.

Retargeting ads

Also referred to as remarketing ads, they are image-based ads displayed on other websites, shown only to visitors of the original site. Have you ever looked at an item on Amazon, only to have an ad for that item shown on a news website later that day? That is a retargeting ad.

SEM

Search Engine Marketing. The broad term for continuing digital activities like search engine optimization (SEO), social media advertising, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization. The idea of using design and content to give a visitor the best possible user experience (menu order makes sense, images load correctly, mobile responsive), the most relevant information (developing quality content with relevant keywords throughout the site), and to obtain the best possible search results rank.

Social Media

Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that allow users to create and share their own content. These sites now also have their own advertising programs.

If you have questions about any of the terms in our glossary, need guidance to effectively market your practice, or don’t know where to start, please call us at 800-984-3272 or email us at marketing@ConsultYHN.com.

We exist to alleviate the stress and jargon associated with marketing your practice so that you can stay focused on helping individuals hear well.

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.

Online Chat: How to Start, What to Expect

For years, Apple, REI, Disney, and many other industry-leading companies have been using online chat to achieve superior customer experiences and increase sales effectiveness. Research shows that visitors who chat are 7.5 times more likely to complete a purchase than visitors who don’t chat. Chat also leads to greater customer satisfaction and more frequent repeat business, but is it right for professionals and private practices?

The theory behind chat is simple: Make it easier for potential clients to communicate with your practice, interact with a greater number of potential clients, and schedule more consultations and hearing tests. Though the theory of chat for your practice is simple, the practice of chatting professionally is difficult to execute. Is it worth implementing in your business? What are the costs and the benefits of chat? Should I manage chat in-house or outsource the management of my chat? What’s a budget-conscious way to get started?

Through our years of experience and testing online chat with more than 500 high-growth U.S. businesses, we have answered these questions and many more. Since our beta test period and launch in April 2016, we are now serving hundreds of businesses internationally and have used all of the data from our clients to compose these statistics. Our clients range from small rural one-provider, one-location practices to 15 provider practices in the urban core.

Adding online chat is simply a change in approach. Would you prefer clients leave without signing a contract, or would you prefer them to purchase today? Would you prefer your web visitors to be in control of calling you for a hearing test, or would you prefer to collect their information and have your most effective scheduler call them?

What Should You Expect?

Benefits

  • Interact with new clients outside of normal business hours and increase web conversions.
    • Because chat is more effective than a life-less, “Request an Appointment” button, you will convert more web visitors into new clients when your office is closed by live interaction with the client.
    • Our goal as marketers should be to meet the buyer where the buyer wants to buy.
  • Lower communication barriers help increase the frequency of communication with new clients on your website.
    • Our statistics show that 4-6 percent of web visitors are likely to engage with online chat.
    • Of the total chatters, over 40 percent will be new clients.
    • With an experienced and high quality chat agent, you can expect to collect contact information from 50-60 percent of those new clients.
  • Better organic search ranks due to longer user session duration.
    • When clients chat with your practice, they stay on your site for a longer period of time. Longer session durations lead to higher organic Google search results.
    • Because the average chat length is between seven and eight minutes, chatters are staying on your site longer.
    • Compared with the same period in the previous year, we noticed an average session duration increase of 10 percent.
  • Fewer current client calls to your practice during peak hours
    • Our client data shows that 61 percent of chats are taken from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST., 19 percent are taken before 10 a.m., and 20 percent are taken after 4 p.m. By answering client questions during the day, your staff can focus their efforts on outstanding in-office client service.
  • Increase in client satisfaction.
    • Your office will be more accessible to clients throughout a greater portion of the day. When accessibility increases, new client satisfaction increases. Not only will new clients be impressed, current clients will use it during your busy days and while they are at work

Costs

  • Professionally managed chat is a financial investment.
    • If you chose to have a professional manage your chat service, expect the starting rate to be $99-399 monthly.
  • Increased website bounce rate.
    • We noticed a slightly higher bounce rate after installing chat on practice websites, however, the evidence suggests that the benefit of session duration outweighs the negative effect of the slight increase in bounce rate. We only saw increases in Google organic rankings after adding chat and never decreases.
  • (Potential) Client frustration for poor chat execution and framing.
    • Chat is easy to do poorly. If done poorly, clients get frustrated, staff get frustrated, and chat is ineffective.
    • Just like the phone, if your team has poor service, poor phone skills, and poor scripting, your phone conversations will not be effective.

How Can I Start?

There are three options for implementing online chat for your practice. 

  1. Outsource chat to U.S. professionals.
    • Chat agents who are well versed in the hearing process and nuanced differences between different treatment types will be more effective at answering chats. This will lead to better client experiences and more effective collection of new client information.
    • Additionally, if the agents know about your practice offerings, they can build value for your practice.
    • Hiring U.S. agents who work in-office is an effective way to control quality and increase chat effectiveness.
    • This option is best for offices without large call centers.
  2. Outsource chat overseas (most chat companies).
    • There are hundreds of options to outsource your office’s chat. Service can range from per minute fees to a flat monthly fee, however, be aware that these chat agents do not know much about audiology or specifics about your practice. They often chat for businesses in a variety of industries and countries.
  3. Manage chat in-house.
    • Chat software can be placed on your site easily. There are services that range from free (Tawk.to or MyLiveChat) to more than $100 per month (BoldChat, LiveChat).
    • This works best for practices with a large call center already established for extended hours.
    • It is difficult to reliably answer chats if it is not the staff person’s main responsibility.
    • Beginner mistakes to avoid:
      • Having a pre-chat survey.
        • Do everything you can to decrease new client barriers…that’s the whole idea of chat!
      • Making the chat box look “spammy.”
        • You want the box to look trustworthy, not like a cheap service outsourced from another country.
      • Not tracking your results.
        • Make sure you are keeping track of the effectiveness of your chat.
      • Believing your clients when you survey them about chat.
        • If you ask a client, “Would you have come here to the office if not for our chat?” he/she is going to say “Yes!” 100 percent of the time. No new client wants to admit that convenience of chat alone was enough to get them into your practice.
      • Not having a “pop-out” window.
        • Pop-ups are generally annoying and detract from the web page, so it is important that your pop-out is tasteful and looks like a real human is on the other end.
        • Pop-out chat welcome messages are responsible for starting productive chats 75 percent of the time.

When you boil down these details, you need to make sure that you are achieving a better ROI with chat than you could with another marketing activity. That’s the golden question we should always ask ourselves before making any marketing purchase: “Can I use these marketing expenses more effectively in another place or on another project?”

Here is the proprietary calculation we use to estimate the ROI for our future clients based upon our current client data collection:

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Please Note: The above calculation will give you a likely ROI to revenue. Keep in mind that this is with highly trained HearingChats Specialists. Each practice’s results will be different.

Just like direct mail, Facebook marketing, and Google Adwords are not for everyone, chat is not for everyone. When chat is implemented deliberately and correctly, however, it can be an extremely effective tool for driving revenue and “wowing” existing clients.

If you are interested in implementing chat on your practice’s website, whether you are looking for a professional service or you are looking for help getting chat setup in-house, feel free to chat on our website and our team will gladly offer complimentary help.

About the Author

Scott Hansen is the CEO of HearingChats, the world’s leading professionally managed chat service for hearing professionals. While achieving his master’s in Business Administration at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, he was awarded a certificate of achievement by the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for his entrepreneurial work. Scott has owned and managed some the country’s fastest growing privately held businesses. Feel free to contact him at 816-205-8009, or chat online at HearingChats.com.

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.

Six Key Elements to an Effective Direct Mail Campaign

There are those individuals who believe that direct mail doesn’t work anymore, but our Associates’ numbers tell another story!

Based on our practices’ data, the average cost-per-call is $247 and the cost-per-appointment is $442. Over the past year, direct mail generated an average of 40 percent ROI for our Associates.

In fact, when it is executed properly, direct mail is still one of the top opportunity drivers for our practices! When the Consult YHN marketing team develops direct mail strategies for our Associates, we incorporate the following components:

  • 1. Vendor

Surprisingly enough, there are numerous direct mail vendors that specialize in the hearing industry. We recommend only working with these companies because they understand the market and how to speak to the target audience. All their pieces have been tested and proven to drive results and they will supply the distribution list at no additional cost. Contact us for Consult YHN’s preferred vendor list and pricing.

  • 2. Budget

Our general rule of thumb is to allocate about 45 percent of your total marketing spend towards direct mail. Every practice has their own objectives and goals that may require increasing or decreasing that percentage amount. It is up to the practice owner to decide what he/she is comfortable spending and how much they are already investing in other marketing efforts. All of this information helps us determine what funds are available to put towards direct mail.

  • 3. Distribution

This is a key attribute of the direct mail strategy. If you aren’t reaching the right people in the appropriate zip codes, then it defeats the purpose.

Here are the factors that you should consider:

  • Age — Typically between the ages of 62-65, depending on how many residents it pulls.
  • Income — We suggest adding a household income filter of $30K. If you need more residents to target, you can eliminate that filter, but we don’t recommend increasing it. Keep in mind that most of these individuals are retired and don’t have as much disposable income.
  • Zip Codes — We recommend looking at your database and identifying in which zip codes your current patients live. If individuals in certain zip codes are already visiting and purchasing from the practice, others are likely to do so. Once the targeted zip codes have been identified, send them to the direct mail vendor of choice to confirm how many residents they can mail to in those areas.

Note: Consult YHN offers free territory analysis reports that identify all your surrounding zip codes in a certain mile radius (varies by practice) and where your competitors are in relation.

  • 4. Approach

Now that you have an idea on the budget and who the target audience is, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. When it comes to a successful direct mail campaign, frequency and consistency are crucial. It is best to divide your total audience into groups and rotate them every mailer. Once you’ve reached everyone on your list, continue that rotation until you have sent a direct mailer to your total audience 3–4 times over a 12-month period. You don’t want to inundate them with direct mail, but you need to reach them more than once to make it impactful.

Another key factor is how many pieces you send out with each direct mailer. While direct mail can be successful, the response rates are relatively low (.25 – .5 percent). We recommend sending out 5,000 – 7,500 pieces for each direct mailer (per location) to drive the necessary amount of opportunities to make it worth the investment. If you think you need to send more than that, you may want to divide it up further so there is a steady flow of traffic to the practice on a consistent basis.

If you are curious as to what results you should expect, check out Consult YHN’s direct mail response rate calculator. It will tell you how many calls and appointments you should receive and the gross revenue that you should generate.

  • 5. Messaging

We rely on our preferred direct mail vendors to determine what messages are the most successful and what resonates the best with our audience. Those vendors will customize each message for the specific practice (i.e., logo, contact information, offer, etc.) and we do not recommend interfering with the overall message. When you change the content, it could skew the results. We also recommend incorporating an offer that will entice individuals to come in. Many practices offer a free hearing screening, but that may not be enough of an incentive to get patients to your office.

  • 6. Call Tracking

If you want to know if your direct mail campaign is successful, you must have a call tracking number on it! Even if you have the best front office staff, it doesn’t hurt to have a documented report that captures all the calls that came in. You can purchase your own call tracking number through one of Consult YHN’s preferred call tracking vendors or your direct mail company may provide one to you.

There is a lot of strategic thinking that goes into a direct mail campaign, which is why the Consult YHN Marketing team is here to help! We will work with you to determine the best strategy and if it is driving the necessary traffic and ROI.

For more information about how to optimize your direct mail campaign, click here. You can also calculate your marketing ROI with our new Marketing Calculator.

About the Author

Lindsey Pierangeli joined Consult YHN in 2012 and serves as the Marketing Manager. Previously, she held marketing positions with advertising agencies and worked on accounts such as Amazon and Coca-Cola. Lindsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University.