Omni-Channel Marketing: The Recommended Approach

As the hearing industry gets more competitive, it is essential to have a marketing communication plan that incorporates streamlined messaging via every medium. The path to device purchase can start or end at any time, in any location or any device for that matter — to be a leader in this market, it is imperative for your business to provide a seamless user experience.

That is where the omni-channel marketing approach comes in to play: Delivering the same message on different platforms, which not only optimizes your advertising dollars, but also better engages your audience.

For example, take a direct mail campaign that you tie to an open house event or, better yet, a community event like a lunch and learn or educational seminar. Instead of relying solely on that direct mail piece, here are a number of other avenues that you can utilize to promote that event:

Follow up phone calls.

Every direct mail vendor that we work with will allow you to obtain a phone list of the individuals you mailed to for a nominal cost — typically about 10 percent of the distribution list. You can also use this as an opportunity to speak to your database as another way to generate event attendance.

When you actively call your OOW, TNS, Cancel/No Show patients, along with your direct mail targets, 1 in 3 will schedule an appointment!

If your practice does not have the staff to make these calls, Your National Call Center can help. They will work as an extension of your practice to bring you quality opportunities and save you time, effort and money.

Promote through digital marketing.

Social Media: Post the event details on any social media page associated with your practice. Upload the PDF of the creative or simply outline the details within the post.
PPC: If you have an existing pay-per-click strategy in place, work with your digital marketing agency to pull the messaging from the direct mail piece, convert it to an online ad, and capture leads.
Email: If you currently have an email marketing strategy, use this event as another way to speak to your patients. Even if they recently purchased, they may know someone who may be interested in attending the event.

Consult YHN Associates who are investing in digital marketing doubled their marketing spend in profit! If you need assistance with your digital marketing strategy, Consult YHN’s Marketing Team can help. We can provide insight on your existing digital marketing strategy or provide recommendations on how to get one in place. We also have free white papers that review how to implement digital marketing and social media tactics.

Run an ad in the local newspaper.

Based on our quarterly Associate marketing ROI analysis, ads drive more opportunities when they are tied to a specific event.

Event-driven ads tend to bring in more qualified leads, which yields a positive ROI. We develop ads for Consult YHN Associates, free of charge! Check out the variety of ad templates available via Marketsource. We can easily adjust the messaging to be consistent with your direct mail piece and work on your behalf to negotiate ad rates, reserve placement, and release the creative.

Utilize your network within the community.

Another idea to consider is speaking to your local network of businesses to see if they would be willing to help promote your event.

For instance, if you have a Practice Development Representative (PDR), your event is another opportunity to speak to local physicians. Print out the direct mail piece or let us help you convert it to a flyer for presentation in their waiting rooms. Apply the same approach to any senior center, supermarket or other local business that has an event board you can post to — they represent other great ways to get your practice’s name out in the community without having to spend money.

At Consult YHN, we have Wellness representatives that can help you implement a physician marketing and/or community outreach strategy that is suitable to your practice. Contact them about your own ideas and any questions you may have.

As a marketer, I am a firm believer in the omni-channel approach in order to generate more leads. By adding one or more of these options to your direct mail campaign, you will decrease your dependency on the success of the piece itself and increase your branding/exposure within the community.

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.

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.

Getting Ready for Better Hearing and Speech Month

It’s almost that time of year again where we designate an entire month to emphasizing the importance of hearing health and wellness. That’s right – Better Hearing and Speech Month. This May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), has selected the theme of “Communication Takes Care”. Be prepared for your social media timelines to be flooded with this hashtag as well as #BetterHearingandSpeechMonth or #BHSM this upcoming month.

BHSM photo

As professionals involved in the hearing healthcare industry, we know that the cause of hearing health and wellness should be at the forefront of minds every month. The challenge is that the general public has still yet to associate the month of May with the support of this cause. So how do we bring BHSM awareness to the mainstream in our communities?

The answer to that question is found by looking at BHSM from a different vantage point: the marketer’s perspective. Let’s consider these marketing tactics to help increase awareness for Better Hearing & Speech Month:

  • Promotional Collateral: Whether it’s a poster hanging in your office or informational pieces to distribute to patients, having collateral to promote BHSM is a great tool to educate people on the importance of spreading awareness for hearing health and wellness.

There are plenty of marketing materials out there to help your practice promote BHSM all month long. Check out Consult YHN’s Wellness Marketing Tools, which can easily be repurposed to include BHSM messaging. There are also tons of promotional resources and ideas on ASHA’s website. Remember, having materials is one thing – but make sure you are actively using any promotional items!

  • Engage Your Employees: It all starts with you and your practice. No matter how big or small your practice may be the first step is for everyone to get on board and excited about the cause. Encourage your employees to pass out your promotional materials and mention BHSM by name – the more times people are exposed to the name, the more likely they are to form an association with it. Brainstorm ways that your staff can get charged up about BHSM in your daily huddles. Making it exciting for your staff will ultimately translate a positive attitude towards BHSM onto your patients.
  • Community Events: Involvement in community events is important for your practice no matter what month it is (read more on that here!), but May is a good time to start if your practice doesn’t already have an active presence. Use this month to get your name and face out in your local community; host an educational seminar, coordinate a hearing walk, sponsor a local organization, or volunteer! Whatever you do, make sure you and your staff are utilizing the BHSM collateral to reinforce your efforts.
  • Digital Buzz: Utilizing online platforms to spread the word about Better Hearing and Speech Month will give a voice to this cause in the digital media realm. Use this month to educate the public on hearing loss by sharing facts, studies, and any other informative tidbits on your website or social media pages. If you are actively participating in community events or want to highlight a patient’s story, take photos and share them online. Make sure you’re using hashtags like #BHSM or #CommunicationTakesCare to get this year’s topic trending on Facebook and Twitter!

Think of the heights that BHSM can reach if we do our part to bring attention to it, even if we start on a smaller scale within our local community. Consider the success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October is a month filled with pink ribbons, fundraising campaigns, and social media hashtags galore. This month of awareness has turned into a social movement, raising money for research and ultimately de-stigmatizing breast cancer.

Starting Small

It all starts with the conscious efforts that you and your practice make to increase awareness of hearing loss in general. Taking advantage of a month dedicated to hearing and speech wellness can be the push needed to bring mainstream attention to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. In order to reach the global scale that we know this cause deserves, we need to start small and focus on the initiatives within our grasp to bring awareness to our local communities first.

If you want to learn more about how Consult YHN can help get you ready to promote BHSM in your practice, contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com or your Associate Manager today!

How About LinkedIn?

You Need a LinkedIn Strategy

Why?

Simple, because as the largest professional network on the Internet you will find anyone who matters to your business on there — from customers to prospects, from business partners to employees. The network adds two new members every second and is home to more than 250 million members worldwide. LinkedIn has become the place for professionals to gather. And, when you have so many interconnected entities gathering in one place, you need to have a plan.

LinkedIn Has Gone Beyond the Job Search

Your employees? They’re all over LinkedIn. From sales reps to the people in the back office. Most are on it weekly, many are on it a few times each day. They check it on their smartphones during breakfast and on their laptops during conference calls.

LinkedIn header

LinkedIn – Can you afford to ignore it?

Sure, some employees will be job-hunting, yet the majority are using LinkedIn in many other ways. Ways that could benefit your business. They’re getting management advice from business thought leaders. They’re keeping up with industry trends. They’re searching for prospects. They’re building relationships with business professionals who will: buy from you, sell to you,or work for you. LinkedIn is bigger than the recruiting department. It touches all aspects of your business.

The People You Want to Connect with are on LinkedIn

People don’t buy from brands. They buy from people. When a client or prospect searches for people they’ve met, their LinkedIn profiles are likely to come up first. Employees use LinkedIn to represent both themselves and indirectly your company too. From a brand perspective, those profiles should be compelling. Ask your employees and most will reply, “I should do more with LinkedIn.” Yet, most of them are doing it poorly. Their photos aren’t professional looking, their profiles undersell their experience, and their networks are not relevant. These are the people who help create your brand, and they are often part of the first impression others will form of your business.

Help Yourself and Your Employees

There isn’t a simple solution to this issue. Each person’s use of LinkedIn depends on his or her role, as well as the industry, your company go-to-market strategy, and your overall company branding and messaging. For your company to get value from LinkedIn you will need to know what you want to accomplish, how your organization will get there, and how you will measure success. In other words, you’ll need a strategy.

Like all marketing programs (and make no mistake about it, this is also a marketing program) you have to set a strategy, then work toward implementation in a clear and deliberate way. Start small, focus on bang-for-the-buck; create a consistent brand message about your organization then ask your staff to use it in their profile. Develop a company page, so that when other people run across your employees the company information is clickable and exactly how you want it. Encourage your teams to build relevant industry contacts and ensure they are connected to one another right away. These are all solid building blocks.

Also, allow time for exploration and investigation. That time your staff is using to learn a leadership skill will manifest itself positively if you let it. The industry contacts that are cultivated from posting to related groups and interacting with regularity will have long-term value. Even the job hunting activities are beneficial in some ways, as keeping employees happy is often a matter of having a realistic perspective on market conditions.

Regardless of what you do, or how you prioritize it, give LinkedIn the respect it deserves. Craft a strategy then set about making it happen.

Typical Obstacles to Creating Video for Your Website

There are a handful of excuses that people claim as valid reasons for not creating video.

  • I don’t look good on camera or I don’t like my voice.
  • I don’t have anything valuable to share.
  • I am not popular enough or I am not brave enough
  • I cannot afford to buy video equipment.
  • I just don’t have enough time.
boy band

You don’t need to be a ‘boy band’ to create your own website informational video.

I don’t look good on camera

You probably don’t like having your picture taken either. Some of us are not that comfortable in front of a camera, still or video. However, as a business owner and a Subject Matter Expert [SME] it isn’t a beauty contest, it’s an opportunity to inform and educate prospective patients. Alternatively, you can create screencast videos that do not require you to sit in front of the camera. These are presentations and computer-based videos from screen imagery, with a bit of voice-over added. Which brings us to… I don’t like my voice – Again, you may not relish the idea of hearing yourself speak on camera, but unless it truly is the sound of fingernails on a blackboard you need to objectively consider the goal before succumbing to this excuse. As an SME it’s more about your audience and what you can do for them and less about you, after all there are people who need your help.

I don’t have anything valuable to share

If this were true, you would not be a trained professional. So, sharing this information in spoken form via direct conversations MUST be part of your daily routine…No?Video is just another media to deliver the same information to a wider group of patients who you have not yet met. This is the essence of being an SME, who else could claim Subject Matter Expertise?

I am not popular enough

Video marketing is not about popularity (for the most part), yet we all are aware of some folks who have raised the media to near cult status. For hearing healthcare professionals your reputation will grow as you continue to share relevant information for viewers to consume. So with that in mind do you really mean: I am not brave enough? Go ahead, be afraid. BUT, do it anyway. Your fears will subside as you immerse yourself in the topic and the process. If it helps, have a trusted individual sit just off-camera and direct your conversation toward them instead.

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Providing useful information to prospective patients makes the effort worthwhile.

I cannot afford to buy video equipment

If you need to, use a cell phone or iPad. These devices will do just fine for creating a quick 1 or 2-minute video. The effort will get you started, then from there the value of video may become more obvious — and worthy of a modest investment. If you don’t want to capture video with any device, Microsoft PowerPoint provides a presentation platform that is more anonymous. You could also download a copy of OpenOffice, which offers presentation capabilities similar to PowerPoint without the expense of buying the software.

I don’t have enough time

This isnt a task that requires hours on end. Finding an extra 30 minutes to capture the message to video could easily provide more value than many of the tasks we all perform daily out of habit. Push that email sifting back 30 minutes and see for yourself. Another option: get up earlier in the morning to give yourself the gift of time. Waking up 30 minutes earlier to record a short video is reasonable; you may not even miss the extra half hour of sleep and your business may profit from the sacrifice.

Start with a plan

Having a video content strategy is great for building authority, branding your business and gaining loyal followers. Some people prefer to read while others favor content through video. Serve your audience the kind of content they prefer and you will find it much easier to attract a community that likes, trusts and buys from you.