General, Marketing with Mansfield

Silver Linings.

Retro cartoon with texture. Isolated on White.This is going to be a quick one! I have to do website updates and email newsletters for O&P patient care facilities, vendors, manufacturers and state associations and AAOP chapters regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting…LIFE.

My parents both have Parkinson’s. That is tough. It was even tougher when they could not participate in programs, support groups, seminars or other face to face events because they couldn’t drive to them pre-COVID-19.

This morning my mom sent me an email from NeuroChallenge.org. She’s on their email newsletter list. Neuro Challenge is a foundation that puts on all kinds of great programs and events for people with Parkinson’s in the Port Charlotte, Florida area. Her email said, “Programs which were too far away from us to attend are now virtual – A silver lining!!”

Neuro Challenge improvised, adapted and overcame which led to a silver lining for my parents.

What are you going to improvise, adapt and overcome that will bring a silver lining to your patients, customers, stake holders?

Need help? Let me know.

General, Marketing with Mansfield, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education, Orthotics and Prosthetics State Meetings

Most Orthotic & Prosthetic Patient Care Facilities are Small Businesses. Here are some helpful links.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
United Way is tracking and filling resource gaps and providing real-time guidance, information and data on COVID-19 through the 211 network.
To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers can be placed in an administrative forbearance. Click here for more info.
help-e1574354741773
Links for COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Websites
General, Marketing with Mansfield

What House Hunters International and Your Website Should Have in Common

charming flatOne of my favorite shows on TV is House Hunters International. It is one of the reasons I learned how to use the DVR settings on the cable box and one of the reasons I know how to use the Cablevision On Demand menu. Sometimes I watch the whole episode, commercials and all. Sometimes I skip the commercials. Sometimes, if the buyer or renter is particularly annoying (and oh, can they be annoying) I will skip right to the end and just watch the last five minutes of the show. This is the beauty of House Hunters International. Each segment of the show functions as its own mini-episode.

What exactly do I mean by that? Each segment has the same format.

  • Introduce the buyer or renter.
  • Tell where they are from.
  • Tell where they are looking to move.
  • How much money do they have to spend.
  • Etc.

The only thing that changes is the property. So, when I’m watching an aggravating couple who happen to have a four million dollar budget and they are looking for a charming flat in Paris, I can skip to the last segment and I will feel like I haven’t missed a thing.

The show gets it. By “it” I mean they get that people record their show. They get that someone might turn on the show in the middle of the episode or almost at the end. They plan for it. They want me, the viewer, to get up to speed asap. They don’t want me to feel left out or confused – and then, horrors, change the channel. It might seem repetitive to someone who watches the show from beginning to end but if you are watching it “live” you still have commercial breaks so it’s nice to have a little review post-commercial. House Hunters International understands that TV viewing is not like reading a book.

A website is not an online book.

What does this have to do with marketing? It has everything to do with online marketing, websites specifically. Your website is not a book. Your website does not have a beginning, a middle and an end. Your website should be like an episode of House Hunters International. It should not alienate me. It should not make me feel like a dummy because I landed on the “Services” page and not on the “Home” or “About Us” or “Our Story” page. Each page should give me enough information so that I feel like I know what’s going on without having to rewind.

Websites have words and pictures just like books. People read websites. People read books. But – people do not read websites like they read books. They do not start where you think they should start (like Home or About Us or Our Story) and go, nicely and neatly, from page to page, left to right. You should not ever think that a website has a beginning, middle or end. You should think of it as though it is an episode of House Hunters International!

Your website visitor should be able to land on any one of your “segments” (pages) and know, or feel like they know, what your story is. At the very least, they should know where you are located (including your CITY, STATE AND COUNTRY), how to get to your office, what types of services your provide and what your phone number is (AND THE AREA CODE!) Sure, you can and should have a Contact Us page but would it really be a big deal to put your address and phone number on the rest of your pages? No, it would not be a big deal and it sure would make it easier for the person in Reading, Washington to decide whether they want to continue looking at your site whey they see you are located in New York City.

Want to create a better online experience for your website visitors? Watch a couple episodes of House Hunters International…remote_control_pointed_at_a_tv_screen-1000x667

General, Marketing with Mansfield

Tatanka

buffaloFor the nomadic Native American tribes, the buffalo was more than just a source of meat. They used the hide to make clothing and tents. The horns were made into cups, toys and spoons. Hair was used for saddle pad filler, rope and ornaments. Hooves were turned into glue. Thread was made out of the sinew or tendon. Even the brain was used for tanning the hides. Nothing was wasted.

It took a great deal of effort for the hunters to be able to take down a buffalo. They were not about to do all that work and not make full use of their efforts. The same should apply to your marketing strategy.

Maximize your efforts

Take a look at your marketing efforts. You have probably spent a lot of time and money updating your social media, organizing events, mailing collateral, making brochures and keeping your website updated.

Picture each marketing activity as a…buffalo. Ask yourself, am I using all the buffalo?

For all that effort you need to make sure you are taking advantage of the alternative uses to your hard work. Concentrate on making those efforts worth your while. Consider the all alternate uses for your facebook photos. There are various ways they can be rearranged and reformatted to find new homes in print and online.

Health fairs

Trade shows, health fairs, chamber of commerce events are great places to spread business news. Incorporate pictures from your social media platforms into materials you distribute at these events. Use the pictures you take at these events to post on your online marketing outlets.

Direct mail

Direct mail marketing is a great place to re-use photos that you’ve used in your social media marketing efforts. Have a picture on instagram or facebook that has gotten a lot of attention? Use that as the front of your postcard. It is so easy to make and send postcards these days and, if the picture was popular online, you can drive people who may not be familiar with your online marketing efforts, to your online outlets by making sure to include the urls of your facebook and instagram accounts!

Action!

Media is constantly changing and a good marketing strategy works with the flow of change. Not against it. Video channels – like YouTube and Vimeo – are hugely popular all over the world. If you haven’t had time to make an actual video, you can take those same photos and turn them into a slide show – voila! – instant video. Now go upload it to your YouTube channel.

Keep that website fresh

Adding the photos to the news or photo gallery section of your website – make sure you tag those photos! This will not only be useful in getting the word out about the information you are sharing but will also show that you update your site regularly. Nobody wants to see obviously outdated pictures or info on your website. Keep it fresh!

E-mail newsletters

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Use them. They are easier on the eye and generate a lot more interest especially now that everyone is using their phones all day, every day. It’s super easy to link those photos to your website, facebook page, etc., so make sure you do it. Don’t waste ANY of that buffalo!

Just as the nomadic Native Americans turned buffalo skulls into headdresses, I am sure you can come up with even more uses for your marketing efforts. I can’t wait to see what you do with your tatanka!

General, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education, Orthotics and Prosthetics State Meetings, US ISPO

2020 US ISPO Pacific Rim Conference

The 2020 US ISPO Pacific Rim Conference was held January 19-22, 2020 at the Sheraton Maui Resort on the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii.

As part of the proceedings, US ISPO was proud to host the Hawaii movie premiere of “1500 Miles” an award-winning documentary featuring Nicole Ver Kuilen of Forrest Stump.

Red carpet scenes from the Hawaiian premiere of “1500 Miles

Below is the article “Losing limb has even higher cost: Prosthetics and orthotics conference comes to Maui” by KEHAULANI CERIZO of The Maui News.

Nicole Ver Kuilen is shown in a shot from her documentary “1500 Miles,” which made its Hawaii debut Jan. 21 in Kaanapali. Ver Kuilen, who spoke that same day during a prosthetics and orthotics conference in Kaanapali, completed a two-month, 1,500-mile triathlon from Seattle to San Diego in a limb made for walking only. Her goal through her nonprofit, Forrest Stump, is to make prosthetic technology accessible for all amputees. Forrest Stump photos

KAANAPALI — Losing a limb is one thing, but being crippled by insurance systems is quite another, according to athlete, amputee and advocate Nicole Ver Kuilen.

Ver Kuilen, 28, who’s known for completing a 1,500-mile West Coast triathlon a few years ago in an insurance-mandated prosthesis built only for walking, spoke last week in Kaanapali about the lack of access to proper prosthetic devices for the majority of people who need them.

“We’ve reached this point now where amputees are no longer disabled by their condition, but we’re disabled by the policies that are put in place,” she said.

Insurance policies say that having access to something waterproof is a “convenience item,” running is not “medically necessary” and having an ankle that bends is considered “vanity.” Even technology that’s been around for more than 20 years is considered “experimental,” Ver Kuilen said during her talk, “How Do We Expand Access to Prosthetic Technology From the 1 Percent to the 99 Percent?”

Ver Kuilen, who last year won her first paratriathlete national title, was among dozens of speakers at the 2020 U.S. ISPO Pacific Rim Conference for prosthetists and orthotists, technicians, orthopedic surgeons and other medical professionals, held Jan. 19 through Wednesday at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.

The award-winning short documentary on her ultratriathlon from Seattle to San Diego, “1500 Miles,” had its Hawaii premiere during the conference.

In Hawaii, lower-limb prostheses can range in price from about $9,000 to $65,000, depending on the amputation level and device design, according to Medicare estimates in a Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii report.

“Most private insurance will be reimbursed at a rate below that,” prosthetist and orthotist Cameron Lehrer, Oahu-based Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii owner, said Jan. 21 at the conference.

In fact, Hawaii is the only state where insurances do not cover microprocessor knees, which help mitigate falls for amputees, according to prosthetist Stan Patterson, another Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Hawaii owner.

Hawaii’s bulk of the lower-limb amputee population is those with diabetes, and the state’s incidence of diabetes is on the higher end compared with other states in the U.S., the group said. Also, Hawaii’s diabetes rates have been increasing over the last two decades.

In Hawaii hospitals, 710 amputations for various reasons were performed in 2014, according to the most recent data by the Amputee Coalition.

About 2 million people in the U.S. are currently living with limb loss and an estimated 185,000 amputations per year occur, the coalition said. This number is expected to double by 2050 due to rising diabetes and vascular disease rates.

The major causes of amputations are vascular disease (54 percent), including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease; trauma (45 percent); and cancer (less than 2 percent).

Eighteen years ago Jan. 21, Ver Kuilen, at age 10, had her leg amputated below the knee due to a rare bone cancer.

She has made it her life’s goal to expand access to prosthetic technology for all amputees and helped found Forrest Stump, a nonprofit advocacy organization with the same mission.

Ver Kuilen said during her talk that mass media has glamorized prosthetic technology, and Fortune 500 companies leverage by aligning brands with prosthetic success stories and devices. Some media reports go so far as to question whether people willingly amputate in order to gain a bionic limb.

“I mean, who here would trade any of your legs for any of the prosthetic technology you’ve seen during this conference?” she said. “There is no present technology out there today that can fully replace a human limb and it is alarming that our country is more concerned with the unfair advantage of a small amount of people than the unfair disadvantage the majority of us face on a daily basis.”

The average consumer does not realize how inaccessible and expensive prosthetic technology can be for the majority of amputees. With the exception of military individuals and Paralympic athletes, 99 percent of amputees living in the U.S. don’t get waterproof, running and other essential devices, Ver Kuilen said.

“This is not to say that the military and Paralympic athlete amputees are not deserving — they are deserving of access to prosthetic technology, but it’s the way in which our resources, our funding, our policies have been made that have perpetuated access for these select few and not granted access to the majority of amputees that are out there,” she said. “We need to focus on the real problem at hand, which is the unfair disadvantages that amputees are facing.”

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.