per Heathline – “One of the biggest tools we have to fight health conditions is the power of human connection. That’s why health awareness months, weeks, and days are so important: They rally us together to spread awareness and show support.”
How are you spreading awareness and showing support this month? Let me know!
I have a collection of “oops” emails that I keep in a folder in my inbox. I would like to share some with you. “Oops – Corrected Date/Time Inside: Best Practices for Content Marketing Webinars” is one. I received it from Chief Marketer, a content marketing company in Connecticut. “We forgot something…” from Magazines.com a company that, believe it or not, sells magazines. “Oops! There’s been a slight mistake” from Thrifty Car Rental. “Oops!” from IKEA. “Oops! 5-Star Cupcakes We Couldn’t Wait to Share” from Betty Crocker. There a lot more, most with some type of “oops” or “apologies” in the subject line.
Embarrassing … or smart? I do not know what you think, but I think that IKEA, Thrifty Car Rental and Betty Crocker have pretty sophisticated marketing departments, staff, teams and/or consultants. Of course, the people who work there are just that, people, and we all know that humans make mistakes. What if I told you that not all of those “oops” emails were mistakes – would you be surprised?
Email recipients click on these emails because they are either curious or genuinely interested in figuring out whether the sender’s mistake is going to have an effect on them.
I think it is pretty obvious that a “Best New Cupcake Recipes” email might not appeal to everyone but that an “Oops! We left out a key ingredient” might garner a higher open rate. Either you opened it the first time and are curious what you might have missed the first time, or you saw it, ignored it and are now curious about the mistake Betty made.
I hope you do not think that I am encouraging you to send out digital correspondence with mistakes on purpose. I most certainly am not. I hope you do not think that I am advising you to send out these emails if you made a stupid mistake that a reasonable person can clearly see was a mistake. Take the date for example.
One of my pet peeves about email newsletter programs is that even though they love to have a date section, one which often stands alone, the section does not update automatically. It seems to me that should be an easy programming fix. Even Microsoft Word knows how to fill in the current date once you start typing. Anyway, my point is that sending out an email newsletter with a November date in the middle of March is CLEARLY a mistake. Especially if everything else in the email is timely. If that happens, you do not waste an “oops.” You just move on. Address it if you want to in the next issue but do not waste people’s time sending them an email over something like an incorrect header date or a simple spelling error.
What does constitute a reason for sending an “oops” email?
Something that has the potential to have a negative impact on the recipient:
Broken link – this is a big deal. Day or date of an event mistake – definitely send one. Venue mistake – of course. Incorrect directions – absolutely. Sent the email to the wrong list – HURRY! So you made a legitimate, oops-worthy mistake. Do not fret. The silver lining is that your apology email will probably outperform your original email.
Just do not be that person that cried “Oops!”
Got a good “Oops” email I can add to my inbox, I mean, filing system? Send it to me!
March 14th is Pi Day. Maybe you knew that or maybe you did not. I’m not sure how you could avoid knowing it. It’s. Such. A. Thing. Now. I’m getting emails and more emails (I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters, if you can believe it, winky face) about the upcoming 3/14/21 Pi Day. I do not remember Pi Day being a “thing” when I was growing up but I sure do know it’s a thing now.
A couple years I go or as we say now, “pre-pandemic” I got up early just to make sure I got to the Riverhead Farmer’s Market before they ran out of pie. (How could they not? This was Pi Day after all!) The vendors at this farmer’s market are pretty savvy with their marketing. I am not being facetious. They glom onto whatever holiday and/or celebration day that occurs and use that in their on-site marketing. The market itself has an active Facebook page and its #1 goal is to get people to come down to the market on Saturday. So, armed with the local dairy’s empty glass milk bottles from the previous week’s market, I headed excitedly to the market.
Right inside the door was the baker’s stand. No pie was there. What…?????????
“Oh, I did not even know it was Pi Day,” she said. “I guess I should have brought some pies.” (You think?!) Over to the other bakery stall. There was still no pie. Seriously? Do bakers not have a calendar? How do you not even have a pie available for sale on Pi Day? Passed the bread guy who conveniently sells what I would have called for the day pizza “pies.” Did he? No. Quickly over to the Greek Restaurant guy who always has people standing in line for his spanakopita for a good reason. It is unbelievably delicious. It is yummy spinach pie. Is he in on the whole pi/pie thing? Nope. Took the empty milk bottles back to the dairy booth. What goes better with pie than anything else? Milk. This milk is so good that we have started bringing milk to parties instead of wine because weeks later people are still talking about the milk and I do not remember a single time ever when people were talking for weeks about a particular bottle of wine. Does the dairy lady have any signage addressing the “got pie, get milk” or anything to that effect? No.
Awareness is key
MAJOR marketing FAIL at the Farmer’s Market for Pi Day. Off to the fish market down the road where we bought a lovely piece of salmon and….a clam pie. I told the girl at the counter, “You know it is Pi Day, right?” Of course she did not but I was pretty happy that I had finally gotten a pie for Pi Day even though I consider it a huge disappointment from a marketing standpoint.
Your turn. What days, celebrations or “things” are you missing out on? I saw on Facebook recently that it was National Sibling Day. I know a couple O&P practices that are owned by siblings. You know who you are. This is a great opportunity to get a little extra publicity, especially when in this day and age you do not even need a newspaper story to have something go viral. So, get busy researching “Pi Day-esque” things and see how you can use that to your marketing advantage this year!
Welcome 2021! 2020 was an unhappy year. World turmoil and weather catastrophes and COVID-19…death, destruction, and despair. It’s been a tough time. I think the nice thing about February is that it brings us Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to give all your “fans” some virtual love.
Who should you “hug”?
Now is the perfect time to spend some quality time with data and analytics — time to decide how you want to thank all your stakeholders for being there for you this past year. Messages of thanks are always appreciated, but who do you usually thank?
Back in the day, we made sure our referral sources were acknowledged and felt appreciated. That was a different time when referral sources were actually sources of referrals and not constrained by insurance directives, contracts, networks or whatever else gets in the way of a direct referral. Yes, referral sources still exist and you should make sure you send them some love.
Staff, patients and vendors
You cannot do what you do every day if you do not have the support of your staff. Make sure they know that. I am a big fan of the “celebrate us” day off of work. Even if you cannot manage to close the whole office for a day, why not have a barbecue, catered lunch or a post-work event specifically designed to thank your coworkers?
Thank your patients. Let’s be real. If you are in patient care, the only reason you have a job is because there are patients who need care. We get caught up in the drama of providing services to others and the toll the bureaucracy and battle for reimbursement can take on our spirit. It can be easy to forget that as difficult as our days might be, we are beholden to our patients.
Patient appreciation days are fun. Who does not want to be appreciated? Everyone wants to be appreciated! If the thought of putting together a socially-distanced, masked, outdoor event is too much, why not send cards — actual cards that are signed by everyone in the office? You can always send a “Happy Valentine’s Day” card since everyone is eligible to receive a Valentine’s Day card and you do not have to worry about offending anyone or leaving out someone.
Thank your vendors, manufacturers, suppliers and sales reps. If you have never been on the selling end of O&P and you think you get beat up by insurance companies and payers all day long, then you have never ridden with, or been, a sales rep.
I have been involved in O&P since 1987. I can tell you with certainty that we have some of the nicest, most helpful sales professionals around. While you may expect them to thank you for your business, how about you tell them how much you appreciate their support, too?
February and Valentine’s Day always provide a great opportunity to start the year off right and show some appreciation. What are you going to do say thanks? Let me know!
Instagram can be a tool to build brand awareness in O&P. Instagram is (STILL) an underutilized marketing tool in orthotics and prosthetics. There, I said it. This morning, I logged in and searched “#prosthetics.” What came up? All kinds of cool – prosthetic makeup photos and animal prostheses. Unless there are a lot of zombie prosthetists, most photos with the hashtag “prosthetics,” are posted by people who create goiters or elf ears.
Uses Why is Instagram so great? Or a better question, why is Instagram so popular? The top reasons are that it is fast, free, easy and visual. Let’s take a look.
Fast: It takes about 10 seconds to snap a photo and upload it to Instagram. Free: That is self-explanatory. Easy: See “Fast.” Also, anyone can do it. It is not overly complicated. It. Is. Simple. It does not require the effort of Facebook. It does not even require you to have a smart phone. If you want an Instagram account but do not have a smart phone or tablet, you can create an account on your desktop or laptop where you can view, follow or like photos without using a phone. Visual: It is all about the pictures – and short videos, too. But mostly about pictures.
What’s your plan? You’re going to want to create a lot of content beforehand so that you make your ‘gramming even easier.
Instagram Post Types You Should Know
Single-image posts: self-explanatory, right?
Carousel posts: Multiple images (up to 10). Viewers can scroll from left to right to view each photo in the post.
Video posts: Appear in your profile grid and are shared in your feed. They must be less than 60 seconds long.
Video carousels: An easy way to get past the 60 second video time limit. If you have three minutes of video content you can break it into three one minute videos, then post a video carousel to showcase all three videos. Viewers scroll through the videos just like with carousel photos.
Boomerang: A short, looping video created in the Boomerang app. Boomerangs are created by taking a burst of photos and using them to create a video that loops in the main feed.
Ready, Set, Get Gramming!
If you’re on instagram, let me know so I can follow you!