General, Marketing with Mansfield

Spread the Love!

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!

General, Marketing with Mansfield

Get Your ‘Gram On!

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.

#prosthetics

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.

“Say cheese!”

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!

General, Marketing with Mansfield

(Now, more than ever!) Why you really need an email newsletter!

Eintouchmail marketing is the most cost-effective and quantifiable way to market your company’s products and services. If used correctly and effectively, permission-based email marketing can easily become your number one customer acquisition and retention tool. Here are five great reasons why patient care facilities should send an email newsletter.

Budget friendly

What exactly does that mean? You have a newsletter subscription list of 500 people and you want to mail them on a monthly or weekly basis. What is that going to cost you? Postage alone will cost you over $200.00 (at least!)

Email newsletter services can charge around $25 a month to maintain a list of up to 500 subscribers.

The intended recipient IS the intended recipient

You send an email to an individual. Period. There is nothing (except maybe a spam filter) to get in the way of your communication.

When you send out a direct mail piece, you cannot guarantee that it will end up in the hands of the person you sent it to.  You just can’t.

Analytics

THIS. This should be the one and only reason for using an email newsletter versus any other type of marketing technique (but some people need more than one reason…)

With an email newsletter, you can tell:

  • When someone opens the email
  • What links they clicked on
  • How many times they have opened the e-mail, and
  • Who has not received the newsletter with the bounce report.

You will never get that kind of data from any mailing you have ever done. You can’t. It is impossible.

Sharing the first open-rate and click-through-rate reports with a new email newsletter customer is so much fun. They are always amazed. Oftentimes they have never seen anything like it. Measurable results are a beautiful thing to anyone even remotely interested in their ROI. In this mixed up, crazy time who doesn’t want to see exactly what they are getting for their money!

Build that pipeline!

Your email newsletter keeps you at the top of your prospective customers/clients/patients minds until they are ready to buy. If someone shows an interest in what product or service you are providing – by replying to the email newsletter or clicking on a link, you can follow up immediately. An email newsletter lets you communicate regularly with your target markets on a consistent and regular basis – share your expertise, customer testimonials, specials and information products.

With each issue that goes out you are establishing credibility, reinforcing familiarity and creating a relationship. People like to do business with those that they know, like and trust. What better way to get someone to “know” you than to communicate with them on a regular and personal level.

Stay in touch with your loyal customers

Everyone knows the statistics on the cost of getting new customers versus keeping existing customers. It costs 8 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer.

In O&P patient care, the patients you have to worry about losing are the “easy” ones. The ones you fit successfully without a whole lot of trouble. They did not have any real issues you had to contend with – no big problems to solve. They go home, go about their daily lives and then all of a sudden someone else comes along, does a better job of marketing to them and they are gone!

What happened?

Did you know? When customers have a problem and you fix it, they are actually going to be even more satisfied than if they never had a problem in the first place. True.

Communicating regularly with your existing customers shows that you care about them and want to continue to improve your relationship with them. You want to show them what is new in orthotics or prosthetics. What they need to know about – whether it is reimbursement related or new technology.

Here’s a true story of how an email newsletter could have benefited Ms. CPO who shared this story with me several years ago.

“A prosthetic patient, Sammy, came in to say goodbye and thank me for my years of care. He was going to XYZ O&P because he had received a mailing from XYZ highlighting a fancy new type of limb covering.   I convinced Sammy to stay by explaining that any prosthetist, nationwide, has access to that particular product and that he didn’t need to go to XYZ but could continue receiving care from me.”

In relating the story to me, she was furious. “How could he do that to me? I have taken care of him for years!” she ranted. “Why doesn’t he know that we (practitioners) can all buy the same parts?! That I can get him the same covering?!!”

My answer?

“Sammy did you a favor. He could have just left and not said anything at all and you never would have had the opportunity to win him back. When was the last time you let your patients know what products and services, especially the newsworthy ones, you provide?”

An email newsletter makes it so easy for you to keep your existing customers updated on all the new products and services you provide. It also provides an opportunity for you to remind them of all your other products and services. Do they think you are just the “AFO guy” because that is how they know you? They may have no idea that you provide prostheses or custom knee orthoses.

Tell them.

It can make the difference between keeping a patient and having them head down the street or across town for that “new” patient experience!

Questions? Stories? Need help with YOUR email newsletter?

Email me. Elizabeth-at-cecpo.com

General, Marketing with Mansfield, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education

It’s like REAL…only better!

Simulive.

It’s a real word. Go ahead. Google it. (or just click on that link.)

Simulated + Live = Simulive.

What does it mean? In a nutshell…you can be in TWO places at the SAME time. So, it’s presentation magic.

Virtual. Remote. Online. Webinar. Webcast. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The new presentation/education reality is via computer/phone/iPad/tablet using some type of platform (Zoom, Google, Webex, etc., etc., etc.) which relies on TECHNOLOGY. And what happens when you use technology? Technical difficulties. Right? Bound to happen. Especially when everyone and their actual grandmother is online.
Rightnow. Thisminute. Allday. Everyday. In2020.

Just go online (haha, you’re already there) and if you don’t already have your own list of “why I like least about leaning online” search for “why I hate online meetings” or “remote presentations are the worst.” You’ll be reading for days.

In the rush to get EVERYTHING online, people often forget that quantity is not necessarily quality and that the attendee (and the presenter!) deserve to have a seamless presentation experience. Time is a precious commodity. Just because a lot of us seem to have more of it right now doesn’t mean someone else has the right to waste ours with TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES or, maybe even worse, the dreaded “uhhhhhhhhhhh” or “ummmmmmmm” or “like, like” or the “hang on for a second, there are chats coming in with questions and I need to read through them while I prioritize which ones to answer.”

we want it

I’ll say it again. The stakeholders – presenters, attendees, moderators, sponsors – should expect to have a seamless online/virtual/remote online learning experience.

Maybe each online event should have an “online event code of conduct.”

I (insert name) do solemnly swear that I will do the following or be forced to watch my presentation over and over and over again as punishment.

  • No technical difficulties
  • No verbal fillers
  • Provide real time interaction with attendees (in a way that does not detract from the content being presented)
  • BEGINNING AND ENDING THE SESSION ON TIME

What’s the key to having a SOLE (Seamless Online Learning Experience)? Simulive.

Contact CEC at  (844) 347-0738 to find out more.

 

 

COVID-19, General, Marketing with Mansfield

Dinner and a Roll

My mantra has always been “marketing is marketing.” To me that means that there are so many clever, fun, interesting, educational and unique ways people use to market their businesses that you can always find inspiration in someone else’s marketing efforts.

What about now? Yes, even now.

Case in point. Toilet paper. Dinner and a Roll.

My son, Jennings, called on Saturday to check in. He is an amazing cook and he’s been outdoing himself on pretty much a daily basis but he wanted a break from being creative and he wanted to make sure to support a local business. He and Emily ordered dinner to go from Mombo. Win. Win. Win. They didn’t have to cook. They supported a local business. They got a free roll of toilet paper with their dinner. And…if you pay $10.00 with your order then they will donate a free meal to those in need – so Win. Win. Win.  Win!

toilet
photo credit: Mombo Restaurant, Portsmouth, NH

What else?

Face masks.

They aren’t going away any time soon. (I was surprised I hadn’t seen or received anything so far but maybe that’s because PPE has been so hard to find.) But, I saw my first “Your Name Here” on a face mask ad yesterday.

Hand sanitizer.

pelHand sanitizer as promotional items have been a thing for a long time now. Most of the ones we’ve been using we got as promo items. PEL, OPGA, FAOP are just some of the pre COVID-19 hand sanitizer promo users.

What else?

There’s always the best-thing-since-sliced-bread marketing juggernaut.

The. Email. Newsletter.

If you never had one before. Why not?

If you don’t have one now. WHY NOT? You needed one before COVID-19 and you definitely need one now.

Keep in touch. Without touching.

Quite simply it’s the best way to market.

Call me 844-347-0738 or email me  – elizabeth@cecpo.com