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, Marketing with Mansfield

“Back in the Day” as a Marketing Tactic

Orthotics and Prosthetics, as a field, is MADE for pictures. So get your smartphones or your old-timey digital cameras and, after everyone you intend on photographing, has signed their release forms, start snapping (or clicking) away!

While you are taking new pictures have someone else head to the basement or the attic or your archives and have them dig up all the old pictures they can find. It does not matter how long you have been in business – you have “old” pictures. What to do with all the pictures??

Find your platform

First, figure out which platforms you want to use. Facebook, of course, because you know how to use it and it is so easy to put pictures into albums. Kids, pets and high tech are album categories you should absolutely be using. Everyone loves kids, pets and cool gadgets. If you do not believe me, go take a look at Facebook. What about staff? Patient-of-the-month? Birthday celebrations? Awareness days? Put your thinking cap on!

What about Instagram? It’s huge. If you’ve got pictures it is where you need to be. Thousands and thousands of pictures are being shared every second. Instagram photos can also be shared on Twitter and Facebook. You can kill a lot of marketing birds with the Instagram stone.

Throw it back

Second, get nostalgic. Everyone loved “Throwback Thursday.” They still do even though the actual term “Throwback Thursday” might not be as cool anymore. Here is where those old photos are useful. Who doesn’t like seeing guys in short shorts and knee high socks or girls with the sky high 80’s hair? Throwback is fun. I know O&P patient care facilities and vendors that are second, third or even fourth generation. If you are a first generation facility it doesn’t matter. Start a “this time last year” album. Uh, you were a baby once, right? You’ve got baby pictures. Use them. Remember everything doesn’t have to be work-related. Just throw back to the past. School pictures. Prom pictures. College. O&P school. Start throwing!

At CEC, we love using throwback pictures as part of our clinical course presentations. What a great way to really introduce yourself to your audience – and get them to know, like and trust you – when they see you are brave enough to share your baby pictures with them! (Cute baby, right?)

Before and after

Third, use before and after photos. Orthotics and Prosthetics is all about changing people’s lives and bodies. Before and after pictures are easy pictures to take and the results are obvious to see. Patient in a wheelchair  – patient with a running leg – patient running. You can also show a patient with severe plagiocephaly – patient with a plagiocephaly helmet – patient with a gorgeously shaped head.  Another option? Patient with Charcot ankle collapse, unbraced, and same patient with orthoses. I do not have to tell you what makes for a great before and after photo. YOU do it every day!

Share and share alike

Fourth, do not be stingy. You do not need to create new content for every single platform that you want to use. Use the pictures for both. More importantly, make sure your followers can share your content and that your customers can share their content with you. If you have got an Instagram-addicted mother who just loves taking pictures of her baby with the Spiderman cranial remolding helmet on, it would be a shame not to let her share her photos. Many hands do make light work so do not feel like you have to do it all by yourself. Friends, family, patients, coworkers can all help lighten that marketing load. The entire concept of social media marketing is that it is SOCIAL and it revolves around SHARING so do not make it harder than it has to be!

 

 

General, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education

Partnering with Physical Therapists – Getting More Attention

The O&P Almanac’s December 2019 cover story is titled, Team Building, O&P Partners with PT in a More Collaborative Approach to Patient Care.

The article emphasizes the importance of a team approach to patient care in regards to limb loss. Christine Umbrell, contributing writer and editorial/production associate for O&P Almanac, speaks with four prosthetists and explores their relationships with the therapy community. Each practitioner explains how their collaborative efforts with physical therapists improve outcomes and the overall patient experience.

Betta Ferrendelli wrote an article for the The O&P Edge earlier this year, Partnering with Therapists: Improving Patient Access and Outcomes Through Collaboration. She wrote, ” When it comes to optimal patient care, the best recipe for patient success involves physical and occupational therapists and O&P providers working hand in hand.”

Clinical Education Concepts‘ Clinical Director Marc Werner, CPO, talked about providing continuing education to physical therapists in Deborah Conn’s July 2019 article in O&P Almanac’s Member Spotlight, The Human-and Animal-Connection.

“It makes sense that orthotists and prosthetists educate the therapy community about patients with limb and functional loss,” Werner said when asked about the article. Long Island O&P has provided over 1200 continuing education credits to over 900 therapists. 260 courses at 45 different therapy facilities since 2010! Collaborating with physical therapy is imperative to continually improving patient outcomes.”

Clinical Education Concepts provides course material to orthotists and prosthetists that can be presented to physical and occupational therapists. Contact CEC

General, Marketing with Mansfield

Marketing Golden Oldie – Create a Top Ten List (or Four, Five, Seven…)

Here’s a top 7 list for O&P marketers.

7. Create information that educates. People enjoy doing business with those they know, like and trust. Create a top ten list such as topten that you can distribute to patients and referral sources alike. Sharing information that educates, and doesn’t just try to sell, establishes trust and credibility.

6. Ask for feedback. Everyone loves to share opinions. What they don’t like is to fill out boring, cookie-cutter forms. Make the form (paper or online) fun and easy. Don’t ask stupid or leading questions. Get creative. Then “talk” about any changes you made based on the feedback. Changed your hours? Let everyone know that it’s a result of the feedback. Open on Saturday mornings now? Let everyone know! Offering a different line of prosthetic socks or types of skin cleaner – let everyone know.

5. Record a podcast. Who doesn’t have a smart phone or access to a computer? Recording a podcast of FAQs (“Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Wearing a Scoliosis Brace”) and submitting it to iTunes puts you in front of the millions and millions of iTunes podcast subscribers.

4. See #7 but change it to YouTube. My mom is having trouble with carpal tunnel syndrome. She just watched a bunch of Bob and Brad videos on YouTube. Bob and Brad are “the most famous PTs on the internet.” Bob and Brad get it. They know people watch YouTube to learn….and who better to teach people about O&P than YOU! (They’ve got over 1.5 million subscribers, just fyi.)

3. Hold a contest. The prospect of winning anything is alluring. Do you need a name for a new product or service? Ask your target markets to come up with a name for the product and then pick the winner. Are you launching a new Web site? Tell your target markets that you will donate a can of food to the local food bank for every unique hit your Web site gets in its first month. Not only will you engage your target market to participate, you’ll be doing something newsworthy.

2. Got jobs? High schools, colleges and vocational tech schools all have career fairs. Put together a visually stimulating display of orthoses and prostheses and participate in a career fair as an unique way to market your company.Some manufacturers or sales reps might be able to provide you with an interactive upper-limb prosthesis display that people can actually use. Having students connect with O&P technology at a local level creates buzz.

1. Create a speakers’ bureau…starring YOU. With all the advancements in technology and the current media fascination with anything related to O&P, knowledgeable speakers are in demand. Offering to speak at non-O&P (think physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehab-adjacent, Rotary, churches, etc., etc.,) meetings, events and conferences can give a big boost to your marketing efforts.

General, Marketing with Mansfield, Orthotic Prosthetic Continuing Education

Who’s a Winner? You’re a Winner!

Who doesn’t love a winner? Everybody loves a winner! Everybody loves to win. Winning something – and talking about it – can be a marketing bonanza. Even just making it into the qualifying rounds or final stages of a competition can get you great buzz.

Step One. Determine Eligibility.

The first step is to find some awards you are eligible to win. The Small Business Association is always a good place to start. Also, check out awards offered by your national trade and professional organizations. Your local chamber of commerce is another association that routinely gives out awards. Don’t forget to just…google!

Do you have a resident on staff? There are several awards available for O&P residents, too.

Research these organizations and others like them, but then go beyond professional and trade associations and do a little research on your vendors– big and small. Do you use Dell computers? They have a small business award. Have a business plan? The Miami Herald has the Miami Herald Business

Step Two. Plan Your Challenge.

Doing any renovations or remodeling or upgrading of computer or fabrication systems? The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest clean technology business competition and are looking for the best clean technology ideas from around the world, according to their website.

Step Three. Toot Your Horn. Loudly.

Alright, you’ve found some awards for which you, your staff and/or your company might be eligible. Submit the application and make sure you monitor your progress. A Google Alert would be a great way to keep tabs on the contest so you know when the winners are announced. Hopefully you win but even if you’re nominated as a finalist or receive some kind of ranking you can still toot your own horn.

Step Four. Write a Release.

Submit it to trade publications. You might not even have to write it yourself. In many cases, the award organizers will actually supply the winners with a press release template for the award.

Of course you are going to put it in your email newsletter. This gives you a chance to share the award and with the people who are most interested in you and your business: your subscribers. You don’t have to be nearly as politically correct as you have to be in your press release. Make sure you link your announcement back to the original announcement or news story in which you were featured.

If there’s an image or logo that goes along with the award, use it. Whatever it is, if it has a symbol that people will recognize, make sure you put it on your letterhead, your website, your front door, your window, your service vehicles … use it.

Step Five. Link. Link. Link.

This where all that social media marketing comes in hand: Draw traffic. You need to link to the website listing the winners. Link to your announcement. Make a photo gallery of you receiving the award, of the award itself. Tweet it. Put it on your LinkedIn page; your Facebook page. Use links and use photos. People want to click and they want to look. Make sure they can do both.

Step Six. Keep Me in the Loop.

Last but not least, make sure you tell me. I am a one-stop word-of-mouth-marketing guru. I’ll tell everyone. Email me. Elizabeth@cecpo.com