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

 

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

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

“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, 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.