Category Archives: Marketing

Empowering Your Customers with Instant Connections

By Lisa Wells
President, Get Social Consulting
[This article originally ran on 1/26/15 in Medtrade Monday.]

In our line of work, one of the most heartbreaking moments we face is when we meet a customer who feels powerless because of their condition.

It hurts our hearts to talk with those customers who feel like they can’t live the life they want because of physical limitations.   You hear it in the voice of parents who would give or do anything to heal their child or help them walk.   Or now-adult children who are faced with the hard fact that their parents need daily help at what is quickly becoming the end stage of life.  Or patients who struggle to simply breathe, manage their blood sugar or heart rate, or control their pain.

Thankfully, one of the most rewarding moments in our line of work comes when we give those people a spark of hope, a moment of relief, a path to independence or a plan to keep them healthy and safe.

You may not consciously realize it, but when you connect your customers with the medical supplies or equipment they need, you also give them back the individual power and security that so many feel they have lost. 

As an HME provider, you don’t just sell products. You help people feel better.  You help people feel whole.  You help people feel self-reliant and self-confident again.

Knowing that on a personal level is the very thing that keeps many of us fighting to stay in this game — no matter what the government or private insurances throw at us next.

Our Power as an Industry Strengthens Through Our Customers’ Connections

You may not realize either that the literal key to our survival as an industry lies in finding more ways to give our customers the power to:

  • Voice their thoughts on the importance and value of their healthcare, without fear of repercussion for demanding better quality or access to care.
  • Actively seek and find more ways to stay connected with other people who understand their needs and conditions, and to be able to educate those who don’t.
  • Pursue lifestyle options and activities that improve and extend their individual lives.

When we connect our customers with these avenues for self-reliance and support, we are also simultaneously creating:

  • An educated, empowered customer base demanding better healthcare policy and programs.
  • A network of like-minded people who depend on HME and gladly tell others about us.
  • A longer lifespan for people who use our services.

Become Their Connection Point for More than Just Products

So many industry conversations about the woes and mishaps of competitive bidding generally boil down to one central complaint – “the government cannot deliver quality care through spreadsheet/line item analysis alone.” (Agreed!)

Knowing that we all do so much more for our community then solely selling products, let’s take a minute to look at the picture we project as an industry to the outside world looking in.  Where is the first place the outside world will go to learn more about HME?

The Google, that’s where.
And “the Google” will take them to your website.

What’s the first thing people see when they land on your site?  Products?  Are you asking people to buy something?  Yes, of course you are.  You should be – that’s your business.

Beyond that, what else is there in plain view on your home page?

  • Are you giving people instant connections online to more than just products?
  • Are you sharing the tangible contributions you make to your community?
    (I’m not talking about money here.)
  • Are you passing along personal stories of people who are living successful lives in spite of their conditions because of your support and help?

If you’re not, then you can’t blame them when the uninformed masses come away with the impression that all you do as an HME provider is sell widgets for a profit at their expense.  Their opinion is based on something we all struggle to convey — perceived value.

REMEMBER THIS: If they’re perceiving less, it’s because the message you’re projecting isn’t more.

Raise Your Value by Raising the [Navigational] Bar

You can improve your perceived value as a care provider by expanding your message online through the empowering connections you provide to customers.

Here’s how:

  • Give your customers an avenue to voice their thoughts on the importance and value of their healthcare, without fear of repercussion for demanding better quality or access to care.

The easiest way to do this is to provide links on your website to organizations that advocate for your customers on Capitol Hill.  Share the links to the advocacy resources from non-profits that represent your customers’ conditions.

Introduce your customers to groups that fight for better Medicare reform by sharing www.SaveMyMedicalSupplies.org and People for Quality Care.  And don’t just share the link – explain WHY your customer needs to connect on this level to advocate for their own health.

  • Help your customers actively seek and find more ways to stay connected with other people who understand their needs and conditions, and to be able to educate those who don’t.

What are the social communities online that provide peer support or information for your customers’ conditions?  Many of these are likely managed by the abovementioned non-profits.  If there is a gap in this area, consider filling it. Create your own online support group or partner with an existing one.

Some examples of well-received, highly-engaged online support communities created by industry players include:

  1. Quantum Rehab Owner’s Club [ www.facebook.com/QuantumRehab ]
  2. Ottobock US C-Leg and Prosthetic Legs on Facebook [ www.facebook.com/ottobockus ]
  3. Life After Spinal Cord Injury by UroMed/Edgepark [ www.facebook.com/LASCIonline ]
  • Encourage your customers to pursue lifestyle options and activities that improve and extend their individual lives.

It is common for HME specialty providers to create a link page on their website, listing the URLs of non-profit associations that support the conditions their customers have.  Don’t stop there. Also provide the links for lifestyle magazines published by these associations to instantly connect your customers with the point that the non-profit intersects in their daily lives.

For example, don’t just list a link to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association.  Also include a link to New Mobility, their lifestyle publication, as well as other leading magazines in the space like SPORTS ‘N SPOKES [wheelchair sports] and PN Online – both published by Paralyzed Veterans of America.

When you take your customers directly to the crossroads of lifestyle activities and sports geared around their condition, you are re-introducing them to outlets for socialization, physical recreation and ongoing opportunities to get out of the house and back into life.

The Most Powerful Message You Can Give

When you provide your customers with instant connection points like those above, you are conveying that you care more about them as a person than just what they buy. You’re also showing you care about how well they live.

That’s the true heart of our industry, and it’s the powerful message we ALL need to share – instantly, online, every day — with as many people as possible.

medtrade

Additional Resources:
Learn more about digital marketing best practices at Medtrade Spring!  Plan to attend Matching HME Growth Opportunities with Successful Marketing Strategies that Incorporate Traditional & Digital Skills presented by Lisa Wells of Get Social Consulting, Justin Racine of Geriatric Medical and Rick Glass of Steven Richards & Associates. These three industry experts have combined their respective financial analysis and marketing talents to create a roadmap for HME success in 2015!  www.medtrade.com

About Lisa Wells
Lisa Wells is a veteran of online marketing and e-commerce, with more than 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing communications and web-based product management at medical device, medical supply and health technology companies. As a consultant, she has advised on the development of numerous online marketing programs and strategic marketing plans for HME providers and medical device companies worldwide.  Visit her consulting website at www.getsocialconsulting.com.

Get Social Consulting Partners with IMCO Home Care to Deliver Digital Marketing Solutions to Home Care Providers

IMCO HOME CARE AND GET SOCIAL CONSULTING ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tampa, FL;  December 15, 2014 — Independent Medical Co-Op (IMCO), Daytona Beach, FL and Get Social Consulting, Tampa, FL, have teamed up to offer industry-leading digital marketing services to DME/HME providers who are seeking to improve their digital marketing, social media and e-commerce/retail cash sales.

IMCO Logo

IMCO recently launched their new Home Care initiative, a dedicated membership group serving Independent DME/HME dealers through the United States. IMCO Home Care provides for its members the best in Home Care manufacturers at contracted prices, as well as resources essential to efficient and profitable businesses. To that regard, IMCO has partnered with Get Social Consulting as their digital marketing service provider for IMCO Home Care and its members.

IMCO Home Care is very excited to partner with Get Social Consulting!  Lisa Wells is well known in our industry as an expert in home care marketing and a great advocate for people with disabilities,” stated Pam Wedow, Vice President & General Manager of IMCO Home Care.

Lisa Wells
Lisa Wells

Get Social Consulting, whose areas of service include providing digital marketing and social media programs, as well as creating e-commerce platforms and traditional marketing plans for DME providers and medical device manufacturers, will be the digital marketing service provider recommended by the association. IMCO’s new Home Care group will also be offering active members discounted rates for Get Social Consulting services.

“We are thrilled to partner with IMCO Home Care to offer digital marketing support to their members. As the industry has shifted dramatically over the last few years in terms of how providers go to market, supporting their online marketing efforts is a strategic member benefit that may boost their overall sales success,” said Lisa Wells, President of Get Social Consulting.

One of the immediate member benefits of this partnership is an educational webinar series on digital marketing and e-commerce best practices, hosted by Lisa Wells of Get Social Consulting and Pam Wedow of IMCO Homecare.

cloud, set icons

 

The first installment of the series, 10 Marketing Ideas to Drive Your Sales in 2015, will take place on Thursday, February 12, 2015. 

Thanks to an educational grant provided by Covidien, the webinar is free for IMCO Home Care members to attend. 

About IMCO
Independent Medical Co-Op is the premier member services group for the independent medical wholesalers serving the acute, long term care, primary care and home care market segments with 140 members across the US.   IMCO has continued to grow and build family owned companies for over 30 years.

IMCO Home Care contracts with leading branded manufacturers and resources partners to deliver their robust product portfolio to their home care provider members through their network of IMCO wholesalers across the US.  IMCO Home Care membership is free for home care providers who would like to join. To learn more about IMCO Home Care or to apply for membership please visit www.imcohomecare.com or call toll-free 877-259-9233.

getsocialLOGOslogan

About Get Social Consulting
Lisa Wells created Get Social, a healthcare marketing consultancy, for one simple reason:  to help care providers better communicate with patients and their families.  Get Social solutions include digital marketing programs, social media management, e-commerce platform development and comprehensive strategic planning for integrated marketing communications [both traditional and digital].

A veteran of online marketing and e-commerce, Wells has 20-plus years of experience in marketing and product management at medical device, medical supply and health technology organizations. As president of Get Social Consulting, she has advised on successful digital marketing programs and strategic marketing plans for HME providers and medical device manufacturers worldwide. Her books, Get Social: How to Use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing, and 10 Fundraiser Ideas to Help People with Disabilities can be purchased on Amazon.  To learn more, please visit www.getsocialconsulting.com or call 678-232-1330.

Media Inquires:

Pam Wedow
IMCO Home Care
832-527-5654
pwedow@imcohomecare.com
www.imcohomecare.com

Lisa Wells
President
Get Social Consulting
678-232-1330
lisa@getsocialconsulting.com

Using LinkedIn to Connect with Referral Sources

Social media is all the rage these days as a source of “instant gratification” in connecting with your customers.  While plenty of marketing resources exist to help guide your consumer-focused social media efforts, very few exist to guide your online marketing efforts toward referral sources – clinicians, non-profit organizations and other professional connections.

LinkedIn is well-known for being a place to network, and especially as a place to polish up and promote your resume.  But did you know that  you can use LinkedIn to position your business with referral sources as well?  With 200 million members worldwide, and 2 people joining LinkedIn every second, [yes, every second!] the odds are more than good that your referral sources are part of LinkedIn too.

Here’s a few quick tips to creating a referral-focused marketing campaign on LinkedIn.

Create Your Company Page
A LinkedIn Company Page is a fantastic way to promote your business, products & services, and job opportunities.  Your company page serves as a connecting point where LinkedIn members can stay in the loop about what your company is doing.  Learn more about how a LinkedIn company page can help your business here.

Join The Conversation
Now that your company has a presence on LinkedIn, it’s time to get social!  The best way to do this is by publishing content that will engage your followers [not just an ongoing commercial about your business] and by taking part in discussion groups that have members who may refer patients to your business.

You can find discussion groups for just about any business topic or business focus area on LinkedIn. Here’s an example of just a few that I found the other day related to buyers/group purchasing managers for healthcare organizations.

discussiongroups

Advertise to Gain Followers & Collect Leads
Setting up an ad on LinkedIn to promote your company page or website is a very similar process to creating ads on Facebook or Google Adwords.  If you know how to create an ad there, you can do it on LinkedIn too.

However, one of the most compelling reasons to use LinkedIn advertising is because of a unique feature they offer that Facebook and Google ads do not.  You can collect business leads from LinkedIn users.

leadcollectionlinkedin

Another unique feature of LinkedIn advertising is that you can run video ads and not just those with static text.  So if you have a YouTube channel or even iPhone footage of your latest community event, you can serve it up for referral sources to see here on LinkedIn.

Budget Considerations
LinkedIn must realize the value of their lead generation tool, as I’m sure you do, because the average cost per click for LinkedIn ad is relatively high compared to other social media platforms.  You can expect to pay upwards of $4-$5 per click if you go the CPC route. In this case, I would serve your ad up first using impressions rather than clicks as the baseline measurement, as the cost per impression is considerably less.

Here’s a sample of the LinkedIn ad creation form that shows you where to choose the budget option that’s right for your campaign:
budgetlinkedin

Either way, keep in mind that once you connect with a referral source – the lifetime value of that lead is greater than that of an individual consumer.  Referral sources, as they say, are the gift that keeps on giving!

This article was originally published on Medtrade 365: http://blog.medtrade.com/2013/07/using-linkedin-to-connect-with-referral-sources/#sthash.0VrpNYCK.dpuf

 

Lisa Wells Authors Fundraising Advice Book for People with Disabilities

10ideasWheel:Life, an online community for wheelchair users worldwide, has published 10 Fundraiser Ideas to Help People with Disabilities as a new e-book on Amazon.com. Wheel:Life publications center on sharing resources and support for people who use wheelchairs.

Within 10 Fundraiser Ideas to Help People with Disabilities, readers will discover brainstorming ideas for different types of fundraiser events to benefit an  individual with a disability who needs financial assistance for medical equipment, physical rehabilitation, adaptive sports equipment or daily medical needs.

Author Lisa Wells shares real-life examples and success stories throughout the book based on her lengthy healthcare marketing career that includes more than 20 years of ongoing interactions with healthcare providers, disability advocates, non-profit supporters and peer support group members. 

“Wheel:Life receives hundreds of inquiries each year from people who are seeking advice on ways to raise money for medical equipment, adaptive sports gear or specialized health care,” Wells says. “While Wheel:Life doesn’t have the funds to financially support these requests, we are able to provide intelligent support by offering resources like this book.”

10 Fundraiser Ideas to Help People with Disabilities features:

  • Paralympian and UroMed founder Bert Burns on how he raised support to begin his career in wheelchair racing
  • Project Walk Atlanta participant Leslie Ostrander on how she raised money for additional rehab
  • The founders of 100 Songs for Kids and their annual music event that benefits children’s medical charities
  • Rolling Inspiration creator Chris Salas on how he lined up sponsors for his SCI peer support group and power soccer team
  • The creators of Hunter’s Torch Daylily Garden, a fundraising resource for a child with special needs.
  • The Independence Fund – a little known source of financial support for disabled US veterans.

Available for purchase at Amazon’s Kindle bookstore, the book retails for $1.99.  Proceeds from the book go toward funding additional Wheel:Life programs for the wheelchair community that they serve. 

Purchase your copy at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HUKCA10#_

Note: If you have a disability and are facing a financial challenge, you can request a free copy of this book at: http://wheel-life.org/free-book-series/

Wheel:Life publications are funded by the generous support of their corporate sponsors, who include At Home Medical, Medtrade, SPORTS ‘N SPOKES, Mobility Management, Hollister Incorporated, Cure Medical and Invacare.

LisaWells_medAbout The Author: Lisa Wells is a veteran of online marketing and e-commerce, with more than 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing communications and web-based product management at medical device, medical supply and health technology companies. As a consultant, she has advised on the development of numerous online marketing programs and strategic marketing plans for HME providers and medical device companies worldwide.  Visit her consulting website at www.getsocialconsulting.com.

About Wheel:Life Wheel:Life is a global initiative that assists people in addressing the many questions and challenges that come with using a wheelchair. Wheel:Life resources help people find quality health and medical information, related medical products and news. Our social community offers networking and ongoing resources within an online peer support group.  More than 20,000 wheelchair users from 94 countries took part in Wheel:Life resources in 2013. Visit us at www.wheel-life.org.

For more information, review copies, or interviews, please contact:

Wheel:Life
Email: info@wheel-life.org
Website: http://www.wheel-life.org

New Medtrade Seminar Puts DME Providers Ahead of the Digital Curve

medtradebannerA brand new seminar is being introduced to the Medtrade seminar line up this fall. While changes to healthcare coupled with the Internet age have proved challenging, two industry experts have developed a one-of-a-kind program to help providers stay ahead of the digital curve and maintain a competitive edge.

About the Seminar
Anna McDevitt, owner of Laboratory Marketing, and Lisa Wells, owner of Get Social Consulting created “Keeping Your Business Ahead of the Digital Curve” with the intention of empowering providers to confidently build and manage dynamic marketing campaigns. The seminar will take providers through scalable marketing principles via entertaining stories, in-class activities, videos and real-world examples.

Seminar attendees can expect to walk away with a clear understanding of Online and Content-Driven marketing techniques – plus a copy of Lisa Wells’ book: Get Social: How to Use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing.

8-out-of-10Participants can expect to learn:

– The fundamentals of creating compelling web content that generates traffic online and in your store

– How to sync your online marketing programs with your store sales efforts and goals for growth

– Ways to develop relationships with online consumers that translate to increased retail visits

“Online marketing is a proven way for small business to take on big business, whether it’s in the form of cash sales, customer loyalty programs or advancing brand awareness. Attending this Medtrade workshop will give you access to the tips, tools and marketing strategies used by two of the HME industry’s leading experts in this area,” Medtrade show director Kevin Gaffney said.

Keeping Your Business Ahead of the Digital Curve will be held on October 7 from 1-5pm at the Orange County Convention Center. Registration for the seminar also includes access to the complete Medtrade show.

Please visit http://www.medtrade.com/conference/seminars-workshops-webinars.shtml to register. Early bird rates are still available until September 6.

For more information, contact Anna McDevitt (anna@laboratory-marketing.com) or Lisa Wells (lisa@getsocialconsulting.com.)

good-relationshipsMeet the Experts

About Lisa Wells:
Lisa Wells is a veteran of online marketing and e-commerce, with nearly 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing communications and web-based product management at medical device, medical supply and health technology companies. As the President of Get Social Consulting, she has advised on the development of numerous online marketing programs and strategic marketing plans for HME providers worldwide. Learn more at http://www.getsocialconsulting.com.

About Anna McDevitt:
Anna McDevitt is a brand development consultant and graphic designer specializing in home medical marketing. Her company, Laboratory Marketing, offers effective marketing solutions to HME providers through education, strategy and design services. She strongly believes that every provider can create successful marketing by finding the right combination of strategies and materials to answer the marketing objectives of their business. Learn more at www.laboratory-marketing.com.

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Contact:

Anna McDevitt
248-227-6930
anna@laboratory-marketing.com

Lisa Wells
678-232-1330
lisa@getsocialconsulting.com

HME Marketing Expert Releases New Book on Social Media

coverartlowresAuthor and marketing consultant Lisa Wells has written a new e-book to guide home medical equipment providers and healthcare marketing professionals in creating patient-focused social media programs.

Inside the pages of “Get Social: How to Use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing, you’ll learn how to leverage social media to strengthen relationships with your existing healthcare patients as well as how to position your products or services to a brand new audience that has healthcare needs.

Throughout the book, Wells shares real-life business examples and success stories from her marketing career that spans more than 20 years of professional experience with health care providers, medical suppliers and medical device manufacturers on three continents.

Wells explains, “After searching for e-book resources about marketing and social media within the HME industry, I realized how few were available. Pulling from many of my teaching presentations, this book illustrates best practices in social media marketing, for use by health care professionals nationwide.”

Each chapter provides easy-to-understand analogies that bring technical steps down to the level of a beginning or non-technical person. At the end of each section, Wells also offers additional resources for extended learning on specific marketing topics.

Get Social: How to Use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing is an easy, entertaining read that will help you visualize ways to raise your social media campaigns to a new level.

So what are you waiting for? The first step to getting social is to get started on Chapter 1. Purchase the book online through Amazon.com’s KDP Select website at http://www.amazon.com/Get-Social-Healthcare-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00ATFC162

Additionally, participants in the following events will receive a complimentary copy of Get Social: How to Use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing. See the event web sites for registration costs and full details.

Event: HME News Educational Webinar
Topic: Top 10 Marketing Ideas to Kick Off 2013
Date: February 7, 2013
REGISTER ONLINE: www.hmenews.com

Event: Medtrade Spring 2013
Topic: Business 101 – Fundamentals of Online Marketing, a 4-part webinar series
Dates: January 23, February 13, February 21, March 19
REGISTER ONLINE: www.medtrade.com

Book Information
Title: Get Social: How to Use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing
Author: Lisa Wells
Publisher: Lisa Wells/Get Social, Inc.
Published: December 2012
Words: 15,814
Cost: $4.99
Download a Copy for Kindle or iPad: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Social-Healthcare-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00ATFC162

LisaHeadshot1.2012About The Author:
Lisa Wells is a veteran of online marketing and e-commerce, with nearly 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing communications and web-based product management at medical device, medical supply and health technology companies.

As a consultant, she has advised on the development of numerous online marketing programs and strategic marketing plans for HME providers and medical device companies worldwide.

Frequently published as a subject matter expert in Marketing, Wells was also ranked the #1 speaker for two consecutive years after presenting at the 2010 & 2011 HME News Business Summits.

For more information, review copies, or interviews, please contact:
Lisa Wells
Email: lisa@getsocialconsulting.com
Website: http://www.getsocialconsulting.com
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Upcoming HME/DME Marketing Educational Events for 2013

The new year is already looking like it will be jam-packed with educational opportunities for HME Marketing professionals nationwide, thanks in large part to two industry leaders, Medtrade and HME News.  I’ll be doing my part too by speaking and teaching at a variety of Medtrade and HME News events, with the first one beginning in January.

If you are still pulling together a strategic marketing plan for 2013, or looking at launching a whole new series of marketing campaigns including social media, you’ll want to tune into the events listed below.  Please see Medtrade and HME News  for full details on enrollment as well as related costs.

Click the picture above to watch the new commercial for Medtrade 2013, featuring Lisa Wells.
Click the picture above to watch the new commercial for Medtrade 2013, featuring Lisa Wells.

Medtrade Spring: Pre-Conference Session [4-Part Webinar Series]
Business 101: Fundamentals of Online Marketing
Presented by Lisa Wells

Are you sliding off the side of the digital curve? Do your online marketing programs need a little extra oomph?

This four-hour virtual bootcamp is one of the most engaging online marketing educational series for HME marketing professionals that we’ve ever offered.    HME marketing expert Lisa Wells will take you through the principles of e-marketing, providing entertaining stories, videos and real-world examples along the way to help you apply these concepts to your daily business.

This 4-part series will include:

  • E-marketing terminology and definitions
  • A progressive pace for beginner to mid-level participants
  • Videos to watch for additional learning opportunities outside of class instruction times
  • A list of additional resources that will be delivered onsite during Medtrade Spring

*Webinar dates:

  • Wed Jan 23 at 2 PM EST
  • Wed Feb 13 at 2 PM EST
  • Thurs Feb 21 at 2PM EST
  • Last session delivered in-person at Medtrade Spring on Tuesday, March 19.

Webinar instructions to be provided a week prior to each call to all registered participants.

Given the nature of the topic, the first three hours of the course will be delivered via webinar, with the remaining hour and follow-up questions from attendees delivered during Medtrade Spring.  Participants may attend the last hour of the course at Medtrade Spring without taking the prior three hours online if they wish to watch the recorded version after final class session.

Recommended Audience: all DME sales, marketing and technical staff who are striving to take their digital presence to the next level.

4yrold

HME News: Webinar Series
Top 10 Marketing Ideas to Kick Off HME Sales in 2013
Date: February 13, 2012

Presented by Lisa Wells

On the agenda:

  • Tips and tactics for marketing success
  • Creative ideas that won’t break the bank
  • Evaluating the best use of online content for social media
  • Identifying the process behind successful marketing programs
  • How to sync your marketing plan with your business plan

And Much More!

You don’t have to be the biggest provider to make a huge impression on the market. Kick off your marketing programs for the year by participating in this webcast!

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Stay tuned, more events and resources from Get Social will be announced soon. Visit our events page for the latest news.

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Your Online Marketing Efforts May Be New, But Content Marketing Isn’t

IMHO, content marketing is well worth your time and investment.
IMHO, content marketing is well worth your time and investment.

Back in the old days, say the year 2002, what methods did you apply to position your brand?

Did you utilize third-party endorsements as a way to increase the opinion that consumers and clinicians had of your services?  How about media placement – did you encourage magazines or newspapers to talk about your products or your company?

If you said YES to the questions above, you’re already an old pro when it comes to content marketing.

Content marketing basically entails placing your brand on third-party websites that link back to your main site or point of sales transaction.  It’s a form of branding and today, on social platforms, it is the KEY to driving your brand.

E-testimonials or endorsements from customers and clinicians are where it’s at if you want to engage new business online. [Plus, their linkbacks to your web site help drive SEO rankings organically.]

Here’s why:
People are 10 times as likely to come away with a purchasing decision after reading an article [or personal endorsement] about you than they are after viewing an online ad. 

That’s because human nature leans toward going along with what other peers do, especially those peers who are part of an individual’s social group.  Therefore, social media is an influencer when users see other folks in their “friend circle” participating in events, trying new products or visiting places online.

Does this mean you shouldn’t be spending money on web advertisements? No, ads are one part of your overall integrated communications strategy. It’s just up to you to determine how much in terms of time and budget.

William Blair & Company, an internet industry think tank, published a whitepaper titled The Future in Digital Media: A Social Media Revolution that spells out the buying power of online advocates or “endorsers.”  The whitepaper is 96 pages long, so let me summarize the key takeaways by quoting the high points along with some of my own thoughts:

  1. Social media will have a lasting and sustained impact on the advertising and digital media, it is not a fad. 
    The platform names may change, i.e. Myspace > Facebook > Instagram, but they are not going away.
  2. Online platforms will enable the connection and monetization of communities of people.
    In normal words, social media is a bridge to reach your audience, and when you do it correctly, you will make money in the process.
  3. Behaviors will dictate consumers’ social experience. Influence will become a strong and powerful effect to develop networks and to mold behavior; we therefore believe it may become the new social currency.  This means that individuals who can influence large groups of people will drive behavior more effectively than ever before online.  Your company spokesperson, consumer advocates or celebrity endorser should be fully connected and publicized on all social media channels.

So, those priceless media mentions that you actively sought ten years ago are just as valid today. It’s important to understand, however, why the avenue or method in which people read them has changed.

The way your type gets to print may be different today, but its' influence on your audience remains the same.
The way your type gets to print may be different today, but its’ influence on your audience remains the same.

Most folks aren’t picking up the daily paper anymore, but I’m willing to bet they are cruising their local newspapers’ web site on a daily basis.  Do you read news online?  Your customers do too.

When you take content marketing online, it moves the same way as it does in print. However, your brand-specific content is distributed faster via the web and can be more focused to certain groups of people while costing less money overall for the company.

In the meantime, give us a shout if you’re trying to broaden your brand presence online with content marketing. We have a variety of options to help you achieve that goal.

Ways Video Can Personalize Your Customers’ Online Experience

Get ready to throw away your TV.

According to comScore’s 2012 US Digital Future In Focus report released earlier this year, 105.1 million Americans now watch videos online each day, up 43% from 73.7 million in 2010.

And comScore isn’t talking about “Americans” that no one knows.  Think about your own online behavior.  When was the last time you watched a YouTube video or one that your friend forwarded on Facebook?  I’m willing to bet it was a least once in the last week.  Tell me if I’m wrong!

So let’s apply your own behavior to that of your customers. How many videos would you guess they’re watching online every day or each week?

Now here’s the million dollar question: How many of those videos are about your business?
How many videos are posted on your own website?  How many do you have on your blog or your social media page?  Do you have a blog or social media page?

If you aren’t using video to promote your business or the services you provide, you might as well be waiting on your customers to read about you in their daily newspaper.  [You know, the one that now only publishes three days a week due to declining ad sales.]  But don’t hold your breath while you do.

Great news!  We can help you solve that problem pretty easily with the options below.

Filming Your Own Videos

Admit it, we all have a family member who is a freak with a camcorder, or nowadays, an iPhone.  If that’s not you, don’t despair.

Video footage doesn’t have to be Emmy-nominated to be well-received by your customers.

How about  recording the fun while your company team takes part in a local Walk-N-Roll? Or, consider leading viewers on an impromptu tour of your store.  Just make sure that whatever the occasion is for filming, that you are dressed appropriately and the environment reflects the image you want to portray.

One of the worst “homemade” videos I ever saw posted on a business site was a How-To clip that a store owner filmed in his conference room.  He hung a sheet, lopsided, over the window, and taped cardboard over the peephole on the conference room door.  You can be low-budget, for sure, without looking cut-rate.  Common sense prevails, but when in doubt, please let your spouse or your most stylish friend take a look at the background and your outfit before you hit RECORD.

Leveraging Your TV Footage

If you’ve run commercials on local TV channels, why not post those online?  They can be just as effective via your YouTube channel as they were when you ran them on cable, at a fraction of the cost.  Plus, all the heavy lifting is already done – and paid for!

So ask your video producers to help you upload a web-friendly version online. Embed those videos on your home page, or your product pages to help guide viewers through the buying experience on your site.

Sharing Other Video Resources

Do you have a resource section on your site that explains medical conditions or how to use the products you sell?  Why not share videos from some of the non-profit associations that serve your target audience?  When you do, you’ll be sharing a resource from a credible source, and giving them an endorsement at the same time.

If your non-profits have shared their videos via YouTube or offer a share tool on their own site for viewers to pass the video on, feel free to give them a plug on your page too.  Be sure to let them know when you plan to share their footage, your relationships are bound to improve and your referrals might as well.

Creating Video Announcements

Not in the mood to direct your own cinematic features?  That’s understandable. There are experts out there who can create video announcements for you, and it’s not nearly as expensive as you might anticipate.

Video announcements are custom weekly videos that you can use within email blasts, websites and social networks.  Does your church play video announcements before the service starts? If you’ve seen these before, think about what kinds of announcements you could make to update customers about what’s going on this week in your store?

A friend of mine, Scott Ross, offers a video production service that caters to a variety of industries and focus topics for announcements.  Here’s a quick video [no pun intended] that explains how their process works:

If you’d like to learn more, visit their business site for details.

Need a hand with your video outreach efforts?
Get Social is glad to help, give us a shout!

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Using QR Codes to Improve Patient Compliance

Patient compliance isn't always as easy as taking a pill.  The more ways you can reinforce care compliance with your patients, the better off you both will be.
Patient compliance isn’t always as easy as taking a pill. The more ways you can reinforce care compliance with your patients, the better off you both will be.

We all know the drill.  “Bob” gets sent home from the doctor’s office or the hospital with a list of prescriptions and care instructions to manage their condition.  The condition among “Bobs” may vary, but one thing remains the same with patients across the country — convincing them to comply with their care regimen is an ongoing challenge for both the clinician and for you as their supply/equipment provider.

Reinforcement is key to patient compliance, meaning you have to keep reminding people to follow directions, follow their care plan and follow up with their monthly orders.  No easy task, I agree.

The good news is, a simple technology known as a “QR code” can help you drive those messages home to your customers on a daily basis.  QR codes are one of the most interesting technology advances of late, due to their ease of use and the many ways you can apply them to share information with consumers.

What is a QR code?

QR codes aren’t new. I’m sure you’ve already seen them on the pages of mainstream magazines.  The QR stands for “Quick Response”. 

Try it! Scan this QSR code above to see a video about a discreet new intermittent catheter for men.
Try it! Scan this QSR code above to see a video about a discreet new intermittent catheter for men.

Quick Response Codes are a type of barcode that were first designed in Japan for the automotive industry.  These codes became popular in the mainstream because they can store more information than the standard barcodes you see on grocery products or other boxed goods.

Today, QR codes have become commonplace in consumer advertising and packaging, because the popularity of smartphones “has put a barcode reader in everyone’s pocket for the first time.” [Source]

With their rising popularity and increasing use, QR codes can be a key component of your e-marketing strategy without adding significant costs to your budget.  {i.e. Free is Good!}

I first heard about them four years ago from a good friend who works in the outdoors sports industry! About the same time that he and I discussed ways US retailers were beginning to use these square icons to promote sporting goods, I also saw an article about a giant QR code on display in the middle of London.

A major British entertainment company had taken out a 100-foot-tall billboard with nothing but a QR code on it, sparking the curiosity of Londoners who weren’t quite sure exactly what that odd-looking box meant.  See a video explaining the billboard and QR codes here. The message held within the mysterious black box was simple — it was advertising a movie titled 28 Weeks Later: “It’s back on DVD – September 10th.”

Around the same time, the craze for QR codes kicked off across Europe. Not surprisingly, as QR codes became popular in Europe prior to making their way across the Atlantic, European medical device manufacturers were the first in our industry to include them on the sides of product packaging.

Who is mostly likely to respond to a QR code?

Aren't you glad you don't need a keyboard on your cell phone anymore?
Aren’t you glad you don’t need a keyboard on your cell phone anymore?

According to eMarketer,  116 million cell phone owners in the US are currently browsing the internet using their mobile device. By 2016, eMarketer predicts that number will rise to a whopping 192 million people.

Smartphones have come a long way in advancing users’ accessibility to online applications. Nowadays, it’s almost a competition among friends to share the latest apps and sites they use via their phones.

Just for giggles – here’s a look at some of the worst cell phones ever designed.  Did you ever own one of these??

Bottom Line: As more people of all ages are perusing the internet via their cell phone, the response rate to QR codes is only going to increase.  Keep in mind too, if you are utilizing text messaging and email campaigns to drive customer reorders and other communication, you’ve already created a mobile audience for your business or product-specific QR codes.

How can a health care provider use QR codes to improve patient compliance?

You probably already have examples of QR codes on packages in your inventory.  Many medical device manufacturers are now including them in their literature as well as instructions for use.  Have you thought about adding QR codes to your:

  • Catalog
  • Sample bags
  • In-Store displays
  • Promotional items for referral sources
  • The backside of your sales reps’ business cards

When you place QR codes on these materials, you can have them link viewers to all kinds of information, including:

  • Product instructions for use
  • Landing pages for prospective clients or referral sources
  • Downloadable PDFs like customized prescription forms
  • Product demos or special offers
  • Videos, videos and more videos

You’ve convinced me.  How do I begin?

This is the best part: You can create QR codes for free, in less than 30 seconds. Here’s a list of web sites that give you free tools to create your own QR codes.  Many offer free apps that you can download to scan QR codes too.

When using a QR generator tool, you simply drop in the URL that you want to have the code point to and save the picture that is created to your art files.  Then you can place that black square artwork into your email template, brochure layout or product packaging design.

1. Kaywa As the first western QR company, Kaywa has offered a free QR code generator on its site since 2006.

2. Quickqr: Quikqr allows you to quickly make free QR codes. Once you have generated your code you can save it, print it, email it, share it with your friends. Quikqr is 100% free and you don’t need to sign in.

3. BeQRious:  This site lets you generate many types of QR codes, including URL, Email address, Phone number, Text, Contact information, SMS, YouTube, Services, Graphical (to put an image into your QR code for a URL), and Google Maps.

4. BeeTagg: This QR Generator supports the following information types – URL, RSS feed, Contacts, YouTube and eBay.  Plus, with BeeTagg, you can shorten your long URL with the BeeTagg Optimize Size option, and generate other types of scan codes as well.

Need a hand with your first QR code initiative?
Give us a shout, we’re glad to help!

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