Tag Archives: Get Social

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

 

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.

###

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
###

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Ways to Distribute Free Press Releases Online

One of the fastest ways to turn heads within your industry or competitive marketplace is to make the news. Everyone wants to land on Channel 9’s evening broadcast, but very few know how to do it successfully.

Here’s a few of my personal recommendations to help your press releases generate the media attention that you desire:

  1. Include a News Peg – that means, give a logical and newsworthy reason to justify why your press release is being distributed.
  2. Offer Samples – along with a means of obtaining them for media review, etc.
  3. A Picture Tells the Story Better than You Can – Be sure to have quality hi-res and low-res [web optimized] photos of the product, event, etc. on hand for use with the story.  Include the low-res “money shot” with your press release.
  4. Make It Easy For Folks To Learn More:  Be sure to include how can the product be purchased: in store, catalogs, online, by phone?  Price?  If it’s an event, how can people participate or donate?

For more advice on how to write a properly-formatted press release, click here.

Bottom Line: Getting your store, event, or products mentioned in print articles, online and on TV/radio shows will help spread the word to customers −− at a fraction of the cost of an advertising campaign.

And, the good news is, online press release distribution doesn’t have to cost you a dime.

Mashable [one of my favorite tech-info sites] published the following list of free press release distribution sites a few years ago [see source: http://mashable.com/2007/10/20/press-releases/], and I’ve used it as a handy resource for my own marketing programs.  My personal favorites in terms of reliability and speed are marked below with an asterisk.

Many of the sites listed below also offer functionality to help you create a newsroom on your business website – allowing you to update your site with breaking news as your press releases go out in real time with no IT involvement necessary.

List of 20+ free press release distribution sites:

*24-7PressRelease.com – Free release distribution with ad-support

*1888PressRelease.com – Free distribution, paid services gives you better placement and permanent archiving.

ClickPress.com – Distributes to sites like Google News and Topix.net, Gold level will also get you to sites like LexisNexis.

EcommWire.com – Focuses on ecommerce and requires you include an image, 3 keywords and links.

Express-Press-Release.com – Free distribution company with offices in 12 states.

Free-Press-Release.com – Easy press release distribution for free, more features for paid accounts.

Free-Press-Release-Center.info – Distributes your release, offers a web page with one keyword link to your site. Pro upgrade will give you three links, permanent archiving and more.

I-Newswire.com – Allows for free distribution to sites and search engines, premium membership differs only slightly in adding in graphics.

NewswireToday.com – All the usual free distribution tools, premium service includes logo, product picture and more.

http://www.newsrx.com/pr_login.php — Healthcare-focused, each month over three million readers globally view and download NewsRx articles and publications online.

PR.com – Not only will they distribute your press releases, but you can also set up a full company profile.

PR9.net – Ad supported press distribution site.

PR-Inside.com – European-based free press release distribution site.

PRBuzz.com – Completely free distribution to search engines, news sites, and blogs.

PRCompass.com – Distribute your press release with a free or paid version, others can vote it up ala Digg-style.

PRUrgent.com – Not only distributes your release, but attempts to teach you how to write one, and even offers downloadbale samples for you to work with.

Press-Base.com – Submit your release for free and get on their front page and the category of your choice.

PressAbout.com – A free press release service formatted as a blog.

PressMethod.com – Free press release distribution no matter what, but extra services based on the size of your contribution.

PRLeap.com – Free distribution to search engines, newswires, and RSS feeds. Fee based bumps get you better placement.

*PRLog.org – Free distribution to Google News and other other search engines.

TheOpenPress.com – Gives free distribution for plain formatted releases, fees for HTML-coded releases.

Pitch your story the right way, and you’ll have more media attention than you can handle!

Remember, you get what you pay for.  There are times when paid releases are a better choice than free.  For example, if your company is part of a merger, acquisition, or joint venture, you should spend the money and time to give extra attention to this high-level event.

However, would you want to pay several hundred dollars to share a press release announcing your sponsorship of a local charity walk?  Your choice, as you need to decide what events are historical and impactful enough to your business to merit a significant investment in publicity.

PR Newswire is a paid press release distribution service that can help you capture online audiences and gain traction in search engines. It offers both search-optimized press release hosting and distribution via PR Newswire’s online syndication network of more than 5,700 Web sites. Your news release will be seen on the Internet’s largest news sites (such as Yahoo!, Bizjournals.com and Marketwatch), niche and localized Web sites and news engines including Yahoo! News and Google News.

But it’s not cheap though, press release distribution packages on PR Newswire start at $399 per release.  So make your dollars count and choose your paid-promotion opportunities wisely.

Need a hand with your next media campaign?
Give me a shout, I’m glad to help!

Enhanced by Zemanta

How Human Nature Influences Medical Device Purchases Online

Successful marketing campaigns usually begin with an understanding of human behavior.

Forget about the copy and the graphics for a second.  Stop and think about what people do, how do they act every day?  What is normal behavior for the situation that your customers are in when they make a buying decision?

Here’s an example.
When you’re looking for a florist, do you whip out the yellow pages to find one?  You used to, I’m sure. But nowadays, I’m willing to bet you hop online [using your phone more than likely] and go to what?

That’s right, Google.  Or Bing, or whatever search engine your browser defaults to.

Do you go to a rose grower’s web site to look for their local distributors? No, of course not, that would be silly!

So why do so many medical device manufacturers think that consumers want to go to their website, first and foremost, to find a local dealer?  That approach doesn’t jive with human nature when it comes to how most people search for things online.

Am I saying device manufacturers shouldn’t have a dealer directory on their main website?  Absolutely not, that’s always important.  But if you are a device manufacturer and you’re not employing other web strategies to drive customers to dealer locations, you’re missing out on sales opportunities left and right.

Tips for Driving Online Traffic To Your Medical Device Dealers & Retailers

  • Keep the dealer directory on your website, but advertise the directory via Google ads and through content placement on health sites.
  • Employ Google’s remarketing tactics to get people back to your website once they visit the dealer directory.   [Don’t know what Google Remarketing is or how to use it?  Contact us, we’ll tell you all about it.]
  • Create an e-newsletter for your audience – whether that’s clinicians or consumers – and embed a link to your dealer directory in each edition.
  • Use video to talk about your products and then have that video point viewers to your dealer directory to find a local provider.   Upload your videos to YouTube, Vimeo and other video hosting sites that allow viewers to forward your helpful information to a friend.

There’s plenty of other ways to extend your medical device brand online.
If you’d like to learn more, give us a shout. We’re happy to help!

(C) Lisa Wells, Get Social – All rights reserved, 2012.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Meet Emma: She Knows Email

Most everyone knows about Constant Contact, a do-it-yourself email solution that has become ubiquitous among small businesses.

But I’ve always shied away from the catch-all solutions and sought out others that personalize the customer experience.  Emma is one of those options for email marketers.

And how could you not like an email program named Emma? She sounds sweet, right?

Not only that, but she’s pretty open and honest about what she’s able to do.  Here’s a list of Five things you should know about Emma.

Emma’s approach seems to be working. According to her web site, she’s “currently supporting the email marketing efforts of roughly 40,000 businesses, nonprofits and agencies doing all sorts of interesting things in all sorts of interesting places, assuming Belgium makes your list of interesting places, and why wouldn’t it?”  She’s headquartered in Nashville, and staffed by all kinds of young, hip e-savvy marketers.

Last year, Emma interviewed me for their 5 Questions blog.  This blog site aids e-marketers with helpful strategies and tactics to drive their online marketing success.  Emma asked me to participate because one of the e-newsletters that I had developed using their communications platform was receiving a much higher than average click thru rate by readers – nearly 40%.  [In healthcare, most Emma clients only see a 10-20% click thru rate.]

Emma offers all kinds of free templates to help you create a professional look and feel for your e-marketing campaigns.

Here’s one of the highlights from our interview:

Question: What’s your best advice to writing accessible, memorable emails?

Lisa Wells:

  • Write for your audience’s benefit – not yours or your company’s.
  • Illustrate points with pictures the audience will relate to and click on for details.
  • Use a personal tone – no one wants to read an email that sounds like you have a banana stuck in your tailpipe. Treat your customers like they’re your friends, but not in terms of slang or being overly familiar. Do use layman’s terms, and answer questions or problems they may have.
  • Link, link, link and link some more. The more direct access you provide to customer relational touch points, the better.

Read the full interview here.

If you’re a non-profit, you may want to apply for the Emma 25 Initiative. Each year, the annual Emma 25 initiative awards free Emma service to help small, deserving nonprofits do more to reach their donors and supporters with email marketing. Charitable causes from around the world apply, and they select 25 to honor with a lifetime of free Emma service.  Non-Profits — Apply here.

Need a hand with your e-marketing initiatives? 
Give me a shout.  I’m glad to help.