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.
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.
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.]
Here’s one of the highlights from our interview:
Question: What’s your best advice to writing accessible, memorable emails?
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.
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.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of co-presenting a webinar with renowned HME Sales Consultant Eric Kline as part of the ongoing webinar series offered by HME News. Together, Eric and I shared our best practices for Aligning Technology to Improve Sales Success.
Here are a few of the highlights from our presentation that cover many of the questions we received from participants.
Main Point Improving the productivity and effectiveness of your sales reps is a great way to boost profitability, especially when you use a process-driven sales approach supported by technology-driven marketing tools.
HME News offered these bullet points to summerize the topics we covered:
* Fostering consistency and utilizing technology to share new information in referral source visits
* Creating online communities using social media to develop a trusted relationship with referral sources
* Being proactive in asking for referrals and providing those referral sources with online tools to guide their decision-making
A couple of quick and easy techie tools that can assist sales reps in the planning process are:
Healthgrades.com: This website was designed to help consumers find a local healthcare provider. But you can use it to better understand your referral sources before you visit them. Look up a physician on Healthgrades and their profile will include the number of patients they see per day, their areas of specialization, office hours and locations AND a list of the health insurances they accept. Pretty good details to know before you call on them, right? And the best part — it’s free.
Task assignment and management thru CRM. If you don’t have a system for assigning follow-up items to field reps, how can you expect them to remember the details? It’s very hard to drive a process within your sales team without implementing a tool that makes them follow one. A system that records and reminds reps of their to-dos, follow-ups and opportunities is key, as it helps them organize their next steps in terms of the biggest wins first.
As your call lists change, your outbound marketing efforts should coincide to support their sales focus. Here’s another advantage of CRM, if you are storing contacts and call priority in a database, you can export that list to target with personalized email campaigns that contain your rep’s contact information. That way you are still communicating with that prospective referral even when the rep isn’t in the office, and providing them with a means to connect with you on the spur-of-a-moment when they have a need.
Route planning tools: When your reps are heading out, do they plan their stops in order or do they cut back and forth across town all day? Save time in traffic by GPS-ing your destinations to determine the quickest routes before you set out.
If you don’t remember anything else:
Eric says it’s crucial to emphasize that sales reps should “Always ask for the referral on every call, every time.”
But because referrals sources don’t always decide on the spot, I always stress importance of creating an online resource on your website, so you can direct referrals sources there for more information. Also, be sure to leverage online marketing, direct mail and email efforts to target those prospects that don’t merit an in-person visit as the charge for e-communication is only a fraction of what your feet on the street cost you.
About Eric Kline
Eric offers more than 20 years of sales and management in this industry. On a daily basis, he helps HME companies increase their top-line revenue by hiring, training, managing and mentoring salespeople. He’s also a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, donating his time and resources to fly critical-care patients to treatments across the Southeast.
About Lisa Wells
As a HME/DME/Medical Device marketing consultant, I have +17 yrs of global product management and marketing experience with a technology focus. I often give back to the HME community by serving as a subject-matter-expert on marketing for industry publications and speaking at events like the HME News Business Summit, Invacare Supply Group’s annual Customer Appreciation Meeting and Medtrade.