Tag Archives: social media

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.

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
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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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Aligning Technology to Improve Sales Success

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. 

If you missed our webinar, catch the replay at www.hmenews.com.

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.

Watch the Recording Here

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.

To contact Eric, visit:
Website: http://www.hmesalespro.com/
Email: ekline@hmesalespro.com
Cell: 850.341.7467

About Lisa Wells
As a HME/DME/Medical Device marketing consultant, I have ž+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. ž

Feel free to contact me at:
Website: www.getsocialconsulting.com
Email: lisa@getsocialconsulting.com
Phone: 678-232-1330

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