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The Deeper Value

From ESCO Business Solutions

Hearing Aid Marketing is Changing. What Will You Do To Drive New Patients?

by Patrick Miller Posted on November 1, 2019

You need more hearing aid sales. Let’s imagine for a moment, there’s a huge marketing budget available. It’s not an unlimited budget, but there’s enough to allow you to develop a truly successful program. What would you do to drive new patients?

As a marketer I consider this question often. Both hypothetically, to allow my creative sessions room to breathe; and, literally with every client who begs me to challenge the mundane, the tired, and the ineffective. As much as I appreciate these folks for thinking there’s some magical solution, the truth is, marketing is never just one thing.

The best marketing meets the audience where they are at and when they are ready. It does not, cannot, and will not bring to them a flash of waking insight, a life changing moment, or an immediate urge to grab the phone and call.

With ten years of experience developing and executing marketing for audiologists in private practices, I’ve been asked this question hundreds of times. I'm confident, the best advice for any clinic in a retail setting trying to successfully market hearing services comes down to a few points, the most important of which is having a plan.

Be it a monthly, quarterly or yearly calendar of events, a new catalog of creative offerings, or a thoroughly understood patient profile; establishing a well-defined plan for delivering consistent and steady patient flow will always be the best possible solution. Bringing more new patients in a casual, methodical, and consistent flow will be much more effective than blasting the market at random. Let’s take a walk through a simple scenario together.

In a typical market the options to reach an audience are straight forward. Here’s a list with pros and cons: 

    • Direct mail - the old, tired, but reliable workhorse offering targeted solutions. There’s been a very apparent diminishing of return. But, it’s still a contender for some many reasons.
    • Facebook - new, exciting, and frustrating. Delivering abundant leads that are unqualified, unmotivated and difficult to convert from the virtual environment of a touchscreen or monitor to the real-world respect and sense of responsibility of a human.
    • Pay-per-click (AdWords) - rock solid performance, quality leads, but never enough quantity to build a string of great months together.
    • Newspaper - lots of opportunities for creative expression, but expensive (ridiculously so in most markets), ineffective and unreliable. 
    • Radio - great for branding, but untargeted and ineffective unless paired with a strong lead gen solution.
    • TV (Broadcast) - very expensive, untargeted and requires the correct message (often the message that works best is not a desirable message for promotion a brand (think Wanted 21).
    • TV (Cable) - geo targeted, affordable, but again, requires the correct message. And also, ineffective unless paired with other lead gen solutions.
    • Billboards, large format signs - limited branding effectiveness, and worthless when it comes to measurable lead gen.
    • Physician referrals - excellent solution, but tireless, boots-on-the-groundwork requiring specialized and dedicated staff.

So, what’s the best option? All the above, and as often as possible. In a calculated and measurable plan that is tracked, monitored and adjusted OFTEN for optimum efficiency. A closely monitored program where results either 10% positive or negative with any of these strategies and you will notice the effects on your practice. 

Ask yourself, “What will it take to drive revenue-generating patients through my door?” A good plan doesn’t take a considerable amount of money, or a lot of time to build, it just takes focused attention. Structuring any marketing program for your office that allows you to test, measure, and manage efficiencies is just a well-defined, executed, and monitored program with a few defined goals and habits.

One more key message: there must be a control piece for each media buy. It’s the piece that works a large percentage of the time. It can’t be beaten by your newest, most creative, or most exciting efforts, it just simply works and your confident it will continue to work. Using that message, you gather data and test against it, every time. If the typical message the market accepts and responds to can’t be beat, there needs to be an understanding of why before a new message can be defined.

To tie it all together, let me take a moment and mention what personally drives me. When a new mailer is created, or an unexplored zip code is targeted, or a killer list of qualifying questions for Facebook helps the appointment conversion rate, that’s a powerful feeling. Especially when it all comes from nothing but experience and tireless examination of past results. That’s when you know you understand your audience and you understand the market. It’s when you can confidently make decisions and deliver effective, long term marketing results. Never too many leads, and always just enough.

I challenge you this week to take one hour and map out your marketing program using the above list. Which media buys need better tracking? Is there a control piece? Is there a plan for next year?

Need help or have questions - pmiller@earserv.com

The Deeper Value

From ESCO Business Solutions

Welcome to The Deeper Value

We get it; you don’t have a lot of time. But we have so much to say! Once a month we will deliver concise, sometimes pithy messages loaded with business advice and marketing ideas.

Within The Deeper Value, you will find interesting articles, business success stories, marketing trends, and so much more. We hope you enjoy the first edition of The Deeper Value. Look for more in the next few weeks.

As always, we welcome and encourage your feedback, Mike

Are Your Hearing Aid Patients Really Repurchasing From You?

by Mike Eckert Posted on September 18, 2019

25+ years in this industry has given me the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented and successful entrepreneurs. The creative solutions I've heard during those conversations are countless. Lately though, during these same types of conversations, I’ve noticed my advice has expanded to so many new areas of business. From 3rd party payers, digital marketing, and even the usefulness of Facebook ads. However, sometimes the best advice is the most obvious. And there’s one piece of advice which continues to remain relevant. The guidance I’m always most eager to share any chance I get: A well-planned and properly executed patient retention program is VITAL for the success of ANY practice.

Yes, the old and tired cliché remains practical in today’s marketplace. Maybe now more than ever. Any successful practice, large or small, has a detailed, brand-specific, and adequately executed patient retention plan.

At ESCO Business Solutions we still see practices continuing to rely on patient loyalty to run their retention program. It’s an approach that’s simply not working in today’s competitive market. By taking your patients’ “experiences” for granted, hoping it will nurture and develop loyalty, is not a retention program. Loyalty is no longer a guarantee. To say it in no uncertain terms: today’s patients owe you nothing in return for you just “doing your job”. A difficult comment to consider, but it’s the attitude which seems to have become the norm. Especially in the environment of low-cost prices of the retail landscape.

There’s no doubt, changes in this industry will continue. Requiring all of us to work frantically to deliver creative solutions to help adapt. I’m encouraged and eager to explore those ideas with you.

To start, I recommend it’s time to evaluate your patient retention program. Private pay patients are now so scarce, fickle, and unnerved. We hear about how their friends are urging them to buy online. Competition is more intense. Low-cost offers are no longer just from your marketplace, but coming directly from insurance companies, 3rd parties and, yes, very soon, convenience stores.

Let’s face it, expecting your patients to return to repurchase from you because you’re the easiest solution isn’t logical. You are no longer the easiest, the cheapest, or the most “relevant” solution.

Part of the service ESCO Business Solutions provides is an all-inclusive and in-depth look at any business. By examining patient data, office processes, and PnL reports, we can offer our partners a unique, realistic and comprehensive solution. Ideas that are meant for today’s world.

Remember, you have one crucially important leverage point over all the other options: you and your patient have shared a personal experience; a real human connection. Remain steadfast and continue to realize their expectations. Build on each new experience. And offer advice to help secure your place as their trusted resource. How? Define follow up care for them, keep those experiences at the top of their mind, and deliver with rock-solid execution.

Ready to provide your patients with a follow-up care flow for their hearing? A solution to help them develop a routine and comfortable pattern for their care which fits their life? Check out this powerful case study built around a successful patient retention program from a highly successful practice.