It’s a brand new year and for many of our private practice customers, it’s time to rejuvenate their marketing program. We talked to a number of dispensers about what they do to market their practice. Here are some of the marketing tactics that have really worked for them.
We’ve heard from many of our customers that patient referrals are a key component of their success. Implementing a formal Family & Friends Program is a great way to take referrals to the next level. This is something that Ken Stallons of Omaha ENT Specialists made a priority in 2011. In addition to sending out regular mailings about his Family & Friends Program, he works hard to build and nurture relationships with existing patients. After every visit to the clinic, the patient receives a “thank you” card personally signed by everyone at the practice, which is mailed out on the same day as the appointment. Included with the “thank you” card are referral forms to encourage patients to refer family and friends.
Keeping existing patients happy and satisfied is the best way to keep them coming back and make them more likely to recommend your practice. Aside from providing superior products and service at the clinic, it’s a good idea to establish regular touch points with patients to continue building the relationship and position your practice as a brand that cares.
Ken Stallons recognizes the impact of patient referrals on his business and has developed specific marketing tactics aimed at relationship building. Birthday notifications are something he introduced recently. Whenever a patient in his database has a birthday, they receive a card in the mail wishing them a happy birthday. As a special holiday promotion, Ken sent out a 2012 calendar to all of his patients with discounts and a free pack of batteries.
In 2011, another private practice owner, Cori Walker, says she sold an additional 32 sets of hearing aids due to the success of her Family & Friends Program.
Direct mail factors heavily into promoting your Family & Friends Program and ensuring regular patient communications. Jane Watson of Audicles Hearing Services uses direct mail to promote technology upgrades to current hearing aid patients. At ReSound, we’ve gathered data from our customers to determine the success of this tactic and we’ve seen an average response rate of 4.1%. This has translated into 56% of all hearing aids being sold to existing hearing aid users.
Ken Stallons sends out regular mailings to his database with a variety of messaging, from thanking the patient for their visit to upgrade notifications and other special promotions available. He believes in communicating frequently to keep his brand top-of-mind.
Open House Events
We consistently hear that getting the patient into the practice is the difficult part of the process. Once you are able to perform a demo, the product sells itself. Open house events are a great way to attract new patients and offer an opportunity to test out hearing aids and accessories. Ken Stallons recently hosted an open house at his practice. He promoted it via direct mail and sold 17 hearing aids as a result.
Ken Stallons is an example of a practice owner that has really seen benefit from stepping up his marketing activity. Prior to 2011, most of his business came from patient and doctor referrals. After hiring a practice manager to handle his marketing program, he has seen consumer marketing really improve the flow of patients to his practice. This past year, he estimates that he sold an additional 80 hearing aids because of the marketing strategies and tactics implemented.