It’s time to reactivate your strategic marketing plan and let people know you’re open for business. Whether it’s adjusting the messaging of planned campaigns or turning your focus to cost-effective options, it’s essential to continue to communicate your health and safety protocols as people adjust to the new normal. Start by focusing on the first three months, and be sure to include methods from all marketing pathways to diversify and balance the source of your patients.
Take a tour of your practice from a patient’s perspective to identify opportunities to educate them about your services and health protocols. What is the first thing they see when they walk into your waiting room? How can you convey the safety measures you have put in place?
Invest in ways to encourage social distancing even after the order has been lifted. Patients and staff will want to continue following the safety protocols implemented by the CDC to protect the community and public health. Here are some ideas:
- Display signage or posters with your office safety protocols that patients will see immediately upon entering your office.
- Place floor decals six feet apart, so patients know where to stand while checking in.
- Remove magazines, toys, books, brochures or any other shared materials from the waiting room.
- Reposition waiting room chairs, so they are six feet apart.
- Add a hand sanitizer station or bottles of sanitizer on all tables.
- Include important information on Mediplay/TV slides on your waiting room monitors.
Brochures and Collateral
You will want to remove brochures and handouts from common areas but have them accessible for staff to give to patients in need of the services as requested. Consider adding a poster to your waiting room and/or exam rooms about your services. This will serve as a cue to your patients to ask their physician about additional ear, nose or throat issues they may be experiencing. A multi-screener poster, for example, asks a few basic questions about their hearing, sleep, allergies, sinus, etc. that might be bothering them.
Let your patients know you’re back and open for business. You can send a letter out to your entire database or segmented letters based on the patient type with information specific to their needs. To generate revenue, be sure you are prioritizing hearing aid users with older technology to encourage an upgrade, allergy patients who have fallen off treatment plans, chronic sinus sufferers who may be interested in Balloon Sinuplasty, etc. Make sure to include assuring messaging to your patients about your safety protocols for in-office visits.
The Better Hearing Plan
Everyone is dealing with uncertainty, and people are going to value stability and predictability after the virus subsides. You can offer both to your patients with hearing loss through a subscription hearing aid program. Fuel Medical’s Better Hearing Plan has fixed monthly payments starting at $100 per month. Patients will appreciate being able to get the treatment they need without a large upfront cost that may be difficult to cover. This is a great promotion for current patients looking to upgrade as well as new patients who may be in the research phase of their journey to better hearing health.
Reaching new patients is vital as you work to rebuild a full schedule and make up for lost revenue during the shutdown. If you traditionally advertised through direct mail, newspaper and radio or TV, then continue utilizing these outlets. If you have not done much advertising, there may be some great rates available as these businesses, just like yours, have taken a hit and need to find ways to encourage people to start spending money again. Your Fuel Medical Account Manager can research and negotiate ad buys on your behalf. Your messaging should include that you are following protocols to keep people safe while visiting your practice. Now is a great time to consider offering a discount on hearing aids or promoting a subscription program, like the Better Hearing Plan, as noted above.
Physician Referral Marketing
We know a patient referred by another provider is twice as likely to follow through with booking an appointment. And best of all, physician referral generation costs a fraction of other marketing activities, so it is tailor-made for a time when cash may be tight. It does, however, require planning, organization, collateral and time. If you don’t already have a program in place, Fuel Medical can provide you with the direction and materials needed to support your process.
Outreach and Events
It may still be a while before group gatherings in public places are safe and acceptable. If you previously had success with Lunch and Learns or Open Houses, it may be best to continue holding off on these for a while. You could consider hosting a virtual event on Facebook or Instagram Live. Just like an in-person event, you can educate people about the benefits of treating hearing loss, the different types of hearing aids and their features and then let them know how they can safely schedule an appointment. You can promote the event to current patients through phone calls, email and social media. You may also want to schedule a paid social media campaign, which allows you to reach a targeted audience at a low cost.
Is your website updated with current hours, services and safety measures? Have you restarted any paused search engine marketing campaigns? Are you taking advantage of low-cost social media advertising to find people needing hearing aids in your community? Are you encouraging patients to leave reviews on your Google My Business and Facebook pages? As people turn to their mobile devices and computers for information, you need to provide the information they’re searching for.