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Gain- vs. Loss-Framed Messaging: What do patients best respond to?

21 Jun

AHAA Consumer Behavior Series: Message Framing

The way we communicate to customers through marketing materials is extremely important when it comes to their feelings and opinions about, and ultimately their purchasing decisions towards our brand. From the tone we set to the phrasing we use, the way we communicate in an advertising landscape can make or break the relationship between the customer and the brand. Especially in the healthcare industry, messages conveyed to patients must be tailored to speak directly to the audience and meet them at the exact point of their journey towards healthy living.

In the first installment of AHAA’s Consumer Behavior Series, we’ll examine the different ways to frame messages when speaking to hearing healthcare patients.

  • Gain-Framed Messaging
    • This type of messaging focuses on the benefits of acting on a certain behavior – put more simply, the benefits of purchasing the service/product in question.
    • Ex: Hearing aids help people with hearing loss better connect and communicate with loved ones.
  • Loss-Framed Messaging
    • On the other side of the coin, loss-framed messaging stresses the negatives of not acting on a certain behavior – or the negatives of not purchasing said service/product.
    • Ex: Without hearing aids, people with hearing loss experience a disconnect from loved ones and suffer anxiety.
  • Mixed-Framed Messaging
    • The combination of gain- and loss-framed messaging; usually introducing the gain as a solution to the loss.
    • Ex: Hearing loss can lead to communication problems with loved ones, but the good news is that hearing aids can dramatically improve your ability to reconnect.

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Consider the age-old idiom of using “the carrot or the stick” to change behavior based on either rewards or punishments. Gain-framed hearing messaging represents the carrot – or the future benefits of seeking treatment, whereas loss-framed hearing messaging represents the stick – the negative flipside to not seeking treatment. There are some campaigns that successfully employ the “stick approach” of loss-framed messaging (think the scare tactics of anti-smoking campaigns), but the hearing industry is its own unique landscape and therefore requires a different framing device to motivate patients to purchase.

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Overall, gain-framed messaging tends to be the most effective approach in the hearing healthcare sphere. Patients respond better to positive language that emphasizes the benefits of seeking audiological treatment and the improved quality of life that results.

The doom-and-gloom nature of most loss-framed messaging instills a sense of fear in patients that does not translate into the positive mindset associated with ready-to-buy attitudes. Using a negative voice can come off as critical and judgmental to the audience, automatically isolating them further. Especially in a climate where hearing loss is already stigmatized and associated with weakness and old age, loss-framed messaging does not perform well with the target audience.

Of course, there is a time and place when the negative aspects of untreated hearing loss may need to be addressed, like in educational seminars and informational articles. However, when it comes to introducing your customers to your brand and practice – via print ads, brochures, direct mailings, etc. – show your patients the increased quality of life possible with better hearing, and how you can help them achieve that.

Wellness-focused materials are great tools for putting a positive spin on seeking hearing help. Make sure your practice has some sort of Wellness Program in place, and use promotional items to encourage patients to commit to hearing and whole body health. Help your patients look to a healthier, happier future and communicate the benefits of taking the first step towards hearing wellness!

If you have questions about gain- or loss-framed messaging, or would like any assistance in developing any wellness materials, contact marketing@ahaanet.com today!

 

 

 

Sources:

American Marketing Association, Framing Health Care Messages: Why Interpersonal Context Matters

Health-Care Product Advertising: The Influences of Message Framing and Perceived Product Characteristics

Positive Messages Make the Most Impact in Public Health Campaigns

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Getting Ready for Better Hearing and Speech Month

27 Apr

It’s almost that time of year again where we designate an entire month to emphasizing the importance of hearing health and wellness. That’s right – Better Hearing and Speech Month. This May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), has selected the theme of “Communication Takes Care”. Be prepared for your social media timelines to be flooded with this hashtag as well as #BetterHearingandSpeechMonth or #BHSM this upcoming month.

BHSM photo

As professionals involved in the hearing healthcare industry, we know that the cause of hearing health and wellness should be at the forefront of minds every month. The challenge is that the general public has still yet to associate the month of May with the support of this cause. So how do we bring BHSM awareness to the mainstream in our communities?

The answer to that question is found by looking at BHSM from a different vantage point: the marketer’s perspective. Let’s consider these marketing tactics to help increase awareness for Better Hearing & Speech Month:

  • Promotional Collateral: Whether it’s a poster hanging in your office or informational pieces to distribute to patients, having collateral to promote BHSM is a great tool to educate people on the importance of spreading awareness for hearing health and wellness.

There are plenty of marketing materials out there to help your practice promote BHSM all month long. Check out AHAA’s Wellness Marketing Tools, which can easily be repurposed to include BHSM messaging. There are also tons of promotional resources and ideas on ASHA’s website. Remember, having materials is one thing – but make sure you are actively using any promotional items!

  • Engage Your Employees: It all starts with you and your practice. No matter how big or small your practice may be the first step is for everyone to get on board and excited about the cause. Encourage your employees to pass out your promotional materials and mention BHSM by name – the more times people are exposed to the name, the more likely they are to form an association with it. Brainstorm ways that your staff can get charged up about BHSM in your daily huddles. Making it exciting for your staff will ultimately translate a positive attitude towards BHSM onto your patients.
  • Community Events: Involvement in community events is important for your practice no matter what month it is (read more on that here!), but May is a good time to start if your practice doesn’t already have an active presence. Use this month to get your name and face out in your local community; host an educational seminar, coordinate a hearing walk, sponsor a local organization, or volunteer! Whatever you do, make sure you and your staff are utilizing the BHSM collateral to reinforce your efforts.
  • Digital Buzz: Utilizing online platforms to spread the word about Better Hearing and Speech Month will give a voice to this cause in the digital media realm. Use this month to educate the public on hearing loss by sharing facts, studies, and any other informative tidbits on your website or social media pages. If you are actively participating in community events or want to highlight a patient’s story, take photos and share them online. Make sure you’re using hashtags like #BHSM or #CommunicationTakesCare to get this year’s topic trending on Facebook and Twitter!

Think of the heights that BHSM can reach if we do our part to bring attention to it, even if we start on a smaller scale within our local community. Consider the success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October is a month filled with pink ribbons, fundraising campaigns, and social media hashtags galore. This month of awareness has turned into a social movement, raising money for research and ultimately de-stigmatizing breast cancer.

Starting Small

It all starts with the conscious efforts that you and your practice make to increase awareness of hearing loss in general. Taking advantage of a month dedicated to hearing and speech wellness can be the push needed to bring mainstream attention to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. In order to reach the global scale that we know this cause deserves, we need to start small and focus on the initiatives within our grasp to bring awareness to our local communities first.

If you want to learn more about how AHAA can help get you ready to promote BHSM in your practice, contact marketing@ahaanet.com or your Associate Manager today!

Lead Generation: What is it and where do I start?

5 Feb

LeadGen2

Generating a steady supply of patients and maintaining a full schedule is a critical part in developing a profitable practice. However, we all know it can be a challenging process. Now is the time to reevaluate your business to determine what initiatives are effectively driving traffic to your office and what things you can be doing differently to generate more leads. This methodology is what marketers call “lead generation”.

In order to diversify your pipeline, you’ll want to attract, nurture and retain a combination of new acquisitions, prospects and customers. To accomplish this, create a plan that communicates messaging to each segment of your target audience via a multi-channel approach; aka your lead generation strategy.

Here are some tips to consider when you’re developing a lead generation strategy:

–  Identify your target audience

Begin by focusing on two major target segments. One type includes the residents within our community who you’ve never met; people won’t visit your location if they don’t know the practice exists. Consider targeting areas within a close proximity to your office, possibly where the majority of your patients are already travelling from.

The other audience segment includes the people already in your database. These leads are uniquely qualified because you have established a connection with them; now all it takes is nurturing that existing relationship. Consider not only your current patients, but also contacts in your database who haven’t physically visited your office. These leads could have been connections from a lunch and learn or health fair; however, these contacts never took the next step to schedule an appointment with your practice. This group tends to get overlooked, yet they are one of the strongest prospect segments.

–  Identify your messaging

Your practice’s selling point is a key message that needs to be communicated to all audience segments. Consider which of your products or services are different or better than what your competitors are marketing in the community. Put yourself in your patient’s shoes and think about what motivates their behavior and buying decisions.  Try to uncover the real reasons why your patients came to your practice and purchased, instead of patronizing one of your competitors.

If you are having trouble identifying your differentiator, ask your patients directly why they chose your practice.  Encourage patients to rate your practice on things like atmosphere, staff, and services; it will not only help you identify your unique selling point, but it will also determine how you can improve your customer service as well.

The other option is to think about your “why” statement. Why did you become a hearing health provider and/or start your business? Integrating this personal statement about your practice helps you stand out among your competitors.

–  Identify goals and objectives

It’s essential to have goals and objectives established when developing a successful strategy. Identifying these benchmarks and milestones allow you to evaluate the success of your outcomes. Make sure your practice’s goals are aspirational, yet attainable, and ultimately support the purpose of your current business strategy. When you are developing your goals, determine if you want to measure by quantity, quality, or both. Examples include growing overall profitably by a certain dollar amount or percentage, achieving or increasing measurable ROI, obtaining more qualified leads, or gaining additional insight into what makes your target audience tick.

–  Determine what to offer

Think about what you can offer your audience that will entice them to convert into a lead. While price is important, it’s not the only reason why people will express interest. If your competition is beating you on price, you have to present the target audience with a relevant benefit that addresses their needs. Then, build your sales and promotional material around that “pain point.” You can create an offering with less perceived obligation and more perceived value (for your leads) and provide it free of charge. This could be a booklet, gift, demonstration or anything else related to your product or service. Think of it like a door opener; something to discover interested individuals and get the conversation started.

Once you have determined what offer(s) you want to promote, you should include a call-to-action (CTA) to support it. This CTA is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response. Something as simple as a “call today” or “call to schedule an appointment” will suffice – and remember to include contact information. Creating this type of urgency will entice consumers to reach out to the practice.

–  Determine the best multi-media approach 

The lead generation techniques of the past look quite different then the modern version. The methods for generating leads in today’s marketplace need to feed your sales pipeline from various channels. This year at AHAA’s Convention, our team will be presenting a multi-faceted lead generation strategy that introduces you to new products and strategies you can employ right away to reach beyond traditional efforts.  Decide which approach offers your practice the most promise after hearing from the business owners who have already boldly embraced today’s lead generation strategies.

Lead generation is the backbone of an effective marketing campaign for your practice. Without a continuous flow of fresh leads, your practice could have difficulties thriving in today’s competitive arena.  If you can’t make it to Convention this year, reach out to your Associate Manager; he or she will help you develop your lead generation strategy and diversify your approach to customer acquisition and retention!