Tag Archives: Public Relations

What Is Public Relations and Why Should I Implement It Into My Marketing Plan?

29 Mar

What Can Public Relations Do For Me?

A strong and effective public relations plan can build your practice’s reputation and position you in the best light with your community/target audience. With a competitive market especially in the hearing device industry, you need to determine strategies to stand out among your competitors. Incorporating public relations into your marketing plan increases awareness and highlights why your hearing healthcare services are the best.

Successful Public Relations is the development and telling of a good “story.” You may be curious as to how you can turn industry news or clinical information into a compelling story? The key is finding the hook.

For example:

Oticon recently unveiled its new Alta hearing device. Ask yourself:

  • How can this hearing aid make a difference in the lives of my current and prospective customers?
  • What new technologies does it feature?
  • How can it improve the quality of life for customers?

 The stronger you develop the “story,” the greater the acceptance by the media and public, which will add to the success of your public relations strategy.

 Positioning Yourself as an Industry Expert

The importance of integrating public relations into your overall marketing strategy continues to evolve. According to The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR (Harper Business) – American marketing strategists argue that public relations has become the most effective way to build a brand. Business owners, like you, become known in their respective fields of concentration through public relations and the associated media generated.  Therefore, integrating a public relations strategy into your overall business plan will help solidify you as an industry leader while bringing focus to your individual services.

 Explore the Benefits of PR

Public Relations, if done right, can reach a large audience without the traditional expense associated with advertising and marketing. A few of the significant public relations benefits include the following:

  • An economical way to reach your target audience in masses
  • The awareness of, and the demand for, your company’s products or services
  • Strengthening your company image and perception
  • Painting the picture of a company that is active and innovative
  • Creating additional credibility within your community
  • Giving you an advantage over competitors that are not utilizing PR effectively
  • Increasing online visibility, when integrated into your digital marketing strategy

 If PR is not a part of your marketing plan currently, it may be time to consider implementing a public relations campaign to complement your existing initiatives. PR is an influential and cost-effective way to reach key audiences and influencers. PR focuses on promoting your company, establishing your business’ identity, and maintaining credibility – all with the end result of building an engaged and happy customer base!

 For additional information on getting a PR campaign started, please check out our other PR blog post here: Public Relations: Beyond the Parties & On a Budget or contact Kelly Donahue at kdonahue@AHAAnet.com to explore AHAA’s PR archives and ‘How Tos.’

How Great is Your Practice? Let Customers be Your Biggest Fans!

25 Jan

It’s a great feeling when you get positive feedback in life.  Whether it’s kudos on a job well done, a compliment on the way you look or a ‘thank you’ for a good deed accomplished.  The same feeling applies to your practice, except it doesn’t have to be a passing note of gratitude.  Testimonials are a great and [semi] permanent way to tell the rest of the world how much your practice is loved, what a wonderful job you do and how satisfied your customers are – and even better, it’s feedback coming right from the consumer for other consumers to see!

If a customer gives you a 'thumbs up,' let the world know!

If a customer gives you a ‘thumbs up,’ let the world know!

Testimonials from customers can be used across various marketing mediums: in direct mailers, newspaper ads, on your website, in flyers [to physicians or the community] – the sky’s the limit!  The fist step is to ask for them.  A satisfied customer will be happy to compliment your practice.  Just ask them to fill out a compliment slip, complete a form on your website, write a recommendation letter or give a verbal testimonial – depending on the best format for them.  Always have the customer sign a release form so you can use said testimonials across all marketing and PR channels.  It’s no time to be modest – if you are providing excellent customer service while enhancing the quality of life for your patients the world has a right to know!

What happens if someone’s not satisfied?  Asking for feedback will eventually result in some negative comments as well.  But that’s okay.  This is an opportunity to find out what is dissatisfying the customer and quickly remedy the problem, turning a negative experience into a positive one for both the customer and you.

And what to do once you have all of these glowing testimonials collected?  Start integrating them into your marketing materials – where appropriate – based on the message.  For instance, in a direct mailer or newspaper ad, you’ll want to focus on the positive feedback regarding service and how long you’ve been serving the community [the mature and Boomers audiences LOVE this type of information]; for web based marketing, you want to show how you can save time for the Boomer audience and a sense of ‘well roundedness’ for the influencer audience; for physician marketing, you’ll want to showcase how important it is to the patient that their doctors work together to provide the best overall care possible.  You can utilize the testimonial in a variety of ways and speak to a number of audiences.

The best part is this is a free tactic that can be integrated into your messaging.  It’s the details in these testimonials that will set you apart from your competitors – positive feedback about your practice from your customers.

Get started today!

Public Relations: Beyond the Parties & On a Budget

19 Jul

Public Relations, or PR, can mean different things to different people across different industries.  In the fashion world, it’s synonymous with parties; in the restaurant industry, it’s grand opening events; for corporations it’s getting the word out about an upcoming philanthropic fundraiser.  But how does it relate to you and the many hats you wear as an owner of a hearing healthcare practice?  And more importantly, will PR really help your business grow?

If you implement a PR strategy correctly, it can certainly help your practice gain exposure to new patients by touting new technology, community outreach and more.

The simple definition of Public Relations sums up what you want your potential customers to take away from any campaign:

PR is the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and a sense of goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution.

Your goal with any PR campaign is to stress your point of differentiation, what new product or service you bring to the table and how that will influence the consumeryour consumer.

Integrating an economical PR component, as it relates to your industry, into a marketing strategy is a great way to gain exposure within your community using little to none of your marketing budget.  Think of PR as a time commitment; it can take 5+ touch points with the media before a story is picked up.  But don’t be discouraged, because we’ve developed a brief ‘How To’ guide to launching a simple Public Relations campaign.

Step 1: write a press release

Make sure you have something newsworthy to promote.  Journalists dislike being bombarded with press releases that have little to no newsworthy value.  Concentrate on what’s new in your industry, how the “latest and greatest” products and services affect the customer and important additions to your staff.  And limit it to 300-800 words (at under 700 words, you can use the length of this blog post as an example)!

Step 2: communicate with journalists

An important part of a public relations campaign is reaching the journalists and enticing them with your story.  Find out who the best contacts are by reading trade and local publications and note which journalists write stories related to your industry.  The website of each publication usually lists writers and/or editors to contact (preferably contact via email).  Make a contact by introducing yourself and your practice.  The more you position yourself as an industry expert in your community, the better you are positioned to be contacted about your area of expertise.

Step 3: follow up 

A few days after emailing the journalist(s), reach out with a follow up call.  During the follow-up call, ask the following questions:

1) “Did you receive our press release about the latest trend in our industry?”
2)“May I schedule a follow-up interview to answer any questions?”

Step 4: repeat on a quarterly basis

Consistent with any marketing initiative, repetition is the key in PR as well.  Be sure to follow up with journalists on at least a quarterly basis to stay top of mind as a local leader in your field.

How do you get started?

If you don’t already have press releases ready to distribute, visit www.AHAAnavigator.com and check out Guidepost #16: Marketing Plan. You’ll find PR FAQs and a repository of hearing related press releases.

Good things come to those who wait…

 Follow these steps consistently and you will make a mark in your community as a “thought-leader” in your industry.  As with any outreach initiative, if you are involved with community organizations or want to approach businesses in your area, being published is a great addition to your portfolio; it may even lead to speaking opportunities!

In addition, let your current customers know about your industry chops by mailing them a letter, posting a PDF on your website, sending an email and/or displaying a copy of the article in your office.  Everyone likes to be connected to a local celebrity.

AHAA Associates who integrate PR into their outreach efforts have received coverage in local newspapers, been asked to speak at industry events and have even received TV exposure.