Tag Archives: revenue

Superheroes and Ice Cream Flavors

20 May

We live in a world with so many choices. Some are simple, some complex. The beauty of these choices is that we are able to make decisions based on our preferences. Take a moment to decide if you prefer:

Batman or Superman
Chocolate or Vanilla
Coffee or Tea
Dogs or Cats
Mac or PC

All of these options are comparable; it’s simply a matter of a penchant for one over another – plus what’s right for you. The same idea – believe it or not –applies to your marketing.

Your preferences impact your marketing choices

For all intents and purposes, marketing and advertising has become the cost of entry for many businesses. If you are not putting yourself out there, you won’t be in the game. But when faced with the choices of the different messages and offers available, how do you know which one to choose for your business?

Since there are so many marketing options, let’s focus on the #1 response mechanism for AHAA Associates: direct mail. As we all know, not all communication is created equal. We believe that in today’s market, direct mail used to target prospect customers fall into two categories – Traditional or Aggressive – with the categorization based on message style. It’s important to determine which category best reflects the type of communication you want to have with your target audience and what type of customer your practice is ready to handle.

Sample of AHAA letter packages

Sample of AHAA letter packages

Here’s an overview of each ‘type’ of direct mail, so you can determine which approach is right for you:

TRADITIONAL Direct Mail

Messaging
This type of messaging is the obvious or ‘traditional’ offer route; savings on a pair of hearing devices, a free demo, free hearing screening/consultation, etc.

Response Rate
Expect a .25% – .50% response rate with this type of direct mail communication; e.g. if you mail out 5,000 pieces, you should receive between 12-25 calls.

Audience
This type of mailer attracts prospect customers who are closer to making a decision to act on their [semi] recognized hearing loss. Your front office person will have an easier time scheduling the appointment and your Au.D. will have an easier time closing the sale if a hearing loss is present.

Sales
The traffic that this type of mailer brings in to the office typically results in less cancellations and a customer that’s easier to close.

AGGRESSIVE Direct Mail

Messaging
This type of messaging takes on more of a ‘gimmicky’ or ‘aggressive’ angle; offering a giveaway for simply showing up for an appointment.

Response Rate
Expect a .50% – .1+% response rate; e.g. if you mail out 5,000 pieces, you should receive between 25-50+ calls.

Audience
This type of mailer attracts prospect customers who are likely to be a more difficult opportunity. Your front office person will need to be well-trained in overcoming objections when scheduling these candidates for appointments and your Au.D. will need to invoke a different strategy to capture the sale if a hearing loss is present.

Sales
This customer is likely to be more of a challenge, prone to a higher incidence of cancellations.

Sample of AHAA folded driect mailer

Sample of AHAA folded direct mailer

So which one is right for you? 

Above and beyond your preference lies the factor of preparedness. With either message [but  especially the ‘aggressive’ one], it’s important to have strong processes

in place before a direct mailer is scheduled. From capturing the appointment through closing the sale, the tighter your methods, the more return on investment [ROI] you’ll reap. Depending on which format you gravitate toward coupled with the strengths of your process, will help easily determine the proper direct mail package for your practice.

The bottom line is that you have to feel comfortable with the message you are sending out – just like you want to feel good about any choice you make.

When choosing a marketing initiative, AHAA is here to help! Find out more about you direct mail choices by contacting Keara M. Piekanski at kpiekanski@ahaanet.com.

List Generation: Buying vs. Building

19 Apr

With any marketing strategy, it’s imperative to make sure you are targeting the right audience.  Development of target names and addresses, known as list generation, should be a priority in your planning and implementation strategy.  After all, if you don’t reach your intended audience, how will you generate sales?   But when attempting to reach this audience, is it better to buy a list or build your own?

Let’s look at the facts

When marketing, it's important to reach the right audience. Concentrate on your most qualified leads first and your target prospects second.

When marketing, it’s important to reach the correct target audience.

  • Buying a list is quick and easy.
  • Building a list takes time and resources.

So, what’s the best strategy?  The answer is: it depends.  Meaning, it depends   on who you are trying to target and what type of message you are communicating.

Buying a List

When your objective is to reach a new pool of prospects within your area, buying a list is necessary.  Whether that’s for direct mail or telemarketing, you’ll need to reach out to those prospects within the community who don’t yet know about your services.  Be sure that you are reaching the appropriate audience – in this case, the 65+ active senior and Baby Boomers.

While buying a list for the traditional outreach like direct mail and telemarketing will help feed the pipeline with new opportunities, we recommend steering clear of purchasing lists for digital marketing [i.e. email marketing].

Building a List

We all know that retaining a current customer is more cost-effective than bringing in a new customer.  That’s why developing your customer database for future marketing [out of warranty, tested not sold, etc.] is so important.  Your customer database [read more here] includes your most qualified leads – those that are not as price sensitive – and nurturing these relationships will reap continuous rewards.

Reaching out to your current database with targeted messaging across the traditional mediums – direct mail and telemarketing – will result in a higher response rate and more positive return on investment [ROI].  And as mentioned earlier, it’s best to take the time to build an email contact list by collecting email addresses from you customers – let them ‘opt in’ to receiving email communication from your practice.

What’s Next?

Once you have your targets identified [compiled from both your customer database and prospect lists], remember to develop a marketing plan to reach these consumers on a frequent and consistent basis.  Also, think about the communication strategy [i.e. “what you want to say”] in order to convey relevant messages to each segment of your list.  Your target audience will appreciate the time and effort you put into speaking to them based on their needs via the mediums they prefer and you will reap the rewards.

Questions?  AHAA Marketing is here to help!  Contact Keara M. Piekanski, Marketing Manager at kpiekanski@AHAAnet.com

Conferences, Tradeshows and Seminars:Maximizing Your Value

21 Mar

Each year, across every industry, there are numerous tradeshows, conferences, seminars and meetings that can help you run your business.  When you attend an event related to your area of expertise, you get opportunities to communicate with nationally known leaders of your profession; meet colleagues you recognize by reputation, through industry articles and case studies; and often, by accessing a new environment, you feel energized, reconnected and ready to implement change.  But once you determine which events to attend, based on your goals and objectives, how do you maximize your time at each?

Before you arrive, make sure you prepare yourself to get the most value from your experience:

One: Read the agenda and select the sessions that will be most likely to improve your skills and help you “stretch” beyond your comfort zone by dabbling in topics you have not yet mastered.

Two: Seek out a professional colleague to become your event buddy; so you can share and discuss what you’ve learned. Collaboration brings special benefits when you talk about presentations that only one of you attended.

Three: Stay for the entire event. You never know what good information you might miss by   arriving late or leaving early.

Four: Stay at the event’s designated hotel. You need to be where you can network most effectively and where you can use your time wisely; i.e. don’t spend a half hour in a cab or shuttle every morning and evening and miss portions of the event.

Five: Become an active participant, asking questions and making comments. The more you put into any event, the more you will get out of it.

BONUS: Seek out and meet those who served on the event planning committee. They deserve your feedback – positive or negative. And when you thank them, you will definitely stand out as one of the few who did.

Also: The trade-show portion of any conference provides extraordinary value.  Not only is it an excellent opportunity to save money on “Show Specials,” but visiting the booths and vendors is also invaluable.  Prepare for this part of any event by checking with your staff and bringing their questions with you.  Have the vendors address everything on your list and find out what’s new/what can benefit your business.  Remember, your vendors want to work with you to succeed.

Plan ahead for next year and consider registering for AHAA’s Convention, February 19-22, 2014 in Dallas, TX.  Register now and be entered to win prizes in our early registration program.  Click here to register today!

AHAA Associates at Convention in Las Vegas

AHAA Associates at Convention in Las Vegas