Tag Archives: testing

More of: Do This, Not That (Part 2)

19 Feb

Want to know more of what not to do with your online presence? Here’s the remainder of our list of 10 do’s and 10 don’ts to keep your online activities on the right track in 2013.

Don’t: Hide your contact information away in an obscure spot or buried page.

Do: Present your contact information (address, phone number, email address) and other critical details noticeably on your website. No need to go overboard and plaster it in 60 point type everywhere either – that does not send the message you are looking for, does it? Make certain it is in one primary spot, then use the footer or text-based references to sprinkle it throughout the site. The same thing applies to listings, social media profiles, and any other online space that you have created. Be sure to check for accuracy and consistency across your entire online presence, it will help search engines recognize and elevate your business in local search rankings.


Don’t: Disregard the fact that happy customers are your best promoters.

Do: Share positive reviews and comments from some of your best customers. It is up to you how elaborately you want to do this – whether written or via video clips. Video can be impromptu personal video camera quality, or professionally shot and edited, however you choose and whichever your budget allows. Use them on your website, social media pages, and/or company blog to establish credibility for your practice. This process ensures you are paying attention to feedback from your customers and provides a “voice” of your patients for others to gauge. That voice needs to be authentic and real, not prescribed and contrived – consumers can tell the difference.

Don’t: Assume you are immune to criticism, or take your reputation for granted.

Do: Create a plan for monitoring and managing your online reputation. Set up notifications, like Google Alerts, to be aware of what consumers are saying about you online. Also, follow up on any negative comments in a timely and professional manner. Do not engage in an online debate with an unhappy customer, take your actions offline and address them immediately. Be certain to recognize and thank customers who leave positive feedback.

pushpinsDon’t: Go unlisted online, or fail to extend your presence.

Do: Claim business listings on Google+ Local, Yelp, and other business directories. The term ‘free directory listings’ applies to local search engines, internet yellow pages, local vertical search engines, special directories (like free 800 listings), and consumer review websites that focus on local businesses rather than products,. By claiming your business listings in these places, you can ensure your information is current and accurate. Plus, by updating and optimizing your listings, you increase the chances that consumers will find you as they search online.

Don’t: Ignore or underestimate your online marketing campaigns.

Do: Just like in traditional direct marketing you must create smart, effective ads with strong calls to action (CTAs). In this market an online ad can be part of your customers’ research and possibly the first impression of your business, so make it a strong one. As in offline marketing, you need to actively monitor your campaign performance to see what works. Monitor campaigns frequently to assess the source for the most leads and adjust your efforts in real time. The key benefit of online marketing is the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments. Be sure to keep any online incentives, offers, or specials listed in your ads (or on your website/social media pages) up to date.

Marketing in 2013: Active vs. Passive Mediums

18 Jan

Welcome to 2013, another year and 365 more opportunities to make marketing work for you.  There are many mediums that compete for your overall budget and with all of the options available from direct mail to print to digital, how do you know which marketing tactics are best for your practice?

We’ll explore the difference between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ mediums and reinforce the importance of planning. Let’s first indulge in an exercise to assess which category you fall into — from a planning perspective.

Have you:

  1. Developed and stuck to a marketing plan in 2012 then reviewed tracking and ROI to put a plan in place to meet goals for 2013?
  2. Gone without a plan in 2012 then subsequently develop one for 2013 – with a calendar in place along with tracking mechanisms to evaluate the response and ROI on all initiatives?
  3. Found yourself panicking, “shooting from the hip,” trying “this and that,” and doing a lot of finger crossing with little or no actual results tracking?

Where do you land?

Obviously scenarios 1 and 2 will set you up for a successful 2013 from a marketing perspective [if you are part of that third group, let’s talk!].  Even after you have your ‘plan’ in place, how do you know which media is best to use?  Or, what the difference is between direct response [active] and branding [passive] mediums, and when to use them?

Direct response mediums are those that have a call-to-action and drive traffic to your practice; i.e. direct mail, print ads and online [in that order].  These are the critical, primary initiatives that will help you meet your opportunity objectives.  Other media, such as TV and radio are considered ‘passive’ mediums, which don’t necessarily drive traffic, but often act as a ‘branding’ exercise instead.  Sometimes this exercise comes at a high budgetary cost without much immediate value apparent — and knowing that beforehand is half the battle.

as seen on TVWhat do we have against TV and radio?  Actually, nothing, when used in conjunction with direct response mediums and when realistic expectations have been set.  One big drawback to both mediums is that they are hard to track [even with a phone number associated with them].  In our industry, it’s difficult for the hearing impaired to hear the phone number over the radio and often times phone numbers on TV flash by too quickly.

We all know that some businesses have thrived on direct response TV [think Ginsu Knives or George Foreman Grills] but they are considered ‘long form’ ads or infomercials. They overcome the challenges of conveying the call to action through repetition, which is made possible by the length of the spot. Or, when in short form, the ads run with great repetition – often multiple times in the same segment.  Either way is extremely costly.

If you are interested in incorporating TV and/or radio into your marketing plan, we recommend doing so in addition to your direct response marketing.  Start with direct mail, print and online, and then if you have marketing dollars left, test TV and/or radio, but remember to set realistic expectations.  You may not be able to track your return on investment as accurately as the other mediums, so you’ll need to be cautious before making additional commitments.

Regardless of what makes up your perfect marketing mix, remember the core marketing tactics that drive success: planning, execution and tracking!

Interested in learning more about the difference between direct response vs. passive mediums?  Attend the Marketing Planning session at the AHAA Convention [www.AHAAConvention.com] or contact Keara M. Piekanski, AHAA Marketing Manager at kpiekanski@AHAAnet.com.

Direct Mail & Digital: Unlikely Allies

29 Oct

In today’s marketing world, multi-media integration has the potential to be broader, deeper and more powerful than ever before.  Instead of looking for “the next shiny object,” or “the silver bullet” (which don’t exist, by the way), think about how you can build a strong marketing presence by leveraging several media outlets – that have been tested and proven – and making them work together.

The cheese does NOT stand alone

Direct mail and print are integral staples in our Associates’ marketing strategies (because they work!) and integrating

Although direct mail has dipped since 2008, it’s still relevant and it works! What to expect in today’s marketplace: a .25-1% response rate to a prospect list.

these and other initiatives will strengthen the reach and depth of your marketing strategy.  Different media have different strengths and weaknesses; woven together, they help one another succeed.  Consider the cumulative effect of marketing; instead of looking for one magic solution (still doesn’t exist), and focus on maximizing the mediums you do use.

We’ve found through reporting, that for Associates within the AHAA network, direct mail is still the #1 response medium, followed by print (newspaper) at #2.  The integration of digital is also important as your next generation of customers turns 65.  Paying attention to what is working currently will help you help more of the hearing impaired population now and planning for the future will ensure you can continue to help the younger Boomers.  So plan for your marketing strategies to work together – direct mail, print and digital – through targeting your current and future audiences, communicating with them properly and scheduling frequent outreaches with them.

Opening the digital doorway

Your next generation of consumers is the fastest growing segment of online users!

Your current target audience of the 65+ can still be reached by direct mail and print, but if integration is a key component of any strong marketing strategy, where does digital fit in?  Because the 55-64 market is the fastest growing segment of online users – and your future target audience – it’s important to allocate funds, plan a strategy and get comfortable with the digital environment.  It will be important to target your next wave of consumers with both print (direct mail and newspaper) and digital.

Why?  Because with print, it’s a tangible, targetable and easily measurable medium; you can’t accidentally “delete” it.  For those customers who have already gone paperless (e.g. bill paying, appointment reminders), they’ll appreciate that you are communicating with them via their preferred medium.  By using both mediums, you’ll cover more ground in less time and keep the revenue streaming in consistently.

Need to find a direct mailer that’s right for you?  Want to learn more about digital marketing?  Contact Keara M. Piekanski, AHAA Marketing Manager at kpiekanski@ahaanet.com.


Source: Direct Marketing