Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Q. Should I tailor our marketing material differently for referral sources and customers?

A. Yes. And no. From a pure bottom-line viewpoint, it makes sense to design materials that can serve multiple audiences. But there are major differences between the two groups.
Patients are usually older and obviously have a health condition that requires your services. They need large print, bright colors and don't burden them with flowing, redundant text. Use bullet points and photos of people using product. Their caregivers are busy, stressed and looking for the best solution to their loved one's health challenge. Make it easy for them to find it-and your place of business. Do not forget to include the "extras"-items that generate cash sales-in your marketing materials.
Continue to reach out to your customer base, including caregivers, via direct mail or e-mail. Birthday cards are an easy and inexpensive way to keep your business in front of your patients. Or try the unexpected-a St. Patrick's Day or Valentine's Day communication. As gift-giving holidays approach, consider a postcard to caregivers (that's a database that should be maintained) with the "This Mother's Day, give Mom something she really needs" type of theme.
Referral sources are handling multiple patients at once, and your competitors undoubtedly have materials on their very crowded desks. Make yours stand out by carefully organizing product categories, providing complete lists of items you carry, noting if you handle special orders, and having your store name and phone number in large type. Consider a format that can be taped or tacked to a wall by the phone. An imprinted item that stays on their desks is also a permanent reminder (coffee mugs, "stress" balls, etc.). The goal is to be their first and only call. HME