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Every business leader faces a similar dilemma: How do I tell people about my business and share what makes us better than the competition with my audience? The answer is excellent marketing campaigns – but where to start?

One option is to hire an outside advertising firm to build your brand for you, but this approach can sometimes be cost-prohibitive for many HMEs. The good news is with the plethora of easy-to-access marketing channels, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and analytics software currently available, even a small in-house team can make a big impact.

Before we dive into the five steps to getting started promoting your business, there’s one central idea to keep in mind as you strike out into the vast world of advertising and brand-building:

Marketing is every single touchpoint that you have with your customers.

Successful business owners understand that “marketing” a business in the HME field isn’t just ads or emails or direct mail; marketing is how you build relationships with your patients and referrers. When your customer service team addresses an issue for a patient, your approach to problem-solving should exemplify who you are as a brand. When you send reminders about prescriptions, resupply, or appointments through a patient portal, your messaging should reflect your business’s value. View every customer interaction as a chance to share your greatest benefits with your audience.

With that idea in mind, follow these five steps to ensure your marketing campaigns inspire action instead of falling flat.

First, identify your goals

If you’re new to marketing a business, it can be tempting to dive in headfirst with a project you think may help boost sales or look like something the competition is doing. For example, “The HME down the road has lots of social media ads, so I must need social media ads!” But savvy marketers know this is an easy trap to fall into, and it’s a potential money-pit if you do. To avoid putting time and effort toward directionless advertising, you need to identify what professional goals you want to reach and how you’ll measure success.

Instead of “I need social media ads,” start instead by thinking, “I’d like to use marketing to help me…”

  • Onboard X new patients this quarter
  • Increase my number of returning patients by X% this year
  • Maintain current referral sources and add X new referrals sources by Q4
  • Grow awareness of my new resupply services to drive X number of sales in Q3

Once you know where you want to end up, you can make smart decisions about which marketing channels will help you get there. Plus, you’ll be ready to accurately assess whether your efforts got you closer to your goal or you need to rethink your strategy.

Next, know your patient and referral audience

A cardinal rule of marketing is to speak directly to a specific audience with every promotion you create. Understanding your audience’s needs, characteristics, pain points, and preferred methods of communication is crucial to designing campaigns that hit home. As an HME, you likely have two main audiences: patients and referral sources.

If you really want to amp up the power of a marketing campaign, you’ve got to dig a little deeper. Within each of those two groups, you can address plenty of nuances if you take the time to outline what you know about your customers. Brainstorm characteristics like:

  • What are the demographics of my patient/referrer audience? (age, location, interests, etc.)
  • What are the biggest challenges my audience is currently facing?
  • Where is my audience most likely to interact with my business?

Establishing answers to these questions and more can help you create buyer personas – imaginary customers – that you speak to with each campaign.

Ready for the rest of the marketing essentials? In part two of this blog, you’ll learn how to choose the right channels to deliver those messages as well as how to measure outcomes and track performance.

This is part one of two parts. In part two, you’ll learn how to choose the right marketing message and the right channels to deliver those messages as well as how to measure outcomes and track performance.

Trish Nettleship

Trish Nettleship Vice President Marketing, Brightree

Trish is the Vice President of Marketing at Brightree, where she's responsible for developing marketing strategies and plans for new offerings as well as driving demand generation and market development for the company's current portfolio of cloud-based solutions for post-acute care.

She brings over 25 years of experience to this role including: leading digital transformations, enabling the social enterprise and developing integrated multi-channel strategy across all aspects of marketing.


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