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Make Your Business More Appealing Than Bigboxstore.com

Posted on in Service Solutions

OTSBy: Mary Avenanti, OTS Marketing Warm, well-thought out, and strategically placed print pieces can ease the search by consumers and referral sources alike I was chatting on the phone with my 86-year old mother the other day. In January, she managed to shatter some bones in her foot while trying to get to the phone before it stopped ringing. She lives alone in an adult community, in a cute little A-frame house. “You know what the worst thing is, Mary?” she says. “It took me almost two hours to bathe myself this morning. I usually take my shower in the morning, but I can’t get this boot wet and I am afraid I will fall if I cover it with plastic.” “Mom, do you have a shower chair?” I asked. “Well, I don’t know. I have a lawn chair outside, I could bring that in and put it in the shower. Will that work?” After a loving exchange of giggles, I explained to my mom what a shower chair was and how it could help her continue to take a shower while her foot healed. She honestly had no idea about what was available when it came to equipment that could help her go about her daily activities while she healed. And what is more disturbing (and an opportunity waiting to happen!) is that my Baby Boomer-aged sisters and brother also had no idea. They live a few miles away. I am 1,500 miles away. So I went on Amazon and ordered her a shower chair, ordered her some arthritis gloves, some Biofreeze® and a stocking donner for her compression hose she now wears daily. Wait. What?! I went on Amazon.com? And ordered the stuff that could have been a cash sale for a local DME? Yes, because that was the easiest, quickest way to get my mom what she needed and the closest “local” HME was a big box store. The point is that building awareness with consumers and referral sources is a full-time job! First we have to educate them about what’s available, how it can help them, and then make it EASY for them to find it and purchase it. Believe it or not, people prefer purchasing home care equipment from real people, with knowledge and compassion, not from computers. People make impulse buys when there is no catalog to browse or educational information available. Mike Vigil, advertising manager at Accessible Solutions in Albuquerque, N.M., wanted to make it easier for his referral sources and his customers to be able to take full advantage of his products and services. He recently tried an innovative marketing approach to building awareness in his community, and, he says, it has been very well received. “We market our products and services not only to individuals who need accessibility products or home modifications for safer living, but also to home health care providers, discharge planners, occupational therapists, physical therapists and short-term and long-term care facilities. In the past we put packets of literature together that contained many different pieces about all the products and services we provide. We wanted our referral sources to have something to reference while on their home visits. Putting the packets together was very time-consuming, they were bulky, it was very difficult to keep everything together and they were not a very warm presentation to the patients being visited.” Accessible Solutions is a member of AHIA and they have access to VGM services like the Off The Shelf Marketing Program. Mike came to OTS looking for a solution to his ‘packet’ problem. He had been toying with the idea of a catalog but the project felt overwhelming. “When we began developing our business we became members of AHIA, which gave us access to some of the great VGM services like OTS. While OTS offers a nice suite of products off the shelf, we were pleased to discover their ability to create some very high-quality creative materials that could be adapted to our specific needs and markets. The solution offered for our latest conundrum was a 7” X 8” 24-page catalog that could contain all the product information and images we wanted to share with our audiences. The finished piece is beautiful and has been very well received so far.” Warm, inviting catalogs like the one created for Accessible Solutions are an essential part of building awareness with referral sources and consumers alike. Having educational marketing pieces like this available promote discussion, build trust and increase your chances of taking some of those sales back from bigboxstore.com. After all, when the computer is turned off, and people settle into conversation mode, the catalogs are on the coffee table, or on a table in a physician’s waiting room, beckoning readers to browse. [email protected] | 888.875.7707 | www.vgmots.com Special note: Samples of the booklet created for Accessible Solutions will be available at VGM’s Heartland Conference; in your welcome bag and at the OTS booth located in VGM Central.

 

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