Vanity 800 Numbers Weigh-in with Health Care Industry

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Today $1.9 trillion dollars a year is spent on health care related segments encompassing prescription drugs, physician visits, home health and nursing homes. These industry segments are creating a multi-billion dollar business category, and as a result, the marketing and advertising budgets for clinics, hospitals, specialists and specific procedures are rising.

We are all too familiar with the fact that medical costs are growing at an alarming rate. Today $1.9 trillion dollars a year is spent on health care related segments encompassing prescription drugs, physician visits, home health, and nursing homes. These industry segments are creating a multi-billion dollar business category, and as a result, the marketing and advertising budgets for clinics, hospitals, specialists and specific procedures are rising.

Many health care clients at SF Media are now focusing a substantial portion of their ad budgets on direct response campaigns. As the name implies, these types of campaigns require a response mechanism in the final creative in order to deliver the results our clients (and SF Media) expect.

SF Media has learned to follow these five important guidelines when developing direct response advertisements and campaigns:

1. Include a Strong Call to Action – Alert consumers to the benefits of your service. Response is quicker if audiences know immediately how they will benefit.

2. Use a Phone Number as the Direct Response Tool – Provide the necessary tools for your audience to speak with you, build a relationship, and make an appointment.

3. Feature a Vanity 800 Number – Give people an easy to remember method of getting in touch with you. A vanity 800 number, like 1-800-NEW-HEART, aligns your practice with what you offer, and sticks with people immediately. Later they will easily recall your phone number when they need to make an appointment, whether it is days, weeks, or months later.

4. Display your Direct Response Tool Prominently – Put your vanity 800 number in the creative materials where it is most easily visible or audible, making it easier for people to reach you.

5. Repeat your Message – It is simple; more impressions will pull more responses. Advertising does not always work in one-off situations. Repetition is better for our memories and for your branding.

Our team at SF Media has first-hand experience following these guidelines for our health care clients’ advertising campaigns. And while a strong call to action is listed first, it is equally important to have a strong direct response mechanism. We find that vanity 800 numbers are tremendous response tools simply because they are so much easier to remember than numeric phone numbers, and they are trackable. Seems obvious I know, but just take a look at how many advertisements are still listing numeric phone numbers. These vanity 800 numbers can be hard to come by, which is why we have developed a strong working relationship with a vanity 800 number provider, 800response, allowing us to offer these highly effective direct response tools to our clients.

One client, Premier Bariatric, serves as an excellent example of the strong results to be gained when following the five guidelines. Premier receives several hundred calls each month just by using the number 1-800-NEW-HEALTH in a combination of television and internet ads to advertise their gastric restrictive operations. Their business has blossomed, and not only have they seen a dramatic increase in calls and appointments, but more importantly they have seen a substantial increase in the number of procedures performed at an affordable cost for patient acquisition.

Another benefit of using these vanity 800 numbers is the tracking capability. We know tracking response is the key to analyzing the results of an ad campaign, but it is not always so easy to do. The vanity 800 numbers come with real-time call tracking reports that are accessible online. These reports allow us to monitor our media buys and optimize our clients’ media budgets at any time. We can literally watch which radio or television spot is pulling more response, and if a promotion is resonating with consumers. Furthermore, the reports are useful for monitoring what times of day or days of week are most productive for a specific media outlet and message. This is undeniably useful when analyzing advertising environments for future efforts and the allocation of our clients’ media budgets.

Our mission at SF Media is to help our clients achieve success through their campaigns. By applying the five guidelines of direct response advertising we are able to do just that. There is no question that vanity 800 numbers are easy to remember, and are proven to produce higher response rates. The icing on the cake is the extensive analytical reporting which give insight to the market audience and will make future creative and media planning a breeze.

Scott Farber is the owner and President of SF Media Consultants, a full service advertising agency that focuses on negotiating low costs and gaining effectiveness, customer awareness, customer recall and customer confidence, which is reflected by results in their clients’ bottom lines. SF Media Consultants has twenty-four years of experience specializing in both Health Care Marketing/Advertising and the Record Label Industry. For more information you can contact Scott Farber by email.

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Jeanne Landau
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