2021 HME Business Handbook: Respiratory

Leveraging Infection Control in a Postpandemic World

You are already taking the necessary steps to create a safe environment for your customers — marketing the steps you have taken will allow you to stand out from your competitors.

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has affected almost all aspects of our lives. We’ve added new wardrobe pieces (masks), adopted new ways to do our jobs (at a distance, telehealth), and changed how we clean and sanitize (infection control, wipes). Although some of the things we’ve changed will go back to normal, others will need to remain, i.e., infection control and remote patient setup. So why are infection control and the steps you took to make your business safe during the COVID-19 pandemic still so important — how can you leverage this in today’s ever-changing environment?

Infection control has always played an important role for HME’s and DME providers, but it became overwhelmingly necessary during the pandemic. What steps did you take to make your business and customers safer? No-touch door openers, frequent sanitization, use of gloves, face coverings, face shields, hand washing, curbside pickups, remote patient setups and more. All of these things were key to keeping doors open and infection down. So, what now?

You are already taking the necessary steps to create a safe environment for your customers — marketing the steps you have taken will allow you to stand out from your competitors.

Vaccines are being administered, and mask mandates are being lifted, but there is still an increased level of urgency to maintain stricter infection control standards and to offer things like remote setups for patients. Showing your customers that you’ve taken extra steps for their safety could set you apart from your competition. Traditional marketing like print, direct mail, or outside advertising are great ways to get the word out about your business. Adding design elements to your traditional marketing that show that you are a COVID-conscious business will help set your customers at ease and make them feel more comfortable doing business with you as opposed to with your competition not offering these same benefits.

In the past, traditional promotions alone would have been enough, but in today’s digital age, traditional promotions should be complemented by online strategies. A strong digital outreach will help support any traditional marketing. Digital gives the ability to reach not just current customers but potential customers as well. Having strong digital marketing will not just fulfill current needs but can also create demand.

Content creation is an effective tool that you can take advantage of to market and promote services. A simple blog telling patients of different infection control tips they can use in their daily life is a great way to use content to educate and inform your audience. A video showing the advantages and disadvantages of quaternary cleaners could set you apart from other companies. Other forms could include webinars, eBooks, whitepapers, and social media to use content to both educate and inform your target audience.

When a person or company follows you on social media, they are communicating that they want to engage, read, see and hear about what your business is doing. While they are choosing to engage, not all social media platforms are equal, and content should vary depending on which platform you are using.

Facebook is one of the largest social platforms and the world’s third-most visited website. Instagram and Facebook are both places where your business’s personality can come through the most. Both are great for sharing photos of the infection control methods you and your team are taking. A quick video showing you properly disinfecting cylinders or concentrators would do well on these platforms.

While Social Media Marketing is a powerful tool, it should be used in combination with email marketing. Email marketing allows you to reach your audience directly via their inbox. Sending content such as a blog on if they are using the right disinfectant and showing comparisons of different products is well received. Having a direct line to their inbox makes it easy to navigate back to your site and products.

While the pandemic has changed things, it has shown us how important infection control techniques are. Being able to quickly adapt your business and marketing strategy will give you an upper hand. What the future holds is uncertain; however, applying these tips can help ensure success in a post-pandemic world.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • COVID-19 has led to lifelong changes in infection control, how we use telehealth and how we reach our customers.
  • Social media platforms are often free, easy ways to share content about your company and connect with your customers and other likeminded businesses.
  • Traditional promotions should be complemented by online strategies.

LEARN MORE

Read more about oxygen and respiratory topics at hme-business.com/oxygen. To learn more about adapting and promoting your business in today’s fast-changing environment, visit applied-inc.com.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Laura Frederick is the Marketing Coordinator for OxyGo and Applied Home Healthcare Equipment. Frederick has a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising and Product Development from Bowling Green State University and is a certified digital marketing professional. She can be contacted via email at lfrederick@oxygo.life.

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