Bounce Back after Getting a Bad Patient Review with the Power of Digital Display Advertising

“It’s been a year since my trial, and five years since the elderly man came into the ED in shock… The trial itself is best described as life-changing: six days of humiliations and accusations, all the while being told it was nothing personal,” recounts George Hossfeld, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Illiniois-Chicago.

Hossfeld continues, “It felt personal when they didn’t miss a chance to accuse me of recklessness, stupidity, arrogance, and laziness.”

Even though the jury favored him—the defense—at the end of the trial, Hossfeld felt bad and scared. The plaintiff asked for an award exceeding his insurance’s limit. If he was found guilty, he’d have lost his house, savings, and practically everything.

Not all bad reviews lead to a malpractice lawsuit. But that doesn’t mean a negative review can’t make you feel terrible, or doubtful of your skills.

It can Happen to Anyone

You’re a highly trained medical professional, and you hold yourself to the highest standards. Ever since you graduated medical school all those years ago, you promised to do the very best you could for every patient that walked into your clinic.

But once in a while, you get a patient that clashes with you. He (or she) just doesn’t see eye to eye with you, and questions your every recommendation. Then something bad happens after he goes against something you strongly believe in, or perhaps despite your best efforts, you were wrong.

Then your assistant hears this patient telling another medical professional, a friend, or associate that he had a bad experience with you. He’d never consult you again, according to your assistant. Worse still, he wrote a negative review of your clinic and posted it online. How many potential patients and business leads will you lose because of this?

It’s no wonder ‘malpractice’ strikes a physician’s heart with terror. Even its less-evil cousin, the negative review, stresses physicians and healthcare professionals more than it should.

Not a Career Ender

You’re hurt. You don’t know what to do. You’re confused and a little bit afraid. How would this affect your reputation? Will word (unfairly) get out that you were a terrible doctor and that you gave bad service?

Will other insurance providers and business leads severe their ties with you? Will other patients catch wind of this and leave you for some other doctor?

First of all, malpractice lawsuits aren’t uncommon. Negative patient reviews are even more rampant, so don’t feel singled out. Many of these complaints aren’t even the doctor’s fault. CRICO, a medical liability coverage provider, analyzed 8500 malpractice cases in their nationwide database. Five percent of those cases mentioned non-compliance of patients as a contributing factor, even in cases claiming diagnostic errors.

Stop worrying, breathe deeply, and relax. Given enough time in practice, even the best doctor will get a bad review.

For now, you should concentrate on damage control.

What can You Learn from the Situation?

What caused the negative review? Was it actually your fault, or was there a communication gap somewhere along the line?

Sometimes the patient really wants someone to blame, not necessarily get treatment. According to a Medscape article, doctors had trouble with patients who had been involved in several other lawsuits,’ and experience with a patient’s “family known to be extremely litigious.”

Then sometimes, it’s a miscommunication error gone wild:

A doctor told the patient she had to mix a ¼ tablespoon of salt in a quart of water, and then use it to conduct an enema before their next appointment. The doctor wrote 1/4 on the prescription but it could’ve looked like 44 tablespoons, depending on who’s reading it.

In the end, the patient used 44 tablespoons of salt for his enema procedure.

What does this story tell you?

You might think your instructions are clear, but that’s just you. People understand and see things differently. Sometimes, people will just nod and say they understood things for whatever reason, too.

What Matters is What the Patient Processes and Remembers When You’re No Longer There

Almost 50% of 90 million adults in the US sometimes don’t understand what their physician is explaining to them, including the reason for their ailment and medical recommendations. Of that, 42% mistakenly take medicine on an empty stomach, and about 78% misunderstand prescriptions and their warning labels.

So as the consultation ends, gently ask your patient what he remembers from your recommendations. Have them repeat the steps and dosage instructions. Once the patient repeats it back, you can either confirm they’re right or correct possible misunderstandings.

The point of this exercise is to learn how best to communicate with your patients.

But if it was indeed your fault and not a communication error, what went wrong?  Is the patient disgruntled because you didn’t spend enough time listening to his symptoms? Were your instructions unclear? Did you fail to build rapport before rattling of a diagnosis? If this is the case, a one week crash course in customer service training for doctors will improve your patient-socialization skills.

Talk to the Disgruntled Patient

Talk to the patient in private. Ask what you could have done differently, and if anything can be done now to rectify the situation.

With some patients, all it takes is a willingness to listen, to hear their side of things. You’ll be the ‘caring doctor’ who really looks after his patients, not just someone who rattles of a prescription after a few questions and tests. You can turn this negative review into more business leads and referrals.

Challenging patients that contest your diagnostic aptitude, and request unnecessary tests can be tiring to deal with. But they’re not necessarily non-compliant patients. You still have an opportunity to gain their trust, just patiently explain why each test and recommendation is important. And to protect yourself, always keep documentations of your recommendations and disagreements during consultations.

If you have to, be blunt in explaining the risks of not following the recommendations. This is a common cause of negative reviews and lawsuits—patients claim they weren’t told of the risks.

Fight Negative Reviews with Glowing Testimonials 

Leverage the power of digital display advertising. You know how some clinics have a TV screen in their waiting hall that plays ads of different brands? You can have one like that, too.

Contact a digital display advertising network and ask if they’d be willing to install one in your clinic. In most cases, they can install the screen for free, they’ll even give you a few minutes to play ads of your own. Use this time to show your clinic hours and services, or to display positive testimonials from your current patients.

Keep Records then Get Over it

Maintain a detailed list of patients, including the following:

  • Visit dates and appointments, including no-shows
  • Diagnoses for each visit, including the exact words the patient used to describe his ailment
  • Keep records of all test results, consultations and referrals
  • Document all prescriptions, tests, and procedures recommended, including the patient’s decision whether to follow these recommendations or not.

You can use all these information to counteract negative reviews and baseless criticisms. That way, other people who read the review will know that you did your part as a healthcare professional. You can even put up an infomercial on your digital display advertising screen about the commonly un-followed prescriptions, and the risks associated with it. It’s a good way to warn patients early.

You can do a few things counteract the damage that has been done to your practice and self-esteem. Encourage your many happy and satisfied patients to leave good reviews for you online.

The important thing is not to obsess. If you can honestly say that you did everything in your power, then your conscience is clear.

3 Challenges Threatening Your Small Business (and How to Come Out On Top)

As a small business owner, you’ve likely fought hard to get where you are. Don’t worry, you’re in good company.

Small businesses make up the majority of businesses in the U.K. and the U.S. According to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in UK, small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2015. Meanwhile, small businesses with less than 20 employees account for 86.2% among small business owners set up as C-corporations, according to the US Census Bureau.

Despite their strength in numbers, they wield much less power than the big conglomerate companies, big box stores, national, and international chains.

Whether you’re a retailer, restaurant owner, inn keeper, or service provider, you’re likely fighting big business for customers. But the customers you already have are probably fiercely loyal to you. That’s something you can’t take for granted.

Still, you feel like you’re facing a never-ending list of challenges. Here, we discuss three of the biggest problems threatening your small business, and how to deal with them and come out on top.

The Obstacles Small Business Owners Face

1. Raising Capital can be Tricky

When you’re your own bank, growing your business can be a challenge. If the real bank isn’t giving you enough, what’s a small business owner to do?

Rather than taking out a second and third mortgage, get other people to see and appreciate your business vision. Some options include:

2. Accept that You Can’t Undersell the Big Companies

If you’re a small independent retailer, you can’t beat the prices that the big box stores offer. They get bulk pricing, and can afford to sell things at a discount, whereas you’re not getting the same volume discount. Instead, offer quality items and unique goods that can’t be found elsewhere. You’d be surprised to see how many people would pay extra for those.

3. You can’t Compete on Manpower

When you’re the owner, manager, accountant and janitor, it can be exhausting. Even if you have a small team, it’s still exhausting. You just can’t compete with companies that have more manpower than you. However, lots of people want to support small independent businesses – it’s a huge movement right now. Offer personalized, warm service, along with great customer relations and follow up that the big companies don’t. Huge companies see customers as numbers.

As a small business, you have the power to treat people for the individuals that they are. Build a relationship with them, treat them like family and they’ll respond in kind.

There’s Room for You

Big business, despite its power and reach, can never take over the whole market—whatever industry you’re in.

Because sometimes, the same people who patronize big box stores for some things, also frequent small retailers for their other needs.  Someone who shops at Target or Walmart can still eat at small family-owned restaurants, right? The same goes for almost any kind of entrepreneurial venture.

patient direct, digital signage, small business owners, small business tips

Small Business Owners, Here’s How to Improve Your Cash Flow

Running your own business might be a dream come true for you. Being your own boss takes a lot of the stresses off – you’re probably more satisfied with your work than an employee struggling in a corporate environment.

But small business owners know it’s not as easy as it sounds. Although you don’t have to worry about being fired, the company’s finances are your finances, and vice-versa. Your number one priority now is making sure your business has enough in the bank to pay you, your employees, utilities, and vendors. You’re also responsible for getting the products on the shelves and getting them out the door, just so you can begin the whole cycle all over again.

A recent Canadian poll showed that finances was the second biggest cause of stress for small business owners, after hiring – and retaining – reliable employees. It’s not always easy to balance the books, especially if your business is new or seasonal. It takes time to get used to the process of invoicing and paying everyone.  And if there is a feast or famine cycle of work or customers, you’re probably looking for strategies protect your business during leaner times.

The good news is that it gets easier with time.

Easy Cash Flow Improvement Tips for Small Business Owners

Sell off Old inventory

small business owners, digital signage, patient direct

In an ideal world, you’ll make the desired profit from your entire inventory. In reality, this rarely happens for small business owners.

It takes time to learn when you should place orders and estimate how much stock you need, depending on demand.  Remember that, for most businesses, you are buying wholesale to make a profit. If necessary, it is always better to sell goods that have been sitting around for a while at a discount – but still at a break-even price for you – rather than have it sit around collecting dust.

Goods will depreciate, and the longer you wait, the more money you will lose. Stagnation is nobody’s friend, especially if you’re dealing with perishables.

Invoice Promptly for Services Rendered and Products Sold

Invoice on a tablet, digital signage, small business owners,

Photo by: Recrea HQ via Flickr Creative Commons

You need a solid invoicing and follow-up system, so you can bill your customers on time. At first blush, you may think that you’re doing them a favor by not billing them right away – more money in their coffers for longer, right? Wrong.

As much as you’re trying to balance your books, other businesses are trying to keep on top of their payables, too. Send invoices promptly, along with your sincere gratitude, of course. (Tweet this)

Don’t forget to set up a time frame for follow-ups. Three weeks (or 15 business days) is about right for sending a reminder.

To make it easier for everyone, consider setting up a credit card billing function, so that your regular clients can make auto payments, instead of issuing a check or going online to make an e-transfer.

Consider Running a Promotion

Yelp Drinks 2013 Kick Off at Studio Square

Photo by: Yelp Inc. via Flickr Creative Commons

Businesses have predictable busy months and slow months every year. For instance, flower vendors are busiest during valentines, while turkey farms are busy the months leading to Thanksgiving.

Think about the lean months for your business, what causes it and is there a way to get more customers in? For instance, rainy days are considered ‘low season’ for resorts, so they’re more inclined to give discounted rates and promotions. Can you do something similar?

Creative small business owners reach out to a group coupon service to sell vouchers, offer discounted rates for new customers, or bundle up several services or products into one heavily discounted offer. They get creative to keep their business afloat.

Running a promotion is a great way to get rid of old inventory, and ensure you have incoming cash—and customers—during the dry months.

Improve Your Inventory

Take a long, hard look at your inventory or at the services you offer. What moves out the door quickly? You likely have a product that keeps getting sold-out, sometimes even before you can place another order. But you may also have a product that stagnates, constantly getting marked down to rock-bottom prices before anyone notices.

What kind of services do your customers often get? What do they ignore?

Check your sales records to look for these trends then make changes accordingly. Stock more of that product that frequently gets sold out. Stop carrying those items your customers don’t want. Examine the services your customers don’t often choose—is it outdated, terrible, or just not packaged well enough? Small business owners know that inventory matters, so they keep meticulous records in hopes of gleaning from that data later on and improving their inventory.

Cash Flow Problems aren’t 100% Inevitable

Despite your best efforts, you don’t have a crystal ball, so you may find yourself in a financial crunch at some point. The key is to relax and learn to roll with the punches.

Try the strategies here now—whether times are good, or you’re struggling to keep afloat—just think of it as your buffer for when the going gets tough.

digital signage

5 Ways Technology and Digital Signage can Revolutionize Your Medical Practice

Before Y2K, very few healthcare facilities had a desktop or laptop computer in the doctor’s clinic. Very few hospital lobbies had a digital signage screen to show the patient queue. Some clinics had a bulky desktop on their waiting room, but very few doctors enjoyed use of this technology.

Now, my dentist, physical therapist, general practitioner, and ENT all have at least one hi-tech gizmo in their office. That’s not even including their smart phone.

Tech is Changing Healthcare, Better Adapt before You’re Outdated

Gadgets and the advancement in technology are creating a revolution in the healthcare industry. It’s affecting how healthcare professionals and patients go about their treatments and other health concerns.

Tablets, smart phones, apps, cloud-based services, and remote monitoring apps are changing the healthcare landscape.

If you’re adaptable to changes, these technological advancements will make your life – as a patient or medical professional – easier.

5 Examples of Medical Professionals Using Gadgets and Digital Signage in the Clinic

  1. Educating Patients and Sharing Health Information via Tablets and Smart Phones

Years ago, when you wanted to show your patient a picture to explain their health problems, you’d point to a poster in your clinic. Sometimes, you’d use a desktop to read their patient information or play educational videos.

digital signage, healthcare technology

As of 2012, about 62% of more than 3000 physicians surveyed owned a tablet and about half of them use it in their daily practice. Now, there’s a high probability even more doctors use their personal gadgets at work.

As for patients, they don’t mind that their physicians use a tablet at all. In fact, whereas a desktop makes them feel that it diminishes the doctor-patient interaction, they don’t feel the same way about tablets.

Dentists, for example, who use saved videos or images on their phone, to explain how a patient’s teeth moves when they have dental braces, are seen as more effective by their patients. I guess it helps to know the pain they feel means their tooth alignment is getting better.

  1. Minimize No-Show Patients and Fill-Out Last Minute Cancellations

For some patients, going to the doctor or calling to set an appointment is a challenge in of itself. It’s a chore! People are busy. And let’s face it, who likes going to the doctor?

That’s why so many people set healthcare appointments, only to cancel—sometimes at the last minute.

Then there’s the I-need-a-doctor-NOW patient, who’s in an emergency and needs to be seen immediately. Teeth pain, allergic reactions, or a ruptured eardrum, which is exactly what happened to Cyrus Massoumi, when he was on the way home to New York in 2007.

How long did he have to wait to see an ENT? THREE DAYS.

Three days trying to cope with the excruciating pain in his ear. That’s when he had a light bulb moment.

He decided to start ZocDoc, an app and web service that lets users find a doctor and book appointments in real time. This is great for patients, right? But what’s in it for doctors?


Photo from Zocdoc

Healthcare professionals can register their practice on Zocdoc’s database, so people can find them under their location and specialty. While some healthcare professionals were hesitant during Zocdoc’s initial years, they soon found out it’s a great way to fill last minute cancellations and find new clients.

Another tool you can check is Setmore, an online appointment and schedule managing application that allows patients to book consultations. It also sends them email or text notifications ahead of time, to minimize no-shows and prevent cancellations.

  1. ‘Shorten’ a Patient’s Waiting Time

Did you know the average waiting time for a patient is about 24 minutes?

Use digital signage screens to shorten your patients’ waiting time by starting the consultation way before they step into the clinic or treatment room. For instance, the waiting hall outside an ultrasound room can have a digital signage screen showing a how-to video for certain X-ray and MRI procedures.

Another strategy is to record yourself answering common patient questions, and then load it onto the screen. Doing this can reduce a patient’s perceived wait time, because he’s learning something valuable and probably related to what he’s going to consult with you.

Digital signage networks can install a screen in your facility for free, as long as you agree to them playing relevant ads of local businesses in your area.

  1. Track Medicine Intake Compliance

The more medicines a patient drinks, the harder it is to keep track of them. That’s why patients taking multiple medications at different doses or schedules often have a poor compliance rate. WHO’s data states only 50% of patients in developed countries stick to their prescribed medication.

digital signage, medicine intake tracking

Photo from Dosecast

Photo from Medisafe Project Ltd

Photo from Medisafe Project Ltd

digital signage, medicine tracker

Photo from: Mango Health

That’s a low rate! And it’s a problem technology can easily solve. Patients can choose from a variety of apps to track their medicine intake. Below are some options:

  1. Apps for Buying and Saving on Medicine

Speaking of medicines… Several apps help users to refill their mail service prescription and over-the-counter medicine. Some apps just offer price comparison and coupons from nearby pharmacies. Whatever the case, you can suggest these apps to your patients, especially those who keep forgetting to buy their medicines.

  • CVS/Caremark: Refilling mail order prescriptions, track prescription history, and other features
  • GoodRx: Find the best price for a drug, including pill images and listed side-effects, plus coupons for different medicines and pharmacies.

Ready for Healthcare 2.0?

Screens aren’t going anywhere. Their uses are multiplying at an exponential rate. Now we use them on watches, fitness trackers, digital signage, and almost everywhere we can convert into a ‘smart’ gadget.

It’s time for you to adapt, if you haven’t already. How you use technology in your practice can spell the difference between loyal patients and one-off consultations.

patient direct, small business marketing, marketing ideas digital signage

5 Ways Small Businesses can Increase Their Presence in the Local Community (and Get More Leads)

“No man is an island”

-John Donne

The same goes for businesses, especially solo-owned and mom and pop stores. Many small business owners only operate in one location. So they rely on the community around them for income and labor, and in turn the community relies on it for quality goods and services. It’s a give and take relationship. Unfortunately, not all small businesses look at it this way.

But giving back to the people—the community—that fuels your business’s operations is an incredibly powerful marketing tool capable of giving you returns so much more than you invested. With giving, you reap the benefits of a stronger and more loyal customer base faster than a catchy jingle.

Size isn’t Equal to Impact when it Comes to Small Business

You might think you have nothing to give, being a small business and all. You can play an active part in helping your community without spending thousands doing so. Here’s how:

How to Increase Sales and Get New Leads by Investing in Your Community

1. Party with Your Neighbors: Attend or Sponsor Local Events

small business marketing, patient direct, digital signage

What’s an amazing way to have fun and rack up tons of free brand exposure in your community? Participate in local events, such as parades, holidays, festivals, seasonal fairs, and pop-up markets.

You have three options for participating:

  • Attending: Just bring yourself and your team then mingle with the crowd. Bonus points if you wear company branded t-shirts to get your name out there.
  • Sponsor: Pay a small fee, or donate goods and services the event’s organizing committee needs. You can donate food for volunteers, chairs and tables for the event, or offer your store as a venue. Sponsorship opportunities vary per event, so get in touch with the coordinator to find out how you can help. Sponsors often get recognition on the event through media mentions, and having their logo included in marketing materials, such as flyers, posters, and event tickets.

 For example, Whole Foods Market in Morris New Jersey and Cleaners Advantage are sponsoring the Easter  Fun Fest event organized by Madison Chamber of Commerce on March 19. Cleaners Advantage will use    their delivery trucks to distribute Easter goodies for the event, while I think Whole Foods will support by      providing part of the goodies that will be given away.

  • Rent a booth: What’s a great event without food, drinks, and stuff to buy? That’s where booths come in. You can rent a booth, set-up posters around it, and sell your products to attendees. It’s a great way to attract new customers. You can even use this to promote new products.

2. Donate to Local Charities

small business marketing, patient direct, digital signage

Donating money has long been recognized as the most common way businesses engage with their local community. Even before ‘cause marketing’ and social responsibility become the buzzwords they are now, American Express used this strategy to increase their brand recognition.

In 1983, Amex ran a funding campaign for Lady Liberty, donating 1 cent toward its restoration, for every dollar spent using their credit card. All in all, they donated about $1.7 million during the campaign. And what did they get out of this donation?

Only a 47% increase in new card holders, and a 27% increase in card usage. So yes, they gave a lot of money, but they earned a lot more in return.

3. Hold a Contest for a School

Many school districts don’t have enough budgets to fund arts, music, and educational activities for students. Some don’t even have enough funds to buy new equipment for their lab and other facilities. Then there are gifted students who can go far in life, but have to work because they don’t have money to pay for their education.

You can help them.

Contact the school nearest you and ask how you can help. I’m sure the principal can help you brainstorm ways to promote your business while helping the school at the same time.

Hold an essay contest and reward the winning student, offer internship programs to help students find out what’s it like to work in a business like yours, give away a small scholarship fund, or reward a team for designing a new artwork for your business. A small portion of your surplus income, time, and inventory, can go a long way in helping students have a better school year.

What does this give you? Kids will tell their parents about your contest at school. Your logo will be posted in their bulletins, and your name will probably be announced throughout the school. Aside from new leads in the form of parents and students who’ve never heard about your business, you can also get free press from local newspapers and websites that feature feel-good stories.

4. Volunteer as a Team

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Photo Credits: Texas Heart Institute via Flickr Creative Commons

The Texas Heart institute, lead by Dr. Doris Taylor during their “Texas Heart Has Heart” project to collect donations they’ll give to the  Houston Food Bank.

Don’t have funds or extra inventory to donate? That’s okay! You can always donate your time.

Take one day off from work to head over to a local charity of your choosing. You can cook food at the nursing home, feed the homeless, read to kids, clean up the park, and so much more.

Workload permitting, you can even take your team with you. Working together outside of the office can strengthen your bonds with each other. It’s a great team building and philanthropic activity, and it shows them that you’re not all about profits and productivity.

Here are 5 organizations that accept individual and corporate volunteers:

5. Sponsor a Local Sports Team

You can sponsor a team’s uniform or gear for a small amount of money. What do you get in return? Free adverts in the form of a local sports team, a part in helping a kid’s athletic dream come true, bigger brand exposure during the championships (if you’re the sponsor of a finalist team), and positive press. You’ll meet interesting people who might be potential customers, too.

Below are examples of small businesses sponsoring their local teams.

Taylor Homes sponsoring Team SMASH, their local baseball team:

Crossfit Kennett Square sponsoring two local traveling baseball teams, Kennett Knights and the Piedmont Predators:

kennett knights, digital signage, patient direct, small business marketing, marketing ideas

small business marketing, marketing ideas, piedmont predators, patient direct, digital signage

Small Business Owners, Don’t Ignore Your Community

Supporting your local community will increase your businesses’ local brand recognition. It will also widen your network and help you develop partnerships with other businesses doing the same thing.

Do you have any experience giving back to your community? How did it turn out?


5 Cool Ideas for Small and Medium Businesses Located in a Small Town

You live in a small town – maybe even a township or a hamlet – that doesn’t support a chain store, a franchise, or any kind of big venture. After all, there aren’t enough people to support a large endeavor, and there isn’t enough money to support a franchise. There’s also a shortage of real estate, and possibly land, unless you’re planning on getting your own land rezoned and building from the ground up, which can be expensive. What’s a small business owner to do?

Not to worry – this doesn’t mean that you have to relocate to a bigger city to realize your dream of owning your own business.

Small Businesses, Still on Demand

Rural businesses are on the rise, and while new business owners in rural towns aren’t taking on franchises, they are instead tapping into their entrepreneurial sides, exploring different options and new way of doing things. All it takes is a vision, some ingenuity, some creativity, and a little bit of elbow grease to get started.

First, take a look at your town. What’s  missing? How many people live there? What do they need? Talk to them. 

What do people leave town to buy, or what service do they say is missing? What would make the people’s lives easier?

Once you’ve figured that out, check out our list of great small business ideas with a good chance of succeeding in a small town:

        1.  Join or Set up a Multi-Purpose

digital signage, patient direct, small business ideas

If you can’t afford the rent for office or storefront space on your own, consider joining up with one, or several other retailers to share the rent – and the customers. This could work in your favor in another way as well – customers may be more likely to visit if they know there are several businesses at their destination rather than just one. If they can have a snack and do their groceries at the same time, it’s worth the trip, right?

A common example of this is a boutique store, where several artisans display and sell their handmade goods so that one store carries several brands.

2. Pop-up Shops are all the Rage

digital signage, small businesses, popup shops

Photo Credits: Dauvit Alexander via Flickr Creative Commons

You may have heard of pop-up shops – temporary shops that open up in temporary locations – which can last from a few hours to several months.

This is a trendy store idea that got their start in the big city, when craftsmen, home cooks, and indie entrepreneurs wanted a temporary venue to sell. Locations can be anywhere from a school, park, mall grounds, or the local art gallery.

In most cases, all you have to do is get permission from the land or building owner, set up your shop, and bring your goods in along with a big sign. After that, it’s just a matter of selling your stocks.  Play music, sing a jingle, or offer a free sample, sometimes you need to get creative to grab people’s attention.

Pop-up shops provide small business owners a simple way to test the demand for their idea.

Examples: Farmyard Darlings, a specialty collectible pop-up shop for vintage and country collectibles turned full-fledged retail store. Another example is the pop-up shop HND students set up at Birmingham City University. 

3. Keep on Truckin’

Talk about food-to-go – the food truck industry has been hot for years, traditionally selling fast foods like burgers, hot dogs, fries, and coffee. But lately foodies are finding their favorites on board, like sushi, tacos, burrito, churros, and even pancakes.

Trucks are easy to care for, and easy to relocate if the owner finds that one location isn’t working out. Is the weather bad? It’s easy to close up shop, too. Food trucks can make a lot of money at summer festivals, town events, and outside office buildings.  

Example: Who knew a food truck selling Crème Brulée would be such a hit in Australia? Well, it is and The Brulee Cart is rapidly building a huge fan base wherever they go.

creme brulee, digital signage, patient direct

Photo Credits: The Brulee Cart

4. It Takes a Village

Little business villages are a shopping destination, where a single store is less likely to get people to stop and browse but a collection of them is sure to attract even the most hurried traveler. Shopping villages are often quirky, small, and located in historic areas or old downtown areas.

Souvenir shops, family-owned wineries, organic farmers selling produce, and other specialty stores are perfect for tiny business villages.

5. Set up an Online Store

Who says your customer should be limited to the folks in your neighborhood? With an internet connection, you can easily set-up can online store to help you reach more customers. Choose from tons of delivery and fulfilment companies to ship your products, so you don’t have to worry about logistics. You can even set-up a subscription box that includes a wide variety of your products.

Online stores are perfect for brick-and-mortar businesses that don’t deal in fragile or perishable goods. If you sell food, seasonings, wine, or other ingredients, just choose a delivery method that ensures your products get to the buyer well before it spoils.

Example: Taylor Stitch, a clothing store specializing in well-fitting day to night clothes, has two retail stores in San Francisco. But they also accept online orders from in and out of the U.S.

Get Creative with Your Small Business Idea 

Remember, a standalone store isn’t your only option. Go explore other options possible given your location and business, or try one of the ideas here.

local advertising

Local Advertising 101: How it Differs from Online Advertising and How You can Use it

So many types of advertising media exist. There’s print advertising in the form of magazine and newspaper ads, direct mailing, TV and radio commercials, and then there’s billboards and digital signage.  All these can be used for nationwide campaigns, regional marketing campaigns, or local advertising campaigns, depending on your goals.

Local advertising simply means you’re targeting a specific area, such as a city, town, or even a small neighborhood, in your marketing campaign. For instance, a restaurant may want to target consumers living within 20 miles of his location. It won’t make sense for this restaurant to target consumers 50 to 100 miles farther, unless they have other branches. In this case, local advertising in the form of billboards, digital signage, flyers, newspaper ads and direct mail coupons would do well.

Does Local Advertising Work?

That depends on your target demographic and your business. But it’s more effective in specific scenarios, compared to national advertising.  Aside from mom and pop stores and restaurants, local advertising also works for brands that cater to a specific local’s events or celebrations.


How does Local Advertising Differ from Consumer to Consumer?

Jackie and Marie are sisters with a similar demographic. They’re both working moms with two kids about the same age, and their income levels are both within $40,000 a year.  Jackie and Marie might be part of your target market for kids and household products.

So you’ll plan your marketing campaign to both of them, hoping to hit two birds with one stone. But what you don’t know is, despite the similarities, Jackie and Marie live more than 2,000 miles apart. Marie lives in a small suburban town, while Jackie lives in a thriving metropolis.

Marie’s experience as a consumer spans a 15-mile radius, with a small grocery and a couple of restaurants within walking distance, or a short ride away. Jackie, on the other hand drives a lot—she drives her kids to school, drives to the grocery, to play dates, to work, and to soccer and dance classes.

As you might have guessed, local advertising works for both of them. But it’s not possible to hit them both with the exact same ads, unless your business operates in both locales and have the same products and offers. With Marie, you might have smaller competition, but Jackie has more choices.

What makes Local Advertising Effective?

  • It’s personalized to the immediate buyers – the local consumers.

According to Gartner, businesses that focus on connected processes or multi-channel for local marketing can boost their revenues by 10% to 15%.

Several studies already show that personalizing ads according to people’s location increases your ad’s relevancy (Tweet this), and therefore its effectiveness. For small business owners, there’s just no point in spending on huge advertising campaigns that make blanket offers to a huge audience that may or may not be willing to drive hours to visit your store.

  • Local advertising that integrates social media, such as in-store digital signage with a social media feed, allows store owners to engage people in real-time. Digital signage also eliminates the need for flyers, which take time and money to update.
  • Local advertising offer a smaller but more targeted audience, compared to nationally distributed ads.

Examples of Local Advertising


  • Sponsor a local sports team: In exchange of giving them funds for their uniform or gear, the local basketball or baseball team (whatever sport, really) in your neighborhood will sport your brand’s logo.
  • Advertise in digital signage networks with installations in your town. For instance, a restaurant can have signage ads showing in a nearby hospital, or golf club. That way, you’ll be top-of-mind when potential customers are done with their errands and looking for a place to eat.
  • Join the local chamber of commerce in your city. Network with other business owners and potential customers. Events like this are usually give and take, and don’t turn up immediate leads, but its’ a good way to get the word out in your community.

Would You Go Local?

What do you think? Would your business be better served with online advertising, national advertising or local advertising?

5 Major Influencers of Healthcare Digital Signage Advertising in 2016

What has your marketing team accomplished for 2015? What did you learn?


2016 is here. And before you know it, you’re halfway through another year again. The actual passing of a year isn’t as life-stopping monumental as one might expect.

Your business rivals won’t stop. The healthcare needs of people don’t stop. The need to promote your services and get leads doesn’t stop. Even if healthcare marketing has a reputation for poor adaptability because of regulations and legal mumbo-jumbo, it’s still a non-stop, continuously evolving industry. It’s not immune to change. And that’s exactly what every year brings — change.

Changes to Anticipate in the US Healthcare Industry

  • Your Customers are Your Patients AND their Relatives

Before, a healthcare provider’s main responsibility is to his patients. Now, it has widened to include the patient’s loved ones. And they also expect consumer-type of service similar to what you’d expect in the retail and tourism industry. For a healthcare facility to thrive, they need to provide good customer service, educate patients, have excellent facilities, and top-notch doctors — on top of helping patients get better.

For advertisers, this means ramping up ads with educational content. Not just promotional fluff. Creating a digital signage ad for a vitamin? That ad better explain why the body needs that vitamin and what it’s made of, otherwise your audience will just see it as nonsensical promotional stuff. You can’t convince people based on hype alone.

  • Health Literacy is a Top Priority

More and more businesses in the health sector are realizing the benefits of educating their customers. Before, customers would only search for insurance quotes when they were  about to get one. Now, they’re also interested in how-to content about policy types, premium rates, and other health-related information.

With health and life insurance providers, providing more educational content in the form of  brochures, digital signage ads, and online videos, help improve cost savings, drive up enrollment rates, and best of all — improve the policyholder’s health.

  • More Advertising Dollars Spent in Digital Advertising and Digital Signage in 2016

According to eMarketer, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies will invest $1.81 billion in digital media advertising in 2016. They expect both industries to continue the upward trending spend until 2019, when projected spending is at $2.55 billion.

  • Customized Ads Might be the Norm

Yes, dynamic ads are all the rage now. Come 2016, ads might be customized based on user’s behavior because of the sophisticated eye-tracking tools some digital signage screens now have.  

  • Wearable Fitness, Possible Next Medium for Digital Signage

You see digital media advertising on tablets and big billboards. Soon, it’s going to be delivered to the fitness bracelet you’re wearing. It’s unnerving but amazing at the same time. Yes, the number of eyeballs seeing your digital ads will definitely increase, but will it also increase the leads you get? Only time can tell.

Whatever Technology Brings, Online Reputation Still Matters

Word-of-mouth marketing is still your business’s best source for leads, especially in the healthcare sector. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself, would you trust a doctor on your first visit unless he was recommended by a friend? Why do moms continuously ask their friends for pedia recommendations?
How’s 2016 treating you so far? Is your digital media advertising strategy all planned out and ready to go?