As the director of marketing for UroMed, Inc., Lisa Wells is armed with leadership experience in public relations, marketing communications and web-based product management at medical device and healthcare/human resources tech companies. She shares some of their most inspiring successes, including how the company helps thousands of people with disabilities.
What does UroMed do, and how do you use Emma to communicate with your audience?
Most of our customers have chronic conditions like Spinal Cord Injury, Spina Bifida, Multiple Sclerosis and Transverse Myelitis, or have recently undergone surgery for serious conditions like Prostate Cancer and are currently using catheters. UroMed is one of the nation's leading providers of urological and disposable medical supplies.
We began using Emma in January 2011 as a way to communicate more effectively with thousands of customers, as well as medical professionals and nonprofit organizations that help people with urological conditions. Our monthly newsletters employ a vibrant design and relevant, fresh content that caters to our readers.
Our founder, Bert Burns, became quadriplegic as a result of an automobile accident during his youth. His desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities led him to create a free motivational program for peer support and rehabilitation groups called Life After Spinal Cord Injury. Through email campaigns, we share a variety of helpful materials for our community, including information on LASCI events and resources.
As our visibility and outreach have increased through these campaigns, a variety of partners have aligned with us to further assist the wheelchair community. This summer, LASCI partnered with SPORTS 'N SPOKES magazine, published by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, to provide our peer support group on Facebook with a list of accessible programs, places and events, spotlighting one state per day across the country between July 15-August 15, 2011. Viewers can also post photos of related family vacations and weekend outings on the Facebook pages or in a photo gallery on the S'NS website for a chance to win a range of prizes.
We use Emma everyday to connect our customers and medical professionals with the online resources available at UroMed.com and LASCI's peer support community on Facebook. Regular visitors to the LASCI Facebook page come from as far away as England, New Zealand, South Africa and the Phillipines. For example, one lady in New Zealand uses content she finds on the LASCI group page to help inspire a peer support group that she leads for paraplegics and quadriplegics in her country.
What's your best advice to writing accessible, memorable emails?
- Write for your audience's benefit – not yours or your company's.
- Illustrate points with pictures the audience will relate to and click on for details.
- Use a personal tone – no one wants to read an email that sounds like you have a banana stuck in your tailpipe. Treat your customers like they're your friends, but not in terms of slang or being overly familiar. Do use layman's terms, and answer questions or problems they may have.
- Link, link, link and link some more. The more direct access you provide to customer relational touchpoints, the better.
What do you enjoy most about working with your team?
Many of UroMed's employees have a personal connection to understanding our customers' health needs, as 20% of our customer care associates either have a disability or have a family member with a disabling condition. Our company was started by four people more than 15 years ago, and three of them use wheelchairs. It's pretty hard to complain about your day when you know, firsthand, that your work helps serve your customers, your co-workers and your friends at the same time.
What events or milestones are your colleagues looking forward to this year?
In 2010, Life After Spinal Cord Injury helped more than 600 medical professionals, patients, former patients and family members with information, advice and encouragement. Thanks to the outreach tools provided by Emma and social media, LASCI has already quadrupled that number by July 2011, and our online peer support community has gone global! We are so excited about the impact this motivational program is having on the lives of people who use wheelchairs. The global awareness and accessibility of our resources is increasing tenfold because of the technology resources we've employed.
Want to find out more about UroMed?
+ Thanks to an Emma-powered press release, 11 Alive NBC News in Atlanta heard about their efforts. Check out their take on UroMed's community impact.
+ Join UroMed's support community on Facebook.
+ Visit their website to learn more about Bert's story.
Lisa will be presenting on the topic of social media at the 2011 HME News Business Summit on September 11 in Charlotte, NC.