Sara: Hello and welcome to Love My Provider TV. For those of you who haven’t watched before, we are a weekly YouTube channel and Roku channel that talks about amazing service providers within the autism and special needs community. So today, I want to talk about something that is really an issue that I hear a lot about as the founder of Love My Provider, which is essentially an Angie’s list-type service for families. We list a lot of providers on our website as a way for families to find the most up-to-date information about that provider. And a lot of questions I get are about marketing. So today, I have with me one of the experts of marketing in our fields, Andy Mullins who is the Director of Marketing from Trumpet Behavioral Health and I’m really excited to have him here to ask him some really pressing questions that I get from a lot of providers on the website and I’m hoping he can help guide some of you, and give you suggestions about what to do. So without further ado, here’s Andy. And Andy, can you just start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. Well, first and foremost Sara, I want to thank both Love My Provider and Autism Live for giving me the opportunity to come on and talk a little bit about marketing and storytelling and branding and some of the things that are really critical components of what we do in the autism therapy industry. So I appreciate the opportunity to do that. So as Sara mentioned my name is Andy Mullins. I’m the Marketing Manager with Trumpet Behavioral Health. Trumpet Behavioral Health is an ABA therapy provider that offers services in centers, in homes, in schools, and in communities. We currently operate 32 locations in 10 different states and we’re continuing to grow to meet the need of the individuals being diagnosed with ASD every day. I came from a background of interventional cardiology and so I’ve always done marketing, and branding, communications but was really interested in the autism field.
I have a sister who’s on the spectrum and so when I saw this opportunity, it was near and dear to my heart and it felt like an industry that had a lot of room to grow and a lot to offer somebody who’s coming fresh into the marketing realm. So I’ve been with Trumpet Behavioral Health for just over two years, and just loving every minute of it. Like I said, the industry continues to grow and the opportunities for getting our message out seem to be endless.
Sara: Thanks, Andy. That was really great, and many of us watching have heard of Trumpet and have really liked seeing what you guys are doing and leading the way in ethical autism treatment. So it’s really wonderful to see. The first question I have for you is, there are so many channels out there to get the word out about your services, how do you choose? There’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, email marketing. Can you walk me through some of the go-to places that you’re dealing with daily from a marketing perspective?
Andy: Sure, absolutely. So as I alluded to, from Trumpet Behavioral Health’s perspective, we have 32 locations and we’re continuing to grow, and so for the purposes of this meeting or this webinar, I’ll really take a twofold. One is events or what I like to call guerilla marketing and the second would be digital. And so as I said, the opportunities in the marketing world are just endless. There’s so many things we have available at our fingertips to help us get our message out. But it’s really about figuring out what works best for your organization. And so I’ll start off with digital actually. We have been very successful in getting our message across the families and reaching families through social media, right? Social media has grown leaps and bounds over the last 5 to 10 years and mainly we focus on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. YouTube can be a little more difficult because video development takes a lot more time and investment of resources. But really, those are the four main channels that we’ve seen a lot of success with, and we really like using those because they give us this opportunity to have again, that direct one-to-one engagement and conversation with our families, so that we can not only externally tell people about what it is we do, and why we think we’re great at what we do, but it gives us the opportunity to listen and to take that feedback and then to incorporate that into what we’re doing.
The second component of that, as I said, was what I referred to as guerilla marketing and so that’s kind of pounding the pavement, getting out in the community, doing events, doing sponsorships, figuring out ways that we can interact face-to-face with families. And there’s a whole bunch of different things we do in the community to accomplish that. It really kind of various region by region where we invest both our employee resources and our monetary resources but those are the two ways that we really get the message out, and if I added on a third, I would just say within the digital realm, there’s a lot of opportunities for search engine optimization, and so making sure that you have a really solid digital presence, and that that presence brings you up in the top of the search results so that people who are trying to find your services, don’t have to look far, right? It’s right there waiting for them.
Sara: That’s great and they’re all . . . those are all very simple strategies but when you put them together, they sound a little overwhelming. So for those of you listening who maybe run a smaller agency, I would… just starting with one channel, maybe pick Facebook, or pick Twitter, something that you feel comfortable with and start there. And a really great way to also get your web presence there is to make sure that you’re listed on Love My Provider because we have a really strong search engine optimization presence. So if someone searches for Trumpet Behavioral Health for example, our listing will come up and they can then find more information about all the different Trumpet offices. But talking about those different social media channels Andy, I’m curious, how do you decide which content to put out? So I know that I see a lot of discussions out there about do we share links about emerging treatments? Do we share links about other providers that are doing great things? How do you determine what content you’re sharing, what content you’re not sharing, and then what’s our responsibility as Behavioral Health Providers of when we’re sharing content, what does that say about us? Can you talk a little bit about how you make those decisions?
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. And so as you alluded to, the opportunities to share content are really endless. Right? Going back to that unlimited opportunities. And so the first thing, at least the most important aspect from Trumpet Behavioral Health and from my role at Trumpet Behavioral Health is that everything we share is based on evidence. Right? And so everything has scientific research behind it.
Sara: Music to our ears, we love hearing that.
Andy: Absolutely. And so one of the things that I always look for is both resources that can go to families that not only help them just choose evidence-based services but that help them differentiate between evidence-based and non-evidence-based. And I want to give a plug here to the Association for Science and Autism Treatment or ASAT. Their website is asatonline.org. They are a fantastic resource. We pull a lot of information from them and share that externally, just to help families again, make those decisions. So there’s a couple of different aspects that I look at when I’m thinking about content.
The first for us is obviously that it’s evidence-based, but the second is that it’s geographically relevant. And so we operate in 10 different states and so what matters to people in Carlifornia might not be as important to people in Chicago or Ohio, or Phoenix for that matter. So we really . . . we use some different content tracking software to help us determine what message resonates best with those particular geographic audiences.
The second . . . the third I’m sorry, is that our content has to be resourceful. So sometimes we share just fun things or enlightening things, or we just tell people have a great weekend but at the end of the day, we want to both position ourselves as clinical experts because those are the people that we hire, and we want to be resourceful. We want families to come to us to help them solve a problem.
And last is that we really love to feature our own ABA super heroes. So we strive to hire and retain the best team members possible and we want to tout those people. They’re out in the field, they’re doing the work, they’re improving people’s lives and we just love to shout them out.
Sara: I love all of that and like I said, I’m a BCBA but I have always loved marketing and that kind of business development component of working in an agency, and I’ve always said there are three things you want to do when you’re on social media or sending a message to your customers which is you want to inspire people, you want to make them laugh, or you want to educate them. And those are the three that you just said and I think that’s a wonderful message that you’re saying. And then, you also mention a fourth one which sometimes I forget about probably because you guys have such an extensive team, but it’s also sharing the personal component of who you are and what your family . . . what your Trumpet family looks like. So I love that approach. I think it’s great.
Another question I have for you and this is again. something that I really get a lot of questions about, which is how to deal with testimonials and reviews. Love My Provider is a website that has parents on there who leave reviews for providers. And I’ve gotten questions time and time again of, “Is it okay to list my website on Love My Provider?” Or, excuse me, “my business on Love My Provider? Is that like asking them to leave a review?” I’m going to get into my thoughts on it first, but I’m curious Andy, how do you deal with your web presence on Yelp, on Love My Provider, on those other review type websites that aren’t asking people to leave a review but it could be implied that by having your presence there, you are leaving a review.
Andy: That’s a great question. So as I mentioned earlier, I come from a background in interventional cardiology where we use testimonials all the time because we had some really great clinical outcomes from the hospital that I worked with. So it was a big transition for me when I came into the world of Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Therapy where we didn’t do those type of things. And so the core for me and the core for Trumpet Behavioral Health is that clients come first, right? Clients always come first and we need to be constantly thinking about that in everything we do. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, which is obviously our overarching body, tells us that testimonials makes families vulnerable to undue influence and we don’t want that.
We want what’s best for the client, what’s best for the family and we don’t want to negatively influence them in any way. So getting back to your question about just having this kind of platform where testimonials are available, it’s kind of twofold. One is, we talked a little bit about digital marketing and having your name, and your profile, and your company listed on sites like Love My Provider, and Yelp, and all the other ones that exist, I think just really serves to help give you a better online presence. So regardless of whether you have that online presence or you create that profile, families are still going to have an opinion about you, and families are still going to tell other families how their experience has been with you, and they might still go on and add you as an organization even if you don’t have an intentional presence there, and then review anyway.
So from my perspective, we don’t ever, ever try to influence people to give us a review. What we want is to provide the best level of clinical services possible, and then we want families to go out and tell that story for us because that’s what we are here for. And that’s somewhat of the business model that Trumpet is built on, is that if we provide the absolute highest level of clinical service, our story will tell itself.
Sara: Yeah, and I actually heard your Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Linda LeBlanc speak at CalABA this year and she touched on a lot of those points of the internal clinical auditing that’s occurring and this system where you’re really trying to ensure you’re providing the best services. And I think you would probably agree that if you provide quality service, the rest will follow. So I love everything you said about that and I actually polled… I really enjoy… before I get into, I really enjoy watching the psychology field because the BCBA is such a young field and it’s really interesting to look at the APA. and see, okay what are their policies? It’s almost like a look into the future to see what our field is going to look like in 10, 15, 20 years.
So after consulting with our advisory board, we actually decided because I’ve been reading a lot of these clinical psychologist blogs, on the Yelp dilemma, what do you do about Yelp, we ended up adding this disclaimer to our website as a way to make sure parents feel comfortable with what’s going on there. Kelby [SP], our producer, is going to pull up that text in a second. But it really just says that a lot of providers that are on the website follow an ethics code and that ethics code could be the APA code or the BACB code that says that you are not allowed to solicit testimonials. And so we wrote on the website, as a parent, you should be aware that a provider that has their listing on my provider is in no way soliciting a review from you. And so we have that available for parents so that they know that that’s not the case but that if they choose to leave a review, they’re welcome to do so. So for the providers out there that are on Love My Provider, I urge you not to ask your families to leave reviews. We sometimes get providers who do that unknowingly and what we say is, use Love My Provider as a way to really show your families the most accurate information available to you. Update your languages, update the specialties, update the age groups you work with, the funding sources you work with, add photos or videos if you have them, but please don’t ask to solicit reviews.
So that being said, my last question for you is, how would you determine what your brand is at Trumpet? I know you talked about quality, and one thing that we talked about, you can really use testimonials or your families to really vouch for you. But one thing you can do is use your clinical leadership as a way to shape the message you’re sending. So can you talk a little bit about how you’ve done that and what it looks like, and maybe some suggestions for how some other agencies can do the same thing?
Andy: Sure, absolutely. Well, as you and I have talked a little bit about before, we’ve thrown the word marketing around in this conversation a couple times so far. And I think marketing as a philosophy is a really great way to envision getting your message out. But really it’s not marketing, it’s storytelling. It’s living out our brand and how we communicate our brand to the people that are interested or in need of our services. So from my perspective, clinical leadership is our brand. It is our message and you mentioned Dr. Linda LeBlanc. Dr. Linda LeBlanc is a fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. She’s a licensed psychologist. She is the clinical leader of our organization. And she is our brand, she and all the people that work underneath her and that are continuing to constantly pursue clinical excellence and expand their professional development, and increase their credentials. There are just all these wonderful things happening from that perspective.
And so our mission is maximizing the potential of the clients we serve. And I think that we live that out every day and that is our brand. Our message is really telling how we do that. One of the ways in which we do that is our five core values. So Trumpet was founded on these five core values. Everything we do in our day-to-day work is around these core values, and we talk about it. We talk about it in our meetings, in our roundtables, we talk about it with each other one-on-one. What are we doing and how does it relate back to those core values, an those core values are our clients first, integrity, excellence, teamwork, and fun. And I won’t go into the individual descriptions that we have for each of those but I think that in helping communicate our brand, we’re always tying back to the fact that what we do puts the client first, and that we’re always trying to just make their lives better.
And so there’s a lot of different communications that go on around that, but that’s really the central theme is clinical leadership and the constant pursuit of excellence and being better at what we do. And so when people are trying to determine what their message should be, or what they should share, or how they should formulate their brand, I would just try and think in those terms, like what is it that makes you, as a clinical provider, distinct? Is it an approach you take, is it a philosophy that led you to pursue applied behavior analysis or the individual type of therapy that you provide? What is it that really motivated you to get to where you’re at? And now that you’re there, what is it that motivates you to get to that next level, to improve your client’s lives? That’s the best advice I can give. And when it comes down to marketing ethically, I think there’s really three things I think of and one is a theme that I keep reiterating throughout this conversation, it’s to keep your consumers first. Keep their well-being at the center of everything you do.
The second would be to keep your consumer families in the loop, to make sure that they’re involved in their loved ones treatment and their goals and their progress. And the third would be just to maintain an open line of communication to address concerns and garner feedback. So you want to know what you’re doing well, and you want to know where you have room to improvement. And if you do all of those things, your brand will come together and the story will tell itself.
Sara: Thanks, Andy. That was great and I loved your perspective on it. I’ve said time and time again that I really feel like there’s no such thing as competition in our industry because at the end of the day, we’re all trying to help the same people. And it really means a lot that you have come on to try and help some of your peer organizations market in a way that’s ethical because we see a lot of unethical marketing going on, and in a way that really puts their consumers first and puts our field forward in a really great light. So for those of you who have never heard of Trumpet before, feel free to check them out on Love My Provider. They have offices all over. And if you look in the link below, you’ll see I’ve included their LinkedIn, their Twitter, their Facebook, all their social channels. And Andy, if there’s anything else you want to add, if anyone wants to contact you with questions, what’s the best way to do that?
Andy: They can call me directly. My direct line is (see video for phone number). I’ll be happy to have a conversation with you. The alternative to that and probably the better way to get in touch with me would be to email Marketing [at] TBH [dot] com. That comes directly to me and I’m very attentive to email so happy to ignite a conversation on that channel as well.
Sara: Perfect. Thank you so much, Andy, and we hope to have you on the show again sometime soon. For those of you watching, stay tuned for some other videos that we’re going to be having coming up in the next couple weeks. Thanks.