Marketing can be a daunting task, especially when you are marketing in an industry with an aging population. As a practice owner, not only do you have to worry about giving your patients the best care, but you also have to worry about growing your practice. You need marketing strategies that work but with so many to choose from, it's tough to decide where to start. That’s why we put together this list of top marketing strategies for audiologists, including hearing aid marketing ideas - all designed to help grow your business!
Before we begin, it's important to note that a lot of the strategies in this blog are founded on the basics of digital marketing. We wrote an entire blog on the 5 Pillars of Online Marketing so if you're new to marketing and want to learn more about the foundational things every business needs to do, this is for you.
Whether you're starting a brand new website, or refreshing your current one, it should be something you're proud of. In marketing, first impressions are everything and your website is often the first experience a potential patient or client has with you.
As a bonus, your website can act as a way to schedule appointments. With Telehealth and virtual care becoming more and more popular, most patients don't want to pick up the phone and call to schedule. With a patient population already having difficulty hearing, any opportunity to schedule an appointment online without having to speak on the phone will set you apart from your competition.
Once you have your website, make sure it’s optimized for search engines! You want people who have never heard of you before to see that new site on their Google searches.
If you're in a smaller market, oftentimes, just creating a website with great content and services pages can help you rank locally. An SEO Agency will likely create service pages with keywords like, "Audiologist in (insert your town here)" so that whenever someone asks something similar, you'll show up on the first page. The important thing now is to make sure Google knows what people are looking for when they type in certain keywords into their search bar.
Great SEO optimization can help you get patients month after month without having to continuously spend money on advertising. While SEO upkeep is important, it's a lot cheaper than spending thousands of dollars a month on advertising.
Social media is another great way to grow your practice and build your brand. While your website is a great landing spot for potential patients, it's not something you can update every day.
Social media will give your current and future patients an inside look at how your practice operates and your bedside manner. It's also a great opportunity to educate your patients so they know what to expect when they come into your practice.
Social media also builds trust. As you probably already know, people can be ashamed and hesitant to come in for hearing aids or a hearing loss issue. Social media can help you show potential patients that hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of. With the right storytelling, you can show how empowering coming into your practice can be.
Social media isn't the only thing that can build trust, getting more reviews and referrals can be a huge help. Study after study has proven that customers listen to their peers more than any other form of marketing.
Asking happy patients to provide a video or written testimonial can provide spectacular marketing material. Doctors can use happy patient testimonials for years to come and the return on investment can be huge.
Referral marketing is also a great way to build your business. You can do this by utilizing things like patient portals, or email marketing campaigns that encourage patients to refer their friends and family members who might need hearing help!
After all, we tend to hang out with people we are similar to. That means your elderly patient population is most likely around potential patients who need your help every day.
If you'd like to dramatically increase your patient population, or you're looking for a quick solution, digital advertising can be a great option.
Digital advertising can be used in various forms including Google Search, Social Media, Display, Retargeting website visitors, and even Yelp and Bing.
The best part about Digital Advertising is that it's scalable. When you are able to run an advertising campaign that gets a patient in your door at a return on investment that works for you - you can increase the budget until you can't take any more patients. Campaigns are also relatively easy to slow down and ramp up so you can control your patient flow.
While the world is becoming increasingly digital, direct mail and print advertising is still a great way to get in front of the eyes of your patient population. Especially with an aging population that needs hearing aids, direct mail, newspaper ads, and other forms of print advertising can put you right where you need to be.
Email and Text Messaging can be a great way to keep your patients coming back for regular checkups.
Email marketing is great for creating long-term relationships with patients who have been in your practice for a while or need to come back at regularly scheduled times. A simple monthly newsletter can remind patients that it's time to come back and it is relatively cheap to do.
Text message marketing has become increasingly popular within the last couple of years. Especially with a population that doesn't hear well, text message marketing can make a huge impact. Whether it's appointment reminders, sending links to reschedule for missed appointments, or giving leads an extra push, text messaging is a great option.
While its text messaging may feel somewhat intrusive - studies show that consumers prefer receiving special offers, discounts or even having salespeople reach out via text message rather than over the phone.
Whether it's a primary care physician or an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT), getting referrals can be a huge patient driver. After all, their primary care physician or ENT is likely the first provider to identify a problem.
You can go about building these relationships in a couple of different ways.
As a specialist, you know that you can't treat every ailment that your patients have. Being able to provide recommendations for your patients not only builds trust with your patients, but you can also ensure that they're getting their needs met.
However, just like you wouldn't send your patients to a doctor you have never met before, you'll want to build your network of doctors. Whether it's taking a doctor out for dinner and getting to know each other, or simply giving them a call and expressing interest, you need to do some networking.
After you do your networking, you can go one step further and provide marketing materials that the PCP or ENT can give to their patients.
The key here is making sure all marketing materials are clear on why the patient needs help from an audiologist and building trust that you're their best option. It can take a huge burden off the doctor from having to be a salesperson and it also gives you a peace of mind that your message is always being delivered.
As you can tell, a majority of our marketing strategies for audiologists are centered on education.
Hearing loss is often something people pay attention to when it affects them. Whether it's the stigma around hearing loss or it simply not being on the radar, people often start looking for more information when it becomes an issue.
This means that if you can provide peace of mind, education, and a place for someone to get their questions answered, you're in a great position to build trust.
Whether it's through social media, your website, or going out into the community, being a source of truth for information is a great marketing strategy.
As we have discussed previously in this article, there can be a stigma and shame around hearing loss. While some patients may come to you as soon as they suspect an issue, a majority of patients may need a little push.
Using Google Ads will allow you to target specific keywords that patients in your area are searching for. That means you can put your advertising budget towards specific searches that show buying intent rather than initial research.
For example, "Hearing aids near me" and "hearing loss help near me" will send people to your website who are ready to purchase hearing aids or see a professional for help.
Alternatively, "Hearing test" may get you some patients, but these individuals are at the beginning of their journey and may decrease your return on investment.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, going after individuals who don't realize they have a hearing problem, or have just recently started losing their hearing can increase your audience.
Using social media, your website, and content that discusses the signs of hearing loss and things to look out for can be a great first step. You'll build trust with an audience that is just starting their journey, which means they could be your patient for many years to come.
Simply creating content that shows how discrete a hearing aid can be or the potential freedom a hearing aid provides may be just what a patient needs to schedule an appointment.
Sometimes, patients simply want the cheapest option or are looking for hearing aid pricing. Building a web page that allows users to request more information can help you get more emails to send promotions to.
Offering discounts or free batteries in return for patient referrals can also be successful. Patients are much more likely to spend time talking to peers about their experience if they know there is something in it for them.
If you're interested in growing your business, you may want to consider a digital marketing audit to help determine your strengths and weaknesses.