Perhaps you still remember that day you first opened your office doors. Looking at those empty rooms was like looking at a blank canvas. And like the rest of us, your mind took off with all of the possibilities. You had finally reached a pivotal moment in your journey towards helping people hear better and now all you had to do was set up shop and wait for your future patients to walk on in.
And maybe they did. The most proactive amongst us had been building up a strong network of referrals before opening their own practices. Others worked on building a local reputation throughout the setup stage, but either way, the playing field eventually evened out for all of us. Fast forward a few years (or a few decades) into running our practices and it’s not uncommon to encounter a plateau of new patient inquiries.
As professionals eager to serve the needs of aging adults, this plateau is a lose-lose situation. So many of our potential patients remain unaware of the many options waiting to help them improve their lives through better hearing. In order to offer effective hearing solutions to this population in need, we must first get them through the front door — be it our physical or our digital one.
It’s no secret that the landscape for promoting our practices has changed dramatically over the past decade. Physical mailers have largely been replaced by targeted emails, newspaper ads by Google Adwords. This trend is in response to the rapidly increasing numbers of people going online to research everything from the latest movie reviews to, yep, their hearing complaints and the local professionals who can help them.
Despite some lingering doubts about how active Baby Boomers are online, consider that about 82% of them regularly spend time on Facebook. More broadly, a Pew Study found that 47% of Internet users search for information about doctors or other health professionals online before pursuing local services. And that was in 2013!
It’s hard to deny that the Internet is the new frontier for marketing our practices, and those of us who are still using techniques from even just 5 years ago are making a costly mistake. This new frontier evolves as rapidly as it transfers huge swaths of data across the planet. To navigate its shifting terrain, we need to build our digital marketing approach on strategies that evolve with it.
In many ways, taking a fresh look at your digital marketing plan is a lot like looking at that empty office you first walked into. The canvas is blank and the possibilities are larger than ever. For the first time in history, a hearing professional in Arkansas, for instance, can relatively quickly establish herself as an authority in the field, offer valuable information and advice to anyone (anywhere), and attract a consistent stream of local patients to her physical office. She can do this by making some important decisions about how she markets her practice’s website online.
Notice that the key phrase here is her practice’s website. Marketing online involves various strategies to bring people to your digital front door: your website. While many hearing practices recognized the need for creating a website years ago, far fewer have realized how important it is to ensure that their website is readily visible to anyone looking for similar services or topics online. When this critical step is overlooked, even the most beautifully designed websites are effectively invisible, and well, useless.
A successful digital marketing strategy for promoting your website online begins from the ground up. It involves a website designed with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind — meaning that the website will be configured to show up higher in search results for related search queries. It means that images, pages, content, and website structure are all optimized for the best ranking by search engines, like Google. From this foundation, several simple and advanced techniques outside of your practice’s website can then coalesce to promote your services and knowledge to a wider audience online.
It’s important to remember that the more eyes looking at your website, the better. Even though you may draw in avid readers of your blog who are too far to make you their primary hearing care provider, their activity on your website significantly helps boost your website’s ranking in search results. This is one way to naturally boost your website’s visibility to any local potential patients searching online for things like “hearing aid provider,” or other phrases related to your services.
The world of digital marketing is nearly as vast and complex as the Internet itself. It’s why people pursue complete degrees in the subject and it will only continue to grow in sophistication and targeted effectiveness. As a hearing healthcare professional, your task is to provide complete hearing care to those in need, not to become an expert in digital marketing. But in order to reach the largest number of potential patients, you do need to make smart decisions for your practice’s digital marketing strategy.
As a leader in digital marketing solutions for the hearing healthcare industry, we understand the nuances of the populations you serve. It’s why we built all of our digital tools from scratch to specifically target the unique needs of today’s hearing practice. If you’re ready to see where the online frontier can take your practice, contact us today to learn more.