Hearing practices have long relied on traditional routes of advertising, such as direct mail, print media, broadcast media, and patient referrals. These methods certainly still hold some ground, but are proving to be far less effective in the digital age.
Considering that more people than ever are researching health providers online before deciding who to pursue for care, this should come as no surprise. Even patient referrals seem to get the famed “Google screen” before a call is placed. Just consider what you do when a friend recommends something for you—a movie, a pair of shoes, anything really. Do you go out and buy it straight away, or do you look it up online to check if your friend’s judgment is up to par with yours? It turns out, most people do the latter, and selecting a hearing healthcare provider is no different.
Truth be told: your practice needs a sound digital marketing strategy to reach this rising tide of potential patients online. The digital landscape is a competitive one, and online marketing is the tool that can set you apart. But that’s not the end of it. Marketing your practice online is as versatile as it is necessary, and there are actually several persuasive reasons to make it a significant part of your practice’s outreach. Let’s take a look at each of them.
That’s right: digital marketing hits the ball out of the park with your overall return on investment (ROI) when compared to the traditional routes of print ads, TV, and radio. This is simply the result of the sheer scalability of digital methods. It costs much less to purchase a bit of screen space (for a Google Ad, for instance) that can potentially reach tens of thousands of targeted Internet users than it would cost to print an actual ad for physical distribution. Moreover, print ads and mailers are much less able to be targeted to prospective patients in need of your services. More on this topic in the next point, but suffice it to say that digital marketing will definitely offer you the best cost performance across the board.
The Internet has opened up a world of targeted marketing opportunities that advertisers in years past could only dream about. The amount of information collected from individuals online is vast, and digital marketers have been quick to use it for reaching the right sets of eyes for their various campaigns.
Have you ever noticed those ads that reflect something you’ve recently researched online, but show up on an entirely different site, even days later? Those are the result of information gathered about your browsing behavior (collected by “cookies,” or pieces of browser data). This valuable information enables you to get your practice in front of people who are online looking for services like yours. The amount of targeting you can do is seemingly endless, giving you options to tailor everything from words being searched to the location of the Internet user.
Unlike the weeks it takes to see any results from traditional marketing routes, digital marketing methods are instantly active and measurable. For either route, the ad design requires some upfront time, but since running an ad is so much cheaper with digital marketing, narrowing in on the perfect pitch tends to be a faster process. In fact, it’s common for digital marketing campaigns to include several different ads to “live test” which angle is the most effective, providing important market feedback. This would be too cost prohibitive with traditional routes, which require more research and analysis before selecting the final ad for distribution.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of digital marketing is in the aftermath of any given marketing campaign. When finished with a targeted digital ad—be it anything from an online visual ad, top placement in the search results, to a concentrated investment in your website’s search engine optimization (SEO)—you will end up with multiple streams of data about the online users who clicked on your ads, the pages on your website which are most attractive, the keywords or visual elements of your ad that proved most effective, and so on. This information will shape your future ad campaigns, helping you refine your approach to meet what your local market is responsive to. This element of data review has been sorely lacking with traditional routes of advertising and provides a welcome advancement for businesses small and large.
The numbers of online users are vast—even when you’re only looking to target prospective patients in your local area. This is because much of a strong digital marketing strategy involves creating valuable content, such as an informative article or blog post. Referred to as content marketing, it’s a significant way to attract attention to your website and practice. It also provides your visitors with content they can share via social media to their own networks—in other words, free marketing for you.
But the real beauty of content marketing is that those articles or posts never die. They exist in the online sphere indefinitely, continuing to draw new visitors to your website—especially when the content is strategically crafted (something we talk in more depth about here and here). Content marketing reveals endless possibilities for creating an online presence since there’s no end to the number of people—now and later—who could benefit from the information you share. Reliable, interesting, and helpful content on your website speaks persuasive volumes about your practice, and is one branch of digital marketing that should never be underestimated.
As you look ahead at this fresh new year, don’t miss the opportunity that digital marketing holds for your practice. You can get as deep into it as you want or have time for, and like everything else, your results are proportional to your level of commitment. If your practice is ready to harness these powerful tools, contact us to learn more about your many options for professional assistance.