Inbound marketing and outbound marketing share the same goals, but quickly part ways thereafter. Outbound marketing, including its traditional routes like TV ads, print ads in magazines and newspapers, radio ads, and mailers, does exactly what it sounds like it does: it reaches out to potential patients to inform them about your services or a special offer you have.
While there’s nothing specifically wrong with an outbound marketing approach, it is no longer the leader in conversions. People have changed the way they shop for goods and services, and they certainly aren’t relying on advertisements on the radio or newspaper to find out what’s available.
Outbound marketing is a tactic of scale – the more people you can reach, the better your return will be. At its best, it’s letting the right people know about a great offer or service a the right time. At its worst, it pushes unwanted and intrusive ads onto people who weren’t interested in the first place.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, naturally targets those who are expressly interested in what you have to offer. The foundation of inbound marketing is helpful information, otherwise referred to as “great content.” By creating and sharing freely useful and highly-targeted content (typically through a newsletter, blog, or social media platform), you attract people interested in your topics and perspective to your website, social profiles, and email list.
Imagine this: you write a long article, or even an e-book, on how to navigate the endless array of hearing aid models currently available. Maybe you even go a step further and hire a graphic designer to put together an attractive infographic to summarize the topic. People find value in the work you put into it, share it to their own networks, and begin to pay more attention to your articles in general. They follow you on Facebook and even subscribe to your monthly e-newsletter. By simply creating useful content geared specifically to those interested in or in need of your services, you can cultivate a tailored audience of people to share special offers with or, to simply remind them of your products and services.
You see, outbound marketing’s greatest weakness is its reliance on cold leads. Sure, you could place print ads in a local Senior Living publication and, at best, call them “lukewarm,” but the truth is, you don’t know what that readership needs. You wouldn’t know if your ads are only going to be seen by people who already have hearing aids, or who aren’t looking for them at all.
Where outbound marketing is weak, inbound marketing is strong (very strong). It allows you to target the specific type of people you want simply by choosing the appropriate topics for your content. And when you aim that content to location-specific online channels (i.e. promoting your content on social media and location-targeting your audience, building a locally-oriented email newsletter list, etc.), your leads are as hot as they come. They’re basically knocking on your door saying, “We like what you’re doing and we want more.”
But creating hot leads is only where inbound marketing begins. Take a look at what else it offers your business as an effective marketing strategy:
Unites Sales and Marketing
Most businesses tend to either have separate sales and marketing branches or, if a small business, wear entirely different hats when engaging in either. While this makes sense from an operations perspective (as they’re two distinct steps in your sales process), it often creates a gap that prospects can fall through before fully converting.
In fact, marketing research tells us that “Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate, and companies with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline.” The prevailing theory behind these findings is that consistency in your brand’s messaging in both marketing and sales is key to prospect acquisition and conversion.
In hearing practices, often the person involved with selling hearing aids or delivering hearing services is the same person handling the marketing decisions. Inbound marketing asks that person to be in charge of the content creation that effectively is the practice’s ad content. Instead of hiring out to produce sleek graphic ads for a mailer or print ad, you would be the one drawing on your own extensive knowledge about what patients want to know about before purchasing services and goods from you. When you write about those topics (or create videos on them), you’re aligning sales and marketing within your practice, and chances are, you won’t regret it.
Increases Your Credibility
One of the strongest shifts we’ve seen in consumer behavior over the past few decades has been an increasing distrust of old school marketing tactics. Current trends show people are more apt to turn to online reviews to learn about a local provider, for instance, than to simply trust that the favorable radio ad they hear is all there is to know.
Inbound marketing allows prospective patients to get to know you first and, as you consistently deliver useful information to them, increasingly trust you as an authority on topics related to hearing health. In a way, this approach to getting the word out about your services is akin to a free consultation. While your content can’t give specific feedback to a potential patient, it does let them know about your specialties, approach, and even your personality. The people who appreciate your content stay connected with you and are precisely the people you want to see your offers when they arise.
Boosts Your Visibility Online
These days, your hearing practice needs a strong online marketing approach to gaining new patients. Increasing numbers of people are going online to research local providers before calling or visiting them, and you want them to find you during those searches. Inbound marketing is an essential part of your overall digital marketing strategy, as it offers a significant boost to your website’s visibility online.
Posting useful articles and videos on your website, and sharing them across your social networks, is the first step of this visibility boost. It draws in attention, and perhaps even gets you a few shares on other people’s social networks. But more important than that is the effect that your keyword rich content has on your website’s ranking in search results. With the top 5 search results on Google getting at least 75% of online traffic, paying attention to your ranking for hearing health related searches is critical to make your online presence worth its cost and effort.
In short, because inbound marketing involves the creation of search engine optimized (SEO) content and a social strategy to amplify it, it offers a better shot at getting found by people looking online for your specific services.
Combine all of these benefits with inbound marketing’s impressive conversion rates and return on investment (ROI), and you’ve got all of the reasons you could ask for to see why it’s a worthwhile strategy for your practice. You know you need to be online, and you have an immense amount of helpful information to share, so why not leverage it to create a successful inbound marketing approach?
If you’re ready to take your online presence to the next level and get found easily online by more patients, consider how we can help. Our 20+ years in the hearing industry and proven digital marketing expertise can make your path to a steady flow of new patients easier and much, much faster. Contact us to learn more.