Become a Google Partner

How to Become a Google Partner and Earn the Partner Badge

If you have used Google Ads to market your hearing practice, you might have heard of the Google Partner program. Today, we’re going to review what it means to be a Google Partner, how to become one, and how to earn the official Google Partner badge.
First, Google Partners is a program that Google developed for people who use Google Ads to market online. Once you become a Google Partner, you will receive access to resources like additional trainings, special events, and industry research. You can also earn the Google Partner badge, which shows that a member of your team has demonstrated skill and knowledge in using Google Ads and that your business has grown through Ads.
How to Sign Up for the Google Partners Program
Although it might sound rather elite, signing up for the Google Partners program is actually quite simple. Plus, the program is free. Here is how to join:

  • Visit the Google Partners website.
  • Click the tab that says “Join Google Partners,” and then click “Join Now.”
  • Sign in to your Google Ads account (if you are not already signed in). You will need Admin access on the manager account in order to sign up for Google Partners.
  • Read through the disclaimer and Terms of Service for the program. Then click “Accept and continue.”
  • Select the correct Google Ads manager account.
  • Enter your company name, website, and location.
  • Click “Save.”

That’s it! You will then be directed to the Partners section of your Google Ads account, where you will have access to all of the Google Partners features.
How to Earn the Google Partner Badge
There are two Google Partner badges: the Google Partner badge and the Premier Google Partner badge. Each one has its own requirements. This article will cover how to earn the Google Partner badge. Here is how to qualify:

  • Company performance:

You can meet the performance requirement by demonstrating solid overall ad revenue and growth, and by maintaining and growing your customer base. Google Partners will evaluate your account over 18 months to ensure that you have met the performance requirement. You must have spend activity on your account for at least 12 months to qualify.

  • Ad spend:

You must meet a 90-day minimum ad spend of $10,000 USD across your accounts.

  • Certification:

At least one member of your team must be certified in Google Ads.
Once you have qualified for the Partner badge, it can be displayed on your website and marketing materials.
You can easily check your Partner badge status by logging in to your Google Ads account. Once you are in your account, click on the “Partners program” tab, and then find the “Badge status” card. This will notify you whether your company has earned the Google Partner badge. Once you have earned your badge, this card will also display whether you are at risk of losing the badge.
Google has announced that the Partner badge requirements will be adjusted in 2021. You can see their article here for more information on the upcoming changes.
If you would like to learn more about the Google Partners program or how to earn the Partner badge, we invite you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we are here to answer your questions.

Boost in Online Hearing Services

New Study Foresees a Boost in Online Hearing Services

As the world continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that some things will simply never be the same again. Other things may return to what was previously considered normal, but it will take time. Social distancing of six feet is being enforced in stores, restaurants, offices, and other public places, and certain businesses are requiring temperature checks before admitting entrance as well.
While this means you may be able to return to your favorite restaurant soon (with new restrictions and guidelines in place), what does it mean for your hearing practice? Will everything go back to “normal”?
According to a survey conducted in April 2020, your practice may not go back to normal—but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The survey was conducted in Spain, with 782 persons from the Spanish audiology industry taking part. It was carried out during the height of the lockdown in Spain, from April 20-24, 2020.
First, the survey revealed that most practices had taken a big hit to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown restrictions. In hearing aid sales, 77 percent of practices claimed they saw a 100 percent reduction in turnover from device fittings. 52 percent reported a similar loss of business in accessory sales, and 45 percent said they had registered zero income from repairs during the time in question.
Because of the reduction in sales and income, many practices reported they had had to take measures in regards to their staff. 76 percent said they had taken measures that affected employees, and 40 percent planned on a reduction in their overall business budget. 26 percent reported that they expected to spend in order to announce the reopening of their practices.
However, the survey reported more than only the business losses suffered by these Spanish audiology practices. Almost half of the participants said they believed an upturn in sales would come in the fall, around September or October. 20 percent of respondents, on the other hand, believed they would have to wait until 2021 to see an increase.
As for returning to “normal” practices, 61 percent of participants reported that they expect their sales revenue to continue coming through traditional channels. In other words, they expect that they will continue to make income through in-office visits and in-person appointments. 34 percent of respondents, however, foresaw a “mixed model” of business, with both online and offline services.
Many hearing practices have adopted a service model that is focused more on online services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes virtual appointments, at which the hearing specialist and the patient meet online. As seen by the respondents to the survey in Spain, it is not expected that online services will cease once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Some patients may choose to continue virtual appointments, especially if they have health concerns and would prefer not to go to public spaces.
Because of this continuing shift to a mixture of online and offline services, it is essential that you are prepared to accommodate your clients, no matter how they prefer to meet with you. Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic are ready to help you easily make the shift to online hearing healthcare.
To learn more about the importance of offering online services at this time and how you can better meet the needs of your clients, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. We are eager to help you grow your business.

8 Things Your Audiology Website Needs Right Now

8 Things Your Audiology Website Needs Right Now

Simply having a website is a great step towards helping your audiology practice grow. Now that you have a website, you should consider exactly what you put on your site. Here are 8 things your audiology website needs right now:
Great content
People come to your website looking for answers. It’s as simple as that. Your content should provide the answers to the questions they have.
Remember that people’s questions will vary widely, so your content should be broad enough to answer many types of questions. Consider questions you are frequently asked in your office or via the phone, and answer those questions are your website. These might include questions relating to hearing topics (e.g., “What is a hearing aid”? “Do I need hearing aids?” “What is tinnitus?”, etc.), as well as those relating to your office (e.g., “What are your hours?” “Where are you located?” “What are your qualifications?”, etc.)
Telehealth
While many offices were already beginning to incorporate telehealth into their practice model, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns around the world have only highlighted the importance of telehealth.
Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic enable you to care for your patients without seeing them in your office. This can save time for your patients (and your staff, too) and can make it easier for patients to reach you.
Social media
Social media isn’t just for teenagers anymore! Businesses need a strong presence on social media as well. You should have a dedicated page for your audiology practice on all main social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. (You can branch out beyond these if you want to!)
Of course, it isn’t enough to simply create a social media page and abandon it. Patients (both existing and potential) want to see that you actually interact with your customers. Be sure to reply to any comments or questions that are left on your page, as well as reviews. It’s also important to post regularly so your practice is kept fresh in the minds of your patients.
Individualism
Unless you are located in a very small town, chances are there are multiple audiology practices in your area. This means that potential patients have a choice of whom they give their business too. In order to win their business, you need to stand out!
There are a few ways you can do this on your website. Include photos of your office and your team. Consider including biographies as well, so your patients can get to know your team before coming in. You might also want to showcase your practice philosophy online, which can highlight how you are different from the others. Positive reviews are another good way to feature what’s great about your practice and why patients should choose you.
Opportunities to sell
Although the optimal setting for selling a hearing aid might be at your office—once you have completed a hearing test and provided a professional consultation—you shouldn’t pass up on opportunities to sell on your website. This can be as simple as listing out (with images, too) the hearing aid tools available through your practice.
eCommerce can be powerful, too. This allows people to buy directly from your website rather than coming to your office.
Great imagery
The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is still true. Showcasing photos of your office and your team on your website can be a great way to help patients get to know you before they even step foot inside your practice. In addition, a website with eye-catching imagery is much more inviting to look at than one that’s only filled with 10 pt size type!
If possible, have some professional photos taken of your office. This can make a big difference in the quality of the photos and how they appear on your website. You can even have a “patient” (either a real patient or a family member of your staff) in the photos to highlight the level of care you provide.
Patient testimonials
You simply cannot go without patient testimonials on your website. One recent study found that 59.9% of patients chose their medical provider based on positive online reviews, and 60% said they have avoided a medical provider because of negative reviews.
Highlighting a few positive reviews on your website can do wonders for drawing new patients to your practice. If you don’t currently have any testimonials to showcase on your website, just ask your happy customers! Using a service like ReviewMe can also make it easy to continue gathering reviews.
Consistent branding
Have you ever visited a website for a business and wondered if that was actually their official website? You might not have been able to pinpoint the reason at the time, but your questioning was probably due to a lack of consistent branding.
The aim is to provide a consistent experience for your website visitors across your entire website—and the rest of your online presence as well, including your social media pages and any other online listings. This should include using the same logo and practice name. Make sure your office hours, phone number, and address are updated as well. You could even consider using colors on your website that are similar to the colors in your office for an especially consistent patient experience.
These 8 factors are essential to creating an audiology website that draws in new patients and helps your practice succeed. To learn more about how you can build your practice online, please contact us at AudiologyPlus. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we have the experience and expertise you need to grow your business.

Top 10 Marketing Ideas for Audiologists

Top 10 Marketing Ideas for Audiologists

The secret to success for a hearing practice is not a secret at all—you need loyal patients who love your practice. You know that you provide exceptional care and run a great office. However, in order for your practice to grow and thrive, you need other people to know that, too.
That’s where marketing comes in. To help your practice grow—no matter how big or small you are right now—we have the top 10 marketing ideas for audiologists:

  1. Referral Offers

One of your practice’s greatest assets is your patients! Word of mouth is a great way to bring new patients to your practice. So, why not give your existing patients (who already love your practice) an incentive to spread the good news?
A referral offer is a discount you offer to existing patients who refer a new patient to your office. In some cases, you give the new patient a discount as well; the details are up to you.
2. Reward Positive Reviews
In addition to word of mouth referrals, positive reviews are an excellent way to showcase how much your patients love your practice. When potential new patients research your office online, they will be able to see those positive reviews, which could influence them to choose your practice as their new audiologist.
Consider offering a reward to existing patients who submit a positive review. This could be a discount on their next appointment or a gift card to a favorite local restaurant. Submitting a review is very easy and takes little time on their part, especially if you use ReviewMe.
3. SEO and Local SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is critical to the success of any practice. SEO is what enables potential new patients to find your practice online. Local SEO is especially important for location-based businesses like audiology practices.
VisibilityBooster is a powerful tool for improving your website’s online presence and gaining valuable SEO traffic. With this tool, more people will find your practice, your website will rank higher in search engine results, and you will also be notified of new online reviews.
4. Fun Content
As an audiologist, content related to everything-audiology is probably of great interest. However, to put it frankly, audiology isn’t fascinating to everyone. That’s why it’s important to feature some fun content on your website, too.
One way to bring some fun to your website content is to make use of your blog. A blog allows you to add more personalized content that you can tailor to topics that are relevant at the time. Of course, you can still create blog posts about audiology-related topics, but they don’t all need to be about audiology. Consider creating blog posts about fun topics like office birthdays and celebrations, local events, practice milestones, and even your staff’s favorite recipes.
5. Video Tutorials
If you’ve been on Facebook lately, you might have noticed that more and more people are posting videos instead of written content. That’s because so many people prefer watching videos to reading lengthy posts.
Use that to your advantage! Create simple, easy-to-follow video tutorials for tasks that patients frequently inquire about. This may include how to insert a hearing aid battery, how to clean a hearing aid, etc.
6. Telehealth
In this day and age, having an alternative to in-person appointments is crucial. For many patients, telehealth virtual appointments are more cost-effective and use less of their time than driving to and from appointments at the office. Telehealth is also essential during times when health risks are high, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic allow you to provide personalized, quality care to your patients, no matter where they are. As long as they can connect with you via their computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can serve them.
7. Create Customer Campaigns
You already know that not all of your patients are the same. You have patients of different ages and genders, not to mention family demographics, financial backgrounds, and more. Because your patients are so unique, you should have customer campaigns that target these different “types” of patients.
For example, maybe you have certain marketing materials that are targeted towards seniors. These will differ from the marketing tactics you use to target the parents of deaf or hard-of-hearing children. You can also use different marketing platforms to reach varying audiences. Be sure to consider email, direct mail, social media, PPC, and other types of advertising.
8. PPC
Pay-per-click advertising is just what it sounds like: you pay each time someone clicks on your online ad. This can be a cost-effective way to advertise, as you won’t pay for any ads that are not clicked on.
If you want to get your biggest bang for your buck when it comes to PPC, try PPC+. This program is designed to get your business listed at the top of Google results, to keep your practice on people’s minds, and to ultimately draw new, high-value patients to your office.
9. Request Customer Feedback
Even happy patients might have ideas about how you can improve your practice. You won’t know unless you ask them! Don’t be afraid to ask your patients for feedback about their experience at your office. This feedback can be a valuable way to improve your services and enhance your patients’ experiences.
If you do happen to get an unhappy patient, ask them for their feedback, too. This could give you important insight into what could be changed so you have fewer unhappy patients.
10. Have a complete, fresh, branded, and modern website
One rule of marketing in the twenty-first century is that if you don’t have a website, you are missing out on a huge portion of patients. For some people, if you aren’t online, you might as well not exist!
It’s important to not only have a website, but also to have one that’s complete, fresh, branded, and modern. You never want potential patients to become frustrated with your website because they cannot find the information they need or it’s too difficult to navigate; frustrated website visitors typically leave your site and rarely become patients. If your website needs a refresh (or you need a website, period), check out our exceptional, modern website services.
With these 10 tips, you’re well on your way to growing your practice. If you would like more information about how to market your practice online and how we can help, please contact us at AudiologyPlus.

Success with local SEO

3 Big Tips for Being Successful in Local SEO

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for location-based businesses, like hearing care practices. Because almost all your patients are from your local area, it is very important that your practice’s website performs well in local searches.
While the concept is easy to understand, ensuring that your practice’s online presence is at the forefront of local searches is not so simple. Many factors go into how Google and other search engines rank webpages on search engine results pages (SERPs).
To simplify the issue, we have identified a few key tips to help you be successful with local SEO:

  1. Provide your practice’s information to Google.

Have you ever searched for a business on Google (or another search engine) and found a variety of responses among the results? For example, perhaps you found the business’s main website, as well as a listing on a third-party site. Your search may have also turned up mentions on social media or an unclaimed business listing.
Make sure people who search for your practice online find the right information, not a hodge-podge of any mention of you on the Internet. To do this, you need to provide your own information to Google. You can make sure you have uploaded or created the following information for your practice:

  • Website content that includes your office location, services, and products
  • Supporting information about your practice on other websites
  • Image content
  • Video content
  • Social media content
  • Local business listing content (including a complete Google My Business listing)

On any other websites or platforms that feature information about your practice, make sure that information is accurate and up to date. If you receive reviews on these platforms, respond to them in a timely manner.

  1. Fight back when necessary.

While Google might seem all-knowing, the tech giant can make missteps. Operating on such a global level means that sometimes, things slip through. While these might seem small in the grand scheme of the Internet, they can have a real impact on your business. In certain cases, it may be necessary to fight back against issues that are damaging to your practice’s online presence. These may include:

  • Having your reputation targeted and attacked by competitors or members of the public who post fake negative reviews of your business
  • Being outranked online by businesses that violate Google’s guidelines
  • Having Google experiment with local features that have direct negative effects on your business

These other and other types of issues should be fought. While it’s important to choose your battles, if something is impacting your business, do not be afraid to speak up and make things right.

  1. Become a local business force independent of Google.

While providing your information online and fighting against wrongful practices can help your local SEO performance, you can also benefit from standing out locally—offline. Focus on listening to your patients, meeting their needs, exceeding their expectations, and beating the competition in every way you know how.
It is also important to take advantage of other avenues for advertising (which may make their way back to your Google ranking), such as print and TV news, local business organization newsletters, school newsletters and papers, and any form of publication surrounding non-profits, charities, or government.
With these simple steps, your business is well on its way to becoming a local force to be reckoned with. To learn more about how you can succeed in local SEO and grow your business, please contact us at AudiologyPlus today. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we are here to help.

three people hover over a laptop

5 Features to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency

The digital revolution has left no industry untouched. As the world continues to go online for everything from social connection and information to physical products, businesses have raced to have a presence online as well. Digital marketing agencies quickly formed to help businesses establish themselves online and reach their specific markets. In the face of an ever-evolving online landscape, professional help navigating its shortcuts and sure-wins can prove invaluable.
Digital marketing agencies typically provide clients with web development (including building and maintaining websites), digital ad creation and placement, search engine optimization (SEO), social media support, and a range of other services related to establishing a strong digital presence. Essentially, they help businesses reach new customers online.
And, not surprisingly, not all agencies are created equal. Here are five critical features to help you spot a great digital marketing agency:
They Have an Impressive Online Presence
Much like not wanting a doctor who neglects her own health, you should seek out a digital marketing agency that clearly knows what they’re doing by, well, doing it. Their website should be sleek, modern, and reflective of their brand’s signature style. It should also be replete with relevant and useful content since we know that the SEO landscape continues to revere “content as king.” They should have an active presence on some of the top social media sites, with content you can relate to and appreciate. And last, but most important, they should be easily found via a search on Google or Bing.
If an agency you’re considering is missing any of the above features, they still might be worth your time (especially if their pricing reflects these deficiencies). They could be a newer agency, which doesn’t immediately mean that they can’t garner you the results you’re looking for. Get clear in the beginning about who this agency is and if they have any proven successes under their belt yet.
They Are Specialized
Your digital marketing firm should be experts on who they serve. Having extensive awards in, say, beverage branding, doesn’t mean they can achieve similar results across industries. Digital Marketing is as nuanced as the people moving (quickly) through the online terrain. The specific language and visuals you choose to represent your brand in the digital world will either stop people in their endless scrolling, or have them swipe on by.
So take the time to find marketing experts in your field. Make sure they know your patient base as well as (if not better than) you do. Their marketing materials, strategies, and available tools won’t be useful if they don’t have an excellent handle on how your market reacts to online content and offers. If an agency has a list of clients from across industries, that doesn’t instantly spell disaster, but you’d be wise to look for any previous clients from your field to see what the company was able to pull off. In the end, your digital presence needs to do much more than “look good” — it needs to get results.
They Have Industry Experience
This one takes the previous note about specialization one step farther. Working with marketing professionals who have actual experience in your industry can provide you with a wealth of advantages up front. For instance, it’s not unusual for a marketing firm to spend the beginning of your time working together on gathering market data and field reports. This strategizing phase is important, but can be a lengthy process if an agency is “getting up to speed” with the details about your market.
Working with a company who has been on the inside of your industry changes all of that. Sure, there might be some relevant reports and strategy sessions in the beginning, but the entire phase of planning your approach is much more directed towards the actual execution of that plan rather than researching for it. The hearing industry itself is a unique (and rapidly changing) one, where overlapping scopes of practice, a limited number of manufacturers, and atypical patient behaviors create unusual factors to consider when marketing. Finding people who understand these aspects can be a huge time-saver, and promise better results in the long term.
They Keep You Informed
The entire purpose of hiring a digital marketing firm is to improve your reach and realize results in your business. You could try the DIY method, and devour an endless array of digital marketing articles, podcasts, and books yourself, but hiring a professional likely seems like the smart thing to do. And it is — so long as that agency returns your good faith with detailed communications about their activities and their results.
Not only should your digital marketing agency be measuring the efficacy of your online marketing campaigns, website traffic, and overall rating online, but they should also be clear in their communications with you. Sending you jargon-laden reports that you need to use an online marketing dictionary to decode is not clear. Providing you with abstract statistics and graphs without a thoughtful explanation is also unhelpful. Your marketing agency is responsible for collecting relevant metrics for your online efforts and then explaining what it all means to you. They should empower you to decide whether or not your combined efforts are proving to be worth their cost or not.
They Have a Reputation for Excellent Service and Support
You’ll have trouble finding an agency that doesn’t claim to offer great customer support, so this one requires a bit more digging to find out. Look for reviews for the digital marketing agency you’re considering in some of the most popular places: Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp. Look for information regarding an agency’s track record for helping clients troubleshoot issues and the overall level of satisfaction from previous clients.
An online reputation is much like a personal credit score: not having any reviews is nearly as bad as having negative reviews. A firm without reviews is either too new to have gained reviews yet or isn’t delivering strong enough service to prompt their clients’ to review them. If there are negative reviews online, look for reasonable replies from the agency to get both sides, as some people are impossible to please no matter how excellent the service. In the end, the quality of customer support you get from your digital marketing agency can make a world of difference as you zero in on the perfect marketing strategy for your business and local market.
The need to get your business online is an undeniable one, but many people gloss over the need to be found online. Simply having a website (no matter how well-designed) won’t suffice as there needs to be specific ongoing activities to make it visible to prospective patients looking for your services. Hiring an agency to help you acquire patients online doesn’t have to break the bank and, when done right, will pay for quickly pay for itself.
With over 20 years in the hearing industry and a world-class team of digital marketing experts, we help our clients quickly realize the results they’ve been hoping for. From modern websites to complete SEO and digital advertising services, we have everything your business needs to get found online. Contact us to learn how to acquire new patients online.

Woman looks at her smartphone while walking in a city

How to Get Local People to Find You Online

The scenarios prompting people to search for the hearing help they need are diverse, but typically have one thing in common: they take place within your local area. Whether it’s someone looking up hearing services after another frustrating dinner at a favorite (and loud) restaurant, or someone looking up local options for hearing protection before a big concert, the people you serve are nearby, looking for you.
And you want them to find your website when they look online for help.
Search engines simplify the process of ranking different web pages by using “location targeting” to narrow search results. This is good news for everyone, since no one wants to wade through websites for businesses in another country when searching for something local, nor do we want our own websites to compete with those across the globe for a given search.
Location targeting, or geo-locating, eliminates the need for zip codes and other location modifiers such as “hearing aids in New York City,” as search engines now rely heavily on device location instead. Thus, there has been a rapid increase of the use of “near me” instead for online searches, as in, “where to buy hearing aids near me.” This all begs the question, of course: are local people easily finding you with that search?
Enter: local search engine optimization, or local SEO.
By optimizing your website for better visibility in local searches, you can quickly rise above the competition as more and more local people turn to the Internet to learn about their options for hearing care. And trust us, they are definitely going online.
Consider that recent surveys report 87% of smartphone owners using a search engine, like Google, at least once per day. And nearly 50% of those searches are for local products and services. Even better? From local-mobile searches alone, 78% result in offline purchases.
So how is your business ranking online for local searches? Location targeting happens automatically to generate local results first, but not all local results. Website ranking is a complex and ever-shifting terrain, and it can take some effort up front to see the results of local SEO pay off. Consider the best practices below for easy boosts to your local visibility online.
List and Verify Your Business
It’s imperative that search engines see your business in local and popular online directories — especially the directories they own (think Google My Business and Bing Local). The more complete your information, the better, so include your address, phone, email, and hours of operation everywhere you can. Aim to get your business a listing or profile in any and all online directories (especially local ones, such as your local paper’s website), and be sure that your information is identical, down to the details of your address being “st.” or “street” across the board. Although smart, search engines are still robots, and the goal is for them to find your identical listing throughout the Internet to bolster your website’s ranking in the search results related to a given location.
Lastly, take the time to verify all of your listings. This can be a tedious process as you work your way through the long list of potential online directories to post your business on, but it is well worth the effort. Not only do these listings reinforce the location your business serves for local SEO purposes, they also provide valuable links back to your website that boost your SEO overall.
Make Your Location Known
Your business address and any other areas you serve should be clearly defined on your website, be it on the home page, in a footer, on a dedicated location page, or all of the above. Keep this information identical to what is listed in online directories and also highlight the areas you serve in broader content throughout your website.
For instance, if you serve the Greater Atlanta Area, you should note that on your location page alongside your actual address, and you could also write a blog about “How to Find the Best Hearing Care in the Greater Atlanta Area.” The idea here is to combine keywords of the services you provide with the keywords of the areas you serve — and to do it naturally. The content you create should still be useful and informative, but also tailored with local SEO in mind.
To take this approach one step further, include other forms of location-related media on your website. Images and videos from local events in your community that your office has participated in, for example, are a great addition to a blog. They help “prove” to search engines that your website is increasingly relevant to people looking for your type of services in that your area, as search algorithms tend to rank diverse forms of media higher than written content alone.
Network with Other Local Businesses
We’ve gone into the reasons why you want quality backlinks to your website before, but for the purposes of boosting your local SEO rankings, it’s incredibly helpful to find other local businesses to link to your website from their own. The more popular and credible your neighbor’s website, the better it will be for increasing your website’s visibility in local searches.
Backlinks provide a significant “vote” for your website that search algorithms count heavily towards your ranking in the results. Although it can take a while to build the relationships and partnerships necessary to get links to your site from other local websites, the boost in your website’s traffic will pay back your time and effort generously.
Make it Quick and Mobile-Friendly
This last tip tends to be taken for granted. People have heard for years now about how “the world is going mobile,” and hopefully have ensured that their websites are indeed mobile-ready. But with the recent shift towards a “mobile first” search platform by Google, and the increasing need for a fast-loading website (that loads easily on cellular data networks), this point bears repeating.
A mobile-friendly website means more than larger text and a simpler hand-held design. It also means that your layout and content is organized and optimized with a mobile visitor in mind. Images need to be fast-loading, menus need to be easy to find, and your home page requires succinct language on an efficient layout.
With nearly 90% of surveyed people reporting to search for local businesses on their smartphones each week, ignoring the needs of mobile visitors is akin to turning off the lights in your office and expecting people to walk in, anyway. Search engines agree and penalize mobile-unfriendly websites by ranking them lower.
Getting local prospects to find you online isn’t incredibly difficult. It’s actually much easier than trying to get found without the geo-locating technology working on your behalf. And by applying the recommendations above you can boost your local ranking much faster, and find yourself with a steady stream of new patients who found you first online.
If your business’s website could benefit from professional SEO improvements or needs a modern website altogether, talk to us today about our complete digital solutions. Join our family of thrilled clients and enjoy the thriving practice you’ve been waiting for.
 

Man and Woman look at computer together

Three Easy Steps for Creating Blogs that Get Seen

The Internet has become an endless sea of content ready for consumption. With an estimated 350 million blogs online and counting, trying to create something attractive enough to grab people’s attention can seem downright daunting.
Luckily, the formula for engaging content has remained the same and simply requires that you select a topic of interest and provide useful, entertaining, or unique information on it.
As a hearing professional, you’re fortunate to be deeply involved in your patients’ hearing healthcare journeys. It means you know their questions and concerns, what interests them about their hearing, and what kind of solutions grab their attention most. From a content marketing perspective, that information is gold.
Because what’s the point of spending your valuable time on creating a blog for your website if it isn’t attracting more visitors? Useful and interesting information on your blog should not only be boosting your website’s overall ranking in search results, it should also be directly increasing traffic to your site via people discovering your blogs through online searches or shared links.
The more visitors your blogs get, the more easily other people will find them when searching for related topics online. And ultimately, the more visitors your website gets overall, the better your business will do in the long run.
Remember: even if your website’s visitors aren’t in your area, their time spent on your website makes it more visible online (by improving its search engine ranking) and thus, more easily found by locals looking online for hearing services in your area.
So where do you start? Consider the following tips for creating content that works.
Write What You Know
Choosing the right topics for online traffic is a critical step in creating great content, and fortunately, it will be an easy one for you. Your in-person work with patients means you likely already know what their most common questions are. And your patients are the perfect sample of your “target audience” since they’re confronting the same hearing health issues that your online audience would be.
Make a list of the questions your patients ask most. Include other topics that you notice gain interest from patients when you bring them up (i.e. everyone wants to know more about extended-wear hearing aids, etc.). Write about those topics, and any other trending news in the hearing industry.
Once your blogs are posted, share them on social media and watch the response they get. If you notice certain topics gain more engagement or attention than others, consider how you could expand upon them in new ways.
Engaging blogs give a balanced dose of fundamental information and an interesting perspective to keep us informed and reading. It’s important to choose topics that you have helpful knowledge on (or can research enough until you do). You shouldn’t create content that’s so dense it’s nearly academic, but you also don’t want it to be too light and surface-level.
Quality over Quantity
Creating interesting content for your blog doesn’t have to take all day. In fact, the average length of blogs is only 500-700 words. Despite the rising trends of creating longer content for better SEO effects, you need to evaluate your unique audience and offer what they seem to prefer.
With the intense content saturation on the Internet, it’s no surprise that people, in general, tend to read through shorter articles over longer ones. The exception to this is when a topic is being expanded upon authoritatively (i.e. a Wikipedia entry). If you want to offer up a novel, yet lengthy, perspective on the effects of hearing loss on relationship dynamics, by all means do so. Longer content can be just as effective as short-form articles, but itt definitely takes longer to create. It also needs to be engaging enough to hold your readers’ attention.
In general, aim to craft an interesting article in 500-700 words. Be sure to use some of the most popular keywords throughout your writing, and remind yourself that it doesn’t need to take hours to produce. If it does, consider choosing  topics that you’re more comfortable writing about.
Chop It Up
No matter how long your content is, it’s helpful for your audience when you break it into sections with clear headers. We do that with most of our own blogs since research shows that people tend to scan and skim online content instead of read it.
Segmenting your blogs into sections with subtitles is also helpful for organizing your content. If you have a few topics you plan on expanding into full blog articles, consider just outlining them first with their relevant subtitles. Especially for topics you have extensive knowledge on, outlining your topics can help keep your writing focused and more concise.

Lastly, although content marketing is a passive approach to gaining new patients, you do have a golden opportunity at the end of your blogs to mention the services you offer. It’s golden because by the end of your article you’ve (ideally) just revealed your professional knowledge and helpfulness, making it a prime time to mention how people could work with you further. No need to get detailed here, just a simple reminder that if your readers are looking for hearing healthcare services, you’re equipped to help them.
Content marketing through blogs is an eefective way to help your website get found online. Today’s hearing marketplace demands a strong digital presence to attract local patients searching online for hearing professionals. If your website needs an upgrade, or you aren’t getting the traffic online (or in office) that you should be, feel free to reach out to us to learn how we can help.
(See what we did there?)
 

A woman looks at a laptop among collagues

5 Reasons Why Digital Marketing is the Fastest Way to Grow Your Practice

Your practice deserves to thrive. As a dedicated hearing professional offering life-changing services, there’s no reason it shouldn’t — especially given the incredible number of people in need of your help. Nevertheless, many worthy practices aren’t thriving because people simply don’t know about them.
In the digital age, a business listing isn’t enough — no matter where it is. To effectively attract a steady stream of new inquiries, your practice needs to reach a wide local audience and tell them about the results your patients enjoy.
Many options exist for marketing your practice, from physical mailers to Facebook ads, but they don’t all deliver the same results. And they definitely won’t work on the same timeline. Online marketing has set the bar for what constitutes a successful marketing campaign, as it’s become easier than ever to reach your target market at lightning speeds.
If you’ve been hesitant to use online marketing for your practice, consider the factors below that make it the most efficient return on your marketing dollars.
More Affordable
The low overhead of doing business online accounts for the many inexpensive marketing routes it provides. No materials, printing, or stamps are needed. The high expense of billboards or television and radio ads don’t apply either. Often, online marketing doesn’t even require that any graphics are designed, making entry costs the lowest anywhere. The Internet is a versatile landscape for marketers, and a little can go a long way.
Consider Facebook ads. Often, they’re just a single, relevant image, with the important information in the text above and below. In fact, images that are “too designed,” with excessive text or graphics added to them often don’t get approved or widely distributed, as they’re deemed “too promotional” for Facebook’s community brand. Facebook ads can be a low-cost entry point for online marketing, getting you results from small and large investments alike.
Despite the greater range of options and affordable pricing with online marketing, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” still applies — mostly. With a limited marketing budget, you actually can reach a wide audience to share your message with, but you will need to use some marketing savvy to get the most out of your dollars. Precise targeting and an enticing, succinct message are often the winning combo for marketing in general, which is even truer when using the lowest-cost marketing routes on the Internet.
More Precise
Speaking of targeting, it’s worth noting that the Internet enables you to hone in on your exact market (or ideal patient base) in ways traditional marketing could never imagine. This is mainly because online behavior is highly tracked and thoroughly evaluated for this very purpose.
The leaders of tracking online user behavior are the social media giants (think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on), which have access to an incredible array of details about their users that marketers can select when targeting their audiences for ad campaigns. This precise targeting online means you could create an ad for Facebook, for example, and have it show up in the feed of people who have liked Oticon’s Facebook page, among any other data you prefer. The options are nearly endless.
Even better is targeting the keywords used in online searches, allowing you to get your practice in front of the very people looking for information or services related to hearing care. Most digital ads operate on a “pay-per-click” basis, letting you avoid wasting money on an improperly targeted audience or an ad that doesn’t attract people’s’ attention.
More Reliable
The extensive tracking capacities available with digital marketing also yield more reliable ad campaigns in general. By being able to track the number of engagements on your marketing efforts (i.e. ad clicks, email opens, social media post likes, etc), you can get a nearly instant picture of whether your ad needs any tweaking or not.
Traditional marketing routes could never provide such rich data about how your ads were performing. Knowing the number of people who actually read your mailers or saw your print ad simply isn’t possible, ultimately making those ads an expensive game of guesswork.
Online marketing affords you the benefit of being able to test out various approaches for your ads, and not worry about wasting your money since you only pay for the engagements you actually get. The result? Cost-effective ads that are tailored to your market’s demonstrated preferences, creating more reliable conversions over time.
More Expansive
The Internet is often described as the “new wild wild West.” It’s the ever-expanding horizon, unlimited by space or material. And for marketers, the saturation point for any given market is far from being met. There are simply too many people online to worry about over-marketing to any of them.
One of the key benefits this endless terrain offers is a multi-faceted landscape for building your brand. Your practice doesn’t have to remain contained to a single website online. It can have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Google business listing, a Yelp profile, and so on.
Building a brand is all about exposure. So having your logo, business name, and any other eye-catching information about your business in more than one place is ideal. It means more eyes passing by it and more potential patients remembering it when they happen to need your services.
More Intimate
Ironically, the wide open digital world offers more connection than ever before. Sure, it can be a different kind of connection (no handshakes here), but still provides an opportunity to get to know people anywhere, anytime. This becomes hugely beneficial for marketing your practice.
Online interactions, be it through simple comments on a Twitter post or a submission on your website’s contact form, allow for an increased number of conversations to happen with potential patients. These interactions are efficient and important. The way you reply to comment on a post or a simple email inquiry speaks volumes about you as a practitioner. When those replies are public (i.e. not emails), they send a message to the person you’re engaging with and everyone else who passes by the exchange and reads it.
Consider online reviews. When you respond to a review about your services, you’re taking advantage of an opportunity to reveal your professionalism and personability to anyone else who reads through those reviews. Onlookers get to know you simply by having access to what would have likely been, in previous times, a private exchange.
 
Online marketing offers an entire world of possibilities never before seen in traditional marketing. With its cost-effectiveness, precision, reliability, expansive breadth, and unique opportunity for connecting with many potential patients at once, it’s easy to see how going digital with your marketing can show you the fastest return on your investment.
If you’re ready to take your practice to the next level with digital marketing, feel free to reach out to us to learn more about our tools designed to get you there.

Man pointing to highlighted SEO hexagon

How Well Are You Ranking? A Quick SEO Self-Audit

You don’t need to be an Internet-savvy or very technical person to have a website with great visibility online. You simply need to know the most important factors for getting your website seen. This is where a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy comes into play — arguably, the most important element of your online presence.
Because let’s face it. If your website isn’t being found by people looking for local hearing services online, what’s the point of having (and paying for) a website at all?
The truth is, even the most beautiful websites get lost online. Just consider that there are more than 500 websites created every minute of each day. And with 1.3 billion websites already online (and counting), it’s easy to see how that sleek and modern website of yours can quickly get lost in the stream unless you implement an SEO plan. Without it, potential patients looking online for hearing help will end up with a competitor who made SEO a priority.
So where do you begin? By seeing how your website currently stacks up. You need to know what you’re starting with so you can track the effectiveness of any SEO method you apply.
Assessing how well your website is currently optimized for search engines is referred to as an “SEO audit.” A full SEO audit involves reviewing a long list of SEO-enhancing or SEO-diminishing elements. From the backend structure and details of your website, the amount and quality of linking to your web pages from elsewhere on the Internet, to the very behavior of visitors on each of your webpages, a complete SEO audit can reveal a detailed picture of your website’s SEO strengths and weaknesses.
Since search engines operate from ever-evolving algorithms, this process is never static, making it all the more complex. It’s the reason why so many people opt to hire a professional to create a successful SEO plan for their website.
For the purposes of a DIY audit, however, you need not get so complicated. Your goal is simply to know where your website shows up for relevant searches, see how well your site is indexed by search engines, and strategize the best ways for you to improve your website’s visibility — without any expensive software or technical knowledge.
Test Search
It’s important to know where your website currently ranks in the search results for relevant keywords. When people in your area look up something like “hearing clinics,” “tinnitus help,” or any other keywords relevant to your services, is your website listed within those first few pages? Do you have an idea of the top keywords your potential patients are using? If not, you might find our blog on keyword research for your industry helpful.
Luckily, to find out where your website stands, you don’t need to manually scroll through endless pages of results to find your ranking. Many online tools exist for evaluating your current ranking for top keywords. We like this tool for the sake of its accessibility (it’s free to use), easy interface, and accuracy. By simply putting in your website’s URL, you’ll quickly see what keywords you’re ranking for in your area as well as any recent changes in your rank.
It’s important to note that search engines, like Google and Bing, deliver results to users based on their location (a process called localization). It means that a Google user in, say, Denver can simply type in “audiologist” and see only Denver-based audiologists’ websites in the search results. When you begin ranking in the search results for keywords affected by localization, it means you’re website is ranking well within your market. This is great news, as it’s much easier to rank well within your local market than it is to rank well across the entire Internet.
Check Indexing
When using the tool above to check your page ranking, you might find that your website is not ranking at all. There are two reasons for this: either your site isn’t ranking for any of the top 100 keywords for your website or your site isn’t showing up in search engines at all.
The former can be improved through various content enhancements (like these) and SEO tactics (like these). The latter would be an indication that your site is likely not properly indexed by search engines. Indexing is the process by which search engines essentially file away the content on your various web pages for future reference. It’s essential for your content to be accessible via an online search, and it’s best achieved by having a clear sitemap of your website.
Several tools exist for you to check how well your site is indexed by search engines. However, we recommend doing a simple site:operator search to get a clear picture of what Google and the like are seeing on your site. To verify your indexing with this method, simply type “site:yourwebsite.com” (using your actual website’s address) into the search bar for Google. You could do this for Bing or other search engines as well, but Google is the most popular, so we recommend using it for this test.
The results for a site:operator search will only show the indexed pages of your website. Scroll through the results and make sure the important pages of your site are showing up as individual results. At the top of the results, you’ll see the number of results the search pulled up. This is the exact number of indexed pages for your website. If that number seems too low, or if you clearly see pages are missing from the search results, it means you need to submit your missing pages to Google for them to be indexed.
The easiest way to do this is to simply submit the URL for each missing page into this Google submission form. You should see each submitted page show up in the Google results (via a site:operator search) within a few minutes. If you feel confident accessing some of the more technical aspects of your website (i.e. DNS records, etc), you could also submit a full sitemap of your website to Google here.
Target & Strategize
Now that you have a clear idea of how well your site is ranking for top keywords and if your site is being properly indexed by search engines, it’s time to focus on improving your rank.
There are many tactics that SEO professionals use to improve a website’s ranking in search results, but two of the most accessible, start-right-now approaches involve creating rich content on your site and improving the amount of quality backlinks (links to your site from other reputable websites) you have.
Rich content not only includes relevant keywords (both short and long-chain) throughout, but also provides useful and engaging information. Great content keeps visitors on your page longer, resulting in a more favorable ranking by search engines. Optimizing your content for better ranking is a big topic, and one we discuss more in previous blogs, like here and here.
Backlinks to your website essentially prove to search engines that your website is popular and worth referencing on external, quality sites. The type of external websites linking to your site need to be legitimate (i.e. not spam or “blackhat” websites, where people essentially pay to have backlinks put there) and, ideally, include relevant keywords in the backlink itself. This is also a topic deserving more detail and depth, which you can explore more here.

As you endeavor to work your way to the first page of search results, keep in mind that successful SEO is more of a marathon than a sprint. Unless you’re willing to pay for better placement, it takes consistent, well-paced efforts over time to show great results.
If you’d prefer a professional assessment of your current SEO and how to improve it, feel free to contact us. We work with clients across the hearing healthcare industry to help them reach the top of search results as quickly as possible and easily get found by their local markets.