How Digital Communication Plays an Essential Role in Lasting Consumer Relationships

How Digital Communication Plays an Essential Role in Lasting Consumer Relationships

The ways you do business, care for your patients, and market your practice have all changed over the last 9 months, thanks to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. While some of these changes might be temporary, such as travel restrictions or local lockdowns, others are not. The pandemic has forever changed the way businesses market their services and products, as well as how you interact with your patients.

The changes in how you engage with and market to your patients are not caused only by pandemic-era practices like social distancing; they are also caused by greater, more lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people’s livelihoods have been put in jeopardy, and people have a greater concern for personal and public health and wellbeing.

You may remember that in the early days of the pandemic, many companies sent emails to their clients to share their concerns about the virus, to update them on new practices, to make them aware of any business closures, and to inform them of their safety measures. (Your own practice may have even sent such an email!) Messages like these resulted in a 19 percent increase in email send volume in March over January 2020. With such a large volume of emails being sent, it is crucial that your messaging resonates with your clients and draws their attention.

To earn and maintain the attention of your audience, you must focus on customer-first digital communication and engagement. Customer-first messaging should take into account your patients’ concerns, desires, emotions, and needs. Here are a few important traits to focus on:

  • Empathy

Be aware of what your customer needs, and then support their needs, respect their decisions, and value long-term loyalty over short-term gains. In these unprecedented times, some people may be holding off purchases and controlling their spending more than usual. If you are able, consider offering additional options for need-based financing to assist clients who are facing financial hardships.

  • Trust

Trust has always been important for business-client relationships, but it is now paramount. Consumers are gravitating towards companies they can trust. Make sure you are one of those. Convey your messaging in honest, simple terms, prioritize building relationships with your clients over transactions, and communicate your business policies in easy-to-understand wording. As always, follow all applicable privacy practices.

  • Relevance

Relevance may be more difficult to achieve, but it can be done if you use customer data. Relevance focuses on providing your client with what they need when they need it. This may take into account factors such as location, recent activity, and current environment.

As you incorporate each of these points into your digital communications, remember that the goal is to build and maintain relationships with your clients. Engaging with them on a personal level is more important than ever. This may require you to reach beyond the forms of communication you have used in the past. Today’s digital engagement is accomplished via email, social media, and other marketing channels. You can also build trust with your clients through online reviews, which allow them to see what others think of your services. It may take some time to adjust to the new ways of digital communication, but it is certainly doable—and well worth it. To learn more about how digital engagement has changed in 2020 and how you can best attract new clients, we welcome you to contact us at AudiologyPlus.

The profound ways COVID-19 has changed digital marketing

3 Profound Ways COVID-19 Has Changed Digital Marketing

For a moment, think about your life just one year ago. December 2019—was it different from your life in December 2020? Thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that your life now looks fairly different from last year. You have probably seen changes in how you work, how you travel, how you interact with others (whether they are your friends or your patients), and almost every other aspect of your life.

With so many changes to our daily lives, it is no wonder that COVID-19 has affected marketing as well. So, do you plow forward with your marketing strategy that was established pre-COVID (and is now outdated for the changed world we live in)? Or do you scrap your marketing plans altogether?

The best answer is neither! You can still find effective ways to market your business; you simply need to take into account the changes that have impacted businesses, consumers, and the world at large in the past year. Consumers are still out there (in fact, consumer spending is booming and eCommerce sales are 30 percent higher than in 2019). Here are three big ways marketing has changed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can make each one work for you:

  1. Take the “new normal” into account in marketing.

As mentioned above, almost everything about daily life has changed in some way due to the pandemic. Be sure to take this into account in your marketing. Adjust your messaging as needed to allow for precautions like social distancing, face coverings, travel restrictions, and more.

For example, you may be offering virtual audiology appointments and eCommerce to help limit exposure for both your patients and your staff. Highlight these options and the safety measures your practice has put in place to help patients feel at ease.

2. Truth in advertising is paramount.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation about the virus was rampant. Misleading information was so prevalent that companies like Facebook had to step in to remove these claims from their platforms. Due to this and other misinformation that has spread throughout the year, many consumers are now hyper-aware of the importance of truth in advertising.

As a hearing healthcare professional, your marketing likely does not focus directly on the coronavirus. However, truth is still paramount. Be sure to maintain truthful, transparent marketing messages and build trust with your audience. One way to do this is to highlight reviews from real patients. This helps potential new patients see the high level of care you provide.

3. Take advantage of local advertising opportunities.

It would be an understatement to say that COVID-19 was not the only big news story of 2020. With so much going on in the country and the world, many people have paid more attention to the news—and they are focusing on local news outlets. In a survey conducted by Pew Research, 61 percent of respondents said they were following the news about the coronavirus, with 23 percent of them saying they paid more attention to local news outlets than national ones.

With such a focus on local news, it is the perfect time for you to explore local advertising opportunities. This is ideal for a largely location-based business, like hearing health services.

Daily may have changed drastically in the past year, but these changes have brought new opportunities for digital marketing. To learn more about these changes and how you can take advantage of them to grow your business, we invite you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. From websites and SEO to online reviews and eCommerce, we are here to meet your digital marketing needs.

Digital accessibility

The Necessity of Digital Accessibility in the Pandemic Era

It is certainly an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic changed everyday life and business for many people around the world. One shift that businesses and all types of organizations had to make quickly—or perhaps might still need to complete—is ensuring that their online platforms and digital assets are easy to use, simple to navigate, and work reliably.

This shift has highlighted the need for digital accessibility. People with hearing loss need particular accommodations to assist them, and that includes when using websites. Now, both during the pandemic and post-pandemic, it is even more important than ever before to consider those with disabilities or different abilities. In the pandemic era we live in, digital accessibility is essential.

During the pandemic, it became obvious to everyone how frustrating it is when digital assets do not work properly. In the height of widespread lockdowns, problems like websites or apps that did not work properly could mean the difference between being able to order meals, submit grocery orders, complete your work or schoolwork, keep in touch with friends and family, and much more. While many people became more aware of these problems during the pandemic, these issues have been problematic for those with disabilities for a much longer time.

Ensuring that online content is accessible means making sure that all people can read and understand the content—while taking into account any disabilities, different abilities, or assistive technologies they may have. These disabilities may include impaired vision, impaired hearing or deafness, motor difficulties, learning disabilities, or cognitive impairments.

People with disabilities who may have formerly relied more heavily on in-person interactions (in stores and banks, for example), now find themselves forced to navigate an online world that is not always designed with their different abilities in mind. Companies and organizations must take steps to ensure that all online content is accessible. A few simple steps toward accessibility include:

  • Ensuring websites and emails are properly displayed and easily navigable on a mobile device
  • Making certain that websites and emails can be easily navigated with a keyboard only
  • Creating PDF documents that can be read by screen readers
  • Avoiding text with poor color contrast

During and post-pandemic, these shifts toward accessibility can make a big difference for all people with disabilities. Making sure that online content can be consumed and understood by all people also complies with accessibility laws.

While email was a commonly used form of communication before the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly popular—even vital—to companies during the pandemic as they have been unable to rely on physical interaction. Many companies used email to convey their business continuity plans and health safety standards to consumers during the pandemic. However, a recent study found that among financial services firms, only 25 percent were testing accessibility in their software development process. This leaves room for incredible improvement in this sector when it comes to accessibility. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital content and communication, and it continues to showcase the need for accessibility. To learn more about how you can ensure that your digital content and online services are accessible, we encourage you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus.

Important Announcements from Google and Yelp

Important Announcements from Google and Yelp – Coronavirus and Your Business

Google and Yelp are actively adapting their services to better support businesses during this difficult time. If you have visited Google My Business or your business’s Yelp page, you may have noticed some changes but may not understand why things have changed. We’ve included a summary of these important announcements below:
Google
Google published a new help page on Friday, April 3, 2020, titled “Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19” to address their services that businesses rely on (like reviews and business listings) and their rapid reorganization of priorities.
At this time, Google has determined that they will disable:

  • Reviews, and this includes new reviews and the ability to reply to reviews
  • The ability to post new Question and Answer content

Google chose to disable reviews because their plan is to “prioritize critical services.” Google explains: “We are currently focusing on the quality and reliability of information on Google Search and Maps, ensuring that users and business owners have access to essential features like whether the business is open and/or has special hours.”
And their priorities are also focused on additional support to the healthcare space. Any new listings in healthcare, as well as new claims for existing listings, will be subject to manual review; other new business listings and verifications may be delayed as health-related listings are prioritized.
Read Google’s post in its entirety.
Yelp
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman published a blog post on Friday, April 3, 2020, as well, to report details on Yelp’s crisis response and discuss how their efforts are supporting businesses. These new applications will help businesses to better communicate their available services to their local community. These offerings include:

  • “Contact-free” delivery options that are available in the Yelp app, via a partnership with GrubHub, which will start next week.
  • A new feature that lets restaurants specify that they are open but only for pick-up and delivery.
  • The ability to add a banner alert to the top of your Yelp profile to announce any special circumstances. Yelp has also released tools so businesses can mark themselves as temporarily closed.
  • A showcase of virtual services, like online classes and telehealth capabilities.

In addition to new features, Yelp also suspended any ad fees for small businesses and detailed a new set of special review content guidelines, including “zero tolerance for any claims in reviews of contracting COVID-19 from a business or its employees, or negative reviews about a business being closed during what would be their regular open hours in normal circumstances.”
Yelp didn’t offer a date for when these features will be available, but you can expect these updates to be ready very soon. Read Yelp’s blog post in its entirety.
These added services should help businesses better communicate with their customers and the community. If you have any questions or need to reach out to AudiologyPlus, please feel free to contact us.