Everything we “unlearned” in 2020

Guiding Principles for Digital Marketing in 2021

What did you learn in 2020? If you followed some of the trends inspired by life during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have learned how to bake banana bread or sew fabric face coverings. When it comes to your business, you might have learned how to conduct virtual audiology appointments or use e-commerce.

While you might have learned a lot in 2020, you probably also had to “unlearn” a few things when it came to business. This might apply to how you communicate with your patients, how you sell to your customers, how you attract new patients, and how you keep your patients. If 2020 taught us anything, it was that we cannot predict the future. Keeping that in mind, here are a few guiding principles for your business in 2021:

  • Selling does not look like it used to.

Before the pandemic hit, you had a system for how you sold services and products to your customers. You could predict much of your clients’ purchasing behavior. Then everything changed. You might have stopped conducting in-office appointments for time, or at least you limited them. Many clients changed their behavior, preferring to do their appointments and their purchasing online.

In 2021, this will not change. Many people will likely continue to limit how much they go out into public spaces, even as vaccines are administered. For some of them, it is an issue of health risk. For others, they discovered new ways of doing things that they actually like, such as e-commerce purchases and virtual audiology appointments. You will need to cater to these clients in order to obtain and keep their business.

  • You will probably need to change your tactics (again).

Now is the time to evaluate all of your tactics and see how well they work in today’s world. Check everything—your marketing emails, your appointment reminders, your website and its offerings, your e-commerce options, your mobile pages, etc. Make sure everything makes sense for the “new normal” we are living in and caters to your clients’ current needs and preferences.

Keep in mind that nothing is set for 2021. Changing your tactics now to accommodate what works today (as opposed to what worked before 2020) does not mean you won’t need to change your practices again.

  • Data is shifting.

If you previously had data on your target market, it is now outdated. You will need to continue to gather new data for how patients find your practice, how they interact with you, how they use your website, and much more. Data will continue to be in flux this year, so monitor your data regularly and adjust your business and marketing practices accordingly.

We learned a lot in 2020 about how quickly business practices and consumer behavior can change. 2021 promises to be a year of learning and growth as well. To learn more about how to navigate today’s business world and help your audiology practice grow, please contact us at AudiologyPlus today. We are prepared to help your business succeed, no matter what this year brings.

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.

Responsive design & virtual options for audiologists

The Necessity of Responsive Design & Virtual Options

As a hearing professional, you have a lot on your plate—especially now. Of course, your top priority is still to provide the best possible care for your patients. You are also likely looking to grow your practice and attract new patients. As the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic continues and people continue to learn how to navigate the new “normal,” your strategies for finding and serving patients may be a bit different from the tactics that worked in the past.

One of the most obvious changes is that virtual options are now more important than ever before. In fact, they are not only important; they are crucial. These virtual options to offer your patients may include a website for your practice, social media pages, and online reviews. You may be focusing more on finding new patients online through targeted ads. And perhaps most important for your patients, you may be offering telehealth and eCommerce options that allow them to receive the care, services, and products they need from their home.

When considering virtual options, it can be all too easy to look at design as an added expense. However, you should consider it an investment in your practice and your patients. With many people limiting their contact with others—particularly if you serve high-risk communities like the elderly—your business is not the only one stepping up their game online. The truth is that customers have multiple options, so you need to make yours the best one.

One way to help your practice come out on top is to invest in the design of your website. Patients prefer options that are sleek, modern, and accessible. If your website is outdated, difficult to navigate, or does not function properly on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, you may lose potential patients before they even get to know who you are and what you offer.

The key is a responsive website—which means that your website design and formatting responds to the device the website visitor is using, whether it is a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This ensures that your website functions optimally, no matter how the potential patient accesses it. Responsive websites can also make sure that the most important information, including your phone number, location, and other contact methods, are presented prominently and clearly.

Once you have a responsive website, along with other virtual options like telehealth and eCommerce, is your work done? No! To ensure that you continue to bring your patients the best possible online experience, you need to continually reevaluate your online offerings and their performance. Do patients tend to spend a long time on certain pages? If so, make more like them! Do they hit the “back” button quickly on other pages? That page might not be presented optimally. Continue to make certain that it is easy for patients to access telehealth appointments and your eCommerce offerings. And of course, website design trends change every few years as well, so you cannot rest on your laurels for too long.

In a time when virtual options are essential, you can continue to grow your practice by prioritizing your online presence and offerings. At AudiolgyPlus, we are dedicated to providing you with comprehensive, streamlined services that make it easy for you to upgrade your practice’s virtual options. To learn more about what we offer and how our services can help your business grow, we invite you to contact us today.

YouTube and Audiology - how to utilize this virtual tool

The Importance of YouTube in Audiology Today

Allow me to share a brief personal experience. I recently wanted to learn to arm knit a blanket. I had learned traditional knitting in the past (although that was nearly 20 years ago), but I had never tried arm knitting. I started on YouTube, where I simply searched for “how to arm knit a blanket.” Just 45 minutes later, I had successfully made a small blanket.

This type of experience happens for millions of people every day. YouTube is no longer reserved for humorous videos and music videos—it is the second-largest search engine behind Google. While people certainly do still watch humorous clips and music videos on YouTube, the content featured on the platform has grown to include nearly every topic you could imagine. This includes not only knitting how-to videos but audiology content as well.

In this day and age, your online presence as a hearing practice cannot be limited to your website, or even to a business Facebook page. Your patients—and potential new patients—are looking for you to share your expertise on multiple platforms and in various media, including YouTube videos. This is an incredible opportunity for your practice to stand out from the rest and to bring unique value to your patients.

YouTube videos are a great investment of your time and marketing budget, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play out worldwide. Lockdown measures are still in place or have been reinstated in many areas, and even where lockdowns are not enforced, many people are voluntarily staying in more. One activity people have spent hours on while staying home is watching YouTube videos. According to Ofcom’s Media Nation report, a survey conducted among online adults during lockdown found that 42 percent had used YouTube in the last seven days.

In addition, many people are avoiding in-person contact when virtual options will suffice. For some, this includes avoiding in-person appointments with health specialists like hearing professionals. You may also be limiting your hours based on the restrictions in place in your local areas, your personal level of comfort, and the level of risk among your team. Telehealth appointments are an excellent way to meet with your patients without the need for in-person visits, but YouTube can also have a place here.

You might have seen in the news that many people turned to online haircutting tutorials during lockdown—and the same is happening in many other fields, including audiology. Imagine if your practice’s YouTube channel became the go-to resource for people looking for how-to videos such as “how to clean your hearing aid,” “how to troubleshoot your hearing aid,” “how to adjust the volume on your hearing aid,” “how to support a loved one with hearing loss,” etc.

Now is an ideal time to demonstrate the high level of value you provide to your patients by offering relevant, useful content on many channels, including YouTube. And do not worry about whether you are a great actor—YouTube statistics show that when choosing which video to watch, whether a video relates to a viewer’s interest is three times as important as whether the video features a famous actor.

To learn more about how you can use YouTube and other social media platforms to reach your patients in new ways, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. We are ready to help you grow your practice.

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.

COVID-19 & Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Strategy & Planning in the Age of COVID-19

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of our lives—from how we work to how our children attend school, and from how we shop to how we socialize with friends and family. The worldwide pandemic has also affected your business. You may now be using telemedicine more than ever before, and your practice may have new guidelines for welcoming patients into the office.
However, have you considered how COVID-19 has affected digital marketing? Just as in so many other realms, the pandemic has changed everything in digital marketing—and none of the rules we knew prior to COVID apply now. So, as a company that needs digital marketing, what does this mean for your business?
Let’s start with strategy and planning. Once you have adapted these to the new digital marketing landscape, everything else should become clearer. Perhaps most important is the need to be efficient and effective in your digital marketing strategy and planning. Here are a few simple tips to streamline and optimize:

  • Be able to connect what has been planned to what has been completed.

Measuring outcomes and analyzing spending and strategies are perhaps more important now than ever before. Marketers should be able to easily understand what has been planned and budgeted, the accompanying timelines and goals, and what has been delivered.
Once you are able to connect these data sets, you should be able to quickly assess spend, reach, and engagement. Based on the outcomes, you can adapt your future planning and budgeting to favor the most effective and efficient strategies.
Clear, transparent, and effective communication has become paramount in this age of remote work. This includes communicating about your digital marketing strategies, planning, outcomes, and insights.

  • Know how to optimize marketing strategy.

In the 2020 climate, you frankly do not have room to spend time and money on strategies that are ineffective. If a certain channel or campaign type is not bringing in a return or is not contributing to your goals, you need to reevaluate your marketing strategy.
Do not be afraid to optimize by revising your messaging on a specific channel, modifying your strategy, or even halting an ineffective campaign. Using the data mentioned above—connecting what is planned with what has been delivered—you can pace your campaigns to better meet your objectives.

  • Make sure your audience is seeing what you produce.

Put simply, you can have the best digital marketing products in the world, but if no one sees them, they will not help your business. Use verification and viewability metrics to ensure that your ads are being seen by your audience.
As part of this, it is important to ensure that any materials meet brand safety standards and to detect any fraudulent ad activity. Verification and viewability can be valuable in preserving and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.
With these guidelines, you can ensure that your digital marketing efforts are both effective and efficient. To learn more about how digital marketing has changed in 2020, we encourage you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we are ready to answer your questions and help you navigate today’s unique challenges.