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.

Social media 2020

What You Need to Know About Social Media in 2020

Social media is not new, nor is its importance in the business world. If your practice has an online presence, you likely have social media pages created for your practice as well, such as a Facebook page. In 2020, however, there is much more you can do for your business using social media than simply having a Facebook page.
This year, there are many new features and formats to watch for on social media. These features may be able to help your practice reach more people in new ways. Here are some of the top social media trends and features to be aware of in 2020 that could impact your practice:

  • Facebook
    • Groups

Groups are now more important than ever. In early 2019, Facebook even announced that they intended to make Groups a central focus on the platform. Facebook Groups are a way for you to build a community around your practice and engage with your patients and potential patients.

  • Messenger Ads

Although Messenger Ads first launched in 2016, the product has undergone many upgrades and changes in recent years that make it a powerful tool in 2020. Messenger allows you to deliver ads in a way that is more likely to drive engagement.

  • Instant Experience Ads

Instant Experience ads are full-screen takeover ads that load instantly and are mobile-optimized. This format ensures that you capture the full attention of the viewer.

  • Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads are Facebook’s machine-learning ad unit. This ad format delivers a personalized experience to each person who views it, based on the type of ads they are most likely to respond to.

  • Instagram
    • Story Ads

Another format that is not new in 2020, Story Ads first launched on Instagram over two years ago. Story ads perform very well, with Instagram reporting that 500 million accounts use Stories. Due to the success of this format, Instagram recently announced they were experimenting with increasing ad load on the platform.

  • Shoppable Posts

This feature enables users to make purchases from their feed or Story content without leaving the app.

  • IGTV

IGTV is a hub for creating and watching long-form content. Unlike Stories, IGTV videos do not disappear after 24 hours. This format allows you to create content for your followers that they can watch at a later time and engage with your audience.

  • Twitter
    • Hide Replies

Twitter users can now hide replies to tweets, giving you more control over the conversation. This can help your practice by allowing you to weed out any spam replies.

  • Greater Video Focus

In the last year, video ad formats were the fastest-growing ad format on Twitter. Video content is becoming a more and more important and integrated part of the platform.

  • Snapchat
    • Dynamic Ads

One of the benefits of Dynamic Ads is that it reduces the amount of time and effort required to create and maintain product ads on Snapchat. Snapchat is particularly appealing to a younger demographic, so this is the ideal place to reach younger potential patients.

  • YouTube
    • 15-Second Non-Skippable Ads

In 2019, YouTube made 15-second non-skippable ads available to all advertisers. This enables you to place 15-second ads that the user will not able to skip.

  • Intelligent Ad Tools

YouTube’s intelligent ad tools include a range of machine-learning powered tools that make it easier and more accessible to create ads for the platform.

  • Pinterest
    • Catalogs

Pinterest’s new Catalogs are a way to showcase products on the platform. You can upload multiple product images, organize the products by category, and turn the images into dynamic Product Pins.
With so much to watch for in 2020, it is certain to be an exciting year in social media. To learn more about how you can utilize social media to grow your practice this year, we invite you to contact us at AudiologyPlus today.

Communication Skills Training

The Importance of Communication Skills Training (Even for Hearing Professionals)

Patient communication is something you deal with every day. You communicate with your patients as you discuss their issues and concerns, assess their hearing, provide treatment recommendations, and follow up on treatment outcomes. Since patient communication is such an essential and integral part of your day-to-day work, you probably do not give it much thought.
However, perhaps you should give patient communication more thought, precisely because it is so essential. Although you practice communication on a daily basis, you may want to consider some additional communication skills training. Communication skills training focuses on optimizing clinician communication skills. The goal is to better meet patient needs, priorities, and values.
In recent years, communication skills training has become more and more of a priority in health care. Despite the focus on communication, however, few healthcare providers properly acknowledge the importance of hearing and understanding in medical settings.
As a hearing healthcare professional, you are likely familiar with this issue. Unfortunately, to medical professionals in other healthcare fields, the importance of a patient’s ability to hear and understand may not seem so obvious and essential. Much of communication skills training focuses on enhancing the healthcare provider’s communication skills, but even a clinician with the best of skills will not be able to effectively share information with a patient who cannot hear well.
In fact, recent studies have found that patients with impaired hearing are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. Researchers believe this is because patients with hearing loss have difficulty communicating with their doctor or other medical personnel. One recent study found that patients who reported trouble communicating had an average of 32 percent greater likelihood of hospital readmission. Another study discovered that patients with self-reported hearing aid use had a reduced incidence of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and nights spent in the hospital.
Studies have also shown that patients with compromised hearing status had lower treatment adherence. These recent studies make clear that a patient’s ability to hear and understand their healthcare provider is critical to optimizing communication. As a hearing professional, you can assess a patient’s hearing ability and tailor your communication to fit their needs. You can also recommend hearing aid use to improve their understanding and enhance overall patient communication.
Although your profession in the hearing healthcare field makes you familiar with problems that may arise when a patient cannot hear or understand well, it is important to keep these issues in mind as you communicate with your patients. As you share information with your patients, be sure to check that they understand you. It is also important to leave time for silence, during which time the patient can raise any questions or concerns they may have about the information you have provided.
You can also use your specialized knowledge and understanding of patients’ hearing difficulties to raise awareness of these issues among other healthcare providers. In addition to seeking communication skills training of your own, you can become an advocate for communication that includes an understanding of the patient’s hearing ability.
To learn more about the importance of communication skills training and other ways you can enhance your hearing practice, we welcome you to contact AudiologyPlus today.

A person holds a phone with customer reviews on it

Enhance Your Content Marketing with Patient Reviews

Online reviews are quickly becoming the leading form of word-of-mouth marketing for businesses of all types, and surveys continue to reveal their rising appeal. With 85% of respondents admitting to trusting online reviews as much as recommendations from friends, it’s worth your time to maximize the benefit of any and all positive reviews your business receives. After all, getting patients to leave you a positive review online takes a lot of hard work, and you deserve to share the good news.
One way to extend the reach of a great review is to highlight it in a blog post on your website. This content can then be shared on your social networks and also in your email newsletters. These posts can also include helpful information within the content itself, while also incorporating favorable reviews to encourage readers to seek your help if they’re suffering from hearing concerns as well.
Consider the three article formats below to showcase your happy patients and encourage others to join their ranks:
Patient Stories
There will be times when patients are so thoroughly satisfied with their results that they give generous reviews about their experience with you. These reviews present an opportunity to highlight the journey each patient took from experiencing a hearing concern to delighting in exceptional results. You will certainly need patient consent to share their story, and you should obtain this consent in writing before and after your blog has been written (but prior to publishing it). Usually, patients who are this thrilled with their results are happy to allow you to spread the good news further. If he or she would prefer to remain anonymous, the review would need to be left by “anonymous” on whatever website it was published on (which is not always possible) and a pseudonym should be used for the story itself.
These kinds of relatable posts tend to be the most popular kind, so spend some time laying out all of the details of your patient’s situation before coming to see you. You want your readers to be able to relate to the symptoms and their effect on your patient’s life. Once you paint a clear picture of his or her struggle, then go into the details about the relief your patient experienced through your thorough and welcoming care. Be sure to express the patient’s experience throughout this entire journey – one of limitation and frustration to a place of unexpected clarity and renewed connection, for example. Readers want to relate to this patient’s emotional state, as many of them will likely have some or all of the symptoms described.
As for the review, you can either quote it in the beginning or end of the review, depending on how you want to introduce this case story. It’s also important to express gratitude for the patient taking the time to leave a review and being willing to share his or her story.
Common Misconceptions
An easy way to highlight a group of positive reviews is to use them to shed light on frequent questions or misunderstandings about hearing treatments and the like. By selecting a few reviews that touch on common misconceptions such as, “hearing evaluations are lengthy and unnecessary,” or “I don’t actually need hearing aids anyhow,” you can directly address these pervasive beliefs with successful patient testimonies.
Don’t worry about having the perfect review to match to a given misconception, but do use discretion on how you describe a patient’s situation. Unless you receive explicit consent (in writing) from the reviewer to describe their case in more detail, you should just stick to the details shared by the patient in the review itself. The main idea here is to simply expand on what struggles people overcome in general by visiting your office.
Outline of Results
Take advantage of a handful of positive reviews by highlighting the successful results they represent in your patients’ lives. You could do this “spotlight on results” type of post as a longer article looking at a few different reviews at once, or as a series of shorter posts focused on one result/review at a time. The latter will offer a more focused appreciation of each reviewer (and indirectly encourage more reviews from current patients), and the former will give a strong dose of persuasive information about your services in one article.
The nature of your posts will be determined by the reviews you’re choosing to highlight, but ideally will center around the most common results your patients are seeking: improved hearing, better ability to navigate important listening situations (e.g. work, family, etc), tinnitus relief, and so forth.
When designing your approach for a results-oriented post like this, be sure to thoroughly describe the problem seeking to be solved. Instead of just describing a patient who couldn’t hear well in meetings, go into the frustrations that can present to really allow your readers a chance to relate to the patient at hand. Avoid imposing that reality onto your actual patient who left the review (unless it’s clearly stated as such ), and just keep your analysis general and non-patient specific (this isn’t a case story, as above, but more of a description of the results that are possible, with reviews to prove it).
Leveraging your reviews like this can be a great way to create a popular blog post and create effective marketing all at once. Remember: you work hard for every positive review you receive and your future patients deserve to hear about what’s possible.
Having trouble getting patients to leave you reviews at all? Consider improving your patient review rates by adding ReviewMe to your website for the easiest way for patients to leave you a review on the most popular websites. Click here to learn more or simply contact us to take advantage of this today.

A person holds a phone with customer reviews on it

Enhance Your Content Marketing with Patient Reviews

Online reviews are quickly becoming the leading form of word-of-mouth marketing for businesses of all types, and surveys continue to reveal their rising appeal. With 85% of respondents admitting to trusting online reviews as much as recommendations from friends, it’s worth your time to maximize the benefit of any and all positive reviews your business receives. After all, getting patients to leave you a positive review online takes a lot of hard work, and you deserve to share the good news.
One way to extend the reach of a great review is to highlight it in a blog post on your website. This content can then be shared on your social networks and also in your email newsletters. These posts can also include helpful information within the content itself, while also incorporating favorable reviews to encourage readers to seek your help if they’re suffering from hearing concerns as well.
Consider the three article formats below to showcase your happy patients and encourage others to join their ranks:
Patient Stories
There will be times when patients are so thoroughly satisfied with their results that they give generous reviews about their experience with you. These reviews present an opportunity to highlight the journey each patient took from experiencing a hearing concern to delighting in exceptional results. You will certainly need patient consent to share their story, and you should obtain this consent in writing before and after your blog has been written (but prior to publishing it). Usually, patients who are this thrilled with their results are happy to allow you to spread the good news further. If he or she would prefer to remain anonymous, the review would need to be left by “anonymous” on whatever website it was published on (which is not always possible) and a pseudonym should be used for the story itself.
These kinds of relatable posts tend to be the most popular kind, so spend some time laying out all of the details of your patient’s situation before coming to see you. You want your readers to be able to relate to the symptoms and their effect on your patient’s life. Once you paint a clear picture of his or her struggle, then go into the details about the relief your patient experienced through your thorough and welcoming care. Be sure to express the patient’s experience throughout this entire journey – one of limitation and frustration to a place of unexpected clarity and renewed connection, for example. Readers want to relate to this patient’s emotional state, as many of them will likely have some or all of the symptoms described.
As for the review, you can either quote it in the beginning or end of the review, depending on how you want to introduce this case story. It’s also important to express gratitude for the patient taking the time to leave a review and being willing to share his or her story.
Common Misconceptions
An easy way to highlight a group of positive reviews is to use them to shed light on frequent questions or misunderstandings about hearing treatments and the like. By selecting a few reviews that touch on common misconceptions such as, “hearing evaluations are lengthy and unnecessary,” or “I don’t actually need hearing aids anyhow,” you can directly address these pervasive beliefs with successful patient testimonies.
Don’t worry about having the perfect review to match to a given misconception, but do use discretion on how you describe a patient’s situation. Unless you receive explicit consent (in writing) from the reviewer to describe their case in more detail, you should just stick to the details shared by the patient in the review itself. The main idea here is to simply expand on what struggles people overcome in general by visiting your office.
Outline of Results
Take advantage of a handful of positive reviews by highlighting the successful results they represent in your patients’ lives. You could do this “spotlight on results” type of post as a longer article looking at a few different reviews at once, or as a series of shorter posts focused on one result/review at a time. The latter will offer a more focused appreciation of each reviewer (and indirectly encourage more reviews from current patients), and the former will give a strong dose of persuasive information about your services in one article.
The nature of your posts will be determined by the reviews you’re choosing to highlight, but ideally will center around the most common results your patients are seeking: improved hearing, better ability to navigate important listening situations (e.g. work, family, etc), tinnitus relief, and so forth.
When designing your approach for a results-oriented post like this, be sure to thoroughly describe the problem seeking to be solved. Instead of just describing a patient who couldn’t hear well in meetings, go into the frustrations that can present to really allow your readers a chance to relate to the patient at hand. Avoid imposing that reality onto your actual patient who left the review (unless it’s clearly stated as such ), and just keep your analysis general and non-patient specific (this isn’t a case story, as above, but more of a description of the results that are possible, with reviews to prove it).
Leveraging your reviews like this can be a great way to create a popular blog post and create effective marketing all at once. Remember: you work hard for every positive review you receive and your future patients deserve to hear about what’s possible.
Having trouble getting patients to leave you reviews at all? Consider improving your patient review rates by adding ReviewMe to your website for the easiest way for patients to leave you a review on the most popular websites. Click here to learn more or simply contact us to take advantage of this today.

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.
 

Hearing professional reaches out to a happy patient

Why Patient Satisfaction is More Important Than Ever

Hearing care professionals practicing independently are facing a rapidly changing landscape for themselves and their patients. People have more options for hearing devices today than ever before, from the severely discounted over-the-counter (OTC) hearing instruments at big box retailers to finding them even cheaper online.
The convenience of selecting hearing aids without the detailed guidance of a hearing care professional is both the appeal and the weakness of these newer avenues. While some customers prefer the directness of the “find your own” option, many are recognizing the need for help with such a significant and individualized decision. A couple of returns later (or worse, getting stuck with instruments that can’t be returned) is driving more than a few former-OTC hearing aid shoppers to local private practices for the hearing care they need.
The personal attention, knowledgeable guidance, and precise testing that hearing care professionals provide their patients cannot (and will never) be replicable with pre-programmed OTC hearing aids. The definition of such hands-on care is outside the scope of the direct-to-consumer model of OTC devices. And while an individualized approach to hearing care might not be the “most efficient” path to better hearing, it will likely always remain the most effective.
Ultimately, the success of any hearing care practice rests upon this effectiveness and, more precisely, the patient satisfaction that it creates.
Ask any hearing professional if their office uses a patient-centered approach to hearing care and the vast majority will tell you, unequivocally, “yes.” It’s a common phrase seen in marketing materials and websites across hearing practices, but in reality, it’s often loosely defined.
The truth is, licensed hearing care professionals of all stripes practice across a wide spectrum of standards. So wide, in fact, that the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) have been striving to implement their “Best Practice Guidelines” for the last 20 years in an effort to create a common ground for patient-centered care. At its core, these guidelines rest on dispensing hearing aids using evidence-based assessment, measuring, and validation methods for utmost patient satisfaction. According to the lead author of those guidelines, implementation of them occurs in 20-30% of offices, at best.
With the evolution of access to hearing devices underway at this very moment, revisiting the topic of patient satisfaction as a means to practice success is worthwhile. As digital hearing technology continues to unveil faster, cheaper, and smarter instruments, the only way for hearing practices to differentiate is to deliver exceptional personalized service. Below are the four cornerstones of delivering what your patients want.
Personalized Care
However obvious it may be, offering personalized care means that each patient gets detailed attention and care. Personalized care steps beyond individualized care by including a customer intimacy element where provider and patient have some quality face-time to communicate needs and potential solutions. For older patients, especially, getting to spend a few extra minutes with a hearing professional wholly interested in their unique needs and limitations is enough to stand out among the numerous other health care providers they see who rush in and rush out.
Personalized care steps beyond the main caregiver, however, and must include the entire customer-facing team. Everyone in your office must share and exude the ethos of patient-first if the patient is to experience being at the center of the care team. Specifically with treatment protocols known for arousing resistance in patients (e.g. those awkward first few weeks with new hearing aids), increasing the amount of face-to-face communication with your patients has been found to significantly improve patient compliance with recommendations and, ultimately, patient success.
Comfortable Environment
A warm, welcoming environment is essential for patient satisfaction and retention. While it’s easy to imagine what kind of creature comforts would be useful for this goal—such as refreshments in the waiting area, comfortable chairs to relax in, and easy-to-use testing gear—the heart of a comfortable environment is the people working within it.
Beyond the foundations of personalized service, as detailed above, are the softer elements of patient care, often found in the details. A warm rapport for phone and in-person greetings should be tailored with the unique patient population in mind. Training all of front office staff on how to speak and enhance communication with the hard-of-hearing is essential, as is creating communication strategies if any of the common reactions (i.e. avoidance, denial, even hostility) are encountered when working with them as they come for appointments.
Like any business, the more you can cater to the specific needs of your customers, including personalizing them by name, the better their experience will be.
Engaging & Knowledgeable Staff
The personalities and skill of every person on your staff not only conveys the warmth and welcome you want in your office, but also helps your patients overcome any doubt and confusion they might have. Your patients can express their concerns and questions at any point in their journey through your office, be it with a receptionist, assistant, or you.
Offering information to help them better understand their own situation, warmly and empathetically, can go a long way in making them feel supported and well-guided by your entire team. You want your patients to know that they can reach out at any time and to feel confident that they will get the answers they need.
A Brand Centered on You
Remember, the evolving hearing market means that you and your services are now the main attraction. Trying to compete with the price points of local big-box retailers is likely a viable option if you intend to continue offering the standard value-add services for the hearing aids you sell. Differentiating yourself from those large retailers isn’t difficult when you emphasize your personalized and knowledgeable services. Patients value your professional opinion and experience, and recognize that a higher price point is a part of that.
As you design your marketing materials for this new marketplace, be sure to highlight the results you and your office help patients easily achieve. Enjoying natural-sounding results, through a smooth and simple process, is often what OTC hearing aid buyers are longing for. Keep those customer desires in mind as you create your messaging for prospective patients.
The rise of increasingly accessible hearing aids is a positive direction for the hearing market as a whole. As more people wear hearing aids, the more “normal” it will seem, and the stubborn resistance to them will continue to fade. Ultimately, the value of personalized, hands-on service cannot be understated, and the awareness of its value will rise in the contrast of purchasing devices without such care.
Capitalizing on this shift of patient perspectives means paying close attention to the patient experience in your office. Sending a follow-up patient satisfaction survey, or even just a simple email asking how they are feeling about your services, can help you gather important feedback. As you continue delivering excellent services and putting patients first, you will maintain a strong local reputation to continue driving patient inquiries as the market grows.
If you think your practice could be reaching more prospective patients online, consider getting professional help through our wide array of services. Like you, we also make customer satisfaction a priority and consider your success our success. Contact us to get found by new patients online.
 

Frustrated woman looks at computer

Can You Pay to Remove Negative Online Reviews?

Business owners from nearly every sector have come to recognize the importance of online reviews. People are leaving reviews for everything from strange decor pillows and their most recent meal out, to health professionals and even entire cities. What’s more, everyone else is reading them.
A recent BrightLocal survey saw a whopping 97% of consumers report using online reviews to evaluate businesses before visiting them. And for healthcare providers, online reviews are even more popular than government ratings.
These trends can be either good news or bad news for businesses, depending on their review management strategy. Despite common misconceptions, there are actually a set of reliable tactics for safeguarding your online reputation beyond just hoping that the occasional unsatisfied customer doesn’t blast you on Yelp.
Online review management is a three-pronged approach to leveraging the power of patient reviews to help your practice. As always, it begins with delivering excellent service, followed by encouraging reviews, and ends with leaving a proper response to any reviews you receive.
We’ve already gone over ways to effectively encourage reviews for your services, and now it’s time to evaluate the best way to respond to reviews, both the good ones and the bad.
Truth be told, positive reviews will promote your business whether or not you weigh in, but responding to them can boost their effect. In fact, a PhoCusWright survey found that 78% of respondents agreed that seeing a business respond to their reviews made them feel cared about. Showing your appreciation for a review sends a nice message to the reviewer and also displays your caring approach to everyone else. For a healthcare provider, especially, that’s a helpful quality to promote to potential patients perusing reviews of local providers.
But what about those dreaded negative reviews? They’re nearly impossible to avoid even when your service is impeccable. Frankly, some people are difficult to please no matter what, and now that there’s an easy way to vent frustrations for all to see, it seems there are more people like this than ever. Fear not, however, because a negative review does not have to be the final word.
Sadly, this isn’t where we explain how you can pay to remove these pesky reviews. Despite the growing number of ads and companies offering to eliminate your negative reviews for a price, the fact remains that popular review sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Healthgrades are not affected by them. File these offers away with the emails from an Ethiopian prince needing to wire all his family’s wealth to you. They’re simply a scam.
Not only will these offers not get you what you pay for, but they could also get your business into hot water. Popular review sites depend on reliable, credible reviews for their own reputations and some even go so far as blacklisting businesses that try to undermine their efforts. Yelp, for instance, has begun boldly flagging businesses that are caught interfering with the authenticity of their reviews.
But just because you can’t pay to remove negative reviews doesn’t mean they have to negatively impact your business. By delivering an appropriate response to a negative review, you have the opportunity to reverse its effect on public perception. Just think about your own experience reading reviews. Sometimes people leave obviously unreasonable reviews out of sheer frustration and unrealistic expectations. And other times, their complaints are legitimate. But in either case, a calm, understanding, and reasonable response from the business owner or manager can go a long way in resolving any lingering doubts you might have.
The key here is delivering an appropriate response, however. If a negative review is not handled correctly, it can send an even worse message to prospective patients. Luckily, solid responses have common themes. Let’s take a look at what they entail:

  • They convey an understanding of the reviewer’s perspective
  • They apologize for playing a role in the reviewer’s frustration (even if they didn’t really mess up).
  • They are calm and not reactive.
  • They avoid being defensive, but do offer the business’s perspective on the issue at hand.
  • They offer “a second chance” (often for free, or at a discount) to achieve the customer satisfaction they strive to deliver, often leaving an email or phone number for the reviewer to use.

Replying in a reasonable way to any negative reviews you get might require that you take a day or two to gain a calm mindset about it. Getting critical feedback is hard, especially when it’s unfounded, and it’s all too easy to fall into defensiveness or reactivity when we respond while still feeling frustrated.
Take some time to formulate a response that you can view from the perspective of a perusing patient who knows nothing of the situation. It’s also helpful to have someone outside of your business, like a friend or colleague, read your response before you publish it. Remember: your response is your one chance to nullify the impact of a negative review, so take the time to get it right.
By getting to the end of this article, you’re already light years ahead of many other businesses online. The number of poorly-rated businesses without any effort to reply to their critics is a large one, and is unfortunately affecting their success. The worst thing you could do with negative reviews is to ignore them, so consider yourself already one giant step closer to successful review management.
When we work with clients, their success is our success and we know how critical their online reputation is. It’s why we created ReviewMe to help them generate more positive reviews and increase their visibility (and attractiveness) online. Contact us today to learn how we can help your practice find success too.

Tech support staff member smiles while on a call

Technical Support and Why it’s Essential for Your Website

Few things in life can be as frustrating as technology gone awry. Who hasn’t aggressively hassled a suddenly-defunct printer, copy machine, or frozen touchscreen? As our lives have become increasingly dependent on the conveniences of modern technology, we’ve also made ourselves more likely to explode when these new features aren’t accessible.
When tech trouble visits your website, the pressure is doubled. You know your website is your digital storefront to everyone online, and you’ve likely invested significant time and money into its presence. So if it goes down, or fails to perform how you need it to, it’s understandable if you feel like throwing your computer at a wall.
Enter: tech support.
As important as technical support is for your website’s success (and your sanity), it’s rarely a strong consideration when people are looking into having their website built. Like many of life’s unfortunate events, it’s all too easy to believe they “just aren’t very likely.” Call it optimism or call it denial, when it’s part of your website-hunting mentality, regret is likely to follow.
The thing is, websites can be tricky — especially in the current online marketplace. Today’s websites need to be built well, complete with thorough SEO elements implemented onsite and offsite to get visitors on it. Literally billions of websites are competing for limited attention spans, so getting your website found by potential patients online is challenging enough. Having them land on a website that isn’t functioning properly is a serious step backward for your online presence.
Complete technical support is imperative for a smooth experience of promoting your business online. But the truth is, there is a wide variance on how different companies define what “complete” tech support is. Consider the features below that we believe offer the best support for website clients.
Fast Turnaround
Perhaps the most critical feature of any technical support service is its ability to get you the help you need in the most efficient way possible. This becomes especially true for serious glitches (like a website that’s gone offline) but applies to smaller issues as well. Ultimately, you need to know that someone with technical skill is aware of your issue and is working on a solution. Getting the problem solved could take varying amounts of time, but communicating with you about its progress is essential.
If, when looking into website developers, you encounter complaints about clients having a hard time getting a response at all from their support, quickly move onto other options. Lack of efficient client communication is a red flag that likely entails other weaknesses in customer service and satisfaction.
Resources for Self-Help
Having a team of actual people to help you solve a technical problem is ideal, but also means that you’ll likely have to wait your turn. Getting an issue solved might take a few days if it’s not a serious one, and could potentially be something you’d be able to fix yourself with a bit of extra knowledge.
The most complete technical support services recognize this. They offer resources to empower clients to fix smaller problems on their own, while also being available to walk clients through it if need be. The key here is having options, and in the best case scenarios, the support team is available alongside various forms of helpful information, like articles and how-to videos.
Well-Trained Support Staff
We’ve all had the experience of talking to someone in customer or tech support who just didn’t quite know how to help us. Talking to a poorly trained support staff can quickly feel like a big dead end. Thorough training and extensive experience with website development (and even your business model or industry) is an ideal feature of your website development company. After all, what’s the point of calling the experts if they’re lacking expertise?
Friendly Service
Technical issues can be hard logistically, and emotionally. They often strike when we least expect (or want) them to. Having an understanding support member helping you can make a stressful situation more bearable. Although technical support teams are often separate from customer support teams, cross training (to a certain degree) is desirable, and fairly obvious when it’s been overlooked.
If your website is having issues, and you’re contacting the company who built it for you, there’s no reason for them not to be polite and understanding. They may or may not be responsible for the exact problem you’re facing, but they definitely should be eager to help you resolve it.
 
Websites are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building your business’s online presence. Your website’s backend structure, off-site development, related marketing campaigns, and technical support team all play critical roles in your overall success, and how easily it comes.
At AudiologyPlus, we’ve made responsive, reliable, and friendly technical support a high priority. From offering clients our Training & Help Center, complete with easy how-to videos, to our guaranteed response time of 24 hours, we take our clients’ success seriously and do everything we can to support it. You can learn more about all of our offerings here.

3 arrows in the bulls-eye of a target

Reach the Customers You Want with Precision Targeting

A huge perk of online marketing is the ability to target your ads to people expressly interested in your services. If a person is online, searching for information or professionals related to tinnitus, for example, you can clearly define that in your ad’s parameters and increase the odds that she or he will click through to your website. It’s these detailed targeting features, along with a notable cost-effectiveness, that’s made digital ads a popular option for businesses looking for increased traffic (both online and in-person).
Advertising services like Google Adwords and Sponsored Ads on Facebook offer an impressive array of details about the people you want to show your ads to. Whether you target people searching for topics related to your business, specify their location, or even define the kinds of interests they have, you can expect your campaigns will be shown to the right kind person.
Consider the possibilities for your business if you could directly reach the people in need of your services. Below we walk through what’s possible with precision targeting on two of the leading online marketing platforms: Google and Facebook.
Keyword Targeting
When in need of local services, an increasing number of people are going online to research their options before visiting any office or store in-person. In fact, 97% of people reported going online to look for a local business just last year. These kinds of pursuits usually start with people using a search engine like Google to find businesses that meet their needs. The words they use to perform their search include keywords for the respective industry they’re interested in. And these keywords are prime targets for online ads.
Through Google Adwords, keyword targeting can enable a business to place their website at the top of the search results and on related websites. It’s a versatile approach to finding your customers online as it offers a wide array of options for narrowing in on your ideal keywords. For instance, the keywords, “hearing loss” could be set up to trigger your ad when used in a phrase (such as, “symptoms of hearing loss”), by itself, and as broad or precise as you prefer.
Keyword targeting on Google can vary widely in cost, with the most popular (and obvious) keywords for a given industry costing the most. On Facebook, targeting audiences based on specific keywords doesn’t increase the cost, but can either increase or decrease your audience selection, ultimately defining the number of people likely to see your ad. The benefit of both platforms, however, is that you only pay for your ads when someone actually clicks them (hence, pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising).
Location Targeting
Targeting people within a certain distance from your office is an ideal choice for marketing your practice. It significantly boosts the number of people your ads will reach and also helps bring the cost down for highly competitive keywords (like “hearing loss” or “hearing aids”).
Location targeting is available for ads on both Google and Facebook, but is more advanced on Google. A targeting strategy known as “geofencing” has become popular for targeting audiences in specific areas, allowing marketers to place a virtual fence around a location and target only those people inside of it, as well as anyone who crosses into that space.
The novelty of geofencing is its use of GPS in conjunction with targeted ads, allowing a level of location precision never before available. For instance, an ad can be set to target people visiting a competitor’s business, or temporarily be set for a relevant event (i.e. a loud rock concert, etc).  
Facebook ads allow the specificity of locations on the city, state, and country level, but their limitation with location targeting is more than made up for by their detailed personal data for audiences.
Audience Targeting
Basic demographic qualifiers, like age, gender, country of residence, and language are adjustable for ad targeting on both Google and Facebook. But the similarities in audience targeting quickly end there, as Facebook’s giant trove of data about its users is far more granular than Google’s. From pages people have liked, to their profession, income level, education, interests, behaviors, and even recent life events, Facebook has a long list of personal data that proves useful when trying to market to a specific market online.
The trick with audience targeting on both Google and Facebook is to find the sweet spot of accessing just enough people without diluting your targeting goals. Keep things too broad and you’ll run the risk of people not being interested in your ads. Make your parameters too narrow and you’ll risk not enough people seeing your ad at all. Finding that elusive sweet spot requires some trial and error, but by diligently following the metrics of your campaigns and adjusting your ads and targeting accordingly, you’ll eventually settle on audience parameters that deliver the conversions you’re seeking.

Online marketing has proven to be significantly more successful for business owners than traditional marketing ever could be. And it’s not hard to see why: targeting your audience is easier and more precise, campaign tracking is rich with detail and enables you to make necessary adjustments instantly, and more people are looking online for local businesses than ever before.
If your business has yet to take advantage of online marketing, be it through PPC ads or a strong online presence, there’s no better time than now. Contact us to find out how our clients are realizing growth in their businesses they never thought possible.