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If you previously had data on your target market, it is now outdated.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.

Man contemplating information on computer - Shift in consumer behavior due to Covid-19

The Pandemic Forced a Shift in Consumer Behavior

As a business owner, you know that due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, it has not been “business as usual” for nearly a year. With widespread lockdowns across the world, consumers and businesses alike have had to increasingly turn to digital solutions. This can be seen in lifestyle shifts like increased usage of meal delivery and grocery pick-up services. While these particular changes might seem small, the truth is that the shift to digital business models has been revolutionary for companies worldwide.

While businesses around the planet have scrambled to adjust their business models and find solutions that work for today’s reality, one form of marketing has proven time and again to be both efficient and measurable: search engine optimization (SEO). Both Google and SEO grew immensely during the last financial crisis. Here are just a few reasons why SEO is indispensable in the age of COVID-19 and beyond:

  • SEO reflects the voice of the customer.

If you track and measure the searches that bring visitors to your website, you will see which search terms and phrases are being used most often and how well your website answers those queries. This gives you valuable insight into what your customers are looking for. Put simply, they search for what they need.

For example, if you notice that searches are increasing for how to fix a damaged hearing aid, or how to adjust a hearing aid’s volume, you can take this as a cue to play up these services and highlight them both on your website and in your practice. Few other forms of marketing provide you such a direct glimpse into the voice, needs, and desires of your target market.

  • It is cost-effective.

While some people might think that SEO is completely free, it often is not. For maximum optimization for your hearing healthcare website, you will likely need to work with a professional who knows all of the ins and outs of SEO for fields like audiology. Certain search marketing tactics cost as well, such as Google Ads. But while SEO might not be totally free, it is cost-effective. When done right, SEO can give you a huge return on a relatively small investment.

  • SEO is constantly evolving.

Yes, this is a pro, not a con! The world of SEO is always growing and shifting to better meet the needs of consumers. Of course, this means that you cannot have SEO “done” for your website just once and then leave it be for years. SEO is fluid and, as noted, responds to the voice of the consumer.

These constant shifts allow for greater opportunities. New technology, like artificial intelligence (AI), is moving into SEO to give better responses to customers’ queries. Because SEO will always respond to consumers, you will have frequent opportunities to sharpen your blade and make changes to your website and optimization efforts in order to gain new customers. For more information about the recent shift in consumer behavior and business marketing, and how you can take advantage of these changes to grow your hearing practice, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus.

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.