Increase hearing aid sales

Want to Increase Hearing Aid Sales? This Is What You Need to Know

As a hearing healthcare practitioner, your business depends on your patients. If your practice is like most hearing practices, you rely not only on appointments but also on sales–hearing aid sales. So, how can you increase hearing aid sales and therefore boost your business? Here are a few simple ways to increase hearing aid sales:

  • Listen to your patients’ needs.

Pushy salesmanship does not earn repeat customers–and it rarely earns sales. Rather than pushing certain devices on your patients, listen to their needs. Listen to your patient’s preferences, difficulties, and interests. This will allow you to make better recommendations that better fit their particular needs.

  • Follow up with your patients.

Once a patient purchases hearing aids, be sure to continue following up. Make sure they know you have not forgotten about them or their needs. Follow up to make certain that their devices are functioning properly and that they know how to appropriately care for their hearing aids.
It can also be helpful to take the opportunity to remind your patients about follow-up appointments, routine maintenance, and regular fittings.

  • Offer financing options.

Do not let financing be the reason you miss out on additional hearing aid sales. If the hearing aids your patient needs are a little outside their price range, offer flexible financing options that fit their needs. Make it simple for every patient to afford the device that is best for them.
It is also important that the way you explain financing options is clear–and that every member of your team can also clearly explain the financing options. Confusion will only hurt your practice and your sales.

  • Get a modern website.

A modern practice needs a modern website. On your website, you can feature the hearing services you offer, including hearing aids. This helps patients (both current and potential) find the services and devices they are looking for.
With a website built to the latest specifications, your site will function and display optimally on all types of devices. This includes mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. You will also want to consider adopting telehealth to ensure you can serve patients who can’t easily travel to your office. You can troubleshoot and manage hearing aids over telehealth!

  • Focus on Local SEO.

Of course, a modern website will not do much to bring your practice more patients and more sales if people cannot find your website. SEO (search engine optimization) ensures that people who are searching for your services will find them. Local SEO is especially important for making certain that people in your area find your practice.

  • Highlight positive reviews.

In today’s world, reviews are an important part of choosing both products and providers. Showcasing positive reviews on your website can help potential customers feel more comfortable in trusting your services and purchasing the hearing aids you offer.
To do this, you need to gather reviews from your existing patients. Once you have a few glowing reviews, you can start to feature them on your website.
At AudiologyPlus, we have over 20 years of experience in marketing hearing healthcare practices, and we are dedicated to helping your business succeed. If you need help with a modern website, SEO, reviews, or other online marketing services, we have the expertise you need. We welcome you to contact us today to learn more about us and how we can help your practice grow.

New Maine Law that Requires Private Insurers to Cover Cost of Hearing Aids

New Maine Law that Requires Private Insurers to Cover Cost of Hearing Aids

A new law took effect in Maine on January 1, 2020, that will have far-reaching effects for hearing practices, hearing aid professionals, and their patients. The new law requires private insurers, as well as the state’s Medicaid program, MaineCare, to cover the cost of hearing aids.
Of course, this new law comes with limitations regarding the amount and frequency of coverage for hearing aids. According to this law, private insurers and MaineCare are required to cover the cost of hearing aids up to $3,000 every three years. In addition, policyholders with deductibles greater than $3,000 that have not met the deductibles at the time of purchase may be responsible for the entire cost of the hearing aid.
Maine is the fifth state in the United States to require private health insurers to cover hearing aids. Before Maine, the states of Arkansas, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island required hearing aid coverage for both adults and children. According to a report by the state’s Bureau of Insurance in 2014, as many as 173,000 Maine residents have some level of hearing impairment. This new law could mean that more of these people with hearing impairment seek hearing aids.
It is an unfortunate fact that many people go without hearing aids due to the cost. In states where hearing aid coverage is not required, most insurance plans do not cover hearing aid costs. When they do cover hearing aids, it is usually only a small amount like $1,000. With many hearing aids costs as much as $4,000 per ear, the coverage amount is simply insufficient.
Supporters of the new law hope that the knowledge that their insurance will cover at least a significant portion of the cost of hearing aids will push people with hearing loss to seek treatment. Early treatment is important for those with hearing loss, as untreated hearing loss is linked to serious health conditions like depression, falls, anxiety, and cognitive decline. People with untreated hearing loss are also more likely to suffer social withdrawal and isolation, as well as loneliness.
In addition, people who begin wearing hearing aids earlier become more used to the devices and are more likely to continue using them in the future. Hearing aid usage can lead to greater communication, increased involvement and engagement with the community, and improved quality of life.
For many people who are uncertain whether they are experiencing hearing loss, the new law provides an extra reason to have their hearing evaluated. These people will be able to feel confident that if they are indeed experiencing hearing loss and need hearing aids, their insurance will cover the cost up to $3,000 per ear. This will likely encourage many people who have been putting off their hearing screenings to set up the appointments they need to receive the high-quality care they deserve.

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.

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5 Features to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency

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

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.

A woman looks at a laptop among collagues

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

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

Woman records video on her phone

How Video Can Skyrocket Your Practice’s Online Presence

Optimizing your digital marketing strategy for your hearing practice means making your website as visible as possible online. And in 2018, creating video content is one of the most effective ways for increasing your presence in the digital realm.
The idea of creating video content, however, makes many people cringe. Either they don’t want to be on camera or they expect the video creation process to be overwhelming or expensive. While getting past a camera-shy attitude looks different for different people, it’s helpful to understand why you’d want to reconsider putting yourself in front of the lens. And fortunately, these days, making videos that are useful, engaging, and highly shareable doesn’t have to mean hours of time or hundreds of dollars. Just take a look at the incredibly popular “live” videos (like Facebook Live or Instagram Stories) and you’ll quickly see that a smartphone combined with a few shared thoughts or vistas are enough to do the trick.
The main point you need to keep in mind as you consider bringing a video content strategy into your overall digital marketing plan is this: people online really like videos.
Truly, they love them. On Facebook alone, posts with videos get 135% more engagement than text or image posts. Further, YouTube, the most popular video platform on the Internet (and second most popular search engine) has more online viewers during prime-time TV hours than any television network!
It’s simple: times have most certainly changed, and online video is the way to go for bolstering your marketing efforts. Beyond the ballooning stats about people engaging with video online are a few more persuasive reasons why video content can, directly and indirectly, boost your practice’s visibility online.
Let’s take a look at each of them to better understand how you can take full advantage of this leading-edge approach.
Improve Your Website’s SEO
Perhaps the most important benefit of video content marketing is its effect on your website’s overall SEO, or search engine optimization. It’s a known fact that Google ranks websites with a variety of media types on them higher than those that don’t. Given the estimated projection that 80% of all internet traffic will be represented by video within the next year, it’s no surprise that search engines are favoring websites with video content along with the typical text and image formats.
To fully optimize your videos for search engines, it’s important to include all relevant and important keywords for your content in the video description and meta tags when adding it to your webpage. We dive more into keyword research here and recommend it for all of your content marketing efforts (be them through text or video).
Uploading a transcript of your dialogue along with the video itself is another way to bolster its SEO properties. Not only does a transcript enable an increase in the number of keywords you can use for your video, but it also makes the content accessible for viewers who aren’t in a position (or prefer not) to turn the sound on for your video. Transcripts also let search engines understand the relevancy of your video, making your content more easily searched and listed for related queries.
Increase Your Reach
Video content continues to garner increased attention from online users across the globe, with websites like Youtube showing over a billion hours of video to viewers every single day. People are more likely to click on interesting or informative video content than any other type of media—and they’re also more likely to share it on their own social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, or even their own blogs.
The more views your videos get, the more valuable they’re rated by search engines. And, you guessed it, the result is better ranking in related search results. Over time, this strategy can really pay off, so creating highly-shareable video content is a rapid and low-cost approach to expanding your reach online.
It’s also wise to host your video on an external website like Youtube or Vimeo, instead of only having it on your website’s blog. You can still embed the video onto your website (which we recommend), but it will actually play through its hosting site (or through a widget) when someone clicks on it to play. This alone can relieve your website of the heavy data-load that storing videos creates, which can quickly slow your website down.
Most important, though, is the effect of the link to your website that you would put in your channel’s description. By hosting your video on a third party site, you gain the space to add a valuable link to your website (called a linkback) in your profile area. Link-building—the process of gaining links to your own web pages from high-quality and popular external websites—is a critical element in any SEO strategy. As you endeavor to create a strong online presence, improving your visibility in search results should remain a top priority.
Increase Your Appeal—and Your Impact
Online analysts and digital marketing experts have been actively evaluating and debating the reasons for video’s high appeal. The inquiry ensues, but one aspect that everyone agrees on is the relatability of most video content. This is most easily seen in the rapid rise of the aforementioned “live” video features available across various social media networks, where editing capabilities are minimal and the results are raw and unpolished. The trends seem clear: people want to watch others who they can relate to and feel connected to. We saw it with the surge of interest in reality T.V. over a decade ago, and we’re seeing the same trend play out for online content.
This is where your content can really shine. Videos created and shared by knowledgeable hearing professionals have the combined effect of being informative and useful, while also disarming and encouraging. At a time when an estimated 80% of people with hearing loss are currently untreated, standing up and sharing helpful information about treatment options and patient outcomes can be transformative for people silently suffering from hearing issues.
The stigma around hearing aids and other treatments persists, and educating people about the realities of life after hearing aids is a crucial part of absolving these stubborn barriers. Sharing this information through video content is ideal—especially when delivered from a real person that viewers can get to know, trust, and watch anonymously online until they’re ready to get the help they need.
Allowing your viewers to learn from you while you simultaneously share your personality, warmth, and knowledge is an excellent way to begin building rapport with a significant number of potential patients. Marketers have long known that familiarity breeds trust, but sharing helpful information along with a dose of your presence goes even further in developing a base of loyal followers.
 
Navigating the waters of content marketing can seem daunting at first, especially when it comes to creating videos to share your message and knowledge. It helps to put any tendencies towards perfectionism aside and remain focused on simply helping as many people as possible.
This perspective shift will encourage you to prioritize your time so that you get as much helpful information out as fast as is reasonable, without getting hung up on how “polished” your video may or may not seem. Remember: the more of the real you people see, the more of them you can expect to see… through your office doors.
 

Mature adults look at smartphone

Hearing Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends for 2018

The development of consumer-oriented technology has dominated the hearing marketplace in recent years—making wearables, hearables, smartphone connectivity, hearing apps, and other smart devices more commonly expected from patients. Likewise, the demand for more sophisticated and modern marketing strategies from hearing healthcare providers has also risen. Gone are days where ‘product, price, place, and promotion’ is the ultimate marketing framework. The most proactive and savvy hearing professionals are actively finding new patients using the current trends in marketing and patient care to rise above the competition. Let’s take a look at those trends and why they’re working.
Digital First
Digital media has completely outpaced traditional media as the first choice for marketing. It’s not hard to see why: Digital marketing is less expensive, faster to launch, easier to modify, gives more rapid results, and offers detailed data on the effectiveness of any one campaign, creating a much better return on investment (ROI) across the board. For marketing hearing healthcare services, digital marketing is the new frontier of accessing a formerly-difficult-to-reach audience of people with untreated hearing issues. With Baby Boomers being the fastest growing population on social media, you better believe they’re browsing other sites worth their time online. Digital marketing is how you prove your website should be one of them.
The Market is Mobile
No business sector is immune to the dire need for a website optimized for a mobile audience. Ensuring that your practice’s website is mobile-friendly may not at first seem like an imperative marketing move—until you realize that your website’s traffic will largely be determined by this one key facet of your overall online marketing plan. With over 77% of American adults owning a smartphone, and studies showing that they spend more time each day on their phones than even watching television (with an average of more than two hours per day), it’s no surprise that search engines like Google have decided to penalize websites that are not mobile-friendly by ranking them lower in search results. Having a website that’s optimized for mobile screens means the most important information will be front and center, the interface will be clean and intuitive, and the website will load quickly (i.e. optimized for wireless connections).
The New King
“Content is King” has been the mantra of digital marketers for over a decade. Creating valuable content as a way to increase organic traffic to your website continues to be a critical element of a complete digital strategy (which we talk more in-depth about here and here) and should not be ignored. But an evolution of that content is also underway. What began simply as useful written content, has evolved to include eye-catching images, graphics, and video media. These are the visual elements that make a piece of content more shareable on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like. And this is precisely where the throne might be experiencing a hand-off. Social media activity continues to skyrocket, and companies have taken note. Healthcare practices are wise to implement a social strategy and to shape their content around it’s “shareability.” For 2018, it appears that social media is becoming the new “king,” and content might be the new “queen.”
Get Personal
The opportunity available in the digital realm is no secret, despite the fact that hearing practice owners have generally been slow to adapt their marketing strategies to the rising trends. The result of this growing awareness is a crowded marketplace where sincerity and innovation succeed in gaining the fleeting attention of online users. Glossy ads and picture-perfect images no longer get the appeal they once did in marketing tactics—and your practice’s online image is no exception. Consumers have been revealing an ever-growing preference for authenticity and relatability in the companies they choose to interact with, online or in-person. Social media has much to do with this shift, providing a platform for a more personal and transparent interaction with potential customers. The most effective campaigns online reflect this trend of a more personal approach by gracefully weaving storytelling, vulnerability, and often a bit of humor together to reflect the brand’s “humanness.”
As a hearing professional, your opportunities for storytelling are vast. Whether you share accounts of your own journey through a hearing issue, or how you helped a patient in need (anonymously or with permission), giving a peek into the details about the people behind the practice can go a long way in developing a trustworthy and approachable impression online.
Go Live
In 2017, we highlighted the need for more use of video as a medium for content distribution, as research continues to reveal its increasing appeal. It’s simple: more people click on social media posts with video content, and the second largest search engine worldwide is YouTube. Video also allows online viewers to get a quick sense of your authenticity, personability, and knowledge—key elements of effective content marketing.
While the reasons to get on camera continue to rise, it appears that 2018 may indeed be the year of “going live” instead of pre-recording those informative video clips. The introduction of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories (two avenues for publishing your live videos) has revealed a fresh way to access more viewers on either platform. On Facebook, while the number of users is greater than ever, organic reach is down due to changes in their algorithms for what users see in their feeds. However, the reach for live videos remains high, and those videos are accessible long after the live recording is finished—adding valuable content to your Facebook business page. This trend also echoes the sentiment of the previous one: the more real, the better.
Back to the Basics
While not exactly a new trend for 2018, the quality of your website’s design and user flow continues to rise in importance as the Internet becomes more crowded. The unfathomable amount of websites online has created a sophisticated Internet user with high expectations. Surveys reveal that your website needs to capture visitors’ appeal within the first 10 seconds to keep them from clicking onward, never to return. Efficient, intuitive, and sleek website design are the first steps toward this goal. Filling your pages with engaging and useful content is a close runner-up.
 
Taking a look at the trends of 2018 for the hearing healthcare marketplace is like looking at a landscape of possibility. Your target market is online in numbers like never before, and your competitors have been slow to really harness the power that online marketing holds. Incorporating even a few of the above strategies for your practice could mean a finish to the year like you’ve never seen before.
At AudiologyPlus, we specialize in simplifying the process of getting your practice found online. Our 20+ years in the hearing industry have shaped the digital solutions we build and the client satisfaction we’re known for.