It is a noisy health-care world, and there is an utmost need for marketing from audiologists who live in a world where they often struggle to be heard. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), on average, it takes seven years for someone with hearing loss to schedule an appointment with an audiologist (HLAA, 2018). This can be due to a number of hurdles. The primary one being that people suffering from hearing loss simply do not want to admit their condition. Second, their awareness of audiology is limited when compared to other health-care professions. The audiologist, thus, is in a competitive and distracting marketplace where creating a distinct brand is not an easy task.
There can be numerous ways to overcome this issue. Converting people who need hearing aids but do not purchase them into people who need hearing aids and actually get them is a strenuous task. Audiologists need to know more than just how to diagnose and treat hearing loss. They need to gain the trust and loyalty of the millions of people resistant to seeking help due to the societal and cultural stigmas associated with wearing hearing aids.
Don't Be Shy
Audiologists should not feel shy about selling. The goal should be to instill trust, loyalty, and longevity. It is imperative to establish a brand identity to help reach this goal. Health-care professionals are in a distinctive spot when it comes to their digital existence. Ultimately, you’re promoting an aid or a facility that represents a requisite rather than a prospective impulsive buy.
Use Brand Strategy
Branding is the “why.” Promotion, however, is the “what” and the “how.” Branding is your expression of the value of the organization, product, or service—the vehicle for taking your message out to the world, creating a dialogue between you and your audience. Audiologists need to be aware of their mission, the benefits of the products or services provided, and family members’ perception about their practice.
Remember, word-of-mouth marketing is relatively inexpensive, yet can be priceless. There are traditional marketing practices that include print, direct mail, telemarketing, directories or yellow pages, radio/television broadcasts, and outdoor advertising, among others.
With the advent of the digital age, online marketing is now a crucial component in the success of a modern health-care practice. It is critical to be online with a clear and concise targeted strategy. The extensive purpose of social media in the health-care industry is to revamp the patient's experience and form a “customer–centric relationship” with followers.
Patients and their influencers research and vet you based on the content and information they find about you and your practice online. A website is a bare necessity for the health professional’s online presence. Hire a professional website developer to continue the branding of your office online. Adding social-sharing buttons to e-mail may increase the click-through rate by 150 percent (Virgillito, 2014).
You may also incorporate digital testimonial videos of satisfied patients with their permission. There goes a saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Video testimonials that are direct words of satisfied patients on your website or other platforms, such as YouTube or Vimeo, make a vital difference. According to Lane, you also can look at e-mail marketing campaigns because they are reported to statistically outperform every other digital marketing tactic in terms of return on investment.
Blogs also can prove to be a viable option, as 329 million people read blogs every month. Blogs are a credible way to increase visibility and establish trust. However, you should keep subject matter focused on audiology or patient-focused topics.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an organic search effort-ranking created when someone searches for information on your topic categories. The point is: Are you findable?
Internet users are searching for doctors through social media exactly the same way they search for products and amenities. In today’s day and age, 81 percent of purchases of products and services start with a simple web search (Ahern, 2017).
Today, search engines are smart to extrapolate people interaction with websites. You need to satisfy end-users’ search intent. Quality content increases organic SEO results. Optimizing content for mobile use helps as well.
Another targeted approach can be search engine marketing (SEM). This is much more than paid online ad campaigns. SEM includes anything with search engine providers (e.g., Google, Yahoo) including SEO, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, or buying advertising within a search engine. An SEO–SEM blend works. It is a tried-and-tested concept that many people have find successful, according to WordStream.
Additional marketing ideas include adding videos to increase clicks, outlining the activities in your practice, and defining your target audience including a psychographic profile that includes potential patient interests (e.g., common patient activities, values, lifestyle, social situations).
Define the unique selling proposition (USP) or the answer to “why the community should seek hearing loss rehabilitation,” including action you want for the people to take in reaction to your marketing efforts. Determine your budget expense breakdown, either annual or biennially, and also include the costs for creating and distributing your message.
Review your plan on a monthly basis purely to ascertain the cost-benefit ratio. You can use the data acquired to review your marketing goals. Also, cushion for unexpected opportunities. These strategies will give you a roadmap to spending your hard-earned money better and with more efficiency. These steps collectively will boost your return on investment.
Finally, bridging the gap, we can come up to these conclusions. We now have to become health-care, sales, and marketing experts. We are on the verge of transforming how the world views our professional value. Cut through the noise and drive this conversation. Start with one new marketing activity and commit to teaching and evaluating its effectiveness. Your social marketing plan is an instrument to bridge the gap among patients, loved ones, physicians, and better hearing. Also, if it succeeds, it helps you carve that niche that you set out for yourself.
Mastering social media undoubtedly will be a boon to your practice. Through easily available information at the prospective patient’s fingertips, you will be able educate them on when to check their hearing with an audiologist, which studies have found may take years to accomplish. Also, learning what the different types of social media are and how they are used can help you formulate an effective outreach and information campaign. Lastly, digital media is how most people now get their information, and you need social media to direct consumers to your practice. Don’t hesitate, start implementing your social media campaign today to get your message heard above everyone else!