It is 2022, and the hearing healthcare industry has faced a number of hurdles over the past few years; the pandemic, OTC legislation, and now the economic recession. It can be difficult to continuously pivot and innovate to stay competitive. It is essential to share the vision of your marketing plan with your team, how it positively affects the patient experience and the ‘why’ behind your recommended marketing strategies. Here are some tips and tricks for marketing your Audiology practice in this new age.
Multi-layered Marketing Plan
The first step to creating a marketing plan is determining what mediums (print, radio, digital, television, email, telephone, etc.) you want to use to market your message. I always like to reference Marshall McLuhan; a Canadian Philosopher whose work focuses on the study of media theory. McLuhan’s most notable idea is, “The Medium is the Message,” meaning that the important thing about media is not the messages they carry, but the way the medium itself affects human consciousness and society at large. The medium influences how the message is perceived. When you consider where you want to communicate and market, think about what that will mean to your current and prospective patients. What does watching television and seeing advertisements mean to your patient? Is this a credible medium? Is this a medium that instigates nostalgia? What does social media advertising mean to your patient? Your patients’ family? The digital age at large? Do your patients check their emails? Do your patients or their families utilize email or are they inundated by too many messages to truly receive yours?
Let’s break down a few of these mediums, shall we?
Good ole print. From our perspective, print has not died, and in fact, is still appreciated! In this digital age, your patients will still appreciate physically touching a printed artifact from your practice. They will keep it in a safe place at home where they can easily reference it. Perhaps it’s on the fridge, on the coffee table, in a folder or drawer. Maybe even shared with a friend at Bunco! There are a few print items that I think are well worth your practice investing in:
- A quarterly newsletter. That includes all of your latest news, practice updates, and industry updates and is disseminated physically in the office. Be sure to include a special front page column with an owner’s message. This places you as a thought leader. It can also be added to your website and sent to your email database.
- Business cards & product brochures. Old school, still relevant – need I say more?
- Review cards that instruct how to leave a review for your office and include your social media icons. Don’t forget that if you have Weave as your office communications system, you can send review requests directly to the patient’s cell phone via text! I love this feature!
- Ambassador program handouts. (If you don’t have one in place, I highly recommend putting a program together and training your PCC on how to promote).
- Branded patient folders. all of these wonderful handouts can be put inside of and given to your patient/prospective patient when they visit your office.
- Community newspapers. Personally, I would recommend refraining from your large newspaper with jaded hearing aid-related advertisements. If you live in a small town, engaging with that specific community is beneficial. These people will still reference that local paper for their service/product needs. Your messaging here should reflect the local spirit and current events.
- Patient birthday, upgrade and warranty expiration letters. Utilize your CRM system to send these important letters as touchpoints within your database. Worried about this taking a lot of time? Many CRM systems offer automation for these letters. P.S. Did you know that Sycle integrates directly with Weave? You can send happy birthday, upgrade, and warranty text messages through Weave!
This type of marketing is often the most difficult to understand but can make the biggest impact on your practice. Not to fear! There are many companies that will manage all facets of your digital marketing for you. Digital marketing agencies provide regular reports, or you can get creative and hire a local college student/intern to assist with your digital marketing strategy! Here are some important digital marketing must-haves:
- Search engine optimization (SEO). In short, this means that your office, products, and services can get recognized more efficiently upon queries submitted via search engine. Let’s be honest – in today’s world, who isn’t searching on Google?
- Email Marketing – Email your database with office updates, closures, promotions, new technology notices, etc. Did you know that Weave offers email marketing tools? I am a huge fan of their email templates. They’re so simple to use!
- Social Media – it is 2022, and most prospective patients will review your social media platforms before making an appointment. Some of your patients may use social media, but you can expect their children to use these platforms. I recommend private audiology practices use these platforms to engage your current customers and prospective customers. Oftentimes, much of the content you choose to distribute via email can also be posted on social media. Layered marketing… you see?
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Other Impactful Tips & Tricks
- Online store. Consider launching an online store for hearing aid products. We live in the Amazon age. People like access!
- Video Marketing. This is not always the least expensive, but video marketing is effective, especially when broken down into micro-content. You can use videos to distribute on your social media pages, website, and email. You can even have the videos playing on your in-office TV. Layered Marketing!
- Get involved in your community. The world has changed post-pandemic, but it does not mean that people do not want to feel that sense of community again. Organize complimentary screenings at your local banks, churches, and YMCA clubs. Be a part of Small Business Saturdays. Host a patient appreciation event or holiday time fundraiser in collaboration with others in your network!
- Basket raffle. Create a basket filled with seasonal goodies and display it in the waiting area. Ask patients to enter the raffle! They must give your practice a positive review, before being entered into the raffle.
2023 is right around the corner. Remember, implementing a crawl-walk-run approach is always recommended when you’re revamping your marketing strategy. I am excited for the success of your practice. Go get ’em!