Digital marketing, online marketing—or eMarketing—is the wave of the future for hearing health providers! “Digital marketing is no longer an add-on. It’s an imperative,” says the American Marketing Association. So why not put your practice on the path to success by applying “tried and true” eMarketing techniques?
What is eMarketing? It’s electronic marketing, which means you’re promoting your services through digital media. This ranges from your hearing practice website to posting regularly on social media platforms like Facebook. By using these online or digital “channels,” you can attract new patients to your practice. If you’re interested in learning more, you can use easy-to-follow guides available from business partners like CareCredit, which offers a marketing kit as one of the resources it shares with member providers.
Dive into eMarketing
Let’s face it…most of your potential patients are online. Nearly everywhere they go, they can access the Internet. Google data shows that about 85% or 14 million people are online looking for health information. As a hearing health business owner, you can grab the attention of this audience with some clever strategizing. Dive into eMarketing by focusing on the forms of eMarketing that will have the greatest impact on your practice.
It helps to have a little insight into the online behavior of your patient prospects.
A CareCredit research study on patient behavior found that people searching online for hearing healthcare tend to focus on cost and financing, with about 84% of patients researching “cost of hearing aids” as a top search. This compares to 88% who searched hearing treatment, hearing aids, or related hearing loss products.
Google data suggests that more than 1 million searches are done every month on keywords or terms related to hearing. So, make sure your practice website uses plenty of key search terms in your web content, such as hearing loss, hearing healthcare, tinnitus, and the names of other conditions you treat, therapies you offer, and brand-name hearing aids you carry.
Also keep in mind that the eMarketing channels you choose (ie, your website, emails, and social media posts) need time and upkeep to give you desired results. Make sure you or a colleague in your practice is assigned to cover these eMarketing channels on specific days each week.
Still don’t have a website for your hearing care practice?
It’s vital that you have a website so that prospects and patients can easily find you! There are many free resources online to get you started with a basic website, such as wix.com, Google website builder, and others. Make sure you choose a “responsive website” design that will look good and be easy to navigate on a desktop computer as well as on a notepad or smartphone. If you want to add more bells and whistles as you build up your web content, then you can upgrade to such extras for a fee.
How to Drive Prospects to Your Website
Here are some eMarketing strategies and channels to help you dive in deeper and drive prospects to your website, and ultimately, your business:
- Search Engine Optimization: Improve your rankings using the latest SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) techniques.
- PPC Advertising: Effectively target hearing-impaired prospects in your area through paid advertising (Pay-Per-Click). When you become a member provider at CareCredit, their marketing kit gives you a basic understanding of how Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising works. Basically, you pay a fee every time one of your ads is clicked on.
- Email marketing: Many people say that email marketing is not so popular anymore and social media is taking over. But this is not necessarily so. According to Statistica.com (a resource that offers data mining, data analysis, and statistics), nearly 237 million people in the United States will use email by 2017—that’s more than two-thirds of the nation’s population! Plus, some 86% of those surveyed said they would welcome promotional monthly emails from organizations with which they do business, though most respondents don’t want to get emails on a daily basis.
- Social media: From Facebook to Instagram, you can garner a lot of attention for your hearing health practice—just keep it educational, fun, and relevant.
- Keep your patients and prospects informed—educational marketing is a highly effective and profitable endeavor.
- Make sure any online profiles describing your practice are set up correctly and kept active.
- Texting: Surprise! This form of eMarketing helps you reach out to prospects and patients, and is great for managing your business (ie, appointment reminders, new product offerings and demos, events at your practice). You can use texting to follow up and keep in touch with patients.
More about Texting as an eMarketing Strategy
Make sure to give patients and prospects the chance to “opt out” if they don’t want to receive texts from you, but according to Pew Research Center, “texting is the most widely used and frequently used app on a smartphone with 97% of Americans texting at least once a day.”
Here are some stats to help you take note of how effective texting can be:
“96% of smartphone users use texting. 75% of phones worldwide (4.5 billion) are text-enabled. One of five consumers is just as likely to prefer a text message (from a business) to a phone call.” (ICMI)
“The types of activities that those with texting capabilities would prefer to communicate through text include: check-order status (38%), schedule / change appointments (32%), and make/confirm reservations (31%).” (Harris poll)
“SMS text chat converts a $6-$20 call to a chat that costs pennies per session.” (Forrester & ContactBabel)
“Sales prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate 40% higher than those who are not sent any text messages.” (Velocify)
Additional eMarketing Tools to Consider
Google AdWords – A service for those who put display ads on Google’s advertising network. “Adwords” itself is the program that lets your practice set a specific budget and only pay when leads or prospects click the ads you put on their network.
Content Marketing – Using editorial content to promote or push a certain service or product line in the form of a Web article. Content marketing pieces usually appear within the flow of other editorial content on your site and may also be in the form of a promoted Email, “tweet” on Twitter, or a post on Facebook.
As you dive deeper into your digital marketing journey, you’ll find that eMarketing can bring real value to your business if you persist and manage it consistently.