Define a Winning Business Strategy with Our Four Elements of C-A-R-E

Industry influencers are creating a defining moment for hearing healthcare businesses. Will yours be among those that rise to the challenge and thrive?

When you combine the economic decline created by the pandemic last year with the increasing presence and influence of Third Party Administrators (TPAs) and brand-name OTC options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the threats. So, what should you do about these threats? Well, any business coach worth his/her salt will tell you that the best defense is a good offense. That’s why it’s never more crucial to have a strategy for your business—one that’s focused on C-A-R-E.

Of course, patient care is always at the forefront of everything you do. And we’re all aware of the benefits of self-care (seeing to your own physical and mental needs). Those are both important, but they’re not the types of care to which I’m referring—I’m talking about business care!

How often do you really think about the wellness of your business? I don’t mean the day-to-day operations of working in the business. I’m talking about the strategies that safeguard you from the threats of matters like reduced reimbursements and unexpected shutdowns. I can’t promise an easy, magic solution. But I can give you an easy-to-remember formula that will help you to be more thoughtful about the current health and future of your business:

Let’s break down what it means to C-A-R-E for your business:

Create

Specifically, creating opportunities to help more people hear well. This one is fairly straightforward: it’s about marketing! Let the members of your community know who you are, what you do, why hearing wellness is so important, and why you and your practice are best equipped to serve their hearing healthcare needs. Here are some pointers for how to approach this with your marketing:

  • Establish a budget (as a general rule-of-thumb, we recommend 10-12 percent of your revenue goal)
  • Identify your strategy:
    • Diversify your communication approach, just like you would monetary investments. Direct mail, physician marketing, and community outreach are all still prevalent, among other traditional methods. It’s also more important than ever to have a strong digital presence.
    • Research the demographics of your community and identify target zip codes for mailers.
    • Strategize your reach and frequency with a calendar of marketing events.
  • Use call tracking software to assist in measuring return on investment (ROI) for each campaign.
  • Keep manufacturer co-op funds in mind. I heard a rumor that nearly 75 percent of co-op funds allotted to practices go to waste because they’re not used before they expire. Don’t let this happen to you!

If you’re thinking: “easier said than done,” talk to your Consult Account Manager about utilizing our in-house marketing agency for help with the planning, execution, and measurement of your marketing efforts.

Acquire

Once your marketing plan has created the opportunities, that doesn’t mean that your schedule automatically fills up. The purpose of a marketing plan is simply to get the phone to ring. It’s the responsibility of your front office staff to appropriately coordinate patient care and convert those incoming calls into appointments.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is each incoming call worth to your business? For example, I recently did the math with a practice, and we found that based on their average revenue per opportunity appointment, each time their phone rang, it represented a potential $950 in revenue.
  • Does your front office understand the importance of each incoming phone call?
  • Does your front office staff recognize their own importance? Have you told them? Not only do they often shape a patient’s first impression of the practice over the phone, but they set the tone as soon as a patient walks through your door.
  • Is your staff properly trained to triage calls and identify opportunity appointments?
  • Are there scripting and scheduling protocols in place that helps your front office staff set your providers up for success when patients come in for their appointments?

Retain

The typical hearing aid user will purchase an average of 3-4 pairs of devices in their lifetime. Unfortunately, customer loyalty is not a given. According to HubSpot’s research about customer acquisition and loyalty, 50 percent of U.S. consumers have left a brand that they were loyal to for a competitor. My point is that you should never get too comfortable, even when your business has a great number of loyal patients. Don’t underestimate the effort required to retain your existing patients. You should have a strategy for communicating routinely with patients in your database so that they don’t end up going elsewhere when they’re ready to purchase that next pair of hearing aids.

When keeping in touch with these patients, the focus should be on educating them about their options, so that they’re empowered to make informed decisions about their own hearing healthcare. A combination of letters and calls with targeted messaging is the key to success here. You can do it yourself, or opt for more turnkey approaches, like the Consult Database Program or Consult Upgrade. No matter the chosen approach, existing patients should make up approximately half (or more) of a practice’s hearing aids sales if said practice is five years old or over.

Expand

You should get the most out of the opportunities that you already have on your schedule. It’s kind of like working out. Some forms of exercise are more effective than others, depending on your goal. For example, the trainer at my gym taught me that if I only have 30 minutes, I should spend the majority of that time focused on strength training rather than cardio. How does that apply to your business? Well, if your goal is to help more people hear well, but there are limited hours in the week for you to do so, how do you make the most out of that time? Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Consider what you’re saying during your consultations. A study done by Hearing Health Matters found that patients’ perceptions and interest levels in hearing devices were significantly different pre and post-appointment.

  • Is it possible that what you are saying is making your patients uninterested in hearing devices? Are you doing the majority of talking instead of listening? Are you focusing too much on the features of the devices rather than the challenges/needs of the patient and the impact that the devices would have on their quality of communication? Have you considered that there might be a more effective way to conduct your consultations?
  • Improve your likelihood of success by including a companion. Are you making it easier on yourself to get patients to accept help by asking them to bring a loved one to their appointments and also involving those loved ones in the process?
  • Set up your schedule to effectively accommodate your patients. Does your schedule allow you to achieve your financial goals without sacrificing patient care? Do you know how many hours are required to do both?
  • Do you have a strategy for discussing purchasing options for patients who were not referred by a TPA? Do you verify benefits before each appointment to identify patients who are eligible for a discount program? Are your providers well-versed in discussing purchasing options with patients so that they’re providing price transparency and appropriately educating and empowering patients to make the choice that’s in their best interest?

Like personal wellness, one day of exercise a week isn’t going to get you in shape. Getting healthy and fit requires a constant and ongoing commitment. The same goes for your business. It takes continuous effort and some C-A-R-E. Can you get fit on your own? Sure, but it’s a lot easier and faster if you have a personal trainer to show you what to do, remind you how to do it right, and hold you accountable to your goals.

So, why not let Consult’s experienced team of experts act as personal trainers for your business?

About the Author

Ridgely Samuel joined Consult YHN in 2005. She has held several positions within the sales and operations teams but has found her passion for developing others in her current role as a Training Manager. Ridgely has experience working as a financial analyst for a former Fortune 500 company, holds a degree in Business Administration from Wake Forest University, and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. When she’s not working or acting as a chauffeur for her two daughters, Ridgely can be found relaxing in a hammock with a novel, tossing tennis balls for her dog, or paddleboarding on the lake.

Six Tips for Building & Maintaining a Stellar Online Reputation

We live in an age when a business’s online reputation can either be one of its strongest assets or a major liability. The modern patient has more options than ever when it comes to their healthcare, not to mention a plethora of information at their fingertips at all times. And you can bet they are doing their due diligence before choosing a new doctor.

Not only are prospective patients reading your online reviews (8 out of 10), but they’re reading more than just one or two (more like 10+), and an overwhelming majority (85 percent) trust them as much as personal recommendations.

We all want healthcare providers we can trust. And in 2021, nothing is more powerful in building that trust than positive online word-of-mouth. If your practice has a poor overall review score, it could be driving away hundreds of leads a year into the arms of your competitor.

Aside from attracting new patients, online reviews can also help your practice retain more existing patients, increase patient satisfaction, and improve your Google search rank. Google uses more than 15 percent of review “signals” (i.e., review quantity, velocity, diversity, positive vs. negative sentiment, etc.) as one of the most important local organic search ranking factors. It also displays review information in its listing when someone searches for a specific provider.

So, how do you build and maintain a stellar online reputation? Below are six tips guaranteed to help you obtain more five-star reviews as well as boost the overall credibility and visibility of your brand online.

1. Ask patients for online reviews.

Soliciting patients for reviews makes many healthcare providers uncomfortable. Being open to feedback is essential to building a loyal and satisfied patient base. Patients can provide tremendous insight about your practice and the level of care and service provided. As for the different ways to ask patients to review your practice…

  • Automated emails and/or text messages: In 2021, sending review requests via text or email through your marketing automation software is a must. Not only does it require very little work from you, but it simplifies the process for patients. It’s best to personalize these requests with the patient’s name and send them one to three days following their appointment. Thank them for their visit, let them know how much you value patient feedback, then ask them to share their experience and include a link to one or more of your review websites. To comply with HIPPA when asking patients for reviews, be sure to let them know they can post anonymously and don’t need to include any personal health information or details about their visit.
  • Marketing collateral: Essentially, any materials your practice is already giving or sending patients following appointments are ideal places to ask them for reviews—appointment cards, after-care instructions, letters, postcards, etc. Include instructions on how and where they can review your practice and a link or use a QR code they can scan with their smartphone. Two other great places to request reviews: your newsletter and on flyers throughout your office.
  • On your website: While you want prospects to find your practice on the top review websites they might be checking (more on that later), it’s worth noting that you don’t own any reviews that are posted through a third-party site. Having a landing page on your own website dedicated to patient reviews will ensure you have plenty of great testimonials to use for marketing purposes. You do, however, want to include links to your third-party review sites on that page.
  • On social media: Social media is perfect for sharing all the amazing reviews you receive as well as asking for new ones. You can post the link to your website’s reviews/testimonials page or ask followers to leave a review right there on your Facebook page.
  • Ask during appointments: Over 70 percent of consumers say they’ll leave a business a review when asked. So, directly asking patients face-to-face while they’re in the office could very well be the best strategy if you want your number of online reviews to soar. Have your front office staff mention it to patients on their way out, perhaps while handing them a postcard with instructions. There’s also plenty of ways providers can bring it up casually as they’re wrapping up with patients. Here are two examples:
    • “It was great seeing you today, Suzie! When you get a chance, would you mind leaving the practice a review on our website or Google? A lot of people look at online reviews nowadays and I want to help as many great patients like you as possible.”
    • “In a day or so, you’ll be receiving an email with instructions on how to leave us a review online and I’d appreciate it if you could take a minute to do that because I really value the feedback I receive from patients.”

7 out of 10 people will provide an online review if they are asked

2. Make it easy for patients to leave reviews.

The more options you can give patients on how and where to leave your practice reviews online, the more likely they are to follow through. It should be easy for them to review your practice whenever it’s convenient for them, on any device (smartphone, tablet, or desktop), and on whichever platform they prefer and can easily access at that moment. To decide which of the many review sites you should be on, check which ones your competitors use and ask patients which ones they visit most often. While your website, Google, Facebook, and Healthy Hearing are the top platforms we recommend, others may also be worthwhile—Yelp, Healthgrades, YellowPages, ZocDoc, etc. Google’s algorithm favors businesses that have reviews on multiple, credible third-party sites but looks at the number and quality of the reviews on your Google My Business profile first.

88% of patients use a Google search to find a physician or treatment center while only 30% search directly on a review site

3. Respond to every review—positive or negative.

If a patient takes the time to sing your praises, the polite thing to do is to acknowledge it and thank them. It gives patients the instant gratification of being “seen” and heard online and, more importantly, shows them you value their time and opinion. Your response doesn’t need to be lengthy—a simple, “Thank you for your feedback” or “We’re so happy to hear you had a positive experience at our practice,” will do.

So, what do you do when you receive the dreaded one-star review? Before you respond, take a moment to think back to that patient’s appointment. Maybe even share the review with your staff and have them collectively reflect on every touchpoint they had with that patient. Think about why he/she could have felt compelled to leave such a review. Don’t react right away but do try to respond within 24-48 hours. Also, avoid a generic response that doesn’t address any of the specific complaints/issues raised in the review. When possible, it’s best to personalize your responses by including the person’s name and details about their experience. Apologize then thank them for their feedback and communicate that you plan to make improvements based on their interaction. For example:

  • “We set a high standard for our practice, and we are so sorry that this was not met in your interaction with us.”
  • “We always aim to deliver a great experience, and we are gutted when we don’t meet expectations. Thanks for taking the time to bring this to our attention. We will use your feedback to improve our procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Will your response be enough to convince that dissatisfied reviewer to give you a second chance? Maybe. At the very least, it leaves room for the possibility. Whereas an aggressive or insincere response or no response at all almost certainly ensures they’ll be getting their hearing health needs met elsewhere in the future (not to mention potentially turning other potential patients away). Lastly, try not to dwell too much on negative reviews—no business can expect to receive five stars every time. Instead, use them as a learning opportunity and focus on getting more positive reviews.

53% of customers expect businesses to respond to their online review within 7 days and 20% expect a response within 24 hours

4. Share your successes and positive reviews.

Highlighting your expertise and achievements as well as the positive experiences of your patients can do wonders to set your practice apart online. Share rave reviews regularly on your social media pages in addition to displaying them on your website. The same goes for the rest of your successes. Recently received an award or made a local “Best Of” list? Featured in an article or local news broadcast? Celebrating an anniversary or expanding to a new location? Involved in a local organization or cause? Shout it from the rooftops! Don’t be so modest. We all expect businesses to brag from time to time and are instinctively more trusting of businesses with accolades worth bragging about.

94% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

5. Make sure your website is up-to-date and user-friendly.

Simply put: people (as well as Google) are less trusting of businesses that have outdated, messy, and/or poor-performing websites. Today’s consumers expect and demand a seamless browsing experience. That said, you should periodically check to make sure the links on your site work, its pages load fast (under 3 seconds), and the information most visitors are seeking (your contact info, hearing aid information, hearing health tips, etc.) can be found quickly and easily. One of the most important characteristics of a user-friendly website is mobile compatibility/responsiveness. If your practice uses postcards or flyers with QR codes to request and collect online reviews, that means patients will be writing reviews on their mobile devices. Thus, your site needs to be as easy to access and use via smartphone as it is on a desktop.  

60% of consumers read online reviews on their mobile device in 2020

6. Be consistent.

Just because you’ve amassed hundreds of reviews and have a perfect, five-star rating, that doesn’t mean you should take your foot off the gas. While top-rated reviews are great, consumers only look at a business’s most recent reviews. If your best review is from five years ago, it’s not going to be as relevant in their mind (a lot can change in five years!). You want to make sure you always have a consistent flow of fresh reviews coming in. Fresh reviews provide new content for the search engines to discover, thus helping more potential patients find you. Updating your website and social media pages frequently with new reviews can also increase the number of reviews you receive.

73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month

In conclusion, your practice’s online reviews have a direct impact on its bottom line. The easiest and most effective way to gain more reviews and manage your online reputation is to use a review generation tool like Consult’s Online Review Builder. This simple software add-on sends automated review requests and reminders to patients, flags, and filters out negative responses (allowing you to respond to them discreetly), gathers reviews from several popular websites, and displays them on your website’s reviews page. Talk to your digital partner—even if it’s not us, chances are they have a similar service that will integrate seamlessly with your existing software and systems. Lastly, make sure you know what people are saying about your practice online. It only takes a few minutes but by ignoring your reviews, you could be missing out on hundreds of new patients every year.

Find out how Consult’s in-house marketing agency can take your digital marketing to the next level!

About the Author

Genevieve Amabile joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Coordinator. Prior to Consult YHN, she worked as a Social Media Coordinator for a staffing agency and interned with Seven Mile Publishing & Creative in Avalon, NJ. Genevieve graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and listening to her favorite true crime podcasts.

Top 7 Marketing Trends of 2021 – Our Industry Partners Weigh In

We can’t predict the future; however, we can rely on experience, expertise and, leaders in the industry to help guide us with our biggest questions about marketing in 2021.

The pandemic has impacted many components of our lives, including how we stay connected and communicate. Muffled sounds from masks, isolation, and Zoom calls have compelled individuals with hearing loss to be more receptive to seeking or improving treatment. This provides a unique opportunity for hearing healthcare professionals to build greater trust with current and new patients, requiring a plan for consistent communication and marketing.

 As you plan and execute your marketing strategy, we turned to our valued partners for their expertise and insights on the top trends to keep an eye on in 2021.

Trend #1: Ensure your website is mobile-responsive

Mandy Mroz, Au.D. | President | Healthy Hearing

If you haven’t done so already, 2021 is the year to make your practice website as functional and impressive on mobile as it is on desktop. According to Google, 94 percent of people with smartphones search for local information (“hearing clinics near me”) on their phones.

You can test the mobile experience of your practice’s website in three easy steps:

  1. Search for your practice using different web browsers (e.g., Safari, Chrome) on your smartphone. Is your main website one of the top results? If not, there may be an issue with your mobile site.
  2. Using your smartphone, view your website in different browsers. Is your phone number easy to find and clickable for consumers ready to call?
  3. From your desktop computer, visit this website for a quick, objective test of your mobile site performance.

If you’re concerned about your mobile website, contact your web developer right away. Google will start ranking sites based on mobile performance in March 2021. Review your other web assets too, like your Healthy Hearing profile. We’ve been prioritizing mobile for years, but we’re always open to feedback on your experience.

Trend #2: Boost your credibility to rank higher on Google

Kevin St. Clergy | MedPB Partner, Chief Business Development Officer | MedPB

Medical marketing has become much stricter because of the pandemic. Some older marketing practices are now even getting banned. In addition to a push towards greater transparency in marketing, Google and other major marketing platforms are looking for cues that you are a reliable source of medical information. Some of the trust factors they look for are very technical and should be baked into the structure of your website. Others come from social media, online reviews, and other external factors. What a lot of business owners don’t realize, is that there were significant changes last year and more coming in 2021. These changes ultimately affect your cost per lead and the number and quality of your new patient leads. They also open the door for the competition to steal your patients.

Trend #3: Prioritize database marketing

Tom Flage | Sales and Marketing Manager | Blueprint Solutions

Did you know that 47 percent of patients will purchase their next set of hearing aids from a different clinic? Maintaining communication with your patients is essential to avoid becoming part of this statistic. Effectively marketing to your existing patients will help you consistently grow your business, drive revenue, and establish a presence in your local community. One of the most cost-effective ways of doing this is through email marketing. While it may not be as flashy as social media or TV ads, it’s significantly less expensive and allows for a more careful, targeted approach in delivering the right message to the right patients at the right time.

Automating email marketing through your office management system can turn a time-consuming process of collecting emails, drafting content, and identifying the right patients into just a few clicks. Some office management systems will allow for sending custom marketing emails automatically to help you capture missed opportunities. Track your email campaign’s read/open rate via reporting in your OMS to help you identify the most effective messaging.

Trend #4: Enhance your clinic’s online reputation

Meghan Pendley | Business Development Director | Audiology Design

Online reviews are the new word of mouth. In fact, more than 80 percent of consumers read reviews before visiting a business or using a service, and 48 percent only pay attention to reviews left in the past two weeks. In today’s culture, positive online reviews equal trust. Patients look to them as a snapshot view of your practice.

Adding patient reviews to your Google Business listing (aka. Google My Business profile) can also help with your overall search ranking on Google. The more robust your online presence, the easier it is for people to find you! It’s also important to give patients multiple platforms on which to leave their feedback, especially Google, Facebook, and Healthy Hearing. This will ensure you cover the sites that provide an easily accessible log-in or simply one they prefer. Utilizing a review generation service that helps your practice obtain more patient reviews and also automates with your Practice Management Software (PMS) should also be a key component of your digital marketing strategy in 2021.

Trend #5: Find creative ways to engage new and existing patients

Brian Urban, Au.D. | President | CounselEAR

As the last 12 months have clearly shown, maintaining a consistent connection with your current patients and finding creative ways to engage with new ones is not only beneficial but essential. In times when new patients may be reluctant to seek care and existing patients may neglect routine follow-ups, we need to be creative, flexible, and consistent in our approaches to engagement. For me, this brings two main areas to mind:

Telehealth: Telehealth is a fantastic tool for connecting with new and existing patients, establishing/maintaining rapport, and ensuring that they’re receiving high-quality care. For new patients that simply have questions and would like to speak face-to-face before an in-person visit, telehealth consultations can help ensure they move forward with an evaluation when they’re comfortable. For existing patients, routine follow-ups can often be managed via telehealth, thereby reducing exposure and improving convenience for them as well as your team.

Email Marketing Automation: Utilizing an email marketing automation system enables you to take a “set and forget” approach to reaching out to patients based on specific criteria. For example, patient birthdays, upgrade notices, and more. 

Emails are automatically sent to patients based on your specific criteria and contain your preferred images/text. They can also contain a link to your online scheduling tool. In this way, you’re able to reach out to patients at the right time with the right message and provide them with a seamless experience. As we work our way through the COVID world into what’s hopefully a post-COVID world very soon, telehealth and marketing automation can help you conveniently deliver a new and engaging level of care to current and prospective patients.

Trend #6: Embrace technology to stay connected to patients

Bryce Colacurcio | Chief Strategy Officer | ROC Advertising

For many of us, the list of things we thought were vital in life is much shorter today than it was pre-pandemic. At the very top of that list is our relationships with our friends and family. Whether it’s hearing the conversation going on around us, the laughter in the other room, or the grandkids over a FaceTime call, people want (and need!) to connect with loved ones, now more than ever. The ability to hear in loud or noisy environments affects one’s health, well-being, and family memories, and we should be mindful of this. As business owners continue to navigate these challenging times, reducing expenses has become a necessity. That means prioritizing how marketing dollars are spent is just as essential. By focusing marketing efforts on a tried-and-true approach that brings a strong response, we can reach those who feel isolated and bring them to the conversation, both virtually and in-person.

The meteoric rise in telehealth and video chat/conferencing platforms like FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype shows that your patients are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and adopting digital technology. You need to meet them where they are, which means embracing tools like online scheduling, text message appointment reminders, and chatbots. And, creating short, engaging videos to post on your website and social media. Lastly, don’t shy away from explaining the benefits and advanced features of today’s high-end hearing aids to older patients—while they may not have understood Bluetooth before, there’s a good chance they do now.

Trend #7: Differentiate your practice in a competitive market

Robert M. Traynor, Ed.D., MBA | Clinical & Forensic Audiologist | Robert Traynor Audiology

If you’ve never heard of recreational audiology, it’s been defined by the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) as “the practice of hearing conservation and consumer education regarding products and services used to enhance and preserve hearing occupations and environments that may not be regulated by governmental agencies.”

Although virtually ignored by most practitioners, there are some, including Garry G. Gordon, owner of EAR, Inc., who concur that the market for hearing protection in industrial and recreational markets such as, manufacturing, aviation, musicians, law enforcement, auto racing, motorcycles, hunting and shooting sports, is more than 60 million individuals.

Approximately, 47 percent of consumers seeking hearing protection admit to a noticeable hearing loss. While some of these patients will eventually present themselves for hearing care on their own, specializing in industrial and recreational hearing impairment could have incredibly positive results that could revitalize even the most struggling practice. This might be just the method to differentiate a practice in competitive markets, where competitors are all marketing to the same population.

Altogether, some great advice and to summarize: continue to use the most cost-effective channels to stay connected to patients—email, snail mail, phone calls, and social media. Develop and follow a marketing plan, monitor it regularly, track results and adjust it as needed. Boost your search engine ranking by maintaining a strong online presence and reputation. Continue to emphasize your safety precautions in all of your communications. Ensure you’re using the features of your PMS that simplify and support your marketing efforts. Take advantage of our team of marketing experts at Consult and our partners.

Last but not least, remember the profound impact you have on the lives of your patients – and ensure your passion comes through in your marketing.

 

What 2021 trend are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below! I’ll get the ball rolling: sweatpants remaining acceptable work attire.

Learn how Consult Marketing can help you drive more leads and sales in 2021!

About the Author

Nicole Finkbiner joined Consult YHN as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2018 with nearly a decade of communications experience. Over the course of her career, Nicole has created a wide array of different content for various mediums and outlets—news articles, press releases, arts features, product descriptions, small business websites, e-blasts, social media posts, promotional materials, and more. In her free time, the Philadelphia native enjoys soaking up the city’s culture and binge-watching TV shows.

Is Your Website Ready for the Surge in Digital Traffic and Leads?

It’s no surprise that the digital world and its role in communication has changed dramatically since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of us have adjusted to working from home and relying more heavily on technology to communicate with coworkers, friends, and family.
According to The New York Times, website usage for sites like Facebook and YouTube have skyrocketed since February 29. Video chatting platforms like Google Duo and popular remote work apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have also reported record usage spikes.

People look to connect and entertain themselves

This trend isn’t going away anytime soon. While the days of social distancing and continuous handwashing will eventually fade – the need for a strong digital presence will not.

Your website is your most valuable digital asset; therefore, the time is now to assess its performance. In other words, does your website have what it takes to engage and convert the influx of people seeking help with their hearing loss?

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Nearly 90% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase, which includes visiting a business’s website

Hopefully, your site is updated to reflect the safety precautions your practice is implementing to protect patients and staff, as well as pertinent information on any Telehealth or curbside services being provided. Patients care about and want to know how your practice is responding to COVID-19 and adhering to CDC guidelines. This information should be posted prominently on your homepage and any social media profiles, like Facebook and Healthy Hearing. Don’t forget to update your Google My Business profile to reflect any changes or updates you make to your services or hours.

Now, let’s discuss the specific items you should focus on when evaluating the performance and success of your website:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Check whether your website dominates the first page of Google for the top hearing healthcare keywords. There are free online tools that will show you top competitive SEO metrics. Ultimately, your website provider/digital partner should manage your site’s SEO performance regularly and make the necessary updates. This is vital to maintaining a prominent rank in search results, which drives more quality leads, appointments, and sales.

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55% of search engine clicks come from the top 3 listings

Content:

Good SEO and good content go hand-in-hand. Fresh, relevant, and engaging content on your site will boost its SEO. It will also increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site and, in turn, your conversion rate (the percentage of unique site visitors who “convert” to leads by calling your office or filling out an online form). Adding unique content like videos, infographics, and weekly or monthly blog posts will help differentiate your brand from the competition. Timely articles about the effects of untreated hearing loss are great, but they’re even better when mixed with more personable and creative posts that will resonate with readers—tips for summer hearing aid care, how to choose the right hearing aid for your lifestyle, etc.

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52% of consumers say blogs have impacted purchasing decisions

Upgrades:

Features like click-to-call, online scheduling, chatbots, contact forms, and mobile-responsiveness are no longer optional—they’re essential.

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additional leads
On average, online scheduling tools generate 4 additional leads per month for hearing healthcare providers

User Experience (UX):

Users’ experience with a website is determined by how easy or difficult it is for them to navigate and interact with it. One broken link or slow-to-load page can create a bad experience for users. Your site needs to fulfill visitors’ needs, wants, and expectations both quickly and easily. While UX testing is a complex process, there are several simple things you can do yourself to enhance your site’s usability, including:

  • Check every link and app/widget to ensure they work.
  • Add internal links between relevant content and pages.
  • Shorten long paragraphs of text and/or break them up.
  • Create more white space around text and titles.
  • Use strong CTAs (Call-To-Actions) to guide users to convert.
  • Make sure all images and pages load quickly.

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Better UX design could raise your website’s conversion rate by 400%

Design & Layout:

Your website is most often your patients’ first impression of your brand. If it looks outdated or unappealing, visitors will have a negative perception of your practice. Everything from your fonts and spacing to your colors and design elements needs to be clean and cohesive across your entire site. There should be a consistent header and footer on every page that includes your logo, practice information, and social icons.

Of course, you want your website to stand out from your competitors. But that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to its layout and design. Despite a common misconception, “templated” websites are not “basic” and are not going to make your site look exactly like other audiology websites. To start, they’re 100 percent customizable – using your brand, color schemes, unique assets (logo, photos, videos, more). Second, website “templates” exist for a reason: they work! Keep in mind, website site design is part art – but primarily science. Most developers use behavioral science and best practices to design websites for optimal usability and most importantly – conversion. Some tools developers use to test the merit of a website include:

  • User Testing: A platform for obtaining rapid customer feedback on any customer experience, including websites, mobile apps, and real-world experiences.
  • Heat Mapping: A graphical representation of data that uses a system of color-coding to represent different values. While used in various forms of analytics, most often they’re used to show user behavior on specific webpages and determine where the most important content should be placed on a page.
  • Conversion Tracking: A powerful tool in Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) that lets you identify how well your ad campaign is generating leads, sales, downloads, email sign-ups, and other key actions.

Through these methods, developers know what the target demographic expects to see and how they can best be encouraged to convert. For example, most websites have a horizontal top navigation, left-aligned logo, and right-aligned contact information because heat mapping shows this is the best structure for usability and entices users to travel deeper into the site.

%

People form 75% of their judgment on a website’s credibility purely on its aesthetics

Website Provider/Digital Partner:

If your internet-savvy nephew is managing your site, it may be time to consider making a change. A reliable and highly-skilled digital partner will make all the difference—a partner you can hold accountable to manage all your online marketing needs, not just your website. Your digital partner should oversee ongoing website maintenance, performance, results, and provide you ownership over your domain and other digital properties. Click here to find out the most important questions to ask your website provider or reach out to your Consult Marketing Account Executive for assistance. The Consult Digital Program offers engaged Associates a comprehensive digital solution proven to drive leads and sales.

Questioning if your website delivers the results it should? Consult YHN’s in-house experts will conduct a personalized website and digital marketing assessment, including a geographic and competitive analysis.

Increase your digital traffic and drive more patient appointments –
contact Consult Marketing today!

About the Author

Genevieve Amabile joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Coordinator. Prior to Consult YHN, she worked as a Social Media Coordinator for a staffing agency and interned with Seven Mile Publishing & Creative in Avalon, NJ. Genevieve graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2018. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and listening to her favorite true crime podcasts.

Marketing Through COVID-19: Key Considerations to Drive Leads at All Budgets

Communication is essential, especially during this time—and it will be equally important several months from now. Hopefully, you’ve used any downtime during the pandemic to stay connected with your patients.
As the economy opens, it’s important to forge ahead with your marketing efforts, including a specific plan to ramp up your marketing activities.

Practices that act now and adapt to the current environment will capture new patients as well as maintain a high volume of patients after the initial influx of demand has settled. Being proactive with your marketing strategy will ensure the near-term demand you experience won’t drop off in one, three, or six months, allowing you to continuously grow your business.

Consult YHN’s COVID-19 Resources Center provides healthcare professionals with strategic business advice and support, including virtual webinars, financial analyses, articles, marketing collateral, and more. A useful resource is our Cash Flow Analysis tool which determines your current and future months’ liquidity. This information allows you to forecast how much you can spend on marketing each month, with a goal to ramp up spend as your budget and timing allows.

Your messaging today is more significant than ever – it needs to be relevant, clear, and consistent across all of your marketing initiatives. It should address patients’ current needs and concerns, like providing a safe and caring environment as well as acknowledging that those struggling with hearing loss are even more challenged by COVID-19 safety measures.

Whether your practice is operating with a proactive marketing budget, limited budget, or no additional spend budget, we have solutions to help you drive new opportunities. There are many ways to stay top-of-mind with your patients without spending a lot of money. Below are Consult YHN’s marketing recommendations based on your practice’s current budget and timing.

Budget: No Additional Spend
Timing: Now

Planning Considerations:

  • Prioritize your patients and schedule
  • Fill your schedule with revenue-generating opportunities
  • Utilize no/low-cost marketing initiatives
  • Prepare for pent up demand from individuals seeking hearing help
  • Focus on marketing to maintain momentum
  • Depending on the response/how your patients are reacting, move on to higher-cost marketing initiatives

Sample COVID-19 Marketing Collateral, Available for Immediate Use

View More Samples Here  

Budget: Minimal Spend
Timing: ASAP

“No Additional Spend” initiatives +

  • Database Letters
    • Never stop reaching out to your database!
  • Consult Database Program
    • Our turnkey solution for database outreach enables your team to focus on closing more opportunities and helping more patients. We help you implement a consistent strategy, targeting each segment of your database with custom letters and follow-up calls that drive appointments and sales. From designing and printing to mailing and reporting—we handle it all, and at a competitive rate that’s included in your monthly Consult statement.
  • Email Marketing
    • Sending emails to your database is easy and inexpensive. You can check to see who clicked or opened the email in order to prioritize lead follow up via a phone call. For example, people who open and click on your email are the most engaged, so start with them, then work down the list. We recommend ConstantContact because it is easy to use and signs a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
  • Consult Upgrade Program
    • For over a decade, Consult Upgrade has been the most effective way for practice owners to reach their patients and increase sales. For a one-time flat fee, a dedicated Digital Technology Consultant will work with you on-site to organize and run an Upgrade event that, on average, yields an additional $51,250 in sales for practices. The schedule for 2020 is almost full – act fast to secure your spot!

Planning Considerations:

  • Once you’ve maximized your database outreach efforts, consider:
    • Are people responding?
    • Do you need to make any changes?
    • Have you exhausted all potential?
    • Is revenue ramping up?
  • Based on the answers above, decide on strategy and timing for direct mail drop and digital advertising.
  • Once you’ve seen all of your existing patients as well as all the new patients willing to come in regardless of COVID-19, the next step is crucial – and marketing will be key. Your marketing plan needs to be set now so that you can implement and capture the untapped group of new patients and your demand and revenue can consistently grow.

Budget: Pro-Active Spend
Timing: When Ready (Cash-Flow Dependent)

“No Additional Spend” initiatives + “Minimal Spend” initiatives +

  • Direct Mail
  • Digital Advertising
    • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
    • Facebook Advertising
    • Display Retargeting
  • Consult Digital Program
    • Drive and convert more quality leads with our industry-leading digital solution! We outperform the competition so that your website dominates the first page of Google for the top hearing healthcare keywords. We also track your results and provide you a return on your investment.

Planning Considerations:

  • Lead time considerations for direct mail: 3.5 weeks ahead of the event
  • If you have the budget, spend it on PPC. Cost per lead is lower right now, meaning your budget will go further than it did pre-COVID-19. For example, based on the current environment there are fewer businesses competing for keywords, etc. This trend will end as business returns to normal. If your budget allows, there’s a significant, yet, temporary opportunity to introduce your practice to as many patients as possible at a lower cost than normal.
Your Account Manager and the Consult YHN team are here to help you develop a comeback plan that’s guaranteed to position your practice for success in 2020 and the years ahead.

Start driving more leads today – contact Consult Marketing!

About the Author

Nicole Finkbiner joined Consult YHN as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2018 with nearly a decade of communications experience. Over the course of her career, Nicole has created a wide array of different content for various mediums and outlets—news articles, press releases, arts features, product descriptions, small business websites, e-blasts, social media posts, promotional materials, and more. In her free time, the Philadelphia native enjoys soaking up the city’s culture and binge-watching TV shows.