It’s no surprise that word-of-mouth marketing is the most valuable form of marketing that your practice can utilize. People trust the opinions of friends and family when it comes to making purchasing decisions, especially when those decisions impact their overall health and wellness. If your practice has an active referral program in place, then you are already aware of the power of patient referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.
As the marketing landscape changes and digital marketing continues to grow, businesses now have a space to encourage conversations between current and potential patients: online review sites. Platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Google+ provide a space where consumers can post reviews of the service they experienced or product they purchased. We are at the crossroads where traditional WOM marketing practices meet new digital marketing opportunities.
Why do online review sites matter?
Think about your own decision-making experiences. When is the last time you went to a new restaurant or purchased an item online without looking at the reviews first? A reported 92% of consumers are reading online reviews prior to making purchasing decisions. With the power of the Internet, research is easier than ever and people want to make sure they are fully educated about a business’ goods and services before making any financial commitments. When it comes to healthcare industries, people want to trust their health to the best professionals with the highest recommendations.
Having positive reviews helps build credibility for your practice name – in more ways than one! Patients searching the Internet for hearing providers will often compare one practice to another based on the number of positive reviews, their star rating or their overall score, depending on which site they are looking at. Having a higher rating than other experts in your area can give you the competitive edge needed to generate more leads for your practice, and convert prospects into patients.
From an SEO standpoint, online review sites are excellent for increasing your practice’s rankings on search engine results. For each review left by a patient, your practice becomes more “relevant” and has more perceived “authority” – two criteria essential to boosting SEO rankings.
What about negative reviews?
Some practices are hesitant to work with review sites out of fear of negative feedback from patients. Instead of looking at a poor review as a deterrence, your practice should see them as an opportunity to handle any patient issues head-on and grow from that negative feedback. Make sure you are responding to any negative reviews to try and solve the problem for the patient. When other viewers see that you are taking the initiative to help a patient who had an unsavory experience, they are more likely to remember the positive customer service provided instead of the negative review.
Consider negative feedback as a training tool for your staff – there’s always room for improvement!
Where do I start?
If your practice hasn’t had any previous experience in online reviews, the best places to start are Yelp, Facebook, and Google+. For hearing professionals, Healthy Hearing is another platform that is great for encouraging reviews. Remember, it is one thing to be listed on online review sites, but you will also need to make sure your practice is actively asking patients for reviews.
Click here if you want to learn more about Consult YHN’s new Online Review Builder Program or drop us a line at marketing@ConsultYHN.com.
It’s almost that time of year again where we designate an entire month to emphasizing the importance of hearing health and wellness. That’s right – Better Hearing and Speech Month. This May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), has selected the theme of “Communication Takes Care”. Be prepared for your social media timelines to be flooded with this hashtag as well as #BetterHearingandSpeechMonth or #BHSM this upcoming month.
As professionals involved in the hearing healthcare industry, we know that the cause of hearing health and wellness should be at the forefront of minds every month. The challenge is that the general public has still yet to associate the month of May with the support of this cause. So how do we bring BHSM awareness to the mainstream in our communities?
The answer to that question is found by looking at BHSM from a different vantage point: the marketer’s perspective. Let’s consider these marketing tactics to help increase awareness for Better Hearing & Speech Month:
- Promotional Collateral: Whether it’s a poster hanging in your office or informational pieces to distribute to patients, having collateral to promote BHSM is a great tool to educate people on the importance of spreading awareness for hearing health and wellness.
There are plenty of marketing materials out there to help your practice promote BHSM all month long. Check out Consult YHN’s Wellness Marketing Tools, which can easily be repurposed to include BHSM messaging. There are also tons of promotional resources and ideas on ASHA’s website. Remember, having materials is one thing – but make sure you are actively using any promotional items!
- Engage Your Employees: It all starts with you and your practice. No matter how big or small your practice may be the first step is for everyone to get on board and excited about the cause. Encourage your employees to pass out your promotional materials and mention BHSM by name – the more times people are exposed to the name, the more likely they are to form an association with it. Brainstorm ways that your staff can get charged up about BHSM in your daily huddles. Making it exciting for your staff will ultimately translate a positive attitude towards BHSM onto your patients.
- Community Events: Involvement in community events is important for your practice no matter what month it is (read more on that here!), but May is a good time to start if your practice doesn’t already have an active presence. Use this month to get your name and face out in your local community; host an educational seminar, coordinate a hearing walk, sponsor a local organization, or volunteer! Whatever you do, make sure you and your staff are utilizing the BHSM collateral to reinforce your efforts.
- Digital Buzz: Utilizing online platforms to spread the word about Better Hearing and Speech Month will give a voice to this cause in the digital media realm. Use this month to educate the public on hearing loss by sharing facts, studies, and any other informative tidbits on your website or social media pages. If you are actively participating in community events or want to highlight a patient’s story, take photos and share them online. Make sure you’re using hashtags like #BHSM or #CommunicationTakesCare to get this year’s topic trending on Facebook and Twitter!
Think of the heights that BHSM can reach if we do our part to bring attention to it, even if we start on a smaller scale within our local community. Consider the success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October is a month filled with pink ribbons, fundraising campaigns, and social media hashtags galore. This month of awareness has turned into a social movement, raising money for research and ultimately de-stigmatizing breast cancer.
It all starts with the conscious efforts that you and your practice make to increase awareness of hearing loss in general. Taking advantage of a month dedicated to hearing and speech wellness can be the push needed to bring mainstream attention to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. In order to reach the global scale that we know this cause deserves, we need to start small and focus on the initiatives within our grasp to bring awareness to our local communities first.
If you want to learn more about how Consult YHN can help get you ready to promote BHSM in your practice, contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com or your Associate Manager today!
In today’s business environment we’re fortunate to have access to a variety of marketing tools that let us communicate easier with our customers and prospects, observe competitors, and scrutinize the market. Many small business owners are competing more effectively using digital media (and extending the value of their traditional marketing efforts). These newer digital tools foster greater competition by enabling our businesses to reach interested prospects with highly relevant real-time communications and get measurable feedback almost immediately.
Successfully acquiring new customers through digital marketing is best handled by employing inbound marketing channels to obtain visibility and leads. These channels include search, social media and email marketing, all fueled by content marketing.
This post outlines the best types of tools and the most popular tactics in each category based on our experience.
We’ll start with a concept known as Content Marketing. Content marketing is the primary focus for business owners seeking to use digital marketing to increase reach, leads and sales. So, what is Content Marketing? Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and well understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Content marketing fuels:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Event marketing (in person events as well as Webinars)
- Paid media including Pay per click and display advertising
- Lead generation and conversion rate optimization (through landing pages)
How do you go about developing a content marketing strategy?
Here is a quick checklist to get you started:
- Define business opportunity for content marketing
- Define key segments or target audiences
- Review current content marketing
- Review competitor content marketing
- Define your content marketing strategy
- Define content marketing plan
- Prioritize audiences and personas
- Prioritize content assets for audience
- Define content marketing resources
- Create communications timeline
- Implement and manage your content marketing strategy
- Update your editorial calendar
- Manage social media distribution
- Manage email marketing distribution
- Manage SEO effectiveness of content marketing
- Review analytics for content effectiveness
Great. Now what? Time to consider the tools.
One of the tools your likely to be using in your content efforts is social media. In our case, we strongly recommend Facebook as the starting place, but use the platform you are most confident in to get started. (More on social media selection in an upcoming post).
Why focus on social? Leverage social to help find ideal prospects and accelerate list growth. The adage that birds of a feather flock together sums it up nicely. People with similar issues, concerns, challenges, and life experiences typically are connected to others much like themselves. Social is all about connections. Go on, engage your audience.
Today’s consumers check out online reviews before making in-store purchase! Reviews are known as ‘user generated content’ or UGC.
But remember, you must craft content that does more than just ask contacts to buy. Your customers aren’t always in the market to purchase. If all they hear from you is “buy this,” can you blame them for tuning you out? To avoid this predicament, try creating content that helps your contacts solve problems, buy better, and even find interesting things they wouldn’t have uncovered any other way.
Here are a few topics to talk about besides “buy this”:
- Present information that helps customers use your products correctly.
- Go behind the scenes by introducing customers to key employees. Show off your offices or factories. Talk about your company philosophy.
- Add customer voices to your emails by featuring reviews, endorsements, photos and other user-generated content (UGC).
- Become the authority in your market niche by sharing “insider” news and information.
- Improve onboarding for new customers with information that helps them find what they want faster or navigate better around your website.
What about email?
Do you collect email addresses? From whom – everyone that you meet, just customers, all appointments, third parties? Think it through. Why not collect them all if they’ll share them with you? Above we discussed the use of social media to interact and extend the reach of your audience. Those names are gold, email address gold to be exact.
Now that you have defined the ways you’ll collect email addresses, let’s turn to what to do with them. First, and this is a critical component, you have to keep track of where the names came from! Two reasons for this – first, to be CAN-SPAM compliant you must have permission to use the addresses (if you’ve been given the information freely, you’re good here – no buying or renting email addresses!). The second reason is more practical, since you absolutely want to tailor your messages to each type of audience you identified in the first step of the checklist.
What emails will you send? You really need to ask yourself what messages will resonate with the audience I am targeting. What do they want to know, what is important to them? This is not about your agenda, it must be content that is relevant to them first – then when you have their attention you can ask them to act a certain way, or react to your content. The opportunities are endless, and they are similar in nature to the list of content topics we explored for social media. This is all very connected. In fact, the more connected the content and media, the more effective you will be.
Time to jump in
That’s enough to get started, but remember, the foundation of any digital marketing plan is your website. All of the other digital tools and efforts rely on your website as the central element for customer and prospect communication and an informational base. Don’t overlook the importance of investing time and effort into shoring up your website from the content perspective!
Consult YHN Marketing has turnkey programs and solutions to get you started, just give us a call and we’ll review your situation with you and offer recommendations to get you digitally marketing in no time.