Today’s marketing landscape requires a multi-media approach and digital marketing is an ever-growing part of a strong marketing strategy. The Pew Research Center has found that now, more than ever, when people see a direct mail piece or newspaper ad, they are more likely to search for you online to evaluate if your practice seems credible.
A strong, hard-working website answers a few basic questions: “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” The best websites not only provide the most basic practice information clearly-office hours, phone number, and address-but also educate potential patients as to why they need to visit your practice over your competitors.
Great websites have a few things in common; here’s a list of key components to take into consideration when looking at your website:
- Content Rich Website: A content rich website is imperative as we head into 2017. Having information like hearing health, device styles, manufacturers, and a blog, which is regularly updated ensures that visitors see your practice as the local expert. A “Frequently Asked Questions” section is also great information to include on your site and easy to develop; the questions your patients regularly call your practice to get answer for is where to start!
- Mobile Responsive: Making sure your website is mobile-friendly is nearly required. Google has said mobile-friendliness now plays a role in their organic search rankings and sites get a ranking boost when they are indeed mobile-friendly. With more than 50% of the baby boomer generation access the internet through their tablet or smart phone, it only hurts a practice to automatically lose such a large chunk of online traffic.
- Calls to Action: Your site should have several distinct calls to action. Guiding visitors around your site through clearly labeled pages, making sure they can find your contact information (phone number, address and contact form), and something as simple as stating “Schedule Your Appointment” are all key elements to engaging a visitor enough to have them reach out to your practice and not your competition.
- Contact Form: Including a contact form is simply smart business in our digital era. Ensuring that your patients can contact their provider online, after your normal business hours, helps to engage with both prospective and current patients. Contact form submissions from your site are also very important when it comes to follow-up. A site visitor that completes a form is one of your best prospects since you know they’ve been to your website, probably read about the practice, and requested more information. These people must be contacted within 48 hours (and added to your practice management software to make sure the prospects are included in future marketing efforts.)
- Reviews: In our digital world, word of mouth and great reviews can go much farther than any direct mail piece can when trying to make a prospect a new patient. Whether you include this feedback on your site through simple links to review sites, a dedicated testimonial page, or you utilize the Consult YHN Online Review Program, great reviews are worth their weight. Here is another blog post that talks about the importance of capturing online reviews Online reviews: WOM meets digital age.
- Social Media Links: Social media should function as an extension of your site and promote your brand. Including upcoming practice events on your social media, which is then linked back to an events page, helps to engage visitors of both pages.
While digital design trends will always evolve, having a website that entices prospects, engages current patients, and reinforces your practice’s brand, will ensure you’re the local expert. The Consult YHN Marketing team can provide website assessments if you feel it may be time to renew your . Need a recommendation for who should update your site or simply overwhelmed by the whole process? Consult YHN works with several digital marketing vendors so you can rest assured that the Consult YHN team will work with you and any vendor of your choice as a liaison during the entire process to make sure you can focus on what you’re best at — treating patients.
There are a handful of excuses that people claim as valid reasons for not creating video.
- I don’t look good on camera or I don’t like my voice.
- I don’t have anything valuable to share.
- I am not popular enough or I am not brave enough
- I cannot afford to buy video equipment.
- I just don’t have enough time.
You don’t need to be a ‘boy band’ to create your own website informational video.
I don’t look good on camera
You probably don’t like having your picture taken either. Some of us are not that comfortable in front of a camera, still or video. However, as a business owner and a Subject Matter Expert [SME] it isn’t a beauty contest, it’s an opportunity to inform and educate prospective patients. Alternatively, you can create screencast videos that do not require you to sit in front of the camera. These are presentations and computer-based videos from screen imagery, with a bit of voice-over added. Which brings us to… I don’t like my voice – Again, you may not relish the idea of hearing yourself speak on camera, but unless it truly is the sound of fingernails on a blackboard you need to objectively consider the goal before succumbing to this excuse. As an SME it’s more about your audience and what you can do for them and less about you, after all there are people who need your help.
I don’t have anything valuable to share
If this were true, you would not be a trained professional. So, sharing this information in spoken form via direct conversations MUST be part of your daily routine…No?Video is just another media to deliver the same information to a wider group of patients who you have not yet met. This is the essence of being an SME, who else could claim Subject Matter Expertise?
I am not popular enough
Video marketing is not about popularity (for the most part), yet we all are aware of some folks who have raised the media to near cult status. For hearing healthcare professionals your reputation will grow as you continue to share relevant information for viewers to consume. So with that in mind do you really mean: I am not brave enough? Go ahead, be afraid. BUT, do it anyway. Your fears will subside as you immerse yourself in the topic and the process. If it helps, have a trusted individual sit just off-camera and direct your conversation toward them instead.
Providing useful information to prospective patients makes the effort worthwhile.
I cannot afford to buy video equipment
If you need to, use a cell phone or iPad. These devices will do just fine for creating a quick 1 or 2-minute video. The effort will get you started, then from there the value of video may become more obvious — and worthy of a modest investment. If you don’t want to capture video with any device, Microsoft PowerPoint provides a presentation platform that is more anonymous. You could also download a copy of OpenOffice, which offers presentation capabilities similar to PowerPoint without the expense of buying the software.
I don’t have enough time
This isnt a task that requires hours on end. Finding an extra 30 minutes to capture the message to video could easily provide more value than many of the tasks we all perform daily out of habit. Push that email sifting back 30 minutes and see for yourself. Another option: get up earlier in the morning to give yourself the gift of time. Waking up 30 minutes earlier to record a short video is reasonable; you may not even miss the extra half hour of sleep and your business may profit from the sacrifice.
Start with a plan
Having a video content strategy is great for building authority, branding your business and gaining loyal followers. Some people prefer to read while others favor content through video. Serve your audience the kind of content they prefer and you will find it much easier to attract a community that likes, trusts and buys from you.
Once you have finally immersed yourself in the digital world with a strong web presence, the next step is to develop a strategy that will drive traffic to your website. Your website represents your practice online and the goal is to get customers from the web to your door. As with every marketing strategy – traditional or otherwise – in order to be successful, you will need to implement various tactics that will engage your target audience online.
In the past few years, the scope of social media and its evolution of tactics have grown tremendously, revolutionizing the digital landscape through the ability to connect people via online communities. If done strategically and on a frequent basis, any business – including those in the hearing healthcare arena – can take advantage of social media to increase their online presence and foster customer interaction.
Here are some tips on how to move the digital needle in the right direction.
Identify Feasible Platforms
Focus on two social media platforms at one time, determining which ones are best for your business.
The biggest challenge that many face is determining how to incorporate a social media strategy into their marketing plan. Research shows that for independent business owners it is more effective to only focus on two social media platforms at one time [e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter] in order to build a strong online reputation. The best way to determine what platforms might work well for you is to check out what others are doing in the industry. By reviewing the competitions’ activity and monitoring relevant conversations, it is easier to determine what your audience is interested in.
Develop Strong Content
Once the platforms have been established, the next big step is developing strong content on a consistent basis that people will want to read and share with others, in order to generate viral content. Getting your branding or other marketing messages out there to be shared within and among online communities is key. Although there are various types of online content, the most effective are ones with a simplistic approach. These will engage your target audience and will help you to build credibility as a knowledgeable expert in the hearing healthcare field.
Monitor Content Consistently
Having a social media strategy is imperative: know your audience, post relevant messages frequently and monitor your social sites.
It is also important to monitor the content once it is developed and posted. It is one thing to have a presence, but it is essential to be engaged. One way to achieve this is to monitor comments on your social media sites and then follow up with responses in a timely manner. Encouraging the audience to “like” or “share” the content is also a valid tactic, depending on which metrics you are measuring.
Promote Platforms Process
In order to promote these social media platforms, it is important to talk to your patients and encourage online sharing and reviewing. This process can be implemented into your process, where applicable, to encourage staff to ask patients after they had their appointment or made a purchase to submit an online review about their [positive] experience. Developing a handout with instructions on how to review via Yelp or Google+ to remind customers to go online is one idea to boost participation. Reviews help establish business credibility online.
Interested in learning about social media and other digital marketing tactics? Contact marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owning a business can be heaven. Freedom to call your own shots, manage your own risk, live by your values, and spit in the eye of all those who said you’d never be able to do it.
Owning a business can also be hell. Endless hours, time spent on tasks you don’t enjoy and aren’t good at, financial insecurity, struggles to find customers, and the weight of responsibility that comes with ownership.
The truth is, owning a business can be both of those things on the same day. Yet, some business owners are good at creating more “heaven” than “hell” moments. Business is a skill, and it can be learned.
Wise entrepreneurs know that they need to keep evolving…to keep upgrading. The more you learn, the more successful and rewarding your business can be. Here are three pathways that are important when your online components aren’t where you want them to be.
#1: Upgrade your tools
Running a business means you need to watch your bottom line. You need to think carefully about every dollar you spend, and make sure you’re spending wisely. Unfortunately this can lead business owners to make hasty, business-strangling decisions simply for the sake of saving a few dollars a year.
When you’re running a business, you need professional-grade tools.
- You need to be serious about web security and hosting.
- You need professional site design that speaks well of you.
- You need grown-up web publishing tools, not the freebies that amateur bloggers use.
This is an unbelievable time to present a business online, because top-quality professional tools have become amazingly affordable and easy to use. But you have to make some investment in your site. There’s no reason to overpay, but you also don’t want to nickel and dime yourself right out of any credibility.
#2: Upgrade your communication
Current marketing has become a complex, nuanced business. Content is what works — but it has to be content intelligently delivered, with sound strategy. Your content and marketing need a healthy measure of both art and science — art to create something worth your prospects’ attention, and science to convert that attention to business.
Intelligent use of social media, well-defined content strategy, solid understanding of copywriting, and the commitment to build a framework of appealing content — they all work together in well-deployed modern marketing.
It’s not calculus but there are a lot of elements. Consult YHN Marketing exists to help keep you thinking about all those elements, and how to bring them together.
#3: Upgrade your mindset
The biggest difference between successful business owners and their less-successful counterparts is mindset. The rest of it can be learned or outsourced.
Successful business owners keep their focus on what matters most in their businesses. They know what to get obsessive about…and what they can safely dismiss.
Focused business owners know how to manage risk intelligently — not by taking crazy chances, but with thoughtful, informed risk-taking.
Happy business owners know that a business should be a pathway to a more rewarding life, not a prison or a weight around their necks. They understand that the business should serve them, not the other way around.
We have some approaches that can help
You probably know that Consult YHN provides a number of resources for you — including web marketing programs and essential services that deliver results without costing a fortune.
Our WebArt digital marketing packages are the most comprehensive online program we’ve ever offered. This year, we’ll be adding even more services. Serious resources for people who are serious about developing their online business.