In 2023, most practice owners would agree that they’ve seen their patients become more tech savvy than ever before. These patients are using their cell phones and computers to do just about everything, so how can we make sure to meet them where they are, and get them to ultimately make an appointment?
A strong digital marketing strategy opens the door for more people to seek help for their hearing loss, so consider these questions when wondering how to get more patients into your practice:
Why is digital marketing an integral part of any marketing strategy?
Connecting with one another and having a digital marketing strategy gives us many different opportunities to reach patients that are currently searching online. Digital marketing is the best way to connect to most patients, especially baby boomers that are at the age of needing hearing healthcare help. Digital media is now where a majority of them are finding their information. Patients are spending more time online than ever before, especially after the pandemic. When it comes to the digital marketing landscape, the hearing healthcare industry has always been behind the new trends compared to other industries, which is why it is very important to adapt our strategies to support the patient journey.
What is the patient journey?
Your relationship with a patient doesn’t just begin and end in your office. The patient journey begins with their awareness of a problem, and continues through making an appointment, getting fit for their hearing aids, and becoming a loyal patient who visits your practice for years to come. For years, it was thought that it took about seven years between a patient realizing they have a problem with their hearing and wanting to seek help. Now, the latest data has shown the process has shortened to approximately four to five years. So, how many times does someone have to understand that they have a problem and how do they become motivated to do something about it? Then, how do you relieve any objections or obstacles in their way to getting that help? There is a lot of friction in hearing healthcare. There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there. How do you make yourself stick out to that patient as the person that’s going to get you through that journey of ongoing hearing loss?
How does the patient journey relate to your digital marketing strategy?
The patient journey and digital marketing go hand in hand. When there is so much noise in an industry and a great deal of patient confusion over the type of hearing loss that they have or what the best solution is for them, digital marketing is the answer to alleviating a lot of those obstacles. Patients are going to research the problem and look at a lot of different information. What they’re really looking for is the most friction-free way they can get help to their hearing problem. Branding yourself as the local provider that is going to be the most helpful and professional for them is going to put your practice in the best scenario to be chosen by patients.
What are some common barriers to receiving care?
There are a number of obstacles that patients face on the way to receiving. Other than being overwhelmed with information, a common barrier for patients to receiving help is the ease of scheduling an appointment. Society is becoming more and more accustomed to convenient transactions, simple scheduling, and quick interactions, and a lot of the hearing healthcare industry has not adapted to this. Most of us are used to being able to think of something, purchase it, and have it on the way to us within 30 seconds. If a patient has been dealing with hearing loss for the last four to five years and they decide to make an appointment today, they should be able to quickly find a provider and understand that they’re the right one. They should also be able to get an idea of what appointment times are available because that creates ownership over that appointment for the patient. When it’s not made easy for them to make an appointment, it ultimately becomes a major barrier for people seeking care.
Why should you invest in digital marketing?
Think about your practice and where patients say they found you. When that patient comes in for their first appointment you want to understand where they are, why they’re currently coming in, and what pathway they’re coming in from. A lot of people are coming in from either interacting on your website or seeing some type of online ad. The baby boomer generation is the primary focal point of your patient base and most of the baby boomers are online, researching information. For the most part, practices are seeing digital marketing as the biggest way patients are connecting to the practice.
Five to ten years ago, you could use a newspaper ad or a direct mailer alone and you’d get a huge response from potential patients. Those days are well in the past, so having a strong digital marketing strategy is going to be the best way to connect with new patients.
What are some key components of a comprehensive digital strategy?
A website full of unique content to help SEO rankings should be a high priority. In addition to that, a well-rounded digital strategy consists of a fully optimized and up-to-date Google Business Profile and a strong digital media presence that includes things like social media ads and search engine marketing.
Video content should be included in your digital strategy as well. Currently, the industry is seeing that Google is showing favoritism towards websites that have a heavy amount of video content. Utilizing a video marketing platform not only increases organic traffic online, but it can also help reduce appointment cancellations and no-shows. Finally, your business reviews are critical. You want to make sure that searching patients are seeing a lot of happy customers leaving positive reviews for your practice.
Building and implementing a strategy to improve your digital media footprint not only creates a smoother patient journey, but also leads to real results with more patients coming into your practice.
At CQ Partners, our digital experts dedicate themselves to breaking down barriers to care and building meaningful connections between practices and patients. Learn more about how we can help you build a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy.