Almost every audiology clinic has a marketing plan, though many still struggle with issues like increasing profitability, patient volume, brand awareness, and other problems affecting your bottom line that your marketing should fix.
You might be running some Facebook ads or investing in SEO each month, and many people even see a steady trend up and to the right. However, if you can’t pinpoint exactly what’s working and what isn’t, it’s time to revisit your strategy.
Therefore, here’s a step by step guide to implementing an audiology marketing plan that provides a consistent stream of high quality patients.
If you Google the term “audiologist near me,” you’ll find that approximately 19,000 people search for this term each month.
A portion of these searchers are perfect prospects for your clinic.
To capture those searchers, invest in SEO (search engine optimization).
If you already have invested in SEO and haven’t seen results, the problem is likely that you’re optimizing for search engines rather than your end user.
While there are tactics you can use to please Google, it’s important to first realize that Google’s goal is to please the user. Therefore, while their algorithm will continue to update and change, they will always update it to reward the website that provides the best user experience.
When I say user experience, I define it as the search result that provides the best answer to the user’s query. Therefore, rather than looking at a single metric (for example, loading speed), it’s a combination of things like:
As you can see, there are metrics that Google uses to track these elements, though while the metrics themselves may change, Google’s goal of providing the best experience never will change.
That said, here are some marketing strategies to optimize your audiology website in a way that improves your user experience and, ultimately your rankings in Google.
First, your ideal customers are searching for local keywords like “audiologist in new jersey” or “audiologist near me.” To make it easy for people to sort through various results, Google offers a separate local result for these search terms.
In addition, it will give you a knowledge card for branded search results:
However, to be included in these search results and obtain a knowledge card, you must fill out a Google My Business profile for your audiology clinic.
This will ask you for things like your name, address, and phone number. Once you fill out the information, they will mail a code to your physical address to confirm you are a real local business.
Once you’ve confirmed that you are indeed a local business, increasing the number of positive reviews for your business will help you climb the local rankings.
This is because Google again wants to show the best result, so they try to show the searcher the audiology clinic with the highest reviews. While the location of your clinic will also play into the rankings (Google wants to show the searcher a clinic that is nearby), you’ll notice that in the screenshot below, the highest-ranking results have the most reviews:
To increase your review volume, encourage patients in person to leave a review. For example, at the end of the consultation, ask the doctor to educate the patient on the importance of reviews and how to fill out a review on Google.
You can also create a page on your website with instructions on how to fill out an online review.
While improving your technical SEO won’t make you automatically rank at the top, you won’t be able to rank if you have a fatal error.
Therefore, here are a few very important technical SEO aspects you should check are in line before you invest any more money into your audiology marketing plan:
While we won’t dive too deeply into technical SEO, you can learn more about it here. A sure sign you should check your technical optimization is if you have an error message in Google Search Console or if your website doesn’t rank for branded terms.
Note that you can also make technical optimizations that will improve performance, but failing to fix them wouldn’t cause your website to disappear from the search results. Some of these less severe optimizations include:
The next step in the SEO process is improving on page optimizations.
The key to on-page SEO is essentially looking at critical page’s user signals such as:
To optimize for these, here are a few steps you can take to optimize your on-page experience:
When optimizing for on page SEO, go through this list starting with your high value pages, such as your homepage and service pages, and then go down to more specific pages.
Once your website is optimized, the next marketing step is to develop relationships with other audiology industry experts.
Google wants to see social proof that you are in fact, a popular and esteemed audiology clinic. In 2021, they judge this based on backlinks.
Here’s an example of a backlink to ASHA. In this case, the backlink makes ASHA look credible as another website in the industry is talking about them.
So how can you receive more backlinks?
Ideally, you should think about how you can improve your industry relationships in a way that will help you naturally and organically earn these links. For example, publishing original research, speaking at a conference/event, or forming partnerships are excellent ways to naturally earn valuable links.
In addition to this, you can also guest post on popular industry publications.
While there are plenty of other tactics like broken link building, I’ve found that most of them tend to have a low response rate and don’t build momentum the way the organic industry relationships can help.
Let’s chat about how you can get the more admissions through digital marketing. No pressure. No sales gimmicks.
While SEO is an excellent way to set your website up for success, it won’t help you rank for all of the queries your target audience is searching.
For example, if you want to rank for the term “tinnitus treatment” a quick Google search will quickly reveal that your target audience wants an informative post on tinnitus solutions rather than a landing page selling hearing aids for tinnitus.
Therefore, content marketing effectively brings patients looking for your audiology treatment options directly to your website.
The key to audiology content marketing is discovering which keywords you should target. In fact, many people who have tried content marketing and claim it doesn’t work never nailed this aspect.
For example, both of these blog post ideas appear to be good as they both relate to hearing issues:
What is Tinnitus and What Causes It?
Top 10 Treatment Options For Tinnitus
However, the second is much more likely to generate patients. This is because the first one isn’t yet solution aware and therefore isn’t ready to purchase a pair of expensive hearing aids. That isn’t to say that it wouldn’t produce any conversions, though the second one is much more likely to generate conversions because those people are actively seeking treatment options (which you offer). They don’t need to be convinced that they need treatment as they are actively searching for treatment options.
To find these topics, start by interviewing a doctor and ask them what people frequently search when they are looking for an audiologist.
Once you have a list of topics that potential patients frequently search, do a quick Google search and ask yourself what the search intent is. For example, are they looking for a list post? A guide? A sales page?
For example, the searcher of this keyword clearly wants a research-backed piece of content that answers the question rather than a sales page where you pitch them tinnitus treatment:
Before you start writing the post, look through the top ranking results and ask yourself what information those posts lack or how you could present the information in a simpler format.
Only if your content is higher quality than the top ranking posts will you be able to rank for it.
Once you have a solid organic marketing strategy for your audiology clinic that is proven to convert, consider putting a little ad spend towards your top ranking posts.
For example, we run Facebook ads and Google ads to both landing pages and content that has already proven itself to convert relatively well.
The key is to find pages that are already converting well. This way, you don’t have to gamble money on pages that may or may not convert.
So which platform should you choose?
While both platforms are great, you might want to start with Google ads if your goal is conversions, as these people are actively searching for what you offer, whereas Facebook ads are still an interruption.
In addition, Google ads give you a little more control over the prospect’s stage in the funnel. For example, you can target a keyword like “audiologist in New York” rather than “what is tinnitus?”
You can also copy your competitors relatively easily by looking up their URL in a tool like Ahrefs.
This gives you data on which keywords are bringing the most traffic, their difficulty, the landing page, and the CPC.
Therefore, you can analyze what they have in the SERPs and create a better page.
The Facebook ad library is a similar tool for Facebook advertisers. It allows you to see your competitor’s data, and you can even see how long they have been running an ad (which will give you an idea of which ones are most successful).
If your ads still aren’t converting, you can always talk to an expert or hiring a marketing partner (like Stodzy) directly.
Ideally, most of your early content should target bottom of the funnel prospects that are ready to convert as soon as they land on your website. However, once you exhaust your bottom of the funnel keywords, you may find that you need to target more top of funnel posts.
In this case, these people need to be educated and nurtured more before they will convert and email marketing is an excellent way to educate them based on their audiology queries.
For example, if someone came into your website looking for a post like “What Causes Tinnitus,” you could have a drip sequence covering topics like how you know you have tinnitus and various treatment options.
The key to email marketing is to ensure that you remain sensitive to your customer’s privacy and that you don’t annoy them. If you find that your customers love each email you send and the engagement is very high, you can continue to send them frequently.
However, if you find that your open rate is generally less than 5% and your unsubscribe rate is around 0.5-1%, you’re probably fine.
In general, sending an email once or twice a week during business hours is a safe bet to start out with. From there, you can gather some data and adjust your send rate and time.
However, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that your send rate and time are responsible for poor engagement rates.
The content of your email and its subject line are ultimately the most important.
For example, if you send them an email and it’s just a few sentences of generic information around tinnitus that the prospect has already found on Google, it probably won’t perform very well.
What might perform better is a patient story or a discount on a hearing aid. Those are both examples of real value.
Once you have a solid organic strategy and have added some fuel to the fire with ad spend and email marketing, you can use social media to build brand awareness.
While brand awareness won’t produce as many conversions (think name recognition rather than view and purchase), it is a powerful tool that can help increase your credibility.
For audiologists, we’ve found that Facebook tends to be the most effective channel. Therefore start with Facebook and build a presence there before expanding your reach to other platforms.
As you begin building out an organic Facebook strategy, think about how your users typically interact with Facebook. In most cases, they want to see pictures of their friends and read shared stories.
Therefore, try to serve them a similar creative. For example, share stories of your patients (past and present) and write it in a way that it sounds like a story. New York-Presbyterian hospital is excellent at this:
Notice that this is a story based post that sounds like something a friend might post on Facebook.
Therefore, avoid simply sharing accomplishments of your audiologists or discounts and sales. Make an effort to create content that truly engages your audience.
You can also experiment with doing Facebook lives and Instagram stories. The key to pleasing social media platforms is giving them the content they want to share with their audience. Remember that social media platforms aren’t incentivized to share organic content as they want to make ad revenue. Therefore, if they are trying to promote a new feature (such as lives), be sure to take advantage of it.
Many digital marketers rely heavily on purely digital strategies, though there are plenty of other marketing tactics you can use to increase revenue. One of those critical strategies in the audiology industry is referral marketing. This will not only help you increase your patient volume, but it will also have a positive impact on your website’s presence as you may also be able to get referral traffic and backlinks.
Therefore, reach out to ear, nose, and throat doctors as well as general practitioners in your area to form partnerships. To reach out, you can ask to go to their office for an in person meeting as this will help solidify the relationship.
Once you have a stable relationship with them, you can also ask if they would consider putting a partner badge on their website with a link to yours (and be sure to do the same for them).
Finally, it still costs at least five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain a current customer.
Therefore, the focus should really be to retain current customers and make them happy rather than earning new customers.
In addition, happy customers are priceless brand advocates. Therefore, spend time talking to your patients and surveying them to understand what you can do to make them even happier.
For example, these questions are quite revealing:
In addition to improving your experience, be sure to also follow up with your patients regularly. For example, if they need their hearing aids adjusted or regular hearing tests, don’t depend on the patient to remember. Actively update them either by phone or email (whatever is their preferred method).
Finally, if you don’t have time to implement a strategy yourself, consider selecting a partner to do the work for you.
While finding a partner can be overwhelming, here are a few things to consider that will help you identify a quality agency from a less than stellar agency.
Perhaps the most important thing to look for in a marketing partner is one that uses your KPIs or revenue. A sure red flag is a marketing partner that says they only look at traffic and won’t factor in or even monitor conversions (regardless of whether or not it’s attached to their payment).
On the flip side, the marketing agency also shouldn’t guarantee results, as nobody can 100% guarantee that some result will occur in marketing.
Ideally, your partner should also have an open communication style. While you shouldn’t constantly ask for updates multiple times per week, they should be open to communicating frequently and really be a part of your team.
Some agencies will charge by the minute for phone calls and meetings, so be sure to check the contract before accepting it.
Finally, look for an agency that is less than 30 people. If it’s larger than that, you’ll likely have junior hires doing most of your work as they will have to spend much of their budget on hiring managers. You can also ask to see previous client work to get a feel for the quality level of that agency.
If you want a marketing partner for your audiology business that has already executed the above plan many times for other healthcare clinics, reach out to Stodzy for a free consultation. We are happy to analyze your current strategy and create a personalized plan just for you.
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