Hearing Aid Marketing is Changing. What Will You Do To Drive New Patients?
by Patrick Miller Posted on November 1, 2019
You need more hearing aid sales. Let’s imagine for a moment, there’s a huge marketing budget available. It’s not an unlimited budget, but there’s enough to allow you to develop a truly successful program. What would you do to drive new patients?
As a marketer I consider this question often. Both hypothetically, to allow my creative sessions room to breathe; and, literally with every client who begs me to challenge the mundane, the tired, and the ineffective. As much as I appreciate these folks for thinking there’s some magical solution, the truth is, marketing is never just one thing.
The best marketing meets the audience where they are at and when they are ready. It does not, cannot, and will not bring to them a flash of waking insight, a life changing moment, or an immediate urge to grab the phone and call.
With ten years of experience developing and executing marketing for audiologists in private practices, I’ve been asked this question hundreds of times. I'm confident, the best advice for any clinic in a retail setting trying to successfully market hearing services comes down to a few points, the most important of which is having a plan.
Be it a monthly, quarterly or yearly calendar of events, a new catalog of creative offerings, or a thoroughly understood patient profile; establishing a well-defined plan for delivering consistent and steady patient flow will always be the best possible solution. Bringing more new patients in a casual, methodical, and consistent flow will be much more effective than blasting the market at random. Let’s take a walk through a simple scenario together.
In a typical market the options to reach an audience are straight forward. Here’s a list with pros and cons:
- Direct mail - the old, tired, but reliable workhorse offering targeted solutions. There’s been an apparent diminishing of return. But, it’s still a contender for so many reasons.
- Facebook - new, exciting, and frustrating. Delivering so many leads that are unqualified, unmotivated and difficult to convert; getting them from the virtual environment of a touchscreen or monitor, to the real-world respect and sense of responsibility of a human is difficult.
- Pay-per-click (AdWords) - rock solid performance, quality leads, but never enough quantity to build a string of great months together.
- Newspaper - lots of opportunities for creative expression, but expensive (ridiculously so in most markets), ineffective and unreliable.
- Radio - great for branding, but untargeted and ineffective unless paired with a strong lead gen solution.
- TV (Broadcast) - very expensive, untargeted and requires the correct message (often the message that works best is not a desirable message for promotion a brand (think Wanted 21).
- TV (Cable) - geo targeted, affordable, but again, requires the correct message. And also, ineffective unless paired with other lead gen solutions.
- Billboards, large format signs - limited branding effectiveness, and worthless when it comes to measurable lead gen.
- Physician referrals - excellent solution, but tireless, boots-on-the-groundwork requiring specialized and dedicated staff.
So, what’s the best option? All the above, most of the time. In a calculated and measurable plan that is tracked, monitored and adjusted OFTEN for optimum efficiency. A closely monitored program where results either 10% positive or negative with any of these strategies and you will notice the effects on your practice.
Ask yourself, “What will it take to drive revenue-generating patients through my door?” A good plan doesn’t take a considerable amount of money, or a lot of time to build, it just takes focused attention. Structuring any marketing program for your office that allows you to test, measure, and manage efficiencies is just a well-defined, executed, and monitored program with a few defined goals and habits.
One more key message: there must be a control piece for each media buy. It’s the piece that works a large percentage of the time. It can’t be beaten by your newest, most creative, or most exciting efforts, it just simply works and your confident it will continue to work. Using that message, you gather data and test against it, every time. If the typical message the market accepts and responds to can’t be beat, there needs to be an understanding of why before a new message can be created.
To tie it all together, let me take a moment and mention what personally drives me. When a new mailer is created, or an unexplored zip code is targeted, or a killer list of qualifying questions for Facebook helps the appointment conversion rate, that’s a powerful feeling. Especially when it all comes from nothing but experience and tireless examination of past results. That’s when you know you understand your audience and you understand the market. It’s when you can confidently make decisions and deliver effective, long term marketing results. Never too many leads, and always just enough.
I challenge you this week to take one hour and map out your marketing program using the above list. Which media buys need better tracking? Is there a control piece? Is there a plan for next year?
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