Content Marketing for Audiology

A blog can be defined as a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis. In the early days of blogging, people wrote blogs along the lines of a diary, a way to express their thoughts and feelings.

The Role of the Blog

Over time businesses began to embrace the role of blogging as a way to provide information to both potentially new and existing customers. Business owners began to realize that blogging online gave them the ability to expand the information provided to customers about existing products and services, answer the most frequently asked questions, address common misconceptions, introduce new products and services and so on.

Blogging is also important for giving your practice exposure and to build a sense of community. It’s one of the best ways for you to establish you and your practice as the authority in your area for all things related to Audiology and hearing healthcare.  What else can a blog do for your practice?

Preventing Buyer’s Remorse

You have just spent an hour, maybe an hour and half convincing a patient that spending upwards of several thousand dollars for a set of hearing aids is a great idea. They are now about to leave your office. One of the best ways to prevent buyer’s remorse is to use your blogs to continue the sales process once your patient leaves the office, for example:

“Mr. Jones, when you go home take some time to go through our website. I know I gave you a lot of information over the past hour. Most of what I just told you can be found on our website, but you may also find a answer to a question or two that you hadn’t even thought of. We like you to know that we have the answers to your questions 24/7.”

Your website and in particular your blogs represent you and your practice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s almost like have a full-time employee who does nothing but answers patient’s questions 24/7 and who never calls out sick.

Content Marketing and Ranking

Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material, for example blogs that do not explicitly promote a brand but are intended to stimulate interest in it’s products or services.

Your blog should be designed to answer a question.  Today’s search engine are designed to respond to real (or natural) language queries.  Natural language search is search carried out in everyday language, phrasing questions as you would ask them if you were talking to someone. These queries can be typed into a search engine, spoken aloud with voice search, or posed as a question to a digital assistant like Siri.

Why the Evolution of Search?

First of all, search engines – particularly Google – have improved their search capabilities so much over the years that people expect to find exactly what they’re looking for on the first try.

Secondly, search technology has improved to the point where we can begin to teach search engines to understand longer, more complex queries, with different components that modify each other and can’t operate independently.

The third key component contributing to the development of natural language search is the rise of voice search and digital assistants. It’s becoming a lot more common for people to search by talking into their phone.

Quality content is far more than just a buzzword marketers throw around for fun.  It’s what savvy marketers strive for, and what Google and people look for. It’s what separates the winners from the losers online; it’s what will help your site rank well in the search engines, and what will help you build trust, credibility, and authority with your audience.

Are You in Panic Mode?

The independent hearing healthcare provider is being confronted by a variety of outside influences unlike anything they’ve ever seen.

  • 3rd party insurances that that you feel a need to accept but a rate that leaves little room for profit.
  • Online retailers who compete solely on the basis of price, using ad campaigns that are a direct violation of HIPAA.
  • An average cost per lead has tripled in the past decade, meaning you’re spending 3 times as much to attract the same number of new patients.

The only difference between a problem and an opportunity is in the mind. A problem means that there is no clear solution, while an opportunity means there is a chance to exercise creativity.

Steps to a Solution

Step 1
Stop panicking. It’s a complete waste of time and energy.

Step 2
Assess the situation. What can you control and what is outside of your control?

Step 3
Understand why the outside influences are becoming more and more effective. Instead, evaluate other industries. It’s easy to view the loss of business as being solely driven by price. However every industry has successful enterprises at a variety of price points.

What I’m suggesting you do is to evaluate why some businesses thrive at a price point significantly higher than their competitors. I’ll give you one possible reason why… value. They compete on value, not price. Competing on price alone, while it can be done is a risky proposition.

Only one company can truly have the lowest price and if all you do is tie them, customers will look for another point of differentiation. You will end up in the same place you are now, but with less money in your pocket. Given the volume of purchases of the small business owner compared to large chains, online retailers and box stores…competing on price is futile.

Compete on Value

Start by understanding your customer.

I know that you think you understand your demographic, but do you really?

Who will be using your product or service?

Do your potential customers still fit the demographic model that they did 10 years ago? Are they older or younger, what is their income level, educational level?

How does your prospect make buying decisions?

The sales cycle for most products and services is no longer a nice, neat linear process. Instead the cycle has become much more complicated. Potential customers have the ability to research a vast amount of information about a product or service (price point, reviews of the product, technical data) and compare the data across any number of providers.

How does the competition promote, price and sell its product or service?

Here’s how you’ll build this knowledge base:

  • Read what your customers are reading.
  • Know what your competitors are doing and saying both on and offline.
  • Attend an event where your prospects, customers, or other market players are speaking.
  • Record the information you gather and and analyze patterns.
  • Identify opportunities, so you can discuss them with your customers and prospects

Yes, this is a lot of work. But the payoff can be tremendous.

Deliver Value

Define the value you will be delivering.

Starbucks and Whole Foods are two examples of companies that offer products sold by their competitors for significantly less. Both companies have defined the experience their customers can expect each time and they deliver on that promise. Those experiences have been deemed by the customer to be worth the higher price point.

Kmart and Sears are excellent examples of companies that competed on price.  They failed to understand and respond quickly to changes in the marketplace and the inevitable is about to occur (Read More Here)

If you fail to deliver… fix the problem, IMMEDIATELY. In the age of social media, time is of the essence. You’ve heard the adage that that 1 unhappy customer will tell the story of their experience to somewhere between 9 – 15 people. With the ability to post their unhappy experience online you might be looking back on that 9-15 number with fondness as the number of people who view your customers story and share it with ours enters triple digits.

No one ever said running your own business would be easy. And if it has been easy, those days have come to an end. The information above is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. If you’re ready to get serious abut making money from your practice, give us a call. We know what to do.

Medicare Rules and Regulations…Great, Something Else to Do

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) changes will impact future Medicare reimbursement for audiologists billing for Medicare Part B.

According to the proposed 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will deduct 1.5 percent per claim from all 2015 Part B payments to eligible health-care professionals, including audiologists, who do not meet the satisfactory reporting requirements to report at least one applicable PQRS measure for Medicare covered services in 2013. In other words, you must participate in PQRS in 2013 in order to avoid a payment reduction in 2015.

The Audiology Quality Consortium (AQC) has developed a resource regarding PQRS reporting titled, http://www.audiology.org/practice/PQRI/Documents/PQRS_ReportingAudiologyQualityMeasures.pdf    Reporting Audiology Quality Measures: A Step-by-Step Guide.

On a final note, please heed the phrase, “Don’t kill the messenger!”  We provided this information in case you weren’t aware of the upcoming changes.  Please remember, we provided it, we didn’t create it and we agree that one more set of regulations is not what the doctor ordered.