Networking: Grow Your Audiology Business Organically
Many clinicians are uncomfortable with the business side of running a hearing clinic. You probably didn’t get into the field to be a marketer, and yet marketing is the key to a successful hearing care practice’s steady growth.
Finding ways to stand out from your competition is challenging—and often expensive. Some clinics utilize paid online advertising (Google ads, Facebook promotional posts), while others invest in television commercials and billboards. Yet arguably the best and more frequently neglected option for attracting new patients is free: word of mouth. There is simply no amount of monetary investment that draws new clients like positive referrals from existing patients and trusted medical professionals.
Generate positive reviews online and in real life
The following are simple ways to generate positive reviews and referrals from your existing patient base:
- Include a couple sentences at the end of your patient’s summary of their visit, the bottom of your invoices, and in follow-up emails. Examples:
- Let us know how your visit went! Review us here (link to Yelp, Vitals, Healthgrades, etc.).
- We appreciate referrals! Tell someone you love we are here to help.
- Offer existing clients who refer new patients a percentage off their next visit. You can also offer a discount to those new patients off their first visits to encourage them to come through the door.
Consider offering a percentage off in exchange for a positive review (but include a request that if they have a concern or issue to contact your office directly instead of publicly reviewing).
- Leverage social media. Maintain a presence on Facebook and Twitter, at minimum. Encourage your patients to Like/Follow/Share your posts. Keep posts engaging with helpful tips for maintaining good hearing health, treating hearing loss, and just-for-fun posts (e.g., National Talk Like a Pirate Day). Personalize by including features and photos about yourself and others working in your clinic. Remember, you don’t have to produce all the content yourself! Share posts from your partners like Oticon Medical on bone anchored hearing solutions and other relevant topics.
- Offer yourself as an interview subject. Local news outlets (online and off) are always looking for informative, human interest, and helpful tips content to share. Call or email their editorial departments (you can find contact info on media websites) and offer yourself as an expert to discuss hearing issues. They get informative content, and you get free publicity – win, win!
Marketing your services through other medical professionals
Another often overlooked source of referrals are professionals in other health disciplines. Reach out to primary care physicians (PCPs) and specialists in comorbidities of hearing loss that communicates how working together can help improve their patients’ overall health. Informative points you can make in your outreach communications include the following:
- Hearing health assessments are integral to overall health maintenance, on par with seeing an eye doctor for regular checkups
- Unaddressed hearing loss can be an indicator of, or contributor to, numerous comorbidities
- Treating hearing loss improves patients’ lives physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially
- Mutual referrals would benefit their patients and practice as much as yours
Wondering how to get your mutual referral plan into the hands of local medical professionals? You can either work with a marketing firm to assemble a hearing care reference guide for physicians or assemble your own. Research the PCPs and specialists in areas with known connections to hearing loss (e.g., cardiovascular disease, cancer treatment) and send either a printed package or email to their office. You may even want to drop by in person to introduce yourself and offer them pre-printed flyers for their waiting rooms on hearing loss and treatment. Present yourself as an expert who is easy to work with and will help them offer a more integrated approach to their patients’ health… and of course, offer to mutually refer appropriate patients to them.
Most PCPs strive to offer their patients holistic care. If you position your clinic and its offerings as a way to help them achieve this, the benefits of partnering with you will become clear. Yes, this will require some investment in time and money, but the potential for referrals from multiple sources makes it worth your while.
Remember that we are here to help! Contact your Oticon Medical representative to get material on hearing losses treatable by bone anchored hearing devices like the Ponto™ 5 SuperPower you can repurpose as part of your patient and professional outreach programs.