A Super Secret Weapon for Audiologists Against a Changing Industry
By Katie Armatoski, Au.D
I get questions all the time from audiologists who want to know whether it’s possible to create content that will actually attract patients and grow their business. Independent audiologists are feeling lost and overwhelmed because they’re not sure what to post as they have been trained to only promote a product, not their value as experts in their area.
It’s so frustrating because as audiologists, we weren’t taught any of this stuff in school. Yet, we absolutely NEED it in order to remain competitive. I really feel for everyone trying to navigate all of this while running a busy practice. Luckily, there are ways you can make all of this easier so you don’t burn out and I’m going to share one strategy with you today: streamlining your social strategy to focus more on content that educates and engages people.
If you can’t create enough content to post daily or create a yearly content strategy, you’re not dead in the water. Far from it. You can still run a practice that thrives, even in the presence of powerful competitors, by focusing on how you can deliver real value to people — but the earlier you can start, the better.
New Challenges Are Right Around the Corner
In addition to your everyday challenges as a business owner (finding patients, running a practice, staying competitive), there’s a new challenge we’re all going to have to face very soon: OTC hearing aids are bound to hit the market and the billion-dollar companies selling them (Oticon, Starkey, Phonak, Resound) have a powerful marketing strategy all ready to go.
I believe these companies plan to throw huge amounts of ad dollars behind content that encourages people to go to their local discount store, manufacture-owned clinics, or pharmacy to purchase these OTC hearing aids. Starkey is already making high-end video content and sharing it with news outlets to gain visibility and brand recognition and Oticon is paying lots of money to run ads that most practices just won’t be able to compete with.
I love to do “market research” on these companies online. For example, I saw this Oticon ad on Facebook recently:
I clicked through and was taken to a landing page where the main call to action is to “Try More Risk-Free.” If you click on that pink button, you’re taken to a form to fill out in order to be matched with a hearing care professional near you. If you don’t mind giving out your email address, I encourage you to fill it out and see who Oticon is sending people to in your area!
I don’t share any of this with you to scare you or make you feel hopeless. I actually see a lot of opportunities for independently owned clinics if OTC hits the market. My point is as practice owners, we need to work REALLY hard to build that know, like, and trust factor with our local communities so they still see us as the preferred option when it comes to hearing aids or concerns about hearing loss. So, when it is time to pivot your business or answer questions people in your area come TO YOU.
Creating Content That Educates and Engages
When you sit down to strategize your content strategy, it is so important that you find ways to increase your know, like, and trust factor. It should be your number one goal, all the time. I know it’s not intuitive, since you ultimately need to sell your products and services. However, people aren’t going to respond to that. They’re going to respond to the more “human-centric” stuff and then naturally become curious about what you do and sell.
Carve out space in your content to talk about what makes you unique. Talk about WHY you do what you do. What is rewarding about it? Rather than just saying “I love to help people hear better”, try to think about how you can show that with a story or a testimonial. Share statistics that matter to your patients, but instead of just copying and pasting it from a journal or article, paint a picture around it that evokes a strong emotion.
Your goal is to educate people (building the trust factor) but also to engage with them (building the like factor) and connect with them (building the know factor). If you can do this, you have a major advantage over these other big companies, since their main goal is really just to advertise their products and price points.
Need Help? We’re Here For You!
I don’t want to turn this entire conversation into a pitch for my membership program, but at Ascending Audiologists, our goal is always to provide independent audiologists with content that helps you to educate and engage with your local community while promoting your practice.
We’ve added some great features that go above and beyond a basic posting strategy so you can compete more with these big companies. For example, we are now offering custom edits and we will even upload content into Facebook for you so you will always have content flowing, even when you’re too busy to do it yourself. Also, we are Audiologists who write for other audiologists, whereas the “big companies” are hiring marketing agencies that have no experience actually sitting down with a patient and listening to their problems and perspectives.
Sure, they can throw lots of money at an online ad, but can they actually speak to people’s hearts? If you saw the screenshot of the ad I shared above, you already know the answer to that question. This is where we can make a name for ourselves and build our local reputation to the point where these OTC companies no longer feel like a threat. Yes, it will take a little bit of work, but it will be worth it, trust me!