Merchant: Audiology First
Location: Columbia, Maryland
Platforms: Facebook, Google, ReachLocal
Bottom Line: Business owners who already feel stretched thin are more likely find success in hyperlocal marketing when they offload the day-to-day management of their campaigns to an outside agency.
Audiologists go through years of training to receive their doctoral degrees and begin treating patients with hearing problems, but very little of that education covers what will likely become one of their greatest professional challenges — advertising and marketing an independent practice.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 42% of audiologists in private practice own their own businesses, making them the primary person responsible for marketing their clinics and maintaining a successful referral base.
Audiology First owner Diana Wagner found herself in just this predicament as she started her practice in Columbia, Maryland, and took on the role of developing and managing all advertising and marketing campaigns. She knew that establishing a presence online would be essential to growing her business, but running online marketing campaigns required too much day-to-day involvement for her to be able to handle everything on her own.
“We were not doing much marketing at all. I tried to do some Facebook and Google ads, but I soon found out I didn’t have the time or resources to learn how to use them effectively,” she says.
The most logical first step in marketing was to create a practice website. Wagner says she updated her own website, but without any way to promote it, the site generated very little traffic.
Ultimately, it was a recommendation from a practice management company that led Wagner to the realization that she would be better off hiring an outside firm to manage the bulk of her practice’s digital advertising. A principal at Hearing Asset Advisors referred Wagner to ReachLocal, and a representative from the digital marketing vendor reached out and made the type of personal connection that really matters to many small business owners.
“She made my decision to use them easy because she is very approachable and was able to answer all my questions about how online marketing works,” Wagner says.
Audiology First now works with ReachLocal to manage search engine marketing, retargeting, and Facebook ads, all designed with the goal of connecting the practice to new patients. Wagner says she tracks how patients found her practice, along with the revenue generated from their visits, and then uses that data to evaluate the effectiveness of her digital marketing campaigns.
“We ask them,” she says. “Sometimes [new patients] are a little fuzzy as to where online, but can usually tell us they found us online somewhere.”
Wagner says that phone call tracking has also been a useful way to track how patients are finding her practice.
Having a larger presence online, with a robust website and an updated Facebook page, has made it easier for both new and existing patients to connect with Audiology First. But when it comes to small business marketing, Wagner explains that the work is never truly done.
“Keeping content fresh and relevant is the biggest challenge in marketing and advertising,” Wagner says, “and making sure our information stays in front of patients.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.