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A Modern Audiology Marketing Plan for 2012: Wake Up! It’s Not 2007Anymore!By Kevin St. Clergy, M.S., CEO/President of EducatedPatients.com The other day I was going through a stack of old audiology marketing plans I had worked on with my clients back in 2006 and 2007and was stunned by the difference a short 5 years can make. The old plans looked very familiar. Most money was reserved for direct mail, newspaper ads and website development, and I remember that at that time I was emphasizing the importance of basic search engine optimization (SEO) and website development.Today, the audiology marketing plan I recommend for 2012 is quite a bit different. Whiletraditional methods are still important, direct mail, newspaper, radio and TV advertising mustbe accompanied by an aggressive use of digital marketing, which includes not only aninteractive website and SEO, but marketing through social media (Facebook and Twitter),online videos (YouTube), blogging, writing articles and press releases and podcasting and socialbookmarking.Social Media Marketing: It’s “Do or Die” TimeIf you do not have social media marketing as an integral part of your 2012 marketing plan, thenbe prepared to lose patients to your competition. It’s that simple.Don’t believe me? If you have not realized the impact digital marketing can have on your goalsto increase traffic and fit more hearing aids, then consider the rapid growth of social media: • Nearly 4 in 5 active Internet users visit social networks and blogs.1 • There are currently 126 million blogs on the Internet. (Did you know that companies that blog produce twice as many leads as those who do not?) • YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. (That means if you don’t post informational videos about your business and testimonials from your patients on YouTube, you are about to be left in the dust.) • 10 billion Tweets have been sent on Twitter since 2006. • Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website2…and there are more than 500 million of them!1,2,3,Nielson Wire, State of the Media: The Social Media Report, Q3, 2011,http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/social/
• Internet users over the age 55 are driving the growth of social networking through the Mobile Internet.3 • Sixty percent of consumers researching products online learned about a specific brand or retailer through social networking sites.4Are you a believer? I sure hope so or you are going to pay for it. Lets review how to go aboutcreating a modern audiology marketing plan for 2012.Creating and Implementing a Modern Audiology Marketing Plan 1. First of all, decide whether or not you have an extra 20-40 hours a week to manage the social media marketing plan yourself. If you do not have that kind of time, perhaps there is someone on your staff to whom you can delegate this job. If that is not an option, outsource the work to a company like EducatedPatients.com. 2. Complete your 2012 Marketing Calendar by determining the traditional and social media marketing you will do month by month. The traditional marketing plan will be easy for you. Let me recommend what you should do when it comes to social media marketing: a. Write at least one educational article per month. b. Write one press release per month about what’s going on in your office. c. Shoot and post one video per week to YouTube. d. Post daily to Facebook. e. Tweet two to three times daily to Twitter. f. Post article and video links to all website. 3. Execute your audiology marketing plan. I can’t tell you how many business owners begin the year with good intentions by devoting the time necessary to putting a marketing plan on paper. But that is only the first step. Follow through is critical…regardless of unforeseen expenses, time restraints or business downturns.Then, get ready. Make sure your staff is trained and has all the tools they need to convert thosecalls into appointments and appointments into the sales that will make 2012 your best year yet.4Nielson Wire, State of the Media: The Social Media Report, Q3, 2011,http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/social/