There’s no denying that 2017 has been a huge year for hearing. From early spring to now, most of the major hearing aid manufacturers have released some of the most sophisticated technology to date. And with a current rising trend in hearing loss – not only among older Americans but with younger populations as well – it is crucial for us in the hearing industry to get word out.
Audiology Websites | 5 things you need
Regardless of age, people receive their information mainly through the Internet. And as you know from personal experience, the websites that are at the top of the searches are the ones that get the most visits. To get up there in the top spots, and even the first page, we follow tenets of search engine optimization (SEO), which include elements to increase the visibility of our clients’ websites.
This increase in website visits is the equivalent of someone walking into your storefront. Your website should provide the same friendliness and welcome at the start, and as visitors make their way through your website, you should provide pertinent information that is up-to-date and useful.
Even though hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, those of us in the industry know that people wait far too long to have their hearing tested. People may even wait far too long before they realize there is an issue at hand.
What are things we can do to simultaneously encourage visitors to our websites and support them through the process of improving their hearing? What are things we can do, at the same time, to improve the pull and draw of our websites to attract customers and encourage them to take the leap to visit us in person?
At AudiologyREVO, we have over 30 years of combined experience working in the hearing industry. Below we outline five important elements that your audiology website should have to improve your standings.
Element #1: Video
Do you remember a world before YouTube? We barely do! As of 2014, videos had made up 64% of Internet traffic. It is projected that by 2019, videos will make up 80% of Internet traffic. That’s a huge increase in a span of five years!
On almost every website you visit, you’ll notice there is some form of video – even if it is a short ad of a few seconds. Video has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for transmitting information. When done correctly, video engages the viewer and it lasts – this is why videos go “viral”! Forrester Research estimates that one minute of online video equates to approximately 1.8 million words. In addition, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain that text. This indicates visual education aids like video can improve learning styles and increase the rate at which we retain information.” Source
While this article was specifically about how video and multimedia in a classroom has been found to improve student learning and retention, we can apply this same knowledge to how our potential customers receive information about hearing loss on our websites. The Local Search Association (LSA) surveyed 2,000 consumers and “found that 44% of buyers viewed an online video while searching for local products and services…53% of viewers contacted the business after watching a video, 51% visited the business website, and 33% visited the store. Seventy-one percent of viewers ended up making a purchase.” Source
Element #2: Social Proof
Last time (link to previous blog posts about Reviews/Testimonials/Reputation Management), we discussed the importance of reputation management when it comes to hearing and audiology practices on social platforms. Approximately 90% of consumers read online reviews, and 88% of these consumers trust online reviews as much as they would personal recommendations.
Popular sites to bolster the reputation of your practice include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Google+, to name a few. On these sites, your past and current customers are able to leave reviews for services provided. Most people, when looking up your practice, will check for testimonials about their experiences with you.
For this reason, it is important to provide positive customer feedback on your website. After you’ve provided a service perhaps you could ask your customers to fill out a survey and ask for permission to quote them on your website under a testimonial banner. Ask your customers to post a review of their experience on Yelp or your Facebook page.
Think of social platforms as a network where people spread the word about the services you provide. Because much communication happens online now, social proof of your reputation trusted by people new to your business. Share positive feedback you receive across these platforms, along with a link to your website for more information.
Element #3: Live Chat
In a previous post on live chats (link to live chat blog post here), we discussed the importance of communication and how it relates to conversion rates. Briefly, “conversion rates” are essentially the “next step.” When you’ve got a visitor on your website, you want to engage them to the point where they will feel compelled to come visit your business in person – for a consultation, hearing test, hearing aid fitting, and so on.
Live chat has been found to be instrumental in improving conversion rates. The mode in which you provide live chat is also important to securing customer interest. Most website visitors do not like pop-ups or overly aggressive attempts to communicate. As we know, in our line of work, the experience of hearing loss is a sensitive one and we want our visitors to feel comfortable. In fact, it could be argued that the anonymity of the Internet is what draws people – until they want help, at which point they will seek it out.
Provide a live chat option that is visible to your website visitors – but do not be too intrusive. A 2014 report from KoMarketing found that “60% of respondents indicated that they found ‘intrusive live chat’ a definite turnoff” but that “people found live chat helpful when they needed it.”
Additionally, in our line of work, where hearing loss has made speech recognition difficult, the option of a live chat eliminates the need for a phone call – which could be challenging for someone experiencing hearing loss. Live chat gives them the opportunity to communicate and ask questions – without having to struggle to hear.
Element #4: Professional Photography
As hearing professionals, we know that hearing loss is a medical condition – one that affects 30% of people over the age of 65 and 50% of people over the age of 75. We also know that hearing loss has been linked to depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal.
This is where the power of positive images comes in. We believe it is important for audiology and hearing service websites to provide professional photographs, with people of all ages leading active lives. Whether you contract your own photographers or you want us to work with you to curate images for your site, we believe that positive images bring a good vibe to your website as visitors scroll around.
Element #5: Useful, Up-to-Date Content
Hearing aids are constantly being innovated. New research on hearing loss emerges consistently. Hearing loss and hearing technology have become bigger topics in conjunction with personal electronic devices and rising rates due to the loudness of modern life and the ubiquity of earbuds.
Providing useful, up-to-date content on hearing loss and the newest hearing technology on a regular basis will help to improve your website. At AudiologyREVO, our team of writers work on new content, providing the latest information on hearing research and technology.
Contact us for a consultation on your website or to learn more about improving your online presence with Audiology Web Design.