Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Tide and Gain. Apple and everyone else. Companies selling similar products and services to the same customer is a part of free enterprise. As small businesses continue to struggle with COVID-19, another business selling similar products and services can make competition a more critical component of your business strategy than ever before.
A Google search will leave a potential patient with a list of names and businesses in your area. A new TV commercial for a new hearing health practice appears during the local news broadcast and may catch the interest of potential patients, including yours.
So, how do you set yourself apart from a practice offering similar services as you? Here are five tips to help compete with other practices in your area.
Know Your Customers as You Know Yourself
Your patients are more than a file number and a money transaction. Each patient is an opportunity to form a relationship, and it’s relationships that retain customers. About 80% of companies don’t keep enough client data. This leads to an inability to create effective marketing campaigns and find and solve your client’s pain points. One of the best ways to offset your competition is to address your patient’s concerns. A customer survey is a great way to gauge the temperature of your patient. A few questions you can ask include:
- What could we do differently?
- Is our staff courteous?
- Do we return your calls in a timely manner?
- Are your questions answered promptly?
- Are our hearing health information materials effective?
- Is your wait time in the reception excessive?
Critical assessments and a willingness to act on patient feedback can only improve your practice and create a deeper rapport with your patients.
Highlight Your Differences
Both Tide and Gain are laundry detergents. However, there are differentiators between the two products – color, variety of scents and texture of liquid are all components that distinguish these similar products apart from each other. As you promote your business, feature elements of your business that set you apart from your competitor. Conducting marketing research will help you to identify the differentiators from you and similar businesses in your area. Maybe you have hearing aids in stock at your office or offer the latest technology? Perhaps you have a superior financing plan? You can use the information collected in the marketing research to craft promotional material that’s consistent with your brand and displays why your business may be the better choice for new and existing patients.
Remain Competitive with Your Pricing
Marketing research also comes in handy when you’re setting prices. Some prices for services and products may be set across your industry, but research can help you determine the price points you’ll set for the services you can control. Knowing how much your competitor is charging helps you to set a fair/reasonable price point for your potential and existing patients.
Create a Campaign That Incorporates Compelling Storytelling
Your practice isn’t just your business, it’s your brand. How you brand your practice should be in alignment for the messaging you use to promote it. Creating a unique story to market your practice will make your practice more distinct than your competitors. Perhaps you entered the hearing health industry after watching your grandmother struggle with hearing loss or you grew up with a friend who was born with partial hearing loss. Maybe you have an interesting backstory to how you started your practice. An interesting situation where you’ve helped others, or simple “Aha” moments people experience can be conveyed as a story. Sharing powerful narratives can yield long-term benefits, like addressing your patients’ pain points. Next time you’re developing messaging for your business, think of a few distinguishing points about your practice or yourself. Think about how those points can be used to market your practice and brand philosophy, then turn those points into a story that can be shared through a blog or social media posts.
Consider Broadening Your Base
If your competitor is targeting the same demographic as you, it may be time to think about expanding to identify new segments of your reach. If your primary patients have been seniors, perhaps you might think about marketing towards a younger demographic. Adding tele care to your practice can provide greater access to a wider geographic audience and marketing base. Aligning with other businesses in your area that serve the same customer profile as your patients can create strong business alliances and more patient leads. Should you and your staff be too busy or are uncomfortable with conducting patient inquiries, you can hire a company to help you generate patient leads.
Competition is inevitable but it doesn’t have to threaten the security of your practice. With a robust marketing strategy and solid patient relationships you should be able to maintain business as usual and possibly pick up a few new patients along the way.