In this Founder's Corner episode, Ajay will be speaking with Dr. Ruth Reisman, a licensed audiologist that specializes in individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Her goal is to utilize auditory therapy and communication planning to improve attention, behaviors and socioemotional skills. Enjoy the show.
Dr. Ruth, a clinical audiologist, introduces herself and her business Urban Hearing. Ajay advises on effective marketing strategies to generate reliable patient leads, especially in new markets. He emphasizes testing marketing strategies before investing more money and offers guidance on gaining recognition for Dr. Ruth's services.
Speaker: Hello and thanks for joining today's episode of The Founders Corner Podcast hosted by Ajay Prasad. Join Ajay as he sits down with healthcare professionals to discuss ways of improving their marketing efforts. As an entrepreneur and proud owner of several seven-figure web-based businesses, Ajay has now dedicated himself to helping healthcare professionals in building up their practices. If you would like to contact Ajay and become a guest on The Founders Corner Podcast, fill out the form on our website.
In today's episode, Ajay will be speaking with Dr. Ruth Reisman, a licensed audiologist that specializes in individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Her goal is to utilize auditory therapy and communication planning to improve attention, behaviors and socioemotional skills. Enjoy the show.
Ajay Prasad: Hi, Ruth, how are you?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: I'm doing well, and yourself?
Ajay Prasad: Fantastic. Friday evening, can't complain. You know what, it depends on where you are. Where are you right now, where are you based?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: I am actually, I'm in New York.
Ajay Prasad: Okay.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: So, yes, it's close to Friday evening for me as well.
Ajay Prasad: Yeah. Yeah, this is sort of Friday afternoon and 2:00. I am in Nashville right now. I am talking from Nashville.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Okay. Yeah.
Ajay Prasad: So, just one hour before you. So, Ruth, I believe Oliver has already shared our plan with you. Our audience are all, mostly, I shouldn't say all because I don't know, I don't check them –
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Sure.
Ajay Prasad: But most of our audience are healthcare providers themselves, so the reason we do this podcast is to really understand what's your problem and share some of the possible solutions. And the reason we do it is, as you can imagine, most of the healthcare providers, their issues are very similar so they can relate to it, and hopefully they can learn something or they – is it helpful for them. But at the same time, definitely our goal is to also make it helpful for you so that you can come out of this discussion with at least some ammunition in your plan.
And so the best way to do that, we'd love for you to quickly talk about you and your business in a few minutes so that people can relate to exactly what you are doing, and then all the questions will be much more relevant to them also.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Sure.
Ajay Prasad: So, why don't you, yeah, go ahead.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Of course. So, yes, my full title is actually Dr. Ruth Reisman. I am a clinical audiologist by trade and I kind of support the field on multiple fronts, I would say. I work in hearing implants, so various types of implants, in terms of educating audiologists and rehabilitating patients with implants. I also serve as a university professor. But my main goal in terms of this podcast is talking about my business, which is urban hearing. So, myself and my business partner, we were colleagues for a long time. We have a virtual private practice where we diagnose and rehabilitate various hearing and auditory disorders.
So, it's definitely been really interesting in terms of growing and developing the business, and then my purpose here is to really understand how to target the marketing and the dollars in terms of the expense of where it would best be spent so that we can achieve our goals in ultimately helping more people.
Ajay Prasad: Perfect. So, tell me, how long you had this business?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: So, yes, I have actually been in business for three years, and I have been – and it hasn't looked the way that it looks now, just like all businesses it kind of evolves. And I took on a business partner actually last year in August. So, truly, the business model as it is now hasn't even been functional for a year but we've been pretty successful in growing the business, developing the model and obviously helping a lot of people which is what the goal was on the onset, to really fill this niche that isn't being serviced for patients with these types of disorders.
Ajay Prasad: So, you said that it's all virtual, right. So, when you are doing the virtual, virtually, when you are talking to your patients, so do you have some electronic equipment to which you can do some testing or tell me how you can do some testing issues virtually?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: So, yeah, that's a great question. So, there is one portion of it where it's actually in person but that practice is actually not in the states. Our physical practice is actually out in Bermuda. So, we support patients in Bermuda where they don't have hearing healthcare. But yes, like this, we do have materials where we assess the patients and they're all calibrated and prerecorded. So, a lot of the testing that we do is what we call suprathreshold, so it's not necessarily identifying the hearing thresholds, it's really assessing how the auditory system functions beyond the softest sound, so, comfortable volume levels.
So, yes, we use proprietary software to assess the patient, and we actually assess the patient in multiple ways. So, there is a subjective portion, there is a portion that's done live, virtually, with the patient, and then here is another assessment that's done, again more objectively, on an iPad. And that's kind of how we take all three of those evaluations to make the most appropriate and most accurate diagnosis. And from there we develop the rehabilitation program for the patient, which is customized for each patient and done one-on-one.
Ajay Prasad: Okay, okay, wonderful. So, no, I can see that. So, you said you have grown well and you're fairly successful. So, how are you getting your patients? How are they finding you?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: So, that's a great question. A lot of what we have been doing so far is basically just grassroots marketing. So, all of those professional connections that I've had in the past that I know service this population but don't know who to send them to for the support, for that best support. We've kind of just spoke to them, let them know this is what we're doing, and because we're so unique in what we do they do send us direct referrals in terms of exactly what we need and exactly the patients that need our services and help.
But we also do a lot of social media marketing, a lot of Google search stuff, and then I do a lot of what's called – I guess a lot of press releases, where I'm quoted in various articles. So, when people can research me, I'm very visible on the internet and in social media.
Ajay Prasad: Oh, okay, perfect, very good. So, good. I think I have a good idea of what you do and how you are getting your business. So, let's go to your questions and see if we can help any further.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Yeah, that would be great. I guess, like you said, we've gotten to this point where we've grown and we do get referrals, but now we're actually adding other clinicians in other states to do this and as you know, I mean I am not in every state so I don't have those professional connections in every state. So, we're looking towards other ways that we can market to gain the target market in other states or in areas that we don't have those personal one-on-one connections.
Ajay Prasad: Okay.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Which is why I had asked those questions about like where is the best place to invest our marketing dollars to really get the most appropriate leads. And when I'm thinking about that, I'm thinking about in other areas where I don't have these professional connections, how can we use our marketing dollars to get the most appropriate leads for the business.
Ajay Prasad: So, let me just suggest something maybe slightly different. So, I would say you should have your effort – so, definitely you want to get the patients directly, and so that is given, but you should also, I would say, invest some marketing, and not like huge amount of dollar but at least through social media and all, or through your other organizations that are audiologists too to get to reach out to those – the referrals that you are getting, right.
Because with your practice, it's also a win-win because you said that part of it is it has to be an office visit and that's where I guess you could be recommending people over there for that. So, I would say – so, of course, you may want to look into how do I expand that network, right, in the news place that you are doing.
And along those lines, I would say in order for you to kind of grow and don't sink a lot of money before you hopefully start to get the return is make it very intentional. In other words, don't go all over, add one market at a time. You want to have go to a market, get to a critical mass just like you have in New York, right. So, that way you can focus on getting your network built, also and getting the marketing done so that you can start to have these patients that your local other clinicians can see. So, that is, I would say just a starting point in terms of strategy.
I would say, in other words go market after market, not everywhere because for a small business like us, it becomes really difficult to go into all place at all times, right, unless you have a huge amount of dollars backing you up for marketing and everything, right. So, that's the first thing that I would say, is to make sure that your money goes farther, or really you don't lose a lot of money before you would even know if it is working or not. The best thing is to pick up one market at a time.
And then I'm saying, maybe a year from now you will be comfortable to hit five markets at one time but again, be very intentional about the area because your business model, the current business model, you just, you want to replicate that. I would not try a new business model because you don't know if it's working or not. You have something working, you want to replicate it and the best way to do it is go into a market and you don't have to wait forever.
You can reach out to the referring, I don't know, clinicians, physicians. I am sure that you can get the list of all of those people, right, so you can reach out directly, build that network and obviously you are already know how to do marketing to get the patients. So, that will be my first advice, right. So, to be most effective just be very planned, very focused on one market at a time, okay.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: No, that's great, that's great advice. Thank you.
Ajay Prasad: Sure, you're welcome. And then your next question was what's the most effective marketing for that? What was your next question?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Yeah. I guess what is the best way to get like a steady stream of patients, especially in, like we said, in markets or in states where I didn't originally have those very strong professional networks or relationships?
Ajay Prasad: Yeah. So, again, you did not build the current network that you have in a day anyway, right. So, the first thing is to start doing that and that's my point, to start building the network and come up with a plan. You would know the list of the doctors, obviously. Once you know there, you can reach out, you can let them – inform them about the fact that you are launching in this market, it's unique and how everyone else is using it. So do that, first thing first.
And then in terms of getting to the client, I mean right now you said that you are using social media to get new patients. I would continue on doing that, social media, paid advertising, because for the patient, when they come to you, they are coming to you because of your unique processes, right, because of what you are offering. So, for the patient, they don't know if you have a network or not, right, you are still treating people and it's effective. So, I would – and by the way, when you are doing it for one market, so suppose you are in New York and you decided that next you wanted to go out in Chicago, when you are just doing in Chicago then you would have a much easier time or whoever is doing marketing for you will have a much easier time targeting in a small area in Chicago.
And understand and come up with a plan with, I would say, with the last amount of money. I mean marketing, you always want to reach a point where you know that if you are putting $10.00, you are getting X dollars, right, 10X, I mean 10 plus. But in order to get to that point, you almost always have to invest some money because marketing, I always try to explain, it is a science but it's not pure science, it's not math, where it is always exact.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Sure.
Ajay Prasad: So, yes, you have some program method, you want to try it in the new place, and figure out at what is the critical point where you know that, okay, I am getting, for example, one patient after spending $25.00 of marketing, that's a patient acquisition cost for me. Once you have identified that it will become, now you know whether it could work or not, right. If it's good enough you can ramp it up, if you say I don't make profit at this price, then the focus is how do you reduce the cost of patient acquisition, right.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Sure.
Ajay Prasad: So, that's my suggestion, and again, this will become easier for you if you are growing one market at a time, right, or like targeted growth, one or two or three, but you would know who the people are, you'll know social media. And then one thing that I do always recommend is have a process in place within your organization so that the patients who have seen them and you know that they are very happy, you should be able to go and reach out to them for referrals also.
So, yes, you have referrals from the professionals but the happy patients, they are some of the best referrals, and especially when you're talking about hearing. Because I am getting to that age, so I know that most of the people, not all, most of the people with hearing issues know other people who have hearing issues, right, just because of the age factor, right there. So, aging just gets everyone.
So, having that referral program, whether you are automating – maybe you automate it so that you asking the patient for a referral. So, I would say that is something that I am hoping that you already have it with the country. Because when you are launching in a new market, the first – you want to tap to your current patient base, right, and say, hey, I am now opening, expanding in Chicago, do you have people over there, please let them know.
So, create a channel for your own happy patients to kind of become your [inaudible] [00:18:25] marketer so they can tell other people to do that. So, I would say it leads to a very well plan where you have to have a plan to reach out to the referring clinicians there and, again, have your patient that you should know tell them. Make sure that now this marketing, it shows up in that market because now you are talking about your services for the right keyword, including your paid advertising, everything you are doing on social media.
So, that's what I would do, but have a plan. And really, I always say plan with intentions, all I mean is you should have some sort of expectations, right, in terms of return on your investment. Because that way, so for example, if you already have a plan to say, okay, I'm going to launch social media in Chicago, suppose you are going in Chicago and my goal is to spend $500.00 and acquire 10 new patients. So, when you have that kind of focus, then whoever help you marketing would know what to do. They may come back and say it's not possible, is it possible or you are very generous, you can get it for 25 or something.
But that's what I always mean have a plan. When you are spending any marketing dollar you should have some expectations in terms of what kind of result I should get, right. And again, you won't get all the time but just [inaudible] whoever – and I wish that I knew the names but whoever said that having no plan is the best plan to fail, so you have to have a plan with some goal in there.
So, I think that it will totally depend on your budget for that market and you need to allocate. But again, you want to go with that kind of plan. You want to know that, okay, this is a new market, I am going to invest this much money, and then the moment you – then you will say, okay, where can I get it so that I get the highest return on investment. And you may have to try a few things. You may already have from your experience say, hey, I am going to new market, I'm just going to focus on whatever, Google AdWords, which is perfectly all right too.
And again, like I said, when it comes to getting referrals from clinicians that is a longer process but you want to start it. The longest journeys just start with the first step, so you want to get that thing started. And I am very – I always tell people I'm very strong on having a referral business because that's what makes your - eventually you work less and you get more, even more business by doing that.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: No, I would agree. And then, like you said, you get more quality referrals as well, which is why it worked so well in New York because of that prior network that we had. I guess my follow-up question to that is because you know how they always say you have to spend money to make money, I personally like to operate in the positive. I never like to put the business in debt in any way. But is there something to kind of spending more marketing dollars in order to get that return on investment or is it better to be cautious, like you said, take one market at a time and start with what works before investing in more?
Ajay Prasad: Sure. So, whoever says that you have to spend money to make money typically has a lot of money and more typically it's someone else's lot of money, right. So, I have been in the corporate world, I have been in the VC world before, and I know that when they get money from VCs you see that they just blow it so fast and still, I mean I am not saying that it always fails because they feel like they are empowered to do that and can [inaudible] [00:23:02] a lot of the investors, the VCs who want them to blow the money fast. In other words, they want them to grow fast and if in the process they lose some money so be it.
Now, for the small business owners like you and me, unless you have some money allocated, like hey, this extra hundred thousand dollars I am just going to really spend and see whether it's worth it or not, I always [inaudible] by the way, even when I was in corporations, in a hundred years back, in those days we had a much more cautious approach. It was always that I would test it, right. So, anything that you want to do you can test it.
So, if you are going, for example, Google AdWords, you can limit it to a ZIP Code literally if you wanted, right. You can limit to the gender, to age group, whatever you want. So, you may want to really narrow target first and go after a very narrow market. And as you fine tune it, so say you go to one ZIP Code, I am just throwing in example, you could start with five, I am not saying that one will be sufficient. But if you go to a very limited geography and then now instead of spending $10,000.00 in the whole market to figure out whether this will work or not, you could spend $500.00 and you would know exactly what to expect, right. You would know that, for example, if you are doing Google AdWords, you will know that, oh, these are the keywords that work, right. This is a landing page that works.
So, my thing always is being cautious doesn't mean being penny wise, pound foolish. For me, being cautious means you want to test it first before you go out and blow a lot of money. Because, just trust me, Google will take a lot of your money. If they had their way they would take all of your money, and then if you are successful, great. If you are not, they will say, hey, we just advertise.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Right.
Ajay Prasad: So, whoever you are advertising with, I mean that is their approach. So, ultimately you are responsible for making sure that your money is spent on the right programs. So, again, you don't have to spend a lot of money to know what will work and what will not work. And like I said, once you know that it works, if you can, on Google AdWords is a good example, if you can figure out that okay, now I know that $50.00 gives me a patient, now you know, is it working or not working and you can get to that point for sure there when you are working with these Google – with digital marketing aspect, at least.
Even if you are going to advertise in a local newspaper it's the same thing, just if you are inserting a flyer, make sure that you're first inserting in a very small group. Instead of inserting 100,000, start with 10,000 and see what happens, right, before you go full-blown.
Are you doing any kind of nontraditional marketing or are you doing just everything digital right now?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: So, in terms – you mean like hard materials, using hard materials?
Ajay Prasad: Yeah.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: So, yeah. I would –.
Ajay Prasad: Yeah, yeah.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: I do mail to some referral sources, like flyers, pamphlets and then like business cards. So, we do have those available.
Ajay Prasad: Okay, perfect, perfect.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Yeah, putting them in offices and things like that, so that if it does come up they have the opportunity to pick up the pamphlet. Again, I think one of the other questions that I had is, because I know in the traditional sense people think as audiologists we assess hearing and then provide hearing aids, but what we do is a little bit different. It's actually the majority of our patients actually have normal hearing but function as though they have hearing loss. So, that's not as clearly understood as, oh, I have hearing loss, my doctor told me I need hearing aids so let me go buy hearing aids.
I guess the other question was, if the – although it's a needed area within the healthcare and medical field, it's just not as easily understood as like, okay, I have a scrape, I need a band-aid. It's not a common treatment plan, so to speak, it's more, not alternative but I would just say it's very specific to those who need it. And so sometimes it's hard even though, if we're – we are marketing, it's not necessarily – the message is not getting across to the right people, so to speak.
Ajay Prasad: Yeah. So, do you – that, to me, one of the solutions for that is going to be add some self-test at no cost or something on your website or in your campaign when you are marketing campaign. Because like you rightly said, I explained that as it's always much easier to sell aspirin versus vitamin, right. Aspirin is I have a headache right now so I need a cure, vitamin is something, hey, this is going to help me over a period of time but you don't really see that help, per se, immediately.
So, for people who don't think that they have any need for hearing help, support, I would say just – do you have – I'm assuming that you may have, do you have something on the website where I can go and quickly check and say, I think I should reach out to her because you just –? There's some sort of self-diagnosis that can be done easily. Is this something that you can provide?
Dr. Ruth Reisman: So, we do have a checklist. Like if you experience these symptoms you might have an auditory processing disorder. But maybe, like you said, it might be good to have like an interactive questionnaire or an interactive exam on the website that people, that like you said, take this screening to see if you might be a candidate for this type of therapy, and then that's maybe a way to capture the patient information who might be thinking about maybe I need this help.
Ajay Prasad: Yes.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: That's a good point.
Ajay Prasad: And also, you would have the patients tell you, if someone takes – for example, if someone goes through the pain of taking this quiz or test, I don't know, it could be something that is just Q&A, something could be you listen to it and you respond and let us know what you heard sort of thing. But ultimately if someone has gone through, spent 10 minutes to do a quiz and the conclusion is that you need some help.
Now, I don't know your business model but you can always, I don't know, like for dentists they always have like, okay, you can get a free x-ray and stuff like that. Or if not, then you can always give them a discount, right, because you already know that they are qualified patients for you, for your business. So, you can say, okay, we'll give you a the first –.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: A free consultation or something.
Ajay Prasad: Yeah, exactly. So, that's what I'm saying. I don't know if are doing right now or not, free consultation but if you are not doing it then this gives you an option to do it, right, where you just say, hey, take the quiz and if you find out that you may need some help, we'll do a free first consultation or give you a discount, but something to do that because I think that it's really hard to convince someone to go out and test something unless they are feeling that pain, so you want to do that.
And then also, in terms of marketing, how do you get someone to take that test? You would probably need to go to the really through the influencer of those people. For example, spouses, they are the biggest sufferer, right, when their spouse, he or she, decides that they are not – they don't want, you know, I'm fine, I don't have any hearing problem but you know that your significant other knows very well that you have.
And so, you will have to devise a marketing program and that's where the social media comes in very handy, where you want to drive people to take this self-assessment test. And like you rightly said, it gives you a chance to either send them an offer later on or do it right there, that hey, you need that. If you click here to do this, because that's the only place that it's available, click here to set up appointment, and click on [inaudible] [00:33:06].
Again, like I said, there is never magic in marketing. I have not seen – I have been in marketing here for a very, very, very long time now. Long enough that most of my colleagues have retired, and I can tell you that there are seldom – there are very few homeruns in any marketer's career. I don't care – obviously, marketers only talk about their big successes and you think that, wow, this person is genius. But generally speaking, you will hit singles and doubles many, many times more than you will hit a – you will hit a homerun maybe once in a while.
So, that's what I'm saying, you have – you just need to move the needle, and I would say you have to have something that is self-assessment, otherwise you will have – and then the other thing, obviously, is to try to get consultation, even without self-assessment, like you are doing right now. But reach out to the significant other, reach out to the influencer of those families or you can even create some sort of – and by the way, I am sure that there are forums on the internet right now for spouses trying to figure out, how do I convince my significant others to go and do a test, right, the hearing test.
So, again, so that would be the – you have to think out of the box on something like this that we are talking about, and I can see, yes, there is a good potential there. But the convincing is the thing, and best way to convince is like here, you can do a self-test, okay.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Yeah, no, I think those are two very big pearls of wisdom right there, is having that interactive test, something that I – I mean I thought about it on the professional side but I think it might be worthwhile on the patient side, like you said, to capture people who are actually in need of this service and then giving them – like incentivizing them, which was kind of one of the things that I said, like incentivizing people to either come on or refer someone who might need this service.
Ajay Prasad: Yes.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: And then the other thing that I didn't think about is reach out to those platforms where there is family members that are concerned about their significant others or family members, loved ones that have hearing problems and offering them even that option.
Ajay Prasad: Yeah. I mean it's [inaudible] [00:35:58] you will fine, you will see the forum people are always asking – and my neighbor has a forum and we got asked, is like, hey, what's the optimum temperature for A/C because I guess in this particular family there is a perpetual discussion between husband and wife about where the thermostat should be. So, it's like everything has – and there is a significant other that deals with, so I am pretty sure that all you have to do is just go and check, and I would sign up, by the way, on those forums also.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Yeah. I think a lot of like Facebook and things like that have those platforms so I'm definitely gonna look into that.
Ajay Prasad: Yep, yep, yes, yes.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: For sure. I think those were all of my questions. And like I said, you gave me some pearls of wisdom that I think I'm going to start with that hopefully will create some form of a shift, especially in the new market that we're trying to tackle now.
Ajay Prasad: Yeah. I hope that you are planning on going one by one or two by – you know, adding two or three maximum at a time, because like I said, when you are growing you want to make sure that you – rather than sprinkle your resources all over, in marketing we used to call it spray and pray, you want to focus on one market at a time. Once you have a successful plan where it is at least generating positive cashflow, then you can start to think about the next market.
Because you know how long it takes to get to the level where you are, right. So, now with the experience that you have it should be easier for you. So, I'm wishing you a huge success and –.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Thank you.
Ajay Prasad: It's pretty smart. I have not met many entrepreneurs who went out and got a partner because it was like, hey you know what, I think I need some help, so the fact that you are willing to ask for help just really tells a ton about you, so best wishes. Hopefully, we will hear some good news. And by the way, anything – if you have any specific questions ever, it's not like, we are not disappearing, you can always drop an email to Oliver and I'll be happy to send an email back with an answer. So, don't feel like this is the end of it.
Dr. Ruth Reisman: Thank you so much. Okay. Well, thank you all for the opportunity. And I did want to speak a little bit about Urban Hearing, and you can find more about our company on UrbanHearing.com, so, that's W-W-W, Urban, U-R-B-A-N, Hearing, H-E-A-R-I-N-G, dot com. And we do, on that platform, evaluate hearing disorders, specifically auditory processing disorders, and offer therapy and rehabilitation for those disorders, and it's pretty miraculous what we can achieve with our patients in terms of helping them hear better and communicate better with those who are most important to them in their lives.
And as I said, if anyone who mentions this podcast is open to having a free consultation and we can speak about how we can best help your communication and hearing needs.
Speaker: Thank you for listening to this episode of The Founders Corner Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode be sure to rate and follow us on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and [Inaudible] [00:39:50] Cloud. If you are interested in being a guest be sure to visit our main page at https://www.gmrwebteam.com/thefounderscorner.
Share this podcast