Most chiropractors say they are in the business of healing.
But they are really in the marketing business. When you build your brand in your community, you spark referrals. The more you market, the more profitable your business.
Even so, some chiropractors think “marketing” is a dirty word. But the fact is you are indeed in marketing because everything you do requires establishing your value to create a long-standing customer relationship.
Long ago, a chiropractor could perform a bit of genteel networking to earn business. Today, doctors have to attract people to themselves and their talent in sizeable numbers. Therefore, DCs need to create “marketing acceleration” to draw prospects into their pipelines.
It’s all about value
There are three vital areas to develop in your marketing plan. These include:
When you illustrate value, you start to become known among a larger base of prospective patients. This results in your becoming widely known in your niche. Referrals then start growing because of patient-to-patient conversations.
The end game is concerned about output; what the patient receives when working with you. Thus today’s chiropractic marketer needs to be results-driven.
Marketing is relationships
Building business is more than sales or marketing, it’s also about relationships. Patient discussions must center on outcomes. Patients want results, so initial and follow-up conversations need to focus on intended results and less on the prescriptions available.
For example: Patients suffer from personal stress stemming from work and family life. They seek less pain and more mobility. Therefore, the discussion should focus on this and not on the number or type of adjustments.
What to say before hello
Successful chiropractic marketing requires asking these three questions:
- What value do I bring to my patients?
- Who demographically fits my needs?
- What are the best methods to reach these prospective patients?
Unfortunately, many DCs immediately begin with No. 3, and engage in cold calls, direct mail, and other fruitless tactics. Once you know your demographic, you can identify who is likely to be interested. Then you can start researching methods for getting them to grasp your value and creating a community. But before you do there are some pitfalls to avoid.
Watch out for these mistakes
Refrain from wasting your time making the same errors as your predecessors. Older doctors might recommend you use advertisements, the Yellow Pages, and coupons to lure prospective patients. Yet the one question they can’t answer is: What was your return on investment?
Research suggests efforts like those given above generate less than a 5 percent return. Yet it’s a given that the size of your practice depends on the size of your marketing budget. If you have a small practice, then you probably have limited funds.
But if you do direct advertising, it must be continuous. Either run an ad weekly or don’t run it at all.
Further, coupons become diluted after a time, and the Yellow Pages worked for doctors ages ago, but the advent of the internet and modern referral strategies make it an outdated tactic. So what is a chiropractic marketer in the present day to do?
Getting the word out on a budget
Low-hanging fruit: Sometimes, seizing business opportunities is as simple as calling a friend or getting out of your comfort zone. You have two choices: You can sit around pondering how to get more business or step up in front of someone’s desk and request it.
Networking: The best chiropractors constantly network. Those who attend at least one or two networking events per month can often gain a number of leads and new clients for their practice. Choose those close to your location and aligned with your practice.
Referrals: Networking is about getting new referrals. Unfortunately, many ask the wrong way (or don’t ask at all). If patients are happy with your work they will gladly provide you with referrals. And the more referrals you obtain, the fuller the pipeline.
Speaking: Devise a seminar based on something of local interest, such as “Spring clean-up” or “Reinventing the golf swing” to demonstrate your value to patients. Invite patients to an in- house event and request they bring a guest. This builds face-time with your community.
Community involvement: The laws of attraction work when others know you. Get involved in commerce, religious, civic, and athletic organizations so the community can learn about you.
Teaching: Sharing knowledge with others is a good approach to community service and a great way to generate leads. Seek opportunities at community colleges or graduate programs.
Universities constantly seek outside expertise to help develop learners.
If your practice isn’t growing, stop doing the same thing. Chiropractors who invest time into their craft deserve better rewards. Those seeking to gain maximum efforts for better results simply need to take one resource and attempt it for the next 20 to 30 business days.
The only things holding back your practice are resources and strategy.
And a new strategy can be difficult because it requires leaving your comfort zone. Take the time to discover new methods to grow your practice.
When you maximize your marketing you’ll accordingly increase the power of your brand. Think of things you purchased recently simply because of the brand. Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Coke are household names because of the power of their brands. Imagine answering your phone and having four new patients that were told to call you, “just because.” Now that is the power of marketing.
Drew Stevens, PhD, is a practice management expert with more than 30 years of experience. His most recent book is Practice Acceleration, published by Greenbranch Publishing. He can be contacted at 877-391-6821 or through drewschiropracticmarketing.com.