Most Successful Marketing Strategies for Local Chiropractors

 

When it comes to marketing your practice, there’s a lot to talk about. This article will cover all the information I've recently put together while speaking with local alternative health, chiropractors and wellness oriented businesses about their marketing strategies.  

There are a several different pathways to local marketing and each has their benefits and drawbacks.  Below, I've categorized the strategies into different avenues according to what venue or vehicle they utilize.  You may find that some of these strategies appeal to you more than others depending on personality, vision and your approach.  This is fine as long as you remember that you must actively choose from and consistently focus on three or more  of these methods at a time in order to see the success you're looking for.  Sitting down each week with a notebook and write down what you and your staff are focusing on for your marketing, make a schedule for your office and stick to it. You’ll find that you’ll have to make changes and learn as you go, but I promise it will work and sooner rather than later you'll be seeing 75 or more new patients a month.

 

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Sports physicals were not an activity that we actively marketed in our practice. We certainly did them for our patients, but that was about the extent of the work we did in this area. I’ve seen a number of chiropractors advertise this service, and I’m sure that it would be effective for generating some new patients. The question with all chiropractic marketing activities is this, “Which activities should I focus on that will produce the best ROI for the time and money that you have to put into them?” I don’t have an answer to this question, but you need to be conscious of this when you are creating your marketing plan. You can’t do everything, so it’s important to focus on a few of the programs that fit your office the best. ---- 

Ready?  Here we go:

 

Internal Marketing

Internal marketing involves meeting the needs of your existing patients with an emphasis on building referrals and providing such an outstanding experience to them that they can't help but share with their friends about their best kept wellness secret - you.

 

1. Patient Appreciation Days

This is the first, and most effective internal marketing program. “Patient Appreciation Days," don't have to be big ordeal.  Simply put a white board in each of your rooms about the upcoming event.  Leave some balloons at the front desk and tell your patients that you're having a special day where they can bring in friends and family members to some special that you're offering.  Make sure your staff is also doing this at the front desk, and giving patients simple handouts.

Doing patient appreciation days every other month, can consistently produce 15 new patients. You do not have to do a big giveaway, or spend very little money on the event other than balloons. Simply make them part of your monthly schedule, then you don't have to think about when you're going to do them or how you're going to promote them, just train yourself and your staff to start the process of setting up every two months as near the day.

 

2. Birthday Cards

Birthday cards have been used as a patient retention, and reactivation tool, for decades. The key here is being personal, just sending cheap mass produced post cards in the mail don't impact anyone.  Instead, think about how you can make that one card exceed their exceptions. How can you make it stand out and show your patient that you are an exceptional doctor that cares about them personally? Putting just a little bit of extra effort in can result in an exponentially better result. Put this same kind of thought into ALL of your chiropractic marketing procedures, and you will gain all the new patients you need.

3. Personal Notes

Similar to birthday cards another method, this one for patient reactivation, taken by successful practices was was to write their patients personal notes. In fact, it was one of the duties they had their staff do when they had free time.  The notes were hand-written and said something along the lines of, "Hi XXXX,  Dr. XXXX wanted me to send a note to you today to see how you are doing.  Please give us a call if there is anything we can do to help you."

The practices that implemented this were surprised at how many patients called in response to the note.  Although not all of them scheduled, they were happy that the practice cared enough to think of them. When they needed care in the future, guess who they called?

4. Personal Voice Messages

There's no doubt that people today get a lot of emails. I answer a lot of emails, but inspired by dictation, here's something that not only saves time but impresses patients who get the messages.

Instead of sending out a fully typed emails to your missing patients, utilize your mobile phone voice memo application to create very personal, well thought out, voice messages. Once recorded,  attach them in email to your patient instructing them to click on the audio file.  You're able to give much more detail than you can type and it's much faster.  They get a high quality, very personal, well thought out, voice message from their care provider asking them about how they are doing. It's fast, easy and personalized - a win-win.

5. Email Newsletters

The majority of providers today that use newsletters today are using some kind of canned newsletter from a company that sells them. This boring information is then sent out to your patient base with the hopes that they will in some way be excited by it. I’ve yet to meet a chiropractor that is expanding his or her practice with this useless tool.

Newsletters can be outstanding, but you have to put some time into them. Your patients have to know that you actually wrote it before they are going to spend their valuable time reading it. In this day and age your newsletter does not have to be written at all. You could record your voice or do a video as an email newsletter. There are so many efficient, and low cost ways, to reach out personally to your patients.

6. Office Contests

Office give-aways are sometimes often wrapped into patient appreciation days, but they don’t have to be. One of the very large practices I spoke with created giveaways that typically matched the season. For instance in the summer they would giveaway a new grill or a really nice bike. In order to have a chance to win you had to give the office the names of friends or family members that might be interested in your specific care. For every name that you submitted you got an entry into the drawing. The office staff would then call all the leads, and invite them into the office for a special event of some kind.

This program took a lot of work, but resulted in large numbers of potential new patients for the practitioner when it was done correctly. A word of caution on this program is that you need to be careful with state regulations. Washington and Idaho are different about what you are allowed to do for contests or giveaways.

7. Referral Cards

Referrals are an awesome way to create new business in many different industries and the results are no different with health care providers. One office had some really nicely produced postcards printed that offered a special for new patients.  They date stamped the cards, and had their staff hand out a few to each patient as they came in during the week. The staff simply handed them the cards and said, "Hi XXXX, we love having you as a patient here. Here are two cards that you can give to you family and friends that you care about.  It's a special that allows them to come in for a free checkup. They just have to come in before this date that I'll stamp on the card for you." This method consistently generated 15 to 20 new patients each month from this marketing promotion alone for that office.  You can even swap this out every other month with the Patient Appreciation Days mentioned above by doing referral cards one month and a patient appreciation day the next. 

 

External Provider Marketing

1.  Massage Program

This one can be done by partnering with a business or by providing massages in office.  In fact, massages are a great promotion item all together as it turned out. This doesn't have to be expensive, instead of paying an expensive massage therapist to do massages, you can use a water massage table.  In fact, the provider that implemented this technique found a water massage table at a very low price by doing their homework. They also used it when they were backed up in the office. When they got behind, their staff would ask the patient if they would like a free water massage. The patient was very happy to get the offer and it gave the provider an additional 10-15 minutes.

2. Direct Response Mailing

 

Direct response chiropractic mailers and print advertising can certainly be hit and miss, but when they hit they can change your practice. Writing about patients that we had helped with significant problems and including stories that people in our community would identify with is the best way for this to be effective and draw in new patients. It can be expensive (the ad run was about $2000) however, one practice was able to generate 20 to 40 new patients per month with this form of marketing. You need to be selective about the type of ad you run. 

The ad should be large and on the front page. It is not a better deal if the ad is less expensive and on the back. The inner pages of newspapers and magazines did not produce.

  • Don’t get stuck in a long contract. More often than not you need to adjust your ads. You need to have the flexibility to move when you feel it’s time.
  • When you find something that works keep doing it. Run your successful ads for many months before changing to the next patient story.
  • Only utilize this method with the top papers and periodicals in the area.

You also have to be good at writing compelling copy. If you or a member of your staff aren't good at copywriting, you can hire Fyrefly Media or another individual or agency to write it up or edit if for you. Don’t write like a doctor, write like you are the patient's best friend. 

4. Local Gym Relationships

 

 

Let me preface this method by saying that setting up screening at local gyms doesn't work and can be a large waste of time. What is effective is having a full time relationship with a gym, even including service as part of the new client signup process - you may have since this implemented at the Kroc Center.

When a new client signs up with the gym they are asked if they would like a nervous system evaluation done.  The gym then schedules times for new clients to come in to have the evaluation done, and the practitioner has a chance to carefully screen many of the new gym clients. This can be a great way to meet a lot of people and to schedule a number of new patients each month.

 

5. Teacher, Nurse and Service Worker Appreciation Days

 

Doing staff appreciation days where the practice offers massage can be a great way to introduce yourself to many different potential patients.  Some of the best places to do this are with hospital nursing units and in school teachers (as well as other service workers) The hospital and school employees appreciate the massage, and the massage therapist can schedule potential patients for you.

It’s extremely important to do a great job at these events. Bring water bottles and snacks.  Spend some money to make sure the management is happy that you were there. Done correctly and they will invite you back again and again. Done incorrectly, and you will be asked to leave and potentially be stopped from doing any in the future.

6. Weight Loss

 

 

Weight loss is an incredibly popular topic.  The holistic philosophy that most alternative health providers have along with their knowledge level of nutrition and body function, makes weight loss a great fit.  In fact, marketing for weight loss is generally much easier than for other forms of care such as chiropractic adjustments. 

There are 2 things to be wary of when implementing this method:

  1. Over time, the program overhead can become expensive. It can require additional staff and space and as advertising for the program evens out over time, that space can cut into profits.
  2. The load of patients coming from weight loss can overwhelm your office and cause the chiropractic side to slip down resulting in very little additional profit.

In order to avoid this, it can be  are a number of programs out there that you can pay for access to rather than going to the cost of coming up with your own. Take your time when investing in this method. Done right and correctly integrated into your other approaches, it can increase your new patient base quite a lot.

 

7. Integrative Physical Medicine

 

If you are not aware of physical medicine it’s more or less a new name for having an integrated wellness and medical practice. This method has proven both highly successful and devastatingly unsuccessful. Integrative medicine is certainly growing in knowledge and awareness among consumers and in the coming years we will see more and more of it.

There are some traits that show up as common factors for success with this method.

  • Prior to implementing,  the offices that did this were very financially sound with significant income.
  • The doctors running the offices were very skilled at understanding how to run a business.
  • The office staff was able to quickly implement new processes and procedures.
  • The office stayed ethical in the billing they were doing for procedures.

Across the internet and in other industry circles, you'll hear nothing but magic for physical medicine practices and as anything that sounds too good to be true typically is, this is no exception. I’ve seen a few offices go bankrupt, and a few others that have been destroyed by audits. When your insurance billing is 10x higher than what you used to do, the insurance companies take notice. If you really have your stuff together you can make this work, but this is not a game to get into if you do not have a great mind for business.

 

Internet Marketing

Chiropractic Websites, Chiropractic Social Media Marketing, Google My Business, Video Marketing, and Google Paid Advertising. There’s a lot to cover, but I promise it will be worth your time if you’re interested in being the top online office in your area.

 

When you’re choosing a chiropractic website it’s important to understand what you want your website to do for you. If you’re looking for a website to educate your patients your choice of provider will be very different than your choice if you are looking to generate new patients.

 

 

There's no doubt about it that what sets apart care providers that are creating very successful clinics from providers that are not, is not more talent, but more focus. Every practice that I spoke with that was meeting their new patient goals spent a good deal of time every week working on marketing, because of this they were able to see what others may have overlooked. The more focus you in your practice, the more you will see.

What sets them apart from the rest of the pack is not more talent, but more focus. They spent a good deal of time every week working on marketing, and they were able to see possibilities that others overlooked. The more focus you have the more you growth you will begin to see.

 

How to do I have time for all of this is a question I am asked by prospects quite often.  My answer is, every goal requires resources to achieve.  Every trip you want to take to the top of the mountain, either takes the time and energy to hike step-by-step up the incline OR the money to hire a pilot to fly you there.  It is the same with Marketing.  There's a lot of marketing that can be done by you or your staff and with time, focus and a number of fumbles along the way, you'll eventually reach the top.  The problem is that it's very difficult to run a practice and be an internet expert (pilot) at the same time.

 

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