Avoiding 5 Common Pitfalls in Chiropractic Advertising

Aside from creating ads and other marketing tools for the chiropractic profession, one of the perks of what I do is sharing advice and wisdom about how to use those tools here on this site. The do’s and don’ts, the ins and outs, the how to’s, when, where.

It’s great to have a collection of chiropractic ads, but we all know that there is much more to marketing than placing an ad in the newspaper once or twice a month.

That is one of the reasons both of the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads editions come with one whole binder filled with instructions and helpful tips.

I know that there are some who might read this blog, who might still have some reservations about using chiropractic ads, they just aren’t sure if ads work.  My assistant fills me in on feedback received from chiropractors. Not just docs here in the United States, but from all around the globe. Which when you think about it, it’s really amazing how much our profession has grown.

Personally, I’m excited to know that more and more people are seeking chiropractic care, but I’m not naive, I know there are so many more who have not ever seen a chiropractor, and many more who know nothing about the benefits of chiropractic care, even more who have been mislead by false claims and urban myths surrounding chiropractic.

Those people are the reason why you have need to advertise, that and advertising builds your practice.

I don’t mean you have to market your practice to the masses, only those who are your potential patients.

Yes, you have to put some thought into it. You’ll have to do some research and know the audience you need to target. The best part is as a chiropractor, you don’t have just one target, you have many groups of people to which you can direct your advertising.

Going over emails we receive, I see trends. At times there is feedback from several docs that have a common theme. Today’s issue is more than one thing, more like a collection of stumbling blocks or pitfalls. But as you will notice from the list below, some of these pitfalls are simple mistakes or omissions that can be avoided.

  • Pricing/Negotiating rates
  • Ad Size
  • Tracking ROI
  • Alerting your staff about the campaigns
  • Following up

All of the points in the list above are pretty self explanatory, except for negotiating rates for ad space.  That one is not as much of a mistake as it is a learned technique.  It is a task that gets easier the more you do it and the longer you work with your newspaper rep. The trick is working until you getting the best rate for your budget.  If your rep won’t budge, ask to speak with their supervisor.

Ad size is simply knowing when not to waste your advertising dollars.   If you can’t afford a decent sized ad, one that can be noticed, then don’t run the ad.  An ad in the paper that is only the size of a post card, isn’t going to yield the same results as a full color insert or a half page ad.  Yes they cost more, but they also give you a better return on your investment.

And since we are on the subject of your ROI, forgetting or worse, neglecting to track your ROI is a very avoidable pitfall. Knowing where your advertising dollars are bringing in the best results, is like knowing what investment company gives you the highest rates on your money.  Track all of your advertising to the best of your ability, even any direct mail and email marketing.

Find the time to sit your staff down and share what you are doing, if not this can kill a great ad campaign. Explain how you want these calls handled.  If you want your staff to go by a script then provide a script to go by.  If you want all calls from your ads to be handled by a specific staff member, then let all of your staff know who to funnel the calls to.  The last thing you want is one of your chiropractic ads to motivate prospective patients to call for an appointment or get more information, and the person answering the phone doesn’t know what the call is about or how to convert an info call into an appointment.

Following up is only an issue if you don’t have a system in place to capture those patients who came in for their initial exam and ROF, but didn’t continue with any care.  If they called in, made an appointment, came in for the exam and came back for their ROF, don’t you think they might be motivated to continue care?  So why aren’t they? If it’s just a matter of money,  have some payment options available or risk losing that prospect and any residual patients from referrals.


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Building a Great Chiropractic Ad

We live in an ad saturated world.  Commercials on radio and television have been around for years, and we grew numb to it, until public radio and television appeared. We just had to endure the telethons to raise money for the “ad free” air time.

Then came cable television.  Of coarse we had to pay for it, but it was commercial free and that was pretty cool right?

But now we have the internet and ads are even there too.

Of course there have always been ads in newspapers and magazines, it’s just business.  I get it, the ads help pay for the cost of running the newspaper and magazines.  And it’s a benefit to the company placing their ads too. For a price, any business can pay for space and have their ad seen by thousands of subscribers.

Clothing companies got really smart and began putting their name on their clothes and people pay them to advertise their brand.  That’s brilliant!  Now you see all types of businesses putting their name or logo on sweatshirts, tee shirts and hats. And people are more than willing to buy these things and wear them with pride, and yet they don’t really get the fact that they are walking advertisements for these businesses.

So you think I’m being pessimistic when I say that ads to most people is just another person pitching their business?  Well I’m not a pessimist or I wouldn’t have pulled my practice out of the near bankruptcy with a series of chiropractic ads.

It was my belief, and honestly, my desperation to save my practice, that led me to write the first of many ads.  But I had to learn that there was a method to building an great chiropractic ad.   This method is based on the AIDA marketing model (attention, interest, desire, action).

This model proved to be pretty effective.  So effective, I used it to create a line of chiropractic ads that have helped chiropractors, all over the world, grow their practices. But just knowing the meaning of the acronym does not make for perfect results.  Ad structure is important, it could be more important than the content, because in reality, if you can’t get a person to stop and read the ad, then what good is the content anyway.

Let’s look at the way an ad begins. The headline should not only grab the reader’s attention, it should also pull the reader in. Common sense tells us that there are not really any two headed aliens roaming the earth, but that doesn’t stop the tabloids from using those words in their headlines, and it doesn’t stop us from taking a look at the photo as we stand in the grocery lines.

Headlines should stir emotions, create interest, commonality, empathy or even better; give validation.

Imagine how a person feels when they’ve been from one doctor to another looking for answers for their pain. Even family and friends don’t really understand their discomfort. But then there is this ad in the paper that describes what they’re feeling. No exaggerations or claims of miracle cures needed, just the possibility of understanding.

Think that person might continue to read your chiropractic ad if the headline speaks of their symptoms?

Relevant photos are key an ads success, because  if you don’t catch the reader with the headline you might save the ad with the photo, especially if the photo relates to the reader. It becomes even more effective when a caption is added.

Humans are visual by nature, if we see something that peaks our interest, we might stop long enough to stimulate the other senses.  For instance; how many people can pass by a cute puppy without smiling, making a comment, then stopping to pet it?   I’ll go out on a limb and say that the more popular commercials on television are those with animals in them. The most memorable being a camel to reminding us it’s hump day.  I bet you can even name the company who came up with that ad.

The body or content of the ad is where you build the relationship with the reader because by now they should be a prospective new patient. But all could be lost if you don’t create the desire for them to continue reading the ad.  Sure there’s probably enough room in the ad space to talk about your accomplishments as a chiropractor, but rather than talk about it and take up space, why not get the patient in your office and show them first hand.  This is why condition specific chiropractic ads are so successful, they open the door to understanding between you and the reader.

Just like every story needs a good ending, so does an ad.  And the perfect ending is the call to action.  The reason to make the appointment. This can come in many forms, one being an offer of discount.  To some this might look like compromising, some even say it belittles our profession. But for that person who’s reading your ad, they only see an opportunity to feel better, to sleep through the night, to make it through the day without a pill, to sit or walk without pain.


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It’s all about the packaging. These days you have to be creative when you use mail to advertise your business.  If not, then you risk throwing hundreds of dollars in the trash. The competition is hard to beat too.  Store ads, coupon mailers, service flyers….all better known as junk mail.  Sorry to be so negative, […]

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A few days ago when working on a few Google AdWord campaigns, I noticed there seemed to be a system of gradual steps that had to be completed before setting up these campaigns,  almost like a network of connections.  Think about it, there is always a starting point then several other tasks that have to […]

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Last week I wrote about the importance of hashtags in your social networking.  Are they really important, do they really work, and how do they work?  If you missed that post, you can find it here. Because the last post ran long, I only covered a couple of social media sites that commonly use hashtags, Twitter […]

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Are Hastags Really that Important in Social Marketing? #chiropracticmarketing

Hashtags. Some find them annoying. Many find them useful. Yes they are overused at times or even misused, but to never use them? I’ll reserve judgement on that. Are hashtags really important? Yes they are, but they are also overused and have become more of a way to express a person feelings or state of […]

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It’s that time of year again…Back to School marketing is in full swing.  So what are you waiting for? This time of year offers chiropractors several opportunities to get out into the community and spread the word about the benefits of chiropractic.  Here are just a few that came to mind this morning while enjoying […]

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How to Improve Your Email Marketing

Email marketing might not send hoards of new patients into your practice, but it should definitely be part of your chiropractic marketing. For one thing, emails are much easier to share with others by forwarding or sharing on social media. Here is an interesting statistic for you to consider; “mobile devices drive 66% of email opens“ . […]

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3 Ways to Get More Out of Your Chiropractic Ads

If you have used chiropractic ads, you probably already know that not all attempts to pull in new patients with ads alone will yield great results. To further confuse the issue some docs can’t keep up with all the new patients their newsprint ads bring in, while others struggle with receiving a phone call in […]

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