Isn’t Chiropractic Advertising the Same as Chiropractic Marketing?

I get this question.

Not like get it from other people, I mean like;  “I get it”.  I understand where it’s coming from.  I might have even asked this same question at one time.

However I do know there is a difference between advertising and marketing, and I also know why chiropractors would think if you’re running a few chiropractic ads, then you are also marketing.

On the other hand there are those who know there is a  difference between the two, but maybe feel intimated by the “marketing” word.

Let’s face it, we are chiropractors and that’s the profession we are trained in, not marketing.  So for a chiropractor to know how to effectively market his or her practice would be about as ridiculous as a person with a degree in marketing setting up a practice and offering chiropractic care to the public.   In reality, that can’t or should not happen, but it’s also a reality that chiropractors need to learn the art of marketing so they can build a successful business.

I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I want chiropractors to understand the difference and reassure them that they don’t need to be intimated when it comes to marketing.  It’s really pretty easy, once you get the hang of it.

Since I like a good story, I’m going to use one to try and explain how advertising and marketing are different and why you need to do both to help build your practice.

There is a private school in town that teaches graded K thru 12.  This school offers sports to the higher grades. They have a football team, cheerleaders a band and a drill team. I’m assuming the attendance at the games might have been low, and at some point, somebody must have asked how they could increase the numbers.  Higher attendance equals more revenue for the school.

They could have advertised, but that would mean spending money on advertising and to who? The parents of the student body?  That wouldn’t be prudent since they were probably already aware of the games from newsletters and parent meetings.

Should they advertise to the general public?

They could but why would anyone, who didn’t have a child at this school, want to attend one of their football games?  Even though these students would supply entertainment for the crowd, there just wasn’t any demand from the general public. They couldn’t expect to receive a good return on their investment.

This is where marketing comes in.  It turns out some of these students involved in these sports, needed volunteer credits.

So somebody came up with a idea and a committee was formed to help plan and facilitate a cheer camp for the girl students in the younger grades.  The cheerleaders and drill team would volunteer their time and earn volunteer credits by teaching the camp participants a few cheers, dance moves. Pom-poms, t-shirts and lunch were provided and the cost of this day camp was $50.  The camp was held on a Saturday from 8am to 2pm. 

Now I know that they didn’t clear $50 on each camper.  I’m sure there was a some overhead for lunch and props, but those things could have been donated as was time of the volunteers.  Even so, if the school invested $15 for supplies and lunch the school’s profit was $35 per camper.  Wow, that’s a ROI of 233%!

But that’s not all, 40 campers registered and they were given the opportunity to preform during half time at the next game. This meant moms and dads, brothers, sisters and maybe even grandparents would be purchasing tickets to the game so they could see their little cheerleaders show off what they learned at camp.

There’s more, there were concessions and who doesn’t love to eat while watching a sporting event?

What that school did, that was great marketing. Preparing and providing the opportunity to get a service from a business in return for a fee and setting in motion a way to receive residual earnings after the fact.   You experience this at concerts when you pay to see your favorite band and then buy the t- shirt or CD on your way out the door.  Except those businesses go one step further and turn their fans into walking advertisements when they wear the clothing with their logo on it. (logo = brand = marketing)

You might be asking; “great story, but isn’t that advertising?”  Nope, but advertising did happen as part of the school’s marketing plan at some point.  I’ll have to cover that on my next post.

Wrapping up…marketing is a process.  It’s preparing your chiropractic business for your targeted audience, this would include getting condition specific chiropractic ads ready for the patients you want to see in your office. It’s this preparation that will ultimately attract potential patients to your office.


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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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Boost Your Social Media Marketing with Hashtags #chiropracticmarketing

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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Back to School Marketing Opportunities for Chiropractors

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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