7 Chiropractic Marketing Strategies That Will Grow Your Practice, Part1

iStock_000007144971XSmallEveryone has an opinion on what works in marketing a chiropractic office. Some will tell you just to “get your name out there” or “hang your shingle”. Others will tell you that if you aren’t speaking at an event every week or holding a spinal screening daily, you aren’t growing your practice.

But the question remains, what truly works to grow your practice?

I have found 7 chiropractic marketing tools that work consistently over time to grow a practice. Before I list all 7, it’s important to mention two important factors that limit your marketing: time and money.

Therefore, you must choose where to spend your time or money wisely. For example, spinal screenings take a lot of time. Since time equals money, most doctors find that their time spent at screenings doesn’t bring in enough money to justify the time spent.

The same goes with your money. If your marketing budget is $2000 per month, you may not be able to do as much marketing as you want right now. So you should spend that $2000 where it will have the best return on investment.

With that said, let’s jump into the 7 Marketing Strategies…

#1. Newspaper Ads.
Don’t think for a minute newspaper ads are dead (see my previous article “Are Chiropractic Ads in the Newspaper Dead?“). It’s by far one of the fastest ways to get new patients in the door. And I’ve heard from many doctors that are getting high returns on their investment, that even during a down economy. For example, a doctor in Northern Ireland wrote me last week to say he’d ran one of my small ads and gotten a 23 to 1 return on investment. Do newspaper ads work every time? Certainly not! Many times the paper is just terrible and has completely lost its readership over the years by ignoring their readers interests. Even my Ultimate Chiropractic Ads don’t work 100% of the time  in papers that are failing. But even in a bad paper you can try different conditions and hit on one that works well — like Dr. Carter in Oklahoma did last week with his first neuropathy ad.

#2. An Effective Web Presence.
Everyone knows you have to be marketing on the internet. But the question is what exactly should you be doing there?

The key to marketing your practice online is to think of it like a library. When I take my kids to the library, I want it to be nice and clean, but of utmost importance is the information they have there, i.e. the quality and number of books. And I want that information easily accessible, not buried away in a box somewhere that’s hard to find. The same goes with your internet marketing. People want information and education, not flashy pictures, graphics or 250 links to click on!

Also, notice I mentioned the word “effective” in the subtitle above. This means your only reason to be on the internet is to get new patients. To do this, you need to use tools like email marketing, landing pages, pay-per-clicks ads, facebook, twitter, and more.

#3. A Strategy for Getting Referrals.
We’ve all heard about the mythical chiropractor who gets 50 new patient referrals each month without lifting a finger. But for those of us in the real world, we need to have a strategy laid out to accomplish this. Sure, a few patients will refer people in even if you never did anything. But why not ad a few subtle strategies that make it easier for people to refer. (Realize I’m not talking about forceful procedures either.)  Chiropractic referral strategies should include new patient stick letters with referral coupons, monthly print newsletters, email newsletters, blogs, patient appreciation days, and much more.

Even the uniqueness of your office can get you more referrals. For example, my J-Tech ROM system and it’s report I sent home would impress patients so much, they would insist their spouse come in to get tested on it. One lady said “I just had to come in and do this since no other chiropractor I’ve been to has this program.” I could’ve just put the printed reports in their file after going over it, but by sending it home with them it generated more family referrals.

To be continued…

How To Get a Good ROI with Newspaper Ads?

(Today’s blog post is from Section 3  Ultimate Chiropractic Ads manual and is entitled “How to Get the Best Ad Placements and Save Thousands of Dollars With Your Ad Rep”)ads

When running an ad, much of the success of your ad will depend on the price you get to run the ad, and the newspaper that you run the ad in.

In this section we’re going to talk about how to get the very best rates. I’ll show you negotiating tips and tricks that you can use with ad reps to get great prices. And we’ll discuss the major pitfalls where most chiropractors mess up big time and waste money.

The First Contact: Don’t Waste A Lot Of Time

When you first select the newspaper to run in, call or email the ad rep that you found from their website. Once you get a hold of an ad rep, you’re going to ask for their media kit. Now they may give you this information over the phone, or by email.

Many of them will push to set-up an appointment at your office, so they can sell you on a big ad package. You don’t want to set up an appointment right now. You haven’t determined if this newspaper is actually going to worth your time and money.

If you set up appointments with everybody, you’re going to waste all your time meeting with ad reps. You’re not even sure if their newspaper is good enough to advertise in yet. And they just spent an hour of your time trying to sell you on how great their paper is.

Let the numbers determine how good their newspaper is first; not what the ad rep says.

When you get the media kit, it’s going to have some very important information in there. One of the things that you’re going to look for is the number of subscribers that they have.

If you’re looking at a large newspaper, it’s going to have subscribers for the different days of the paper. For example, Sunday’s subscriber rate may, and usually is, much larger than the weekly subscriber rate.

Typically you’ll see a weekly subscriber rate, a weekend, and then a Sunday subscriber rate. You will also see the number of papers that they sell through the boxes and vendors on the street. This should be a separate number and not included in the subscriber totals.

I should also mention here the coverage of the newspaper. If you’re in a suburb, make sure the papers you are dealing with covers your area. Some ad reps will insist that the paper gets delivered near you, but it may turn out to be in very small amounts.
All of these numbers are important, but the main thing you want to look at is subscribers. That’s what you can compare from one paper to the next.

Smaller, local papers are many times free and they’re not going to have a subscriber rate. They’ll simply have a distribution rate, or how many papers they throw or mail.

Typically, some of the free papers will mail these to homes and apartments. Because they have no idea how many actually get delivered by the post office, you can’t always trust the numbers.

If there’s too many newspapers to choose from in your area, then you should…

Ask You Patients Which Paper They Read.

If you keep getting the same answer from different patients, you know that’s the newspaper to be advertising in. You may want to even do a more formal survey where you ask them to fill out a short questionnnaire. On the form, ask them to list the top three newspapers they look at on a monthly basis.

Just because a paper is free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a good paper to advertise in. That will depend on the quality of the paper, where your competition is advertising, and other factors in your area. For example, one of the best return on investments I ever had was with a local, free paper. After testing major metropolitan papers and local paid papers, I wasn’t getting a great return.
That’s when I decided to give this more local, free paper that only went out once a week. It mailed to the businesses and homes right around my practice. As I investigated further, this paper had the best layout as far as geographically of where my patients came from. And it was free, so almost everybody in the community got it in the mail.

Plus, it was the only newspaper really covering the local sports teams.

Side-note: Sports coverage is very important for smaller suburbs. The major metropolitan papers will not give great coverage to smaller sports teams. You potential prospects will want to read about their kids and grandkids sports teams. This is one reason why newspapers will be around for many more years to come.

Using the strategies I reveal in this manual, I got a great deal with this local paper. I still tested all the other papers, but that little local one always came back to me as my best return on investments.

It was also the least risky too, because it was the lowest cost. This allowed me to test new ads and try new strategies that I wouldn’t want to risk in other papers due to the higher cost.

Which Ad To Test First
With over 40 ads in your hands, you may be wondering which ad to test first?

Each geographical area (and the way you practice) is different, so I can’t tell you exactly which ads will work best. Or which ads to start with. But here’s a few tips to help you make a good decision.

Start with an ad that’s typically the type of patient you see come into your office.

What type of patient comes in regularly? Which condition would you like to see more of?

For example, if you see a lot of lower-back patients or headache patients in your office, start with that ad. You already know your practice draws these types of patients, so that’s a good ad to start with.

You’re typically going to get some good results with that. If you have a decompression office, for example, then you would pick one of those ads to start with. Same with cold laser ads.

All the ads can work well for your area, but some will pull bigger than others. Remember, we’re just testing out which paper is likely to give you the best return on investment.

Once you find out with paper that is, you can start running other ads. I do not recommend you just stick with one condition or one ad. You should diversify your practice!

Other topics discussed in section 3 of the manual are…

  • How to negotiate the best ad position for the lowest price.
  • What section of the newspaper you should never, ever run an ad in.
  • Use this special phrase with your ad rep and get 50-80% off your ads month after month.
  • Negotiating tricks that ad reps use against chiropractors.
  • How to choose between a big, metro newspaper and a small community paper. (This one may surprise you.)
  • Why you should never agree to run multiple ads in a newspaper until you’ve done this!
  • The 5 pitfalls chiropractors must watch out for when running newspaper ads.
  • How to determine which ads to “roll out” in a big way in other marketing media.
  • When to run your ad as an insert and when to your run it as a regular space ad.

If you haven’t picked up the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads yet, find out more here…


Get Free Links To Your Website

Today, I wanted to give you a free training video on getting free traffic and links to your websites. This video is one of over 20 lessons contained in ChiroMarketing Academy, with new videos, audios, and articles being added every month.

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5 Niches to Focus on In 2009

To bring in high quality new patients, you need to focus on specific niche markets. A niche market is simply a “subset” of a larger market.
There is everyone who could be a chiropractic patient, but within that group, you can divide them even further into specific niches.

Niche marketing can make a huge impact on your practice. The spinal decompression boom of the last 4-5 years shows this to be true. But you don’t have to invest in expensive equipment to do niche marketing. Just match up good advertising with niche conditions, and do what you already know how to do…help people get well!

So what are the best conditions to focus on in 2009 and beyond?

The answer to the question of “what niches should you focus on” will depend quite a bit on how your office is set up. If you have special equipment, like detox machines, decompression tables, or cold la-sers, you’ll want to focus on those niches first.

With that said, there are some very good niches that will bring you good quality new patients, thereby being more profitable. Here are my top 5

1. Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia affects at least 6 million women in the US each year, and these patients aren’t getting answers anywhere else. The key is connecting with these patients on their level. These patients usually need nutritional and lifestyle advice as well. Important to recognize if you sell products in your office that can help their condition.

2. Herniated/ Degenerative Discs. These patients have usually tried multiple medical routes with little to no help. Many of them are facing surgery and would love to find a more natural solution. This market is available even if you don’t own a decompression table. But having one can help.

3. Arthritis. Osteoarthritis alone affects nearly 21 million people, accounts for nearly a quarter of primary care visits, and half of all NSAID use in the U.S. This group focuses on the baby boomers which are currently the most affluent group in America. You may be thinking you’ve been helping people with arthritis for years, but are you using the term “arthritis” specifically in your marketing?

4. Neuropathies. Sciatica, numbness, tingling, radiculopathies, and other never problems fall into this group. This is a very motivated group that must hear from you soon so they will not be confined to a life of surgeries and dangerous medications. This is the newest of the 5 listed, because so many people are getting neuropathies these days. One doctor recently sent me the following email about doing neuropathy marketing…

Just wanted to let you know we ran your neuropathy ad today(06-22-09) in the newspaper. We had six new patient appointments scheduled in the first five minutes we opened.(no kidding) By the end of the day today we had 21 scheduled over the next week. If it works like the other ads have for me we should get probably another five. That was a homerun!

Then 2 days later he sent a follow up giving me the total…”Just thought I would give you an update.  We have 37 new pt. scheduled from the ad.  It has been great.
As you can see, this is a very hot market right now. Combined with good marketing, you can bring quite a few new patients who are desperately needing your help.

5. Headaches and migraines. Approximately 22 million women are affected by migraines alone in the United States. Because these patients have suffered for many years (some since childhood), they will be a very good patient and can be easily helped by chiropractic care.

There’s my Top 5 niche conditions to focus on in 2009. You could probably add a few more but you’ll find the 5 above to be excellent quality patients when it comes to staying, paying and referring.