A Huge Error in the Chiropractic Marketing Mindset

Recently on the LinkedIn Chiropractic Professional group Jonathan asked, “Anyone have any good ideas for marketing to attract new patients? What has the best return on investment?”

The answers from different people that came in truly show the confusion in the profession. The 62 comments so far have ranged from “get out in your community” to “Become an MD.”

A doc named Brian has left multiple comments where he gives suggestions for getting more new patients. I’d like to respond to some of them in this blog post. I don’t know Brian, so this is no slight to him personally, but I found his comments summarize the typical DC leaving chiropractic school.

One of the most interesting comments Brian posted was “keep going to school advancing your credentials and until enough of us learn better.” I would have to totally disagree with this recommendation for getting more new patients. Let me explain…

After your initial degree to practice and State/National boards, further schooling is not likely to help you bring in more new patients.

Now you may learn additional skills and become more specialized in the type of patient you see. And this can be a good thing since people have different problems for which they need help with. But really all you’ve done here is slightly shift the type of patient you see. You haven’t really added any additional new patients.

How many patients have ever come to see you because of some specific credential you have? Very few, if any.

Don’t get me wrong. You can use the specialized postgraduate training you received to market to specific conditions, which I highly recommend. But the key here is that you have to market your unique qualifications.

And Brian, along with many doctors, clearly does not want to have any thing to do with marketing or advertising. He goes on to say:

“Trust me, the world would still turn and doctors would still doctor obtaining what’s needed from producers if all marketing disappeared today. Let US hope marketing and other bottom dwelling middle people disappears soon. It’s time for healthy change!”

I’m not certain as to how Dr. Brian is defining marketing here, but he has certainly cast the baby out with the bathwater. Are there bad marketing strategies and outright scammers trying to get your money? Certainly. But is all marketing bad? No. Ambulance chasing is not the same as running an ad on your website.

If you really wanted to help people get better, and make a good living doing it, wouldn’t you use whatever ethical and moral tools you can get your hands on to accomplish that task?

So what is Brian’s solution to getting more new patients? Serving and word of mouth:

“May I humbly suggest; learn to create and maintain healthy relationships with your community. Word Of Mouth is by far much more effective and has far greater benefit than any other scam marketing contrivance that once engaged, One Must Serve.”


“Go out and open yourself creating loving relationships with “everyone and anyone”, Ignore the sales scam claiming “niche” and or “specific target client” language whether based on geography, issue, etc. (demographic or psychographic)”

It’s interesting that when doctors are so against marketing, and they suggest word of mouth or community relationships…which are both forms of marketing. You see, marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. So every time you pull out a business card, mention your office name, or speak in the community you are marketing your practice.

Marketing is not always evil. Merchants have marketed their services to customers from the beginning. The only other option today is to simply “put out your shingle” and wait for patients to show up. As many bankrupt doctors have found, this strategy doesn’t work. And gone are the days when there was only one clinic per town and no competition. This type of monopoly is not likely to return to your area either.

Word of mouth referrals are the best. And building relationships in your community is necessary. They may take years and years to properly develop, but they do work. But these two strategies alone will not get you a large number of new patients.

You’ve got to directly speak to those who need your services and tell them why they should come see you. You and I both know most people aren’t going to come see you because of ignorance of what our profession really does — unless you teach them.

Therefore marketing and advertising are not only effective ways to bring in more new patients, but can be used to educate the community on what you actually do. This is the answer to getting more new patients. If you use ads and marketing that speak to the patient where they are at, and focus on offering solutions to their problems, you will have more new patients than you can handle.

The Truth About Spinal Screenings

This recommendation may come as a shock to you, as I have often times said spinal screenings are a waste of time for most doctors. And I still tell my clients and customers that screenings are not the best use of your time.

As the doctor, it is not wise for you to go and spend 4 hours standing in front of a business, chasing people with a clipboard in hand. I’ve done enough of that in my lifetime and 95% of it was a complete waste of time.

Maybe if you’re just getting started in practice, this type of spinal screening would be useful to you — as long as you’re getting new patients from it. But for those who’ve been in practice for more than 2 years, spinal screenings should not be your primary marketing tool.

But not all of my screenings were a total waste of time…

There was the occasional big event where I scheduled 15-20 new patients in just a few hours. I wouldn’t personally stay at the event all day, but would have my staff running the booth while I showed up just for a few hours during the busiest time block.

So in my opinion, there are only three reasons you should consider doing spinal screenings:

(1) you’re new in practice

(2) you’re about to go out of business and need new patients ASAP

(3) you can have someone else do it for you at a big event.

It’s this third one that I recommend you focus on the rest of this year. An example of big event would be a huge festival that your town holds once per year, or a large business that lets your staff come in to screen (like Walmart, Costco, etc.).

There are still ways to get into Walmart and Costco by the way. My friend Dr. Smith has been doing it for quite some time in his area of Houston. If you want to streamline this process for your staff, and find out how chiropractors are spinal screenings the right way, I recommend you see how he’s doing it.

Find out more by clicking the link below:

Click Here to See Dr. Smith’s Spinal Screening Program

Give it a try and let me know the results you’re getting.