How To Outgrow a Struggling Practice

A struggling practice is typically characterized by low income, low number of new patients and small weekly volume.

This may either be a long term practice that has declined, or a brand new practice that fails to really take off.

To a doctor who’s spent years in training and thousands of dollars to obtain a degree, this can be very depressing.

And to top it off, the doctor who ends up struggling is in the worst spot for making good marketing decisions.

There are 4 areas in marketing that a struggling practice must learn to overcome if they are going to outgrow this slump.

1. Because of mistakes in the past, he’s hesitant to even use advertising. Past failures are not necessarily an indication of future failures.

The point of making mistakes is to learn from them. If you eat bad food that makes you sick, you don’t stop eating food. If you’ve used bad advertising in the past, you shouldn’t stop all future advertising either.Marketing your struggling practice is not an option, but a necessity! The key is using effective marketing.

2. He’s so desperate for a solution that he’ll risk large amounts of money to save himself from going out of business.

This means spending money with any ad rep that comes by the office. Don’t loose our good judgment when you’re face-to-face with an ad rep. Get all the information you need. Ask for a good deal. And don’t make quick decisions.

3. Thinking that advertising costs too much, so he’ll just save his money and focus on “internal marketing” and referrals.

Unfortunately, this is a downward spiral, as a struggling practice is struggling because of the lack of NEW patients.Regardless of what some consultants teach, not every patient in your office is going to refer.

That’s just being realistic. So ONLY relying on referrals from a dwindling patient base is just going to frustrate you. Get referrals plus do outside marketing.

4. Not measuring his return on investment and continuing to make stupid marketing decisions based on feelings (or bad coaching advice) instead of looking at the numbers.

This one is not just a trait of the struggling practice. Many well-off practices still make this mistake, preventing even further success.

A good marketing strategy isn’t “successful” because of how it looks, how it makes your wife fee or even how many new patients it brings in. It’s successful when it brings in a good return on investment (ROI). An ad that “just brings in 5 new patients” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you only paid $500 for the ad and each patients ends up paying you $1500 each!

If you’re in this situation, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I was even there at one point in my practice.

But you have to get over these mistakes and advertise your services in an effective way. You should pay special attention to #2 and #3 above. These are deadly.

You can’t afford to waste money on bad advertising. So if you’re currently doing any marketing that’s not been producing in the last 3 months, then stop.

Put your money where it counts, like with running chiropractic ads in the newspaper.

If I had only $500 to spend each month on marketing, and had to pick just one form of advertising…I would pick newspapers…and work the newspaper rep until I got a good ad
placement for one of these ads!

This was one of the big strategies that saved my practice from bankruptcy!

5 Ways to Boost Your Website Ranking

1. Get More Links
The number of incoming links to your website makes a big difference in where your website ranks with the big search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Links to your website are a way of measuring its authority in the industry. The big question often debated by SEO gurus is whether it’s the quality or the quantity? I would say both. Two years ago, Google appeared to put more weight on link quality (how important is the website, where your link is found). But with the new Panda update, it appears quantity is once again a big factor.

Here are three easy strategies to get good links:

A. Provide guest posts on other people’s websites, which includes a bio of you and a link back to your website.
B. Visit other blogs and leave comments, making sure to give your website link when asked in the comment box.
C. Register at popular forums, making use of the website links offered in your signature and profile features.

2. Increase the Content on Your Website.

The more pages of good content you have, the higher your rank will be. When Google comes to your website, do they see it as a massive university library for your subject, or is it more like a toddler’s bookshelf? Two factors to keep in mind with content is the number of words on a page and the total number of pages on your website. Every time you post a new article to your blog, you build a new page on your site. 500-700 word articles work best for good content. But any words on a page is better than nothing. Obviously you want the content to be readable, not just gobbledygook spit out by a software program (this will actually penalize your website.)

3. Make Sure Your Keyword is Mentioned

A keyword is simply the words or phrases people are typing in to find your business. For most of you, that will be “your town + chiropractor” or “your town + spinal decompression”. Other examples of keywords are “neuropathy treatment”, “sciatica help” and “back pain”. If you live in MyTown, USA, how often is “MyTown Chiropractor” mentioned on your website?

Now you can overdo this. If you’re keyword is mentioned too often, that’s called keyword stuffing. And it will cause your site to be penalized. So make sure your keyword occurs naturally in your articles and website.

4. Use Content Management Software

This sounds a lot more technical than it is. The most popular and common website software nowadays is called WordPress (WP). Many of my websites use this software. Originally it was designed for blogs, but not any type of website can use it.It makes pages out of our content, categorizes them and has tons of plugins to easily customize your site. WordPress is highly favored by search engines too!

The best thing about WP is that it is extremely easy to use once set up. I don’t recommend you set it up, so have someone else do that. We do this for a limited number of clients with our Chiropractic Website program.

5. Included Contacts Us, About, and Privacy Pages

The big search engines want to make sure you are a real business and that customers have a way of contacting you. This contact page should have a Google Places map in addition to your address and phone numbers. You should also have a page on your site that gives a bio of yourself: where you went to school, special services you offer, why you do what you do, etc. I’ve also heard that Google likes to see a privacy policy somewhere on your site, describing how you will protect your users.

Other “legal type” pages that you often see may be needed are Terms of Use, Warranties and Earnings Disclaimer. Your business may not need all of these, but ask an intellectual property attorney, as I am not qualified to tell you one way or the other on legal matters.

Success is in the Details

It’s often said that to have success in your practice, you’ve got to focus on “a big hairy goal” or see the “big picture” or get “the big idea”.

This is true enough, but not precise enough.

You see, once you have that big picture, then it’s time to get to work. And inevitably as you focus on accomplishing that big picture day by day, you realize there are tons of tiny little steps!

There’s marketing, exams, paperwork, treatment notes, billing, etc., etc. The carpet sure looks dirty and the toilet isn’t perfectly clean either. And who’s going to change that light bulb that’s been out in the closet for 5 weeks?

“No worries, don’t sweat the small stuff” you tell yourself.

But then you begin to realize that big picture isn’t really materializing. And that big hairy goal is looking so hairy you’ve forgotten why you wanted to accomplish it in the first place.

What’s the solution?

I recommend you be more concerned about the details of your business. Someone’s got to sweat the small stuff. It does matter what you wear to your office. (If it didn’t matter you would wear your pajamas.) Patients do care if your breath smells like rotten garlic after lunch.

And you’ve got to make sure your staff understands your high standard of excellence in keeping your office efficient and clean. Nothing turns a patient off more than a dirty, smelly and unorganized office. Does your office smell like greasy fast food after lunch? Is Mary’s perfume at the front desk enough to knock your next patient out?

But here’s the key to “sweating the small stuff”…

You should only be “sweating” about a specific topic only once. As the owner, it is your job to make sure it gets done. Either by you or by someone else.

Make a list of everything you do in your business each month. Then ask yourself what you are good at and what you like to do. You might even give each task a rating of 1 to 5, 1 being something you absolutely love and 5 being something you hate to do.

Then start with the 5’s and ask yourself who else could do those. For example:

Need light bulb change? That’s Carol’s job to take care of. (Make a note to put that on her to do list and regularly check it.)
Billing? Outsource it or hire someone part time in-office.
Marketing? Get a done-for-me marketing program that works (highly recommended: The Ultimate Chiropractic Ads).

Check out my More Tools page to see other examples.

Now once you’ve taken as much off your plate as you can, you should have plenty of time to focus on what really matters. Plus, your office will look, smell and be more efficient as a result.

Regardless of what anyone says, success really is in the details. Yes, have a big goal. That’s not difficult. Lot’s of people have goals.

It’s the getting things done part, the accomplishing of multiple tasks all at once, that is the hard part. This is why most people never accomplish their goals.

Details matter. The whole world is full of details.

Just check out this video and stand amazed at the details of God’s creation (it’s full HD so you can full screen it and enjoy it.).

Landscapes: Volume Two from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

The Biggest Secret to Higher Conversions

In a previous article, I showed you a video of how I sub-niche the chiropractic market.

A niche market is simply a subset of a larger market. It’s harder to say the word niche correctly than it is to understand it. (In the south, we say “nitch” but more sophisticated English speakers will use the French-sounding “nish”!)

The overall market in chiropractic is everyone who could be a patient in your practice. But within that group, you can divide them even further into specific niches — fibromyalgia patients, headaches patients, decompression patients, etc.

Today I want to give you an example of how I’ve done this.

But even within these different chiropractic niches, you can drill down further. For example in patients with neuropathy, you have one group that focuses on numbness and tingling while they’ve not yet heard the term “neuropathy.” Another group will respond to the term neuropathy in an ad since they have been “officially” diagnosed with that condition.

In the case of my Decompression Marketing Elite program I’ve actually ‘sub-niched’ the decompression market to different groups of patients that respond differently to their own language.

Within decompression niche there are many “sub-niches”. These are categories with different symptoms like patients with disc herniations, patients with sciatica, patients with general back pain, and more.

Why is all this important?

Because you can use it in all your marketing and get huge ROI’s!

For example, a patient with numbness and tingling down their legs may have no clue about disc herniations. So marketing to them with an ad focused on disc herniations will be pointless.

But run an ad with specific language showing how spinal decompression is the solution they’ve been looking for and they’ll gladly pay you $4,000 to get rid of the problem.

Your simply doing what any specialist in medicine or dentistry does.

This type of “sub-niching” allows for you to really connect with your potential patients, on a level never-before-seen in decompression marketing.

Here’s an excerpt from a long list of phrases I use to sub-niche the decompression market:

ruptured disc
herniated disc
slipped disc
degenerative disc
degenerative disk
herniated disk
spinal surgery
bulging disc
degenerative disc disease
disc protrusion
spine surgery
bulging discs
disc herniation
herniated disc surgery
bulging disk
bulge disc
disc treatment
herniation disc
disease disc

As you can see, there are many groups of patients out there to tailor your marketing too. And this list doesn’t even touch all the keywords dealing with sciatica!

With all this marketing potential, how can anyone say that “marketing doesn’t work?” This is a major problem I see in our profession. Doctors try some general marketing or advertising, only focusing on the chiropractic aspect and not addressing any of the patients concerns. Then when no one comes in, they definitively state that marketing doesn’t work.

The problem is most potential patients are not sitting around thinking about which chiropractor they might go see. Or which decompression table looks the nicest. Or which doctor is dressed the best on his yellow page ad.

Most of them are suffering from various health problems and are wondering who exactly can help them. Will it be you?

If you aren’t speaking their language, entering the conversation already going in their head, you’re marketing will get thrown aside faster than a Kardashian wedding!

By focusing very specifically on what the patient is suffering from, you show everyone that you are qualified to help with their condition. And your conversions will sky rocket as a result.

If you’d like to work with me directly on your decompression, I do take a limited number of area exclusive clients.  Currently many zip codes are already taken, but some areas in the U.S. are still available. We also keep a waiting list if your area is already taken.