Philosophy and Marketing

Do you have a “philosophy of chiropractic marketing? You should.

No, I’m not talking today about B.J. Palmer or issues of mixers and straights.

Here’s what I mean…

There’s a lot talk in chiropractic about “philosophy”, namely the issue over what chiropractor’s believe about their own profession.

Likewise, marketing is always a hot topic because doctors, rightly want to grow their practice, serve more people and increase their incomes.

But one thing you rarely see mentioned is the phrase “philosophy of marketing”.

The word philosophy has many meanings, which can be anything from literal Greek meaning of “the study of wisdom” to the more often used sense of man’s attempt at searching for truth (think Socrates and Plato).

But the meaning I’m after today is neither of these, but simply “a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.”

So what you need is a system of principles for guidance in marketing! Simple to do, right?

If only it was. If you’ve been around the profession for very long, you’ve heard dozens of different “principles” of marketing.

Here’s a few BAD philosophies of marketing I’ve heard…

  • Don’t spend more than $100 per new patient
  • Marketing is unethical and is only for snake oil salesmen.
  • Just do a ton of spinal screenings and you’ll be fine.
  • You’ve gotta just out in the community, pass your card around more.
  • Make every patient get their family members check within 10 days, or you “fire the patient”.
  • Get a fancy website up and people will flock to your door!

Maybe you think I’m exaggerating? Okay, I only exaggerate a bit on the last one! But the others I have actually heard almost verbatim.

These are not effective philosophies of marketing for your practice. What is a good philosophy?

“I will do any type of ethical marketing as long as it shows a good return on investment.”

This philosophy works because it covers all of the above bad ones and more. To get a good return (ROI), you’ve gotta get qualified new patients, like I recommend with my chiropractic ads.

And it doesn’t matter if you pay $101 per new patient. What matters is the ROI.

Maybe passing out cards is a good idea. Maybe a good website will work. Maybe spinal screenings are effective. But the only way you really know is by measuring their ROI (which in the case of spinal screenings should factor in your time spent.)

That’s my philosophy of marketing. Do you agree or disagree? What’s your philosophy?

Is Your Website About to be Censored?

As I was doing my daily searching on today, I noticed a strange graphic:

The Google image is blacked out. By clicking on the image you’ll end up on their Take Action page which deals with the new SOPA/PIPA legislation before Congress.

Then later today I was reading over at Ryan Healy’s blog and noticed quite a few websites are protesting. Here’s what you’ll see at Wikipedia:

What is SOPA/PIPA and what does it have to do with your website?

Do you market your practice on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube?

Watch this short video to understand why you should fight against this legislation.

What can you do to stop this censorship, which if passed, will eventually effect your business?

Sign Google’s petition here. And contact your representative. If you’re not sure who your rep is, go to Wikipedia today and they have a neat popup that will look up your representative by zipcode.

A Chiropractic Marketing Calendar for 2012

Have you set up your 2012 chiropractic marketing calendar yet?

I know it’s already 2 weeks into the year, but if your holiday season is anything like mine, it takes the first week or two in 2012 to actually relax and catch up from the end of the previous year.

One of the things you must do is write down all your plans and goals on a yearly calendar.You can not just wait until you need new patients, and then figure out what to do. This is reactive marketing and you want to be proactive this year.

For years, I used a monthly calendar on the wall that my staff and I could write marketing events down and see what was coming up.

But the furthest you can see on these types of calendars is only 30 days at a time. What we need is a “year at a glance” type of calendar.

Well thankfully this year I found the NeuYear Calendar, which is a complete year at a glance. This will hang great on the wall or back of my door.

I recommend you grab one too, and start planning your monthly marketing events, promotions, ads, etc.

Here’s some benefits listed on their site, which led me to buy one immediately:

  • It’s big, coming in at 27″ x 39″ this means you can see the whole year at once. “You no longer have to page through a traditional calendar (or on your small computer screen), to see the whole year. You can layout your goals for the year, set future deadlines, and clearly see the passing of time. Also, it has bigger squares so you can write more.”
  • No space between months. “The week is the currency we think in, so this calendar focuses on presenting 52 weeks, rather than 12 months.”
  • Brilliant aesthetics. In Making Ideas Happen, author Scott Belsky says “the design of your productivity tools will affect how eager you are to use them; attraction often breeds commitment.”
  • 2 calendars in 1! It has a horizontal orientation that fits perfectly above your desk, or you can flip it over for a vertical orientation that fits perfectly on your door.

Now that I shown you which calendar I think is best, what do you do with it?

Call a staff meeting one day during lunch. Start by explaining your mission for your practice and the goals you have for this year.

Then begin brainstorming with your staff about the different types of marketing ideas they have. Make sure to give them room and freedom to talk. Even if they have a bunch of bad ideas, just write them down. You never know when they’ll say something you’ve never thought of.

My staff would often come up with many successful in-office marketing procedures from the past that I had totally forgotten about.

Once you have written down, everything you can think of, start prioritizing your list. Put a “1” by the most effective, “2” be second most effective, and so on.

Side note: Do not base effectiveness on what feels like it did the best last year. Feelings do not turn into dollars. Measure effectiveness based on your return on investment numbers you recorded for all marketing last year. And if you didn’t keep good records, go back and see if you can figure it up now. Remember, ROI equals the amount you brought in from a given marketing campaign divided by the money spent on it.

You might want to throw in something new for 2012 that you haven’t tried before. A few suggestions would be:

Then begin writing on your calendar all the 1’s, 2’s, etc. spread out somewhat evenly throughout the year. So you don’t want all your ads to come out in March and have the rest of the year empty.

If you wanted to do it according to budget, you should write the amount to spend beside each campaign to. For example, on February 20th you might write “Run Neuropathy Ad for $1000 or less”. (To see how to save money on running your monthly newspaper ads, watch this free webinar.)

If a month get’s too busy, slide things forward into the next month. You should be marketing every month of the year, no exceptions.

Now you have a marketing calendar set up. Try to stick to it as much as possible. You may need to edit and change things throughout the year. That’s fine, but make sure you take a look at the big picture before making rash decisions.

Do you have any other good ideas on planning your marketing calendar? Let us know in the comments below.

Lessons I Learned in 2011

How was your 2011? Did you hit all your goals?

Did you learn any lessons along the way?

Because my year started off kind of crazy (see #1 below), I put off setting any specific goals. By the end of the year, I could see that 2011 hadn’t been much of an improvement over my 2010 goals.

That’s the whole point of setting goals, so that you have something to aim at. So by January 2nd of this year, I already had all my goals listed out on paper. No messing around this year.

While on the business side of things my year was about like the one before, 2011 was still a great year! It was very busy, especially on the family side of things. Looking back over the year, I realize that many of these events taught me (or reminded me if I’d already learned them) that running a business is really about something bigger than just the business.
Lesson #1. Children are a blessing.
On January 3, 2011, very early in the morning (3 AM) we were blessed with a new son, Camden Elijah Beck. It’s hard to imagine he was just a tiny little tike, because now he walks around my office hitting things with a toy hammer and trying to unplug all the wires on my computer.

#2. Set a goal for your family and work hard for it.
Autumn and I have been married for 13 years, and we’ve moved 12 times! After moving to the Texas hill country in the beginning of 2009, we had been renting a smaller house in town until we became familiar with the area.

But as our family grew, we knew it was time to look at buying a home, hopefully with some room for the kids to roam. In May we moved into what my wife calls her “dream home”: something large enough for living, homeschooling and me to have a nice home office!

Here’s a view from the front (before the worst drought in Texas history completely wiped out everything green):

#3. Take time to make memories with your family.
A few years ago, I realized my family and I were not taking enough vacations. So we started an annual beach trip to the gulf coast. This year was much nicer without the threat of oil washing up on the beach, as it had been in 2010 with the Gulf oil spill fiasco.

We also decided to try out the Houston Space Center. While the Center was the kid’s favorite, my favorite part was taking a tour of the NASA research facilities. It’s amazing to see the humanoid robots and spider bots that are being built and testing right in front of us.

Here we are on the dunes of Surfside Beach.

These are the lessons and events that marked by 2011 year. (Let me know yours in the comments below).

Also, here’s a neat video showing some major events searched for on Google in 2011. (Notice how fast Google is becoming a major news source? Expect more from me on this blog showing you how to get the most out of Google in 2012!)