As we finish out 2009, I want to look forward at some possible trends in 2010. Today’s post looks at the last 2 predictions (out of 5 total) I see for next year. To view part 1, click here.
#4. Better Internet Marketing For New Patients
While chiropractors have been using websites for over a decade now, I predict an increase use of the internet to get new patients. This reasons for this are many — increasing use of the internet in general, rising popularity of Facebook and Twitter, Google’s affinity for blogs, and more.
In 2010, it’s likely that the majority of chiropractors will realize that internet marketing is about effectiveness, not the flashy graphics and “pretty websites”. Even in 2009 I noticed many of the website developers were removing their ‘rotating spine’ charts and adding more content instead.
Content really is king with search engines like Google. I have found that we are able to get professional websites with direct response copy up quickly using blog software. Then we ad a few blog posts written from the doctor-to-patient view point, and within days Google is ranking our brand new website in the top 5 spots. We can then keep this doctor there by adding new blog posts over time.
While many chiropractors realize the usefulness of organic or free search engine optimization, most do not yet grasp the potential of pay-per-click marketing (PPC).
Based on this, I also predict that more chiropractors will discover how well Google Adwords can work for new patient marketing. It surprises me that more chiropractors are not taking advantage of this great marketing tool. Many tell me it’s because they’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. However, the problem occurs when doctors send Adword’s “visitors” directly to their homepage on their website. By using condition-specific landing pages, with direct response copy, plus email marketing follow-up, my internet marketing clients are finding this method very successful and will continue to do so into next year.
Admittedly there is a learning curve to Adwords, along with the reward and punishment system Google has built into it.
But in my opinion its well worth the time spent for the return on investment, especially in the long run. Of course for those who don’t want to learn it or don’t have the time, we created Chiropractic Marketing Web specifically for this reason.
#5. Deeper Patient Relationships
Because of what many are calling the New Economy, patients are more careful with their money. Even though we are moving out of the recession and the overall economy will improve in 2010, people are not ready to be back in the 2008-2009 feeling where money was tight.
If you’ve been in practice for long, this really is no surprise. Patients, being human beings like the rest of us, tend to drop out of things over time. Yet I expect this to rise in 2010 as more healthcare opportunities will come into the market combined with more careful spending mentioned above.
Both of these, the careful spending and more competition, means that chiropractors will have to work harder to keep their current patients.
It still surprises me that doctors are willing to spend so much to get a new patient, but scrimp on spending anything to keep them over the long term. Something as simple as mailing a chiropractic newsletter once a month is a bare essential. Holding true patient appreciation events and creating V.I.P. lists will take your practice to an even higher level.
Other great strategies for keeping your patients longer include dinner workshops, patient of the month programs, referral contests, and stick letters.
You can also expect more online patient communication to grow in 2010. The most powerful of these is email marketing, but many chiropractors will also get their facebook and twitter pages up and running.
This concludes my 5 big predictions for 2010. I recommend planning for them sooner rather than later.
Did I miss one you thought was important? Do you have a prediction I didn’t mention? Leave your comments below.