Whether the economy is really in a recession or not, all the doom and gloom broadcasting 24/7 from the news media makes people panic. While some patients may begin to clinch their wallets a bit tighter, here are some ways you can survive, even thrive during the so called recession.
1. Only use marketing that works
Now is not the time to cut back on marketing. Stopping your marketing during a downturn in the economy is the exact opposite of what you need to do. Yes, you do need to refine your marketing, use direct response marketing (makes sure it pays for itself, bringing in a return on investment). Don’t commit to long turn contracts or stupid “pretty” advertising, then be shocked when you’ve spent $10,000 and not seen a return. Also, you should be able to get better deals as newspaper, direct mail print shops and other forms of media struggle for market share. Your competition will go with the flow and think it’s time to cut back, this is exactly why it’s going to be your best time to market and lead the field.
2. Start using internet marketing
Chiropractic internet marketing is very inexpensive, and if done correctly, can provide a huge return on investment. Why spend $5-10k on a yellow pages ad for a whole year, when you can spend a few dollars on the internet and change it if it’s not working? When I mention internet marketing, I’m not talking about just having a traditional website. Thats like putting a flyer up on a bulletin board somewhere in town and hoping for someone to find it and become a new patient. To maximize your online marketing, you’ll need a complete automated system that’s easy to run and manage.
Another great aspect of the internet is that the affluent (wealthy) use the internet to make buying decision more so than any other income level. This makes them a great group to market towards since they are least affected by any economic turbulence.
3. Market to current patients more
It’s much less expensive to market to your current patients then it is to go out and acquire new patients. This doesn’t mean you can only market to current patients and grow, but I bet you could so more with your patient base. Do they know about all the services and products you offer? Are they reminded on regular intervals to get adjusted? Do you send a monthly printed newsletter in edition to 2-4 emails a month? Do you have special events like P.A.D.’s, toy drives, etc?
4. Redefine your marketing message
As I mentioned above, during tougher economic times, you can’t waste money on marketing that doesn’t work. Therefore, you have to make sure you are marketing the right message to the right people. The generalized “I’m a chiropractor and we help everybody with everything” isn’t a marketing message at all. Patients want a doctor with two things: experience (positioning yourself as an expert) and empathy (understanding how they feel). Master these two in your marketing message and direct it at specific conditions people suffer with, and you’ll never have to worry about new patients.
It is said more millionaires were made during the Great Depression than any other time in our nations history. Most likely this was due to great deals on stocks, real estate and businesses. You can see these economic times as an advantage or disadvantage, it’s your choice. But whatever you do, don’t pull back on all your marketing and think you can wait it out.
We’ll continue with the next 3 in part 2 in my next post…