The Numbers Lie

There is an internet marketing secret that most “website guys” would rather you not know. It has to do with something you hear about all over the internet regarding the word “traffic.”

The secret is…

“When it really comes down to it, the amount of website traffic doesn’t really matter.”

This applies to website visitors specifically, but more generally to office visits in your practice as well. Let me explain…

Regarding the internet, there is no end to the amount of techniques you can use to get visitors to your site. You can use Facebook, Twitter, social media, social bookmarking, Google organic search, Google Adwords, YouTube videos, article marketing, Yahoo organic search, Yahoo ads, Bing organic, Bing ads, Ebay ads, and on and on.

If the yellow pages rep. stops by your office and says he can guarantee you 300 clicks a month for X amount of dollars, what do you say to him? I would say, “so what, what’s 300 clicks to me! How about you get me 300 qualified clicks to my special landing page?” Of course he’s likely to say that’s no problem. But from my experience, these ad reps are clueless about how to really market online. They are still thinking in terms of how many people see your ad, like all the newspaper and yellow page reps have done for years.

But it’s not the same online. What you want to buy is qualified traffic. People who are interested in what you do and how you can help them. A patient with severe sciatica is 100 times more likely to respond to a special page on your website discussing sciatica, than is a person with only a stiff back.

But even if you get qualified traffic, that’s still not what you care most about. What you really care about first and foremost is conversions! You want your website to convert visitors to patients. Who cares if your site gets 1000 visits a day (which could be some bored teenager in China or something), if you don’t get any new patients out of it.

How do you track conversions from your website? The same way you do (or should be doing) with any other type of marketing. You ask the new patient where they heard about you. It’s best to have some check boxes on your intake forms with the major types of marketing you do, i.e. website, newspaper, referral, etc. Of course you can leave an “other” check box so they can write in someone other than the selections you’ve given.

So how does this apply to your office?

In a general sense, this is true of all your patients that come in. You want to measure and watch your conversions to care. If you spend $10,000 this month on marketing and that brings in 30 new patients, how many of them stayed around for your recommended care plan? What was your conversions percentage? How much are they paying per visit?

You see, if all you cared about were the total number of visits to your office (or total number of new patients), you’re missing the most important numbers to track. Would you rather see 500 visits per week and make $5000, or see 100 visits and make $10,000? ? In chiropractic its common to hear people talking about how many visits they see per week. Yet you’ll rarely hear anyone say how many conversion they had this month, or what their gross collections were or how much they average per visit in collections.

If the only thing you cared about was visits per week, you could have someone stand out in front of your office on the road with a sign that said, “Free care for everyone!” But unless you’ve got a huge trust fund tucked away, this “free care” strategy will run you out of business.

The point is don’t just measure the total number of visitors to your website. Or the total number of patients you see a week. This numbers might be used to check growth, but they don’t tell you much in and of themselves. More importantly you need to measure conversions on your website and in your office recommendations.

Advanced articles on this subject:

Your Website is Not Enough

6 Chiropractic Internet Marketing Tools

14 Ways to Increase In-Office Conversions

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6 Comments

  1. Exceptional post, Dr. Beck!

    I wholeheartedly agree and believe many doctors get so confused with all of the variables associated with marketing that they forget what the ultimate goal is from all of their efforts. Conversions plus retention drive practices to profitability.

  2. Dr Beck, Great article once again. I have been tracking my “hits” using google analytics. I agree 100% with the hits being irrelevant unless they pick up the phone and make an appointment. It’s quality I am interested in NOT quantity.

  3. Joseph Doughty, DC at

    Spot on doc.
    I’ve listened to newspaper ad reps squawk on and on about how every reader of their paper makes $150,000 per year and is just sitting around waiting to read my high priced newspaper ad, rush on over to my office with a wad of cash in his hand ready to fork it over half his yearly salary for “year plan” chiropractic care for him and his entire family (including 10 kids). LOL

    Finding the right people is key, as you so eloquently pointed out.

    This article from wired magazine talks about how people using WWW has decreased for the first time since Al Gore invented it. ; )

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/ff_webrip/all/1

    The trend is more people are using apps and not necessarily accessing the web. Search is still king at 80% of web use, but how to get in front of patients is much more sophisticated than ranking on page 1 for Google for the keyword “chiropractor”.

  4. All true,
    Every year the yellow page groups come in with their tracking stats for the book print ads and their internet counterparts, and do they result in increased PVs and NPs who become PVs compared with yeas gone by? Not with me, but what Has increased the stats is pre and post Mike Beck ads on condition specific campaigns. Also doing well thought out outreach marketing screenings and speaking engagements for local civic and corporate groups, with the condition specific offers in hand to give to interested folks atthe event. I can`t schedule alot of those since I treat patients, but one or two a month has proven very successful. We have increased 30% this year in both NPs, PVs and collections. If you can`t point to the collection stat positively, what`s the use spinning numbers around?

  5. The numbers do lie… your right on…

    Most people don’t understand that concept of targeted traffic.
    1 Million people who get an email about chiropractic services in Seattle would not do anything with it if they don’t even live in Washington… Let alone if they are not experiencing any need for a chiropractor… Targeted traffic… and measured conversion… your right on!

  6. Karina at

    I am not a chiropractic but I have found all your maketing tips very useful for every kind of business.

Comments are closed.

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