What IF You Stopped Marketing Altogether?

Do you ever just want to stop? Just take a break from marketing. It’s expensive, time consuming and at times, just really frustrating.

So what if you just stopped? Took a break from all types of marketing, what would that look like?

Well let’s see, first we need to address why you do any type of marketing at all. I would say the most important reason is to bring in new patients. Without new patients, the growth of your practice is stunted.

Basically that would be like damning up a river. No water means no nourishment for the life in and around the river. Fish, plants and other animals that depend on that water source for survival, would die once the river dried up.

So you could say that chiropractic marketing is like a life source to your practice. If deprived of this source, would your practice survive?

Another reason you would actively market your practice is to share a need. This is why condition specific chiropractic ads work better that the ads that focus on the doctor or the practice. People don’t really need to know that there is another chiropractor in town, but they do need to know where to go to get help for their migraine headaches or numbness and tingling in their arms and hands.

There is a need for people to have knowledge about the conditions they live with so they can make informed choices for their healthcare. Giving people information about alternative treatments, a wellness program, non surgical and drug free options is a very legitimate reason to actively market your chiropractic business.

What about staying in front of your competitors?  Well, I guess there are no competitors if your’re not in the marketing race.  All of the other chiropractors in your area will likely continue their own form of marketing and gladly accept that there is one less chiropractor to worry about.

After looking at why you do any kind of chiropractic marketing, it’s pretty obvious why you shouldn’t take a break from marketing.

But there are more reasons, like loss of momentum.   A moving object can increase momentum faster than one that is standing still.  This is the same for your practice.  Staying on course in your marketing plan, regardless of the dips in ROI, keeps the marketing momentum at a steady pace.

Every business goes through these slow seasons.  Your practice is not exempt from this either.

So instead of taking a break, maybe switch gears.  If one form of marketing isn’t pulling results like it has in the past, maybe try another form of marketing for a time.

Other form of marketing for chiropractic would include online marketing.  Some of you are doing this with Goggle adWords already, but there have many docs getting great results from Facebook ads.

But one form of marketing that should never take a break or slow down is referrals.  Networking with your patients for referrals of family members and friends is the best practice building marketing around.

Encourage your patients to share their chiropractic experience through testimonials, friends and family incentives, and quarterly wellness presentations.

There are so many forms of marketing to use.  Not all forms need to be done continually.  If running chiropractic ads in the newspaper is not bringing it the best ROI at this time, don’t stop everything. Look into direct mail marketing, email marketing and online marketing.  You can even use the chiropractic ads you’ve used for print advertising.

We’ve all been there.  Marketing is not always fun, not always profitable, it’s not even what you are trained to do.  But to stop marketing completely?

“Without promotion, something TERRIBLE happens…NOTHING!” ~ PT Barnum

 

Revisiting Your Marketing Goals, Practice Housekeeping and Reviews

If you’re like me, you probably jot down goals from time, but what happens after you write them down. Are they abandoned on your desk only to be buries under stacks of papers?  Maybe you are organized and write your goals down in a place where you can reference them from time to time, there are those that write their goals in a place where they can see them every day, like the bathroom mirror.

Traditionally, January is  the time for resolutions and goals, but as we approach the quarter mark of this newish year it might kind of interesting to take a minute and review those goals instead of waiting until the end of the year, just to see if you’re staying the course. I figure this way if there has been a loss in momentum towards reaching your goals, maybe this will give you a push to get back on track

As we all know, when you own a chiropractic business, between running your practice and maintaining a life outside of the office,  there are only so many hours in the day and marketing can slide off the agenda. If that’s the case,  then good intentions, such as well meaning resolutions and goals are usually forgotten about.

There are other tasks that probably get overlooked too. Below are a few common housekeeping items every chiropractic business should review and refresh every year

  • Update your chiropractic website yearly to keep it fresh and relevant
  • Update business cards, patient and practice brochures each year
  • Spruce up chiropractic ads with fresh photos and testimonials
  • Replace or rotate patient testimonials used in any direct mail marketing or chiropractic advertising
  • Rotate and refresh any products you sell in your office
  • Clean out old patient files, send out reactivation letters then archive those that do not respond

Outside of housekeeping, there are three other areas that should be addressed this year mainly because of the abundance of people who will use their computer or smartphones to find any and all types of services, including their healthcare needs.

Your Online Presence.  Are You Online Anywhere?

You really should have an online presence, somewhere.  One way to do this is with a website.  I am blown away when I talk to doctors who tell me they don’t have a website for their practice.

If you already have a website, then have you added a blog?  Readers want you to share your expertise. Make sure your chiropractic website has plenty of useful content, this will play a role in generating traffic and increasing the trustworthiness of your site and business overall. This in turn should help your rankings.  Here’s another point to consider,  Pew Internet shows that an impressive 72 per cent of internet users looked online for healthcare information last year.

Give Serious Consideration to Video Content

 I covered the topic of video marketing last week. If you missed it, you can find that HERE.  It was one of my most viewed post so far this year.

Some things are better explained in person – whether it’s an exercise guide or a brief presentation busting the myths about chiropractic care. Think about what will work best with video and don’t be afraid to experiment. Just take a look at YouTube’s own statistics if you need any more convincing about just how big video is.

People Want to Read Reviews, Write Reviews,Share and Talk About Reviews

You should already know the importance of positive reviews – and it seems this is going to become even more of a hot topic this year. This is because of a couple of changes Google brought in at the end of last year.

The first will apply if you’re signed up to Google AdWords. The new Review Extensions feature enables you to feature a small review (67 characters or less) directly under your ad. See what Google has to say about it here.

You also need to know about Shared Endorsements. Google will focus on on getting as much information as it can about your chiropractic business  – including photographs, +1s and reviews and show that on a SERP (search engine results page) if someone had searched for something connected to your service prior to the search. You can learn more from Google here.

In practical terms, you need to do as much as you can to make it easy for patients to leave reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask your regular patients for their comments – and make sure your chiropractic website has a visible box for review posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Marketing Attracts More Traffic for Chiropractic Businesses

Have you ever watched a video on YouTube? I would imagine you answered yes.

Would you believe people actually go to YouTube and search for other people? Did you know that if you have videos on YouTube or another video sharing sites, when people go to the web to search for a condition they have or the words chiropractor or chiropractic in their area, a link to your video will show up on the results page. That is to say, if you have put the right information in the title and tags using the right key words.

Think of videos as a way to boost your marketing prowess, broaden your reach and zero in on your targeted audience.

If you have a website then you should be also be using videos as part of your marketing package, even if you don’t have a website, you should still create a few videos and get them loaded on a video sharing site, complete with key words.   From there you can share your video spot on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Google and more.

Isn’t it about time you started talking directly to your existing and potential patient base?  It’s one thing to use chiropractic ads in the newspaper on a regular basis, but video marketing is also important and easy too.  What is even better is you can actually create these videos yourself.   If you have a good video recorder or a digital camera with video capabilities, a tripod and good lighting you can make the videos.  Why not get your staff involved in a few of them, make it a team work day.

Don’t doubt yourself or your ability to do this, great communication skills played a part in helping you get your chiropractic business off the ground. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to think about putting those skills to good use once again. Think about it, you talk to people all day long, everyday. It’s just like discussing a health and wellness one to one with a patient, this time you’ll be speaking to a whole audience of people, only through a lens.

I know, you’re wondering why should you bother with video marketing?

It might seem  like a big commitment of time and money or you may think you’ve got this marketing thing going good with other streams.   You may, but if you weren’t already aware that video content is huge then you probably haven’t been to any marketing seminars in the last couple of years.

Let’s just focus on YouTube, it gets 1 billion unique users each month. Also, useful video content that people want to view and that performs a specific function is more likely to be shared via social media – and is positive in terms of your search engine rankings. Even putting Google aside for a second, useful content demonstrates to your website visitors that you’re a name to trust.

So what should you consider when planning what to put in your videos? Here are a few pointers…

It’s not about you…It’s about what you do
It’s natural to assume that your first video should be an introductory one telling everyone who you are and the services you have to offer. There’s nothing wrong with a short bio video; just don’t expect it to set the world on fire in terms of views. Remember; no-one’s searching the Internet to watch your sales pitch.

Make a list of topics people want to hear about
What are the questions people ask you day to day? If you have a chiropractic website with a blog, which of your posts or pages get the most views on your site. Another reason to watch those site analytics, this could help you find a good starting point and some great conversation starters.

Rehearse…in front of real people
Work out a script and time it, then rehearse in front of people, like your spouse or kids, over repeated times, it will feel natural to say the script. You don’t want to look like you’re reading from a page but for your own benefit, it’s good to have something close by to refer to. If you’ve got a complicated topic you think people might want to hear about, consider breaking it down into bite-sized chunks of single broadcasts of about five minutes.  Oh, and before posting it live, ask someone to take a look at it.

Set the tone…be professional yet compassionate
One thing about the chiropractic profession is that we know how to talk to people. As a general rule, adopt the same tone as you would use with patient during their exam of report of findings. That’s not to say that you’ll necessarily be using an identical tone in each video. For example, think about the different way in which you might speak to a guy with a chronic condition brought about through a sports injury compared to the way in which you’d speak to a woman with fibromyalgia. Consider who will be watching this particular video? Speak directly to those people.

If you’ve got only limited time and resources to spend on your video, you might be far better off going straight into a short series of presentations on topics people are actually interested in such as Neuropathy or Sciatica.  People will get to know you through these presentations.  Just like with print advertising, you can create videos based on several conditions.

Last tip… keep it short, stay on topic and review your surroundings, remove clutter from the background.  You want viewers to focus on you, not the clutter in your office.

 

 

Current Events and Some Marketing Q & A

Now that Super Bowl XLVIII is over and all the commercials have been aired, did any of them inspire you to run out and purchase their products or services?

What would you do with a 4 million dollar marketing budget?

Did anyone make it to the end and see the commercial that remarked about how much the company saved by airing the commercial right after the game?  That sounds like a piece of advice I’ve shared with my chiropractic ads clients.   If the advertiser was being real about the huge savings, then they were pretty smart.  I mean after all, even though the game was pretty much in the bag for the winning team, I suspect most people continued to watch all the way to the end just to see the commercials.  It paid off big too, people were asked to go to twitter and tweet using the hashtag suggestion, yeah…it went viral.  They saved money and still hit pay dirt with the social media.

Punxsutawney Phil, the infamous groundhog, did see his shadow and that means 6 more weeks of winter…6 more weeks of the coldest weather most of our nation has seen in awhile.  With one month into the New Year we now have a new catch phrase for this bitter cold weather, or rather something to blame it on; the polar vortex.  In fact,some places here in the US it’s so cold and there is so much snow, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi might seem tropical.

You might be wondering what current events have to do with chiropractic marketing.   What’s happening in our day to day life, in the world we live in, has a lot to do with your marketing.  Marketing is more to hocking your products and services to people, it needs to be relevant to their needs.  You can bet that this winter’s snow fall will be playing havoc on a person’s lower back, arms and legs.  Shoveling snow, slipping and falling on ice, an increase in auto accidents.  Need I say more.  Docs…get your chiropractic ads ready.

Current events are also relevant to those who are into social networking.  At a loss for what to say in a tweet or post on your facebook wall?  Check out what’s trending and get some conversations going, there needs to be a person behind your marketing, invest some time in conversation with people and they will want to know more about you and your profession.  That’s why it’s called “social” networking.

From time to time I like to share comments and questions from the readers here on this blog and from people who are using one or more of the chiropractic marketing products from DC Practice Tools, this one seemed like a good one to share;

Q: I recently hired a company to help me with my website. They worked with me in building a few landing pages and I am doing a pay per click program with the website/landing pages. Its costing me about $1200 a month and so far, people are hitting the site, but they are not really converting and we have no follow up system with emailing the ones that hit it…can you help me do that?

A: Sounds like he’s done his homework and he’s got a good system set up.  He mentions what it costs per month, but he doesn’t say where that amount is spent, I’m assuming that is what he’s paying for the pay per click (PPC) advertising, which is a pretty decent marketing budget for a PPC campaign.  He knows visitors are coming to his chiropractic website because he can see how many clicks he paying for but if he’s smart he’s also watching his site analytics which will also show him how long they are staying on his site and if his visitors are looking at other pages.

What advice would you give this doc if  you were having lunch with him and he shared this little bit of information with you?

Based on what you’ve read here on this blog, would you know how to answer his question?

He doesn’t say whether he has an opt in form on his site or his landing pages, but that would be my first question for him simply because he says this in his comment; “people are hitting the site, but they are not really converting and we have no follow up system with emailing the ones that hit it”

So doc, what I want to know is have you provided a way for your visitors to share their email address with you?   This can only be done with an opt in form on your website.  When visitors click over from your ad are they offered a chance to leave their information in order to receive follow up emails from you?  This will also help you build a data base with email addresses for the visitors who have come to your site and would like to receive follow up emails  from you in the future.

I covered this specific topic in my last post on building your practice with email marketing.  If you’re struggling with the same problem this doctor has written about, then you can find more information HERE.

By the way, what was your favorite Super Bowl commercial?

 

Marketing Decisions to Consider with Chiropractic Print Ads

Are you serious about management success and developing a thriving chiropractic practice? If you answered yes, then I will assume that by now you have a functional marketing strategy in place.

The whole point of a strategy is to help keep you from throwing away money on something that’s not really going to help your business grow. What do you want to achieve and how much money are you willing to commit in order to achieve it? This is what marketing strategy will enable you to determine – and achieve.

Where will you spend your hard earned money?

Optimization of your chiropractic website is no doubt pretty close to the top of your list. Newspaper advertising should be near the top too. Setting a budget is one thing. It’s also important to work out a plan to spend that money wisely.

I’ve put together a few pointers to help you on your way when deciding how to spend your allocated newspaper-advertising budget – to put your chiropractic office on the map.

Research is a must

Newspaper advertising is only effective if people actually read the publication in question. A little local knowledge comes in useful here. You should have a pretty good idea as to what newspapers and magazines are popular in your local area – and which ones aren’t. You need cold, hard figures though – so ask for a circulation breakdown from the newspaper itself. It’s also worth doing a little research. The Alliance for Audited Media (formerly The Audit Bureau of Circulations) is able to provide not just circulation figures but also detailed social metrics for newspapers with a circulation above 25,000.

 One bad result isn’t the end all

Be realistic, it’s perfectly normal to expect results just don’t base the rest of your marketing on the first ad you run.  It could be a huge success, if so run it again, but at a later date, don’t risk wearing it out. If it’s not successful, try another ad.

Don’t give up if you don’t see instant results; give your marketing some time to grow. Newspaper advertising for a small business is all about raising your profile over time. If your chiropractic practice was recently established, you’re going to have to give it time for people to get to recognize your name. Recognition will come – but you’re going to have to stick with it.

Stay consistent and resist the urge to dip in and out of the market

It might be tempting to decide to splash out on the largest ad you can afford if you have a particular good month – but then not spend anything at all in those months when cash flow is tight. You need to resist this approach. If you simply ‘dip in and out’ of newspaper advertising then quite simply, people are going to forget who you are. Making a solid commitment to placing ads on a regular basis – rather than a big glossy ad once in a blue moon – will prove to be the best strategy.

Don’t be talked into buying advertising space you can’t afford

I cover this topic in the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads kit.  A newspaper advertising sales team can be a pretty persuasive bunch.  Hold off on package deals until you have a few runs under your belt.

But you might receive phone calls sometimes, offering great deals on unused advertising space. This can often be a great value, but not always a great location in the paper.  It’s fine to take the paper up on these offers from time to time, but ask questions and weigh your options, it might not be such a great deal if your ad is tucked away on in an obscure section and not seen. Also consider, unplanned advertising could eat into other parts of your marketing budget. The same goes for seemingly great value advertising space in neighborhood newsletters and start-up magazines. These publications can be great for building up a friendly, community-based profile – just don’t let the spending spiral out of control.

A willingness to commit and the ability to keep a tight rein on your budget: if you get this right then you’ll soon see that newspaper advertising becomes a highly successful part of your chiropractic marketing plan.

What is Instagram?

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the mobile phone app Instagram. I almost hesitate to say this because some of us already feel a little intimidated and overloaded with social media, but… this one really shows potential for being a great marketing tool.

Believe it or not it will add yet another avenue in promoting your chiropractic business.

As I mentioned Instagram is an app found on your mobile phone. It’s a video- and photo-sharing platform and with different supporting apps, it offers a free means of driving visitors to your chiropractic website and engaging with prospective patients.

You’ll notice as you read this post that there are some similarities with this app and twitter. For instance, you will use hash tags to help promote and find things. If you’re not familiar with hash tags then think “keyword” proceeded by the # symbol that is a hash tag. Example; #chiropracticmarketing.  Also, you can link to others using the @ symbol just like twitter and Facebook.

Here are some ideas to help with using this platform’s marketing potential.

Hash tags (remember, think keyword)

Search this site by browsing for hash tags ( #chiropractor,#yourtownchiropractic, or #sciatica, #neuropathy) that are relevant to your practice and profession. Hash tags help you in find out what individuals are discussing related to certain subjects.

As you post on Instagram, add one or two hash tags associated with your practice and the topic of your photo. People will search for photos using the hash tag, when they do they are going to see your photos pop up in the results and that will lead them to your posts on Instagram and, eventually, your chiropractic business, because you will have your website information in your profile; more on that later

Post Great Pics

Instagram is all about visual; therefore when you’re out, always be ready to snap a pic of interesting things that can be captured on video or in a photo.

Begin by posting various images on Instagram and watch to see  which ones will create the most attention. When you become better at knowing a great photo op from a less interesting one, you can be a little more selective and post the more relevant and entertaining photographs or videos (that are limited to fifteen seconds each).

In order to reinforce your brand, think about including a logo (on a sweatshirt, cup or hat, for instance) or an additional visual signpost of your chiropractic business (like a signature product or your face maybe with an added watermark) within as many of the images posted as possible.

Piggyback upon Other People’s Posts

When you search other Instagram content using hash tags associated with chiropractic or events in your area, you will find photos or videos which will catch your attention, much like the headlines and photos in chiropractic ads. You can request to share that users URL via twitter, post the link on Facebook or share the link with your photo so your followers can view and comment. Likewise, as others share your information, in their posts in order to draw additional traffic.

Comment and Like other Photos

As a general rule of thumb, the more you ‘like’ or comment on other people’s posts, the more other people are going to ‘like’ or comment on yours. At the minimum of one time per month, conduct an Instagram search upon your most used hash tags then ‘like’ all of the best videos or photos you see.

Here’s how to set up your Instagram

Find and download the app on your mobile phone, set up your profile with username and password. People will find you, if looking, by your username or name used in your profile.

You can find mine by searching for DCPracticeTools or Dr. Michael Beck. Once you’ve set up your profile you can get started by pulling photos from you phones photo stream.

Instagram even has an editor so you can crop and edit your photos. Then go into your settings and link your Facebook and twitter accounts. Why? Because you can feed your photos to your Facebook page and twitter page if you want. You can even encourage your followers on other media sites to find and follow you on Instagram.

Love it or hate it….it’s here to stay, might as well get some free chiropractic marketing out of it.

ps.  I just did a search for #neuropathy, 679 results from the word, that doesn’t include all of the hash tags that have the word neuropathy in it.

Chiropractic Business Tip: Add Product Inventory, Increase Practice Numbers

Before I transitioned into this position of creating chiropractic marketing products for the chiropractic profession, I owned a successful practice just like many of do.  Even though I’ve shared my story several times on this blog site, there are always some details that get left out.

Before you bounce out of here thinking you’ve heard this before, I challenge you to stick with me as I share some great tips for adding extra income to your bottom line each month.  And get this, there is no marketing involved, no ads to submit, just good old fashion supply and demand.

I’m not talking about huge sums of cash, but even if it’s a few hundred to a couple of thousand, wouldn’t you like to know how this could be done?

When I owned my practice I always tried to help my patients outside the office as much as I did inside my office.  Depending on their condition and symptoms when they began their care, I would often provide suggestions for things they could do in their home.   These suggestions would range from lite exercises to help strengthen weak areas, to habits that needed to change like,  reading in bed, sitting incorrectly at their work station, sleeping positions and using the proper pillow. There were also times when I would recommend supplements and analgesic ointments.

My staff would routinely apply an ice pack to those patients who where using the traction table or receiving stim treatment.

After a few patients asked where they could buy the ice packs we used in the office, it occurred to me that if I kept some in stock then patients would probably buy them from my office.   Same thing with the pillows, if I suggested to my patient they needed to change the pillow they slept on, the next question out of their mouth was usually; “what kind of pillow should I use and where can I find one?”

So we began carrying a line of cervical pillows and most of my patients with neck problems were over joyed that they didn’t have to go out and find this special pillow, it was available for purchase right there at the front desk.

There was never any need for a sales pitch, I simply instructed my staff to place samples of the products on the front desk and around the front office area.  The patients who wanted to purchase were able to do so when they were setting up their next appointment or making their payment.

Since those two items were selling so well, I decided to keep my favorite pain relief cream in stock as well, there were weeks when we couldn’t keep it in stock.  What was great about the ointments was our vendors always made sure we had plenty of sample packets for my patients to try, the rest was easy.  A great product will sell itself, all I did was provide a place for it to be seen.

I later added a foam roller to my product inventory, it sold like crazy.  Suffice it to say, if I used a product it in the office and it was something the patient could use at home, then I kept tried to keep it in stock.

Next  I tried supplements, just a small sampling at first.  This was pretty easy to do as I just stocked the supplements that I took daily, like fish oils.

For those who have the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads and use the health reports included in the kit, this is great for you, for as you know in these reports, supplements are recommended.  So if you use these reports with your patient care, it would benefit you and the patient if they could have access to these supplements without having to run all over town to find them.  Plus, when you provide the supplements, you are typically going to use a brand that you know and trust, therefore you are assured that your patient is getting a good supplement.  Some patients, in their effort to find what you suggested, may or may not purchase a pure and effective brand.

One last detail..don’t forget to track your product ROI.  My staff was instructed to keep daily stats on all of the products, this was done along with the daily practice stats.  Just as I suggest keeping up with your chiropractic marketing  return on investment, I suggest you keep up with your product return on investment.

Also, if you have a website you can promote the products you carry in your office.

Did selling products make me wealthy?  No, but it did take my practice to another level, my patients loved the convenience and the extra money was nice to have.

*Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, therefore I am compensated if purchases are made using the link. I have not receive products for free in exchange for my opinion.  My opinions are based on my personal use or knowledge of these products and services.