Out of Adversity Came A Unique Chiropractic Ad Idea

If you had been told that being a chiropractor would involve marketing, keeping stats and in some cases spending your weekends doing spinal screenings, would you have continued down the path?

Maybe in the back of your head you suspected there might be more to it than seeing patients and using chiropractic to improve the quality of their life. The business side of chiropractic wasn’t the passion that gave you that push to complete chiropractic college. It was more than that.

Every chiropractor has his or her own story to tell about why they chose this wonderful profession. I myself had one, but if you’ve been reading this blog long enough you know that it’s the after story that changed my family’s life and turned my business around. My story involved debt, loss of a car and home, and about as close to loosing my practice via bankruptcy as I ever care to get again.

Looking back the whole experience taught me a lot. In the midst of all the chaos, there was an idea. Putting this idea on paper was the easy part, but implementing it was scary.

The idea was to reach people with a form of advertising that I wasn’t real familiar with. After all, I didn’t go to school for marketing or advertising. In fact, running a chiropractic office and marketing a practice was just barely discussed in one of the classes.

I knew something had to be done, I just wasn’t ready to give up on my dream or my practice. I had worked too hard and so had my wife. Plus there were patients out there that needed a chiropractor to help them and I wanted to be that chiropractor.

The form of marketing I’m talking about is called direct response advertising. In my case I used the direct response method within a condition specific chiropractic ad. I placed my ad in the newspaper with a call to action and prayed.
Maybe my story should be titled; “If you write it, they will come”, because they did, new patients began to come in.

I guess you could say the rest was history. The ad brought in new patients and so I ran another ad, soon my practice had turned around and we were working our way out of debt.

During this time I learned to record the ROI on each ad I ran, that way I would know where the new patients were coming from and which ad worked the best.

So you see, out of adversity came an idea, that idea gave me hope and confidence.

Marketing your practice is tough, especially today when there is so much information thrown at people all day long. Common sense might tell you that people just don’t have to time look at a newspaper let alone sit and read it, but don’t fall for that lie.

People will always have health issues ranging from low back pain to chronic illnesses. Remember, that is why you wanted to be a chiropractor…to give those people a choice in their health care.

How to Use Patient Testimonials for Maximum Results

It’s proven that testimonials increase the response of your ads. We’ve all heard the saying that “what others say about us is more powerful than what we say about ourselves.”

In a way it validates your treatment, your practice, and who you are. It also makes you a real person because you can’t fake a local person’s name (never do this).

Readers realize that it’s very difficult to fake a testimonial. That’s why they’re so believable, not that you should ever do that.

In fact, that’s a good way to get in trouble with your state boards. It’s a good way to get in trouble with the federal regulations.

So never, ever, ever make up, change, or fake a testimonial.

There are legal issues in some parts of the world that deal with testimonials. I’m not an attorney so I’m not going to advise you on that, but you need to know your state laws. You need to know what it says.

Not only do you want testimonials, but you want condition specific testimonials.

The best way to do it is to use a form with different conditions.

This allows you to divide and segment your testimonials by conditions. So you might have 8-10 different testimonial forms in your office. It’s ok if they fill out the wrong form, you can still use it but it will just be harder to keep track of.

Remember to get all of your testimonials signed!

When they sign it they are giving you permission to use the testimonial in your marketing. It says it clearly right there on the form, so you won’t have to worry about someone coming back later and saying they never gave you permission.

Provide a before and an after section on the form. Your patients are going to answer the questions and then make any other statements that they would like at the bottom of the form.

Patients will write different things, some will be good, some are not going to be so good. They might write two words. That’s okay, you’re not going to use those testimonials.

What you’re looking for is out of 10 or 20 testimonials that you collect, one or two sentences that are specific and say what they have to say with a lot of emotion.

These testimonials should be crystal clear.

You don’t need three paragraphs. While that’s great to use in your office, as far as an ad, there’s just not enough space to put that much.

You need to pick out one or two complete sentences in the testimonial that you think are the best. Use those 2-3 powerful sentences in your ad with the full name of the person and the city. That makes it real.

If there is extra room on your chiropractic newspaper ad, you could consider a picture of the person. But usually you just don’t have room. The space is very precious and expensive in the paper or in an insert.

It’s best to collect testimonials when the patient is in your office, after they’ve started care and they have begun to see some improvement.

A patient may tell you in the adjusting room that they’re really feeling well, usually somewhere between two and four weeks of care.  At this time have your front desk assistant hand them a testimonial form and ask them if they would write it out.

5 Chiropractic Marketing Predictions for 2012

1. Monthly print newsletters will be more valuable.

I know, you’re probably thinking print newsletters have gone the way of the dinosaur, and that email, Facebook, etc. are “da bomb!” But the fact is people are starting to demand a more personal relationship with their businesses. All you have to do is look at the Occupy Wall Street movement to sense how people now see a big gap between the products they buy and the companies who provide them. (Also, for more on this, watch the second video here on Dr. Loop’s blog.)

What about email newsletters you ask? You should be sending those too, at least 2 per month. But does it mean more to you to receive a birthday card by snail mail or an e-card? Sending a print newsletter with a real postage stamp is still a very effective way to communicate with current patients and get more referrals.

2. Videos will be more effective on your website.

Video has been around for a number of years on the internet, but it really hasn’t become the norm yet. However I think in 2012 that will start to shift. A few reasons for this are: almost everyone has some type of broadband internet access now, Youtube is more popular than ever, and sites like Facebook are using more video. At the least you should test a video of yourself on the landing page of our website to see if it increases conversions. Using tools like Google website Optimizer will let you easily figure out if videos are more or less effective for your site.

3. Neuropathy, Decompression and other niche specific newspaper ads will continue to get high returns.

Like the print newsletters mentioned above, you may have bought into the lie that newspapers are now extinct. However, in most markets, this is not the case. Many of my clients got their best returns ever on newspaper ads in 2011, especially when using neuropathy and decompression ads. I know there are plenty of other people out there telling you how a jillion internet things will bring in hundreds of patients. And some of it will bring in patients. But don’t neglect the trusted source of patients like the newspaper. The key is using very good copywriting to reach specific niches that are really responsive.

4. Facebook, Google + and other Social Marketing sites will become more important in your chiropractic marketing plan.

Many chiropractors have heard of Facebook. Less have heard of Google+. Unfortunately, doctors treat these sites like everyone else, a place to post all your personal happenings. The problem is most patients aren’t interested in the fact you just “checked in” at the local burger barn. Sure, some personal interaction is necessary to maintain a following. But, you also need good copywriting and intentional posts to cause new patients to act and pick up the phone to call. Another important and often overlooked aspect of these sites is that they help with your search engine rankings. Having Facebook likes and Google+’s on your website will help it come up higher in Google Search, which will translate into more new patients. Just remember, Facebook and Google+ are effective tools, but they are not the only game in town. So, don’t spend 100% of your time and money fiddling with them.

5. Developing a mobile site will become a necessity.

As my friend Terry Dean recently pointed to, more and more people are using iphones to access websites like Facebook. Look at the stats from the link below, which state that “more than 350 million active users currently access Facebook through their mobile devices “:


Also, realize that one of the most common uses for a smart phone is to check email. That means every time you send an email with a link back to your website that person is going to your website on their phone. Even though I prefer to use the internet on my PC, I have an iPhone and iPad that I use often and realize it is just more convenient to click a link now rather than wait until later when I can access the website on my home desktop.

I’ll be working hard to implement these changes in 2012. I recommend you do the same. Also, I’ll keep you updated on any new tools and strategies I’m working on next year. Happy New Year’s.

How to Save Thousands on Newspaper Advertising

Are you getting the best prices when running your ads?

Some of my clients are saving thousands on ad prices each year. And
we’ll show you how their doing it.

Last week I interviewed special guest Carol Ann Smith on the subject of “How to Save Thousands On Your Newspaper Ads”.

Carol has years of experience working for chiropractors and saving them thousands in advertising prices. In 2010 alone she
helped bring in over 300 new patients from newspaper ads alone for one chiropractic office.

Here are just a few points we discussed:

  • How to Strategically Choose and Prepare the Best Ads Run
  • How to Negotiate Best Price with Ad Reps
  • The Best Placement for Your Ad
  • Add Local Condition-Specific Testimonials From Doctor
  • And much, much more…

To see the recorded video, go here:


Yours for greater success,
Michael Beck, D.C.

New Advice for Chiropractic Ads

Every time you pay money for your marketing, you should include a special offer. (If you’re worried about how offers make our profession look, see my previous article here.) What’s the best offer price for your advertising?

When I wrote my Ultimate Chiropractic Ads, I placed an example offer inside all of the ads. In most cases I set the offer price in the range between $30 and $50.

But now I’m giving different advice.

Let me explain…

What I taught before was that you should raise or lower the price slightly, adjusting for the number of new patients that you would want and the quality of the patient.

In most cases, the higher the cost the better the quality of the patient is going to be. By quality I mean more open to your recommendations, easier to convert to care, and overall a better patient. For example, it’s generally thought that to have a $49 offer for an evaluation, you’re going to find a better quality patient than you would if you ran an ad for $15.

If you lower the price to $15, you would get more patients, but you’re going to also notice a lot of just freebie seekers. A general rule is $20 or less, your quality is going to drastically drop.

If it’s a specialized ad — fibromyalgia, decompression, cold laser, neuropathy — you’re going to want to do a higher price. This is because the patient is really wanting some help and they have not been able to find it anywhere else.
But even though they are more desperate for help, they’re also more cautious of offers that sound “too good to be true”. Because they’ve had such a hard time finding help, and they’ve gone to higher priced specialists, they assume a doctor who can really help is not going to be cheap.

So that’s what I used to tell the doctors using my ads. But recent data and feedback has convinced me to adjust this recommendation.

Because doctors didn’t want to get a lot of people wasting their time, and (maybe) because they already had issues with giving a discount, many chose to go with the higher price.

Now I’m not sure if it’s the recession still hanging around, or possibly just the new economy we’re in…but higher priced offers are not working well in most areas.

Lower priced offers are working extremely well though!

So what I advise now is just to take the range down to match this new economy. Use an offer between $15 and $30 now. You’re only giving up $10- $15 from the range I mentioned above, but you’ll get lots more new patients. Which would give a huge ROI after factoring in all the patients who will start care.

So the question is this:

Would you rather have a higher priced offer with little to no new patients (low ROI!)…or a slightly lower priced offer with tons of new patients (awesome ROI)?

Hopefully you’ll choose the latter.

If you’re using my ads, make this adjustment and you’ll see even better results. If you’re not using my ads, you can try the advice I give above with whatever ads you’re using. But I can’t guarantee it will help if the rest of the ad is written poorly. The offer is important, but won’t matter one bit if no one ever gets to it in the ad.

Chiropractic newspaper ads are still working great, regardless of what the naysayers are telling you. Here’s an email I recently received from a doctor…

Hi Dr. Beck,

I ran an ad as 21,500 inserts in a free paper; printing cost $515.41. Distribution for inserts cost me $376.25 = total of  $891.25 combined 15 day only offer of $35 expired 9-6-11;

Grand total= $17,490.00 collected with residual collections for multiple payment program option uncollected yet. Table now filled for next 6.5 weeks!

27 new SD patients were scheduled!” – Dr. Rich McKay

Wait-And-See Chiropractic Marketing

chartWhen I first started out in practice, I had no experience in running a business. In chiropractic school I assumed I would learn how to run a business. But that didn’t happen.

So I hired a consultant, who I felt certain would be able to use his years of experience to direct me on the right path.

Then my grand opening came. We ran a full page, long-copy newspaper ad. We did a huge telemarketing campaign to the area. And it worked, bringing in over 50 new patients the first month and $22,000 in cash collected!

Who can complain about that?

Actually it really messed me up.  So bad it would take 2 years to recover. Let me explain…

You see, I thought since this was my first month, every month after this would only get better. After all, if this wasn’t the case, surely I would have heard about it in school, or my $1000 per month consultant would tell me. Time to go get a $700 a month car payment. Time to start looking at new houses. (Do you see where this story is headed?)

Since my first month was so good, I’ll just lay off marketing the next month. Guess what happened?

Yep, only collected $10,000 and had a handful of new patients. But I thought “No problem, it’s December, everyone knows chiropractors are ‘cursed’ in December. Next month will be better. I won’t do any more more marketing and I’ll just wait and see what happens.”

I waited. And I waited. Five months later, we were stilling only seeing about 10 new patients per month and collecting between $10-15k.

So I did some proven marketing again. I bet you can guess what happened next.

We had an awesome month! So I thought, “I’m so busy seeing new patients and getting them well, I don’t really need to market much next month. After all, school is letting out and everyone knows new patients avoid a chiropractor during the summer.”

The next month dropped again. “We’ll of course, it’s summer time”, I thought. “I’ll just wait and see what happens next month.”

I’ll spare you the long sad story, and tell you this pattern continued for the next 2 years. It was a vicious  downward spiral. One good month, then ‘wait and see’ whats going to happen, then 3 bad months. Rinse and repeat.

Every quarter, I had less and less money to spend on marketing, since I was relying on 1 month to cover 3 months of expenses.

Why didn’t I learn my lesson, you ask?

There are many reasons, but the biggest one was that having one good month always made me think everything was okay. All I had to do was keep holding on and things would get better.

And while it’s true you must “hold on” during rough times in life, holding on doesn’t mean you just sit around doing nothing. You “hold on” to your faith, your family, and your sanity. But you don’t hold on to the business stuff that’s not working, namely a messed up marketing plan. I was simply holding on, praying for Someone else to do the work of bringing in the new patients.

I did eventually learn my lesson and turn things around.

Wait-and-see chiropractic marketing does not work. And the sad part is, if you do this too often, you’ll get into a spiral that’s very difficult to get out of.

Don’t wait and see what’s going to happen next month. Don’t count on spinal screenings to build your practice.  Don’t sit around thinking patients are just going to walk in the door.

Instead, use proven marketing systems. Run a chiropractic newspaper ad next month. Implement a new referral strategy with your patients. Set up an automatic online marketing system.

You don’t have to do it all in one month. But for your practice’s sake, do something!

Sometimes it’s prudent to wait and see. But when it comes to solid proven marketing, you’re always better off doing it now instead of later.

Special Chiropractic Newspaper Ad

Newspaper advertising is still a very good marketing tool for your practice. But there are two major problems with chiropractic newspaper advertisements.

1) The ad looks like an ad. This may sound silly, but if your ad looks like an ad (like everyone elses), it’s not going to get much attention. But if it looks like an article (advertorial), it will look different than an ad, and people will read it more often. Advertorial’s have been proven to pull in new patients faster and have a higher ROI than standard display ads.

2) Even if you run an advertorial, all the other chiropractors have the same one and run it like crazy. This quickly decreases your response and within months it’s not worth running the ad. You know the one. Everyone bought that kit a few years ago. “A Doctor’s Confession To The Town of…”

To solve this problem in my practice, I studied copywriting for years, so I could write my own copy and ads. Ads that aren’t hypey and fake.