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.

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.

Chiropractic Newspaper Ads: Do They Work?

When I first started out in practice, newspaper ads were all very popular. A well known ad “kit” was being sold that contained a handful of advertorial style full page chiropractic ads.

These were reported to bring in 60, 80 and even 100 new patients upon running them in a local newspaper. While I never received 60 patients from just one ad, I did get 20 or more the first time I ran it. Friends of mine in smaller towns got 40-60 every time they used the ad.

The reason these newspaper ads worked well was because of the way the ad looked. The ads were developed in the 1920-30’s by marketers selling books and “home study courses.” They were designed to look like editorial in the newspaper, but written to persuade the customer to take action and buy. Since the ad is a combination of an advertisement and editorial, it is now referred to as an “advertorial”.

But over the years, two things have made these ads less effective.

1. Everyone else bought the ad kits and started running them in the papers. So the ads weren’t as believable and personalized because every chiropractor in town was running the same exact ad.

2. Newspapers became less and less effective in certain markets due to the increase of internet news.

So do they still work?

My clients and I have not noticed a huge decline in newspaper ads over the years, unless everyone is running the same type ad in our area. Granted, we aren’t running the same chiropractic advertorials that came out 10 years ago either.

I’ve written my own advertorials to more closely match recent trends like decompression and fibromyalgia. I also created my own so that no one in my area would run the same ad, therefore the ad looked personalized for my practice.

And remember, the most important number to look at is your return on investment. If you spend a $1, does it come back and make you $1 or more. If newspaper ads do that, then it’s obvious you should still invest in them as part of your marketing plan.