Which Spinal Decompression Table Should I Get?

Recently, I received an email from a doctor about decompression tables and marketing. Here’s a summary of the email:

What is the most cost effective way (cost effective table) that you recommend to implement this into the practice? Also, could you tell me about your decompression marketing? Thanks

I commend this doctor not just for his questions, but especially how he is thinking through a marketing strategy before getting his table. Too many doctors buy expensive equipment without any idea how they will market this new service to prospective patients.

In today’s post I want to answer the first question, and in the next article we’ll take up the issue of marketing. But remember, these two are inseparable. So don’t just read this article about which table to buy and then neglect returning for the advice on how to actually get people on it.

Spinal decompression treatments are becoming very popular with patients. More and more of the aging population is seeking to prevent low back surgery for herniated discs and painful sciatica.

If you don’t have a table yet, you may be thinking you’ve missed the wave and now it’s moved on to some other type of niche product. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Now is absolutely the best time to get into decompression. Why?

Because competition in the market has brought the price of decompression tables way down. There is no need to pay $120,000 for a decompression table anymore (unless you just enjoy sending a mortgage type payment to the bank every week!) Just about everyone realizes you can get the very same function out of a table for $10k or $15k. Also, there are many used tables out there now which bring the price even further down.

So what table do I recommend? I prefer one of two types of tables. (And neither of them give me any type of kickback for mentioning them.)

These are just tables that I have either used or been treated on.

1. Chattanooga Triton DTS (cost approx. $10,500)

The DTS was the first decompression table I bought when I first got into the decompression niche in 2007. This table is super comfortable to lay on and the padding feels really good.

One advantage is that the newer DTS model has a cool looking computer interface with touch screen functions. Many of these older models have been refurbished and sell for around $3000-4000.

A major problem I always had with the DTS table was that patients were always slipping and sliding around. Even if the belt was so tight it restricted their breathing, the patient would slip. Which meant you had to turn the pounds of pull way up to get the desired effect. But the new model claims to have a new belting system that “allows a patient to be wrapped and set-up in under one minute”, so I assume they fixed this problem.

2. KDT (Jay Kennedy) Neural-Flex Decompression (costs around $11,500)

This is the newest decompression company and it’s becoming very popular in chiropractic offices. (I currently get treated on this table at least once a month for my L5 disc problems, along with my weekly adjustments.)

Developed by Dr. Jay Kennedy after years of teaching his seminars on how to use decompression treatments, this table is very nice. It seems to take a lot less force to get the same effect you would have had on the DTS. Part of the reason may be that this table really holds you in place and there is almost no slippage.

The vibration feature can be very helpful. I don’t think it’s recommended for the lower back, but I tried it a few times and it is intense to say the least. KDT has the best decompression belt strap on the market in my opinion. This thing gets snug and will not slip if attached properly. One of the negatives of the KDT table is that it seems very stiff when compared to the DTS, which means it’s not as comfortable to lie prone.

KDT also has a basic decompression table for $8,995 which does not have all the features of the neural-flex.

Both of these tables come with a cervical attachment that I highly recommend, as you’ll find almost as many cervical patients to help as you will lower back. It’s just that cervical disc problems usually present with other symptoms first: headaches, neck pain, etc.

There’s quite a few dealers who sell both the above recommendations as used tables, along with ebay and your local chiropractic college classified ads. Here’s one popular site that has a few used tables:


The tables will usually come with some marketing, or an “endorsement” to use a specific marketing company. I don’t really recommend you spend much money using the marketing material they send you. I’ll cover why in the next blog post, but it’s not just because I have decompression marketing material myself. It’s actually a fundamental principle of marketing that’s usually missing which causes their marketing to fail.

Questions about decompression? Post them below. If you have a table, tell us which one you like the most.

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 Determine The Success of Your Marketing

How do you know if you’re marketing is working?

Many would say the answer is “by the number of new patients” or “by the number of phone calls.”

While these are both good signs that help you to determine if an ad is successful or not, they are not the right way to measure success in marketing.

Let me show you how measuring your return on the number of new patients only can mislead you. Here’s an example of a conversation I once had:

Doc: Dr. Beck, I only got 5 new patients from the ad I ran. I consider this a failure!

Me: How much did the ad cost you to run?

Doc: $500

Me: Did all 5 patients start care? And how much is your average case fee (or lifetime value)?

Doc: $1,800

Me: So you made $9,000 from an ad that cost you only $500 and you consider that a failure?

I know as chiropractors we get all wrapped up in talking about the number of new patients we get from certain marketing campaigns. It is an important stat to keep. But successful business know that it’s your return on investment (ROI) that really matters.

That’s ROI for the whole practice and specifically for each ad we run.

So how do you figure the ROI? Let me show you by using some real numbers. Here’s an email I just received from one of my Decompression Marketing Elite clients:

Hello doc,

Stats update from first EM ad ran as insert; collections in my hand. Ready for this? lol!

I ran in 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 multipal payment program option uncollected yet. Table is now filled for next 6.5 weeks!

27 new SD patients were scheduled
7 still remaining to be seen.
8 signed and paid in full

Now let’s do some math. I calculate marketing return on investment the quick and easy way. Take the total amount collection and divide it by the cost to run the ad. 20:1 ROI (19.6 rounded up) as of right now, just 2 days after the expiration date of the ad!

$17,940/$891 = 1962% ROI
or 20:1 Return

It goes without saying that not everyone will get these kinds of results. Some will do even better. Many will get a great return although it may not be this high.

But the point is this doctor has kept excellent records of his ad and is quickly able to figure ROI. He’ll need to re-figure the results later after ALL the money has come in. So in the end, it should be even higher than a a 20:1 ROI since 7 new patients have not yet come in and the residual payments have not all been collected.

What kind of returns are you getting from your chiropractic marketing? And if you aren’t measuring ROI, how do you know if your campaigns are successful or not?

How to Sub-Niche the Chiropractic Market

Are you sub-niching your marketing prospects?

Watch this segment of a decompression webinar I gave. Whether you do decompression or not, you need to understand what sub-niching is. (If you do have a decompression table, watch the complete webinar here.)

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Decompression Tables in Liquidation

Axiom Worldwide, LLC, the maker of the DRX and DRX9000 decompression tables appears to be in liquidation.

What does this say about the current decompression market in the United States?

Not much in my opinion. There are too many questions left unanswered to determine what the cause of their bankruptcy was.

Was it caused by the recession, meaning less sales on their part? Was it due to bad management, hubris born of success, or their recent troubles in Canada? Did it have something to do with the FBI raids on their office back in 2007?

We simply do not know.

What I can tell you is that if you own a decompression table, many people will be trying to use this as a marketing ploy to scare you. One company sent out an email to some chiropractors, trying to scare them into “buying” publicity websites so as to drown out the negative publicity for DRX tables on Google. I’m sure others will soon follow, using fear to motivate you to waste money on useless marketing.

So if you own a DRX table (or any kind of decompression table), what are you supposed to do in light of all this negative news?

As far as marketing your practices goes (which is my specialty, not law), I’m recommending my clients focus on growing their practices and getting more new patients. Decompression offices are still overflowing with new patients, as the need for such treatment has not dropped off and likely will not as the population ages.

Here’s one thing I would NOT do if I was your shoes…

I wouldn’t be using old outdated advertising that talks about “NASA claims”, “FDA Approved” or even mentions the name DRX or DRX9000. You see, that’s the problem with promoting the name of a piece of equipment instead of your practice. If the name of the equipment gets a bad rap, you’re up a creek without a paddle. But if you market your practice as designed to help people who are suffering with herniated discs, sciatica, etc., and a company goes bankrupt or gets bad publicity, it doesn’t affect you.

When I first started looking at decompression tables, I was told the DRX table was the only “true spinal decompression table”. That they would be patenting the term “spinal decompression” soon and no one else could use it. One prominent marketer (at the time) even had ads written for his clients. I personally would not be making this claim any more either, as it is likely not going to go over well with the current news about DRX tables.

Keep marketing the results of your table in an ethical and professional way. This is why testimonials are so important. You’ve seen patients get better. You’ve seen them get well, preventing back surgery or a lifetime of dangerous medications. So you know decompression works. The problem is not if it works or not, but how we market it. Do we make hyped up claims or simply use educational advertising with condition-centered copy?

Decompression is about results for the patients…not about any specific table.

Over the past few years I’ve proven educational ads focused on patient results provides the best results. This is why I write non-hyped up ads. NASA and walking on the moon has nothing to do with decompression tables, and it never has, therefore I don’t put those claims in my ads.

In the end, I’m sure all of this will blow over and be a thing of the past. But what about your practice? Will your practice be thriving or barely surviving at that time?

If you are thinking about getting a decompression table, but have not yet, I urge you to read my previous article on this entitled “Decompression Marketing Solutions“.

Chiropractic Ad Samples

One of the most frequent questions we get about the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads (and even Decompression Marketing Elite) is…

“Can you send me a sample of one of your ads?”

In most cases, I understand that this is an honest, sincere question to see what type of ads I write. Usually, it’s to compare to past advertisements the doctor has used in his office. So I realize people aren’t out to steal my ads. But there’s a big problem with this request. To me, this question might as well be…

“Can you send me $50,000 in cash as a sample, to just look at?”

Why would I equate the two requests? Because unlike custom made advertisements, where a copywriter sends over samples he’s written in other industries, my ads are ready to go for one specific industry. That means any chiropractor can quickly change their name and number, insert them into the paper and start getting new patients. (Like the customer who called us yesterday from North Carolina and said his phone has not stopped ringing after running the neuropathy ad one time, scheduling over 40 new patients so far!)

You see, the ads I write aren’t “samples”. They are real ads I’ve spent quite a bit of time and money researching and writing. We don’t have any samples. The ads are all ads, ready to go and bring in quality new patients. Even if we did have samples, reading it would tell you very little. Unless you’ve spent thousands of hours studying copy-writing and testing ads, you’re not going to be able to see the nuances of how my ads work.

That’s not being harsh, just being honest. I’ve had two chiropractors, who’ve spent years writing their own ads, now use mine and love them. They’ll be the first to tell you that their own ads worked okay, but after using mine they won’t likely ever go back.

An advertisement works because it produces new patients. Not because it looks beautiful or professional (although I think my ads are both!) Even if the words of an ad are the most beautiful prose ever written, if they don’t bring in new patients they are rubbish.

To ask the question a slightly different way is to say…

“How are your ads different than what I’ve used before?”

Now this is the question most people want to know, and 90% of the time the ‘question behind the question’ of “can you send me a sample”. There are really only 2 reasons to want a sample. Either to run it and see how it does or to see how it looks and reads to differentiate it from other advertising the doctor has seen in the past.

As an aside, sometimes we get the “if you’re ads are so good, why don’t you let us try one for free, then we’ll buy the rest” type of request. I guess we could do that, if we were willing to get our attorney to write up a very long, lengthy contract, making this requester promise to pay a percentage of what he makes, with various clauses for defaulting on the agreement, etc, then pay said attorney thousands of dollars to prosecute violations of this contract, which we all know would be numerous. OR I could just give you a 90 day trial period with a money-back guarantee, and save both of us some legal bills!

But seriously, if you’re struggling in practice ( I feel for you, as I was once there myself), as hard as it  is to sometimes admit it to ourselves, if the 3 payments are too steep for your budget right now it’s time to hold off from buying. If $365 is too much, then you aren’t going to have the money to run an ad in the paper once you get them. And I know for a fact my ads will not work if you shrink them down to a tiny little business card-sized ad to save money.

As to the question of “how are your ads different”, let me attempt to give a quick summary. (More detailed information about these differences are given on the websites linked above.)

  • They work better at bringing in quality new patients. Why? Various reasons: they employ empathy, photos with captions, effective offers with a deadline, etc.
  • You get 40 different ads (Or a new decompression ad every month in the Decompression program.), as opposed to a small handful.
  • You get multiple sub-niched ads, including neuropathy, fibromyalgia, numbness, sciatica, back pain, headaches, decompression, laser, scoliosis, etc.
  • You get a money-back guarantee for 90 days on the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads and an area exclusive 60 day trial (nonrefundable) with no long term commitment with Decompression Marketing Elite. Do the other ads give this?
  • You get the “how-to” reports. How to get the best ROI with these ads. How to save money with your newspaper ad rep. How often to run the ads. What size. Which ones work best.
  • You get bonus marketing letters that you can use via mail to get more referrals, re-activations, new homeowners and more.

I could go on and on, but these are just a few that I’ve listed here. We really have tried to come up with the best chiropractic marketing product available for you to bring in quality new patients. If you haven’t tried them out, what are you waiting for?

Best of the Best

According to Google Analytics, my blog has had near 100,000 pageviews. Today I looked at the most popular articles since the blog started in 2008. You might be interested in seeing the most popular articles by category. Feel free to comment at the bottom of those articles or below this post below.

General Marketing

The Best Months for Chiropractic Marketing

Most Controversial Post

Chiropractic Coaching Lie #3: The High Volume Lie

Spinal Decompression

Decompression Practice Solutions

Referral Marketing

Internal Marketing Strategies, Part1
Internal Marketing Strategies, Part 2

Practice Growth

The Only 5 Ways to Grow Your Practice

Newspaper Ads

Are Chiropractic Ads in the Newspaper Dead?

Internet Marketing

My Top 3 Internet Marketing Strategies

Obamacare and Chiropractic (2nd Most Controversial Post?)

Congress Has Done It, Now What?

Why didn’t I get more new patients

In my last post, we looked at the “5 Biggest Questions About Chiropractic Ads“. But due to length, we only got through 4 questions and answers. So today’s post is the 5th and final question we get asked most from buyers of my ads kit. And it’s probably the most important question to get the answer for.

The question comes in various forms, but it goes something like this, “I ran your ad and want to know why we didn’t get more new patients?”

Now, as you might realize, this is a hard question for me to answer. Mainly because I don’t know how many new patients he did actually get. And how many did he expect to get from the ad?

What’s a good number, 10, 15, 20? I know expectations have been elevated to unrealistic numbers in chiropractic. What else can we expect after years of hyped up marketing strategies that said they would give us 100 new patients every time we ran them, or make us $1 million a month the first month!

Don’t get me wrong, my ads work well to bring in new patients and I don’t think they’re over-hyped. We even give a guarantee for those who aren’t happy. But I can say right now it’s unlikely you’ll get 80 new patients every time you run them. Maybe if you’re in a small town with no other chiros, but as for the rest of us we’ll gladly take 10-30 new patients each run.

But what’s strange is when we get an email of a doctor who’s actually doing very well, ‘making a killin’ actually, but he didn’t get “as many as he expected”.

For example, once I was told by a doctor they had received 5 decompression patients from one of my ads. This doctor knows that other doctors are getting 15-25 decompression patients per ad, so his question would have been a good one if he was asking “how do I get as many as those other guys do”. But alas, we rarely get that question asked of us. Instead, this doc was saying that 5 new patients just wasn’t enough. After all, he had paid $1000 to run the ad.

But hold on a second. We’re looking at this scenario completely backwards! Let me explain…

I asked him if all of the 5 started care. He said yes. I asked how much his care plans were priced at. He said $3000. Quick math lead me to determine he got $15,000 back on his investment. What was his investment? Cost of $1000 to run the ad.

That’s a 15-to-1 return on investment! Who wouldn’t like a 15:1 ROI?

There are very few businesses anywhere that get that kind of return. But this doctor was bummed that he only got 5 new patients in for $1000 spent. Do you see where the premises are wrong with this kind of thinking?

You cannot measure an ads success solely by the number of new patients it brought in. And you certainly can’t measure it’s success by how much money you spent. It’s your return on investment that matters. The money spent (ad cost) is only used to figure out the ROI.

Think about it this way…

What if a new patient come into your office with an 11 out of 10 (!) on the pain scale. They got their first treatment, looked at you angrily and said “I’m not happy doctor. I paid you all that money and only got a 60% reduction in my pain today!” After picking your jaw up off the floor, you’d kindly remind the patient of how they are were doing when that crawled into your office on their hands and knees. Therefore, you’re telling them to compare the “before” to the “after”, which is essentially their return on investment. How much they spent doesn’t directly have anything to do with how much better they got.

Are you measuring your ROI?

It’s simple to do really. Take all the new patients who come in from the ad and record their name in a spreadsheet. Then keep track of how much money each one spends in your office. Your patient accounting software should make this number easily accessible.

So your spreadsheet might look something like the one to the left here.

If I hadn’t kept this spreadsheet and tracked every patient, I might try and rely on my memory of how the ad performed. And think, “man, that ad really sucked because Antonio never started care, and Maria she didn’t even come back after the exam. Bah, advertising doesn’t work!”

But the truth is I got a 2061% ROI, or a 20-to-1 return! You can bet I’m running this ad again after seeing how well it really did. (And this ad is actually in the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads.)

So start tracking your ads. Not using “memory” tracking, where you just try and remember how well it did. But actually record the numbers and see what the real story is.

What’s Your Excuse

No matter where you are at in life or your practice, there is hope. While we can’t sit on our haunches and “believe” success into our practice, we can be inspired by others, which should cause us to then take action.

This guy is making the best of what he has. Are you?

How The Mighty Fall

This week, I read Jim Collins’ new book How The Mighty Fall: And How Some Companies Never Give In. I knew this book would have application to chiropractic offices as soon as I read the back cover in Barnes and Noble.

“Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.” – Jim Collins

How true this statement is. Not in a mystical, ‘think and it will happen’ kind of way. Not in a flippant statement some consultants throw at their clients for a ‘pump-me-up’.

But simply a statement of truth.

The success of your practice depends on you! Not the economy. Not the size of your town. Not where you practice. Not the government’s attempts at screwing up healthcare. Not Obama’s spending that you’ll never see a dime of.

Sure, these things make practice a bit more difficult. No one would say they don’t have an affect. But they are not the determining factor in your success.

You would be amazed at the doctors who’ve simply given up marketing their practice the last couple of years. And paid dearly for it. Some haven’t done any outside marketing in 10 or 20 years, but now find themselves forced to due to a declining practice.

Granted, most marketing out there sucks at bringing in new patients. Yet there are proven methods and strategies that work.

And the simple fact is that if you’re not marketing your services to the public, it’s just a matter of time before you’re practice will decline.

Back to the book. Collins has taken various failed companies and studied them to determine what caused their decline. Based on this he has uncovered 5 stages of decline.

Below I list the 5 stages and show how they apply to a chiropractic office. I’ve chosen to give our imaginary chiropractor a name, Dr. Decline, so as not to insinuate that all chiropractors are declining. But it’s very likely many of my readers will be in one of these 5 stages, whether they know it or not.

Hey, I admit I went through stages 1-4 in my early days of practice. Most of us do at some point. But hopefully reading this will help you to recognize it better next time.

Are you in one of this 5 stages?

1. Hubris Born of Success

Hubris is a word from ancient Greece that means overbearing pride or presumption. It’s the thing in Greek mythology that always brought down the hero. It’s what Proverbs 16:18 says well “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. ”

This is what Dr. Decline says at some point, “Things are going great right now. I’ve done well. Money is coming in. Why should I even pay for that ad in the newspaper anymore? I can cut back and just rely on referrals. After all, my patients refer because I’m the best doctor in town, not because of some words they read in my newspaper ad or website.”

2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Collins thought his data would show declining companies had become complacent and lazy, watching the world go by. But his data showed quite the opposite. He found “overreaching much better explains how the once-invincible self-destruct”

Here our doctor says to himself, “Maybe I’ll buy that new decompression table or new rehab equipment. What’s a big fat lease payment when I’m doing this well. We better hire some new staff too, to get ready for big growth. Things have been busy lately, after all. And I’ll have money because I’ve cut back on my marketing expenses too.”

3. Denial of Risk or Peril

This is when the effects of stage 1 and 2 are starting to set in. Money is still coming in, but signs of danger are starting to appear. There aren’t a lot of new patients on the books next month. The bills are starting to pile up. But the leaders deny the risk.

But our good doctor says, “Ah, it’s probably just the economy or the summer slump or insurance companies. Things will be fine. After all, I’ve been in practice over 10 years, and I’m still here, right?”

4. Grasping for Salvation

The risks of stage 3 have now become a reality, throwing the company into a sharp decline. Collins says this is a pivotal time and brings up the critical question of “how does its leadership respond?”

Does Dr. Decline grasp for a savior in the form of a charismatic chiropractic coach, a “bold but untested strategy” or any other number of magic pill solutions? What he does here is pivotal because once in stage 5 below, there is no coming back.

5. Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

“The longer a company remains in stage 4, repeatedly grasping for silver bullets, the more likely it will spiral downward”, says Collins. The leaders abandon all hope and either sell out or liquidate assets.

This is a sad state for chiropractors when this happens. Let’s hope Dr. Decline never gets here. But the truth is some chiros do.

So how do you prevent the 5 stages of decline listed above?

It’s hard to say for your particular case. But a couple of general guidelines are “don’t ever stop using marketing that works” and cut, cut, cut your expenses.

Oh, and kill that awful sin we all struggle with: pride!