f I were to say Mercedes-Benz, would it conjure an image of an expensive, reliable, and safe car? What if I asked you about the qualities of the Red Roof Inn versus the Ritz Carlton Hotel? Do they look different in your mind’s eye? How about your clinic? What image comes to the public’s mind when someone mentions your name or your clinic’s name?
Marketing for businesses has changed quite a bit over the past thirty years. Advances in technology and marketing techniques have allowed businesses to take advantage of better market penetration at lower costs.
Compare marketing techniques of general businesses to chiropractic marketing and you will see that we employ virtually all of the same methods used in the late 1970s when Dr. Jim Parker revolutionized our profession. If you have been practicing for more than ten years, what are you doing differently in marketing that is fresh and new? Are you still doing health care classes, patient appreciation dinners, monthly events, and screenings? Are you performing them differently than in years prior? More importantly, are you getting consistently good results that lead to more quality new patients?
This article will discuss some steps that you can take to improve marketing efforts. I teach my clients that a strategist will slaughter a tactician every time. This is why I teach my clients to deploy strategic-based marketing instead of tactical- based marketing. Let’s explore the two methods.
Most chiropractors are familiar with the technique of tactical-based marketing. Do a health care class, do a screening, do a patient appreciation dinner, and do a newsletter. In short, throw enough stuff against the wall and hope something sticks. While that methodology might have served our profession well in previous economic times, in this economy it won't work as well, and maybe not at all.
Strategic-based marketing takes all of the methods from above and creates specific marketing campaigns that have a beginning, middle, and end. The campaigns are measurable to make sure that they accomplish what they set out to do, as well as giving you a return on investment in either time, money, or both.
To illustrate the two techniques, let me give you some examples. Let’s say that you want to do an e-mail marketing campaign. A tactician will develop or buy an e-mail marketing list and send out a thousand e-mails to prospects describing his wonderful services. The tactician now feels that he is marketing via e-mail, and that is correct. The real questions, though, are about the quality and effectiveness of the marketing. How is it being measured? How can it be tweaked and improved? On what basis would you tweak or change it?
A strategist implementing an e-mail marketing campaign first determines what strategies to deploy before the first message is ever sent. Will this campaign be for brand awareness or the procurement of new patients? Will the target group be headache sufferers or lower back pain sufferers, or both? Will they be in an age demographic of 30-40 year olds, or one of 70-80 year olds? What type of follow-up will come after the campaign? How often will the follow-up occur? How will results be tracked to know if the desired response and return on investment (ROI) are reached? Once a strategist answers those very important questions and sets up a tracking system, then it is time for the actual deployment of the technique or strategy.
Like it or not, chiropractic is a personality-driven business.
Like it or not, chiropractic is a personality-driven business. What that means is people buy you, not chiropractic. It is vastly different for medicine. When someone goes to a medical doctor, the patient buys the field of medicine, not necessarily the practitioner. Think about patients who come to you complaining that their medical office staff was mean or rude and kept them waiting for hours. You politely ask, “Why do you go back?” They reply, “Because the doctor is really good.” What if we kept our patients waiting or our staff was mean or rude? Not only would that patient not return, but also that person may never go to any chiropractor again because all chiropractors must be bad. That is what I mean when I say chiropractic is a personality-driven business—people buy the chiropractor not necessarily the field of chiropractic.
When you market a chiropractic practice, I want you to think of yourself as being a politician. How does a politician get people to vote for him? He goes out and tells his message to as many people as possible. He uses radio, television, billboards, books, late-night talk shows, direct mail, e-mail, etc. Now we probably don’t have the budget or skill sets to do radio or TV or go on a late-night talk show. However, we have plenty of methods within our financial means to get our message out there.
You may utilize the following checklist to help your marketing efforts:
- Determine your “end game.” What do you want to see happen as a result of the expenditure of time and money put into this marketing campaign?
- Create a measurable beginning, middle, and end to ensure that goals are being met.
- Have a specific goal in mind for the campaign. Don’t just say, “I want new patients.”
- Create budgets and stick to them.
- Measure your ROI. If you fail to get a return, either tweak your campaign or abandon it. Don’t throw good money after bad.
- Create a minimum of five and preferably ten independent strategic-based marketing campaigns.
- Create meaningful ongoing follow-ups.
- Determine every objection that can possibly come up and create an answer to the objection.
- Expect your campaign to work—85% of what we get is what we expect.
- Keep expanding and improving your campaigns.
I have good news and bad news. First, here is the bad news: this economy is unforgiving. The success of your marketing efforts will determine the success of your practice. The good news, though, is that the economy is not good. A bad economy causes more stress for people. As you know, stress causes subluxation. We are the only health care providers that fix subluxation. Do you think if you marketed your practice properly, with the profession also being marketed properly, chiropractors could thrive? I know we can because every day I coach successful chiropractors that are getting sick people well and creating a great economic life at the same time. Don’t give up—you can do it too!
Dr. Paul S. Inselman, President of Inselmancoaching, is an expert at teaching chiropractors how to build honest, ethical, integrity-based practices based on sound business principles. From 2008-2012 his clients’ practices grew an average rate of 145% while the general profession was down 28%. His twenty-six years of clinical experience coupled with ten years of professional coaching has allowed him to help hundreds of chiropractors throughout the nation. He can be reached at 1-888-201-0567 or