The recession has been challenging for many chiropractic practitioners. Clients are cutting back on health and wellness spending and new patients are scarce. But tough times are also some of the most opportune moments to try new marketing methods to grow your business—and one of the most innovative ways to reach new clients is with locally targeted online video advertising.
"We’ve tried everything from advertising in local newspapers, to paying for enhanced listings on local directory services like Yelp, to buying keywords on Google Adwords; but, until we started using online video advertising, we hadn’t had much success reaching new patients with local advertising," said Dr. Lisa Walsh, director of Vitality Chiropractic Center in San Mateo, California.
Dr. Walsh, who admits to being a technology neophyte, used a do-it-yourself online service, that allowed her to easily create and launch an online video ad for just a few hundred dollars. The ad ran across an online network of over 800 locally focused publishers, and Dr. Walsh was able to target her ad, based on zip code, to attract new patients in her town. The Clinic created different versions of its video ad campaign targeted at specific segments, such as people who had injured their backs or people new to chiropractic, and also added clickable coupons and various stock footage, images, and music to each ad.
"I immediately started getting in-bound calls and quickly signed up several new patients as a result of the ad," said Dr. Walsh.
Online video advertising used to be reserved for large companies with deep pockets. First, advertisers had to pay a video production firm to create an ad for them. Then, they had to find an online video advertising network to distribute the ad—an expensive and complicated process. And, since most video advertising networks are national in scope, this type of ad distribution wasn’t very useful to local businesses eager to connect with new customers in their home towns.
Chiropractors aren’t the only Main Street businesses seeing the potential of online video advertising. The nation’s 14.6 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) spent $6.9 billion in locally targeted online advertising last year, more than half of the entire United States’ online advertising spending, according to Borrell Associates. And online video advertising is extremely popular; SMB’s will increase spending on locally focused video advertising by 65 percent this year, compared to a 13.7 percent increase in paid search.
Online video advertising—which allows practitioners to "show" prospective patients how they work and describes with sound, music, and video their range of services—has a huge advantage over static print ads or the few words squeezed into a paid-search ad on Google. Plus, online video advertising is measurable, allowing practitioners to see whether their ad is actually working to bring new patients in the door. For example, most online video ad services allow advertisers to track how many people viewed an ad, how many clicked on a coupon and followed through to their website, how many made a telephone call, and how many booked an appointment.
"Unlike the ‘black hole’ of most local ad spending, with online video advertising, I am able to track each click, coupon download, and phone call that comes from the campaign, so I know which version of my ads are the most effective," added Dr. Walsh.
Ready to get started with online video advertising? These few simple tips should help you create video ads that go the extra mile to attract new patients.
• Use relevant visuals. The visuals in a video ad should be eye catching but, more importantly, they should also communicate a relevant message. Include a photo or short video of yourself doing an adjustment or consulting with a client; show pictures of your office; interview a customer on video and include a mini-testimonial in your video ad.
• Keep text simple. Simple, concise ads work best for two reasons: viewers don’t want to read large volumes of text on their computer screen; and the online environment in which your ad will appear will already have a lot going on visually. To stand out, use clean and concise language like "First Appointment Free" or "Get Help for Back Pain."
• Get to the point. Research shows that people decide they want to read more about a topic on a website in 8 seconds or less. Ads that contain specific, immediate benefits, such as a promotion or discount, resonate strongly. Tell prospective patients about the services you offer and how you can help them with their specific health issues, and then extend a compelling promotion.
• Test and re-test. Video is such a flexible medium that it pays to experiment with different creative, formats and messages to find the combination that works the best. Set aside a portion of your budget to test different approaches so you can see how response rates fluctuate when you change the visuals, call-to-action, price points or add a promotional offer.
Diaz Nesamoney is founder and CEO of Jivox, the online video advertising service that helps small businesses reach local customers online. Diaz is a leading expert on online advertising and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Examiner, Investor's Business Daily, MarketingProfs, MediaPost and many other publications