I’m in a funk over some things I’ve stumbled upon lately. There have been some pretty unkind comments suggesting that Facebook is not working for businesses. I’ve also read quotes like; “Facebook is boring” “it’s doesn’t perform correctly” “I never get any recognizable gain from Facebook”. I’ve even read that Facebook was on its way out the door, joining MySpace in the social media graveyard. Some say that in light of the newest star, Google +1 will outperform Facebook. This may be true some months down the road, but right now from where I’m sitting, Google +1 will suffer the same onslaught of insults from the same people who find Facebook an area of irritation in their feeble marketing attempts. Not because there will be something bigger and better, but because the same people who whine about the ineptness of Facebook will be the same ones who complain that G+1 doesn’t work for them either.
It’s simple…those who are complaining the most about Facebook are the same ones who do nothing to create a place and build a reputation for themselves on Facebook. They’ve not carved out a comfortable place to curl up and engage themselves in stimulating banter with their friends. They have not used the simple marketing tools Facebook offers to everyone. These tools by the way are free, they cost nothing to use. Not only are these tools not used but for those who have attempted to go the extra mile and create a fan page; very few do anything with it once it is launched.
“I don’t have time to mess with it” is the most popular excuse. I beg to argue with you. Here’s how I can say that and not eat my words. If you had time to implement some of the free tools on Facebook already then you should have time finish what you started. But the problem is that many of these people have totally missed the some crucial steps. Steps that only take a few minutes to correct.
Since I work in the field of marketing for chiropractors, I decided to prove that more chiropractors could utilize Facebook as a chiropractic marketing tool with just a few minor adjustments (no pun intended) and a little bit of good old fashion advertising.
I did some research just to prove my point. I did a random search on Facebook of ten cities and added the word chiropractor after the name of the city. When I found the name of a chiropractor, I looked at their profile page. Not all of my searches came up with a profile page; some went straight to a fan page, two out of ten to be honest. That’s great; however from their fan page could I find their website? And if I could, would I find a Facebook link back to their fan page? The numbers were low; still only two out of ten; but I better mention that of those two, neither had any recent postings; which was not good, because both of these chiropractor’s websites had a blog or articles that could have easily been linked back to their fan pages for some great status updates.
If I did happen to find a chiropractor’s profile page by simply typing in a city and adding the word “chiropractor” to the end of it, what I found proved my point. Even if I wasn’t a friend I could still see their name at the top of the page and below the name was their occupation. Many had filled this out and it linked to a page, but only what I call the dummy page. It didn’t link to a fan page. This dummy page is a page that takes a prospective patient to a dead end; leaving them no better off in their quest to find a chiropractor located near them in their community.
It occurred to me that if employers are looking up applicant’s Facebook profiles to find out what type of person they are and if they might be a good fit for their company, then why on earth would a business person not have their pages in order? It’s beyond my understanding. It’s a fact; more and more people are using Facebook to find people and businesses. Are you missing the boat because you’re not on Facebook? If so, does your profile page link to your fan page? If not, at least can a prospective patient find your website via your profile page?
You see Facebook does work for chiropractic marketing but a chiropractor must first be on Facebook and second they need to have their information linked properly and they need to make sure the patient can find out where they are located and a phone number, even if it’s just a profile page, but especially if it’s a fan page. And for goodness sakes if you have a fan page for your practice, have it properly linked from you profile page so it can be found.
Maybe I’m just being negative. There are a ton of chiropractors who can be found on Facebook with nice up to date statuses, linkage out the wahzoo, but their numbers are low. First of all, numbers as far as fan page fans aren’t the end all. But here’s a tip on how to build up a healthy fan base from in and around your community, I mean that’s really who you’re targeting right, prospective patients from the community where your practice is located?
I mentioned good old fashion advertising earlier and that’s where it’s at. On a sheet of printer paper, print out your practices logo, if you don’t have a logo, just place your practice name on the paper in nice big font, find, copy and paste any one of the hundred free Facebook logos on the page under your logo, then simply type in your call to action; “Find & Like Us on Facebook”. You can provide the link but if your company name is reflected on the fan page it should be easy to find. Place the paper in a frame and sit it in the waiting area or display it from your front desk area. Do you know how many people use their smart phones during their short wait to see their chiropractor? It won’t take long for the numbers to climb especially if you use that page to educate and communicate with your patients.
How do you know where the majority of your practice revenue comes from?
When you look closely, do find most of your income can be traced back to a small percentage of your patients?
If so this phenomenon is called the 80-20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle after the man who first described it.) One way this rule can be applied to your practice is the fact that 80% of the revenue generated in a year comes from 20% of the patients.
Put this principle to the test in your practice. Make a list of your best patients. Define “best patient” by the number of referrals they brought in and how good of a patient they were — were they friendly, did they make their appointments, etc.
Try to come up with a list of about 20 names, a VIP list if you will. Look at your patient accounting software and record the amount of each case brought in.
If you figured up what those 20 patients spent, plus what their referrals had spent in the last year, it will probably be close if not almost exactly 80% of your total collections for the year.
If this test proves to be true you might be asking “How can I get more of these types of patients in my practice?”
You see, it’s vital to find out who your best patients are and where they come from…so you can get more of them! By doing some investigative work, find out where the majority of these patients come from. Do you find that most of those patients are from a specific ad you had placed? Or were any of those patient’s referrals? If so, look further into your stats. You might find that the original patient that those referrals came from, were from an ad too.
If you’re finding that many of your best patients came from a specific ad, then that just proves another application of the 80-20 rule…
“80% of your new patients come from 20% of your marketing efforts.”
You might have seen this rule hold true before in your practice when you noticed certain chiropractic marketing strategies just work better than others.
So here’s what you can do after compiling this VIP list of patients…
Send them special “VIP letters” letting them know how much you appreciated them. Try to include a small gift with the letter. Of course you want more patients like these VIP patients so put in two referral gift certificates with instructions on how to use them as well. At Christmas you can send them a nice gift basket letting them know how much they mean to you.
Start implementing a “Referral Stream Letter” so that we can create more VIP patients. Send this letter out to every new patient who has started care in your practice. It welcomes them to the practice and builds a rapport. Also include two referral gift certificates for them to share with friends and family.
Both letters will work like a charm. The Referral Stream Letter alone will bring in 80% of the referral patients coming into your office (80-20 rule at work again?). In fact, you may never have to ask for referrals again…you simply let the letter do the work for you.
• Create a VIP list of 20 from you patient data
• Track the revenue brought in from each patient
• Back track to find the source (ads, referrals)
• Send out “VIP letters” to the names on your list
• Begin a “Referral Stream Letter” system
Another application of the 80-20 rule…80% of the money being spent on chiropractic is being made by 20% of the profession. Are you in that 20%?
Don’t hesitate to advertise just because of mistakes you have made in the past.
Mistakes and small failures are important in all businesses if you learn from them. That means not repeating the same mistakes over and over again hoping for a different outcome. Regardless of past failures you have to market your business. Write this down and put it where you can see it every day;
“New patient marketing is what drives the success of your practice.”
Putting your money into chiropractic advertising that will yield the results you need to build your practice is not as hard has you think. Start small and build slowly, keeping track of your ROI and make an effort to set aside money each month to increase your marketing budget.
Don’t be so desperate for a solution that you would risk large amounts of money to save your practice from going out of business.
The French proverb; “Desperate maladies require desperate remedies”, seems to imply that one should risk much to salvage what is left of a sinking ship. But not so, don’t be fooled by ad reps the stop in or call you from time to time offering advertising specials and packages that seem great at first but never seem to deliver what was promised. At this point you can’t afford to throw your money away on chiropractic advertising that doesn’t bring in the high quality new patients that you can convert into effective care plans.
Don’t believe the lie that chiropractic advertising cost too much.
Saving your money and focusing on other types of chiropractic marketing such as referrals and free screening is just ridiculous. I mean if you wish to spend your weekends trying to convince people to schedule an appointment that is totally your business. However, don’t you think it would be more effective to place an advertisement that focuses on a specific condition in the newspaper, tell them how chiropractic can help and give them a number to call for more information? Referrals play an important role in your business, but should not be your only source of marketing. Therefore, as far as referrals go, they are great and effective and will help to add to the growth of a practice as a supplemental form of marketing.
Don’t forget to measure your ROI and watch where your money makes the biggest impact.
Advertising your practice and marketing the services you offer within the practice in an effective way has to be planned out using strategic methods that can be modified regardless of what the marketing budget is. This is critical because if you’re beginning your chiropractic marketing with a small budget, you can expect to see a return on your investment. Knowing this you should expect to have a little bit more to work with each and every month.
Don’t get too comfortable with your build.
At some point you might think that you can afford to take some time off of marketing your practice. Even writing that sentence made me cringe. Never stop marketing your practice. You can modify, tweak or look at other venues in which to advertise, but why would you stop? You wouldn’t because your practice should always be moving in a continuous motion. A patient’s care plans usually move into maintenance or some just drop off or maybe they move away, those voids need to be filled. Building your practice is a continuous energy. Chiropractic marketing feeds that energy and the energy builds the practice.
So many times I see chiropractors attempting to advertise their practice by way of various media. They all send the same message and all they are really doing is advertising their self. For many years this was thought to be the way. Tell the reader and the listeners about you, how you got to where you are today. Maybe mention your current marital status and your activity in the community.
Over time you have realized that this type of chiropractic advertising as fallen short of your intended goal, which is to generate more new patients, build your practice and bring in more revenue. Don’t be shy about it. No one will fault you for wanting to make a profit. Of course you want to help patients lead a pain free life, that’s why you became a chiropractor.
… what kind of advertising works?
We know that advertising does indeed work because we are inundated with advertising from the minute we wake up until we go to bed. Newspapers, television, radio, bill boards, clothing. Yep, the advertising industry is so clever that they have convinced us that it is cool to wear their ads! And get this, they don’t pay us, we pay them to market their products and company.
…what’s the “wrong” message?
Use yourself as an example and walk through this scenario with me.
You need a car. Need not want! You begin to notice certain types of cars on the road that might meet that need. You see the commercials on television. You begin doing some research and weighing your options. You make a trip to the car lot. Here comes the salesperson. You shake hands and tell him you need a car. He smiles and says, “That’s great! I graduated from a college just north of here, first in my class. I live just down the road and volunteer at the local food bank right after going to church.”
…what’s the “right” message?
The salesman smiles and says, “Happy to help! What are your needs? What type of driving will you be doing? This is what we have available for you to choose from. Based on what you’ve told me, this is what you should consider. Here are the keys, give it a try and when you come back I’ll have the paperwork with details ready for you.”
I realize people are not cars and you’re not selling cars. This was an example only! Under no circumstances were any car salespeople injured while writing this article.
My point is, you are the chiropractor and you see patients every day, all day long. Are you listening to what they are saying? Are you taking notes, not just in your office, but when you’re out running errands, chatting with people you meet? If you speak with three on more people in one week that tell you they are having headaches or they know someone who is experiencing headaches, you might want to do some chiropractic marketing that target headaches or migraines. Relate to your readers by saying, “if you have headaches, there are options available with chiropractic care and you don’t have to live in pain. This is how we can help you, this is what we offer and you should consider this offer. Here’s the phone number, give us a call and make your appointment today. “
So, how do you send the right message in your chiropractic advertising?
Give the readers only the information they need to make wise choices. No more, no less. Very simple! It’s all about sending the right message in your chiropractic ads. The message is about addressing the patient’s needs, not about your accomplishments.
There is a very common mistake chiropractors make every month in their practice.
It’s the mistake of not measuring your ROI.
Here’s an example. Maybe you’ve heard a general rule like, “Never, ever spend more than $100 per new patient when advertising”. On first hearing this, it may sound like sage advice. But what’s it based on?
Let me give you a scenario…
Scenario #1. Spend $99 for each new patient and get a total of 10 new patients.
Scenario #2. Spend $120 for each new patient and get a total of 10 new patients
Which scenario is better?
According to the above rule, we better go with scenario #1 because each new patient is less than $100.
The truth is, we have no idea which one is better. This “$100 rule” assumes everything else is equal. Sure, if everything else is completely equal, same ad, same offer, same newspaper, same page, same day of the week, etc, then maybe we can use this rule.
But since everything else is never equal, we need a formula that takes into account everything. Not only can we then compare one ad to another or one newspaper to another, but we can compare one marketing method to another.
How do you really measure return on investment (ROI)?
To accurately measure ROI, you need 2 numbers… #1. The amount of money you spent to run the ad. #2.T he lifetime value from the new patients who came in from the ad. A lifetime value simply means on average, what the amount of money a new patient is going to spend in your practice over their lifetime? To get a rough estimate, you simply take your collections over the period of time you’ve been in practice and divide that by the number of new patients that you had for the same period.
Keep an Excel spreadsheet on your computer and track your ROI as long as you practice. Every time you run a new chiropractic marketing campaign, measure the return.
Say I get 12 new patients in the door from a newspaper ad which cost me $1000. And let’s assume I’m new in practice, and my conversions are low, so I only convert 4 of those patients to a care plan. If my care plans are worth $1500 (which is a very conservative case value) what was my ROI?
The answer is 6:1, or a 600% ROI. So for every dollar invested, I made $6 back. Do you run the ad again or not? How low is the ROI going to be before you say this ad doesn’t work?
You bet I’m going to run that ad again! For me it’s got to bring in at least 2:1 ROI over time. Meaning, after all the money comes in from the patients care plans, the minimum ROI it can bring is 2:1. Occasionally a newspaper ad will be a 1:1 or negative ROI, and I’ll tweak something or run it in a better paper and it immediately becomes a huge winner!
But, some chiropractors think an ad is a failure if it doesn’t bring in a 20:1 ROI or higher. In other words, they are upset if their ROI is only 5:1. What other business owner would be upset that the $1 they spent brought back $5? No one!
Unfortunately, it happens daily in chiropractic. Look, the days of spending $0 on marketing and bringing in $30…$40…$50k a month are over. The days of running a killer ad and getting 676 new patients is over. It’s not 1991 anymore.
It’s time to face the fact you’ve got to pay for some marketing. And you’ve got to be happy with a positive return on investment, especially considering large companies would love to get a 5-to-1 ROI any day
Large Metro Newspaper…Small Suburban Newspaper…Free Community Newspaper
You’ve made the decision to try chiropractic newspaper ads. Now to decide which newspaper to use. There are several papers to choose from in your area, where do you begin? Realistically you can’t run print ads in every paper, so you will have to do some research, gather information and lastly, talk with a representative from the paper.
Where to begin is always a stumbling block but don’t let it stall your efforts to get your ad launched and doing what it’s supposed to do, bring in new patients. The following suggestions should give you the confidence and tools you will need to complete task and create a guideline for all of your future chiropractic advertising.
What is available and which paper do your patients read?
Make a list of papers available in your area. You may or may not know each and every publication that is circulated, therefore go online and do a search for papers circulated in your zip code and maybe a few in surrounding areas. If you are still not sure which ones to choose from, ask your patients what papers they read on a regular basis.
As one newspaper begins to stand out in popularity, go ahead and make the call and find out who your ad rep is and request a media kit. Sometimes they might give you the information on the phone or by email. The ad rep may want to set an appointment to meet with you, but hold off on that for awhile. You will want to repeat this step several times and if you meet with every rep that takes lot of your time. There will be plenty of time to meet once you decide on which paper to advertise with.
Their numbers will tell the story.
Once you receive your media kits, you will have access to some very important numbers. This information will narrow your search and choices. The first number you want to find is the number of subscribers the paper has. These will be broken into categories for the larger newspapers; Sunday subscribers, weekend subscribers and weekly subscribers, with Sunday probably having a higher number. Compare the subscriber rates of your selected papers.
Another number to note is the coverage of the newspaper. If your practice is located in a suburban area you will need to know if the paper covers or has a section specifically for your area. This factor will become clear for several reasons covered later.
Large newspaper vs. Small newspaper
Larger papers may have large subscriber numbers, but…smaller newspapers; particularly the local suburban papers are usually free and are mailed to every address within a specific area. Because there are no subscriptions then there will be no numbers to compare. However, don’t let that or the fact that it’s a free paper, cloud your judgment. Here’s why…small local papers will cover the local business, news and sports teams. In small towns they typically rally and support the local high school teams and the parents and grandparents like to follow their kids and grand children’s sporting events.
Competition, quality, geographic area and cost
Where is your competition advertising? This is important because you don’t want your ad to end up competing with the chiropractor down the street on the same day, same week or same page.
Content quality is important for obvious reasons, the format, and the layout and over all look. Does the newspaper feature newsworthy articles and is it more than one or two pages? How many times is it published and mailed? Most likely even it is once a week, if the price is right, then your return on investment might be greater with a small local paper. Larger newspapers typically charge more for advertising as they have a bigger overhead. However, you may be good at negotiating a great rate or the paper might need more advertising so they might be running some ad specials.
Geographic area is important because if you are not reaching readers that are in your area then you are wasting your money. Most likely, unless you offer a specific service that no one else offers such as spinal decompression, people typically don’t want to travel outside of their community and even if they do, just to take advantage of your offer, they probably will not be back.
If your practice is located in a large metro area, you still may have a smaller area paper available to you as most large urban areas are divided into smaller sub cities. You might ask your patients if they receive any small complimentary papers in their mail. If not complimentary, ask if they subscribe to a smaller paper.
If it’s free it can’t be good.
Don’t be so quick to judge. The advertisers are paying for the “free” papers, now you might be one of those advertisers. You and other businesses are helping to provide a great service to many who receive this paper. Your chiropractic advertising might produce a better return with a local paper that is mailed to the zip codes in your area. Those readers might actually be more likely to call for an appointment because you’re close to their home.
Unless you consider the time get up until the time you go to bed and even then, if done consistently, your marketing will continue while you sleep.
Marketing should not be considered work. Marketing is energy, foresight and time. Think of it as just part of your daily routine. Whenever you go anywhere you should be marketing. Please don’t confuse this with chiropractic advertising. Marketing is not just about placing ads in the newspaper. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as such;
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Successful marketing doesn’t ebb and tide, but is a continuous stream, with a current. At times a gentle movement forward and if putting a lot of time and energy into your chiropractic marketing the momentum will pick up and become a more forceful movement.
As important as words are in your marketing, so are your actions, those little things that go above and beyond what is expected. Two words specifically combined with an action have catapulted many chiropractors to new levels of success. In fact these two words are so important to your chiropractic marketing that they could mean the difference between a ho-hum practice and a killer practice.
When a patient refers a friend or family member to your office that is chiropractic marketing that costs you nothing, it’s like a gift to you. Isn’t that a lovely compliment to you and your staff to know someone has so much confidence in you that they would recommend you? What an honor and one that should be acknowledged.
What is your office procedure when a new patient comes in?
A patient begins care with you?
An existing patient refers someone to your office?
Or a patient has done all three, how do you show your gratitude?
I hope you say, Thank You!
Do you use those words in your chiropractic marketing? If not, then why? Why wouldn’t spend your time and energy acknowledging someone’s time and energy? Sending thank you notes or letters was once considered standard practice after receipt of a gift. However with all of the technology today, sending a thank you note in the mail has become a forgotten gesture of appreciation. Consider this the next time you visit with a new patient, they have “chosen” you and your office to help to them achieve optimum health.
A question often asked on new patient paperwork, “Who can we thank for referring you? “ Do you really thank the person who referred your office to a friend or family? A simple card, with your sincere thanks in your handwriting, is BIG!
Why wouldn’t you send a thank you to the one who refers others to you? What would it cost you, your time, your energy and a stamp? And consider what you will get in return, more referrals, enthusiastic patients. Could you use more of those?
Looking back on what was stated earlier, a thank you card, note or letter from you, is an active process of creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging a value. Gratitude is very valuable to those who receive it and it will prove to be a very valuable tool in your chiropractic marketing.
You just received your copy of the new chiropractic ads you ordered. Read all of the material, did your research, formatted your ad and your ready to run your ad in the newspaper. However, there are a few more things to consider. Sometimes others try to give you their advice, their opinion or you forget little steps that could sabotage your ad campaign. Everyone means well, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. So consider these five mistakes before sitting down with your newspaper ad rep.
Mistake #1 – Allowing your ad rep to decide if your advertisement is a good ad to run
Your ad rep is there to help you get the best rate with their newspaper. Yes they are in the advertising industry, but they are not there to tell you if your ad is a good advertisement to run. For one thing your ad is unique. It looks different, it’s formatted different and it reads different than most. They might tell you it’s not the typical ad they usually see and that it won’t get the response you would want, and that you will be wasting your money.
These chiropractic ads have been written by a chiropractor who is extensively trained to write and develop advertising and marketing for chiropractors. They are tested and proven to be effective ads. What does your rep know about your chiropractic practice, or for that matter, chiropractic marketing? The type of patient you see and the type of emotional words and copy that will draw the best response? You thought they were good enough to try. Trust that they will do what they are written to do.
Mistake #2 – Allowing your staff to give their opinion about your advertisement
Your staff is an important part of your practice. They are your office support and are there to help you run the front office. Meet and greet patients, answer phones, make appointments. Yes they are familiar with chiropractic, but you didn’t hire them to give their opinions on what they think about your ads. They are not trained to know what a good advertisement looks like. They most likely are not trained in marketing or advertising. They are probably not trained in advanced copywriting and lastly, they are not the patient that the ads were designed to target. It doesn’t matter if they think it’s too long, or that they wouldn’t read the whole advertisement.
You had the good judgment to buy these chiropractic ads, trust your judgment and don’t be swayed by what an untrained person might have to say.
Mistake #3 – Allowing your ad rep to tell you what section of the paper to run your ad
It is apparent that your rep knows a lot about the newspaper that they work for and no one is disputing that, however when it comes to which section to place your ad; that is your decision to make. There are specific areas of a newspaper that typically see better results than others. Optimal positioning would be, Section A, a full page ad if your budget allows that, above the fold, for half page or quarter page ads, and right hand side of the page. Also, if you are looking at a quarter page ad, request an article next to your ad, not several other ads.
Mistake #4 – Not letting your staff know that you are running an advertisement
It will not look very good for you or your staff if you run chiropractic ads in the newspaper, the phones begin ringing with new patients ready to set their appointments and your staff doesn’t know what the caller is talking about. Schedule a meeting with your staff and explain to them what your advertisement will be about and when it will be running. If the ad includes an expiration date, let the staff know that. Also address the issue of people calling after the expiration date. Explain to your staff that this ad will be for a specific condition and will offer a discount. Give your staff specific instructions as to what the offer will include and how to schedule the follow up appointment when the new patient has been seen.
Mistake #5 – Doing too much with the new patient on their first visit to your office
When your new patient comes for their appointment, have your staff remind the patient in a positive manner that they are coming in for a special evaluation. This sets the patient at ease knowing that you remember why they are there. Then you collect the necessary information or paperwork as you would for any new patient. Have a staff member escort them to the exam room and then proceed with the consultation, exam and x-ray. Thank the patient for coming in to see you, tell them when you need to see them again to go over your findings. Let them know your front desk will help them with scheduling. Have your front desk staff collect their fee for the visit and set the next appointment.
Performing extra services the first day only confuses the patient and leads to a drawn out appointment. Plus extra services were not included in the offer, therefore if you charged for extra services performed that would not reflect the quoted price in your offer.
Your new chiropractic newspaper ads are going to generate a lot of business. By addressing these mistakes before you place your ads, you will be more confident in your negotiations with your ad rep. You will avoid confusion by keeping your staff in the loop and your new patients will have a great attitude about their first appointment and a positive outlook about their future care in your office.