Each day will require that chiropractors hustle to ensure patients are interested in care. This requires a never-ending battle to achieve visibility and create community both within the local and regional areas. Similar to the manner in which many organizations brand products and services, the chiropractor must ensure that they are known so that patients can be attracted to their work. To that end there are several factors at play to ensure patients become attracted to someone’s practice.
- Networking – Truth be told the only way to make a splash in the community is being known and available. Patients will choose you when they know you and know of you. The point here then is to become the mayor of your local communities. This requires quite a bit of activity. And it requires a daily dose of meeting and greeting individuals. I typically tell clients that if they are in the office not seeing patients then they are to be out meeting with prospective ones. Time in the office is meant to heal, and time out of the office is required for your meal! And networking requires constant interaction and follow up which I will cover in a future chapter but suffice to say if there is little commitment and follow-up there will be lethargic patient visits.
- Advertising – In my experience advertising is not the most conducive method for gaining patient volume. One needs to understand that there is much noise in the market today. Most patients like you are multi-tasking and it requires a large effort to ensure their attention. This requires multiple methods and quite a bit of money. It also requires differentiation. Advertisements must create emotional connections, value and differentiation from the other chiropractor down the street. While in some markets it does work attracting patients, it is important to understand how advertising will create a return on investment in your area.
- Promotion – A form of advertising, promotions are methods to help conduct two things 1) traffic or 2) move inventory. Some chiropractors will conduct promotions to help move vitamins, pillows, dietary products and numerous others items for passive income. And some will produce a series of promotions to bring traffic to the practice such as massage, free initial treatment, screenings etc. Similar to advertising, promotions can work as long as they are specific, time based and researched effectively.
- Community and Professional Affiliations – People conduct business with whom they know and trust. One chiropractor I work with is very active on his local Fire Department Board and Chamber of Commerce. As such a good inflow of his business stems from these affiliations. Part of networking is becoming affiliated with as many organizations as possible so that people get to know you.
- Website – When I was a child I remember the two times per year we would get the Yellow Pages© delivered to our home. When I got my first telephone I could not wait to see my name and number listed. However, it was a very cumbersome book to review. Now in the age of Internet and online searching most consumers research the Internet before they call you. In fact, I recall some research that states there are over one billion searches on Google™ each day. With that type of power it is important to have a website much like signage in a strip mall or kiosk in a shopping center. Chiropractors need a method for others to find you.
- Personal Interactions and Referrals – Another form of networking, personal interactions and referrals will be the best form of business. if your parent or immediate family member were ill, would it be more useful to look up a position in the Yellow Pages, conduct an Internet search, or simply call someone you trust? In addition, with the increased use of social networks, patients are speaking positively and negatively about vendors they have done business with. Therefore it is imperative that your name and brand are in good standing so that you can obtain third-party endorsements from those who trust you.
- Buzz Marketing/Word of Mouth – The best method of referrals is getting your patients to talk about you. When you create patient centered relationships, use proper customer service and truly have patient care top of mind your patients become pundits for your practice. They will shout from the rooftops to tell others of your passion, professionalism and persistence to help. Studies truly show that in most instances, patients avoid promotions, advertisements and other media and do business that others tell them about.
© 2012. Drew Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.
Drew Stevens Ph.D. is a world-renowned marketing mentor for chiropractors. Drew is one of those very rare chiropractic-marketing experts with not only 30 years of true experience but advanced degrees in marketing productivity. Not many can make such as claim. Drew works with chiropractors and professional services firms who struggle like crazy to create customer centric relationships that create new revenue. Dr. Drew has aided professionals to reach billions of dollars in new revenue by strategically implementing processes and methods that develop new relationships and new revenue.