This guide is not trying to sell you anything. It’s simply an attempt to help as many patients as possible overcome their condition. The fact is that chiropractic marketing blueprints for expanding practices are not common. There’s just not much out there that is easy-to-use. Which is why this guide was created.
For many chiropractors, the idea of moving away from medical care modeled on different disciplines that are isolated from one another—and towards one that is more team-orientated and cohesive—is appealing. The fact is, if your clinic is getting at least 20 new patients a month, then you should be able to successfully implement medical integration.
The way for a medical practice to get a handle on the marketing game is to study the approaches of marketers in other business sectors.
This guide is a culmination of learning about marketing techniques and applying them to practices that want to transition towards medical integration.
Identifying Your Dream Patient
The first step is understanding that knowing who your ideal patient is—and it’s alright to use the term “customer”—is vitally important. No one can afford to reach out to everyone; wasting time (and money) trying to appeal to people who aren’t going to be interested in what your practice preaches and provides is not a wise investment. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, then the rest of this guide will be less effective.
For example, imagery used in marketing to a younger demographic needs to be different than that aimed at patients covered by Medicare. A practice that specializes in treating chronic joint pain—but that wants to significantly expand into sports medicine—will need to develop more than one way to market themselves.
This means not just identifying your monolithic “ideal” patient, but honestly assessing the types of people who could—and would—use your services. Then understanding how to appeal to each broad type of customer you want to pursue.
At the same time, it is wise to consider individual characteristics you would like to be common across all the kinds of patients you want to attract to your practice. After all, these are the people you want to be spending your days with.
The image below is a chart highlighting different patient traits and attitudes. Focusing on these specifics will make it easier to seek out individuals who meet your idea of an “ideal” patient, which is probably one who is a pleasure to work with, refers people to you, and completes the online reviews that can drive “foot” traffic. An editable version of it can be downloaded here.
You can use it to help brainstorm about what you’re looking for in a patient/customer. Then you can focus your resources on finding them.
Positioning Your Practice
Ultimately, what you need to do is decide what it is you want to tell potential customers about who you are—and how you approach practicing medicine. This guide is intended for a practice that’s just starting and doesn’t have a third-party marketing firm on contract yet.
The first question you must answer concerns how to develop and implement your marketing strategy. Do it yourself or hire someone?
If you decide on the DIY course, then this guide will help you with strategizing and implementation. And if you decide to hire someone, then it will help you know what to ask when choosing a marketing outfit that will meet your needs.
There are some companies recommended below that a good track record. The authors of this guide did not get any affiliate commissions for listing them, so you can rest assured that the advice is coming solely from a desire to help.
What this process will ultimately entail is “branding” your practice. What is branding? Combining design elements with forms of marketing to create a persona for your practice that is communicated to patients—and potential patients—both directly and subliminally.
If you haven’t taken a good, honest look at your logo, letterhead, and other visual elements of your public profile, now’s a good time to do it.
A Website Drives Patients Your Way
Having a website today is as basic as having a sign on your door. Most “foot” traffic today comes from online platforms—especially your webpage. Recent circumstances, including COVID-19, are only pushing us further in the direction of this kind of virtual-first commerce.
As far as setting up a website, there are a lot of companies—ranging from generalist sites like Wix.com (where you can build a site for free) to Inception Online Marketing (which focuses specifically on websites in the chiropractic field)—out there to choose from.
The core information that you’ll want to stress on your site are:
- Your business name.
- Your contact information.
- Your mission, vision, and values (usually covered with an “About Us” page) and more personal information about you and your core staff (a “Meet the Staff” page).
- A call-to-action that gets someone to opt-in for a free offer (in order to capture their e-mail address for further communication) or to schedule an appointment online.
- An FAQ page, which answers questions about what services you offer and information about the expectations you have of patients, who provides treatments at your facility, when appointments can occur, and which forms of payment (including insurance) you accept.
When writing text for your webpage, remember to use chiropractic SEO. Search engine optimization is a way to make it more likely that your webpage is listed when people use common keywords when doing a search. This will take a little research, but one of the simplest rules is to use the name of your location (since people often start a search with their location).
The fact is that your webpage is the window the world has into your business. You want to make a good impression.
Drive Web Traffic With Google
A crucial aspect of having a webpage is making sure you raise its profile with Google My Business, a free tool that allows you to promote your site on both Google Search and Google Maps. With a Google My Business account, you can search out and connect with customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and better understand how customers are interacting with your business on Google.
Of all searches on the Internet, 78 percent are done using Google. There’s an average of 3.5 billion searches on the platform every single day. To be found on the Internet, the simple fact is that you need to be on the Google radar screen.
How to set up a Google My Business account:
- Go to Google My Business.
- Sign in to your Google account (or create one). Click “Next” and sign up with your business e-mail. Enter the name of your business (or chain if you operate multiple locations).
- Enter your business’ or chain’s address. You may also be asked to position a marker on its location on a map. If your business doesn’t have a physical location but works in a service area, you can list the area instead. Click “Next.”
- Choose whether you want your business location to appear on Google Maps. If you serve customers at your business address, then enter it and click “Next” (Tip: If you also serve customers outside your business address, you’ll have the option to list your service areas as well). If you don’t serve customers at your business address, then enter your business address. At the bottom, click “I deliver goods and services to my customers,” then list your service areas. Click “Next.”
- Search for, then select, a business category. You can choose a more specific category as appropriate. Click “Next.”
- Enter a phone number or website URL and click “Finish.” (Tip: You’ll also have the option to create a free website based on your information. It’s recommended that you provide the individual phone number or store page for each location, rather than a single centralized call center).
- Select a verification option (you can choose “Verify Later”). If you’re not authorized to manage the Business Profile for the chain, find the person in your organization who is and continue the process.
- Confirm that your business information is correct. It’s important when verifying this that everything is ready to appear as is to customers on the Google platform.
- If any information needs to be changed, then click “Later,” then click “Info” from the menu on the left side of the screen, and then click “Edit” next to each section you need to change. If you manage more than one location, open the Menu and click “Manage locations.” Select the location you want to edit.
- Now that you’ve either claimed or created your listing, it’s time to verify your business. After you verify, your business information will be eligible to appear across Google.
It’s that easy to get plugged into the Google matrix and, therefore, be far easier for potential new patients to find you.
E-mail Marketing Is Still Part of the Plan
E-mail marketing has been around for decades now. It is one of the most direct ways of connecting with your patients and, hopefully, turning them into advocates who promote you to their friends and family.
The core of this is developing a relationship with patients so that they see you as a valuable resource who has authority in your field. This allows you to be the person your patient thinks of when a friend or loved one has a health issue.
Oftentimes, when one thinks of an authority, it’s of a popular figure, like a nationally renowned doctor. But this does not have to be the case. For example, locals usually know about the good restaurants because they’ve had the brand experience firsthand—and not just ended up there via media advertising. Tourists might not know about it, but locals know that the best place for tacos is that hole in the wall joint down a side street.
The same can be true for your practice. If your clinic is the one that locals know delivers the best, friendliest, and highest-value service you can build on that to become the authority in your local market. E-mail marketing—done right—can be part of this process, helping you amplify the value you’ve brought to your patients.
Some hard numbers about e-mail marketing:
- The fact is that 99 percent of consumers check their e-mail each and every day—meaning you have regular access to them.
- Of millennials—a core demographic and currently expanding market for the chiropractic business—73 percent prefer communications from business to be in the form of e-mail.
- Business professionals, to the tune of 80 percent, believe that e-mail marketing increases customer retention.
Obviously, e-mail should be part of your marketing mix. Remember to establish your goal for each e-mail you send out—raising your profile, filling some empty appointment times in the schedule, sharing new medical research—and craft your e-mail to meet those goals.
E-mail’s not the shiny, new part of online marketing, but it’s still a real workhorse
Content Marketing For the Now
If a basic webpage is your online foundation and e-mail the boring stuff like framing and plumbing that makes a house work, then content marketing is your flashy home décor. It consists of creating content—blogs, videos, podcasts, social media posts—that doesn’t simply get your name out there, but rather promotes interest in the general services you offer. This useful content is then folded back into your brand.
Some content marketing will be via your webpage and e-mail list, but this is also where platforms like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram come into play.
A couple of examples of effective content marketing for chiropractic services:
- A video of how to get rid of back pain with four specific stretches. The content is helpful—while not directly pitching anything. However, the person who watches it is likely dealing with back pain and they’re now aware of your presence in this specific part of the rehabilitation services marketplace.
- A blog about marketing rehabilitation services (similar to this guide). Even though you don’t actually sell marketing, other practitioners who are interested in expanding into medical integration become more aware of your practice.
- Patient testimonial videos can be a great type of marketing for doctors, known as “social proof.” Make sure to do some legal research first, since some jurisdictions do have regulations regarding them.
The promotion guru Ryan Deiss speaks about how marketing is all about creating a relationship; that it’s similar to human relationships. You wouldn’t just walk up to a stranger and ask them to marry you. Courtship is about introducing yourself. And content marketing is about presenting yourself over time to your audience. It helps them to get to know you—and develop a longer, more meaningful relationship with you.
Here are some numbers that really reveal the value of content marketing:
- It gets three times the leads, per dollar spent, compared to paid search marketing (which is sponsored listings on a search engine or partner site).
- It generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing—while costing 62 percent less.
- It’s a way to cut through the noise. In 1984, a person saw an average of 2,000 ads per day. By 2014, that had grown to around 5,000. Getting people’s attention with traditional ads is just more challenging today.
- Small businesses with blogs get 126 percent more lead growth than those lacking them.
- After reading recommendations on a blog, 61 percent of U.S. online consumers made a purchase.
There are several ways to get started with content marketing. One is to create videos, blog posts, and other content that consist of testimonials, news about what’s happening in your practice, and events you’ve attended in a professional capacity. These can be very simple. You can also use Facebook Pages Manager to either go live or upload video to keep in touch with your community on Facebook. You can also create more in-depth, valuable content that your patients would find useful and either provide it for free to gather contact information or even sell it online.
All of these ideas are about making yourself the center of an online community driven by a concern for better health and wellness. You should get in the habit of churning out potential blog topics and video opportunities as a matter of course.
The Ultimate In Old Tech: The Referral Gold Mine
What marketing tactic do you think has the highest potential return-on-investment? Content marketing? Pay-per-click advertising? E-mail blasts? Facebook ads?
Nope. The winner—crushing all the rest—is referrals. These require almost no financial outlay while bringing you warm-to-hot leads who are almost pre-sold to try your services. Why? They tend to already trust you since their friend or family member referred them.
You can’t live on referrals alone. But if you’re not taking advantage of them then you’re missing out on a treasure trove of potential patients.
When a client refers someone to your practice, it usually means the new potential client has already been sold on you (by their friend) for months. It’s not unusual for such referrals to sign up within days.
What’s the best way to get generate referrals?
Obviously, providing effective treatment and pleasant services is the most important thing. But keeping your business in the minds of your current (happy) customers makes it that much more likely that they can be transformed into your chiropractic marketing system.
Online feedback can also be seen as an aspect of referrals. Getting your happiest patients to take the trouble to say how pleased they are with you in online forums, from Yelp to Orthogate, is the new tech path to referral success.
Don’t Lose the Gains You’ve Made: Customer Relationship Management
Known as CRM, customer relationship management is infrastructure software for handling all the contacts you generate, including automated e-mail responses, data storage about prospects and clients, and task assignments to your staff for follow up—and much more.
Ideally, you know each of your patients and can tailor their treatment experience to their personal life. Every practitioner likes to address each patient personally—which is why practitioners keep and refer to notes from their previous appointments. This also means you don’t have to do a full exam at each appointment, since you can just refer back to your notes.
The same dynamic is true for your marketing/sales team. Ideally, you track each prospective patient and keep data on where they’re at, what they’re interested in. You continue to deliver value to them through e-mail content so that, when the patient is in need of treatment, they think of you and schedule an appointment. And they remember you when a friend is having an issue.
There are many potential products that you can use to implement CRM. If you are just starting out, there are free tools with limited functionality that will serve as an introduction. As you grow your operations, you will likely want to explore more sophisticated CRM platforms that can maximize your procedures.
Here are four recommended CRM systems:
- Zoho CRM
- Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)
There are certainly other options out there.
Once you’ve chosen a CRM, you’ll need to:
- Upload all the contacts you have.
- Integrate your marketing efforts into your CRM. This includes your website. Some CRM systems will have a web form builder (such as Keap) that can be plugged into your website. Or you can build forms separately with a service like formstack.com.
- Start following up with clients … and potential clients (with e-mail marketing, for example).
Once your chiropractic marketing ideas start rolling, you’ll need a good structure to prevent getting overwhelmed with the minutiae. A good CRM system will let you concentrate on creating your chiropractic marketing strategies and not an overflowing e-mail in-box or the frustration of not getting your promotional items out to the people you want to see them.
A good CRM system can also help make your staff better at “closing” when potential patients make contact, especially if they can quickly pull up information about the individual that has already been gathered.
Throughout this guide, the goal has been to show you ways to expand your practice—with a heavy focus on marketing. You can now refer back to this as you develop your ideas and capabilities. Make sure to bookmark this page, since it will be updated periodically. Hopefully, it helps you on your journey to help more patients.
Also, feel free to grab a portion for your own content—just remember to link back to this guide.
So, is there anything you think is missing? We’d love to hear your comments and any experiences you’ve had and chiropractic marketing ideas you’d like to share.
Our mission at AMI is to change healthcare. In order to do that, we need thousands of highly successful medical-integration clinics around the country that offer the best services available. To join our mission, please give us a call at 888-777-0815 to learn more about who we are and how we can help you.