Chiropractic Marketing Archives
Chiropractors, who in years past worked largely for insurance carriers, taking assignment and making it easy for patients to afford pain relief, found that fitting in and not making waves was the best strategy. Color inside the lines. Don't recommend too many visits. Use a mainstream technique. Don't be too expensive. Submit thorough documentation. Keep your head down. Don't make waves.
Great strategy. Back in the day.
Today, as more and more patients are being asked to reach into their own pocket or purse to fulfill their $2,000 (or higher) deductible, showing up beige, bland and with all the sharp edges smoothed, make you virtually indistinguishable from any other chiropractor. Which begs the question. Why should patients choose you? What makes you special? Different? Attractive?
Continue reading "Stand Out. Or Sit Down." »
There are only a handful of ways for a practitioner to increase his or her income. Most are well known, proven and time tested. This doesn't stop many from continuing to search for some new super secret way to chiropractic riches. When the motive is to make more money (rather than to help more people), it almost always ends badly.
I know of five basic strategies.
The sixth, that many chiropractors depended upon most heavily, is almost gone. That's chumming up to the insurance carriers to minimize the patient's financial obligations and getting on their list of "approved" providers. Taking insurance assignment was the epitome of this strategy—trading clinical freedom for financial security. As deductibles skyrocket, this is causing many chiropractors heartburn.
As the traditional health insurance market is being dismantled by the government, and the likelihood that chiropractic will be excluded in its replacement, it still leaves five other ways to grow your practice and earn a professional income.
Continue reading "Six Ways to Grow a Practice" »
Two seemingly unrelated events have happened in the last 24 hours that provide one more reason to confirm “it’s not business as usual.”
The first was a consulting phone call with a husband (DC) and wife (CA) team struggling in a small rural community. During the course of the call she revealed that she hated the area, despised the missing-teeth stupidity of the community and their lack of interest in true health. Needless to say, even if you’re a good actor, having contempt for the people you wish to serve, is not exactly an attitude that builds practices.
The other event was a website client who, after a mere five months of service complained that his brand new website hadn’t produced any new patients, and that the one that had scheduled, didn’t show up for the initial appointment.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (not that there are very many of them these days) to see a potential common denominator: the front desk CA.
Do you have the right person at the front desk answering the telephone?
Continue reading "“Family Chiropractic Center, I Can Help You.”" »
It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me why so many of my overtures during the last 29 years have produced polite head nodding among chiropractors, but have rarely been implemented. And while it’s disappointing to acknowledge the inability to inspire significant change, it’s at least a small comfort to finally understand why.
And it’s not just my unique “patient’s point of view” perspective. It goes far deeper than acquainting chiropractors with the beginner’s mind of an anxious, apprehensive new patient encountering a radically different health care paradigm. Instead, what I’ve learned explains why so many of the suggestions I’ve offered chiropractors over the years in my chiropractic seminars and chiropractic books are acknowledged as truthful—even good, but remain unimplemented.
It all began with the realization that most chiropractors wanted a practice, but found themselves in a small business.
Continue reading "The Two Brains of a Chiropractor" »
As a student of marketing, I love going through the “junk” mail we get each day. And what caught my eye today was a 32-page magazine flyer called Spotlight Magazine that was sent to all the “Current Occupants” in our area. It’s the Back-To School issue. I bet you get something similar where you live. It’s a collection of ads with barely enough editorial material (largely written by advertisers) to give it the look and feel of a magazine instead of it is, a 32-page advertisement.
Among the house painters, restaurants, plastic surgeons and dentists, were the advertisements of two chiropractors. Nothing earthshaking there. I’ve seen this sort of thing before. But what made this worthy enough to write about was the whiplash-producing differences between the full-page ads of these two chiropractors, separated by a mere five pages of carpet cleaning, roofing and grout restoration ads.
Now, if you’re a regular visitor here, you can imagine how tempting it would be to question the context in which these two chiropractors are advertising. And how your reputation can be enhanced (or diminished, in this case) by the company you keep. But there’s something far more troubling.
Continue reading "I'm Confused" »
Here’s an easy chiropractic marketing tip: It’s no secret that more and more people are using the Internet to find just about anything. Whether it’s a Medium Remo Buffalo Drum, a natural solution to infant colic or getting your own chiropractic website—you can find it on the Internet. In fact, considering the choices available, it makes the yellow page directory seem insignificant by comparison. (Anybody want to buy a slightly used yellow page directory publishing company?)
First it was blogging. Then social media. And now? Reviews. You’ll want as many patients as possible to review your practice and procedures.
Scary? I know. But realize that a negative review here and there actually increases the validity of the overwhelming number of positive reviews you’re likely to get. Heck, if chiropractic didn’t produce a majority of happy campers, it wouldn’t still be around!
Armed with this knowledge, here’s what I would do…
Continue reading "There's a New Sherriff in Town" »
I co-exist with four cats. If it were my choice, our home would be cat-free. (Hang in there, this has profound implications for your practice.)
Four months ago, we moved the place where these cats were accustomed to being fed. All the cats, except one, continue going to the former location looking for food.
If this sounds like the parable of the mice in Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, it’s because it is. Except with one distinction: one of the four cats adapted far more quickly to the new food arrangements than the others.
So, if you’re feeling a bit disoriented because of the practice environment has changed, and things that used to work no longer do, you’d want to know more about Tommy.
Continue reading "Meet Tommy" »
When we set up chiropractor websites through our sister company Perfect Patients, it doesn’t take long before the conversation turns to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the art and science of getting a website to become visible to the major search engines and rank highly for the search terms someone might use to find a chiropractor on the Internet.
There are probably as many or more misconceptions about SEO than myths about chiropractic!
When you eliminate the smoke, mirrors and hyperbole surrounding SEO for chiropractors with websites, it’s a sobering game changer. Allow me to do so.
Continue reading "Getting On Page One of Google" »
A student chiropractor, contemplating his upcoming graduation, recently posed an important chiropractic marketing question to me. And while he probably should have asked this question several years earlier, at least he asked it prior to actual graduation.
More important than technique, the color of his adjusting table, where he locates his practice, his financial policy and even his report of findings, his ability to embrace and act upon the answer to his question will do more to determine his chiropractic career and the fulfillment he achieves from it then just about anything else. What is this question?
“How do I get my first new patients?”
Tipping the first domino, setting off a chain reaction of delighted patients inspired to tell others, is the first step to having a small business (cleverly disguised as a practice) that survives the odds.
Continue reading "New Chiropractic Practice. New Chiropractic Patients." »
Many chiropractors dreamed of helping people by practicing chiropractic, only to discover that they have a small business, replete with the same challenges that face virtually all small businesses. One of the most pressing is marketing. In other words, attracting customers.
If chiropractic philosophy was given short shrift at chiropractic college, the basics of running a small business were probably overlooked even more.
When many see the word “marketing” they immediately think of advertising. And while advertising falls under the heading of marketing, you can market your practice without advertising. It’s the distinction between “building” your practice (outside-in) and “growing” your practice (inside-out).
An annual chiropractic marketing calendar for chiropractors is an ideal way to grow your practice.
Continue reading "Chiropractic Marketing Calendar" »
Soon after writing The End of Seminars As We Know It? which suggested that gathering electronically to get new information typically disseminated at seminars, I was due to do a webinar with my good friend Dr. Sig Miller of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors.
One reason why I like working with Sig is that he’ll often stop me and we’ll discuss some of the nuances or implications of something I say in passing. I bring the patient’s point of view. He brings the audience’s point of view. It’s a lot of fun.
Here’s the most recent installment. It explores one of the important, yet overlooked aspects of the doctor/patient relationship: the ending. Leave a comment!
Business consultants suggest that it’s helpful to know what propels your business. When you examine your practice, what is its primary focus that motivates your decisions and direction? I’ve seen five:
Technologically driven – Technique and procedures.
Philosophically driven – The meaning of chiropractic.
Financially driven – A focus on new patients and income.
Marketing driven – Needs and perceptions of patients.
Survival driven – Staying viable to face another day.
Each driver reveals a great deal about you, your worldview and how you see yourself fitting in to the lives of patients and the world of work. If you find yourself working more but enjoying it less, it may be because you have surrendered the wheel to another driver.
Continue reading "What Drives Your Practice?" »
Many chiropractors seem to go beige when they consider the prospect of who they must be to attract new patients. Apparently, the thinking goes something like this: “If I can knock off my rough spots and remove any traits that might be remotely off-putting to others, I’ll be more attractive.”
At first glance, this chameleon-like strategy makes sense. However, it is a recipe for mediocrity and an exhausting walking-on-eggshells existence that not only makes you less attractive, it eventually leads to resentment.
Turns out, you must repel others if you ever hope to attract new patients into your life.
Continue reading "Are You Repulsive?" »
The forces interested in suppressing chiropractic are at it again. This time in Edmonton, Alberta. Turns out, an apparently healthy woman who had been receiving chiropractic care for years had a cerebrovascular incident after receiving a cervical adjustment last September. The result is a massive class action suit against all chiropractors in the province of Alberta.
While our hearts and prayers go out to the woman who is now a quadraplegic, the law firm handling the class action lawsuit is operating on the belief that “…there is no scientific basis to the chiropractic theory of subluxations affecting health and the need for routine neck manipulation.” Sound familiar?
Never mind that the deaths caused by adverse reactions to prescription drugs are considered merely the “cost of doing business.”
Would Sandra Nette have had a stroke that day anyway? Without a parallel universe we’ll never know. However, a study in the United Kingdom about “background” strokes is fascinating, especially when evaluated in the context of the 2005 Executive Summary of Current Concepts, Spinal Manipulation and Cervical Arterial Incidents that observed that “incidents following spinal manipulation to the neck is very small and at the same magnitude that occurs in the general population.”
Those in Alberta who have suffered at the hands of a chiropractor are invited to join the lawsuit on a website set up by the law firm, which has already announced its intention to take similar action in other Canadian provinces.
Be ready for another round of “don’t touch my neck” from patients. Do your own research on the risks associated with things most patients would consider safe, comparing them with chiropractic care. And don't forget to compare the malpractice insurance rates that actuaries use, revealing the safety of chiropractic care compared with medicine.
You may have heard the old adage, "Dig your well before you're thirsty." Part of the challenge many chiropractors face is being taken off guard by low volume and having to immediately scrounge for new patients. Like the homeless who scavenge for food in dumpsters, manifesting new patients in a matter of days or weeks is not only stressful, it prompts many to lower their standards and resort to, well, humbling techniques that are accompanied by an odor of desperateness.
Most chiropractors lack a reliable new patient or "lead generation" strategy. Other small businesses have strategies in place to produce new customers. At Patient Media we use catalogs, speaking gigs, direct mail, convention exhibitions, Monday Morning Motivation emails, article submissions to chiropractic magazines, this website and a few other proprietary approaches. Many chiropractors unwisely rely on great results, a charming personality and what they think is a superior adjusting technique. While these, along with a few patient referrals may keep your doors open, it won't produce the abundance and affluence you deserve.
That's because most chiropractors don't know where new patients come from.
Continue reading "Getting New Patients in 2015" »
I'm kicking off the New Year by adding another category for blog posts called Chiropractic Marketing. Many of the chiropractors I meet turn their nose up at marketing, confusing it with advertising. And while advertising is a subset of marketing, marketing is so much more. In fact, I think it's probably best if you consider marketing without using advertising.
What is marketing? It's everything from your practice location and front desk telephone skills, to your fee structure and tableside manner. It’s virtually anything that affects patient perceptions, ability and willingness to refer and patient loyalty. This is the business part of chiropractic that many chiropractors disdain in favor of new adjusting techniques or enhanced healing skills. Yet, great results rarely grow practices. It's practically a cliche that those whom you save from surgery or who witness miracle results rarely become the referral source you’d expect.
Here are the seven most common chiropractic marketing mistakes that chiropractors make:
Continue reading "Chiropractic Marketing" »
It’s popular to assume that virtually any malady facing a chiropractic practice can be solved with simply an injection of new patients. Income down? Get more new patients. Mid-day down times? Get more new patients. Higher co-pays? Get more new patients. Higher gas prices? Get more new patients. Higher rent? Get more new patients.
And while it’s true that a surge of new patients might temper the particular “ache or pain” your practice is experiencing, what about next month and the month after? A practice becomes stable from long-lasting relationships, referrals and reactivations. If you continue to have a voracious appetite for new patients after 10 years or longer in practice, you may have a new patient addiction.
Continue reading "Searching For a New Patient Drug?" »
Income down? Then you need more new patients. Gapping holes in your schedule? Then you need more new patients. Stressed out about the future? Then you need more new patients. Are patients ignoring your recommendations? Then you need more new patients.
But, more new patients will not solve your problems. Especially if you treat your next crop of new patients as you have the ones before. In fact, focusing on new patients creates an addiction that must be continually fed. Chiropractors with this addiction are constantly foraging for new patients. Most have tried every gimmick, every script and fallen for every shrill appeal in the chiropractic publications they read.
“Become a New Patient Magnet!”
“Pays For Itself With Your First New Patient”
“Get Up to Five New Patients Each Week”
“New Patients From Lawyers and MDs!”
If you find yourself lured by these promises, thinking your problems can be fixed by outside-in solutions, then you may have a bigger problem than you think...
Continue reading "Are You Addicted to New Patients?" »
If you don’t have at least a few patients choosing not to begin chiropractic care at the conclusion of your consultation, you’re probably not casting your net wide enough. If your new patient lead generation system (do you have one?) produce prospects who all begin care, you may be playing it too safe. Without a rejection or two on a regular basis, it means people in your community are prequalifying themselves before showing up. This probably means your new patient numbers are down, and the ones showing up are largely those with neuromuscular-skeletal complaints. If you want a wellness practice; if you want to see more visceral complaints; if you want to see more miracles—you’ll want to create a larger opening to your practice.
Continue reading "Is the Opening to Your Practice Too Small?" »
As I was editing the previous entry about clutter, it occurred to me that most chiropractors probably don’t have a formal new patient lead generating system. Instead, most take a passive approach—like a spider, who spins its web and waits. This may produce the occasional meal for the spider, but it’s hardly a strategy for a thriving business. You could probably benefit from a formal lead generation system.
Many chiropractors fail to realize they are first a small business, with the need to attract and keep customers like any other small business. Getting on the “list” was supposed to solve this problem. In exchange for a lower fee, you were supposed to get a steady stream of appreciative new patients. Since that hasn’t worked out liked you had hoped, you need a lead generation system.
Continue reading "Spider or an Ant?" »
If your brochure rack is a dust collector or merely a neglected wall decoration, it’s time to put it to work and grow your practice!
Waiting for patients to take your brochures is the first mistake. Drug manufacturers shamelessly promote their wares by interrupting your patient’s favorite TV program, yet you’re somehow afraid to hand a brochure to a delighted patient to give to someone else?
Sure, some of your brochures will be discarded in the back seat, thrown away or somehow “wasted.” Constrained by predicting whether a brochure will reach its intended target or not keeps your message safely intact, but limited to the interior of your practice.
Even more significant is the mistaken notion that handing a patient a brochure is somehow self-serving; that it will benefit you more than the patient’s spouse or friend. This is a clear sign that you’ve made practice about you, rather than serving the needs of patients. (This belief is probably tainting other aspects of your patient relationships as well.)
Continue reading "Does Your Brochure Rack Rock?" »
In the popular book series, Rich Dad Poor Dad, author Robert T. Kiyosaki makes the distinction between assets and liabilities. Rich people invest in assets. Poor people spend their money on liabilities.
That came to mind as I was considering the wisdom of a chiropractor friend having a ball because he recognized the lifetime value of a patient. Turns out he “gets” the idea that his inactive patient files are assets. The names of people who know him, his personality, his results and his office location are a valuable asset. While other practices shuttle their inactive files first to the basement, then to the storage unit and then to the silver recycler, Steven understands that many of his inactives are merely waiting for an invitation to return!
Continue reading "Lifetime Value" »
I was struck by the hat she wore throughout the seminar while sitting in the second row on Saturday during my presentation at the New Zealand Chiropractic College Lyceum. She wore a different one on Sunday. We don’t see women wearing hats these days so I was intrigued who this chiropractor was. Naturally, I was surprised when she approached me after the seminar and invited me to join her and her husband for dinner at their home. Even more surprisingly, I accepted!
Later, in the car during the 20 minute drive to her cozy suburban home, I revealed that I don’t normally receive such invitations and on those rare occasions when I do, I normally turn them down. She practically squealed with delight and went on to explain how on a recent visit to the United States that she and her husband had been impressed by the hospitality of the Americans they had encountered. “I just want to return the favor," she concluded.
Continue reading "What's Your Trademark?" »
This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in the Chiropractic Marketing category. They are listed from oldest to newest.
Dear Bill is the next category.
Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.