Are chiropractic brochures destined to the trash heap of history as the proliferation of digital devices grows? Are chiropractic brochures simply a legacy from the past that join buggy whips, rotary dial telephones and 8-track tapes?
I don’t think so.
And it’s not simply because I’ve authored over a hundred different titles during my three decades of serving the chiropractic profession.
Brochures can still play a significant role in the growth of a chiropractic practice. Especially those practices that have relied on patients to help themselves to the Plexiglas rack mounted on the reception room wall.
You Still Need Brochures
Why you need quality chiropractic brochures in your practice is easy to test. Simply ask a couple of your favorite patients this simple question:
“So tell me, when the occasion arises in which you might tell a friend or family member about what we do here, what do you tell them?”
If their deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression doesn’t dismay you, then whatever gurgling sound they make with their mouths should offer sufficient evidence that you still need a brochure rack!
If you’ll courageously ask this simple question, you’ll see that most patients lack the ability to explain what you do, much less present it in a compelling way that would produce a referral.
And if that’s not enough, here are some more reasons why you still need a well-stocked chiropractic brochure rack filled with quality content:
1. No special device is needed for decoding. No app required. Simply open and read.
2. Brochures are convenient and portable. They can fit in a pocket or purse.
3. The message is accurate and consistent. Unlike a patient’s interpretation.
4. They serve as surrogates for your care. They extend your branding beyond your practice.
5. They enhance the likelihood of producing a referral. They’re visual reminders to share with others.
Your Brochures Aren’t For Patients
Part of the problem is that most chiropractic brochures are created by chiropractors, whose intent largely focuses on getting the philosophical nuances just right. Unfortunately for most patients these subtle distinctions are lost on them and they aren’t particularly interested. Instead they get the impression that chiropractic is dense, complicated and joyless.
Patients don’t need or want a Wikipedia entry. They can get that on the Internet. And that’s the greatest misconception about chiropractic brochures: that they perform some type of patient education.
Your brochures aren’t for your patients. They’re for the friends and families of your patients.
Instead of producing a high school English composition, writing a chiropractic brochure is a marketing assignment. Suggesting a chiropractic approach to sciatica is about persuasion. Reassuring a young mother to have her child checked is about forming an emotional connection—not shaming her about bottle feeding or vaccinating.
It’s Not Facts—It’s Persuasion
Make no mistake. The Internet has changed the attention span and reading style of the recipients of your brochures.
Browse rather than read – Consuming digital media has taught most of us to quickly scan a page. We graze, rather than read every word.
Too many words – When patients are confronted by a sea of gray type it makes it harder to browse. Worse, when readability statistics hover around the 12th grade reading level (or higher) it’ too much work.
Not enough pictures - These days you must tell the majority of your story with pictures and photo captions. Ever watch someone spin through his or her Facebook feed? They pause to look at the photos. Or videos.
Hope rather than pain – Are you inclined to grab a brochure with a picture of someone grimacing in pain? Probably not. Prospective new patients are drawn to hope and the promise of a better tomorrow.
There are many other elements that go into making a patient-friendly chiropractic brochure. The key is to acknowledge that this is a marketing and practice promotion issue. It’s no wonder that relying on brochures that were created 20 years ago (or longer) might result in the belief that brochures are no longer necessary.
How to Turn Brochures Into New Patients
Perhaps the greatest challenge is that most chiropractors don’t know how to use brochures to grow their practice. Many open their practices with the belief that they need a brochure rack, but not exactly sure why.
Having never been trained how to use brochures (or just about any other form of practice promotion), these new patient “seeds” languish in the wall-mounted racks waiting for patients to help themselves.
Those who do often scan the more interesting topics and return them to the rack.
Chiropractic brochures aren’t for your patients. They’re for the people your patients know. Which requires chiropractors to be a bit more assertive.
“This week we’re trying to help as many people with headaches as we can,” you say reaching for a headache brochure and handing it to the patient. “If you know someone suffering from headaches I hope you’ll give them this. And if they’re located in another town, we’ll consult our referral directory to make sure they get a great chiropractor.”
That’s how to turn brochures into new patients. It’s a numbers game. The more brochures you hand out, the more chances you’ll have to reach someone you can help.
Avoid This Common Mistake
Yet, there’s even a greater barrier facing the chiropractic brochure. They cost money. And if a practitioner is attempting to cut expenses they often make a classic small business mistake: reducing their marketing and customer communication investment.
Instead, think of those nicely shrink-wrapped packages of brochures as new patient “seeds.”
Getting those seeds out of your practice and into the “soil” of your community by giving them to your patients to distribute is the objective. The more seeds you plant, the more likely some will fall onto fertile soil and manifest as a new patient. But it requires that your brochure rack has a full complement of brochures covering the most popular admitting complaints.
It’s a simple once-a-month procedure that can stimulate current patients to think about others who could be helped. Do that consistently (not just when you need new patients) and your new patient statistics become more robust and predictable.