How will you market your practice in 2006? Chiropractic Economics asked practitioners and marketing experts to share their ideas with us. We picked 25 of the hottest tips to help you kick-start your marketing effort in the New Year.
Our experts had many other ideas, however — from developing referrals to retaining patients to managing staff members. Watch future issues of Chiropractic Economics throughout 2006 for more quick tips you’ll be able to put to use right away.
1. Convey a nurturing message
Include a photo of your child or a pet in your next direct mail campaign or yellow-page advertisement.
Top advertisers know that a photo with a child or an animal attracts attention to your company. The photo conveys a warm, nurturing message.
— John Heggie, DC
Lakeside Chiropractic Seminars
www.dcseminars.com or 877-553-4455
2. Make it a family affair
Some practices feature a “kids” board that shows children receiving care. An alternative idea: Put up a “healthy generations” board with pictures of entire families, including grandparents and great-grandparents, who are patients.
Your healthy-generations display will attract all ages and generate a dramatic increase in referrals with almost no cost to you.
— Eric Plasker, DC
The Family Practice, Inc.
www.thefamilypractice.net or 866-532-3327
3. Tee up for more profits
A seminar at the country club is a key step in establishing a niche in the golf market. To prepare the seminar:
- Contact the golf club head pro;
- Deliver a packaged overview of the seminar — a cover letter that defines the purpose of the seminar, an outline of the presentation, and time allocation (including time for a Q&A), and a short biography of yourself and any other contributing healthcare practitioners;
- Organize visual aids, such as diagrams, illustrations, and photos;
- Practice the presentation in front of a “live” audience; and
- Prepare information about your practice for distribution to participants.
When you make the presentation, hand out token gifts imprinted with your message, along with the package containing information about wellness and the services you offer.
— Gina Piazza
GMP FITNESS, LLC
www.golfchirocare.com or 888-467-3488
4. Bring the message home
Home-based parties are back in vogue. This trend led us to develop “Power of Prevention Parties” as a way to promote health and wellness.
Ask your practice members to host a “Power of Prevention Party” in their homes. Provide invitations and all food and refreshments. Your practice member is merely providing the location and a houseful of friends, family, and co-workers.
Just as with any other home party, incorporate a presentation (of course this will highlight the benefits of chiropractic wellness), games, prizes, and free gifts for attendees and host alike.
Close the party with an offer of chiropractic services at your office. Have your schedule book ready. Our experience has shown up to 80 percent of attendees signing on for wellness care!
— Heidi Farrell
Chiro Advance Services,
www.chiroadvanceservices.com or 715-635-5213
5. Think ahead
Now is the time to start thinking about next year’s marketing plan. Get out your wall calendar for 2007 and write down all the marketing promotions you want to make happen. Don’t worry if nothing is planned; just write the date and the promotion idea.
Once you have your ideas down with a date, make your calendar happen. This will make sure you are promoting all year long and your practice is always in a growth mode.
— Josée Morin, director
Platinum System C.R. Corp.
www.platinumsystem.com or 866-235-3284
6. Promote with samples
Do you retail products in your practice? Do you want to increase patient referrals and your retail sales? You can accomplish both by providing samples and customized preprinted pamphlets with your practice name and phone number.
Topical pain-relieving manufacturers often provide trial packets at no charge. This is an excellent way to promote your practice at golf events, local 5K runs, health fairs, school programs, and spinal screenings. Once patients try the product, they will come back for more to relieve their pain and will pass the pamphlet to friends generating new patients for your practice.
— Lynn Marie Penedo
Performance Health, Inc.
www.biofreeze.com or 954-957-9370
7. Take aim
If you would like to see more patients who are covered by a particular insurance carrier, analyze your current patient list to find out where these patients work. Then target those companies.
Develop a business-appreciation program for their company. Many businesses welcome chiropractors who provide health fairs for their employees and customers.
— Ron Daulton, DC
www.integritymanagement.com or 800-843-9162
8. Join the clubs
Contact local groups, clubs, or associations that could benefit from chiropractic treatments and offer a “Look and Lunch” opportunity, with complimentary chiropractic sessions for all who attend.
Examples of organizations to contact: Sport groups (cycling, running, college/professional teams), cancer and other support groups, Rotary Clubs, and golf and country clubs, and management groups.
— Erin Sweeney
www.aquamed.com or 800-699-1008
9. Circle the best answer
Type up a list of all the products you sell in your office with a short description of each. Print this list on brightly colored paper. After visiting with a patient, circle one product and hand the patient the paper with your recommendation.
— Carilyn Anderson
J. R. Carlson Laboratories, Inc
www.carlsonlabs.com or 888-234-5656
10. Host your own health seminar
One of the easiest ways to attract new patients is to host health seminars in your office. These seminars position you perfectly as the leader for health and wellness in your community.
Here are some topics that people respond to:
- Boosting Your Immune System Naturally,
- Eliminating Ear Infections,
- Controlling ADD Without Drugs,
- Eliminating Headaches,
- Eliminating Low Back Pain,
- Trauma and Your Spine,
- Maximizing Your Child’s Health the Drug-Free, Natural Way, and
- Injury Prevention.
Advertise in your local paper, but don’t forget your patient base. Ask current patients and invite your patients bring a guest.
— Len Schwartz, DC
ChiroPractice Marketing Solutions
www.chiropracticemarketingsolutions.com or 866-655-8502
11. 6 low-stress marketing tips
Low-budget marketing done consistently is better than big-budget marketing done sporadically. Commit to these six low-stress and low-budget activities for great results.
- Send out newsletters with a special offer for new and inactive people (the smaller the practice the more frequent the mailing);
- Send five personal notes to current practice members;
- Network to develop strategic alliances, with the goal of meeting a minimum of five new people per week;
- Make five to 10 calls per week to prospects, current practice members, or inactive patients;
- Provide your local paper and television with human interest stories, articles, letters to the editors, and press releases about upcoming events and workshops;
- Be involved in something that you are passionate about in the community.
— Shawn Powers, DC
www.powersourcecoaching.com or 512-306-1844
12. Dear doctor …
Most MDs realize that chiropractic care is beneficial and effective. One reason they don’t recommend chiropractic to their patients is because they don’t know whom to trust.
To get MDs to trust you and refer new patients to your office, send them a report following the initial exam and give them your clinical approach on your mutual patients.
If they understand your “game plan,” you’ll gain their trust and they will start sending new patients to you. Keep the letter short and do not make recommendations for more than one month of care at a time.
— Marty Kotlar, DC, CHCC
www.TargetCoding.com or 800-270-7044
13. Let your patients promote you
The best marketing is done by your patients. Provide them with professional exercise and treatment handouts, imprinted with our practice name and address. The handouts help patients participate in their own care.
Patients share these handouts and their in-office experience with friends and family. A large percentage of our new patients come from referrals.
— Etienne DuBarry, DC
DocuRehab Software, Inc
http://docurehab.com or 561-776-8108
14. Give them a drink of wellness
At a community event, especially in hot or dry weather, offer samples of a fruit and vegetable phytonutrient green-drink powder, mixed with juice, tea, or ice and lemon. (Make sure it tastes good and it is a product that cannot be purchased in stores.)
Let samplers know that the drink is available through qualified health professionals only. Providing samples helps expand your image from being a back-pain doctor to a wellness-care practitioner.
— John H. Maher, DCCN
BioPharma Scientific, Inc
www.biopharmasci.com or 858-622-9493
15. Track your efforts
Don’t let your marketing dollars go to waste by not analyzing the results. Track the referral source for each new patient. Some practice-management software systems offer features for noting how your new patients found you.
Take advantage of that capability to discover where your marketing efforts are succeeding and which marketing techniques are not paying off.
— Tonio Cutrera
E·Z BIS Inc.
www.ezbis.com or 800-445-7816
16. Design your own ad
Rather than having the staff at the local newspaper or telephone company design your print ad, design it yourself, using the following principles.
- Know your target audience’s concerns and address them in your ad. For example, if the most important concern of a predominantly blue-collar patient population is affordability, let them know in plain language that your services are affordable by including “We accept most insurance” or “Easy payment plan available.”
- Do not use the name of your practice as a headline in your advertising. Your headline must grab the reader to induce reading the rest of the piece.
- Promote, rather than inform. “Doctors at Harvard Medical School recently discovered a new way to treat herniated discs” is informational. “Our practice has been using the new XYZ treatment for herniated discs for more than five years with good results” is promotional.
— Marc H. Sencer, MD
MDs for DCs
www.mdsfordcs.com or 800-916-1462
17. Cultivate your ‘garden’
Most doctors look for ways to see more new patients and grow their practices. This is important, but they often forget how important it is to keep in touch with the patients they have already seen.
A simple call to see how your patients are doing is very effective in letting them know that you are interested in them.
If you never contact your patients, they may seek someone else who “cares more” and shows it. Make your motto, “Once you’ve grown your garden, be sure to tend it.”
— Steve Lund, DC
True North Chiropractic Consultants
www.truenorthchiropracticconsultants.com or 727-492-0236
18. Get up, get out, and get meeting
It is the number of people who know you, what you do, and where you practice — and who also like you — that determines how many referrals you will get and how large your practice will be.
Think of the professionals (dentists, lawyers, accountants, and contractors) whom you have met and “liked” over the years. Do you refer others to them regardless of how long it’s been since you first met them?
Absolutely. I’ve been referring to the same dentist and attorney for 30 years, because I know and “like” them. The same will happen to you. Look for opportunities to meet these people.
— Peter G. Fernandez, DC
www.DrFernandez.com or 800-882-4476
19. Send mementos
Make your message catch the attention of your patients and potential patients. Reinforce that message using giveaways, such as chip clips, rulers, and pens or pencils, imprinted with your logo and contact information.
Include catchy phrases such as, “Make good health a cinch,” “Measure your progress,” “Magnify your health,” or “Write your ticket to optimal health” to connect the item to your practice.
— Sue Masaracchia-Roberts
www.quill.com or 800-982-3400
20. Bundle up!
Co-market a specific procedure that has a good reimbursement and is well received by the public. Ask the manufacturer of the equipment that you use for this procedure to contribute marketing dollars or marketing materials. Many manufacturers already have these programs in place.
In your marketing materials, emphasize the benefits of the procedure to the patient, rather than the features of the equipment.
— Anissa Long, DC
Physical Rehab & Chiropractic CME
www.med1online.com or 888-637-4677
21. Give the gift of information
Make up gift bags filled with information on the 10 to 12 conditions you most successfully treat in your clinic. Include pamphlets and articles on the conditions, your practice brochure, a personalized pen, stress ball or other “goodie,” a gift certificate for a no-charge exam (if permitted in your state), and anything else that adds interest and excitement.
Place the bags where your team members can easily grab them and give to patients who say, “I wish I could get my neighbor, so-and-so, in here because she always has headaches!”
You’ve made it easy to refer!
— Mark Sanna, DC
www.mybreakthrough.com or 800-723-8423
22. Play the 3-a-day game
Get out and meet three new people from your community every day. This strategy has you taking action, yet is truly based on who you are as a person.
Give your new acquaintances your business card and ask them for theirs. Use the cards to build your database, then send newsletters with articles about healthcare and chiropractic as well as regular updates about events and workshops that you sponsor.
— Janice Hughes, DC
The Masters Circle, Inc.
www.themasterscircle.com or 800-451–4514
23. Partake in a popular charity
Each December our office participates in the Toys for Tots program through the Marine Corps. We put a sign out on the front lawn area announcing that we are a drop-off point.
Because we are in a high-traffic area, a lot of people drop by with toys. We make sure to greet them and introduce ourselves. It has been a fantastic way to get people to take notice of our office and what we have to offer!
— Karen Feeney, DC
Brandywine Total Health Care
www.BW-TotalHealth.com or 302-478-3028
24. Play the fishbowl game
Ask the manager of a local restaurant if you can place a small fishbowl near the cash register so that patrons can drop in their business card for a chance to win a free lunch.
You may harvest 200 or more cards per month. Give a free lunch as first prize. For second prize — which everyone wins (if allowed in your state) — give an initial exam.
— Stanley B. Greenfield, RHU
Greenfield’s Financial Power Program
www.stanleygreenfield.com or 800-585-1555
25. Get 100 testimonials
- Ask all patients who walk through the door (even kids);
- Make sure each of your staff team members has written one;
- Put all testimonials in display books in the sitting area for everyone to see and read;
- Use colored paper for each testimonial to attract attention to it;
- Invite patients to write them while they are still at the clinic;
- Use questions, such as “Why did you choose to see a chiropractor?” to get people over a writer’s block;
- Display photos of patients with their testimonials;
- Make giving testimonials fun. Have a competition for the best (yet honest) testimonial.
— Article Credit: John Hinwood, DC