it comes to new patient recruitment, the old marketing
methods of relying only on patient referrals and a
big sign in front of your office are becoming a thing
of the past. Today’s successful chiropractor
must drive the practice using sound business decisions
and consistent marketing strategies.
doctors may have an advantage over some of the established
doctors out there when it comes to marketing: They
know no other way! Doctors who have just graduated
from chiropractic college - often in debt - are usually
“hungry” to market and promote their practices
to be successful. Many established doctors are also
marketing-savvy, but others are still finding their
is not immoral or unethical… it is necessary.
In today’s health-care marketplace, more and
more patients are choosing alternatives to traditional
medicine. As a result, chiropractic has steadily grown
in popularity and is a primary health-care choice
for many people today.
there are still many potential patients out there
who cannot pronounce chiropractic, let alone know
what you do. Effective marketing and promotion of
your practice are ways to reach the masses by educating
and providing incentives to experience the benefits
key to a successful new patient marketing program
lies in two areas: how to get them, and how to keep
them. When marketing for new patients, it is important
to realize there is no silver bullet that will bring
you all the new patients you need for an entire year.
It’s much more effective - and realistic - to
implement a “shotgun approach.”
new patient activities should be planned in advance
and implemented based on a sound schedule. The successful
marketing plan should include a mix of external advertising,
internal referral programs, and public events such
as speaking engagements and spinal screenings.
marketing plan can include print media such as newspaper
and magazine ads, inserts, billboards, and direct
mail. Radio and TV advertising can be effective if
you can afford the frequency required. It’s
often effective to include a “call to action”
in your ads, whereby you offer a special promotion
or introductory offer to encourage new patients to
try chiropractic and visit your office.
referral programs provide the “incentive”
for your current patients to refer friends and family.
Some doctors find it difficult to ask for referrals
when actually, patients are happy to refer others
if prompted to do so. Internal referral programs can
include patient appreciation days, charity sponsorships,
health certificates, or simply a program set in place
to ask for referrals on a regular basis.
speaking engagements give you credibility as a leader
in your community and an authority on the topic presented.
Select subjects of community interest such as pain
management, headaches, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis,
sports injuries, or stress management. Public speaking
is a good image-builder and helps potential patients
build confidence in your abilities as a doctor who
is up on the latest research and treatment methods.
it comes to spinal screenings, it’s not uncommon
to hear a doctor say, “I’ll do just about
anything, but don’t make me go screen in a mall.”
There are many effective venues other than malls where
you can sponsor screenings. Consider home improvement
stores such as HQ, Home Depot, or Lowe’s. Other
visible locations include retail giants such as Sam’s
Club, B.J.’s, and Wal-Mart. You may also want
to consider YMCAs, home and garden shows, fitness
clubs, drug stores, health-food stores, and even flea
markets. Go where the people go, and you will always
course the first time you do a screening, you may
feel a little nervous - but that first flood of new
patients will have you going back for more. Keep this
in mind about screenings and you will maintain your
focus: Screenings are a community service project;
you are there to educate. Rather than thinking of
yourself as a needy doctor begging for patients, visualize
yourself as a hero to the community for offering your
time and a free health service. This “attitude
adjustment” will help you both as the screener
and in the image you convey to the public.
you are bringing in a steady flow of new patients,
how do you keep them coming back? Patient education
and customer service are the main ingredients to patient
well-educated patient knows not only that chiropractic
works, but also how it works. Patient education begins
when a new patient calls the office for the very first
time, and it never ends. Be thorough with patients
and empathetic to their health needs. Provide patients
with a detailed written report of findings, progress
exams, and progress reports. Patients should be invited
to attend spinal-care workshops presented by you periodically.
Train your staff to be able to “speak chiropractic.”
Use educational pamphlets and materials that help
deliver the message as to why patients need your care.
Use every opportunity patients are in your office
to educate them.
service is the other key. Create the “wow”
factor in your office. Patients should come and go
saying, “Wow, that was an incredible experience.”
Most often, your staff will be the ones creating the
wow factor for your patients. Make certain your staff
members are well-trained in the art of exceptional
customer service, not mediocre customer service.
staff can and will make you or break you when it comes
to getting and keeping patients. Simple steps such
as remembering a patient’s name; maintaining
a clean, professional office; smiling; and paying
attention to the little details, will make your patients’
experience in your office a memorable one.
patients want good health. It’s up to you and
your staff to help them achieve their goals. But remember…
patient marketing and retention do not happen magically.
Success requires a lot of work from you, and a lot
of patience with your patients - but the rewards are
returned to you many times over.
Perusich assists chiropractors throughout the country
as a consultant with Kats Management in Lincoln, Neb.
She previously worked at Cleveland Chiropractic College.
She also works alongside her husband, Dr. Michael
Perusich, at Perusich Chiropractic and Rehab Center
in Sedalia, Mo. Ms. Perusich can be reached through
Kats Management at 800-843-9162; firstname.lastname@example.org;
or sign on to www.katsmanagement.com