The ABCs of advertising

Knowing where to spend your money and how to plan your message are important to successful marketing

By Mark Charrette, DC

Research tells us that the average American consumer is exposed to more than 3,000 advertising messages a day.

With that many messages going out every day, how will you make sure your message stands out from the crowd?

When you get out of school and start to work, either in your own practice or as part of a group practice, you will need to think about your message. You’ll need to make sure someone sees your ad, hears your message, and takes action.

It’s up to you to take charge of your ads, and there are some important principles to consider before placing one.

Everyone wants to get noticed

Advertising is just one component of a marketing strategy designed to drive business. Advertising for health-related services (such as chiropractic) can be even more frustrating than that of typical companies because the consumer may not need the service when they are first exposed to the marketing message.

Therefore, the intent of many healthcare marketing campaigns is to build and maintain awareness in the mind of the consumer until they are in need of the service. 

Best when used together

A recent study found that the Web increased the reach of television by a remarkable 51 percent in the morning, 39 percent in the middle of the day, and 42 percent in the afternoon.

So if you place an ad designed to air on television that sends consumers to your website, they are more likely to do this because they are using both forms of media at the same time.

 If you have a website for your practice, try to incorporate it into your ads. Driving consumers and potential patients to your website can only improve the chances they will remember you when they need chiropractic care. It’s going that extra step that will give you the most return on investment (ROI) for your advertising budget. 

Be targeted with your message

It is better to send out a message to 10 people who are listening than to 100 people who are not. For example: If your practice works primarily with sports injuries, setting up a booth at a 5K race will get your name in front of more athletes who could use your services than if you just placed an ad in a newspaper.

While more people might read the newspaper, it is likely the athletes at the 5K could directly benefit from your specific knowledge of sports injuries. 

Try to find creative ways to target your audience and you’ll be surprised how quickly you see results. Pregnancy magazines are the perfect place to place an ad about how your practice can relieve tension or pain for the mom-to-be and help her during her pregnancy.

Contact local hospitals or women’s groups to see if you can speak to a childbirth class where women could use chiropractic to help with their body changes. 

Consumers trust other consumers

Most successful chiropractors know that referrals are not only one of the best ways to grow a practice, but they are also extremely cost-effective and help develop the overall brand of the practice.

One of the most popular ways referrals are generated is by satisfied people talking to other people. Consumers tend to trust the word of other consumers more than they trust that of companies when considering a product or service. 

One way to take this concept to the next level is to utilize various online resources. Get your patients to work for you by talking about you and your practice through blogs, message boards, forums, and chat services.

Word-of-mouth travels fast and people are more likely to tell others about a bad experience than rave about a good one. Ask your patients how they are feeling during the exam and get plenty of feedback about what you could do to make their visit better. Common courtesy can extend farther than any ad you place. 

 Standing out from the crowd isn’t easy, but if you apply these principles you will be surprised how effective your advertising will be. Knowing where to spend your money and how to plan your message are important components in a successful marketing strategy.

Be aware of your audience when making advertising decisions and follow these guidelines to watch your practice grow!

Mark Charrette, DC, has taught more than 1,000 seminars worldwide on extremity adjusting, biomechanics, and spinal adjusting techniques. His seminars emphasize a practical, hands-on approach. Having developed successful practices in California, Nevada, and Iowa, Charrette currently resides in Irving, Texas.