Peter Voogd, an author and entrepreneur, wisely observed that “You must stay consistent or you’ll always be starting over.”
The quote is simple but profound and it applies to almost everything. When you want to lose weight, you need to consistently eat well and exercise. When you want to do well in a class, you need to consistently study. If you want to retire comfortably, you must consistently save and invest. And chiropractors tell their clients this all the time: To see results, you must visit consistently so you don’t end up back at square one.
But when it comes to marketing their practices, many doctors lack consistency.
Many DCs do a promotion and patients come in the door. They become busy, processing and treating the patients for a few months, and then things die down again. Then they think “Uh-oh, we’d better do another promotion.” And then what happens? The same thing all over again.
This is the practice roller coaster.
Have you done this or have you heard this from colleagues? “We ran some promotions and the office went up to 150 visits, but now it’s down to 100 again.” This method of marketing only when back at square one will cause a practice to stay right where it is.
How do you avoid the practice roller coaster? With consistency.
The key to growth is to consistently and proactively market your practice. To achieve success, you should plan for the whole year. For example, if you asked me when my next food drive is, I can answer November 6 through 11, because I had the dates ready by January.
Here is how to plan the year: Invest in a large wall calendar, preferably dry- erase so you can edit as needed. Then, sit down with your staff and plan the whole year out. Remember, these promotions will also affect your staff and it is always better to have a few brains coming up with ideas.
In addition to the large calendar at the practice, it is important to have a personal planner for the whole year that can be taken home. In it should be all of your office events as well as personal events. This way, when you plan vacations and such, they won’t interfere with office events and vice versa.
Once you get this large calendar, you need to plan an event every month.
Yes, every month, and maybe even more than one per month. There are dozens of ideas out there (see sidebar).
Beyond these ideas, you have endless options. Have a big parking lot? Make use of the outdoor space. Have a large office building next door? Target a promotion to them—employees may be able to easily pop over on their lunch break. Each practice has a unique setting and community. Make use of it.
Once you have come up with marketing concepts, you can’t just write the promotion down, you have to pick the exact dates and times for each promotion and event. This way, you and your staff have blocked off these special times so nothing else interferes with them.
After you have specified these major events, you can fill in the months with smaller events such as lectures, health fairs, and spinal screenings. You probably have your own events that have worked in the office before, so add those in, too.
At every weekly staff meeting, go over the events for the month and beyond. Cover what needs to get done beforehand, including ordering flyers, banners, and other supplies. Go over everyone’s role at the event in advance. Then after the event, evaluate how it went. What could be changed or improved for next year?
Some events are going to be total disasters and just won’t work for your office or your patients. That is OK. Anything that doesn’t work you can take off the calendar for next year. But replace it with something else. It is best to put it on next year’s calendar right away.
This is how consistency is fundamental to marketing success. You have to consistently market your practice, every month, every week, every day. You will never grow by doing an event and then doing nothing else for three months. If you place this calendar system in your clinic and follow it, you can consistently grow.
Invest the time and energy to fill your calendar, it will not only change your life and practice, but it can also alleviate long-term stress because you know what your next promotion will be well in advance.
When it comes to marketing, consistency is king. Market yourself and your office consistently and success will naturally follow.
James R. Fedich, DC, has been practicing in northern New Jersey for 12 years and his clinic collects over $1 million a year. He is a speaker, consultant, and the author of multiple books, including Secrets of a Million Dollar Practice. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through milliondollarclinic.com.