How can people in your community differentiate between your practice and the other chiropractors in your community? If they can’t, why would potential patients choose you?
After you open for business, if traffic isn’t coming to you, then your marketing messages aren’t creating interest or establishing your competitive advantage. The key to marketing, then, is to establish a brand for your practice.
Branding is more than a name and a logo. It’s the message you give the public about the uniqueness of your practice. It requires that you package all aspects of your marketing with the same look and feel that creates your distinctive value. It must provide the differentiation that makes potential patients say, “I want to go to this doctor.”
Branding includes your office building, the name of your practice, the clothes you wear inside and outside your office, your signage, stationery, business cards, advertising, public relations, speeches, literature, pamphlets, and anything with your name on it. When all your marketing conveys your competitive advantage, you have created your brand.
Case in point
Walk down the spices aisle of your local supermarket and look for salt. You’ll see box after box. Most people buy the one that has branded itself as better and more consistent. Your branding should do the same.
Take a picture of your office and sign, then drive around your town and look at your competitors. If you all look the same, just like the rows of spices, your branding isn’t working. Your office must stand out.
Next, compare your advertising (print, newspaper, TV, and radio). Does your advertising look and sound the same as everyone else’s? If so, you need to brand yourself better.
The same applies to your website.
And, believe it or not, your fee schedule is also part of your branding. Are your fees high or low? They’ll make a difference in how your care is perceived. Some people seek the best care and are willing to pay more for it.
Decide on the type of care you want to render and the kinds of patients you want to serve. Then develop a program that will attract that population to your practice.
Caution: If you choose to be the lowest-priced practitioner in town, develop a program that promotes your advantage. But the lowest-priced practitioner works four times harder for little net profit. Is this what you want to do? Or, do you want to be a first-class doctor getting “first-class” fees?
Focus your brand
Your message should focus on the type of healthcare you deliver, such as nutrition, sports injuries, or disc decompression. Don’t make the mistake of sending out a confusing message listing multiple specialties, e.g., “I treat personal injury, sports injuries, and offer nutrition, pediatrics, rehabilitation, acupuncture, and psychological counseling.” Instead, your branding should be razor sharp.
- Write out your competitive advantage, e.g., latest equipment, testing, education, experience, and the health problems you treat best.
- Develop a marketing plan that promotes your competitive advantage.
- Develop a short statement that captures what you do, e.g., “Care for patients who suffer from chronic back pain.”
- Pinpoint your marketing efforts to reach your target market.
- Aim all your marketing at your chosen demographic.
Follow the above, and you’ll be pleased with the results!
Peter G. Fernandez, DC, the “start-up coach,” has been a practice consultant for almost 30 years. He has consulted in the opening of more than 3,000 new practices and can be contacted through The Practice Starters Program at 800-882-4476, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through practicestarters.com.