Start with finding your ‘why’ and create a loyal business following
The cornerstone of business prosperity is a proper strategy which yields both successful and predictable marketing campaigns. Most importantly, an effective brand strategy gives chiropractors a significant edge in increasingly competitive markets.
What if every time, as a by-product of your branding, you sent an email to your client and that email was received with excitement? Superior branding enters the room 10 minutes before you do. You and your brand are intimately connected. Don’t just tell consumers what you do — convey why you do it!
A properly developed brand identifies you as the absolute “go-to” doctor in the area. Accurately achieved, you will be rewarded by stable, dependable and programmable response and prospect conversion rates.
Today, social media provides a significant advertising platform; and arguably, a “must” use. While this may be true, no one is speaking about what you must say to separate and distinguish your brand.
Quality of message
Every time you send out marketing pieces — targeted email campaigns, for example — make sure they are compelling, authoritative and filled with purpose.
You want your emails to get opened, get read, and begin establishing long-lasting business relationships. Your messages (a.k.a. content) must attract new patients and deepen relationships with existing ones.
There is a direct connection between persuasive and well-written content; it ultimately enhances your bottom line. Create multiple touch points with patients, including emails or e-newsletters. Your correspondence should always be even stronger to your existing patients, who you don’t want stolen away by your competitors.
Find your ‘why’
Marketing is the study of how and why people buy things. That said, people buy things to satisfy their self-interests (a.k.a. “What’s in it for me?”). Therefore, identify your patients’ wants and needs.
Conduct a patient inventory and identify your patient base according to particular ailments and services you provide. A pattern will quickly begin to emerge. Then speak precisely to your patients’ needs. For example, if you notice you treat a higher percentage of your patient base for fibromyalgia, sports injuries, seniors concerned about injuries as they age, etc., then create content (a book, special reports with testimonials, articles) addressing those issues.
Build your “why” you do what you do from the previous paragraph. Allow me to use the Disney corporation to illustrate the point. There is no doubt that there are many amusement parks throughout the country (many with far-scarier roller coasters). Mr. Disney acknowledged that he wasn’t in the amusement park industry; he was in the magical experience industry. His mission was to convert a middle-aged person, with a mortgage and work concerns, into a carefree 12-year-old by transporting them on a remarkable all-day journey.
It is your job as well to convey to your patients that you are more than what you do. Explain why you do what you do, and lead with it. Create an atmosphere where you don’t just generate patients; you form allegiances — members of a common tribe.
Start the conversation with email
Although there is no shortage of promotional platform options, consider using vehicles that provide the highest return on investment (ROI). Begin with the most basic, most used and most often squandered touch point — your emails.
A fact taught in every business school in the country: It costs five to seven times more to attract a new patient than to keep an existing one. More importantly, repeat patients spend, on average, 67 percent more.
Your email starts daily conversations with your patients — are you treating them as random guessing games, blindly looking for the target? If your emails are weak, chances are the rest of your brand marketing is no better.
We are all judged by our performance and our appearance. However unfair, if your presence is lacking, you may not get a chance to perform.
Another seldom-discussed issue, but no less critical, is the loss of your patients. Unless you are an international brand, you are subject to the finite nature of geographical boundaries. You don’t have an infinite number of possible patients. As such, to gain market and brand dominance, competitors must compete for available patients within their backyards.
Every promotional piece created by your competitors is like a heat-seeking missile; its only purpose is to find and capture new patients — possibly yours. If your brand marketing and patient touch points are weak, your patients are at risk of being confiscated by your rivals.
With respect, every doctor in your area is your rival for attracting patients. Consciously or unconsciously, said adversary is waiting and watching for you to stumble so they can move in on your patient base.
Avoid communication mistakes
Either by accident or design, too many doctors commit these significant mistakes with their communication efforts:
Thinking any communication is better than no communication at all;
Putting no thought or care into the marketing or communication pieces they send out;
Approaching their advertising campaigns completely backward, and only sending out generic industry pieces.
They are then surprised that no one reads their information or responds to their calls to action. In other words, there is no conscious regard for what their patients want or need.
Others practice the “churn and burn” approach for their marketing campaigns. For instance, promotional pieces are sent and bombard patients or prospective patients with non-specific clutter. Think of it this way: If you sold cars, would you send compact car information to someone who’s looking for a truck?
These dispassionate efforts lead to a fatigued list that no longer cares about the sender. If not corrected, that business stream will turn into a trickle.
Fish the most profitable pool
Never lose sight of the fact that this group of current patients represents your most profitable pool of business. Current clients keep your doors open and invest more in additional services.
Successful doctors communicate with these patients with authority, both written and verbally. They lead with their “why.” Everything these doctors send out is highly targeted. They know what their clientele wants, then deliver extremely focused information.
The way you communicate, who you target and what you say is paramount to your success. Effective branding creates an image in people’s minds, a visceral connection they can identify with and support.
Consider Harley-Davidson, a company its consumers so closely identify with that on any given day you will find people walking around with Harley-Davidson motorcycle jackets and tattoos on their bodies — some of whom don’t even own the product. You don’t see people walking around with McDonald’s tattoos. Create multiple, superior-quality, targeted touch points for your consumers. Establish yourself, and your brand, as the absolute authority and expert on chiropractic in your geographic area. The goal is to create long-term, loyal business.
There is a vast difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business means that I’m willing to do business with you again and again. Loyalty means I’m willing to overlook others, turn down a better product, at a better price, or even inconvenience to do business with you. Exceptional branding creates all of this.
CLAUDIO GORMAZ is a medical marketing strategist and freelance writer. He has worked with the medical community for the last two decades. He develops robust branding platforms, enhances reputation campaigns, and cultivates fruitful and predictable advertising messages. He can be contacted at 951-294-2274, at summitmarketingstrategies.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.