Make 2019 your year for online business growth
In 2018, the average business in the health care industry spent 9 percent of its annual budget on marketing, according to data collected by Web Strategies. That number is 2 percent higher than the average marketing-related expenses paid by all types of businesses combined.1 Further, this rate is expected to remain consistent, if not increase, in the year ahead.
That said, Web Strategies also shares that digital marketing specifically is anticipated to grow 45 percent by the year 2020. Though many think of this form of marketing solely as becoming more engaged on social media, Smart Insights reports that online marketing includes all marketing efforts conducted via:
Digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers
Digital platforms such as Google, YouTube, and all of the other online platforms
Digital media, including online advertising, email marketing, and messaging
Digital data, or insights collected by businesses based on audience interaction and profiles
Digital technology, referring to interactive websites, mobile apps, and any other internet-based technology, such as electronic health records (EHRs).2
With so many online options available for helping you grow your chiropractic business, it can be difficult to know where to place your efforts (and your marketing dollars) for maximum effectiveness in 2019. What makes digital marketing such a complicated strategy?
The ever-changing digital marketing landscape
In addition to its many facets, “digital marketing evolves faster than any marketing channel out there,” explains Chad Lio, director of digital marketing for cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp product provider Veritas Farms. Thus, the manner in which it should be utilized for best results changes more frequently than the strategies or practices associated with many non-digital marketing options, some of which include direct mail, cold or warm calling, billboards, and print advertisements.
For this reason, Lio stresses that it’s important to stay current with digital marketing trends, as “what worked two years ago may not work at all anymore.” For instance, organic social media reach is down roughly 60 percent from where it was just 24 months ago, according to Lio. If you’re unfamiliar with what this is, the Digital Marketing Institute explains that organic reach refers to the number of people who have viewed your online posts without you having to pay for distribution, such as by purchasing social media ads.3
Lio also states that it’s not only critical to know what is working in the digital marketing space, but also to decide whether that particular option is right for your chiropractic practice specifically. “You need to constantly be learning something new and seeing how that applies to your business before taking action,” he says.
With this in mind, what are some digital marketing methods worth considering in the year ahead? The first involves growing more comfortable with creating and posting online videos.
Get comfortable with video
“Video is bigger than ever and is not optional,” says Lio. Web Strategies agrees, indicating that some reports have found that online video is expected to see the highest level of growth within the digital marketing space. In fact, investments in this area alone are anticipated to increase more than twofold by 2021.
Part of what makes videos so compelling to business owners is the results they’re able to provide. For instance, marketing service provider Single Grain reports that 72 percent of businesses have found improved conversion rates solely by adding videos to their digital marketing efforts.4
One way to use videos more frequently is to create a vlog, which is essentially a blog in which you regularly post videos versus posting written content. You could also use videos to share informative interviews with industry experts, such as talking with the DCs in your practice about how to lift properly or even by sharing tips provided by other professionals in the health care realm.
When creating your video marketing strategy, Lio adds that there are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to make your content more effective:
What types of content am I creating that either stand out or haven’t been touched upon?
Am I offering valuable, educational, or entertaining content that will help a potential customer make a decision rather than just blatantly selling my services?
By addressing both of these areas, you’re more likely to develop content that appeals to and engages with your prospects, a factor that can ultimately increase your bottom line.
Offer online webinars
Another video-based option is to offer online webinars. This is a method that LiteCure LLC’s Director of Marketing, Amanda Hoffmeyer, says has provided extremely positive results.
“We’ve converted more sales from webinars than all other digital channels combined,” says Hoffmeyer, adding that they “cost very little and convert at a high percentage compared to other vehicles.”
In the case of chiropractic, this could involve creating a webinar to address some of the most common issues you see within your practice. For instance, you could create a webinar about home remedies for effectively dealing with back pain between visits or share how to properly treat a common sports injury such as a sprain or strain. You could also create a webinar that explains how chiropractic can help improve overall health and wellness in addition to its benefits related to injury prevention and treatment.
Post links to these on your website and share them on your social media platforms to better educate patients and potential patients as to how chiropractic care can help them live a happier, healthier, and more pain-free life. Incorporate your personality in them to give viewers a better idea of who you are and why you care about your profession.
Create quality content
Whether you choose to communicate with consumers by video or the written word, “content is king,” says Chris Cummings, Marketing Manager with Foot Levelers, a custom orthotics provider. And not just any content, but quality content.
What makes content high in quality? According to marketing expert Neil Patel, quality content is content that is original, actionable, engaging, and accurate.4 It is also to the point, provides answers, and begins with a strong headline.
Cummings stresses that, when creating your content, it’s also important that it be search engine optimized, which is commonly referred to simply as SEO. “Good SEO rankings prove your content is resonating with your website visitors,” Cummings says.
Lyfe Marketing explains SEO is also important because it helps improve your rank on search engines such as Google and Bing.5 This makes it easier for those who are online and actually searching for your services to find you.
Ideally, your goal should be to get on the first page of their search results, as many consumers won’t click to page two or beyond, according to Lyfe Marketing. This requires using keywords in your content that others would likely use when doing their online search, such as “chiropractor” followed by your city and state.
You can also boost SEO by cross-promoting your content on social media and incorporating it into your email marketing strategy, says Cummings, the latter of which is currently his most effective online strategy.
Paid social media ads
Though both video and written content can be created with little to no financial investment, depending on how much you do yourself versus outsourcing, Lio says, when it comes to social media, it is crucial to have a paid advertising strategy to go along with your organic strategy to help amplify your reach.
If you’ve never purchased paid ads on social media platforms, Sprout Social reports that Facebook is still on top.6 Also, because Instagram also uses Facebook Ad Manager, it is a great second step if your business exists on this platform as well. However, you can also purchase ads on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
The key is to remember that each one requires a different strategy because each is unique in regard to its usage and best practices. For instance, if you’re purchasing an ad on Facebook, Sprout Social suggests that you:
Choose the right target audience by providing details related to their location, age, gender, and more;
Test different ad types; options include carousel, video, and lead ads;
Use remarketing, which involves catering to those who’ve interacted with your practice before; and
Carefully plan your budget by setting a daily advertising amount.
If you decide to purchase a paid ad on Twitter on the other hand, creating a successful campaign involves making your brand a promoted account, using branded hashtags to promote your services or events, and promoting your tweets. This requires developing ads that target your audience via specific keywords and utilizing their interests and behaviors.
Use online reviews for social proof
If you want to up your digital marketing game in 2019, increasing your online reviews is one way to achieve this goal, as “social proof is the number one differentiator between practices,” says Matt Prados, founder of Review Wave.
“You can run the same online campaigns, the same website, the same ads, the same offers, et cetera,” says Prados, “and the office with the most reviews will get the most new patients from the same exact online campaign.” Consumer surveys confirm this.
For instance, according to a 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by BrightLocal, 86 percent of consumers read a company’s online reviews before deciding whether to do business with them and 91 percent trust online reviews as much as they do a recommendation from a family member or friend.7 This survey also found that 57 percent of consumers require a business to have at least four stars before even considering using them.
There are many online review platforms that exist today, but Prados says chiropractors should focus on having the most reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Additionally, while there is no exact number of reviews to shoot for, ideally, yours should be double the number of reviews that exist for your competitors.
Prados also adds that the results of these reviews should be assessed regularly, such as every week, month, and quarter. This gives you the opportunity to make any necessary changes to your practice to earn higher-level recommendations.
In the end, it’s all about results
Regardless of which digital marketing channels you choose, the key is to stick with them long enough to realize whether you can achieve true results. “A trend that I see way too much that needs to change, is a company diving into a new marketing channel or strategy, and just dabbling in it,” says Lio. “Of course, it doesn’t work because you’ve barely broken the surface, so you write it off.”
Instead, Lio says effectively utilizing digital marketing strategies requires that you go all in and own that strategy if you think it’s right for your business. Lio also recommends that chiropractic practices intent on improving their online marketing efforts in 2019 focus on replicating successful campaigns or strategies first, before you start adding new ones on.
Additionally, take the time to really look at which digital marketing options are providing the best results. “Analytics is crucial in seeing what is working and needs to be scaled and what isn’t and needs to be scaled back on,” says Lio. “As far as greatest return, I think that really breaks down to what are your KPIs (key performance indicators) that you set for each marketing channel that you feel will help drive sales.”
While you may think you have marketing locked down for your practice, mastering the basics means you can continue to grow as the field begins to evolve with new mediums like artificial intelligence and voice search.
Christina DeBusk is a Chiropractic Economics staff writer who specializes in content related to natural health and wellness, personal development, and small business marketing. She can be contacted through christinamdebusk.com.
1 “How Much Should You Budget for Marketing in 2019?” Web Strategies. September 19, 2018. https://www.webstrategiesinc.com/blog/ how-much-budget-for-online-marketing-in-2014
2 “What is Digital Marketing? A Visual Summary.” Smart Insights. August 7, 2018. https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/what-is-digital-marketing/
3 “The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Marketing: Master Organic & Paid Reach.” Digital Marketing Institute. Accessed January 3, 2019. https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-us/ blog/beginners-guide-facebook-marketing-master-organic-paid-reach
4 “The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content.” Neil Patel. Accessed January 4, 2019. https://neilpatel.com/blog/ingredients-of-great-content/
5 “What Does SEO Mean? Here’s Everything You Need to Know.” Lyfe Marketing. November 22, 2017. https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/what-does-seo-mean/
6 “Social Media Advertising & Paid Social Guide.” Sprout Social. Accessed January 3, 2019. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/topics/social-media-advertising/
7 Local Consumer Review Survey 2018. BrightLocal. Accessed January 3, 2019. https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/