Strategies to expand your patient numbers
NEW PATIENTS OR THE RIGHT PATIENTS? I have spoken to hundreds of doctors over the years, and they always want more new patients, but rarely do they say they want the right patients. In order for your advertiser to do a good job, you must give them feedback and provide the right data back to them. Imagine treating patients without any feedback about your existing treatment. Do you think you would do a great job? Probably not.
This article explores strategies to help your chiropractic marketing agency produce better results, why feedback and tracking return on investment is critical for success, and why your relationship with your marketing agency matters.
Underused critical metrics
Marketing agencies get feedback from their medium, which comes in many forms, including calls to the tracking number, opt-ins, click-through rates, downloads, cost per action and more. This will give them feedback if the marketing is working, but they are missing one critical metric: return on ad spend (ROAS).
It is important to provide ROAS to your agency. If you are not doing this, they assume a patient scheduled is worth X. They have no idea if they showed up for their appointment, started care or referred others. You can track that by hand, but humans are not perfect and more expensive. Using software alleviates that problem and provides the data you need 24/7.
What about click ID? Google and Facebook have their own click IDs, such as gclid and fbclid, that tell the marketing agency which specific ad the lead came from. If it’s from a phone number, hopefully there was a tracking number and code associated with it. This is the topic of attribution, which is who gets credit for the lead.
This is a rabbit hole, and if you want to track this, you have to spend tens of thousands of advertising dollars per medium per month and hire a data scientist to analyze it. Since none of us can afford that, we can go with the first action step. For example, you could have created content on YouTube that a lead watched over and over again. Then they saw your ad on Facebook or Instagram, clicked on a link and took action. Who should get credit for that? In this case, the easiest way to measure it is with the first action step, which would give Facebook/Instagram/Meta the credit, but YouTube is the medium that built the trust.
The point I’m making is that attribution is not perfect, but it’s better than throwing stuff against the wall and hoping it will stick. If you get $15 leads from one source and $100 from another, but the ROAS on the $100 source is much better, you can divert more capital into the more expensive medium.
The importance of automated data to chiropractic marketing
If you want your marketing agency to do a better job, you have to give them automated data. I know this world because I owned a marketing company that provided seminar advertising for doctors around the country, and we never had access to this data. We begged and pleaded with our clients, but only our top clients provided the data, giving them more of an advantage. Eventually, we hired a software engineer for our business, and built this automated engine that takes data from your EHR and feeds it back into the HIPAA-compliant marketing customer relationship management software the agency uses. That allows them to see how many leads they got, how many scheduled an appointment and how many showed and started with care. They can break it down from the advertising source to ensure they allocate resources into the top-performing areas.
That is part of the marketing math, but trust is a big part of the equation. An agency can get leads, but they can’t build trust. I hear many doctors complaining about leads because they are not as good as referrals. A referral is better, because there is a transference of trust from the referral source. I have some friends who vet everything, and if I get a referral from them, I know it is solid. That’s a high level of trust.
How do you build trust?
It’s the branding. For example, I use Apple products and don’t have a deep vetting process for a new $3,000 laptop. Why am I willing to spend that much for a laptop? Because it’s better than all the PCs I have used before, and it communicates well with my watch, phone, TV and other family members’ products. We trust the quality and are willing to pay for it.
How can you build that? Let’s look at everything a prospect sees before they arrive at your office. Do you have content online? Is it congruent with your advertising and your website? If you are the golfer’s chiropractor, what content have you produced? What does your website look like? Do you have golfer testimonials? If you have a general template website that says “I’m an average chiropractor,” that doesn’t build trust for the golfer looking for the specialist. They may still call you, but you can’t command Apple fees, and they will expect to pay $20 to $50 per visit.
They will look at your reviews online and see how relevant your reviews are. Five-star reviews are great, but they may want to read reviews that mention golf. I’m using golf as an example. You could be the sciatica doctor, the neck pain doctor, etc. The point is, you need to be someone to someone. Patients need to trust that you are the solution for their problem.
If they look at your website, showing pictures of the office, staff, providers and what to expect on the first visit will take a first-time chiropractic patient and reduce their anxiety. If you accept most insurances in your area, highlight that. If you are a family person, a longtime local, a veteran, highlight that. All that builds trust and affinity for that new potential patient. If you have a special type of treatment, share it in simple terms, and remember, it’s all about the patient and their problem. Don’t get into the weeds. They need to trust you will help them, but they don’t need to know the specifics.
Do you respond immediately to them once they take action on the offer? Do you offer them an easy way to schedule? All of those things will improve your ROAS, because more scheduled patients will lead to more helped patients. Do you remind them about their appointments? Do you make them jump through a hoop before they arrive? I personally make them complete their intake paperwork to hold their appointment. Why not make them invest 10 minutes of their time to hold time on your schedule?
If you have ever been on a cruise ship, you will notice they do not take all the information at once. They gather some info and keep you moving through the line until the next station. Scheduling should be like this, because you don’t have much trust initially, and may require little information. As they progress further through the process, you can ask for more information. The more involved they get toward the end, the more likely they will show up. That’s the point of the paperwork at the end of the process. I have some clients who schedule an interview via Zoom prior to their appointment, which sifts out the patients who are a bad fit for their practice. Some collect credit cards.
Scheduling and follow-up
If they miss their appointment, do you follow up? If they arrive for their first appointment and miss their second, do you follow up? I wrote an article about sales pipelines, chiroeco.com/sales-conversion-rate, if you want to read more about this. Because this helps your ROAS.
There is a lot more to this, but like Michael Jackson sang,
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror,
I’m asking him to change his ways;
And no message could have been any clearer,
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change!”
We all got into this business to help people; at least I did. My life was changed after allopathic medicine failed me, and that inspired me to become a chiropractor. When my father passed, he was looking for meaning and purpose in his life. That’s when I decided to drop what I was doing and share my philosophy with chiropractors, because there are many great doctors who are terrible at business but could help more people.
If you want to change the community around you and help more patients, you must run a better business. Those profits will allow you to invest in your business, pay higher wages and raise the profession.
NAOTA HASHIMOTO, DC, is the cofounder of TrackStat (trackstat.org), patient tracking software making it easy for admin people to attract and convert new patients while ensuring your existing patients stay in your practice. It offers new ways to retain patients as well as ways for staff to communicate and schedule patients while providing you all the metrics of success.