Or, more accurately, what doesn’t count as chiropractic marketing programs?
It’s entirely possible to be a great health care provider and a terrible marketer. At this very moment, there’s probably a chiropractor out there somewhere (or MD, physiotherapist or other specialist), looking at their books and learning this unfortunate truth the hard way. Broadly speaking, health care practitioners are an ambitious bunch. Many are drawn to the challenges and upsides of running their own practice, only to be faced with the reality that getting people in the door is often harder than treating them. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to go back to school to figure out how to market your services with chiropractic marketing programs.
All you have to do is embrace this simple wisdom: Everything you do is marketing.
A new way to look at chiropractic marketing programs
It’s hard to think “marketing” and not think billboards, commercials, direct mail and so on. For the slightly more digitally fluent practitioners, it might also conjure images of certain prolific chiropractors who have gained notoriety through YouTube videos and other social media.
Yes, those are marketing examples, and they absolutely can help (or hurt, if done poorly). But marketing is actually really simple. People suffer from the inability to market because they do not realize that everything you do is marketing — the sign in front of your building, the state of your office/practice, and even how you dress.
Marketing comes down to how you want your product or service to be perceived in the market and nothing more. The cool thing is that you get to decide how you want that product or service to be perceived, which is your marketing strategy. Your marketing plan is your method to get your strategy broadly perceived in the fashion you desire.
Promotion is all about the words or the verbal communication you are going to use to get your product or service well thought of. It is how you simply describe what it is you are selling, and it should go over the benefits the user will experience from it.
Advertising, then, is anything you do to get attention, as the derivation of advertising is “to turn,” as in, to get heads to turn toward you. This is the problem most practices have — they are not getting any attention.
For simplicity’s sake:
- Does it introduce a product or service to the market (marketing)?
- Does it describe the benefits people immediately want or will think well of (promotion)?
- Does it grab attention (advertising)?
Let’s break this down in real-world terms:
Marketing — Determine a service (or product) that everyone in the injury market needs (patients, non-injury-treating doctors, lawyers, insurers, etc.) and benefits from — how do you want this to be perceived? Keep in mind, the product or service may not be “chiropractic”; it might be more like “fast pain relief” or “fast and effective injury care,” and will include everything you do to achieve this (including adjustments, physical therapy, nutrition and more).
Promotion — Describe it simply so that the benefits of your service are clearly apparent to the end user (patient, medical doctors, lawyers, insurers, etc.). Hire a copywriter if needed.
Advertising — Anything you do to get attention for your service fits here. There are a wide variety of standard methods to do so and they may differ depending on who you’re trying to reach (patients, lawyers, other doctors, etc.). It could involve direct emails, a social media strategy, print ads, commercials, or a conversation you have with a potential patient or partner.
Marketing supercharges superior service
Everything you do fits into chiropractic marketing programs, promoting and advertising, and each area has its own skill sets. These basics are vital since you won’t get more business just because you use polite manners and make sure your building and offices are always clean, after all.
Though, actually, it depends. You probably won’t get more business, if patients visit your fancy location only to find out you offer an inferior service. You probably will, on the other hand, get more business if those aspects of your marketing are just a backdrop against which patients are being successfully treated and experiencing positive outcomes.
Sure, you might say, but they’re not necessary — those positive outcomes are all my patients care about. That’s simply not true. Patients (and employees, business partners, friends, family — everyone) notice a lot more than you might think. They pay attention to how you look and act (probably even how you smell), how you manage and speak to your employees and colleagues, how knowledgeable you are. Furthermore, research suggests that doctors’ attitudes don’t just matter to patients for the sake of politeness — they actually can affect the patient’s health.1
All of these things factor into their decision to remain a customer of yours and whether to refer someone else, should the opportunity arise. This, of course, is word-of-mouth marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing (which consists of the things people tell other people about you and your business) continues to be treated as a supplemental form across many industries and in many entrepreneurial communities.
Frankly, this is a mistake.
According to a previous Nielsen study, 92% of consumers trust the word of a friend or family member more than any other type of advertising.2 Even if that number has fluctuated in the years since the study, there’s no doubt that the figure remains staggering. What’s more, word-of-mouth referrals generate five times the sales of paid media impressions, and 64% of marketing executives polled believe it’s the most effective form of advertising.3
Marketing never stops
These facts also help to reveal an even bigger truth about chiropractic marketing programs and marketing in general — that its job is never done. Just like one billboard ad is unlikely to save a floundering practice, making the decision to embrace a new paradigm won’t turn things around overnight.
It will, however, set you on the path to success in the long run. Just like author Andy Andrews once said: “Everything you do matters. Every move you make, every action you take … matters. Not just to you, or your family, or your business or hometown. Everything you do matters to all of us forever.”
JEFFREY CRONK, DC, JD, is a nationally recognized expert and thought leader on spinal ligament injuries, which are the number-one cause of pain and disability worldwide. He is CEO of Spinal Kinetics, a national medical company that provides CRMA (Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis) to doctors who are testing for the severity and location of their patients’ spinal ligament injuries. He also serves as CEO of Biocybernetics Inc., which provides education for doctors and lawyers in the spinal ligament injury space through Smart Injury Doctors and Smart Injury Lawyers. He can be contacted at smartinjurydoctors.com.