According to Business.com, the amount of money you will spend annually on marketing-related avenues depends largely on the goals you’ve set for your practice.
For instance, if you’re intent on staying at your current level of patients, then you can expect to spend somewhere around five percent of your revenue on the various types of marketing. However, if your goal is to grow your chiropractic practice, a more realistic number is closer to 10 percent, if not more.
Because this amount of money can take a huge bite out of your annual budget, it’s important to create marketing materials that are effective, helping you meet the specific goals you’ve set. But it’s also critical that you avoid one of the 7 deadly sins of marketing—creating marketing materials that can make you look inexperienced and unprofessional. How do you do this?
Matthew Smith, CEO of Modmacro, an award-winning web design and digital marketing agency in Southern California, offers some basic guidelines on the subject. Follow them and you’ll be on the right track.
Remember: Quality is key
With first impressions being so critical to prospective patients, “What you put in front of the public must be attractive and professional,” says Smith. “Partner with professionals or take the DIY approach, but either way, the resulting work must not compromise how the public perceives your practice. After all, if prospective patients aren’t impressed with your presentation, why would they expect to be satisfied with your services?”
While it’s common for small business owners to think that some visibility (even if it isn’t top quality) is better than no visibility at all, marketing materials that look like you’ve created them in your basement or garage can actually do much harm than good. In fact, “underestimating the damage that poor marketing does to an overall brand, the way the public encounters your business, can be a fatal mistake,” says Smith. But what if you don’t have a lot of money to work with?
“Don’t sacrifice quality, even for a lower cost,” warns Smith. “If you can’t afford to present your practice correctly, it’s probably better to hold off on marketing until you can.”
Don’t rely on your own instincts
We oftentimes rely on our instincts to help us realize when we’re in dangerous situations. However, relying on them when it comes to marketing isn’t always the best bet according to Smith. “You’re a chiropractor, not a marketing pro,” he says. “So, your instincts for marketing effectiveness may not be sufficient.”
This doesn’t mean that you can’t do any of your marketing yourself, but, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind if you decide to take this route. For instance, “Before releasing anything for public consumption, gather opinions from trusted sources,” recommends Smith. “Ask for brutal honesty and compare your materials to the best in the industry.”
Smith also suggests that, if you do have a minimal marketing budget, it helps to “Invest a small amount for a marketing firm to review your work. Let them share insights, their experience and provide direction. Let them evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your presentation. You can still save money on the implementation by doing it yourself, but if your materials don’t stack up with the best of your competitors, you won’t make an impact with your target audience.”
Be cautious of DIY marketing
With so many companies online today, users can fairly easily tell which websites were self-created and which ones were devised by marketing pros. And that’s just part of it as “there’s security, ongoing maintenance, search optimization, and about a million other things to consider,” says Smith. So it isn’t as simple as just putting up a website and drawing business in.
Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing all of the ins and outs of creating a professional, yet effective website though, says Smith as “that’s to be expected. After all, you’re running a chiropractic practice, not a web design firm. Expecting you to build an effective website is like expecting me to give my friend an adjustment that doesn’t end with him being injured.”
That being said, just because websites tend to be so complex, that doesn’t mean that you have to hire a professional to help with all of your marketing needs. Take flyers, for instance. “If you or someone on your team has an eye for design, you can build attractive, informative flyers to feature new services,” says Smith.
Take advantage of local advertising options
Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of local marketing options that help you get in front of your target market. “From geotargeted Facebook ads [which are ads that focus on consumers in a particular geographic location] to local business networks, you should target people in your backyard,” says Smith.
There are many ways to do this. “Get connected with the editors of local media outlets, become an active contributor in a private Facebook group that focuses on your local community, or partner with another small business to cross-promote locally,” suggests Smith. “When it comes to marketing, big ideas are great, but local effectiveness grows a business.”