Get practice growth and create opportunities in promotion and additional communications with these strategies
Graduating from chiropractic school is always something much anticipated for students. But 2020 is an uncertain time for new graduates entering the job market to get practice growth and also for soon-to-be graduates. Here are some predictions about what will likely happen with many chiropractic practices moving forward:
Money is tight
There will be an increase in people saying they can’t afford chiropractic care or that money is tight. People are hanging on to money more. There may be a low velocity of spending until consumer confidence comes back.
Interestingly, according to a recent Bloomberg Morgan Stanley Research Exhibit 4, Personal Disposable Income, growth hit at a record high at 44.9% (as of August 2020). It has never been higher in a quarter when GDP growth has been more negative. One reason for this is government stimulus programs. At the same time, in previous downturns of the economy, traditionally there have always been people who have money to pay. This time is no different.
For example, there are chiropractor clients of mine who have found how to get practice growth and are having their busiest months, both patient number and income-wise, in this current economy.
What this means for you: It will become more important than ever to set yourself apart and effectively communicate the importance of getting care. When someone says they can’t afford it, sometimes they truly are unable to, but other times it’s because they don’t recognize the value. Continuously educating your patients in a way that they understand is a key to get practice growth. The education process starts before even the first visit. What happens before the first visit, during each visit, in between visits, and ongoing?
Setting yourself apart means making clear what your practice stands for — what is its mission, brand values and brand differentiation? People will come to you because they like you as a doctor, but they often first get attracted to your practice by what it stands for and whether they trust you to help them with their health.
Simply saying that you are a chiropractor who helps with neck and back pain isn’t usually enough to get practice growth, especially if you are much less experienced than other chiropractors in the area who have been practicing for longer than you.
Online advertising will become more expensive
When the pandemic started and people were staying at home more, people were also online more. More businesses (including those with big pockets) increasingly realized the importance of getting in front of their audience online. As such, with more people getting into advertising online, it will drive ad costs up, especially since popular advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads and Google advertising are bid- and competition-based. Not only will ad costs rise, but also the ability to break through all the noise online to your ideal patients.
What this means for you: It will be helpful to have other avenues of marketing that don’t depend on spending money. Finding effective ways to market your practice, and being consistent with it, will more likely lead to a consistent flow of patients.
When you are limited without the ability to perform face-to-face marketing, one great avenue for bringing patients in the door for both in-person visits and telehealth is by speaking. And even if your area is under lockdown it doesn’t mean speaking opportunities are over. Today you can easily find speaking opportunities from the comfort of your own home through webinars, podcasts or other interviews. These can be hosted by you or by other organizations. There are even paid speaking opportunities. You just need to learn how to get booked as a speaker and to develop your skills to educate and inspire new patients. It is a different skill set to simply educate versus attract new patients (or other streams of income).
Get practice growth through telehealth
Whether or not COVID continues to return, connecting with people online is crucial. Many times we think our highest value for a patient is very much tied to either our hands or seeing them physically in person. Although that’s often true, there is also value in all the knowledge and expertise that you have, in which you can educate people utilizing other forms of communication.
This also encompasses the lifestyle changes that patients can be taught and held accountable for. These are the kind of things that can be provided in a telehealth session. Even if your patients can’t see you in person, they will find it more convenient to benefit from your knowledge and education.
What this means for you: Set yourself up for delivering some of your services via telehealth. It will be the wave of the future. You can choose to be an early adopter or be late to the boat. Then you just need to develop the avenues that best work to market your telehealth services.
Your success with bringing in telehealth patients will also depend on how you describe the benefit of telehealth, how you educate people, and how you communicate the importance of chiropractic care and your services.
Chen Yen is a national speaker and founder of Fill My Holistic Practice, providing introverted visionary chiropractors a step-by-step process and guidance on how to build a six- to seven-figure practice that runs without them. Clients include a past president of the American Chiropractic Association-Sports Council, a recent president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and a board member of the American Society of Acupuncturists. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at introvertedvisionary.com.