Marketing on a limited budget; it’s a process.
In Part I of this series, we’ve already given you some ideas for marketing on a limited budget, and in Part II, we’re going to give you even more. (By the way, if you haven’t read Part I, we suggest you go do that now.)
Once again, our two sources providing pertinent information are Marinka Nicola, part of a team overseeing marketing and social media for NuSpine Chiropractic, and Tabor Smith, DC, owner of A Better Way Chiropractic, executive producer of award-winning chiropractic documentary “A Better Way,” and founder of the Spinal Hygiene Movement.
Plan out your year
Nicola says planning ahead is one of the best ways chiropractors can save money when they’re marketing. She suggests creating a marketing calendar for the entire year.
“By planning ahead, executing campaigns doesn’t turn into a fire drill and you’ll be able to save money,” she said. For example, if you know a local event is coming up where you want to market, make sure you take advantage of early bird registration specials.
If you have campaigns tied to holidays, you can also save money if you buy your promotional items/decorations months in advance when they may be sold at a cheaper price. One example is to buy Christmas decorations and gifts over the summer or on Dec. 26 for the next year.
Smith says marketing strategies such as spinal screenings and health workshops could work well for you as long as you’re willing to put in some work.
“Chiropractors have been doing spinal screenings for as long as we have been a profession. They can be a lot of work, but they allow you to get out in your community and meet people face to face,” said Smith. “Many times, you don’t even have to perform a screening. Just meeting people and answering their questions can help you build relationships that eventually lead to them visiting your office to learn more about how you can help them.”
Likewise, health workshops can be both low-cost and a time-saving strategy.
“It becomes extremely efficient when you can get up in front of a group and share your entire message in about 30 minutes,” says Smith.
Market your workshops online, making social media and emails a part of that. As Smith says, “Everyone is on social media, and everyone uses email, so there’s no reason not to make this a core part of your marketing strategy.”
Hire a marketer (yes, even on a small budget)
Start out by posting comments and/or images on social media yourself, and send out informational emails. Information on how to do these tasks abounds online. “There are many tutorials you can find online to help you navigate when you get lost,” says Smith.
And if you want to hire someone to take on these tasks, many types of marketers are out there looking for clients; even if your budget is small, you can find someone who fits your needs.
“When you do have a little money you can invest, it’s a great idea to get a professional to help you,” said Smith. “You’ll definitely improve your results when you find a good professional who knows what they’re doing when it comes to digital marketing.”
“For health care professionals who are not trained to market and/or do not have experience, they should consider hiring a marketer,” Nicola agreed. “Successful marketing requires casting a very large net because there is a lot of rejection involved with cold calling and being able to not only handle the ‘noes,’ but also develop new ideas and contacts on an ongoing basis requires skill and experience and drive. When a practice has a good marketer, the doctors can focus on patients and the marketer can focus on getting the word out,” said Nicola.
Smith notes you should find a marketer who has a proven track record, including client testimonials.
“Hiring a digital marketing expert can be a bit of an investment, but it can definitely pay off if you hire the right person,” says Smith.
Avoid low-budget mistakes
“A common mistake we see is business owners pouring all of their resources and money into a huge grand opening,” Nicola said. “That event is just the beginning. The real marketing starts afterward and creating a long-term plan and sustainable budget for marketing is key. Marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
“I think the most important thing to remember when you’re trying to market your practice on a low budget is that it’s going to take time and persistence to get where you want to be. Don’t give up, and don’t let yourself get too frustrated. As you get better, your marketing will get better, and your practice will grow,” said Smith.
“Eventually, you’ll be able to hire out more of your marketing and focus more on running your practice and doing the tasks you want to do while delegating the others. Just like we tell our patients when they start their chiropractic care, it’s a process.”