Marketing. You know you need it. You really want to do it.
But, quite frankly, you don’t have a lot of money in your budget to do it. You need to market your practice and get new patients in the door, but you’re not sure what you can do with limited resources.
Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
To get some tips on marketing your practice on a budget, we spoke with Marinka Nicola, part of a team overseeing marketing and social media for NuSpine Chiropractic, and Tabor Smith, DC, owner of A Better Way Chiropractic. Smith is also the executive producer of the award-winning chiropractic documentary “A Better Way,” and founded the Spinal Hygiene Movement.
Please note this is Part I of a two-part series.
Market and network locally
When Tabor Smith and his wife, Gina, also a chiropractor, started their practice in 2009, he says, “We didn’t have much money for marketing, so our marketing strategy was to find free or low-cost events in the community and set up a booth. Sometimes we performed free spinal screenings at the events, and for others, we just answered questions and supplied free information about chiropractic.”
He adds, “We also joined networking organizations like BNI, toastmasters and the Chamber of Commerce, where we attempted to meet other business owners and offer free health workshops at their places of business. This type of boots-on-the-ground, low-cost marketing helped us to grow, and we do these types of events occasionally in our community over a decade later.”
Smith also suggests:
Get to know your neighbors in a five-mile radius: “They will already be interested in hearing what you have to say and offer and will likely have some idea of who you are due to proximity,” he explains.
Do a staff swap: Your staff experience another local business while their staff experience yours. They may become new patients, but they also will most likely spread the word about your chiropractic practice, based on their experience. Smith adds, “If you can create a cross-promotion, you might be able to market to their respective databases as well.”
Connect with the businesses around you: These connections are crucial and can become beneficial for your business. They can be great contacts for you to have if you’re hosting an event. For example, Smith says if you’re having a grand opening or anniversary party, talk with local businesses to see if they can provide food and drink for free or at a reduced rate in exchange for your marketing them at the event — that can include displaying their marketing materials and even tagging them on social media.
Speaking of social media…
Many business owners misinterpret social media and how they can use it for marketing. They think it’s good to utilize because it is free and appears easy, but doing social media the right way is more challenging than it seems, especially when it comes to creating original content to post.
“Yes, social media is technically free to execute, but it requires an employee who has solid writing skills and knows how photos/videos/graphics should look,” explained Nicola. “The reality is that good social media marketing requires a steady stream of ongoing content throughout the year. From seasonal promotions to tips and tricks, there’s a plethora of content clinics can post about that extends far beyond hours of operation and location.”
With current patients, focus on clarity and engagement
The idea of converting potential patients into actual patients with your marketing is exciting, but your low-cost efforts can go a long way toward retaining the patients you already have; keeping them coming back is just as valuable as gaining new patients.
For Smith, the two most important factors when it comes to marketing to current patients are clarity and engagement.
“The patient needs to have clarity about what they are doing in your office and why they are doing it. This starts with the report of findings. We want the patient to fully understand what the problem is and how the care they receive in our office will help them correct their problem and achieve their goals and desired outcomes,” says Smith. “Once the patient says ‘Yes’ to care, then it’s up to us to keep the patient engaged and accountable to their care plan.”
Some low-cost ways to keep patients engaged are through email and text messaging, Smith explained.
“Patients in our office will receive text message reminders for each scheduled visit as well as invites and updates on events and activities in our office they can participate in,” he said. “Plus, as soon as a patient starts care in our office, we enter them in an automated email sequence that we call a 21-Day Spinal Hygiene Challenge. They will receive one email a day reminding them to do their Home Spinal Care Exercises we recommended for them,” he added.
“This helps to keep them engaged with their care and challenges them to create new, good habits in their life around spinal health.”
Check out Part 2 of this article.