If $20 bills were sold for $5, how many would you buy?
When you put your marketing dollars to work doing direct response marketing, $5 of marketing can easily turn into $20 of profits from sales—if you do it right.
In an ideal world, marketing for chiropractic care would be unnecessary. Everyone would subscribe to the idea that chiropractic is valuable, and every patient would refer friends and family, who would then also become your raving fans. You would have nothing to do but treat patients.
The money would continually flow, and the trouble of marketing wouldn’t be part of your business. But in the real world, marketing is not only necessary but essential to building a good practice.
There are two major types of marketing strategies. The first is “mass marketing” or “branding.” This is what giant corporations do. It takes huge amounts of money and is done so they develop an image; they become a brand.
It gets people to think of them (consciously or subconsciously) when making a purchasing decision. And while much of advertising is done in this way, it is expensive to execute and requires a team of experts. It also requires saturated advertising messages across media (television, print, radio, internet, etc.) over an extended period. Most chiropractors can’t implement this marketing strategy.
The wrong fit
Sometimes a small business will try to emulate big brands at this type of marketing. They can run an ad a few times, but it won’t be nearly enough to reach the target market, which is already seeing thousands of ads each day. They’ll hardly be a blip on the consumer’s radar.
And they might have a creative and catchy ad, but lack the budget to run it in sufficient volume. Unless you are able to spend millions of dollars and have that aforementioned team of experts, you’ll probably want to take a different advertising route.
A targeted approach
The second type of marketing strategy is called “direct response.” Direct response marketing (DM) is designed to induce an instant response and compel potential customers (patients) to take a specific action, such as opting into your email list, picking up the phone and calling for more information, placing an order online, or being directed to a webpage to sign up for something. It is designed to get you leads suitable for follow-up.
What makes an effective DM ad?
It’s trackable, which means that when someone responds, you can identify which ad or media generated the response. This is opposite of mass-media marketing (“branding”), because few people can identify the specific ad that compelled them to buy that candy bar.
It’s measurable, because you can keep track of which ads are generating a response and how much you are selling as a result of each one. You can precisely measure the effectiveness of each ad. From the statistics you gather, you then decide which ads are working for you and which should be dropped.
It uses compelling headlines that have a captivating message directed toward your prospects. It uses attention-grabbing headlines with strong copywriting that does the selling for you. The ad may even look similar to an editorial rather than an ad, which can improve its chances of being read.
It targets an audience or niche, which makes it appealing to a targeted demographic. The objective is to appeal to a narrow market and get a high return rate from those people.
It makes an offer that is value-packed and clear. Often, the aim is not necessarily to sell anything with the ad, but to get the prospect to take the next step of action, such as requesting a free report or redeeming a coupon.
It targets an emotion like fear, frustration, desire, or interest. It needs to be about the customer (patient), not the advertiser (you). In contrast, “brand” marketing has a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all message, which typically focuses on the product being sold.
It demands a response or is a “call to action.” It should motivate the potential patient to do something. It needs a way for people to respond and a method of collecting those responses. Those who are interested should have a number to call, a website to visit, or a coupon to use. Gather as much information as possible about the person, so follow-up will be easy.
It offers solutions in exchange for a prospective patient’s details. The information should also have a second offer (something irresistible), which leads them to the next step you’d like them to take. This can include calling or visiting your office, requesting more information, or taking the free trial. Then, you can make a series of follow-ups using different media (typically mail, e-mail, or phone). Putting a limit or expiration date on the offer will encourage a timely response.
If you follow up on unconverted leads you can discover the reasons some potential patients did not respond.
There are many reasons people don’t turn into buyers. But follow-up is essential, because some will eventually mature into regular paying patients.
Problem, meet solution
DM is an effective and ethical marketing strategy, as it focuses on the particular problems of a potential patient and proposes solutions to these problems through education. This type of marketing is also realistic for chiropractors, as it involves accountability for advertising dollars. And it is an affordable strategy for reaching potential patients, by targeting them specifically and requiring a quick response.
So figure out how much you need to spend to acquire a new patient, then determine how many new patients you want each month, and then spend that money to grow your practice. Have someone assigned to follow-up duties and hold them accountable, as that will make all the difference in your success.
DM ads turn into lead-generating tools. And that is something every chiropractor can use.
Todd Singleton , DC, is an author, speaker, and consultant, who has been a practicing doctor for more than 25 years. He ran the largest MD/DC/PT clinics in Utah before switching to an all-cash nutrition model in 2006. He now spends his time speaking, teaching, consulting, and visiting other offices all over the U.S. He can be contacted at 801-903-7141 or through wl4chiros.com.