Not all patient leads are equal, and leads needs can reveal issues in a chiropractic or medical practice
Many chiropractors rely on patient leads to connect with people who might be interested in chiropractic care.
Leads refer to a person’s name and contact information such as phone number or email address. Advertising companies often promise “leads” with the insinuation that they are highly qualified people interested in your care.
But did you know the quality of your “lead” will have a direct impact on the quality of your new patient flow? This is why it’s essential to understand the truth and consequences of generating leads “the easy way” through discount advertising.
Leads are good but relationships matter
Generating “leads” for your practice isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you put transactions above relationships, your practice is bound to struggle. Many chiropractors have been seduced by lead generation as a panacea to their more in-depth communication and marketing issues.
Think of your practice like a bucket. New patients are like water that goes into your bucket. Over time, your bucket will begin to fill up with the patients you’ve seen and served. Ideally, your bucket will eventually be filled to the top, and your schedule will be filled. Congrats! It’s time to add an associate doctor, open another location, or become a waiting list practice.
But what if you’ve seen hundreds, or maybe even thousands of patients and still seem always to need more leads? If that’s the case, you have some serious holes in your bucket. Holes in your bucket form because you haven’t taken the time to connect with your audience consistently. Maybe you’re not sending a weekly email to your patients, not posting consistently on your social channels, or focusing more on transactions instead of relationships.
Deep-discount advertising’s slippery slope
Just as your need for more water will depend on how small you can make the holes in your bucket, your need for more leads will depend on your priority of connections over transactions.
The good news is, filling the holes in your bucket isn’t hard — when you have the right strategy. The right strategy typically doesn’t involve getting as many leads as possible. Pouring “leads” into the top of a bucket with holes the size of Texas isn’t going to solve your problems. If anything, it will enable the bad habits that have led you to become addicted to leads.
Marketing agencies have likely told you that they can generate leads for you if you advertise a discount package of your services. The offer is very compelling. What many chiropractors don’t realize is the long-term cost of the slippery slope of deep discount advertising.
You’ve seen it before — ad companies promoting 100 new leads per month. The only catch is that you have to use discount ads that include a “crazy deal” of $29 for an exam, X-rays, adjustment, pillow, laser treatment and foot massage. “Oh, and by the way, I only have seven of these deals left.”
Unfortunately, these types of advertisements have many potential problems:
- Depending on where you practice and your ad, you may run up against state board issues in the future.
- Positioning your practice as the lowest-cost option is a great way to race to the bottom, which is a race you don’t want to win.
- While you may get some “leads,” don’t mistake them for actual patients who value your expertise.
It’s not uncommon for discount ads to generate dozens of leads each month. Sounds great. Well, these leads typically require extra time and energy to convert them to care in your practice after they’ve benefitted from the “deal.” At best, this is ridiculously inefficient and marginally effective. At worst, you end up in a bait-and-switch type situation that harms your reputation for years to come.
The best deal for who?
The irony of discount advertising is that it’s the best business model for the ad companies, not your practice.
There is a better way to generate leads for your chiropractic practice. You can build a healthy tribe (audience) of people who are engaged, know, trust and like you, and are happy to become members of your practice without a crazy discount deal.
To do so, I recommend using a strategy of “Teach & Invite, Consistently.” Never before have you had the opportunity to reach out to as many people, for free, as you do right now through social media and email. Each day you have the privilege of being able to teach something to your audience. Every teaching opportunity gives you a chance to educate, entertain and engage with your health tribe. These teaching moments can rapidly build trust and rapport in who you are and what you do as a chiropractor.
After taking a moment to teach, you’ve now earned the opportunity to invite them to take the next step. In the marketing world, the invitation is called a “call to action.” Your invitation is an opportunity to generate leads. Invite your audience to contact you today, visit your website, or reach out and click to schedule an appointment online.
Marketing superstars like Gary Vaynerchuck have called this process “jab, jab, jab, right hook.” Every jab is when you deliver value to your audience. Every right hook is your call to action. Let me give another example of how successful chiropractic practices generate leads 24/7/365, on autopilot without discount advertising. What I’m about to share with you might change how you think about marketing your chiropractic practice forever.
Website lead generation
Do you have a website for your practice? Yes? Cool, I thought so. Well, I’m willing to bet you try to get traffic to your website with search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s the information that no one has told you before.
If your website gets, let’s say, 500 visitors per month, and your average is 20 new patients per month, what’s happening to the other 480 people who are visiting your website? Let’s face it; most people aren’t cruising around online checking out chiropractic websites for fun. They saw your website because they thought you might be able to help them. They are ready to make a decision. So I’ll ask again — what’s happening to those other 480 people who are bouncing off your website every month?
This is where a pop-up form on your website can revolutionize your chiropractic lead generation. A pop-up form is a little box that appears when you visit a website and start to leave. I’m sure you’ve seen it before. These lead generation pop-ups can convert another 5-10% of your website traffic into subscribers on your email list. And with smart automation, you can automatically follow up with them via email using the “Teach & Invite, Consistently” framework. That’s another 25-50 leads each month, for free, without any discount advertising.
What should your pop-up say that gets someone to enter their email willingly? This is where you would place a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a valuable message often formatted as a PDF, such as “7 Days to Get Rid of Back Pain,” that ethically invites your website visitor to enter their email to access your valuable message. These types of lead magnets work great and become a new patient lead generation machine for your practice.
Generate leads and repair your bucket
The bottom line is that generating new leads is a way to introduce your practice to new people. Your need for leads will be based on whether you’re filling the holes in your bucket with communication systems that create value instead of being chronically dependent on low-quality leads generated by deep discount advertising.
There is no shortage of people in your community who need your help. Help them find you by remembering to “Teach & Invite, Consistently” using your social channels and email. For best results, layer an email capture pop-up on your website. Follow this smart formula and you’ll have a lead generation tool that works 24/7/365, never takes a day off, never complains and always produces results.
JEFF LANGMAID, DC, is an experienced speaker, founder, author and creator. Driven by his passion for marketing and research, he’s used his unique professional experience to help thousands of chiropractors around the world. He is the founder of The Evidence Based Chiropractor, The Smart Chiropractor, Chiro Office Coverage, and AOMSI Diagnostics. He has been featured on Yahoo Health, CBS News, MSN Health, and more. Learn more at TheSmartChiropractor.com.