Chiropractors traditionally focus their efforts on their local communities, and if you’re a tech-savvy chiropractor you may have even allocated some of your resources for education and awareness on social media platforms, such as Instagram or Facebook, to reach more potential patients with targeted advertising.
After all, education and awareness are essential for growing and developing your practice.
Many chiropractors view raising awareness and educating potential patients as expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. In reality, education- based advertising can be effective, easy to implement, and offer a great return on investment—especially if you target other healthcare providers.
The medical market
Reaching out to other healthcare providers such as MDs, DOs, and ARNPs in your area can dramatically affect your practice. When done right, targeting other healthcare providers can help build your creditability, positively position your practice, and increase referrals while diversifying your patient acquisition strategy. As you develop your own education and awareness strategy, think about the components of medically related communications that appeal to you.
More than likely, you’ll be drawn to pieces that feature research and results. Including this type of research in your messaging will help you position yourself as a local expert, provide value through education to your local colleagues, and ultimately allow you to help more patients through increased referrals to your practice.
The soul of wit
When developing your communications, remember that brevity is key. Give the reader short, straightforward pieces of information in the form of bullet points. Additionally, include a call to action in your piece such as “Call for more information.” Take the time to write a unique piece based on what you’ve researched. When you deliver value-based content and describe how the research will influence clinical decision-making, you have a winning combination.
An easy way to keep up-to-date on emerging research is to create a Google or PubMed alert. These allow you to set keywords that interest you (e.g., “chiropractic”). When the keyword is activated in their database by the arrival of new content, you immediately receive an email. These free tools can keep you on top of your field.
Once you have your content ready, the next question is whom you should target. Primary care and internal medicine physicians are good places to start. Research has shown that up to 30 percent of their daily practice volume is directly related to spinal complaints.
These physicians should be at the top of your list because they typically have significant patient volume and are willing to refer patients with spinal issues. Experience has shown that a target list of 50 doctors is the sweet spot. It will allow you to have a wide net, without becoming unwieldy.
Up to 75 percent of your list should focus on primary care and internal medicine doctors. The remaining 25 percent should consist of doctors who resonate with your particular practice interests.
For example: If you have always taken care of expectant mothers, then 25 percent of your physician list should include ob/gyns and midwives. If you are a sports-specific chiropractor, you might fill out your target list with sports medicine or extremity-specific physicians. Having other healthcare providers on your list who resonate with your practice style will help facilitate conversations, and these techniques are applicable to all chiropractors regardless of philosophy or technique.
Research to referrals
Elevating your practice by citing research and education is a good way to build credibility and trust in your community. It also enables you to serve your community at the highest level.
When patients are referred to your practice by other doctors, it can reduce their initial apprehensions about chiropractic care, allowing them to avoid more aggressive treatments than if they had been referred elsewhere. As a practicing chiropractor, you know that many of your best patients come from referrals. Traditionally, this is from patient referrals, but the same is true for physician referrals.
One of the best aspects of paid communications targeted at other physicians is the relationship-building component. Unlike traditional forms of advertising—where the ad is gone when you stop paying, building relationships can yield referrals and a return on investment for years to come.
This strategy is unlikely to flood your practice with new patients the first week you begin, but over time it can diversify your referral sources and create a solid foundation for your practice to thrive. As your referral sources grow, it may become the lifeblood of your practice. No matter what your technique choices are, or what philosophical stance you take, finding other healthcare providers and fostering referral relationships will help your practice prosper.
Jeffrey Langmaid, DC, is the founder of The Evidence Based Chiropractor, a leader in chiropractic communication and research. He is also a chiropractor with Laser Spine Institute based in Tampa, Florida, with seven facilities across the country. He has helped more than 60,000 people find relief from neck and back pain, and can be contacted through laserspineinstitute.com.