Five tips to grow your practice with what you already have.
By Christopher J. Colloca, DC
Surely you’ve heard the adage, “Don’t rest on your laurels.” How many chiropractors are guilty of exactly that when it comes to practice building? Consider the energy that you put into your practice when you first opened.
You probably joined the local chamber of commerce, a networking or civic group, and at every opportunity actively sought new patients in your community.
Once your practice grew to your level of comfort, however, you likely stopped going to those meetings. You probably stopped doing your spinal care classes and community lectures, too. It goes without saying that “roller-coaster marketing” — investing in marketing efforts during your lows and doing nothing during your highs — is not the best strategy for long-term practice growth and stability.
A thoughtout, consistent marketing plan will most likely provide the results you seek. If you’re like most doctors, you’re continually searching for ways to improve your practice’s numbers while being mindful of the bottom line. You have learned that there is no silver bullet to practice growth; you grow a practice one patient at a time.
Once you’re in practice, it doesn’t take long to collect some laurels. You’ve helped hundreds (more likely thousands) of patients and have inspiring stories to tell about those who touched you most. You’ve contributed to your community, created jobs, and joined professional associations. You’ve taken postgraduate training to learn specialized techniques and purchased equipment to set you apart from the pack. Why doesn’t the whole community know about your niche?
In his book, Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got, Jay Abraham shares the secrets of self promotion. He says, “You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence, and success. The problem is, you just don’t see them.”
In that spirit, here are five tips to maximize your practices’ promotion with what you already have:
1. Create a practice brochure.
You have more accolades than will fit on a business card. A customized practice brochure is the one media piece that represents you and your practice. It should be shared with every person who enters your doors. Creating this brochure will go a long way toward telling the community who you are and influencing potential new patients to take the next step and call.
Action steps. Hire a professional photographer to take a head-shot photo of you, photos of your office, and photos of you interacting with your patients. Take pictures of you doing a consult, performing an Xray setup, examining a patient, and adjusting. Enlist a talented friend to help you write the copy for the brochure, or hire a professional copywriter. Include some background about yourself and your family. Tell about the thousands of patients that you have helped with various conditions. Discuss your approach and your niche. Add a human touch by including a photo of you with your family.
2. Create a testimonials book.
You have incredible stories to tell about the miracles that have occurred in your office. Unfortunately, they are the bestkept
secrets in your practice. The next time you watch television or listen to the radio, pay particular attention to the many testimonials you hear used in advertising. Why? Because they work. People believe and trust the experiences of other people. Action steps. Ask your best patients if they would like to write a testimonial for you telling of their experience in your office.
Ask them to visit your website and leave a comment: What prompted them to come in? What had they tried before coming to your office? What were their results, and what has it meant in their life? Organizing the testimonials by condition is one way to show the many wonders of chiropractic and your care to someone who is looking for specific help. Keep the testimonials in a book in your waiting area and posted on your website.
3. Hold patient workshops.
You have an enormous amount of knowledge to share. Perhaps the single best investment in your practice should be the education of your patients. You begin educating during the exam; you give a report of findings, but then what? There simply isn’t enough time during a patient visit to properly teach patients all they need to know about chiropractic care.
The solution is to hold weekly or monthly patient workshops. During a workshop, existing patients and prospective new patients gather together in your reception area to learn about chiropractic care and how they can take an active role in their health to achieve better results. This is the perfect opportunity for family, friends, and coworkers of existing patients to get to know you before they commit to becoming a new patient themselves.
You’ll find that better educated patients refer more and have better retention. Action steps. Make an outline of what you would like to speak about and the order in which you will present your ideas. Design flyers advertising the patient workshop and invite your patients to share the flyer with others whom they think would benefit from your care. Put a poster up in the reception area advertising the class and its benefits. Create a signup sheet for the class at the front desk and have your receptionist make reminder calls the day before the class to confirm attendance.
4. Submit press releases.
For every health screening, workshop, and special event your office holds, prepare and submit a press release to your local newspaper. Newspapers are looking for news and current events, and most press releases submitted make it to print quickly.
When you prepare a press release, you’ve done the work for the newspaper already. This is an opportunity to let the community know about your involvement with your profession and commitment to excellence.
Action steps. Microsoft Word has press release templates in its help section that you can use to create your own press release. Search the Internet for “press release” and you’ll find examples that you can use for your specific needs.
5. Use social media.
There may be others, but Twitter and Facebook are the two social media outlets that you absolutely must join. Sign up (it’s free) and begin talking publicly about your practice. Simple, one to two-sentence posts can promote your practice and connect you to your patient base and a world of prospective new patients. Even better, create a blog where you can write about your practice, the wonderful experiences that you’ve had this past week or month, and offer health tips and advice. In addition to promoting your practice, a blog can also help to move your practice website toward the front of the big search engine listings.
Action steps. If you don’t have an account established with the different social media outlets, do so immediately. If necessary, get help. If you’re not fond of writing, delegate the job of posting for your practice to a member of your staff. Place links to your social media sites on your website so visitors can subscribe to your posts or your blog. These five tips for promoting your practice cost little, but may take a bit of work to get off the ground.
Take action and distribute this article at your next staff meeting. Put together a game plan and decide who on your team will take on each idea to ensure it gets done. In business, there are opportunities all around you. Find a way to execute them.
Christopher J. Colloca, DC, is the CEO and founder of Neuromechancial Innovations, an ISO certified medical device manufacturer of the Impulse family of chiropractic adjusting instruments used by more than 7,000 offices throughout the world. He can be contacted through www.neuromechanical.com