Chiropractic Marketing - 4 Options to Help Jump the Bumps on the Road to a Successful Practice

Have you ever wondered how Chiropractors, fresh out of school, begin a practice? What is the first item on the long list to things to do? If it were me, generating new patients would be a priority. The business loan secured, office space rented, equipment purchased, staff is hired. So when will the patients show up? How will the community know about the new chiropractor in town?

Marketing is confusing, not many directions and there are more than a few bumps in the road. For instance what type of marketing should you use? What gets the best results? What venue is best for advertising? The most common question of all, "how much will I have to spend?"

To help jump the bumps on the road to marketing success, you need direction. Below are four advertising routes for you to think about.

• Print Advertising: This type of marketing has been around the corner a few times and is still recommended. You can write the ads yourself or buy the ads. One type of ad system features ads that are formatted to read like an article in a newspaper. All you do is insert your information. Very effective because they focus on specific conditions, the kind of conditions that everyone will experience in their lifetime. These ads empathize with the reader, for instance, how these symptoms keep them from having an active lifestyle. They place the power of informed choice in the reader's hands with information about how chiropractic can benefit them and their family. You will spend some money up front for this system, but the cost is absorbed quickly as these can be used more than once and there are a variety of ads to choose from. There is the cost of placing the ad in the paper, but you would have that cost regardless and newspapers are still the most effective way to advertise.

Bump: Initial cost

Jump: Minimal time commitment and good return on investment

• Internet Marketing: In the form of a static website or a landing page, of the two, either one is fine to use if they are content rich and informative. If your website has only your practice name and your picture, you probably won't get much traffic, unless you are spending many hours networking your site. The fact is, a patient doesn't just want to know you exist and where your location. They want to know what sets you apart from all of the other chiropractors. Your website needs to be able to capture and draw the reader further into your site. Does it offer advice and tips for a healthy lifestyle? Then there is the cost. You could spend a small fortune on a graphic designer unless you know how to build a website, keep it relative and play the internet game. I would not rule out this option, because it does play an important role at some point. As your practice begins to grow you can use this option to send out monthly e-newsletters, directing existing and inactive patients to your site using email.

Bump: Initial cost and time commitment, after that it needs to be maintained and kept current.

Jump: Can be very useful if informative if updated regularly. Should be used with other forms of marketing. Something to look at down the road.

• Direct Mail Advertising: In the form of letters, postcards or monthly newsletters. An easy option and relatively inexpensive, one that your front office staff can easily access and complete for you once you decide on a specific campaign. Using an information gathering site, for demographics, then fine tuning the search information, will result in a list generated to suite your preferences. Combine this with a letter in line with the type of mailing you will be doing (new homeowners, fitness oriented, or condition specific.) If you are short staffed there are services that will create the campaign, print and mail for you. Therefore you have two cost brackets with this option. Don't be fooled though, outsourcing can be cheaper than doing it yourself.

Bump: Limited exposure, some people throw them away as junk mail

Jump: Minimal time commitment, variable cost, focused coverage

• Miscellaneous: Phone book ads, patient appreciation days, condition of the week, referrals, newsletters, incentives, networking, business network groups and testimonials. These are just a few under a large umbrella. Again I want to bring up the email marketing and place it in this category. If your staff captures the patient's email address along with the phone number and the physical address, you can begin to use that information as a way of marketing. Send out updates, specials, condition of the week, invitations, new product alerts and even testimonials. Using the emails as pointers to your website opens a door for reader networking. Everyone loves to share an interesting email with a friend or two.

Bump: Some cost and a more time required by you and your staff

Jump: These are things that can be added later when you have built up an active patient list, when your practice is running smoother and your budget is more flexible.

Having options gives you direction, helps you chose the best way to market your new practice and gives you the ability to move over the obstacles. However, you need a clear view to see beyond the bumps. My suggestion is to map out a marketing plan. Provided with directions and a plan, your road to a successful practice will be a smoother journey.

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