CHIROPRACTIC MARKETING STRATEGIES, PRACTICAL ADVERTISING TIPS
- Advertising as a Chiropractic Marketing Strategy
- Chiropractic Marketing: Article Summary
- Chiropractic Marketing: Article Objectives
- Case Study: Research Methodology
- Case Study: Observations
- Case Study: Conclusions
- Role of Social Media: Explained
- Explanation of Chiropractic Marketing Strategies
- Chiropractic Marketing: Conclusion
Advertising for chiropractic marketing strategies can be defined as any way to promote your chiropractic business to potential patients using the following mediums: online, radio, TV and print.
There are six online advertising strategies used within this article. They include: Google Ads, Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Facebook advertising, Twitter advertising, LinkedIn advertising, and advertising using Instagram.
We'll go into more detail about these sources of advertising, but keep in mind that advertising on these platforms does not necessarily mean using their internal ad functionality, it also refers to using social media to grow brand awareness.
Does your brand awareness need help?
Advertising for chiropractic marketing looks at the results of an academic research article, entitled, An Empirical Analysis of Consumers' Attitudes Toward Chiropractic Services Advertising: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Study (Moser, 2010).
The article sampled a population of 4000 potential patients and asked them a serious of questions about their opinions of chiropractic advertising.
How age, education and gender influences the respondents opinions are also taken into consideration. The results are used to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of advertising for chiropractors. Several advertising methods are identified and details about them provided. Finally, the article describes a number of actionable tips for these methods to use in your own chiropractic business.
There's more than fancy words here!
The goal of this article is to convey the role advertising has within the realm of chiropractic marketing strategies. In addition, we want to go beyond the dissemination of topical information and provide practical ideas that can be used to grow your business right now.
When you are finished consuming the content in this article, we want you to take away strategies that you can use with tools and references you can download or bookmark for years to come.
Info graphics, slide presentations, videos and images are used to convey the information to ensure the content is dynamic, entertaining and promotes differentiated instruction.
You won't be disappointed!
The data for this study were obtained through mail questionnaires sent to a random sample obtained from the Marketing System Group of 4,000 consumers from the seven metropolitan statistical areas in Tennessee: Memphis, Nashville, Clarksville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Jackson, and the Tri-Cities (Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City).
Appropriate numbers for each city were drawn according to the ratio of each city’s population to the total population of all seven urban areas. The research instrument was mailed to the consumers, and 387 usable questionnaires were received and analyzed. The 1991 sample included 324 usable questionnaires from the same seven metropolitan statistical areas.
The survey instrument consisted of 16 statements designed to measure how favorably consumers perceived advertising by chiropractors. The respondents were asked to answer Likert-type questions regarding their strength of agreement on a scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Demographic characteristics of the respondents included city of residence, occupation, age, sex, race, marital status, number of children in household, total family household income, and education (Moser, 2010).
Here's a sneak peak...
To simply the results of the case study, for six of the questions, we have combined the strongly agree and agree responses into one percentage. The remaining responses were undecided, disagree and strongly disagree. Thus, from the list of five possible choices a high percentage of strongly agree and agree is significant.
The following observations can be viewed using the info graphic above. 86% of the respondents said, "advertising will positively affect my image of a chiropractor." 83% revealed, "advertising is a useful means of informing patients of services and specialties. 80% asserted, "it's better to deal with reputable chiropractors than one with the lowest price," and "you can rely more on what a friend tells you about chiropractors than advertising." At lower percentages, but still significant were, 60% concluded that "the public is provided useful information through advertising," and 58% said, "I would use the services of a chiropractor who advertises."
Clearly, if one were to accept these findings, advertising can play an important role in chiropractic marketing strategies. At the time of this research, potential patients not only accepted the use of advertising by chiropractors but thought it was helpful.
Two interesting outcomes were identified by the data collection. Firstly, patients didn't appear to be price takers. In many retail industries, for example, consumers tend to be price takes, preferring the lowest price option. Pricing ones products and services must always take this concept into consideration. In most cases, if you were to charge a premium price, you need to make it quite clear how the product or service is superior to the competition. Failing this, you can expect consumers to bypass your offerings altogether in favor of the lower price offerings. The data shows that chiropractic patients are not as price sensitive when it comes to chiropractic services. This is a very significant observation.
Lastly, although chiropractic advertising and marketing is looked upon as favorable by potential patients, they place more value on the opinions of their friends. A friends endorsement of a particular chiropractor trumps advertising from that chiropractor.
The lack of price sensitivity and word-of-mouth endorsements leads to some fairly exciting outcomes with respect to chiropractic marketing strategies.
Can you guess the outcomes?
3 main conclusions can be drawn from the research:
- chiropractic marketing strategies like advertising should be employed by chiropractic practices
- Potential patients are not entirely price sensitive and are more concerned with quality of service
- when choosing a chiropractor, their friends opinions are extremely important
Since advertising is viewed positively by potential patients, we will discuss in more detail how to implement advertising to stimulate business growth. This information will follow in the next sections. In the meantime, let's draw some fairly significant conclusions with the remainder of the information.
If patients are not entirely price sensitive, and care more about the quality of service, chiropractor's should not engage in pricing-wars with their fellow chiropractors. Instead, they need to highlight the superiority of their services. They could show superiority through credentials, associations, awards, and testimonials. Additionally, patient opinion may allow a chiropractor to increase their prices over the competition if there is a perceived value-added proposition present.
If potential patients place a lot of value on the opinions of their friends, chiropractors must protect their customer satisfaction at all costs. Using testimonials from past and present patients along with advertising is a good way to capitalise on this phenomena.
But this is a double edged sword...
With the pervasiveness of social media it has never been easier for customers to air their bad customer service experiences. One bad review from a patient could have lasting, negative effect on the chiropractor's business. Customers might be price conscience, but they are definitely skittish of negative opinions from their peers.
If you are a chiropractor and you have an upset patient, bombard them with love and affection. Give them their money back. Give them future sessions for free. Do whatever it takes to change their mind. And if they did say something bad about you online, do whatever it takes to convince them to edit their review. Sometimes, the strongest endorsements come from customers that were previously jilted but impressed by your unwavering desire to appease them and make it right.
At the end of the day, with all of your education and intelligence, you're still in the customer service business. Don't let your ego prevent you from doing what is right for your business and the customer.
Now that we know advertising is a good chiropractic marketing strategy let's dive a little into the mediums you might use to build an advertising campaign. The following sections will look at social media, radio, TV, and print sources. Social media is an important component of any chiropractic marketing strategy.
But it has its limits...
Social media does indeed have its limits. Social media for business is a way to express the brand. Chiropractors can showcase images of happy patients, advertise special deals, and generally try to collect a local audience by providing useful information. If you are running a chiropractic business and you aren't doing these things you won't reach as many potential patients as those who are. But social media rarely leads to direct sales. A strong social media presence won't lead to success if the chiropractor isn't utilising other, more mainstream techniques for business growth. Therefore, social media for businesses is strongly recommended, especially if the chiropractic practice is new or not already fully established.
Mainstream social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Other well known but slightly less effective social media platforms include Google+ and Instagram. Google+ hasn't recognised the same amount of traction and influence in the social media market due to a lack of commitment from Google. Yet, because of Google's dominance in the search engine industry, don't rule it out. Instagram is not as influential but that is growing. Businesses that learn to leverage Instagram in a "hip" new way will likely make inroads with a younger segment of the population which is good for future growth.
Facebook is a powerful tool for people to connect, share their opinions; good and bad. Use of facebook is about brand recognition and trust. If you choose to spend money on Facebook, keep in mind that you are investing in the image of your brand. Facebook will rarely lead to direct sales.
Here is what happens when a potential patient goes to facebook and see one of your ads...
Still waiting for an answer?
Not much! But let me explain.
If they weren't looking for a chiropractor, they aren't going to click on a chiropractic ad. The probability the user is looking for a chiropractor at that exact moment is slim. On the other hand, they might skim by your business name and notice you are a chiropractor near where they live. To convert that user into a patient, you're going to have to wait until they want a chiropractor and possibly remember you, ask a friend about chiropractors they know, or use other more mainstream methods for finding a chiropractor. Facebook isn't going to be that magic lead generator. As a chiropractic marketing strategy, Facebook has its limits.
Don't count Facebook out!
As we have already seen from the case study, the opinions of others matters. Potential patients, after having heard of your practice, may check you out on Facebook and skim through the posts and comments. They will first look for negative posts. If they don't see complaints, they'll look at what's there. If what they see doesn't scare them away, or looks favorable, they'll likely click on your website link and contact you.
Facebook builds trust! Treat Facebook as a means to grow brand recognition and trust and it will help you grow.
Like Facebook, Twitter is a good tool to build brand recognition and trust.
In the early years of a new chiropractic practice, Twitter can be a wonderful tool to reach out to potential patients. From day one, Twitter can help you reach people through tweeting directly to other Twitter accounts. You don't have to have hundreds of friends to reach out to others.
In addition, you have to realise that not all users who use Facebook use Twitter, and vice versa. Using both social media platforms will give you the opportunity to engage with a wider audience. The bigger your audience the more potential you have for growth.
Twitter has recently expanded their advertising options. You can build advertising campaigns to drive traffic to your website, increases your followers, increase the public's awareness of your brand, increase engagement in your content and promote your videos. The options are quite exciting!
Slam on the breaks!
Twitter advertising is relatively new. At the time this article was written, website clicks and awareness were in their beta stages. When something is beta, the developers are signaling immaturity in the software, meaning it may not function as intended. Furthermore, it's hard to say how successful these advertising options will be because there isn't a lot of prior examples to consider.
If you have fewer than 1000 followers and money to invest, Twitter ads are a good way to establish a following. If money is tight you can still build a following, it'll just take longer. Don't break the piggy bank on Twitter.
The best thing about Twitter is its 140 character limit. You don't have to write a novel. It takes little to no time to tweet 140 characters. Just make sure to keep your tweets positive and informative. Remember, Twitter is a marketing strategy to build awareness for your chiropractic practice and build trust with potential patients.
LinkedIn requires you to have a professional profile. You can create a company page connected with your LinkedIn account. Facebook works in a similar way. If you don't already have a LinkedIn account, where have you been? All kidding aside, as a chiropractor, you need to have a LinkedIn profile. Many patients will expect you to have a professional profile online and LinkedIn is perfect for that.
LinkedIn is better suited for Business to Business (B2B) outreach. You won't be connecting professionally with potential patients. Not usually. However, post to LinkedIn the same content you send to your other social media platforms. As we already discussed, there may be patients that troll LinkedIn but aren't found of Facebook or Twitter. Cast as wide a net as possible.
Who doesn't like fish?!?!
Google hasn't continued to develop Google+. This is why, if you ever take the time to check out other businesses Google+ pages, they're usually pretty stark of content if not entirely blank. Many open the business page to get the low quality "no-follow" backlink.
Don't keep the page empty. Post your social media content there too. You may reach some users that do not use the other social media platforms. There are some large and interesting groups you can join on Google+. Again, this is more than likely better for B2B, but brand recognition never hurts.
Since you are operating a location-based business, Google+ can offer a MASSIVE competitive edge! Local searches on Google are tied to your Google+ page. When potential patients are actively seeking a chiropractor they'll eventually go to Google and have a look.
Let's say they type the following into Google Search:
Here are the results:
Near the top of the page, below the paid advertising, you will see local listings. You want to be listed in that local listing! You can have a thriving chiropractic business off of clicks from that local listing alone and that doesn't cost you anything other than the time it takes to optimize your Google+ account and some on-page SEO. We'll go into more specifics later.
Instagram isn't a vital component of your chiropractic marketing strategy. It is hard to target a local audience with Instagram. Instagram is decentralised; meaning it reaches people from across the world using images as a primary means of communication. With that being said, don't discount Instagram's popularity with younger users.
Instagram should be used to augment your practice's image. No pun intended. Photo's of happy patients and fun and energetic staff can go a long way to promote a family friendly atmosphere. While the older adults are not likely to care about Instagram, there are a lot of younger potential patients that use Instagram.
Why wouldn't you want to connect with the next generation?
Furthermore, Instagram can give you other unique opportunities. Images also allow you to use humor, satire and sarcasm to convey messages. You can be creative with the image and short videos you post to Instagram. This is your chance to look "cool" and inclusive. A "sick" image (that means cool too) is better than no image at all. Wouldn't you say?
You won't be doomed for failure if you choose not to use Instagram, but if you are at all adventurous, I highly recommend it.
The proceeding sections will look at each social media platform in more detail. You'll learn how to leverage social media to help grow your business. A combination of images and tutorials will show you step by step how to get the most out of your chiropractic marketing strategies. Furthermore, we'll consider SEO, radio advertising, TV advertising and print advertising.
Ready to have your mind blown?
By now we have demonstrated why it is important to incorporate advertising into your chiropractic marketing strategies. Social media is a driver for brand awareness and trust, but you more than likely already knew that. We haven't exactly told you anything you didn't already know or have an inkling towards.
Here is where things get interesting.
The following sections are going to provide practical information that you can incorporate into your own chiropractic business. First, you will see how-to tips and tricks to get the most out of your online presence, then we'll talk about other advertising mediums; such as, radio, TV and print.
Otherwise known as Google Ads. These ads are present at the top of the page for any Google search. Since these ads are at the top of the page, they are more than likely to be clicked with more frequency. Data shows they are not as useful as being on the first page organically (without paying for an ad), nonetheless, they are far better than not appearing on the first page at all.
Keep in mind that Google Ads is very expensive! Since they are "cost per click" or CPC, you pay for each click they receive, there is no guarantee that a click will lead to a new patient. Typical conversion percentages (percentage leading to a paying patient) are between 1% and 3%. Therefore, you could expect to acquire a new patient every 50 clicks. Each industry is different and depends on a number of variables, but this is what you could expect.
If you decide to use Google Ads, here is a tutorial to get you started.
Click on the image to advance the slides. You can also use arrow keys to move forward and backward.
Having good on page SEO is a must. If you want to compete within the online space it is imperative you walk the walk and talk the talk. Bad SEO optimized pages can really let your content down. Moreover, you might find yourself increasingly frustrated if your competitors are ranking higher even with lower quality content.
Here's a list of to do's to ensure your on-page SEO is up to snuff:
- Have you identified a keyword for your page?
- Does the keyword appear in the page URL?
- Does the keyword appear in the content within the first paragraph?
- Do you have only one H1 tag on the page?
- Is the H1 tag contain your most valuable keyword?
- Do you have a 3% to 7% density of your keyword within your content
- If you have H2 and H3 tags on the page, do they describe your H1 keyword?
- Do you have images on the page?
- Do those images have alt tags?
- Do the alt tags for images have the keyword present?
- Do you have infographics on the page?
- Do you have videos or slideshow presentations on the page?
- Do you have at least 2 links to other pages on your site?
- Do you have at least 2 links to authority sites related to your content?
If you answer no to any of these items in the list, you are not optimizing your page. With millions of pages present on the internet, making sure you are making the most out of your content is extremely important. Taking short cuts isn't going to get you the results you want. If you find all of this too daunting, don't turn your back on it, hire others to help you.
Facebook advertising, as discussed earlier, is a value proposition that is difficult to measure. Determining the benefit of branding and trust isn't easy because it relies on an almost infinite number of variables that are interrelated. However, there are circumstances when Facebook ads can be directly beneficial.
5 Advertising Options:
If you can identify a specific segment of the population based on age, gender, interests, and location, Facebook ads can target the types of people you want to market too.
Options for Getting More Website Visitors:
I can't stress enough, for a chiropractic practice, Facebook advertising is not likely to lead to a 1:1 relationship between ads viewing and new patients acquired. In the end, Facebook excels at promoting your brand and building trust.
If you have determined a Twitter following is key to your success and you have a budget then try Twitter advertising. The process for creating a Twitter campaign are fairly straight forward. In the future we may add an additional tutorial to help. If you think this would be helpful, please contact us and let us know.
Example advertising options offered by Twitter:
Using LinkedIn advertising is going to depend on your ability to target market your audience. Since LinkedIn is a professional social media platform you will have to be creative with your targeting. For example, if you know a large proportion of your patients come from a specific industry in your city, you can target them. If your patients are mostly male or female, young or old, you can target them too.
Example advertising options offered by LinkedIn:
The types of radio advertising you have available to you will depend on your location. For location-based businesses like chiropractic practices the radio can be a good way to reach potential patients. Radio advertising creates a sense of credibility and awareness.
But credibility doesn't come cheap.
If you want to take advantage of radio credibility and awareness get ready to fork out the dough. Serious dough. As already mentioned, the options available will depend heavily upon your location, but a common trait is the high cost of radio advertising.
Consider the following should you choose to employ radio advertising:
- run radio ads during the morning and evening rush hours
- target radio stations that broadcast in your geographic location
- hire a professional to write your ad. Someone with experience writing for the health care industry
- hire a creative expert or team (can also be associated with 3) to present the ad effectively
- prepare to run the ad for a significant time (multiple times per day for 2-3 months)
- incorporate a way to measure the ads effectiveness over time (e.g. contact form on your website with a "how did you hear about us?" question as a field, or the same question on a patient induction form)
- ask your current patients if they've heard the radio ads and their opinions of them
While managing a tutoring company in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA - Ontario, Canada), I contacted a well known radio station. This radio station has a very large number of listeners, especially during rush hours. The cost of running 2 ads a day; 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening, 5 days a week for one month was approximately $15,000 Canadian dollars. That is 40 ads costing $375.00 per ad. Not cheap. On the other hand, the number of potential patients you could reach with that ad could very well make it worth the cost.
Get ready for a hypothetical example...
If 250,000 commuters hear your ad and 0.1% of them are interested, and 1% of those 0.1% (0.001%) become patients, each ad will result in 2.5 new patients. With these numbers, the cost of acquiring a new patient is $150.00. Considering the average cost of a chiropractic treatment is $40.00 combined with a first-time consultation fee of $100.00, your radio advertising pays for itself after the first session.
Wow, right? Again, location is an important factor. Smaller populations will affect the results. Interestingly, in smaller population centers the cost of radio advertising might be a lot less and therefore might be a viable option.
In any event, you must make sure you maximize your return on investment (ROI) by adopting the recommendations from the list above. Having a poor ad is going to be a complete waste of your money. If you are going to advertising on the radio, do it right!
Due to the high cost of using radio advertising, this advertising method is more than likely geared towards established practices. I wouldn't recommend new practices to take a chance on radio advertising.
TV advertising is similar to radio advertising. You can use the list from above to formulate a plan should you choose to use TV advertising.
There are some TV differences that are worth noting. TV tends to reach an older more mature segment of the population. Younger viewers are turning their attention to the internet. Viewership in TV is declining. For a chiropractic practice, keep in mind the age demographics of your patients. If you have a large percentage of older patients, TV advertising may be a useful tool for expanding your business.
On the flip side, if your patients tend to be younger, in the 20's, online advertising may be a better choice for you. But remember, you don't have to choose one over the other if you have the budget. Just make sure you are as informed as possible.
Historical examples of print advertising include:
- business cards
- mail drops (flyers in the mailbox)
- house drops (flyers at your door)
- newspaper drops (flyers inserted into the newspaper)
- advertising on billboards and buses (other physical locations within the city)
- presentation banners and information packages (used at trade shows or mailed to home owners)
You never know when you might be somewhere and run into a potential patient. Always make sure you have business cards handy. The best thing about business card is their ability to travel from person to person. Not having a business card make you look unprofessional, cheap, and unprepared. Have them available within your wallet or purse and at your front desk.
Flyer drops are not new and have been used by virtually every industry to promote a product or service. They don't tend to be highly effective. In fact, they may earn you more scorn than admiration. Flyers in newspapers are the least bothersome, but their effectiveness is low. I'm not a fan of flyer drops.
Advertising on billboards, buses and bus stops can be effective. If nothing else, they are a great way to promote yourself within the local community. Not only do they give you a chance to promote your services, they tend to provide credibility as well. If the price is right they are a good way to advertise.
Participating in conventions where health products are displayed to the public can be an excellent way to advertise. Here you have an opportunity to speak to potential patients that are concerned about their health and are more than willing to be sold too. How often do you find yourself in that predicament?
In addition to a booth at a convention, run a raffle with a sweet prize to collect names, phone numbers and emails. With this information, you can send a sales package, make a sales call, or a sales e-mail. If you're interested in direct level sales this is a great way to build your practice. Offer a tablet or similar tech device, something that has real value to your potential patients. They'll give you their contact information in droves! People love winning stuff.
There is a lot of information within this article. Firstly, we reported on an academic research article that observed the effectiveness of advertising in the chiropractic industry. The research showed a possible return on investment of 6 times. Keep in mind your results will vary. However, there is very clearly a positive correlation between chiropractic advertising and increasing patient numbers.
Next, the article identified advertising methods. Social media has become a major component of advertising for businesses. A chiropractic practice definitely benefits from social media. More historical methods of advertising are also mentioned.
In the last part we look at the usefulness of these advertising methods for chiropractic practices. With respect to social media, there are subtleties any chiropractor should be aware of to get the most out of paid advertising. Once one understands the strengths and weaknesses of social media, any advertising strategy is likely to be more successful.
Traditional forms of advertising is very expensive. Social media limits the barrier to entry for new chiropractic practices while still allowing them to promote awareness of their skills and services. The one caveat we want chiropractors to take away from the results of social media on advertising is the disconnect between awareness and new patients.
Social media doesn't always translate into new patients. The power of social media is promoting brand awareness. New patients will come, but these results are rarely instantaneous. Furthermore, the proper use of landing pages, e-mail news letters, SEO optimization, and more is required to funnel potential patients from social media to active patients.
Subsequent articles will likely focus on these other elements of advertising. Please comment within the comment section below to express your interest in additional topics. We're highly motivated to uncover the topics that most interest our readers.
If building a successful chiropractic practice is your passion, we recommend taking a look at the business software we provide. The software helps organize various elements of your business and provides a single entry point for your business data. It's an all in one tool for client relations management, client scheduling and appointment system, finances and accounting, human resources and much more. Check out Bizstim's software for health clinics.
We hope you enjoyed the information present in this article.
We hope the information you find here is useful for building your business. If you have any questions about the content we'd be happy to answer them. If you would like to see more detail on any of the topics in this article, please leave a comment and we'll consider it. After you implement some of our recommendations, come on back and tell us how it went.