How To Develop A Chiropractic Marketing Plan That Works!
Marketing your private practice
Marketing is one of the most misunderstood and frustrating areas of practice development. Many physicians struggle with marketing, and very few have an organized marketing action plan.
It’s easy to see why marketing can be difficult. It is rare to find physicians who are effectively using a practice development plan, and even fewer have an event calendar and planned marketing procedures. Without careful planning and timing, your marketing may not run rationally or efficiently. Scattered and unsystematic marketing attempts are ineffective and produce very few results. This lack of success may lead clinicians to conclude that attempts to market their practice will always meet with the same lackluster result and may lead the clinician to think that marketing is a useless or unnecessary exercise.
If you want your marketing practice to be successful, you must ensure that your efforts are part of a larger strategic plan. There must be planning and foresight. Your marketing approach must be organized, relevant, and clearly visible to both employees and patients. You should make an effort to create a linked series of marketing events. Marketing efforts must not only have an individual impact, they must also have an impact when viewed as part of a larger plan.
Plan for success
Before you start planning your marketing strategy, you need to sit down and decide exactly what kind of practice you would like to have. Will you focus on occupational care? Chiropractic care during pregnancy? Sports injury? Will you have a combined approach? Visualize your ideal practice as you would like it to exist in five years.
Think about the types of patients you would like to treat. Who are you most comfortable dealing with? Unless you can clearly define and target your market, you will have considerable difficulty developing and communicating a message that potential patients understand and respond to. If you don’t know who your target audience is, how will they know?
Before you start actively working to reach your target market, take a look at your practice. Are your practice systems developed to the point where your entire team can process new patients in an organized and efficient manner? There is no point in spending time, money, and energy searching for your new patients, unless you can process and care for them once they come to you for care.
Once you are absolutely confident that your practice will be able to effectively serve the new clientele, you are ready to work on the next phase of developing your marketing plan: figuring out how to reach your desired target market. Think again about the type of patient you would like to work with. Once you have the patient in mind, think about what types of marketing could reach and attract this type of patient.
Perhaps you would like to have a significant sports injury component in your practice. Where could you find these patients? You might consider things like speaking to your local PTO, organizing an injury prevention seminar for local coaches, sponsoring local teams, and buying advertising in the school’s newsletter and yearbook. Initially, you may just need to show up and show up at local sporting events with business cards so people really know who you are, where you are, and what you do.
Taking the time to carefully consider each of these areas will help you develop a marketing plan that is much more likely to produce the results you want.
Even the best marketing plan won’t be effective if you don’t spend time on implementation. Set aside a minimum of one hour per week where nothing other than calendar development and marketing implementation takes place. This time must be protected, it is not cancellable and it must be considered essential for the development of the practice. Make sure staff know not to disturb you; no phone calls or interruptions should be made during this time.
Start planning your marketing efforts. Brainstorm marketing initiatives that make sense for your practice and your target audience. Grab a desk-sized paper calendar and schedule the exact days and times each step should run. Put only the items on the calendar that you are sure you will be able to do completely and efficiently, not half.
Plan your marketing to occur more or less simultaneously, and not necessarily sequentially. The reason for doing this relates to the principle of mass action, which is often neglected in private practice marketing. This principle says that massive action equals massive results. In marketing, too many doctors try to take a random step here or there. When they fail to produce the desired results, they become frustrated and abandon their marketing program. A much better way to go about marketing is to make sure the linked steps take place simultaneously. You will be much happier with the end result by approaching your marketing in this way.
Building loyal followers
An essential component of private practice marketing involves maintaining close contact with those who have used your services in the past, along with community members you may have met at civic events and social functions. Maintaining constant contact helps ensure that all of these leads and referral sources translate into more patients for your thriving practice. Never forget that patients (and their families) who previously used your services are much more likely to not only refer family and friends, but to see you again. Stay in touch so they feel valued. Seek to build long-term relationships with every patient and potential patient that you come in contact with.
Create a database where you can track each of these important people. Today, list maintenance is simple and can be easily handled by a trusted employee. There are hundreds of different database tools that you can use to track your clientele, and there are options available in all price ranges. You can also choose to work with a mail house that can create and distribute newsletters and newsletters on your behalf. For example, you may decide that each month your list of coaches will receive a newsletter focused on preventing sports injuries, which includes tips and ideas to make life easier for them. Your marketing database can be used not only to profitably send newsletters and promotions, but also to inform your clients of changes in practice such as hours, new partners, and more.
Every time you treat a new patient, find out how they got to your office. How did they find you? Where did they first find out about you? Who referred them? Enter this information into your database so that you have a written record of new patient sources. This follow-up is critical so that you know in the short and long term exactly where patients are coming from and which marketing efforts are producing the best results. Periodically analyze the results and adjust your marketing plans as necessary.
You should only consider spending money on external marketing (such as extensive newspaper advertising) if you are confident that you have procedures in place that will ensure you stay in touch with existing patients and referral sources, and effectively track which of your efforts to marketing is contributing in results.
Implementing an organized marketing program is essential to the success of any private practice. It may seem like a daunting task at first, but once you’ve established it, it will be much easier for years to come to maintain a thriving practice. You will have a strong base of loyal and repeat customers to build on. Paying attention to these simple principles will ultimately result in the development of your dream practice.