We are now on our final week, week 5, of the 5 things you must know before starting a practice. If you haven’t downloaded the ebook yet, then visit our website lifestylepracticebuilders.com/ebook, put in your information and we’ll send you the free ebook so you can take notes and remember all the things we’ve talked about during this podcast series. If you’re a practicing Chiropractor then stay tuned to the rest of this episode, we’re talking about the marketing foundation every practice needs, and the importance of evolving your marketing to grow in 2021!
Week 1, of this series, we talked about the role your mindset will play in determining whether you’ll be successful. We talked about being resourceful, resilient, and adaptable among many other things. Week 2 we talked about having a well thought out business plan that takes the vision you have for practice and gives you a roadmap to seeing it through to reality. Week 3 we talked about keeping your overhead low and why high revenue doesn’t always equal high net profit or happiness. Last week, week 4, we talked about many of the systems you’ll need in your office and how important they are to creating an effective, efficient, and enjoyable well-oiled machine.Today we’re talking about marketing!
The landscape of marketing has changed quite a bit in the last year. Some chiropractors were forced to shut down, others had many of their patients drop off their schedules, and some of you may have been trying to get started this year, after graduation. We might all be in different places in practice, but we all need to be marketing differently than we were a year ago! And marketing has completely changed since we opened our office almost 12 years ago. So let’s dig in!
Marketing is how your patients will find you and part of why they’ll become your biggest fan. Marketing includes your branding, the services you offer, the promotions you do, the products you sell, your pricing, the blogs you write, how you advertise, and the way you network and use social media -- all of this is marketing. There are a lot of options out there, so it can be difficult to know what to do. Most of the time patients will need to hear your message several times, before they come in, so you’ll need to make sure your brand is consistent, concentrated, and well thought out. Your practice cannot survive without patients, which makes marketing extremely important to the health of your practice success. The cool thing about how things have changed in 2020, is that it’s made it easier for you to start marketing now, even before you graduate, we’ll get to that in a bit!
Marketing will take up two of your most precious resources when you’re getting started, time and money, or both. You’ll need to decide which one, time or money, you have more of and use it. When we were first starting out, we had more time than money, so we used our time to get to know people. We became fixtures in our BNI group, in our local chamber, and at local events. We went to every social meetup we were invited to, we attended every ribbon cutting, we had a booth at every race held in the town, at the town fair, and other local events throughout the year. We hosted Santa in our office at christmas and our own ribbon cutting which had a huge turnout of all the people we had met the first few months there. Within a few short months of opening, it felt like we were starting to get to know everyone around. These relationships continued to feed the growth of our practice until we sold it 2 years ago.
We didn’t have a ton of money for marketing, but we did try running a newspaper ad. We were in a small town and felt like that might be a good marketing tool. The ad didn’t bring anyone in, but eventually the newspaper did an article on us and that brought in several new patients over the next month. After that we did door hangers which were very effective. We would go out over lunch, hang 300 or more on the doorknobs of homes in our community, and within an hour new patients would start calling.
Getting the initial patients in the door was the most challenging, but once we were able to build up a solid base of patients that knew, liked, and trusted us, they started referring in others. Before too long we had built a referral engine that organically produced 25 or more new patients a month without us doing anything. We started attending events instead of having a booth at them. We were able to stop doing BNI, would attend a couple chamber events a year, and host a chamber event in our office every other year. Being consistent and putting in a lot of effort for the first few years had really paid off for us, and we were able to focus all of our efforts in the few places that produced the biggest results.
Let’s talk about some marketing things I’ve seen new Chiropractors try that didn’t work out. I want to steer you clear from making these same mistakes. These Chiropractors couldn’t help but chase the next gimmick, thinking it’s what their practice was missing. Or they thought it would bring in some fast cash and make them millionaires. A new tool, a new supplement program, a new tech gadget, another certification - but all these things end up doing is making you lose focus, costing loads of money, and creating uncertainty with your current patients.
All of these things drove the doctors out of business, some into bankruptcy, and to other careers. You don’t need these things! What you do need is all of the foundational elements that we talk about on every episode of this podcast.
You will not be an overnight success, so don’t look for it. Building success will take time. So don’t waste your time chasing gimmicks. Spend your time building a brand and a reputation. Be consistent and continually build on what you start with in the beginning. Utilize all of the foundational elements we talk about.
Building your practice will take time and a whole lot of effort. Don’t get discouraged easily if getting to know others doesn’t immediately fill your practice. Building relationships takes time. That’s why you need to be a consistent fixture wherever you decide to do your most networking, and offer to help by joining a committee or even the board of directors.
Let’s talk about how you’ll get started. If you’re in school now then this is important. Pull out your ebook or something to write on. If you’re in practice then listen for things you may not be doing yet. These are foundational elements of building a strong marketing machine.
If you own a ChiroPlanner then this is where you’ll start reading through the Ideal Patient Avatar. Get to know who that is so you can develop your branding based on that ideal patient. A common mistake is thinking that "everyone" is your buyer. This might work for larger companies, but there’s a reason that they say, "the riches are in the niches.” A niche is where you'll have the most leverage, using your unique talents and personality, to grow your practice. And to develop a niche and appeal to buyers within the niche, you must understand their pains, needs, and priorities. These are all things we’ll also be covering during the trainings next year, inside The Foundation, for anyone who purchases the 2021 Startup Bundle. If you are starting a practice in 2021, we want to help. Learn more about the Startup Bundle, by visiting our website at lifestylepracticebuilders.com/startup.
Once you know all about your ideal patient avatar, then you’ll want to start focusing on your branding. Branding will include your logo, how your office is decorated, your paperwork, any handouts you create or mail you send, your website, your social media accounts, and ultimately how and where you market yourself. If you need some help with this, then find someone local to help. Think of some locally owned places you like to frequent and see who developed their branding and website. We did this when we moved back to Kansas City. If you’re on a budget then use a service like 99 Designs or Fiverr to get a logo and move on from there. It helps if you can find logos you like, to give the designer an idea of what you’re looking for.
Once you have a business name, logo, and colors, you’ll need a website and social media accounts. If you’re on a budget then we recommend using Wix or Squarespace for your website. We use Kajabi for ours. It’s pricey, but we have a lot of additional functions we like that go with it, like it’s easy to develop the website ourselves, it includes email service and marketing funnels, we can develop courses and sell supplements etc. It’s very easy to use, but maybe not where you want to start. When we first started, we created our website which eventually ended up on wix, then we paid someone to design it on Squarespace, had another person move it over to Wordpress, and now we’re back in control of it.
A website is like the modern day business card. According to Hubspot, 97% of people learn about local businesses online more than anywhere else. Your website is where you’ll show who you are, the services you offer, where you’re located, and how a potential patient can get in touch with you. I have heard of Chiropractors starting without one, but not sure I’d feel comfortable recommending that. You will always own your website (unlike other platforms which may change policies or go in and out of style), and it has the capability of generating organic traffic in addition to being a place to send traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives. It allows future patients to connect and learn before they walk in the door. This will make day 1s much easier for you! Read more about our tips for websites HERE!
While you are developing these foundational marketing elements, you’ll want to be thinking about what makes you uniquely you. Why are you the better choice? What makes your offer more valuable compared to other Chiropractors in your area. For me, I’m an active working mom that treats healthy active moms and their kids. I am an active mom, I have and treat my own kids, and I understand the challenges of both the working and stay at home mom. I also have taken seminars on nutrition, child nutrition and care, cranio sacral technique, and activator. All treatments that I can utilize for these populations, in order to provide, safe, gentle, chiropractic care. Do I treat patients outside of active mom and kid description, yes, but ideally I want to work with active moms and their kids so that’s the vibe I put out, the words I use to describe what i do, in my marketing, etc. When someone google/facebook searches for a chiropractor in your area, the more they connect with the vibe of your website, the more likely they will schedule with you. It won’t be everyone!
We recommend getting input from someone who is your ideal patient. If I want to change my logo, I show my friends that are also active moms and see what they think. I don't ask Rich or my brother.
Everything I’ve talked about so far, you can be doing your last year in school!
Let’s talk about social media because it’s another thing you can be doing in your last year. For Facebook, you can set up a page for yourself, then transition it to your office page when you have an idea of location, etc. If you’re in clinic then you can start getting reviews on facebook too. I’m also not against reviews by friends and family. It might seem scammy but it’s not. If people like you, then they should share that. They don’t have to say they’re a patient if they’re not. They can say, “I’ve know Justin for the past 5 years, he’s a great friend and I’d recommend him to any family or friend.” or “I’m Mary’s aunt and she’s always been responsible and caring. She’ll be a wonderful doctor.” I know this might sound crazy, but people will appreciate that your family/friends shared such nice sentiments about you, and it will help to start building your brand today! Also have patients you see in clinic leave you a review, other students, teachers, your pastor. You get the point!
On Instagram, decide whether or not you’ll use your personal profile or create a new one. Whatever it is, please make it public. Also go listen to episode #138. I go into detail about your bio and other things. Once you have it setup, think up 5 categories your ideal patient would enjoy content from and share, but try to stick to these things - one category you should all include is visits to local places. This helps share other businesses in your area and connect with them for marketing your practice. Other categories will have to do with the things you offer or enjoy sharing with patients in your office - exercises, meals, healthy activities, clean shopping, oils, supplements, home gym, etc.
You want to develop all of these things first-branding, a website, social media accounts; because once you start meeting people, you’ll probably start connecting with them using these platforms. So when you meet someone, you might give them your Instagram handle, your website address, connect with them on Facebook, etc. It takes several touches for someone to get to know, like, and trust you - social media has made that easier, but it’s also made it so there needs to be a lot more. When we started the number was 7 touches, so 7 postcards, 7 television ads, etc. Now, with social media, it’s easier and cheaper to connect but someone needs to see you like 38 times! Holy moly, so get to work, haha.
Next you’re going to create local awareness and establish a network in the community where you will practice. In the ChiroPlanner we give 50 or more ways you can do this. The idea is to check many of the marketing opportunities in your area out in the beginning and find a few where you can really focus and make the most impact. Join chambers, business associations, community groups, a church, a gym, etc. Find ways to get involved. Networking is a great way to capture business leads as long as you don’t come on too strong, so make sure and listen to episode #129, Rich and I talk all about our networking secrets!
Networking allows you to meet new contacts and create more brand awareness and new referrals. You can sponsor sporting events, nonprofit events or anything that is for a good cause. Get your name out there while also being a generous giver in the community. Rich and I did free sports physicals for several years, then we started sponsoring and giving money to the athletic program. Once we built that relationship, then we were the only practice invited to the school to do sports physicals on campus. To this day, the amount of money and services we were able to give to the youth sports in our town is one of our greatest accomplishments. We plan to build and give a lot more in the future!
Once you start getting patients in the door, create loyalty with every one of them by giving exceptional care and service. A happy patient will come back and will tell their friends about you. They will be your brand ambassadors. In the beginning these can be family and friends who help promote your business - give them all t-shirts or water bottles with your logo on them.
Let talk about ad spending. You might have to spend some money getting started. Either by using Google ad words or Facebook and Instagram ads. I wouldn’t blow your whole marketing budget these though because it can be costly and not build quite as fast as you would hope. It can be a gamble, so only use money you have to throw at it. You must get out there and tell people who you are, why your product or service is different from the competition and how to find you. Advertising is not a one-size fits all solution. Find what works for you!
More than anything, focus on consistent, repetitive branding. People need to see/hear about you somewhere, several times, before they’ll come in. In today’s world of constant connectivity, you must make sure you’re seen and heard. The most common reason that people do not buy your product is that they do not know about it yet.
A large part of marketing is keeping track of goals and key performance indicators, as well as trying to relate each marketing effort to growth. Once you’ve experimented with a few things, pay attention to the data. This can inform you of what's working and as you grow you can double-down on proven methods of generating new patients.
In 2020 we have started connecting with other providers on social media, then leading that to Zoom meetings. Building a relationship without actually meeting in person is possible. Prior to covid this wasn’t happening as much, it was very much in person events and business meetings, linking through online was taboo, but it’s become much more normal and a hell of a lot easier if you ask me. We also connect and help promote other local small businesses on our social media accounts. Mainly restaurants because we love food and to eat out a lot. But any of your favorite stores or businesses you frequent would love a shoutout from you. They can be slow to catch on, so some businesses may not respond at all, but don’t let that stop you. Your patients will appreciate following your posts about local businesses and events.
These are all the marketing things you need to be focusing on as you start your practice. Or if you’re currently in practice and didn’t put a lot of time and effort into building a marketing foundation then I recommend taking a step back and figuring some of this out. If you’re doing well enough then it might be a good time to hire someone to help with this. Be careful of expenses though and make sure that if you’re paying for someone's help with Google Adwords or Facebook/Instagram ads, make sure you know what you’re paying for and that you’re getting a decent return on your money!
Your action plan for this week is to put together a marketing plan for opening your practice. If you have a ChiroPlanner, use the Ideal Patient Avatar to start, read through the marketing ideas, and get an idea of your overall vision for growing your practice. If you join us in The Foundation or purchase the 2021 Startup Bundle then we’ll also cover some of the more advance marketing strategies:
We’re looking forward to 2021! Helping you get open and grow. If you’re interested in working with us as you open your practice next year then download our free ebook at lifestylepracticebuilders.com/ebook and visit lifestylepracticebuilders.com/startup to learn more about the 2021 startup bundle. With the bundle you’ll receive a chiroplanner in the mail and a full year inside the foundation, our online membership library to walk you through starting up your first practice. We’ll also have trainings and answer your questions inside the private facebook group. 2021 is going to be a great year!
Now that we’ve finished this 5 part series, I have some interviews I’ve been recording to share with you. So stay tuned to those over the holidays. I’m also putting together a plan for the podcast in 2021. We’ve covered so much in the last 6 months. If this is your first episode then definitely listen back over the last 50 episodes, there’s a ton of value there!