CF 098: Big Ideas On Marketing Evidence-Based Practices (Part One)
Today we’re going to talk about marketing. Specifically, marketing an evidence-informed chiropractic practice. How do you do it and do it right?
But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music
OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are making evidence-based chiropractic fun, profitable, and accessible while we make you and your patients better all the way around.
We’re the fun kind of research. We’re not the stuffy, high-brow kind of research. It’s like we’re talking about research over beers. Which is NOT like talking about research in a classroom or an institution of some sort. Accessible research if you will. I could be more professional but I’m not.
Welcome, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast. If you haven’t yet I have a few things you should do, like our facebook page, and go to our Store link at chiropracticforward.com and check out the goods. That’s it. Not bad right?
You have collapsed into Episode #98 which means I’ve been doing this thang of ours for a r solid 98 weeks now without missing a single one. It hasn’t always been easy to pull off either but I’m committed. I hope you are committed to listening and helping grow this thing as well.
Now, if you missed last week’s episode, it was Part II with Dr. James Lehman and, if his episodes didn’t get you to thinking and didn’t get your wheels turning, you just don’t have the entrepreneur mindset about you and that’s OK. But, if you do, you need to make sure you don’t miss those two episodes!
make sure you don’t miss that info. Go listen now. Keep up with the rest of the class won’t you?
I usually do a personal section here but I’m just going to say that our topic today is huge. Marketing is absolutely multifaceted and they have college degrees on the topic so it’s big and we’re just going to dive right in.
Before we get too deep though, it’s good to support the people that support you don’t you think? Well, ChiroUp certainly supports evidence-based practices.
If you don’t take advantage of this deal, I just think you might be crazy.
If you’re a regular listener of our podcast, you know I’ve used ChiroUp since about June of 2018. Let me tell you about it because I’m about to give you a way to do a FREE TRIAL and, if you sign up, only pay $99/month for the first six months which is pennies compared to what it’s worth. So listen up!
ChiroUp is changing the way we practice by simplifying patient education and here’s what I mean:
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You can see how this saves you time – no more explaining & re-explaining your patient’s care, because they have access to it at their fingertips.
You can be confident that your patients are getting the best possible care, because the reports are populated based on what the literature recommends and isn’t that re-assuring? All of that work has been done FOR you.
There are more than 1000 providers worldwide using ChiroUp to empower their treatments, patients, & practice – Including myself! **Short testimony**
If you don’t know what it’s all about or you’d like to check it out, do yourself a favor and go to Chiroup.com today to get started with your FREE TRIAL – Use code Williams99 to pay only $99/month for your first 6 months
That’s ChiroUp.com and super double secret code Williams99.
OK….marketing evidence-based practices. Where to even start? Isn’t it fascinating that just changing the color of a girl’s shirt from black to red to blue can get more attention and can invoke different
Let’s start with authority. What on Earth makes me a person that is qualified to talk about marketing. Well, most people that actually know me or have watched me over my career probably don’t have that question in their minds. They’ve seen what I do day to day. It’s pretty obvious.
For those that don’t know me or my practice, let me say these things in an attempt to show authority and NOT in an attempt to sound like a big shot or to brag. That’s not the intention here.
I’ve been at it almost 22 years and, to an extent, I gave everyone else a
It’s a fact. So, while I gave everyone a big head start on me, I believe I have caught up and passed a whole bunch of them. On average, as a solo practitioner, I get about 80+ new patients per month. That’s vital to practice health. If I’m not going to scare care people into a million visits, then I’d better have a steady stream of new ones.
If you like the stat we call PVA, patient visit average, mine is about 9 or 10. Which means, on average, I see patients over the course of their lifetimes about 9 or 10 times. To put that into perspective, the more philosophy, subluxation based, vitalistic, holistic practitioners will see PVA’s of 40, 50, even 100 in some offices.
That is probably the key difference between evidence-based and philosophy-based practice. If you get people better and back to their lives honestly and ethically and in 10 visits, and research doesn’t support the construct of correcting curves and seeing people 100 times, then why on Earth would you do that? Other than for financial means, of course?
Now, marketing….yes….I see roughly 80+ new patients per month and that turns into about 180-220 patient encounters per week. Yes it can be done because I do it. Yes you have to have a big, well-trained staff to pull it off. That’s a whole other episode. The point is, for an evidence-based practice, I think we can agree that we’re doing something right in regard to marketing in order to make it all happen. OK? OK….
Now I have considered putting together a short weekend seminar on this so, this may just form the framework to it. If any of you have an organization or association that you’d like me to build this talk for, shoot me an email at email@example.com I’d love to see how we can work together on it.
Introduction To Marketing and Patient Expectation
Let’s dive in. First thing you have to know is that, in your marketplace, trust is #1. How do we build trust? I’d argue you build trust through a consistent history and track record of making smart, factual posts on Facebook. Pumping out marketing, talks, or material that sets you up as the authority when it comes to smart, responsible, reasonable options and alternatives to what your patients see everywhere else.
Patients are not dumb for the most part. They do not want to be sold to. Let me repeat that. They do not want to be sold to. Trust me, they smell a snake from a mile away. Outside of scaring the crap out of them, you cannot get them to see you a million times. They didn’t come to you for that, they don’t want that, and you can’t talk them into it either without making a fool of yourself and out of other chiropractors.
So, the 50-100 PVA……throw that out the window. That’s not real world stuff if you are doing what is real, reasonable, and responsible. Most of the docs using that out-dated construct use information from one or two guys that is over a century old or they’re using questionable research done to prove a system. A system that the ‘researcher’ sells and makes money from. Bias maybe? Um….yes. Muy biased as they say in Texas.
So, for me, that practice construct is out the window. I focus on pain, disfunction, movement, and strengthening. If I were Joe Blow off the street that hurt like hell, what would I find more appealing and more respectable? Would it be ‘let’s correct that curve through 50-100 visits or you’ll be in pain and be sick your whole life, especially in 30 years’?
Or would it be “research shows we can usually do something about that pain you’ve been having and we can usually do it in anywhere from 3-20 visits or so depending on the patient. We’ll use strengthening, exercise, we’ll use chiropractic adjustments, we may use some massage and muscle work, we could use some balance training, and maybe acupuncture to accomplish it but we can usually either make it better or get it knocked out completely.”
Well, my money is on the last one and I’d be bold enough so suggest that your marketing should reflect this way of practicing. Yes, it’s focused on pain. And isn’t that OK? Pain affects almost everyone in the world so why on Earth would focusing on pain limit our reach and limit the pool of potential patients? Hell, I think there are more worried about getting our of pain than are interested in wellness care honestly. With that being said though, you can treat patients for their pain but you can certainly market and treat wellness patients as well. The more lures you have in the water, the more fish you catch. No doubt. They’re not mutually exclusive.
One of my
I think the next steps in marketing would be to define your market and your demographic. Get very clear on who they are and how you should best communicate with them.
For example, if you’re a sports chiro, you better be marketing athletic trainers, coaches, PTs, soccer moms, off-campus sports programs, and other sports experts in your market that may be sources of referrals.
But, make sure you REALLY are a sports chiro. Go get your CCSP or your CSCS or a Diplomate in Chiropractic Sports. Don’t just have a passing interest in sports so you decide to call yourself a sports chiro. Otherwise, your house of cards WILL fall and it’ll fall in a way that embarrasses you and gives other chiropractors a bad name.
Market what you are. Not what you’d like to be someday. Now that you know who you’re marketing, where do they hang out? What do they do? How do they think? How would their lives be easier if you’re in it? what makes you the best option above and beyond anyone else in your market? When you answer these questions, you have a head start on finding these people and getting your message to them.
Now that you’ve defined your market and where they hang out, you need to define your service. You need to be crystal clear on what it is you do and how you want to communicate that message. No confusion. No chiro speak. Simple, relatable terms. It’s called a unique selling proposition or USP for short.
A USP could be something similar to ‘We help everyone from Moms to top-notch athletes solve short term and long term pain in as few visits as possible, based on what the research shows is effective and
Bam snap pow
Could that use a little work? Well hell yeah but what do you expect for something that I just took 3 seconds to think up and type down? Come on man. Cut a brutha some slack.
But that’s a quick example of a USP and that should be the over riding message that you are communicating to your chosen target demographic.
The next thing that’s important is goal setting. What is the goal of your marketing? New patients? long-term treatment plans? Pain resolution? Mom’s this month? Sports people this month?
Not just goal setting but mostly meetings with either yourself or with your marketing representative. Did we accomplish our goals? Why did we or why did we not? What could we have done better? What are we going to focus on this month?
If you are not setting time aside to evaluate goals and you are not tracking your marketing efforts as well as your marketing results, you are driving in the fog without a map people.
The old saying will hold true until the end of time. If you can measure it, you can improve upon it. When things are quantified and recorded, you now have a number. A number to chase and a number to improve. A more quantified goal if you will.
Now tools that are important to disperse and build on that message…. My view of marketing may differ a touch than some other. I believe You need a three-pronged approach to marketing. Most focus on #1 and on #2 but I think there are three points to be made here. They are:
- Internal marketing – inside your practice
- External marketing – billboards, in the public
- Your vibe – who you are – everywhere
Let’s start with #1
Internal marketing. Did you know that people that have already done business with you before, assuming you treated them right and they’re happy, those people are the cheapest and most fulfilling to market to?
They’re easy to reach because you already have their info. People like this are more eager to help you. They’re happy to refer but most of us just don’t ask. If they don’t know you need their referrals, they won’t think about it. It’s nothing against us. We’re just all busy and, many times, if we’re not told, we just don’t think about it or know about it.
Most of the really really busy practices are so busy because they are actively marketing internally as much as externally.
Some of the most effective internal marketing techniques consist of simple things like:
- The first and most important aspect of internal marketing is patient experience. What does your office look like when they come in and when they walk around the place? How do you treat patients? What are they thinking when you’re explaining things to them? What are they thinking when they’re walking back to their cars? I’ve had patients that I could have been meaner to just to give them that pop that we all love but, would they be walking to their cars feeling like they just got crapkicked in the alleyway? Shouldn’t a visit be something a patient looks forward to rather than a visit they are happy they survived? Did you greet them with a smile and a handshake? Did your front desk staff greet them by their first name? Was your rehab staff knowledgeable and understanding of their specific challenges? Were you a pushy jerk about your recommendations or were you firm with recommendations but understanding of finances, travel concerns, and things like that? The real world does exist ya know. All of these things go into a patient’s experience and you better believe they make up their mind VERY quickly whether they like you and your place or not and, if not, you start behind the 8 ball and had better put on your charming pants if you want to turn that tide around.
- An email list – cheap and easy. And yes…..still effective. Just ask Kevin Christie with the Modern Chiropractic Marketing podcast. He just did an episode on it.
- A testimonial book in the lobby – Think that’s an out-dated idea? Go read Influence by Cialdini and check out the section on group think or peer influence.
- What about office flyers for some new information you just discovered?
- Brochures? Well, you know I’ve created evidence-based brochures for my office and for yours if you want to purchase some. So you know I’m all about brochures.
- In-house events – talks, patient education
- What about encouraging online reviews and Facebook check-ins? Patients don’t think of these things so you can’t be shy about telling them what you need from them.
- How about thank you letters to your patients when appropriate. What if one leaves you a Google Review? Wouldn’t it set you apart if you sent them a handwritten note? Of course it would and I promise a lot of you have plenty of time to do it.
These are just a few of the things you can do with internal marketing but there are a lot more things. We could dive into specific tactics on each of these but, again, that could be its own seminar down the road and doesn’t necessarily fit into the podcast format.
I will hopefully have something in place to help you track metrics soon enough. Also Part of making your life easier is having the right patient education tools in your office. Tools that educate based on solid, researched information. We offer you that. It’s done for you. We are taking pre-orders right now for our brand new, evidence-based office brochures available at chiropracticforward.com. Just click the STORE link at the top right of the home page and you’ll be off and running. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if something is out of sorts or isn’t working correctly.
If you’re like me, you get tired of answering the same old questions. Well, these brochures make great ways of educating while saving yourself time and breath. They’re also great for putting in take-home folders.
Go check them out at chiropracticforward.com under the store link. While you’re there, sign up for the newsletter won’t you? We won’t spam you. Just one email per week to remind you when the new episode comes out. That’s it.
I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.
When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show that many patients get good or excellent results through chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, to name just a few.
Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient.
And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!
Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.
Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.
Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out.
We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.
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About the Author & Host
Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger