Print advertising is dying, phonebooks are dead, and nobody cares about local cable television or billboard ads. The internet is now our primary means of communication and it's evolving on a daily basis.
There used to be a time when simply having a website guaranteed you new patients. Now successful internet marketing campaigns require time, investment, and the kind of expertise that takes years of trial and error to cultivate.
You should have started 5-10 years ago, but you didn't, and now you're up against well established competitors in an environment you don't understand while watching your patients begin to dwindle. You're probably confused and maybe even frustrated because you don't know where to start or maybe you've already lost time and money on failed campaigns.
Don't lose hope!
I've already written dozens of articles and guides on this blog, so I'm not going to reiterate the basics. There's a good chance you've already done some homework and you know buzzwords like "search engine optimization" and "social media marketing," so I won't waste your time (or mine) rehashing the same information. When you boil everything down there are only 5 things you need in order to run a successful campaign and generate new patients:
- A valuable service
- A high-quality chiropractic website
- Basic search engine optimization
- Pay-Per-Click advertising
- A social media campaign
These four things will consistently generate patients. Everything else is fluff.
Most importantly, don't get bogged down in sales pitches and "300% guarantees". Look for clear, comprehensible information and straightforward solutions. If a company says "that's too complicated to explain," it's a surefire indication that they have no idea what they're doing and are more interested in your wallet than your success. Here are some pointers...
Avoid guarantees and beware testimonials...sure it'd be great if someone could guarantee your success, but that just ain't how it works. There are too many variables involved in a successful internet marketing campaign to guarantee anything and a qualified expert will always tell you "there are no promises". Imagine going to a chiropractor and being told, before walking through the door, that the doctor can guarantee 100% recovery regardless of the patient's condition. That's how I perceive guarantees in my industry. Likewise, testimonials are often faked/paid or part of a bait-and-switch. Just ask lots of questions and do your homework before making any decisions. You don't want to hand you clinic's reputation over to anyone who isn't qualified.
Quit bargain shopping...real experts don't offer ridiculously cheap rates. Looking for the cheapest price is a surefire way to ruin your marketing campaign before it even begins. Think about it this way, the average chiropractic clinic requires a minimum of 3-5 hour of marketing per week. A reasonably qualified internet marketing expert earns $35/hr, which means anyone charging less than $500/month is either totally unqualified, not doing any substantial work, or using crappy automated marketing systems. Which leads me to my next piece of advice.
Don't automate your marketing...I'll update this post when I find an automated marketing system that works. To date, they're all essentially useless. There are some aspects of search engine optimization that can be automated, but platforms like social media are impossible to automate successfully (they require sincere human interaction). Automated marketing schemes are good at one thing: taking your money and wasting your time.
Roderick Campbell is the marketing director at ChiroHosting Chiropractic Websites. He can be reached at Rod@ChiroHosting.com or by telephone at (800)295-3346.