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Dynamic Chiropractic – December 2, 2009, Vol. 27, Issue 25
Dynamic Chiropractic
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Dynamic Chiropractic

Strategic Marketing in Today's Economy

By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA

When times are tough, small-business owners often start cutting back on marketing to save money. Big mistake! In today's economy, it is vital to step up your marketing so you stand out from the competition.

While everyone else is retreating and patiently waiting for things to get better, you will be out on the front lines ensuring your practice thrives. The strategy involves making smart decisions in how and where you choose to market. You must have a game plan for success - a battle plan, if you will - in order to attract customers. Here are five low-cost ways to keep yourself visible and in demand.

YouTube

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past several years, you should be familiar with YouTube. The 'Tube' is a free online resource for uploading videos that are viewable by millions of people. Let me repeat that number: millions! It is a win-win marketing goldmine. That being said, there are certain tactics you must utilize to increase the likelihood your videos will attract viewers.

  • Make the videos informative. Teach the viewers and educate them with topics to help improve the quality of their lives. Refrain from blatant self-promotion.
  • Keep the videos to approximately 3-4 minutes in length. Attention spans don't last long on the Internet. Ramble on too long and viewers will click off quickly.
  • Place your Web site address in the video so viewers can see it the entire time.
  • Post videos regularly and often. Link the videos directly to your Web site. YouTube has many tools that make videos easily transferable to your business site.

Social Networking Sites

Ever heard of Linked In, Facebook and MySpace? Of course you have. These are unique digital mediums in that users of these social networking Web sites can be filtered in order to target specific customers by geographic location, age and sex. Users can also be filtered further by narrowed interests related to health, fitness and lifestyle. You can also place ads directly on these sites that will only be seen by your target audience.

This is also a wonderful opportunity for networking and building business relationships with other non-competing industries. You can upload articles, pictures, videos and other educational materials for free. It is a form of "viral marketing"; other people can link your information and profile to theirs, which accelerates marketing impact.

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging service that gives users 140 characters to answer the question: What are you doing? It is a communication tool to let one person connect to another. More and more professionals are using it as resource for keeping their business up to date with direct marketing. You can use it like a public-relations channel, posting accomplishments and distributing links that take people back to your Web pages, press releases, and other promotional sites.

Be careful of making your 'Tweets' (the lingo for a posting) too self-serving or self-promotional. Twitter folks like a personal touch, so make sure you share some of the human experience with them. The more people who follow you on Twitter, the more influence and networking opportunities you have. Thus, it makes sense to try and build a following.

Speeches and Workshops

Offering free, informative workshops to the public adds value to your reputation and follows the little-known secret of marketing: give to get. The success of the workshop is dependent on giving away information to get people interested in your product or service. Choose a topic of interest dealing with today's headlines to ensure maximum attendance. Search the Internet for ideas, or better yet, post a "Tweet" question asking your Twitter followers for suggestions.

Keep the speech short and relevant, leaving time for questions and comments. Hand out material outlining everything you discussed and make a "special offer" to all attendees, such as discounted evaluations/consultations, promotional materials, equipment, medical supplies, etc. Check your state laws regarding advertising restrictions and guidelines before designing your offer. Promote your workshop on all the above-mentioned social networking sites  and help grow your business.

Blogs

A blog is a type of Web site where regular entries (commentary, graphics, videos, and other media) serve to share information and communicate with others. Business blogs are an excellent way to share your expertise, build additional Web traffic and connect with potential customers. Blog software is easy to use and can be located with a simple Internet search. Simply write your thoughts, link to resources, and publish to your blog, all with the push of a few buttons. Blogging is a low-cost alternative to having a Web presence. For small-business owners without the money to hire a Web designer/developer, blogging offers an inexpensive method to get your practice name on the Internet.

Before venturing into blog territory, make sure you have the time to post regular content. At minimum, a once-a-week posting is the expected rate in the blogging world. Keep them short and relevant with informative tips and strategies for better living. If you don't have the time to create your own blog, simply post comments on other business/personal blogs. Be professional and respectful of people's blog themes and content, or you will develop an Internet reputation you do not want.

In time, you just might find yourself with a substantial blog following. Market your blog by e-mailing all of your clients announcing the new blog. They in turn will forward your blog to everyone in their network and social circle, expanding your viral marketing even further.

Market Year-Round

Marketing is not something you do only when business is slow. Marketing is something you always do, so your business never gets slow. Stay vigilant in your daily efforts to sell yourself with a targeted plan. Create your monthly marketing calendar and break it down into weekly and daily tasks to ensure completion. Small, consistent action steps lead to big results in the end. Think of it this way: The more people you reach, the more people can benefit from chiropractic. After all, isn't that what it's all about?


Click here for more information about Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA.

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