Back in the old days, you would ask a neighbor, a co-worker or a trusted friend for their opinion regarding a good restaurant, hairdresser or doctor. Today, we go straight to the Internet and read the opinions of people we have never met (and never will).
I am not your typical 20-something early adopter of technology. I would much rather talk to someone who's a good cook about a good restaurant or talk to my son about a new movie he just saw (he studied film production in college). But in the interest of time and convenience, I make decisions about films, restaurants and even potential colleges for my children based upon my Web experience.
This will increasingly be true for many of our buying choices, especially as innovation continues to push our Web experience forward. We will all expect more from the Web sites we visit. Any site that fails to deliver an acceptable level of design presentation and functionality will likely cause the potential customer to take their business elsewhere. (This is actually the case with one school we were considering. The school's Web site is so poor that we weren't interested in exploring it further.)
For the past year, we have been adding video presentations to our Web site (DynamicChiropractic.com) and to many of our e-newsletters. This is just one of many new ways to communicate with the profession that will emerge as download speeds increase. The days of a Web site merely being an "electronic brochure" are long gone. Web sites are now the first impression that will either lead a prospective patient to contact you or send them searching for another DC.
Take a Challenge That Could Change Your Practice
Search for your practice on the Web. Type "chiropractor" into Google and review the search results. When I do it, I see seven DCs in the initial list. Only three have their own Web site; the other four only have a "Google Plus" page that has no relevant information on it. Clearly, as a prospective patient, I will not be contacting those four.
Of the three remaining, one doctor's site has only four pages (an electronic brochure): Home, Services, Location, Appointment. I can't even find out anything about the DC who runs the practice, so he is eliminated.
As the last two Web sites provided sufficient information about the practice and the doctors (not great, but sufficient), I turned to the review sites to help with the final choice. Neither DC took the time to get their patients to post any positive reviews on any of the review sites (Yelp, Google Plus, Healthgrades, etc.). One DC had at least entered extensive information about his practice, history and his own story on Yelp. He emerged the winner, but mostly by default.
Had any of these doctors taken just a little time, they could have positioned themselves to receive prospective patient inquiries from everyone in town. Instead, most opted for guaranteed disqualification.
What's your situation? How does your practice measure up? Would you choose your practice using the same search method? The cost of a good Web site is much less that missing out on new patients. There are a number of companies serving the chiropractic profession that will do almost all of the work for you, including a patient e-newsletter. If you already have a Web site you're happy with, you can use tips found in several recent articles about how to use search engines, review Web sites, create a Facebook page and communicate with Twitter.1-2 Or you can add a patient e-newsletter.3 These activities will increase the number of new patients you receive from the Web. Some Web site companies include these services.
The days of traditional Yellow Page advertising are over. If you are like the four DCs who still don't have a Website or don't have any posted reviews, you are turning away new patients without even knowing it. Spend some time (and even a little money) to establish a presence on the Web that will make a real difference for your practice in 2013.
- Lombardi G. "Leveraging Local Search: Recent Search-Engine Changes Can Bring You New Patients." Dynamic Chiropractic, May 6, 2011.
- Sidhu H. "Harness the Power of Internet Marketing." Dynamic Chiropractic, Jan. 15, 2012.
- Information about patient e-newsletters can be found at ToYourHealth.com or by e-mailing .
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.