In a world becoming increasingly dominated by connected devices, when we think of marketing, we often think of online and social media marketing. Considerable attention is given to Facebook and Twitter, as well as CPC [cost-per-click] advertising.
While marketing occurs at various points throughout the customer life cycle, let's primarily focus on marketing strategies to obtain new patients. The key to growing any business is getting your name out there, and while it will happen organically through word of mouth (if you provide a service worth talking about), there are quite a few things you can do to get the ball rolling.
Direct Mailing: Postcards
The first strategy to discuss is direct mailing of acquisition postcards. This means sending a postcard to all the homes in your neighborhood to let them know your business exists and you are looking for new customers. In terms of content, you want to use relaxing imagery and focus your writing on only the most important message. You will want to include your business name, address, contact information and a list of the services you provide. Acquisition cards work best when you have a special offer. For example, you can offer a free initial consultation to people who bring in your postcard. Not only is this a great incentive, but it also allows you to measure how effective your direct-mail campaign is.
Once your card is designed, the next step is choosing where to send it. For a highly populated area, you might only send to all homes within a 1-2-mile radius of your business. For a more rural area, it may be a 10-mile radius. The goal is to reach people within a reasonable distance of your clinic. Sending mail this way is referred to as "ad-mail," and there are plenty of companies that can help you organize mailing out your campaign.
Another great way to get your name out there is to get involved with the local community. Most neighborhoods throw community events and look for sponsorship money to help fund the event. These are great opportunities because in return for your sponsorship dollars, your business name will be placed on banners, in brochures and often mentioned during speeches. Showing your support for the community is a great way to gain publicity and leave a positive impression with people. As with acquisition cards, you may want to offer a special to go along with your sponsorship.
In addition to neighborhood events, communities also often host trade shows or markets. What's available in your area largely depends on the size of your city; you may see opportunities ranging from exhibiting at large fitness trade shows to smaller street-festival events where you can set up a booth and promote your business to festival goers.
Continuing with the theme of getting involved with your community, the next marketing strategy is the sponsorship of a local sports team. This really seems to be an untapped opportunity. It's likely that your community has adult sports leagues for football, baseball, basketball and several other sports.
This is great opportunity because when people play sports, they often sustain injuries and would benefit from a visit to your clinic. As the sponsor of a local sports team, your name will be first and foremost on the minds of the team you've sponsored, as well as all of their opponents, which amounts to hundreds of active adults in your neighborhood.
The strategy of targeting active adults doesn't stop there. You can also get in touch with your local gym and ask to leave some business cards or put up posters promoting your business. Active people tend to want to keep their muscles healthy; going to the gym is just one part of it. Letting them know that regular chiropractic care will improve their performance is a surefire way to grow your business. To reciprocate, you can offer to promote their gym to your patients.
Don't Be Afraid to Get Involved
Local, offline marketing can be fun and allows you the opportunity to really get creative. I've only scratched the surface here, but the key takeaway is that you and your business are part of the local community – you shouldn't be afraid to get involved, shake a few hands and be shameless in the promotion of your business. After all, it's much harder to put a face to a name if you're trapped behind Facebook or Twitter all day.
Daniel Ruscigno is the co-founder of ClinicSense (previously PatientCal). ClinicSense offers practice management software that helps with scheduling, soap notes, billing, electronic insurance claims and more. For more information, visit www.clinicsense.com.