New patients, new patients, new patients! This is the common denominator most practices desire. So, now that 2007 is here and running, what are you going to do to help your practice attract new patients this year? Do you have a marketing game plan? Stop thinking about it and begin taking action.By following these three foolproof steps, you'll be on your way to becoming your office's new-patient magnet.
This is a simple process that can be done by asking yourself some important questions: What worked or did not work last year? What things did you do, both internally and externally, that were most successful for your practice? What was least successful and why? Was your marketing done on a consistent basis or haphazardly? Were there specific team members who stepped up and went above and beyond the call of duty? Was there anything you wished you had done that you can act on in 2007?
Making distinctions is easy when you ask yourself a series of questions. By answering these questions honestly and effectively, you will be sure to come across the answers that will allow you to learn from what didn't work last year, and grow on what did. Write down your answers. Separate your "Will Do in 2007" and "Will Not Do in 2007" lists. After you separate your distinctions, prioritize the items in the "Will Do" list. What is the most important thing you want to accomplish this year? Is there anything you want to accomplish, but perhaps is not one of your top three priorities? Visualize how you will take these answers and utilize them to make this year your best year yet.
Recognize the Trends of the Future: Build Relationships and Differentiate Yourself
In the old days, Yellow Pages and newspaper ads were the most common ways of creating streams of new patients. In today's "lingo," we call this seduction. Due to education and the increasing awareness of solicitation, this method no longer works. Would you look for a chiropractor for one of your family members by scoping out an ad in the Yellow Pages? Probably not - it's as simple as that.
Today, successful practices follow the trends of the future in order to attract their ideal patients. These trends are followed by building relationships with people in your community. The best way to build common bonds with people in and around your area is to encourage your doctor to provide outside speaking events for employees at local businesses, schools and organizations. If your doctor establishes themselves as an expert on a health or wellness issue, the audience attending these workshops will most likely consider coming in for a consultation. The key is to make sure your doctor builds new relationships in order to attract new patients into your office.
Another trend of the future is differentiation. What makes your practice different? What makes you stand out from the other chiropractor down the block? Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine how your practice is different - and how you can focus on the attractive qualities that set you apart from the rest:
- Does your practice offer top-notch service? Is the staff always friendly and helpful, making the office visit experience pleasant and worry-free?
- Is your office up-to-date with the latest and greatest diagnostic equipment and technology, allowing you to provide your patients with the most advanced care?
- Do you offer a "one-stop shop" (aka, a "wellness practice"), making it easy for your patients to take advantage of multiple services offered in your office (e.g., nutrition, acupuncture, massage therapy and/or physical therapy)?
Building relationships within your community and differentiating yourself from the rest are two trends the most successful chiropractors in the industry are following.
Have an Event-Driven Practice
Events within the practice are not only productive by adding numbers to your bottom line, but also help you create a buzz, which makes practicing fun again. Keep your patients guessing - what will you do next? If you constantly have events going on in your office, you will engage your patients and keep them coming back. With an event-driven practice, there is an intense energy that comes along; it affects the staff, doctor, patients and community. It's the law of attraction - you attract what you want into your life. If you truly want to have events within the practice, here are some thoughts to help you along your journey of making your thoughts become your reality:
- Women's Night of Indulgence. Invite a nail technician, makeup artist, hair stylist, wine-tasting specialist and massage therapist into your office. Invite your female patients to bring a friend and come in and "indulge themselves" in the great services these professionals have to offer. This creates a great ambiance in the office and not only engages your current patients, but also attracts the guests in becoming new patients.
- Candy-Counting Contest. Fill a large glass jar with a counted amount of colored candies (i.e., M&M's, jelly beans, gumdrops or gum balls). Display the jar in the front of the office so everyone can see it. For one week, ask your patients to guess how many candies are in the jar by writing their guess on a blank sheet of paper along with their name. At the end of the week, the person whose guess is the closest wins a dinner for two. (Tip: Try to get a local restaurant to donate a gift certificate in order to cut costs.) This is a great patient-retention tool.
- Back Safety and Injury Prevention In-House Workshop. Create "Back Safety and Injury Prevention" flyers and post them around your office neighborhood, including local shopping centers and gyms. The flyers should clearly state an invitation for your patients and the community to come to the office for a complimentary workshop. (Don't forget to include the date and time of the workshop.) At the workshop, have your doctor review proper lifting, bending and pulling techniques that reduce injury in the workplace and at home. This is a great workshop for people of all ages.
Are you excited yet? Hopefully, by reading these sample events, you now have an urge to create this energy within your office. Remember, it's all about servicing your patients and your community (your future patients).
Take action now to make 2007 your best marketing year ever! Make your distinctions, recognize the current trends in chiropractic marketing and create an event-driven practice. Work as a team to create multiple streams of new patients and spread the word of chiropractic to your community. Find the right balance in marketing your practice and take it to a higher level.
Click here for previous articles by Michelle Geller-Vino, CA.