This is the final installment of the ChiroUp Prosperity Plan- looking at ways to market your service in order to improve your financial stability in 2016. In the prior blog we discussed creating adequate capacity. This week we will discuss the top marketing strategies for growing your practice.
When it comes to marketing- first, you need a plan. Start by reviewing the ChiroUp marketing campaigns and choose 2 or 3 that suit your needs and budget. Don’t feel that you need to promote your practice with 100 different tactics- most successful clinics focus on just a few campaigns, but they implement them well. Here’s a sampling of 10 marketing strategies from ChiroUp’s most productive campaigns.
The New Patient Experience
This is the core of why you became a chiropractor – to give your patients an excellent experience. Starting a relationship with new patients is the steppingstone to a long-term relationship. By showcasing your professional, friendly and helpful practice, your new patients will form a great first impression, of which you can follow up with excellent care.
- Create a WOW Factor on Day One: One of the defining moments of a new patient experience is the consultation summary. After the doctor listens to the patient’s history and asks any necessary questions, the doctor then repeats a summary of the entire history in OPPQRST format. “Is there anything that I haven’t asked you about that you wanted to tell me? Okay then, let me repeat to make sure I completely understand your problem … This 60-second summary allows the doctor to confirm what the patient told them and is one of the most impressive experiences the patient will have had in a doctor’s office.
- Provide an Education Stream: Mounting a television or monitor in any waiting area is a high tech way to display multiple messages. Consider creating a Powerpoint presentation with dozens of messages and burning the presentation onto a DVD. Set your monitor to play “continuous loop” and your patients will see dozens of messages each visit. (Follow this link to download a Sample Waiting room DVD).
Providers should never forget that “satisfied patients show up, but excited patients refer”. The number of referrals that you receive each month is a direct reflection of the quality of your services. If you are not getting what you want from your practice, then you are not giving people what they want- and you cannot get better by giving people what they don’t want. Patients desire a “user friendly” product. Your goal should be to create engaged patients who cannot imagine a world without you.
Marketing to your existing patients is one of the most effective and affordable ways to grow your practice. Referral enhancement is a multi-step process that includes: delivering quality service, requesting referrals, equipping patients with tools to refer, tracking referrals, and acknowledging patients who refer.
- Tell Them What You Want: Many times, patients assume that a provider is too busy for any more new patients. Providers seeking referrals should let patients know that they welcome referrals. Consider a line or two in your welcome letter, letting patients know how much you appreciate referrals. You could also consider referral-based announcements on your office message board, waiting room DVD, and social media posts. At a minimum, providers should display a sign at the front desk, letting patients know that “We appreciate your referrals.”
- Ask: Some doctors find it difficult to ask for referrals; however, most patients are happy to refer if prompted to do so. One of the most opportune times to request a referral is the first time a patient tells you that they’re feeling better. At that point, providers should ask for a referral with a message similar to this: “Tom, I’d like to ask you for a favor. If you like what I have done for you, I’d like you to tell someone else who could benefit from my care. Here is a gift card to share with them. They can come in, and I will figure out how to get them feeling better quickly. Would you do that for me?”
- Recognize Referrals: Finally, providers must personally acknowledge all referrals. Providers need to make a “big deal” out of referrals. Patients are eager to please authority figures and will continue to do so if acknowledged. When someone refers a new patient, the provider should call the referrer that evening to let patients know how much you appreciate their referral. Providers should consider sending a personally signed “thank you for referring” note immediately following any referral. Providers should avoid disclosing names or case details to avoid violating HIPPA laws.
Medical Physician Marketing
Working closely with medical physicians in your area will not only increase your number of new patients (through referrals), but will further your reputation as the authority on chiropractic care. Building these kinds of relationships with physicians will take time and energy, but the outcome will be worth the effort.
- Set up MD Lunches: One of the best ways to establish a relationship is through face-to-face meetings. Take a day or half-day to visit physician offices and request to set up a lunch. You can do this yourself or task a friendly/outgoing staff member (see script to schedule a professional lunch) The M.D.’s receptionist will be quite familiar with this type of lunch as drug reps visit with the same type of request every day.
- Ongoing Clinical Communication: Medical physicians put their reputation on the line whenever they refer a patient somewhere. M.D.s and patients need to see a pattern of excellence in all you do. This includes thorough and standardized documentation. It’s good practice to send an “MD initial report” to the primary care physician for every new patient encounter. Include an “M.D. cover letter” for those who were referred by their PCP and a generic cover letter for all others. Following up, send a “MD Release report” to all PCP’s upon their patient’s release from our care plan.
- MD Newsletters: Send a bimonthly newsletter to stay in the forefront of your M.D. network’s mind. Start with the “Musculoskeletal Pyramid” handout. Pick subsequent topics that are pertinent and interesting to M.D.’s. *ChiroUp Premium members have access to pre-written monthly, M.D. newsletters.
- Check out this 15 minute MD marketing webinar that details all of the steps needed to garner more MD referrals
More prospective new patients are turning to the Internet to find professional services. The first thing many people do when searching for a provider is research them online. Chiropractic patients certainly do the same. By managing your profile on review sites and making it easy for your clients to add their reviews, you can easily grow your presence online, building your reputation as an excellent provider.
- Make Yourself Visible: Search your name and business name on all popular review sites. Be sure each site has your complete information, including contact information, website, email, office hours and treatment specialties. Most sites also allow photos to be uploaded, so be sure to include your professional photo and your office logo. Keep your information current and fresh.
- Ask: One of the keys to getting patients to submit online reviews is to ask for the review promptly. People are most likely to give you feedback at the time of service – the more time between the service and the request, the likelihood of getting reviews drops precipitously. *ChiroUp members who have not “opted out” of “Outcome tracker” will automatically give their most satisfied patients the opportunity to rate their practice.
Finally, recognize that you’re in a position to grow. ChiroUp providers have made a commitment to delivering clinical excellence. You have the tools and resources to quickly and easily deliver “best practices”. You are providing a service that patients want to buy rather than one that you need to sell.
We hope this 3-part “Prosperity Plan” provided some useful information for prospering in 2016. Enjoy the road to success and don’t forget- significantly different outcomes require significantly different actions.
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