Marketing, without it you have no business and with the wrong marketing it is not much different. Todays market place is filled with commercials, radio advertising, billboards, and ads in magazines. Your clients are constantly inundated with this information and being able to capture their attention is quite difficult because of it. The most difficult part of marketing is figuring out how to get and keep their attention so your business comes to mind, and alternative health businesses have the same hurdles as more mainstream ventures.
There are myriad of different ways to advertise your business from traditional advertising to more web based contemporary advertising. Both of these techniques work for both mainstream and alternative businesses. For the sake of argument we will use chiropractic marketing ideas to explore several of the options available in traditional and new media.
The first type of marketing is the most common, traditional marketing. This generally involves the print media and radio & television and word of mouth. While this type of marketing does compete with the internet it is important to remember that not everyone is on the internet and often those who are most in need of coaching through chiropractic seminars, services and patient education rely on word of mouth along with traditional advertising:
1.Print Media: This includes business cards, newspaper/magazine advertising, flyers, mailers, etc. The mass appeal of the internet has forced a decline in the effectiveness of these methods but that is not a reason to abandon them. A comprehensive marketing plan for your business needs to include both the traditional means as well as new media in order to gain peoples attention. When putting together the marketing, you want to make sure it is crisp and to the point. Another key aspect is to make sure that all of your methods of advertising match, this is referred to as branding and its sole purpose is to give your chiropractic business a consistent identity in the market place.
2.Radio & Television: depending on your location and how your competition is advertising should determine if you need to or want to use radio/television for advertising. These methods generally cost the most and are only effective if applied to a broad listener base and played several times daily. An excellent technique to keep in mind is this, if you have local competition and they are not running any radio spots then it would be worth running an ad on the radio for your chiropractic business, it would set you apart from others.
3.Word of Mouth: word of mouth has always been viewed as being more powerful than any commercial, radio spot or ad in the paper because it comes with the experience of a real person. Happy clients can make or break any business but even more so when dealing with alternative health choices. This is mainly due to the stigma and opinion that it is not real medicine when in reality it is quite real and beneficial.
While these are the traditional means of advertising and they are affected by the internet, as mentioned that is not a good enough reason to remove them from your marketing plan. The goal of the marketing plan is to brand your business and introduce AND keep it in everyones mind that you are there but also what services you offer and how they can help your audience.
Technology has provided the small business owner with a variety of tools to market their business for little overhead and a small investment of time. The following are three of these new media tools that you as a chiropractic business can benefit from and an idea on how on use.
1.Facebook: Probably the most obvious of new media choices but not always the easiest to work into a marketing plan. The power of Facebook lies in how you use marketing for chiropractic business. There are several different types of pages you can setup on Facebook (FB) from the average user, bands, groups and businesses. It is the business page we are most interested in because it allows for the most flexibility and customization for your chiropractic business. Lets assume that your business already has a website and now you have started to work on a FB page as well. Facebook allows you to integrate your site with their but adding the Like button to your page. This means that for every visitor that you have come to your website, if they have a FB profile and they click like they are now part of your FB fans and receive information from your FB page. So as a point of advertising you now have two different sites, your website and Facebook sending traffic back and forth, both increasing your viewership and your page rankings (think search engine ranking). Another aspect of FB business pages is that FB allows you to add in a landing page which often is a mini version of your website that you can link back to your main site.
Now that we have laid that out, how does this actually help your business? We will use Joe as an example, Joe needs chiropractic work done and one of his friends has your business page liked, so, Joe goes to your FB page. Since you have a landing page Joe will now be seeing a mini version of your website and is able to click over to your services, benefits, hours of operation all from within that FB page. You could even set it up so when Joe likes your page he would receive a discount coupon on his initial consultation! This simple coupon and quality service provided to Joe will help him become a loyal client and be very willing to promote your chiropractic services by both Facebook and word of mouth.
2.Blogging: This is a time consuming method of advertising, it does require dedication and a schedule for when your articles post to be most effective. Blogging has a tremendous amount of readers and niche areas such as chiropractors and their services. The power with blogging is the followers, who is following your blog and consequently who follows their blog. It is a digital version of the networking each of us as professionals are involved with day to day. Often bloggers will have a main website or their blog will be part of their main website that details out their services and the benefits of those services. Many bloggers use their blogs as a means of driving traffic to their website, Facebook or any other sites that they are looking to drive traffic to.
As part of a marketing plan a blog should only be undertaken if the time to manage it and work with it is there. Additionally a blog should not be added into the marketing plan if there is no real benefit to your overall marketing strategy, it will only be a drain on time and resources that could be better spent investing in strategies that are working.
3.Quora: Quora is an up and coming site that is structured as a question and answer site. What sets Quora apart from other Q&A sites is the caliber of people on the site. Generally professionals of all walks Quora is a wonderful marketing tool for a business. By having a presence on Quora and participating in the community you are able to gain more exposure for your chiropractic business to a demographic that has a higher amount of discretionary income for health and well being. This is a more focused type of online networking, joining a community of professionals, participating in discussions and forwarding them to your website, blog, or even personal contact information. Quora does require an investment of time but in comparison to blogging, the time is spent interacting with potential clients or business partners. Whereas blogging requires an investment of time for writing the articles, maintaining a presence online and networking with other bloggers to build up your network. Quora on the other hand allows you to post questions and draw conversation in or you can choose to answer questions that others have posted. In both cases you are able to build relationships, promote the benefits of chiropractic work and direct traffic to your website/business.
Any successful marketing plan for your business is going to involve aspects from both traditional and new media advertising. Your business cards should have your website and email address on them, you may even consider putting your Facebook URL on them as well. Advertising in magazines and papers will also include the same information. The point of the marketing plan is to determine what is going to work best for your business and in the area that you are established in.
As with any business owner, chiropractors are not interested in marketing, marketing plans or how the nuts and bolts of advertising to their client base works. Rightly so, their focus should be on their business, managing chiropractic practice and making sure their clients receive the best possible care. Organizations such as DC Mentors work with chiropractors to find the correct solutions for managing their practice, working with clients and leadership skills.