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July, 2012

Condition Specific Marketing

By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA

Market to everyone and you market to no one! In the real world of marketing your professional services, this rule becomes apparent very quickly. It's a tough lesson learned in the hard knocks of business ownership. On the surface it makes sense to market your services to anyone and everyone who will listen. It's the law of averages game in full swing. The more people you reach, the better chance you have of converting them into patients. Unfortunately this is not the case. In reality, you are lost in the chaos of overwhelming marketing information relentlessly thrown at people 24/7. The average person is inundated with more than 1,000 marketing or sales messages every day and they are simply numb to noticing your message. Don't get lost in the abyss of ho-hum marketing! Stand out from the crowd with niche condition specific marketing and take your practice to a new level of success.

Traditional marketing relies on mass distribution to highlight the benefits of your services. That's like throwing a handful of darts at a dartboard hoping one hits the bulls eye. It's a shock and awe approach that is rarely successful compared to the dollars invested. In today's economy and social media market you must become target specific with a precision strategy and goal oriented outcomes. Learn to use one dart aimed precisely at the bulls eye so there is a greater chance you hit the target. Develop niche specific marketing savvy to thrive and get noticed above your competition. Here is a blueprint plan of action to show you how.

Choose a Condition

Condition specific marketing encompasses many variables to maximize effect. First and foremost is to choose the condition you want to market. Take your time in selecting a condition that resonates with you on a personal level. Condition specific examples include: carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shoulder pain, runner's knee, shin splints, sciatica, headaches and TMJ syndrome. What makes this condition special for you? Perhaps you have experienced the condition yourself and can relate to others who suffer from the same problem. Maybe a loved one in your life was afflicted with the condition and you witnessed how it negatively impacted their quality of life. Do you have a special technique, skill or unique protocol that is very successful with helping a particular condition? The take home point is to choose a condition with some emotional connection. Why? Because patients will feel your personal attachment and this resonates in everything you do. Emotional connection is a powerful and foundational component of referral based word of mouth marketing. People can sense the difference between true intent to help them or a selling technique designed to win them over. You only have one chance to make a genuine first impression on people. Don't waste it!

Choose a Patient Base

The next step is to select a patient base most likely to suffer from your chosen condition. This is an effective method to funnel a marketing campaign increasing the likelihood of genuine interest in your message. In the marketing world this is known as a "warm" lead; in other words, directing your energy towards someone close to taking action on resolving a current problem or situation. Making your presence known in an environment having a higher potential of positive outcomes based on time invested is smart business. For example, elbow tendinitis is more common in people who enjoy playing tennis. Runners experience a higher rate of micro-traumatic injuries such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints. Golfers are prone to back pain and inner elbow pain. Fitness enthusiasts are prone to shoulder injuries. Martial artist always have hip, foot and knee problems. The elderly population is seeking help for stenosis, arthritis and degenerative disc disease. Your priority is to discover the patient base that resonates with your treatment style and find out where they congregate. It's critical for you to choose a patient population you enjoy working with on a daily basis. This ensures you bring a positive energy and passion to your office everyday which feeds the fire of success.

Create a Treatment System

What is your "unique" treatment protocol? Do you have a system in place that separates you from the competition? What can you offer a patient that they cannot get at other offices? What is the "value factor" you bring to the table? First and foremost you must have a well organized and highly functional system of intake, therapy, education and maintenance for your condition specific patient base. When discussing your system with a potential patient, you must make it crystal clear of the road map for reaching their goal so they understand every step of the process. Highlight a special modality or combination of special skills you possess that will add "specialization" to your program. Examples include: laser therapy for fast regeneration, soft tissue therapies, fascial manipulation, therapeutic exercise programs and taping procedures. Patients don't know what they don't know. Meaning, they think everyone has the same type of treatment program for a condition. You must show them why your office is "the" best place for them to get better.

Condition specific Case Example

I created a successful practice using this model of condition specific marketing. Here is template you can follow for any condition you choose to market with "why" thought process questions. Also included are special social media resources for locating your patient base. This example will focus on plantar fasciitis and runners. (Side note: One of the most powerful condition specific markets you can choose).

  1. Condition: Plantar Fasciitis. Why? Tough condition to treat and when people get well they refer.
  2. Patient Base: Running enthusiasts. Why? Runners love to run. They don't want to stop running. They want to run longer, faster, better and forever. Highly emotional component to running and they are willing to invest in therapies to obtain this goal.
  3. Treatment System: Laser therapy and corrective exercise. Why? Deep tissue laser therapy will be a unique selling point for healing tissue damage quickly. Combine with corrective exercise programs geared toward runners to help improve their movement dysfunction. Teaching them to do what they love better.
  4. Locate Runners: Social Media Outlets/Events. Why? Effective use of my time and target to thousands of people in my market. Twitter: Keyword and #hashtag search of plantar fasciitis, running, marathons. Facebook: Search for running groups and enthusiasts. Create a Facebook Fan page on plantar fasciitis. YouTube: Create and post videos treating the condition. Make educational videos about the topic and post on your website. MeetUp.com: Join site to locate running groups in your area for giving talks or becoming involved as a resource. Technorati.com: Blog search site where you can locate the top blogs on running. Contribute educational material and become a resource for plantar fasciitis. Running Events: Setup a laser therapy booth/stretching booth at running events and treat clients before and after a race. Uniqueness factor!
  5. Referral Engine: Word of mouth. Why? Once you get people better in the niche, they tell others in the niche. Runners know runners. Encourage success stories to post on their social media outlets about you. The mission is to become "viral" as the GO TO GURU on the condition.

Marketing is not something you do when business is slow. Marketing is something you always do, so your business NEVER gets slow. Stay vigilant in your daily efforts to sell yourself with a targeted plan. Create your monthly condition specific marketing calendar and break it down into weekly and daily oriented tasks for completion. Small consistent action steps with precision directed effort lead to big results. The more interested people you reach, the more people can benefit from chiropractic. It's the little things that make the biggest difference. So for big marketing results, go small!


Click here for more information about Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA.

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