:dropcap_open:M:dropcap_close:cDonald’s is possibly the most successful small business worldwide and that success was built on products that are possibly not the healthiest in the industry. In health care, we do not have the option to not be the best because lives are at stake and a suspecting public is often more selective in choosing doctors.
To understand McDonald’s success and learn from it, there is only one marketing concept that you need to “own,” and with it you will achieve great success, albeit with one proviso. That concept is quite simple, “Do not double the people you know, double the people that know you.” The idea is so profoundly simple that all it takes is either a lot of your time and no money with a door-to-door campaign to introduce yourself to your community or a little time and lots of money with an advertising campaign. Both work because this is a numbers game. Eventually, someone with a spinal-related problem will need a chiropractor and if you happen to be “in their face” at the right time, your phone will ring. However, when you meet people one on one, the return is higher.
Another concept is “RRR.” Repeat and review with regularity, a concept introduced to me by my previous mentor Larry Markson 30 years ago and the credo I have followed in all of my marketing endeavors since. When you visit the people in your community, whether businesspeople, clergy or members of social organizations, follow up with a thank you note and place some business cards in the envelope. Find a reason to re-visit the establishment so they remember you. It is a time-intensive program, but one that costs no more than a postage stamp. The Cost: almost $0
If you are advertising, be prepared to do so frequently. One marketing researcher claimed that the public needs to see the same ad 13 times before they actually “see it.” That costs LOTS!!!!
The proviso that sets us apart from McDonald’s is clinical excellence. I have advised chiropractic offices, medical offices, chiropractic colleges, medical schools, local hospitals, teaching hospitals and medical supply companies on marketing their services to the public. The theme for each was universal and critical to the success of the programs: clinical excellence. Are you a model of clinical excellence? Are you part of a group that is centered on your clinical excellence? I walked into a cardiologist’s office a few years back and the walls were covered with diplomas and certificates for every provider. The goal was to promote the clinical excellence of each provider. A brilliant marketing strategy, as every patient was reading the walls and, according to the office manager, this was one of the main reasons for many of their referrals. The Cost: $0
Your curriculum vitae (CV) is another marketing tool and perhaps both the best and most overlooked. Whether you are in practice for 1 year or 30, you have great credentials that constantly grow with each post-doctoral course you take. If you practice personal injury, sports injury, occupational injuries, geriatrics, pediatrics, etc., your CE courses should revolve around those specialties and must be reflected in an admissible and professional CV, not a resumé intended for non-professionals. To access a free CV builder, with free Internet marketing, go to www.USChiroDirectory.com. Once you build your CV online and secure your listing, at no cost if you so choose, then the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) will automatically find you and list you. That is where to start. The Cost: $0
:dropcap_open:I walked into a cardiologist’s office a few years back and the walls were covered with diplomas and certificates for every provider.:quoteleft_close:
Take your CV to the next level in marketing. Gather all of your patients’ e-mail addresses and send them a link to your CV on the US Chiropractic Directory. They WILL forward that to many of their friends and family. Beware, many experts in medical marketing are now stating that personal Web sites are decreasing in their ability to attract new patients. Directories are now more powerful because there are too many Web sites and too many choices for patients to see. The public is now looking at a concise area to find what they need and directories such as the Yellow Pages online or industry-specific directories are now their #1 choice. There are currently chiropractic directories that offer free listings, as previously mentioned. The Cost: $0
The University of California at Irvine, Department of Urology, under the direct orders of the department’s chairman, Jaimie Landman, MD, has mandated every new patient in the department get a phone call after his/her first visit in order to see how they are doing. That person’s primary care and/or referring doctor is then sent a report on his/her condition. This is a simple process and the results have been an increase in referrals and patient compliance.
What makes this so relevant is that Dr. Landman is a world-class urologist (http://www.urology.uci.edu/dept_faculty_landman.shtml) known for pioneering successful “non-chemotherapy cures” for many types of kidney cancer, and he has traveled the world researching and teaching and is one of the most sought after educators globally in his field. Nevertheless, he has created a system within his department to make each patient and his/her primary care and/or referring doctor feel good about the care being received. The end result is increased compliance and referrals. It doesn’t matter the specialty, marketing for professionals is universal. The Cost: $0
Marketing requires a strong infrastructure that will stand the test of time and is built on a verifiable foundation of clinical excellence through strong credentials backed up by the knowledge those credentials represent. Build your knowledge based upon the type of practice you choose to create. Update your credentials through meaningful CE courses. Build your CV for the world to see. Once that has been accomplished, keep doubling the people who know you. That is the key to successful marketing and often the cost can be $0.