5 Valuable Tips: Building A Referral Business That Works!

A steady stream of patients is extremely vital for the survival of every clinic!  How effective is your referral program with your medical colleagues?

 

The best way to predict your future is to create it!” —  Abraham Lincoln

Medical professionals have built their success on forming and nurturing referral partnerships since time infinitum.  The most powerful of these referral relationships are created when mutual benefits are built-in to those alliances.

This is precisely the point of this article! We intend to show you how to create stronger ties with your medical colleagues. Additionally, this piece will teach you how to provide greater value and separate yourself from other doctors also seeking referrals.

The first place to begin is with the basic inventory of your current actions, for example:

  • What are you doing to position yourself with your colleagues to stand out from every other doctor that requests referrals?
  • Are you a good and beneficial referral partner? 
  • Have you established strong bonds of trust?
  • Are you providing a reciprocal benefit to your referral partners?
  • Have you established a sense (within your colleagues) of superior expectations?

Many clinic owners give no thought to the fact that success in business is an on-going competition for survival!  In order to thrive, you need to implement intentionality!  Every day, you must build into your calendar a plan and action to generate more and better patient leads.

According to noted business development guru, Jay Abraham, there are only three ways to grow your practice.  You either increase the number of new patients, get them to buy more medical services, or pay more for each proceedure.

For this article, we will focus on increasing the number of new patients. We will focus on the other two methods in future articles (as well as in past issues such as in “8 Steps For Increasing Business“).

CREATING AN ALLIANCE

In order for a referral program to work, you have to do some investigative work. You must figure out your colleague’s needs and motivations. There are both Referralpsychological and emotional components in play when referring patients. You need to know about your colleague’s current referral partners. Why is your colleague using them rather than someone else? How committed are they to these people? How open are they to adding to their list of referral partners?  Do they have long-standing ties such as school, social, or fraternal affiliations?

“More than features, more than benefits, we are driven to become a member in good standing of the tribe. We want to be respected by those we aspire to connect with, we want to know what we ought to do to be part of that circle.” – Seth Godin

As you can see, you may be asking someone to break or significantly bend long-established ties. In order to do so, you will have to consider “What’s in this proposed relationship for your colleague (ie. what’s in it for them?)?”

It may seem crass to say but we’re all motivated by self-interest. As such, as part of your detective work you need to uncover your colleague’s “why.”  In other words, what is the perceived benefit they stand to gain from you? Continue reading 5 Valuable Tips: Building A Referral Business That Works!

10 Proven Business Techniques For More And Better Patients

Are sick and tried of advertising with no guarantee of results? At last there is a proven method for attract more and better patients!

Webster’s dictionary describes a commodity as a class of economic goods; especially an item of merchandise (such as soybeans) whose price is the basis for future trading.  If you want your clinic to grow, and to get more and better patients, you need to break free of the commodity trap!

We live in a world where your patients have more options than ever before! The fact is that patients are loyal to doctors and not to practices.  However, if the only thing that separates you from your competitors is price then you have become a commodity. Your value has been reduced to the lowest common denominator — cash! You will only get more and better patients if you provide value well beyond a price-point.

As you read this, think back to when you initially opened your doors. Did you intend to open a practice that was only distinguishable by the prices you charge for the services you provide? A clinic where the only discernible difference between you and your competitors is that the decor and color of the scrubs you wear?

As you read further, you will see many examples of things you can easily do to connect more fully with your patients. In so doing, you will also gain greater insight of your patient’s needs while reaching them!

First and foremost, to attain the success you desire, you must take personal responsibility for your promotional efforts. You may not be well-versed in marketing and advertising, but you need to align yourself with someone who is.  Your clinic’s survival literally depends on it!

Additionally, according to the Harvard Business Review, it is up to 25% more expensive to acquire a new patient than to retain existing patients.  Further, Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company states that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25%-95%. So the motto of the story is, you don’t have to spend time and resources to get new patients, you just have to make the ones you have happy.

Jill Avery (lecturer at Harvard business school) states that “churn rates’ provide important and measurable matrices.  This matrix is important because it focuses directly on the lifetime value of a patient and your return on investment.  It’s not just marketers who look at churn, many investors use the metric to evaluate the underlying health of a firm. The higher the churn rate, the more they question the companies viability. Therefore, it’s not just understanding that patients leave, it’s about understanding why they leave.  Then, you must make a concerted effort to make sure that the rest of your patients don’t follow suit!

If you have never considered the value, over a lifetime, of each patient you are in for an eye-full!  The lifetime value a patient represents is an easily calculated formula. You simply calculate the amount of revenue you receive from a patient each time they visit. You would then multiply that figure by the number of times per year they visit. Finally, you would multiply that amount by the average number of years that you retain your patients. As I’m sure you can see, each patient represents a significant amount of revenue to you.

You will also notice that losing patients means that you are handing over thousands of dollars to your competitors. This is not to say that you can’t be discriminating. There is no reason not to exclusively work with your favorite patients. You simply have to be more astute with your promotion and content.  You may even wish to explore strategic affiliations to increase the numbers of desirable patients.

“65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.” Source quoted as Gartner.

You should now do some calculations to fine-tune and identify more and better patients. You need to evaluate the quality of your More and better patientscurrent patients. Essentially, you need to determine which patients represent the 20% that provides you with 80% of your annual revenue. Once you establish this number, you then figure out what their primary concerns are. For example, if these patients represent chronic migraines, and you would then target your marketing for that specific ailment.

Stay very close to your patients, so you know their exact needs, today and tomorrow. Your aim is to be irreplaceable as their healthcare provider. Continue reading 10 Proven Business Techniques For More And Better Patients

The Secret to Business Success: Intentionality

Ultimately business success depends on human intentionality which is the most powerful evolutionary force on this planet.           — George Leonard

Business success doesn’t occur by accident! Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Michael Dell didn’t succeed on a whim. They consciously and intentionally pursued, explored, and diligently worked hard to attain the brass ring. Therefore, so must you!

You took the time and effort to hire a real estate person, find an office space, and secure your loan.  Then, you had that office space built out to your specifications.  After that, you hired contractors to fill your new clinic with phone lines, computer equipment, and medical equipment. One can only presume that your intention was to be as successful as possible.

You were diligent in your efforts to create a suitable location for your chiropractic practice. You secured a beachhead for your enterprise.  Now comes the moment of truth; the time when you must attack your prosperity intentionally!

In this spirit, your task is to raise your hand and to tell the world that you are open and ready for business!  Additionally, your effort needs to be to stand out in your area, to become a local expert. In so doing, you can begin to develop your foothold on being considered the “go-to” DC and town.

 “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

To become that local expert, you must approach every promotional effort with Business success with intentionalitythese primary objectives in mind: Every advertising piece should have a strong and compelling headline. Your content should allure and appeal to people’s self-interest. You must provide a tantalizing offer.  You must clearly define your unique stature in the area (your brand). And, you must provide testimonials for those prospective patients who don’t know you and need reassurance.

This is the point at which many chiropractors ask vital and telling questions:  “So, what do I say in my promotional pieces (other than the obvious — I’m a DC)?  How do I know who I’m supposed to reach? Because at this stage of my career, I treat everyone!

The questions listed above are extremely legitimate! I find that many doctors, though they excel at medicine, they don’t often have the time handle the marketing. What they do have, is an abundance of knowledge. Use your knowledge as currency, which if done properly, can reach and touch multitudes. Continue reading The Secret to Business Success: Intentionality

5 Secrets for Building Deep Patient Pools

If your desire is to create successful and predictable marketing campaigns; you’ve come to the right place!

What you share with your patients determines your desired outcome — developing deep pools and long-term relationships is directly tied to successful and predictable marketing efforts!

The sole purpose of advertising is to say to the world “Hey, I’m here and ready to serve your needs!”  Also, the only point of sending periodic notes to your patients is to give them information they want!  Successful and predictable marketing shouldn’t be some random thing that is merely thrown together.  You want to provide information that compels.

*Note, these correspondences include your e-mails, newsletters, special reports, etc.

Why? Because reliable and authoritative content builds loyalty within your patient base.  The more fidelity you build, the more consistent business you can count on, and the greater the referral possibilities.  By providing valuable tips, in easy to understand portions, on the topics your patients need, you create that allegiance.

You will be building upon your reputation as the authority in a particular ailment within your field.

Again, why is any of this so important?  There is an excellent article in HelpScout.com, titled the “The art of customer loyalty,” explains this principle succinctly:  In a world where your competitors are only a click away, customer loyalty really is the new marketing. Today’s customers have access to an endless amount of information about your business, and research shows that they’re ready and willing to stop dating around and stick with companies who go above and beyond to create a fantastic customer experience.

Therefore, if your intention, when sending out your communication pieces,  is to touch, educate, compel and build deep bonds with patients, then you have to make sure each piece is read.  Successful and predictable marketing

As you read on you will learn strategies  to achieve that very topic.

As such, the cornerstone of your practice’s prosperity is a proper communication strategy which yields both successful and predictable marketing campaigns.

What if every time you send an email to your patient, that email was received by that recipient with excitement?  An essential aspect of successful and predictable marketing includes superior branding.

Brand (ing): The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product (your service) from other products. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.

A properly developed brand identifies you as the absolute “go-to” doctor in the Continue reading 5 Secrets for Building Deep Patient Pools

5 S.E.O. Tactics You Must Start Doing IMMEDIATELY!

We’ve all heard it, if you want to attract more patients, you MUST improve your SEO!

 

To begin with, for those readers that are less tech savvy than others, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in an organic (“natural” or unpaid) way.

Therefore, the above statement is fine and well, but how exactly is that optimization achieved?  In our many conversations with Chiropractors, we find that it falls upon many of these doctors to generate new business.  Actually, we have similar conversations with doctors in other disciplines as well such as Dentists, Veterinarians, or Pediatricians and they too tell us that they are the ones who write their sites blogs and articles to attract more patients.

At the end of the day, there is an undeniable fact that a medical practice is a business.  As such, it is subject to the same realities of every business — if you don’t get more patients, you go out of business!

Whether you are the person responsible for blogging or not, your content must attract patients!  Moreover, it must draw those patients from a finite geographical pool.

Therefore if your content doesn’t draw patients in, your advertising is reduced to the equivalent having a billboard in the middle of the desert.

When we refer to “Content Marketing,” we mean creating and sharing valuable information to attract and convert prospects into patients.  Additionally, impress them enough so that they emerge as repeat buyers of your service.

The type of content you share is closely related to the service you provide.  In other words, you’re educating patients so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.

Examples of this would depend on your particular specialty, such:

  • If your specialty is in sports medicine: Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff
  • If your specialty is veterinary chiropractic care, you may wish to write something like: Where Does My Horse Hurt?  Consider writing a blog providing a hands-on guide to evaluating pain and dysfunction.
  • If your specialty deals with pediatric chiropractic care, write about that, etc.

According to Whatisseo.com, “A successful search engine optimization campaign will have, as part of the improvements, carefully select, relevant, keywords.   Then the ‘on-page’ optimization will be designed to make prominent for search engine algorithms.  SEO is broken down into two basic areas: on-page, and off-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to website elements which comprise a web page, such as HTML code, textual content, and images. Off-page optimization refers, predominantly, to backlinks (links pointing to the site which is being optimized, from other relevant websites).” Continue reading 5 S.E.O. Tactics You Must Start Doing IMMEDIATELY!

Digital marketing 101: Consumers buy doctors, not practices

Medical practice growth depends highly on a steady stream of new patients.  However, your patients don’t buy medical practices; they buy doctors!

On Friday’s Internet Health Magazine, author Ken Robbins writes an extremely informative article concerning the online challenges for healthcare marketers.  The title of the article is Digital Marketing 101: Consumers buy doctors, not practices.   The underlying current of the piece is that your medical practice growth depends on your communication.

There is tons of information available online, and patients are conducting plenty of their research before selecting providers.

  • 84% of consumers said they are likely to visit a provider’s website before booking an appointment,
  • with 61% saying they are very likely to do so. What they find there makes a massive difference in whether they book an appointment or continue looking elsewhere.
  • Consumers may also start by looking for what’s covered by their insurance.  While some practices can rely on the fact that they are in networks for a class of patients.  Those that want to use marketing to grow need to connect with doctors in the market.

The best strategy for practice marketers to reach these consumers is to build websites that contain individual pages for each clinician highlighting Continue reading Digital marketing 101: Consumers buy doctors, not practices

Chiropractor Advertising Mistakes: How Many of These Costly Patient Repelling Errors Are You Making With Your Advertising?

Chiropractor advertising mistakes: if your advertising results don’t deliver a steady stream of new patients, chances are you’re making costly, but correctable, errors!

 

The only purpose of advertising is to generate higher profits for your chiropractic practice! Your ad MUST be a salesperson in print, online, on the radio, in your television ad, etc.  Unless your ad convinces the patients to pick up the phone and call you or come into your office, your ads are useless; also known as “Chiropractor Advertising Mistakes.”  Sadly, depending on the type of error, you even be pushing potential business directly to your competition!

If you look at many chiropractor display ads, you will quickly notice that most of the ads look alike, and they say the same things.  Worst of all, they all have nearly identical advertising mistakes, such as: “Free Consultant”, “Back Adjustments”, and “Chiropractic Care for The Entire Family.”

* Though all these services and details are important, and they all stand on their own merits!  Unfortunately, as it applies in most cases, the only elements that change in the ad are the names of their practice.

Though many (if not most) media conduits provide their basic elements, essential ingredients, and software for an ad.  Too often they [the media outlets] just offer some variation of a cookie-cutter formula for their “advertising platform.”  Which is fine for their needs; however, too often some essential “components” are left out of your ad.

The importance of these elements becomes apparent when you look at your advertising from the perspective of what your ad (In a magazine for example, but it applies to all other mediums as well.  For simplicity, for rest of illustration we will use print advertising) is indeed designed to do for your medical practice.

Every ad is created with two purposes in mind:  1) To attract a stream of new patients; and, 2) To have those patients who see your ad choose your practice over everyone else in your field and demographic area.  Unfortunately, your competitor is counting on the very same benefit!

Print advertising is a medium that allows your biggest competitor to sit next to you in the periodical for easy comparison. Whatever your advertising medium, shortly after your ad appears, or is heard, your competitor’s ad will also be seen or heard. Therefore, as part of your marketing strategy, you have to do everything you can to stand out.

“What business strategy is all about and what distinguishes it from all other kinds of business planning is, in two words, competitive advantage. Without competitors there would be no need for strategy, for the sole purpose of strategic planning is to enable the company to gain, as efficiently as possible, a sustainable edge over its competitors.”  ― Kenichi Ohmae

To stand out and have your next patient pick up the phone and call you is beyond important.  It is life and death (for your medical practice).  Your ad must be Chiropractic Advertising Mistakesdifferent!  Shockingly, some chiropractors merely state their name in their ads, and besides a phone number — that’s all.

Interestingly, every consumer has one trait in common with every other buyer.  We all like to buy; we just do not want to be sold!  Additionally, we buy using unique triggers that appeal specifically to us; in marketing terms, it is called the “What’s in it for me?” quotient. Continue reading Chiropractor Advertising Mistakes: How Many of These Costly Patient Repelling Errors Are You Making With Your Advertising?

Emotional Content Marketing: Tapping Into the Psyche of B2B Buyers

If you desire success with your clients and patients, you must apply emotions within your marketing content!

 

In a recent and very enlightening article, written by Wendy Marx, for business2comunity.com, titled Emotional Content Marketing: Tapping Into the Psyche of B2B Buyers she points out that the approach with which a client is contacted is makes the difference between long term success and a single transaction.

She states that when it comes to business to business (B2B) buyers, you may think that a more calculated, technical approach to content marketing should be used.

Is that true?

Ms. Marx checks out why you need emotion in your B2B marketing, what types of emotional responses to elicit, and how to make your content more emotionally appealing.

The big question is: Why B2B Buyers Need Emotional Content Marketing Techniques?  The truth is, if ever there was an occasion to use emotion in content marketing, it’s with B2B buyers. Why?

  • Because the sales process for B2B buyers takes 22% longer than it did seven years ago.
  • Is this because today’s buyers are more indecisive? Not at all.
  • In fact, 82% of B2B buyers think that everyone is pretty much selling the same item. The competition is huge.

Continue reading Emotional Content Marketing: Tapping Into the Psyche of B2B Buyers

Danger: Poor Patient & B2B Marketing Will Kill!

If your business-to-business and patient marketing message isn’t progressing to accommodate your their journey, you’re throwing your money away!

 

By all standards, strong and compelling  business-to-business and patient marketing will make or break your practice’s relationships more than most company owners realize!

Recently Kimberlee Morrison of Adweek wrote an enlightening review on the essential subject of rethinking the patient’s experience in order to enhance the patient/service provider relationship and subsequently grow and deepen one’s busines-to-business relationships and campaigns.

The influence of social media continues to drive big changes in the customer journey and marketing funnel. Some of the main changes such as the use of multiple devices by customers and the desire for always on customer service have created challenges for marketers.

A report from LinkedIn, titled “Rethink the B2B Buyer’s Journey”, written by Sean Callahan, examines similar changes in the B2B (business-to-business) market and provides suggestions to improve your business.

The report focuses on the changes in relationships between buyers, salespeople, and marketers. The survey included more than 6,000 participants globally, and gives insight into the buying process, and changes that need to happen in both social and marketing content.

Since vendors have focused more on customer service in recent years, buyers have rewarded this presence with increased faith. LinkedIn found that 28 Changing your B2B marketing messagepercent of buyers polled rate their relationships with vendors as very good, and 56 percent rate them as good. What’s more, when assessed over time, only three percent of respondents believe their relationships with vendors are in decline.

The research found that buyers need a variety of content to help them make their purchase decision. On one hand, they need basic product information and demos to understand the product, but they also require thought leadership and other helpful content to help buyers determine where the industry is headed. The implication for marketers is that they must have their message present throughout the full funnel, from awareness and thought leadership content in the upper funnel to data sheets and demos in the lower funnel. This is how to assemble a complete marketing program. Continue reading Danger: Poor Patient & B2B Marketing Will Kill!

Why 80% of our B2B content marketing fails

Like many companies, in the last 12 months, the main focus of our marketing strategy was to produce content. And lots of it; which is why 80% of their marketing failed.

 

Doctors are no different than any other business person who are regularly trying to generate more business; but, the messages you send your current, past and future patient has to be on point.  Otherwise, having poor content just lead to marketing that fails.

Recently, author Chris Sheen wrote a very interesting piece in econsultancy.com, regarding the issue of business development, specifically on the topic of content marketing, titled “Why 80% of our B2B content marketing failed” were he breaks down some very specific points regarding the type of content businesses produce that completely miss the mark.

Mr. Sheen writes that upon further inspection, it turns out marketing professionals might have been focusing on the wrong metrics.

So whether you’re a B2C (business-to-consumer, denoting trade conducted via the Internet between businesses and consumers) marketer or B2B (business-to-business, denoting trade conducted via the Internet between businesses)marketer like myself, you’re probably under a fair amount of pressure to produce content.

Bill Gates famously declared that “Content is King” back in 1996 (yep, 20 years Saying the wrong thingago!) while more recently, respected marketers like Ann Handley have taught us that the best content is useful, enjoyable and inspired.

They are sentiments I happen to agree with.

Which is why I tasked our marketing team with increasing the amount of content we published for our blog ‘The Abandoned Cart’ in 2015.

And the team delivered. We went from an average of one piece of new content per week in 2014 to two or three in 2015.

While we were high fiving each other feeling like we’d done a great job – we missed an important question… who cares? 

The number of new blogs, videos and stories we publish is a great vanity metric for us to point at as a marketing team. And yeah, it looks great on a graph… Continue reading Why 80% of our B2B content marketing fails