What should a chiropractic marketing strategy include and what ROI can you expect?
- An informative website
- Search engine optimization
- A marketing funnel to nurture visitors to patients
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Text messages
- Voice messaging
- Online ads
- Content development/ marketing
- Review acquisition and management
- Reputation management
- Data analysis including conversion rate analysis
Each of these areas adds significant value and contributes substantially to a chiropractor’s marketing success online. The typical ROI for digital marketing is 5 to 1, meaning you will generate $5 in revenue for every $1 invested. A very good agency will help you increase your ROI to between 10 and 15 to 1. Search engine optimization and a very good marketing funnel normally provide the best ROI for chiropractors. We typically return between 25 and 75 to 1 for our clients and in several cases, over 200 to 1.
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If your budget precludes you from adding all of these to your marketing campaign at one time, where should you start?
The starting point will vary depending on your marketing budget. We’re taught in business school that 14% of your revenue should be allocated to marketing. Our agency works with more than 40 chiropractic practices across the country, and in our experience, those that allocate 14% to marketing do very well. If you are forced to allocate more than 14%, this may indicate an issue in the effectiveness of the marketing itself or the way the staff handles the “leads” that are being generated.
If you are allocating less than 14% of your revenue to marketing, you are shorting yourself, and your marketing efforts will likely be significantly less effective than they should be.
For this article, let's assume that you are properly allocating 14% to marketing. The first thing to analyze in the marketing strategy of any business is the effectiveness of the current program. We typically start by analyzing your website to be sure that:
- The website communicates well to the visitors and is easy to navigate
- The site is found well in the organic rankings and generates traffic
- The marketing language is formed so that it converts visitors to patients
The website is the core of any well-designed, effective chiropractic marketing strategy. If the site is doing well, everything else will go more smoothly. Most digital marketing directs potential patients through the website to a piece of content or to schedule an appointment. A well designed and optimized website should return a monthly ROI of 15 to 1.
Your website should be generating enough traffic so that you can “nurture” the visitors that don’t convert on the first visit with emails, texts and voicemails. This is critical. Statistically, a very good chiropractic website will convert 5.31% of visitors to appointments on their first visit.
Unfortunately, many sites are not extremely effective and therefore convert less than 2% and the least effective convert less than 1%. This means that no matter how great your website, in the best-case scenario, nearly 95% of all visitors leave the site without reaching out to the practice.
New patient flow may be good with a 5% conversion rate depending on the area where your practice resides. Website traffic is somewhat dependent upon population. If the population in your area is 2 million people, you will get more traffic than a chiropractor in a market with 20,000 people. There are simply more people in larger areas that need treatment on any given day.
So, let’s look at traffic numbers for three practices in different sized markets that we work with across the country:
- Top 10 market (population 4 million) – just over 3400 monthly visitors on average – 1700+ come from the organic search results. The others are a combination of online ads, social media, nurturing and more.
- Mid-sized market – (population 600,000) – just over 400 visitors per month – over 90% is from the organic search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. The balance is from social media.
- Small market – (population 250,000) – just under 200 visitors per month. Most are from the organic search results, and a small fraction are from social media.
If you use the 5.31% conversion rate as a benchmark, the top market site is generating 90 new patients monthly from the organic search results. The mid-market practice is seeing around 21 new patients per month and the small market around 11 new patients. Keep in mind that most of the chiropractors that we work with are offering regenerative medicine with an average case value of $8000.
If you aren’t seeing numbers in this range, your website is simply ineffective, and this may be your starting point. However, if you are seeing big traffic and good conversions from the website, this is not the starting point.
This leads us into why a marketing funnel is a very important part of any chiropractic marketing strategy.
Marketing Funnels, More Recently Referred to as Omnichannel Marketing, Increase Patient Acquisition Exponentially for Any Clinic
A marketing funnel is a series of emails, texts and voice messages that educate and entice potential patients to reach out to your practice and book an appointment. For a marketing funnel to be successful, you must have a regular flow of traffic to your website.
How do we capture the email addresses and/or phone numbers so that we have enough people to send these nurturing messages to? We create a lead magnet. This is an irresistible piece of content that the potential new patient is willing to exchange his/her contact information to access. We’ve all seen these.
Here are two examples of lead magnets
No site can capture 100% of those that do not convert on the first visit to the site and put them into your funnel. The funnel builds very nicely over time, and before you know it, you have thousands of people being nurtured, and your patient flow is increased substantially.
The keys to a very successful chiropractic marketing funnel:
- Personalize all communication
- Know when and how often to send communication
- Know what type of content works well
- Communicate in a fashion that addresses the patients’ “search intent”
- Get people engaged with your funnel, and don’t overdo it!
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The funnel will likely more than double the number of new patients that you see from your website traffic. It also increases the effectiveness of traffic generated from other sources like radio, print, TV, etc. The ROI for a properly constructed and managed funnel will be in the range of 15 to 1.
Email Marketing for Chiropractors
Email marketing is a very big contributor to the success of any chiropractic marketing program. You have likely treated a ton of patients over the years, meaning you have likely collected the email addresses for most of them. One of the things that separates great chiropractic practices from average chiropractic practices is that the great chiropractors find ways to sell more services to their patient base. One of the easiest ways to do this is with email marketing. The ROI will typically range from between 5 and 8 to 1.
The Keys to Successful Email Marketing for a Chiropractor are:
- Don’t “sell” with every email
- Offer free advice that is truly of interest to patients
- Create interesting subject lines that get your email opened
- Never use stop words in your subject line like free – they go to spam
- Make sure the content is engaging
- Don’t send too many emails
- Don’t send long emails
- Use video testimonials
Social Media Marketing
Social media is big. You can generate new patients and keep an eye on how your patients feel with Facebook and others. Social listening is as important as generating new patients. What are past patients saying about you? I have seen patients talk about how wonderful a doctor is, and I have seen some ugly stuff out there. Pay attention to what’s being said and address any issues by inviting any unhappy person to call you personally to handle the situation. Never get into a discussion online with someone that is unhappy – this typically does more harm than good.
Generating patients is a great use for social media. But be careful not to do something that gets you in “time out”. Did you know that if you ask a question about a healthcare issue in a Facebook ad, you could find yourself unable to advertise? You can’t say things like, “Do you have knee pain?” It’s a good thing to consult with a social media expert prior to running ads or boosting posts.
If you don’t have 300 followers on Facebook, start with a campaign to get more likes. Posting or advertising often with fewer followers usually doesn’t go well because Facebook only shows your posts to about 6% of your followers each time. This is done to prevent losing the followers. Your ads are shown less when you have less followers, too. So, build your base of followers before you post or advertise heavily.
Social media is a very inexpensive way to begin your chiropractic marketing campaign. It won’t generate huge numbers of new patients, but the ROI of 5 to 1 can be expected.
Online Ads for Chiropractors
Online ads can be the fastest way to generate traffic and new patients. Google ads are very effective. Knowing the right way to structure an ad and where to direct the potential patient that clicks on the ad is critical. Many times, a dedicated landing page that addresses the patient’s search intent and offers a solution to their problem will make your ads far more successful. This is also a great way to work people into your marketing funnel. The key to success is to keep your ads and landing pages about the patient’s needs and not about you or your practice. Unfortunately, people only care about what they want. So give it to them, and you’ll experience success. You can typically expect the ROI on online ads to be in the 8 to 1 range. If you have a limited budget, this is a great place to start. If you are already doing well, this is a great addition to your patient acquisition strategy.
This is the art of following someone around the Internet with ads after they have been to your website. This is done with either text or display ads. This is a very inexpensive and effective advertising technique. Have you ever had the experience of shopping for something online, and then suddenly you see ads for that product everywhere? That’s retargeting. It’s also called remarketing. This technique can increase your online ad ROI to 10 or 12 to 1.
Review Acquisition and Management
Getting reviews is far more important than many chiropractors realize. Reviews help build trust for potential patients and for the major search engines. Ranking well online in the medical field depends heavily on expertise, authority and trust. Reviews help build all three. There are many ways to acquire reviews that go on your website, but be cautious. Some of the programs create onerous code that inhibits your rankings and therefore defeats the purpose. The best online review management tools will not inhibit your rankings, they’re easy to use and they help update and manage your reputation online. This is not a place to cut corners. The ROI is difficult to determine directly, but it isn’t hard to see better than an 8 to 1 return.
The primary thing to remember about chiropractic marketing, or any marketing campaign for that matter, is that it all must work together and be cohesive. If you add parts and pieces from different places or different agencies with differing strategies, you will likely decrease the effectiveness and the ROI.