Online marketing is critical to the success of a chiropractic practice today and will continue to be going forward. Recently our team at Upper Cervical Marketing reached out to 10 Chiropractic Internet Marketing Experts and asked 3 important questions about what’s working with Internet marketing today, what trends can we expect in 2017 and what was working that isn’t working anymore. You will get a ton of value from this article as these 10 experts share inside knowledge.
By far the most effective new patient generating strategy in 2016 is online review generation. Followed by video creation, Facebook advertising and having an optimized website according to our experts.
How this article is structured is we will highlight one question at a time, give you a breakdown in graph form of the answers and then give the actual answers to the questions from the 10 experts.
Question #1: What is the most effective new patient generating online marketing strategy right now?
Our Chiropractic Internet Marketing Experts
“In my opinion Facebook advertising is the best way to attract new patients at present.”
“A comprehensive online marketing strategy is the most effective approach to online marketing today. This includes building social proof with online reviews and video testimonials. Creating an integrated funnel with Facebook ads, landing pages and email auto responders.
A search engine optimized website is also important ideally built on WordPress that is responsive and mobile friendly. Video is also a very important part of online marketing today. Facebook is giving priority to both live video and other types of video as well. Doctor generated videos are becoming more and more important.”
“The most effective online marketing strategy for a chiropractor is a high-converting practice website. Website design that “connects” with their target patients and content that “persuades” them to convert! Then, and only then, does it make sense to invest in traffic strategies like SEO, PPC, referral sites, etc.”
“There are two ways that I see our clients bring in new patients online. The first is that they have to have a top ranking website that provides the patient everything they need to see in about fifteen seconds. If it’s hard for a potential new patient to navigate the site you’ve already lost them.
The second thing that can produce some new patients is paid Google Adwords advertising. The return is not that good, but it can produce a small ROI if you’re looking for a few extra new patients. Watch out for the Facebook hype that’s going through the profession right now. It’s not at all effective for chiropractic or any of the symptoms that chiropractors can treat.”
“Ranking #1 in google maps with 50+ reviews and #1 organic. With the highest possible conversion rate.”
“Sending web and mobile traffic to lead-generating landing pages that are connected to email autoresponders that provide personalized solutions for the prospects’ wants, needs and desires is the most effective new patient marketing strategy today.”
“Google plus, Instagram, Youtube, Blog, Yelp”
“I’ve always had the strategy of “be the best choice where patients are already looking.” The most effective online strategy for our office is to provide a level of service that makes patients want to give us an online review. People have been able to give online reviews for at least 9 years now, yet many chiropractic offices still have less than ten reviews, some still have no reviews. This doesn’t look good for you or your office.
I think when someone goes online with the mindset of “I know I need a chiropractor, now I just have to decide which one,” you have to be the chiropractor that stands out. Chiropractic websites have improved a lot, but that only tells part of the story. Reviews still must be earned, and that means you have to ask your best patients to give you reviews. People have grown more cynical of what they see online and many have a hard time telling one website from another. Online reviews help them learn to know, like, and trust you.
I strongly encourage chiropractors not to incentivize patients for these reviews. No free adjustments, no bottles of Biofreeze, nothing. It only cheapens their idea of the reviews they read in the first place. Just ask and be consistent about it. Best of all, you can stand out for free.”
“When it comes to effective new patient generation, whether online or offline, there’s three big factors that need to be considered.
- Investment – How much time and/or money will need to be invested in this strategy to see results.
- Expected return – If things go right, how many patients will you see in return?
- Risk – How likely is this strategy to work?
If a strategy has a very high investment, low expected return and is quite risky; you can quickly decide it’s not an effective strategy.
Considering these factors, and having tested everything from Adwords, Facebook ads, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content and blog marketing, and even GroupOn; there’s one strategy that stands head and shoulders above the rest….
And that’s a combination of SEO and Review Generation.
- This strategy is so powerful for a few simple reasons:
- The easiest new patients to generate are those that are already looking for a chiropractor.
- These “easy” to generate patients are jumping on Google, and searching “best chiropractor in Denver” for example.
- Once they’ve completed their search they are choosing based on reviews.
- The chiropractor that shows up at the top, with the most reviews will therefore get the lions share of the patients.
- Now that you’re generating more patients, you can continually get more 5-star reviews than any of your competitors. Further solidifying your practice as the most dominant practice in town.
Best of all this strategy will continuously bring in new patients like clockwork. Every single month.
And unlike a Facebook campaign that takes a lot of time to run and manage, once you’ve got the most reviews and your SEO is great, the time and money investment drops away considerably.
The investment is reasonable (a few new patients will cover your costs), the expected return is huge (we’ve seen practices bring in as many as 60 NP month after month from this one strategy alone), but there is a risk.
That risk is choosing the wrong company to help you with your SEO. Not all SEO strategies are created equal.
Somebody is coming up #1, why shouldn’t that be you?”
“I think the number one strategy every chiropractor needs to focus on to get the MAXIMUM amount of new patients online is reputation. And I’m not talking about reputation management. Management is defensive. I’m talking about reputation MARKETING. If you are doing a great job in your office you should have no problems building your reputation online with both reviews (Google, Facebook and Yelp)… and video testimonials.
Now that you are building your reputation it’s time to MARKET that reputation. You should have your reviews and testimonials front and center on your website so when someone shows up they see them and know they are in the right place. There’s no amount of copywriting or convincing a chiropractor can do that will convince a patient to call you more than another patient can. Patients trust online reviews almost as much as a personal referral.
And speaking of referrals… your online reputation determines how many of those referrals actually call your office. Here’s how this goes. A friend is talking to one of your current patients about their (insert condition here J). Your patient says “OMG… do you remember when I had that like 3 months ago? I went to Dr. Uhrmacher and he really helped me, I haven’t had any issues since then.”
Friend: “That’s great… do you have his phone number?”
Patient: “No, just Google it!”
Oh the magical words “Just Google It”. But here’s the magical part about that. What does prospective patient see when they Google you? It’s much more than a phone number and address. They see your reputation (or lack of) right there on the listing. Good reviews?… bad reviews?… no reviews? And that may determine whether they actually take action and call your office.
So if you want to increase the number of referrals you get… increase the number of online reviews you have.
And now you can take that reputation and used paid marketing such as Facebook ads to promote your reputation to attract more new patients. It also opens the door to go after niches that most of the public has no idea that chiropractic can help with.
Reputation has been a staple for years and will be around for a long time. Moving forward one thing that chiropractors should be capitalizing on is creating great video content. And not just content for the sake of creating content. Create content that users are willing to like, comment and share. Engagement is what will drive great content. I would much rather have 100 raging fans that are engaging with me vs. 1000 that are luke warm.
Chiropractors need to get comfortable in front of a camera. And the more time you spend in front of the camera the better you will become. And don’t worry about being “professional”… focus on being REAL. You’re a person just like the prospect you are trying to connect with. All the new smart phones shoot video in high quality HD. Get a cheap tripod… put your phone on it (in landscape)… hit record and start talking. If you need to rehearse it 10 times before you get it right that’s okay. Done is all that matters. But don’t let anything stop you from doing a new video each week. You have a wealth of knowledge and people are struggling looking for health solutions you provide. NO EXCUSES!
And just like with reputation… promote those videos on social media with paid ads.”
Take home point is online reputation is crucial. Grab our awesome resource How to Get 100 Google Reviews and Become the Go to Doc Everyone Wants to See
Question #2: What trends do you see with online marketing going forward into 2017?
Bill Davis: “It appears that video is where online marketing is headed in 2017 and beyond. Recently a Facebook VP said that she thinks all content on Facebook will be video within 5 years. There is also a continuing shift towards mobile. If you want to reach people you will need to reach them through their smart phones.”
Jeff Uhrmacher: “Some things that chiropractors really need to move away from in 2016 and beyond is trying to use trickery with Google, Facebook and the other top traffic sources. Soooooo many “gurus” told (and some still telling) chiropractors how to rank in Google by over optimizing for keywords and using spammy backlinks to their content. And that is now coming back to haunt them in the form of decreased rankings and sometimes not showing up at all. Treat Google like a princess and play inside her rules and you can do amazing things that will carry on for a long time. Just like with videos (which Google LOVES)… be deliberate with your content. Focus on one thing with that video/content and don’t try and do too much with it. Make it something of value to the end user and it will be of value to Google.”
Stephen Anson: “We see a trend for patients who want to book online. Especially younger and time-poor patients… they don’t want to call the practice and appreciate the convenience of being able to book an appointment whenever they want. We manage thousands of chiropractic websites and with each passing year, online bookings have grown. We’re fast approaching a tipping point where it will be the preferred booking method for current and new patients!”
Matthew Loop: “I believe Facebook advertising will continue to be strong for years and will only get stronger. People are attached to their phones so the mobile trend will continue to rise.”
Matt Prados: “Google will continue to put the squeeze on businesses forcing them to spend money on advertising vs easy organic rankings.”
James Farren: “Last year (2015) my business partner, Chris, had an idea. That idea was that generating more reviews for your practice would increase the amount of patients you would generate.
It makes sense, right?
People are going to choose the chiropractor with the best reviews.
He found a chiropractor in San Diego who had over 150 reviews (5x more than his competition), and called to see if it had an impact on his new patient numbers.
The chiropractor said, “If there’s one thing that’s let me hire two associates, it’s having more reviews”.
Wow. That blew us away.
And this trend is only going to get bigger.
As more and more chiropractors get on board with this, the competition to have the most reviews is going to become fierce.
The chiropractors who start now are going to have a head start.
Simply because if you have the most reviews, you’ll get a ton more patients, which means you can get more positive reviews than your competitors ever will. Further solidifying yourself as the “go-to” chiropractor in your area.
They’ll never be able to catch up.
In 2017 the entire industry will awake from the Stone Age and join the other industries already dominating the review game.”
Patrick MacNamara: “Video and mobile marketing will continue to dominate well into 2017 and beyond.”
Eduard Burt: “2016 and 2017 will be the same. Just keep up with your own news feed”
Phil Cordova: “Remarketing (aka retargeting), these are the ads that seem to follow you around from website to website. All of our online marketing strategies will now involve remarketing campaigns. Since so many searchers start and then continue searches across different web platforms and channels, they can lose track of who you are and what you’re about. You just have to be smart about it, not be a stalker.
Some simple strategies are using a Facebook pixel on your website. If someone visits your website, they will then see an ad on Facebook asking them to like your page. Or you can post and promote a video about a specific condition on Facebook, then run a follow up ad to those people that watched at least 50% of your video. This allows you to only run ads to those that have shown interest in you or a specific condition.
YouTube has the same option. You can run an ad for a video, then run a follow up video to those people that watched the first video. Let’s say someone watches your video on migraines. They then see a video about your office with testimonials talking about patients that have had success alleviating migraines and then an offer for a special “migraine evaluation check-up.”
I believe we’re going to see all ads get more and more targeted and specific. You’re going to have to start with a general idea, piece of content, or video and then follow up with different content and promotions to help them consider you as their best option.”
Mike Hamilton: “In 2017 it’s going to be the same as 2016. The faster you can deliver what a potential new patient is looking for the better off you will be. Top maps ranks and organic ranks are king. If you’re not in the top three or close to that you’re out of the game.
Google is also going to be releasing a paid maps section ad this year. This could be a very coveted spot for chiropractors in each city. There’s only going to be one spot so I imagine the bidding will be fierce. We’ll see if it’s worth paying for it or not.”
What’s the take home point? Online reputation is crucial.
Grab our awesome resource How to Get 100 Google Reviews and Become the Go to Doc Everyone Wants to See
Question #3: What was working in online marketing that is no longer working based on your opinion?
Phil Cordova: “Short-term thinking and “internet specials” for the sake of running a discount are no longer working. You may see some new patients, but they won’t be quality. You’ll continue to get frustrated with internet new patients that come in for all the wrong reasons and that shouldn’t be the case. In our office, an internet patient is right up there with a referral, but that’s because of how we set things up.
It’s not hard to stand out in a community, be an authority, and build relationships with the public online. That means you have to get clear about what your message is going to be and then deliver content sharing that message. That’s regular blogging, Facebook page updates, and videos. Even though you might not see an immediate return, when someone considers you as their potential chiropractor, they will often find your channels and then consume all of your available content all at once in an attempt to get to know you before trusting you with their health.
I believe running a coupon or special offer with no substance behind it is a mistake. The chiropractors that are willing to put themselves out there and communicate their message with a long-term approach will continue to see the rewards from their efforts.”
Matthew Loop: “Submitting articles to article directories for links and SEO is no longer effective like it once was. At the same token traditional link building is dead. Links are still king but they must be done in more of a natural way.”
Bill Davis: “In my opinion blog content has significantly decreased in value. Sharing links to articles on social media and creating articles for websites in the hopes that search engines will find them and rank them high has significantly decreased in the past few years.”
Steve Anson: “It used to be you could optimize (SEO) a practice website for the suburb the practice is located in and adjacent suburbs (or the wider metro area). Google has progressively made local SEO more granular so most practices are limited to pursuing high Google map and organic rankings for just their suburb. This plays to Google’s business model to encourage local businesses to use Adwords to extend the reach of their website.”
Patrick MacNamara: “Informational chiropractic websites that aren’t laser-focused on lead-generation simply don’t work anymore. If you’re not focused on lead-generation, you’re wasting your time online.”
Mike Hamilton: “In the past videos were a great SEO tool. I don’t feel that they have much impact at this point. They’re not bad, but you’re not going to dominate your local search terms by making lots of videos.
I would also say that blog posting is becoming somewhat useless. Unless you have real traffic visiting your blogs Google is ignoring them. SEO today seems to be working in a two stage process. You can create all you want in the area of videos, articles, and blogs, but unless someone is looking at them they won’t be counted.”
Matt Prados: “spending as little as possible on internet marketing no longer works. Recommendations: Spend $2000/mo online marketing. Have a system to get reviews in volume on google and yelp. Track results with call tracking improve staff and marketing campaign performance.”
Eduard Burt: “Facebook has always been garbage for Internet marketing.”
James Farren: “Traditional Search Engine Optimization.
That may sound funny because just earlier I said it was the most effective strategy right now.
But it’s only effective when combined with active review generation.
If you have invested any time or money into search marketing, you MUST add review generation to your toolkit.
It’s fast becoming one of the biggest factors that Google uses when deciding who to show at the top.
This means that traditional SEO is no longer effective. It’s only part of the puzzle.
Trying to get more patients from Google without getting more reviews, will be like trying to bake a cake without an oven.”
Jeff Uhrmacher: “In regards to Facebook in the future… organic reach is a thing of the past… UNLESS you have engaging content that people want to share (see previous commentary to create that). So you need to learn to play by the rules with Facebook ads. Don’t go with the hypey stuff that will get your ads denied and your account shut down. Promote quality content and stay focused on one strategy. You can go for engagement… and you can go for the clicks to get outside Facebook and on to your own landing page so you can share more. Too many chiropractors (actually most people using FB ads) expect to much from an ad.
Right now I’m using 30-60 FB video ads (video testimonials) to drive qualified prospects to my client pages to give them more information. Once I get outside of FB I can get much more in depth with my audience and deliver more information along with a strong call to action for the prospect. And of course I can put LOTS of reviews, testimonials and social proof on my own pages to do most of the leg work for me.
So in a nutshell… create and market your reputation, create and market useful and engaging content on a regular and consistent basis, and don’t try and trick your way to getting new patients. Be of value to your prospects whether they choose to call you or not.”