If you’re a chiropractor, you’re probably familiar with the industry’s biggest marketing challenge: educating potential patients on what a chiropractor actually does.
Many people don’t know the wide range of conditions a chiropractor can treat and think of them simply as “back crackers,” says Tammy Jones, a senior marketing consultant at UpSwell who specializes in the healthcare industry. Effective marketing helps to correct that misperception.
“A lot of people don’t know that chiropractors specialize in integrative medicine that improves the whole body and can treat pain and nerve damage, relieve side effects of various ailments, help you decrease your medications, and avoid surgery,” Jones says.
Educating the public is as much a part of the job as seeing patients, says Alan Amendola, DC, who owns his own practice and is an assistant professor in the University of Bridgeport School of Chiropractic. In addition to clinical instruction, he teaches a class called Business Procedures and Marketing at the Connecticut university.
“Students don’t understand until they graduate how important marketing is,” he says. “If your office is not busy, you have no income. But you can’t keep treating the same people all the time. You need to make people better, and then they’ll tell more people.”
Try these strategies to promote your chiropractic business and gain new patients:
Use Direct Mail to Find People Who Can Benefit From Chiropractic Treatment
Direct mail messaging can focus on symptoms the chiropractor can treat, offer a free consultation, or reflect the frustration people feel about their medication regimen or pain levels.
“It’s getting in front of that person at the right time,” Jones says. “They had enough pain, and they’re ready to try something new.”
A tried-and-true strategy is hosting a “lunch-and-learn seminar,” in which people who live in the area are invited to meet the chiropractor and hear about how they treat a particular condition or set of symptoms.
The topic is chosen based on the needs of the local population; for example, if there are a lot of older adults nearby with diabetes, the chiropractor could speak about neuropathy, and how chiropractors can help improve this common complication of diabetes that causes nerve damage, weakness, and pain.
“If you serve a meal, you’ve got their attention for 45 minutes to an hour,” Jones says. “And you’re one step closer to having them come in for a consultation.”
While people of all ages and resources can benefit from seeing a chiropractor, it’s typically best to send direct mail appeals to people ages 50 to 80 with a higher net worth and strong credit score, Jones says. This is because older people tend to have more aches, pains, and chronic conditions, and because chiropractic services are often not fully covered by insurance.
Depending on local demographics and a chiropractor’s specialty, UpSwell analyzes and combines several mailing lists to home in on the most relevant audience.
Be Yourself, Including on Social Media
It’s important to know what makes you different from the competition, Dr. Amendola says. He opened Amendola Family Chiropractic & Wellness in summer 2022 in Monroe, Connecticut, becoming one of eight chiropractors in the town of 20,000. He’s treated about 500 patients so far, ages 5 to 106.
Dr. Amendola’s calling card is that he doesn’t want his patients to become long-term customers or feel pressured to schedule “maintenance” appointments after their treatment is over.
“I tell my patients, in person and on my social media accounts, that my goal is to get you better as fast as I can and not keep you coming back forever,” he says. “My goal is to get you out of pain.”
Dr. Amendola and his office manager maintain active Facebook and Instagram accounts that serve three main functions: provide basic information about the clinic and available appointments, educate the audience about chiropractic treatments, and showcase Dr. Amendola’s personality and dedication to his work and community.
Posts have included the provider’s tips for how to avoid back pain while doing yardwork, a picture of Dr. Amendola and his mom to celebrate Mother’s Day, and even a “Seinfeld” meme.“I’m on social media 24/7. It’s really important to post consistently,” Dr. Amendola says.
Embrace the Power of Testimonials
When your patients are satisfied, you want to spread the word. You can include a photo and quote from a happy patient on your direct mail piece or in a social media post. Some may be willing to appear at one of your educational events.
“Testimonials are very important,” Jones says. “It’s powerful to hear someone say, I’ve been seeing this doctor for two months and this is how I’m feeling, or this is where I was at and this is where I am now.”
It’s especially helpful when the patient has a relatable story: My body was out of whack from having kids, or I injured myself lifting heavy boxes at work, or my knees have ached since I retired. “It’s very human, and it helps people see their own potential for feeling better,” Jones says.
On Dr. Amendola’s social media accounts, he likes to show and tell when it comes to his skillset and results. “People like to see videos of chiropractors adjusting patients, treating certain conditions,” he says. “It helps demystify what we do.”
Keep It Personal With Potential Patients and Partners
Marketing is about building relationships, and that’s especially important when someone is entrusting their body to you.
To make those connections, Dr. Amendola stays active in his community, visiting the local farmers market, restaurants, and other businesses to greet neighbors and meet new people.
“If you go out and eat dinner in the town your office is in, people see that and they enjoy that, and you become a part of the community,” he says.
He recommends chiropractors introduce themselves to local physicians and other providers. Some will be open to referring their patients for chiropractic care, he says.
Dr. Amendola sends personal notes to patients after their first visit (“thank you for choosing our office; we look forward to helping you feel better”) and if they provide a referral (“thank you for your trust”). Twice a year, he sends postcards to existing patients, wishing them well and letting them know he’s there to help if they need anything.
It’s a lot of effort outside of the actual clinical work that attracted you to a chiropractic career. But once you’ve educated potential patients about who you are and what you can do, you can get to work improving their health.
Ready to grow your chiropractic business? Contact the team at UpSwell for a free marketing assessment.