Academy of Chiropractic’s
Lawyers PI Program
From the Desk of:
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
"Let's Talk About the Business of Marketing for Your Practice"
When I was in practice, for the majority of my career, marketing was about how many people I could reach. I went into a mall and did spinal screenings because it had the most concentration of people and I got upwards of 63 new patients in 5 hours. I have stood in fields for craft fairs, community centers, churches, synagogues, mosques, social clubs and so many more doing spinal screenings, successfully getting new patients.
What do all of the above have in common? I was always limited by time, mine. Every activity I attended for the most successful marketing I ever did was simply a means of exhibiting my ability to render a service. Mass media would have accomplished the same thing, but I was always limited by the amount of money required to make a mass media advertising program successful. In fact, I did 1 mass media campaign in both print and cable television for $66,000 and I got 7 patients, not making it cost effective. Therefore, I went back to the fields and rendered more services to get more patients. Although this fuelled my practice for many years, it also became tedious and the busier I got, the less time and desire I had to stand in a field or in a mall "hawking" my services.
In life, we all pull from our experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, and I am no different. The only difference is that I used my heart and not my head in making decisions about marketing my practice. I used a "doctor centered approach" vs. a "patient centered approach," not fully understanding the needs of the consumers. There is a reason that Madison Avenue in New York exists. It is for the largest of corporate America to sell their goods to the masses in order to do market research and determine the most efficient and successful ways to put a product in your hands. To sell!
We, as professionals, need to do the same thing. A great idea without a plan that has been formulated, tested, re-formulated based upon the test results and then tried in a focused test market to see if it works, is nothing more than an action based on an emotion. Those who fall into a majority group; those who have tried and failed because they ran out of money. It's not that their idea were bad, they just didn't have the time and money to figure out what they did wrong and test it over and over until they got it right. At the end of that process is when a product should be released into the market place. This is something not done often enough in the business of chiropractic and chiropractors fall prey to those who want to sell the "key to the bridge" in the terms of advertising, marketing products, newsletters, brochures and everything else under the sun.
In personal injury I have always said that marketing for PI cases is a failed paradigm and I hold that to be true, with a proviso and a caveat. The proviso is that you have to be the real deal clinically and your work has to be admissible. The caveat is that unless you have accomplished the above and made the relationship based upon clinical excellence and admissibility, you cannot market. The flip side is that if you have handled these first two requirements and create the relationship based upon what works, then marketing will work.
Just this last week following a lawyers seminar with Dr. Ralph Latyschow in East Brunswick, NJ, we sat down and chatted. I explained to him that this was his 3rd "very successful" seminar after he put in an exorbitant amount of work and there were approximately 60 lawyers in the room, many of whom he already had a relationship with. Ralph has taken the requisite courses and without a shadow of doubt, he is the "real deal," not only according to me who has ridiculously high standards, but the lawyers in the room. After the meeting, I sat with Ralph and said, "Now is the time to market these lawyers and 'schmooze' with them to take it to a social level. It is that social level that will give them a comfort level with you and see a different perspective. It is that type of marketing that will tear down any residual barriers and unlock the revolving door of referrals."
I have tried every method and my failures are well-chronicled. The successful one is where I hired a company and did research about penetrating different markets including the medical-legal market. I then invested time and money to determine the best avenue to get them to reach out to me at the highest level. This scenario is perhaps the most efficient and surest way to guarantee to be on the "inside" with the lawyers for the right reasons, clinical excellence and admissibility.
Many of you choose to explore different areas beyond personal injury and although this is a PI program, I want to give you the complete picture which will also get you PI patients, most of who do not have lawyers already representing them. The next section is advertising/marketing in a relatively new manner that requires the use and understanding of technology.
As you all should know by now, I created the US Chiropractic Directory approximately 1 year ago. In one year's time we have become the largest chiropractic entity in the world on the Internet. It took the right message, the right technology, the right partnerships with developmental companies and money, but far less than I could have imagined due to research, business relationships, negotiating and positioning in the marketplace.
Over the last few months, I have been searching, as I have shared with you, formulating a program so that you can benefit from my relationships and experience and I almost there (today is 3-12-2011). By the time you are reading this, there is a good chance that you will be able to implement the program in your local community to win as I have nationally.
Why can't you take the same technology and become the largest chiropractic entity in Ohio or New York or California or Florida? Why can't you take it one step further and pinpoint your marketing efforts and become the largest chiropractic entity in Ft. Lauderdale or Akron or Los Angeles or Portland, etc.? Why can't you be first on a search engine listing when someone uses the search words "chiropractor San Antonio TX" or "chiropractor Fair Lawn NJ" or "chiropractor Deerfield Beach FL?" You can and the cost is far less than advertising in a newspaper or sending out fliers in a direct mailer.
Why can't you get hundreds of hits on your Web site or listing? Even better, why can't you get dozens of conversions weekly from your listing or Web site? A conversion is someone who clicks on your listing or Web site and then converts to becoming a patient. Not only can you easily have those conversions created, but the cost is far less than you would expect.
There are names to each of these services and acronyms that you may have heard of. SEO, SNF, etc., and they have been around for quite some time. I previously purchased an SEO package (a vehicle to get traffic to my Web site). I paid $39.99 for 250 hits per month for 1 year and it worked. The problem, my cost on return after 1 year was $0.00 and it was difficult to terminate the service because I didn't understand what I was buying and if it would put business in my office. There are many companies that promise the world and you have to sift through them all utilizing a trial and error process, usually at a great expense to you. In addition, SEO for your Web site isn't always the best solution as much of the public is overwhelmed with Web sites. According to the research done by Yellow Book, listings are a better source of referrals. They believe in their market research to such an extent that they invested millions in the market analysis, creating a Web based platform with an advertising and marketing staff to deliver the product to the business community. Today, they are an ultra-successful company along with being a household name as a search location on the Internet.
You can accomplish the same thing without spending "yellowbook" money. The only thing you need as a precursor is a place for the public to find you and the most efficient avenue is through your listing on the US Chiropractic Directory.
Let's talk about spending money on your business and marketing plans. One of my earliest mentors drilled into my head early in practice, "Early to sleep, early to rise, work like hell and advertise," a mantra I have adopted in every business venture I have gotten involved in for over 30 years and the mantra is accurate. Corporate America companies like Ford, Toyota, AT&T, IBM and Kentucky Fried Chicken all have 1 thing in common, their advertising budget is approximately10% of their gross income.
Why do we think we are smarter or better? When you look at surgeons or other medical specialists you might perceive their "waiting list practices" as a pure result of their clinical excellence. You are partly right as those who have waiting list practices are usually that good at their craft, however, they are also ALL associated with hospitals. Those hospitals are their marketing entities and the hospitals spend millions in advertising, creating internal marketing machines through mandatory referrals of privileged doctors, internal educational programs and in many cases, simply more billboards than anyone else in a given community. All very smart businesses and all part of very smart marketing plans.
Currently, hospitals and large medical groups are gearing up for social network marketing and we are a few months away from the rest of the business world catching up. Facebook is just starting to penetrate and take market shares away from Google and the likes and they are going to dwarf the status quo. Companies like Proctor and Gamble are spending millions to figure out how to drive up profits by utilizing this budding media giant and you have the solutions at your fingertips as I have spent the last 2 years doing the market research and learning how you can win locally.
First, you have to understand that you cannot be a "one hit wonder." There is no magic bullet with a 1-time ad or marketing piece that will make you win. Look at television; you see the same commercials over and over until the product gets branded and remembered. In print ads, the advertising psychologists determined that the reader needs to see the same thing 13 times before he/she remembers and acts. Yes, there are some impulse buyers, but the public needs a level of familiarity and it is at that level of relationship that you will gain their acceptance to buy your business product. By the way, chiropractic is a business product as is medicine and everything else a consumer has a choice about purchasing.
The following is a tutorial on the psychology of marketing which can be found at http://www.consumerpsychologist.com.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing
Department of Marketing
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0443, USA
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MARKETING
The study of consumers helps firms and organizations improve their marketing strategies by understanding issues such as how:
- - The psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different alternatives (e.g., brands, products, and retailers);
- - The psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment (e.g., culture, family, signs, media);
- - The behavior of consumers while shopping or making other marketing decisions;
- - Limitations in consumer knowledge or information processing abilities influence decisions and marketing outcome;
- - How consumer motivation and decision strategies differ between products that differ in their level of importance or interest that they entail for the consumer; and
- - How marketers can adapt and improve their marketing campaigns and marketing strategies to more effectively reach the consumer.
One "official" definition of consumer behavior is "The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society." Although it is not necessary to memorize this definition, it brings up some useful points:
- - Behavior occurs either for the individual, or in the context of a group (e.g., friends influence what kinds of clothes a person wears) or an organization (people on the job make decisions as to which products the firm should use).
- - Consumer behavior involves the use and disposal of products as well as the study of how they are purchased. Product use is often of great interest to the marketer, because this may influence how a product is best positioned or how we can encourage increased consumption. Since many environmental problems result from product disposal (e.g., motor oil being sent into sewage systems to save the recycling fee, or garbage piling up at landfills) this is also an area of interest.
- - Consumer behavior involves services and ideas as well as tangible products.
- - The impact of consumer behavior on society is also of relevance. For example, aggressive marketing of high fat foods, or aggressive marketing of easy credit, may have serious repercussions for the national health and economy.
There are four main applications of consumer behavior:
- - The most obvious is for marketing strategy—i.e., for making better marketing campaigns. For example, by understanding that consumers are more receptive to food advertising when they are hungry, we learn to schedule snack advertisements late in the afternoon. By understanding that new products are usually initially adopted by a few consumers and only spread later, and then only gradually, to the rest of the population, we learn that (1) companies that introduce new products must be well financed so that they can stay afloat until their products become a commercial success and (2) it is important to please initial customers, since they will in turn influence many subsequent customers’ brand choices.
- - A second application is public policy. In the 1980s, Accutane, a near miracle cure for acne, was introduced. Unfortunately, Accutane resulted in severe birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Although physicians were instructed to warn their female patients of this, a number still became pregnant while taking the drug. To get consumers’ attention, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) took the step of requiring that very graphic pictures of deformed babies be shown on the medicine containers.
- - Social marketing involves getting ideas across to consumers rather than selling something. Marty Fishbein, a marketing professor, went on sabbatical to work for the Centers for Disease Control trying to reduce the incidence of transmission of diseases through illegal drug use. The best solution, obviously, would be if we could get illegal drug users to stop. This, however, was deemed to be infeasible. It was also determined that the practice of sharing needles was too ingrained in the drug culture to be stopped. As a result, using knowledge of consumer attitudes, Dr. Fishbein created a campaign that encouraged the cleaning of needles in bleach before sharing them, a goal that was believed to be more realistic.
- - As a final benefit, studying consumer behavior should make us better consumers. Common sense suggests, for example, that if you buy a 64 liquid ounce bottle of laundry detergent, you should pay less per ounce than if you bought two 32 ounce bottles. In practice, however, you often pay a sizepremium by buying the larger quantity. In other words, in this case, knowing this fact will sensitize you to the need to check the unit cost labels to determine if you are really getting a bargain.
There are several units in the market that can be analyzed. Our main thrust in this course is the consumer. However, we will also need to analyze our own firm’s strengths and weaknesses and those of competing firms. Suppose, for example, that we make a product aimed at older consumers, a growing segment. A competing firm that targets babies, a shrinking market, is likely to consider repositioning toward our market. To assess a competing firm’s potential threat, we need to examine its assets (e.g., technology, patents, market knowledge, awareness of its brands) against pressures it faces from the market. Finally, we need to assess conditions (the marketing environment). For example, although we may have developed a product that offers great appeal for consumers, a recession may cut demand dramatically.
As you can see, marketing goes well beyond, "Should I or shouldn't I advertise or send mailers?" In the "real world," it is the science of behaviour and the application in the corporate world that is going to determine what will sell and who will buy and the steps to get there.
Let's go back to hospitals. The hospital systems across the country realize that they are either in sync with corporate America in marketing or they will go broke. Hospitals have been hit harder than both you and I because by law, they cannot turn away emergencies or low pay insurances for emergency care. The emergency room doctor does not know who pays what, he/she only knows who needs what. It is the administration that has to be concerned with the bottom line.
Here is the new motto for hospital marketing:
Marketing Your Hospital
Traditional and Social Marketing Ideas for your Hospital
Healthcare Marketing: Moms Have Changed… Has Our Marketing?
The push in today's healthcare marketplace is electronic. It includes old, tried and true measures, search engine marketing or "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)," which is simply a means of getting your site ranked very high so that when someone types a keyword into a search engine, you appear high up in the search results and, therefore, get chosen. The second acronym that is critical is SNF or "Social Network Friends." That is the platform used in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., and is not the focus of hospitals in a "newest" genre of advertising.
Hospitals are turning to organizations and businesses that specialize in both types of electronic media marketing and all of them now say they have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, etc., because they do not want to be left behind. The truth is many of these companies do not know how to utilize the social networks to market and they are working feverishly to catch up with the trailblazers who are 1-2 years ahead of them.
Here is a brief list that took me 4 seconds on the Internet to find:
1. The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) of the American Hospital Association Public Relations Society of America
2. Ning Communities
3. Ragan Communications
4. PRSA Health Academy
5. Healthcare Strategy Institute
6. Hospital Impact
I simply typed in "hospital marketing" on Google and read each company's positioning statement. They all have Facebook and Twitter logos because they now get it. You now have the advantage of using SNF marketing for your clinic because I have spent the last year and over $100,000 in R&D (research and development) to figure it out in relation to the healthcare marketplace in order to drive traffic to my site and have also applied this same logic for driving patients to your office. Simply put, hospitals are diving into the "Digital Marketplace" headfirst! Whether your goal is to get personal injury, sports, family, on the job injuries or any types of patients, "digital media marketing" is not only the future, but currently one of the best avenues to get new patients through your door because almost everyone is on the Internet.
Digital Media Marketing Strategy
Over the years, it has been considered the "holy grail" of marketing to be listed in the top of search engines and there are multiple industries to take you and your money there at the same time. In the beginning, all it took was a unique name or word and Website traffic. Next came the logarithm (metric used to determine who is first) required to add geo-locators. Then it changed to needing to add cross-linking to additional Websites. Next it changed to needing to add meta-tags. Then it changed to need to adding regular new content. Next it changed to needing to add reviews. Then it changed to needing to add social network components...and on and on. The moral of the story is that it is ever changing and is not a stationary target that you must hit in order to get moved to the top of the search engines, especially in a competitive area such as ours.
The key to the success of digital media marketing is to work with only the best-of-the-best. The sword cuts both ways. You can't expect to be successful in business by being the best-of-the-best, but having marketing strategies based on cutting corners and working with the second best.
The following strategy has 2 components and what makes this program unique is that it requires vast experience in both SEO and SNF marketing that very few companies have. This strategy has been utilized by numerous household product names, however confidentiality agreements have been signed preventing me to "name drop." The company I recommend is PMX Computing, Inc. (www.PMXComputing.com) that is both the best and worst kept secret in the industry because Fortune 500 companies are finding them.
I was very fortunate to have been able to work directly with PMX for quite some time to help formulate a plan for you and have been negotiating with them on your behalf over the last month. The reason I recommend this company is that there are currently no companies I have been able to find (and I looked extensively including Madison Ave in NYC, the marketing Mecca of the world) that are expert at both SEO and SNF marketing which are required to ensure success.
Simply by familiarity alone, most of you understand SEO marketing because you are so conditioned to go to Google or Bing or Yahoo while only some of you will appreciate the long term power of SNF and using Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, when I started my journey with the US Chiropractic Directory and my consulting services, my decision was to take a "leap of faith" in my technology people and take their advice because they are the experts. That "leap of faith" paid huge dividends for me with over 115,000,000 hits in 1 year's time and the rest is history.
Component #1 SNF Marketing
Social Network Friends (SNF) Marketing:
Here are Facebook's internal statistics retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics:
People on Facebook
More than 500 million active users
50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
Average user has 130 friends
People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
Activity on Facebook
There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
More than 70 translations available on the site
About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application
Entrepreneurs and developers from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform
People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day
More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore's U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore's Global Top 100 websites
There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products
The following graph represents Twitters most current statistic certifying their 10 billionth "tweet" at the end of February, 2011, retrieved from: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6050/The-Ultimate-List-100-Twitter-Statistics.aspx
SNF marketing is huge and everywhere you look, you see the following:
These are the logos of the most popular social networks in the world. Every company in America has joined the bandwagon and you need to as well. In order for social networking to work, you must commit 6 months of your time and money to the project; anything less is a waste and you will not get the results that occur over time. Here are the mechanisms and costs as of 3-12-2011.
The first concept is that you need to make friends and you are limited to 15 friends per day in a given network, with no exceptions, as that is part of the constraints of the social networks. The good part, no, the really, really good part, is that with the US Chiropractic Directory, I have been making friends for well over a year and have 1000's. Therefore, while your network is being built locally, you get to piggyback on my network as you will be using your US Chiropractic Directory preferred listing as the prime vehicle to drive traffic and patients to your office.
One thing you need to be aware of is that every time I send a message to my "friend," every one of their friends sees my message. Simply put, 1 message gets seen by millions of people across a social network's system. It is an exponentially large opportunity to be seen and create messages that are calls to action.
Some ideas for messages that can bring awareness regarding chiropractic would be anything that links to the research articles on the US Chiropractic Directory or a summary of a course you took to become expert in caring for low back pain or ear infections in children. The message can be about your updated CV or simply that you now have Saturday hours. The message can be anything and it should be everything as you constantly want to draw attention to your clinic. You get to control the message by providing the SNF experts dialogue about your office and then sit back and watch your friends list grow and the hits increase on your listing or site (you will be given statistics to follow).
Component #2 SEO Marketing
When someone is searching Google, Yahoo or any other search engine and wants to find a local service, he/she has been conditioned to type in the name of the service and the location. It is for that reason that I have recommended that you add the name of your community in the name of your clinic. As an example, Studin Chiropractic is a poor choice versus Stony Brook Chiropractic Spine and Injury Center. The reasons are many and all are valid to drive business to your clinic. Although the idea did not get generated from the Internet, it is the Internet that has made the name so valuable and critical to your success. Search engines look for words, just like people do, only they do it at a level that is humanly impossible. It is for that reason that over 21 BILLION searches are done monthly on Google alone because you, the rest of the world, and I understand its efficiency.
For example, when you type the search words "chiropractor Deerfield Beach FL," the following comes up on Google:
This is the same type of listing that comes up with any service on the Internet and has literally made Google billions of dollars. There are many services that work to get you "moved up" on the search engines using a system called "search engine optimization" or "SEO." It is an acronym that is a huge stand-alone industry utilized by the multitudes worldwide who want to sell their products. The problem is that everyone is doing it, so how do you get to the top? The answer is you only have to work with the best-of-the-best that understands the game of SEO and has a successful track record of SEO placement. The key is experience and track records. I have wasted $1000's on SEO companies that advertise through e-mails and on the Internet. They all succeed on volume and exploiting the uninformed, us!
Dr. Studin's Recommendation:
NOTE: This entire marketing program is between you and your digital media company. In this case, it would be PMX Computing, Inc.
I have negotiated with PMX a 33% discount off the industry standard, understanding that there are few, if any, competitors in the industry. Although I do not have any interest in PMX, I have watched what it does and strongly recommend that you use it to build every facet of your business.
There are 3 programs to choose from with 3 vastly different results. Each involves a 1 year agreement as anything less will not yield the desired results. You are able to change packages once started. If you feel that you want to spend more or less and change your desired results, you can switch between packages during the 1 year agreement.
In addition, you will be getting a team working on your account with an administrator overseeing the process. Each team member has a different level of expertise in both SEO and SNF marketing. Appreciate that this isn't 1 person who has a great idea and has done it for a few people and now wants to profit from the limited experience. This is a major company with over 250 team members.
Basic Administration Package
$500 per month: This program should take approximately 6 months to start creeping up the search engines and get you seen on social networks in order to make get your "marketing machine" going.
Advanced Administration Package
$1000 per month: This program should take approximately 2-3 months to get you in the top listings and for the SNF marketing to become successful. This includes frequent reviews and analytics necessary to get quick movement to the top of the search engines.
Comprehensive Administrative Package
$2500 per month: This program should get you in the top listings within a few short weeks and get your SNF marketing launched aggressively. This includes AdWords campaigns, social media development, more frequent reviews, personal digital media consultation and comprehensive digital security reviews.
One office that I currently consult with has retained PMX for $5000 per month to make this happen on a very large scale. This office consistently gets 60 new patients per month and has a larger vision than most. Do you?
These services are "value added" meaning that if you realize that you are having success or you have a bigger vision, you can add as many customer service representatives as you choose and you can increase the traffic to your site and flow of patients into your office with more work and time dedicated to your practice. No different than the office I just mentioned.
The truth is, most of you will be afraid to make this committment. However, some of the smarter practices will. The days of print ads and mailers are waning and digital media is exploding.
The First Ones In...Will Win
Like any program, the first ones to play usually win. Once a company has attained a top spot on the search engines, it gets to stay there as long as it complies with the new algorithms not yet determined. Your goal is to get there first with the latest algorithm to knock another off or to move as close to the top as possible.
Social networking is first being understood and utilized in digital marketing media. You have an opportunity now that will not be available in 6 months as the rest of the world will be catching up to this revolution and obtaining the services of PMX in an attempt to be on top. If you are there first and have your company constantly update the algorithm for staying there, you will always be king of YOUR hill. If you procrastinate, you will always be looking from the inside out wondering why everyone but you is getting all of the new patients. Take action now!
To get started, obtain the agreement from the "Forms & Templates" page at www.TeachChiros.com located on the left toolbar of this page.
If you want more information, please contact PMX Computing, Patrick Malkmes, President, 631-766-6778 or CLICK HERE to download the agreement with PMX.
You get to control the messages for your practice and if you add an educational component to your marketing strategy, in the messages you choose (and there are many educational messages available on the US Chiropractic Directory for you) you will help to pinpoint the exact type of patient you want. Creating a practice is just that...creating. There is an exact science to success and you get to choose. In addition, be selective in not taking every "bad insurance" just because the numbers can go up in volume, but with enough new patients to choose from, you can be selective and shape the practice of your dreams.