This past February, I spoke at Parker Seminars in Las Vegas, and I unveiled the Modern Chiropractic Marketing Road Map for the first time. It was a culmination of the last few years of working through what the ideal Content Marketing strategy is for Chiropractors.
I firmly believe following this Road Map is one of the four aspects you need to become proficient to have a thriving practice. Clinical Skill, Business Acumen, and Effective Communication are the other three aspects, and I have written about this in the article “3-Legged Stool of a Thriving Practice”.
This is part 1 of a 4 part series that will breakout the road map.
The Modern Chiropractic Marketing Road Map
The Fuel: Content Marketing Strategy
The GPS: Storytelling and Clear Messaging
The Vehicle: Distribution of your content that has a clearly defined message to match your clearly defined audience.
The Destination: Positioning, Planning, and Producing
Before we dive into the Road Map, I want to discuss positioning briefly. We are all at different points in our careers and have different goals. Getting clear on the positioning you want in your community is instrumental in getting clear on your destination. From there, you can get from where you currently are, to where you want to be, and who you want to serve in your community. Maybe you have already positioned yourself great; now you can leverage a well thought out content marketing strategy to ignite it.
Below are five X Y Axis diagrams that I had drawn up based on a Seth Godin lesson I had watched. He discussed the X Y Axis of positioning for different types of chocolate bars, and it was fascinating. From there, I did this exercise for my practice, and these are the 4 I came up with, and then also one on Communication I had drawn up a few years ago from the help of Dr. George Birnbach.
You should draw up the X Y Axis of positioning that you want for your practice. What niche and who is your clearly defined audience?
Next, you will need to optimize your communication so that you are Bold and Knowledgeable. This will permeate all aspects of your practice from clinical, business, and marketing.
Now that we are clear on our positioning, and where we want to go, let’s discuss the first component of the Road Map.
The Fuel: Content Marketing
In my humble, but accurate opinion, content marketing is the ideal marketing strategy for Chiropractors. Too many chiropractors are relying on one-off campaigns and tactics only to try to stimulate quick results. This is a sugar high for your practice and doesn’t build a predictable and sustainable patient flow. Content marketing should be the foundation of your marketing that you can sprinkle in campaigns and tactics for a well-rounded marketing plan.
What is Content Marketing?
"Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
- Joe Pollizi
What I like about content marketing for doctors the most, is that it is essentially “Invisible Marketing.” You are a doctor, not a marketer. You can be a doctor who has a great marketing strategy. The below video is about John Deere and the invisible marketing they have done for over one-hundred years. One of the key takeaways from this video is: “People don’t’ like being marketed to”.
Epic Content Marketing
In his book, Epic Content Marketing, Joe Pollizi discusses the fundamentals of Content Marketing and his 6 Principles of Epic Content Marketing, which reads as follows:
Fill a Need: Your content should answer some unmet need of or question for your customer. It needs to be useful in some way to the customer, over and above what you can offer as a product or service.
Be Consistent: The great hallmark of a successful publisher is consistency. Whether you subscribe to a monthly magazine or daily e-mail newsletter, the content needs to be always delivered on time and as expected. This is where so many companies fall down. Whatever you commit to in your content marketing, you must consistently deliver.
Be Human: The benefits of not being a journalistic entity is that you have nothing to hold you back from being, well, you. Find what your voice is and share it. If your company’s story is all about humor, share that. If it’s a bit sarcastic, that’s okay too.
Have a Point of View: This is not encyclopedia content. You are not giving a history report. Don’t be afraid to take sides on matters that can position you and your company as an expert.
Avoid "Sales Speak": When we at Content Marketing Institute create a piece of content that is solely about us rather than for an educational purpose, it only garners 25 percent of the regular amount of page views and social shares. The more you talk about yourself, the less people will value your content.
Be best of breed: Although you might not be able to reach it at the very beginning, the goal for your content ultimately is to be best of breed. This means that , for your content niche, what you are distributing is the very best of what is found and is available. If you expect your customers to spend time with your content, you must deliver them amazing value.
Content Marketing throughout the patient life cycle
I discuss the topic of the before, during, and after units of marketing frequently. I first learned about it from Dean Jackson, and I have done a lot of work translating it into chiropractic marketing and the patient life cycle.
Historically, chiropractors have only focused on new patient marketing and unfortunately have forgotten about the during and after units of marketing. We all know how important new patient marketing is for your practice, but if you optimize the during and after units, you will notice three practice building occurrences:
1) More new patients because past patients getting your content will refer people to you more often since you are top of mind. Also, patients coming in during their treatment plan who are having a better experience are more likely to refer friends and family during that period of time.
2) Patient retention will improve if the patient experience is optimal. That is a fact and often overlooked.
3) Patient reactivations will increase since you are consistently communicating with past patients, and you will stay top of mind. It is shocking how quickly past patients will forget about you if they do not see your valuable content.
Before Unit: New Patient Marketing
Ex. FB Ads campaign compelling them to visit your website and call your office.
During Unit: From the time a person contacts your office until the end of their treatment plan, or whenever they discontinue care.
Ex. New Patient email autoresponder dripping them a few useful emails after their first visit in your office.
After Unit: After the patient is no longer coming in for care or on your schedule
Ex. Top of mind awareness created by weekly emails with valuable content.
Creating, Curating, Repurposing
To be able to consistently deliver valuable content to your community, and treat patients, run your business, and have any semblance of personal life, you must utilize these 3 strategies in your content marketing.
1) Content Creation: This has the most valuable and is the backbone of an effective strategy.
2) Curating Content: There are many great content creators out there that publish topics that are congruent with your practice. You can share that information through the distribution channels we discuss below. This will help spread your clearly defined message.
3) Re-purposing: You can re-purpose content that you create and curate. Below is an info graphic where I turn one blog and one video into a months’ worth of content via re-purposing.
Owned vs. Rented Land
One mistake many marketers and business owners make is building their content strategy on rented properties only. Social Media platforms can change the game on you quickly. Some influencers who built their audience on Vine back in the day lost their entire audience.
You want to build your base on owned properties and also utilize rented properties to have a well-rounded approach. Examples of owned properties are your website, email list, and mailing list. Rented properties would be Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. I firmly believe your website should be the hub of your marketing and should be a robust content platform that is also compelling in your messaging.