EPISODE 122: GRASSROOTS MARKETING WITH DR. RICH ULM
Hey, chiropractors. We're ready for another Modern Chiropractic Marketing Show with Dr. Kevin Christie, where we discuss the latest in marketing strategies, contact marketing, direct response marketing, and business development with some of the leading experts in the industry.
Kevin: Hey, Rich Ulm Welcome to the show. I really appreciate your time. Been wanting to get you on the show. We met in person for the first time in Chicago earlier in the year for the MPI Sports Symposium, where we actually co-presented and I talked a lot about the online world, and you talked a lot about the grassroots, and I'm a big believer in it. That's frankly how I built my practice to start out with and so, welcome to the show. Tell us a little bit about yourself, and we'll dive into the grassroots marketing.
Rich: Yeah, thanks for having me on. My name is Richard Ulm. I'm a chiropractor. I have a practice in Columbus, Ohio. We got four docs total in there and an amazing staff and so it's been kind of a whirlwind of growing the practice. [0:01:01.5]
Before I got into chiropractic, I was actually in the athletic world for quite a while and in the strength training world and it kind of inspired me to go in and start just working on movement medicine, and I just sort of ended up choosing chiropractic at that time because they are more hands-on and you have a little bit wider scope. And so, it's been a lot of fun but you know, as we talked about when we were in Chicago, you know, once you get rolling, you have to start, you know, getting this engine going and now instead of just one mouth to feed, there's four mouths to feed. And so you have to be smarter about your marketing and get into that a little bit. So I learned a lot from your little talk here and as we were talking, before we sort of hit the record button, getting into more of the digital space, which is one that I definitely value. I'm just not all that great at it.
Kevin: Yeah, you know. I think what's happening too with a lot of young chiropractors, and I said this a lot, is they think they can build their practice behind the computer screen, and maybe I'm at fault for some of that, but I don’t think that's the way you can really build your practice for the most part. There are definitely some outliers. [0:02:01.4]
I think the way you really got to build is through the grassroots and kind of boots on the ground, and then if you, you know, marry that with some really good online presence and digital marketing, then you can have a very well-rounded practice and exponentially grow it and free yourself up. And that's the one thing I wanted you to have you on here to really dive into the grassroots marketing.
Rich: Yeah, you know, I definitely liked what you were saying before with, you know, you can't build a practice from behind a computer screen. You might be able to kind of do it, but not - you can't create a sustainable or self-sustaining engine, and the thing that got me into a little bit more of the digital marketing stuff, even I never cared about SEO. I never sent out regular emails. I didn't do any social media stuff for the most part, but I had a patient who is actually one of the people that runs, has a large regional bank here called Huntington Bank, and she's one of the digital marketers for that that kind of does a lot of like the planning and not just sort of like the implementation, and she asked me why I don’t do any digital marketing. [0:03:06.4]
And I was like, yeah, you know, marketing is dumb and you know, it's worthless and blah, blah, blah, and all this, you know, just silly stuff. And she goes, "Hmm." She goes "Well, I mean, do you think that you guys do good work here?" And I said, "Yeah, I mean, the best in Columbus." "Are you proud of what you do?" "Absolutely." And she said, "Well how many, what percentage of the population of Dublin do you think knows that you're here?" And I was like, "I don't know, like maybe 10 or 15%?" She was like, "It's probably not even 1%." And so she goes, "When you think about marketing, don’t think about coaxing someone into the office, into your office. Think of it as that you're highlighting, you know, something that you're proud of or a good product that is good for them. It's not that you're just trying to like trick them in, you know, with a carrot to get them in the door. It's like, no, no, no - hey - we're over here. We're doing good stuff. Right? And so you can use some of this digital marketing you've gotten really good at, but I agree with you that it needs to be highlighting something that's already established. So having the grassroots, having the relationships, having you know, good patient reviews and all that kind of stuff and just taking care of people, well then it's easy to highlight with a lot of the digital stuff. [0:04:14.3]
Kevin: No, it's true. You know, it's you believe in what you do and you're doing good things. It's not about… I think what happens is a lot of the chiropractors look at what chiropractors have done in the past on the bad side of things and obviously, chiropractors have done a lot of cheesy marketing and a lot of unethical sales and bait and switch and all that type of stuff and I think they go so far to the other end they're like, "I don’t want to market my practice. I shouldn’t have to. I should open up a practice and it be flooded with patients because I'm the best chiropractor in the area." And that's difficult if you have that mindset. You know, some people can pull it off, but it's really difficult and with good marketing, you're just highlighting, like you said, how good your practice is and what you can do for people.
Rich: Well I think you can pull that off if its just one person.
Kevin: Yeah. [0:05:03.6]
Rich: It's much more difficult if you've got, you know, two, three or four or more. And the other thing is you know, I didn't do marketing in the beginning for the reasons that you just described, but I think that I would have grown faster had I done so.
Kevin: You're a perfect example of where, you know, you did a marketing talk with me, and a lot of people nowadays think of me with marketing as well, but I've been practicing since 2005 and had really made my name in the sports chiropractic side of things and working with a lot of high level athletes. And I, obviously, have Motion Palpation to thank for a lot of that. Being a clinician first, and that's what I always have been, and that's what you are, like … I remember when I told a few of my colleagues that I was co-presenting with you on marketing, and they were like, "Rich Ulm, like the…" You know, because they look at you as like a top clinician and educator in the profession with that and you obviously built your practice on a skill set. You're not building, you know, a house on quick sand. [0:06:02.8]
You have a solid foundation, a clinical and then you built from there, and marketing is just going to really help highlight that. You're not going to have those holes in the bucket that some chiropractors are going to have where they didn't really focus on the clinical side first and get really good at that, and they tried covering it up with marketing and it really doesn’t work that way either. And so you can't put the cart before the horse.
Rich: Yeah, I mean, but I, now the four components of marketing that I talked about - one, the digital space, you kind of obviously went into depth and then we did the in-house stuff. Then we did medical marketing and then grassroots and I think those… if someone wants to have a successful marketing strategy, they have to be effectively doing something in each of those areas.
Kevin: Yeah, so let's break down the in-house first, and go from there. What are some of the key tips you have for our audience?
Rich: My key tip that I always tell people, and it's one of sort of our fundamental principles in the office is authenticity. You have to be yourself. So, you know, for some people, that's wearing a white coat. Right? For me, that's wearing you know, a polo shirt and tennis shoes or like some skater shoes or something that's, you know, having 90s alternative music on when I'm in the office. [0:07:16.1]
You know, that might be cussing occasionally. You know, I think that a patient, whether they could identify it and describe it or not, I think that they can smell that you're being disingenuous if you're trying to be something you're not, and so the start of it is authenticity. When you figure out kind of, you know, what your authentic self is, then you're able to sort of pick out colors and logo and music and you know, do you want it to be super clean and white, or do you want it to have like different colors. Because everything, like I talked about in Chicago, matters. And to me, I'm more interested in creating a solid brand and you know, the sales part of it, and my big point in that talk was the better that you do of creating a brand, the less selling you actually have to do. [0:08:04.1]
So if they come into the office and there is a very genuine vibe… like, we have, I would say, the best staff on the planet and they walk in the door and when they're … actually, before they get in the door, they've interacted with them on email or on the phone, and they already know that we're sort of a fun-loving kind of laid back office. So when they come in, the vibe of the office is very, very congruent with each of the docs and so then that's, that I think creates a very calm, easy environment that's exciting for people and when they leave, and this gets into the direct marketing part of it, you end up being something that's worth talking about. You know, if you're just a white coat dude with the normal, you know, hum-ho office that everybody else has and they walk in and they're like, okay, the guy seems nice, I don't know, I mean, adjustment was okay, and then they leave and there's nothing worth talking about, I think that that is harder to create a buzz there, to get any kind of traction in terms of patient retention and then people walking out and saying like, "Oh, man - you gotta go, you know, see this guy, you know, he's great," and then they send their mom in or whatever. [0:09:14.3]
We have a guy, Ben Craft, who is in the office and it's hilarious, like because he'll have somebody come in. They'll bring their son in and then they'll leave and they'll schedule themselves, their daughter and their husband on the way out. Like, you know, because he's just a genuine guy. So he just kind of goes in there and just is himself and then people just instantly sort of talk about it because he's such a good guy.
Kevin: So, I want to touch on a couple things what you said there. One thing I've learned is the front stage/back stage. It's a concept that Strategic Coach talks about and it's really the front stage, you know. It's what the people see and what you, like a theatre and a show. You see the front stage. You don’t see the back stage, but the front stage is a big part of that experience that people have and it sounds like you've developed a unique kind of fun stage that's also congruent with the niche that you've targeted. Is that correct? [0:10:10.3]
Rich: Yeah, I mean, yes. But I would say that the, you know, I work with a lot of athletes, but I always have to emphasize, I work with a full spectrum. Like today I had two referrals from a spine surgeon, and they, you know, she had six surgeries. So it's like, you know, I see the full spectrum and so it's not like I have decided to play Pearl Jam because athletes like Pearl Jam. It's I have somebody that comes in from, you know, Brian Seaman's the guy's name, so he comes, he sends somebody in, that's a spine surgeon, and they walk in the door and this lady happened to be in her late 60s and she's had five surgeries and doesn’t want another one, and she comes in the door. And you know, I don't know how excited she would be to hear Pearl Jam, but I think … this was literally this afternoon or this morning … we had a good encounter because I'm not faking anything. I'm just standing there in my skater shoes and whatever, talking to her. [0:11:01.1]
And I think that they relax a little bit more when it's not this sort of like sterile environment where, you know, if we had the soothing music and the small window where, you know, they open it up and close it. We have this gigantic window. It's probably, you know, 10 feet wide, maybe 5 feet high and so the staff is just standing there and you know, there's this much better communication or flow between the actual people walking in the door. Instead of like having that cold, like, window. We don’t want that. We want them to like instantly, you know, feel valued and like we're there to chat with them and all that stuff. So it's good.
Kevin: Yeah, and that’s definitely something I think people need to consider is that overall, like you're providing step-by-step, just a good overall experience for the patients and it's worth talking about. There's a book called Talk Triggers that was written by Jay Baer, and he talks about these different things certain businesses do that trigger the talking of that person and referability goes through the roof in those scenarios. [0:12:04.8]
And again, it's not just the Pearl Jam music. It's the combination of friendly staff - like you said, you've got a great team around you. You've got a good environment, authentic, great doctors, good care, good communication, and that just leads to a great in-house experience for the patients.
Rich: Yeah, I mean - one area that I think that we haven't hit on because I agree with all that. Like the color on the walls, the logo you have, you know, how the staff dresses, the music, everything - how clean everything is. All of that matters and then of course, you know, the experience with the doctor matters, but one area that I think has helped us out quite a bit is giving a very thorough explanation of what is going on and why, even to the point where I will go over an MRI that I didn't order with them because they're like, "I don't know - he said my back's got arthritis in it." And then I'm like, "Okay, well let's open, let's pull the CD up and let's look at it and let's explain what stenosis is or you know, what a disc injury is," And then they leave informed and if you're going to have somebody, if you want them, let's say, you know, this particular patient, I mean, it's unlikely that we're going to, you know, "fix them" in six to ten visits. I mean, she's had 30 or 40 years of pain and she's got motor weakness at multiple levels and you know…[ 0:13:24.1]
So it's going to be a complex case. So if I don’t explain what's going on well, and I'm asking her to do some stupid breathing, she's like, what is he doing, like, you know, it's my shoulder that's bugging me, you know, my neck, you know, is constantly in pain - why am I doing this other stuff. They're not going to do it. So they're not going to hang around. They're not going to refer anybody and you're not going to fix them. So if you give them a really thorough explanation, I, they love it. Like they leave like, wow, I had no idea why sitting hurt my disc. They're like, I didn't know; they just told me my disc was screwed up and I'm going to have pain. That's what they told me. So come back when I can't tolerate it anymore. Oh, okay. Well, here's why. Here's what's going on. [0:14:04.3]
Here's you know, simple explanation of the mechanics of the disc and here's what we can do to fix it or improve it, and here's about how long it's going to take. And they leave educated, and they love it.
Kevin: Do you do any training with your staff and your doctors on this type of stuff and making sure that this is reproducible amongst different providers, different team members?
Rich: We probably do more with the staff, now that's only so, I mean, when they, if somebody calls in and says oh, I want to, you know, what's the first visit, you know, and they tell them or whatever. And they're like, oh, I know a chiropractor that's cheaper than that. Okay. Well, does he do this. You know, does your guy do this? And then we, they know about, you know, the McKenzie method. They know about functional rehab. They know about dry needling. They know about joint manipulation and we have educated them so that they can, you know, genuinely and honestly explain why we're different and why the prices might be more expensive. Because if they just want to get their back crunched, well then go somewhere else. I mean, that's not, you know, we have patients where, you know, we're staying ahead of like some chronic issues or they're, you know, an elite athlete that wants to make sure that they're not getting injured. [0:15:12.8]
But if somebody just wants just traditional kind of roll in and get their back cracked and roll out, that's fine. Then I don’t know if I would pay the difference in price if that's really what you want. But we need to be able to sort of catch those that if they come in and they're like, oh wait a minute - oh, so you have pain down your leg and you've been treating it with manipulation? Okay. That's cool. Well we have other therapies in addition to that that we can do. So we have done education, but it's mostly with the staff and then the doctors meet up once a quarter and we just kind of go over stuff. And that's not so much me bestowing knowledge on them. That's all of us sitting down as a team and saying, hey, you know, what's kicking your ass right now? What's blowing your skirt up? And so, we might have figured out weird things that we're doing, like oh man, I've been doing this with, you know, my radiculopathies, and they're responding great. Like we had Michael Shacklock in, who is just a phenomenal guy and puts on a great course. [0:16:05.0]
So we did that and then we all meet up and we discuss, you know, about a month or two after it, so we know - you know, you come back in the next week, and it's either, you know, kicking butt or you're just like, man, I have no idea, you know, what is going on with this. So we wait until it sort of is watered down a little bit and then we can actually chat about it and go, oh, okay - well how have you implemented it? What did you take out of it - it's a month later, what did you take out of this? So, that's about as close to sitting down and saying, well, hey, here's how we explain things. I think some of the younger guys, they might have benefitted, like they've seen a lot of like, we'll get into the grassroots here in a second, but I teach a lot around here. And so they've seen me explain, you know, spinal stability 100 times. They've seen me, you know, talk about the squat, or they've seen me talk about disc mechanics, biomechanics of the shoulder, whatever, many, many times and so, you know, without asking them directly, I think they might have learned from that a little bit and then maybe taken that in. Another thing that we have is like some of the best $250 we have spent, is it's a 3 foot by 5 foot wide like Plexiglas dry erase board. [0:17:19.8]
Kevin: Oh, wow.
Rich: So number one, you don’t ever have to clean them. I mean, you just wipe them down and it's fine. They look way more professional. I saw them in a business meeting room one time, and then, you know, just with all these different markers, I can draw all these things and that is a pretty important piece - I probably use it on 90% of the patients, whether it's a followup or not. If I'm changing the exercise, I need them to understand why we're doing this or hey, this is exactly what, you know, the pressure in your belly is doing - it's pushing against the spine from the front and that's stabilizing it so your back doesn’t have to stay on, or whatever. And those are nice. And they last longer than the normal ones. They look nicer and then they're really helpful for that teaching process. [0:18:01.7]
Kevin: Well, that sounds great. I'll put that in the show notes as well, for sure. So before we jump into the last pillar, which is the grassroots, what's the third pillar of your marketing strategy?
Rich: So there's digital. There was in-house. There is medical marketing, which is potentially a whole thing in and of itself, and then there's the grassroots one that that was the one that I naturally gravitated towards, and that's the one that's still probably one of our main things.
Kevin: Okay, let's… yeah, let's dive into that. So we have got the medical, which is a big one, I know, and that's kind of a whole other episode and then with the grassroots, what are some of the things you're doing in the community to really build your practice or what you did and now you're obviously continuing to grow and stay relevant in the area?
Rich: Yeah. We're kind of on, I mean, we're always trying to reach out to other, you know, other possible areas. But then, you know, we have been here for almost, this is almost nine years, so now it's a lot of maintaining relationships that we have already established and kind of growing other ones and reaching out to other ones. [0:19:04.3]
So, it really kind of started with I used to do, or we still do it a little bit, but you know, I got here and okay, we got to work races. And that's fine, it's not very time efficient. I think the thing that bothers people about grassroots marketing is that it's like planting seeds. You're investing. You're not getting back yet a huge ROI in the first, you know, month of doing grassroots marketing. Then it's like a, it's a summation thing. So somebody will come in and we'll have it, like hey, how did you hear about us? "Everybody told me about you guys. So, my doctor told me to come in, and then I went to my podiatrist, and they said to come in, and then I was in the gym and they're like oh, those guys are great, then I saw, you know, on Facebook or something that like with this video," and so they're like, yeah, fuck it - I'll just come in. So then they finally just come in and so it pays dividends later on, which to me, I'm always playing the long game. Right? [0:20:02.7]
Kevin: Yeah. That's a key ingredient.
Rich: Yeah. So it started with the races, and those were good, but then I personally like to present a lot.
Rich: And so then I started doing workshops and you know, they're 90 minute or 2 hour workshops at gyms in the area and they might be for just the trainers. They might be just for the clients. And so they come in and you know, I go okay, hey, we're going to do 90 minutes on, you know, how do you warm up for the squat or you know, trunk stability or - I was an Olympic weight lifter - so like, you know, clean technique or snatch technique or trunk stability for, you know, CrossFit or whatever. We would do these short, you know, 2 hour things and come in there and then you get to do, you get to kind of walk in and then you get to see, depending on how good the gym is at marketing it, but you might have - I mean, I've done seminars with 50 people there. So, I'm doing a seminar on Olympic weight lifting at a CrossFit gym and there were 55 people at this class. [0:21:04.8]
Kevin: Oh, wow.
Rich: Right. So I mean, so you're standing - that's 55 people that you get to encounter with. They get to sort of assess, alright, is this guy somebody that I would want to be treated by or not. Other than telling them what I do, I'm not telling them, like, okay - well, you know, today … you know, I don’t give them a call to action, which maybe is wrong. But like, hey, for attending today, if you want to come in, you can come in for free. I don't know, I might be able to do that. I think it's somewhat, I'm not super comfortable with that. So when I go, I just go, hey, this is what I do. I'm down the street. I work with this guy, you know, this is where we're at, this is what we do. Alright, let's get into it. So then I get in and we just kind of go through the class. So those were by far the biggest thing to kind of grow. And then that, you know, for the CrossFit community, then builds on and lets us get into, you know, when we do an event, well now it's people see us, and they're like, oh hey, you know, I took your class - that was great - or blah, blah, blah. And oftentimes, it's the second or third time that they come in or that they see us where they then feel comfortable to call in. [0:22:12.9]
So in the running community, we might have done, you know, a community running clinic or something at a local running shoe store or like, you know, Ask The Doc or something, and you're just there for one night and you're doing this and you just kind of stand there and you chat. And then they just kind of get to know you.
Kevin: Alright. Cool. Yeah, so that's kind of what I did too, early on. I got in with a couple of running groups, which then got referrals to other running groups, went to a running store, got referrals to another running group and early on, probably 2007 and 2010, I was doing, I felt like I was doing a talk to a running group on a Saturday morning after a run three times a month, and it was just amazing what it did. When I remember that momentum it took - like you said earlier, you know, it didn't happen right away. This is, it's not going to happen in the first week, the first month - it's the long game. [0:23:00.4 ]
One of the questions I get from a lot of chiropractors is they don’t even know how to get started. Like they're afraid of "cold calling" people or cold leads. Any recommendations for how you got kind of launched into it or was it just getting out there and meeting as many people as you can, stopping by places. How did you actually get started?
Rich: I mean, I think if I were to redo it over again, I might do it a little bit differently, but you know, it is a lot of just cold calling and just kind of walking in. So, you might just say, you know, if, you know, you could have your design guy make like a one page thing about like what you are or who you are and you know where you're at or whatever. And then just walk in, just be like, hey, you know, I'm in the area. I work a lot with you guys. You know, I just wanted to kind of drop in and introduce myself. You know, if you want to check us out, you know, here's this. We do seminars. We do this kind of stuff. You could do that. you could just drop it off and be patient and then come back in like a month later and maybe they would have checked you out. This is where, you know, if you have a decent amount of content on your website, maybe there's a blog or maybe you've got good Instagram content or whatever, YouTube content, then a lot of them might, I don't know, will say, you know, we'll just check them out and then see what's on there - oh, okay - cool - they've got some stuff on running mechanics or the foot or squatting or mobilization or whatever. [0:24:15.0 ]
And then they go on there and then they have something to look at. The thing that I always say when I get rolling with the relationship thing is, you know, this has to be beneficial for both parties. I'm not just, you know, coming in and just handing them business cards, you know, and refer me a patient - that to me is way inappropriate, but like… that'd be like walking in on a first date and just throwing condoms on the table and be like, are we going to do this? Like whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa - let's chat a little bit here. So going in and just saying like, look, let me help you guys out. I'm going to come in and I'm going to do this seminar and we'll do this and we'll kind of hang out afterwards, but there is a little bit of a "cold calling." I just stop in and it's not necessarily efficient. [0:25:01.1]
I knew, you know, running store wise if you want to catch the owner, you probably want to get there between 10 and 11. CrossFit gym wise, you know, there's the lull after the morning group and then there's also a little bit faster, or sorry - right before the afternoon. So you kind of just know when you can kind of drop by. A lot people you can like interact with them on social media, and it's crazy - they're so willing to interact on social media. Like, I could send them a message and be like, hey, I'm a chiro in the area and I'd love to stop by. Sure. As opposed to just doing a cold call. So you could do that. Emphasize the two-way relationship, that you know, you want to help them out. Like, look, I'm here - and I will even flat out say, I'll be like, look, you know I want this to be beneficial for you guys, like, you know, I know that I'm comfortable with, you know, these things and blah, blah, blah and I love teaching and but I want this to be, you know, a two-way relationship, so I'd love to just like help you guys out more. Why not let me, you know, come in and do a seminar or whatever. Like right now, we're trying to move in - we have done well with CrossFit and now we have got, you know, Orange Theory is a like a I don't know, intensive sort of like interval training. So there's like 20 of them in Columbus. [0:26:14.6]
Kevin: You know, it actually started down here in Fort Lauderdale where I'm at down in South Florida.
Rich: Yeah. I mean, so the, it's great. And so getting out and then just, you know, working with them and just getting to know them. So we're trying to get that stuff kind of set up.
Kevin: Now are you having your associates do a lot of this stuff as well now, like getting out there and holding a lot of these…
Rich: Yeah. It's kind of a team effort. I mean, the associates are probably getting out and doing that stuff a little bit more. You know, one thing that I would say with either the medical marketing or the grassroots marketing is you have to have regular meetings with your team.
Rich: Because a lot of times, the mistake that people make is they're reacting to things, as opposed to anticipating them. So you should be planning out what you're going to do next week or the week after. We plan, like we met yesterday, and we're planning out, hey, what do we need to do in the fall. [0:27:02.7]
Rich: We're already thinking, like, okay, we have got to have this many. We want to have free seminars at a CrossFit gym. We want to get something with the running planned - okay, we got in and do something with Orange Theory. You know, what are we going to do with this. So, some of it is, you know, taking the coaches out for beers. Some of it is actually doing, like you know, a seminar there. Some of it is like, okay, we have got these comps coming up, whatever. All of those things. You have to plan in advance and particularly the medical marketing, early on, you just kind of stand there and if you just opened up and you're like, oh man, I need more patients. And so you, oh, I'll go, I'll go stop by a guy - I'll drop cards off at Starbucks, cool. And then you feel a little better because you're doing something. Then reality, you want to like sit down and think like, okay, what are my goals - this is kind of a strategic plan, right - like actually think about where you want to go - okay, well if I want to be here, what do I need to do. [0:28:01.6]
And if you're not regularly meeting with your team, which your team might be yourself, regularly scheduling, you know, sessions, I would say no less than every two weeks, it's going to be tough for you to stay on top of it and be able to catch these things correctly. Because if you're doing it once a month or a once a quarter on the medical part of it or you know, even in the grassroots part of it, you're like, well, shit .. you know, I, there's a race, you know, in two weeks, it's going to be great. Well, yeah but if I thought about that three months ago, I probably could have gotten in there, but now I don’t have any, like, you know, like, yeah, I don’t want to move my patients or whatever. So the meeting and thinking and planning is huge, for grassroots and for medical.
Kevin: Yeah. Otherwise, you're reactive, and it's just not working. One of the things that I'm working with my associate, I have a new associate now and we're doing, I just couldn’t keep up with all of the patient leads that I had, so it's like, okay, Mary would come in and has a fitness trainer and she's like, and I'd be like, oh can I, you know, talk with your fitness trainer and just have that rapport with him and see what we can and cannot do, and she'd be like, oh great. [0:29:08.5]
Or Bob comes in and has a golf pro, or this one goes on .... and all these different kind of leads that the patients would provide, I couldn’t keep up with it. So we started a spreadsheet called the patient referral directory where we, now my CA keeps tabs of all of that. I mean obviously gets permission for us to contact them and then now my, I'm having my associate follow up with some of those that I can't. So it's all been like a warmer lead than maybe a colder lead.
Rich: No, they're great. And so here's what we did with that, because that's a cool idea. And then remind me, because I want to talk about marketing for the grassroots event that I didn't do very well.
Rich: So with this, we're just like, man, we have these - I'd write them on our board. I'd be like, oh, John Smith - great trainer for so and so, whatever. And like we're wasting a huge opportunity because this patient is already speaking highly of us and they've already spoken like man, this golf pro is the best or whatever. So now what we do is we have a form that's a part of their new patient paperwork. [0:30:08.5]
Kevin: Oh, nice.
Rich: And I love it because it, if somebody comes in and if we know .. we'll say, oh do you work with a trainer, do you have, you know, a golf coach or whatever. And they'll be like, yeah, I have a golf coach. It's like, oh, okay, well, fill this out. We, it's important to us that we're keeping in contact with them so that your continuity of care is high. And so then, we, they fill this out and it's like the name of the trainer or whoever, you know, their cell phone, their email, where they work and then they sign their name at the bottom. So we're basically, it's kind of like a, you know, a HIPAA release for that. But that serves three purposes. Number one, it gives us some backing on the off chance, knock on wood, that you know, they sue us because we talked to their trainer and we have a document that says, hey, you told us we could do this. Number two, they're excited because then they are like, man, these guys actually talked to my trainers, right. And then number three, it gives us a record of who they work with. [0:31:04.2]
So what we typically do, like our system in the office is if a patient has one of those, then with the new patient paperwork, that's included. So then I know either I can just text them or email them really quickly at the end, which doesn’t have to be a lot. I usually send a voice text, because I don’t have time to type out like, you know - so it's a voice text that says hey, you know, so and so and so and so, you know, would love to meet you- blah, blah this, you know, my email is this, you know, call me whenever you want, like I want to make sure that we're working together to get so and so, you know, pain free and moving great. So that's our system.
Kevin: That's good.
Rich: Yeah, and so, it kind of gets distributed amongst all four docs that way, as opposed to if you were getting the majority of them, that would be tough.
Kevin: Yeah. I would just, I wasn’t following up with those. I was just too busy. But now, we have got a team effort around it, just like you do, and so we're able to utilize that and then that really gets you going into, you know, having that network around it. [0:32:05.6]
You know, so many chiropractors think of the patient referral, obviously most of our practices are built on our patients referring to us, but if you also have a strong network in the community of people that, you know, aren’t even necessarily coming into your practice, but they're referring people in consistently, that's how you just explode.
Rich: Well, the other thing is that I think that building relationships, not with you, is really valuable. So if I can make a connection somewhere with a patient and a trainer or a financial advisor, I'm constantly trying to do that. I may or may not get anything from that. If I send a patient to, you know, Jeff Logan, like, alright, a financial advisor, I don't know - he may or may not know, but I just think that that is a powerful thing to do to be the guy that's kind of connecting a lot of these people. So, you know, we have gotten patients jobs. We have gotten them business loans. We have gotten them all kinds of stuff from just making connections there. And it just creates like, again, more of a bond I think with those people. [0:33:09.1]
Kevin: Being a connector is just huge for everything you do. It's cool.
Rich: Hold on, the other thing that I was going to say - I did not do this in the beginning, again, because of my initial hatred of "marketing." I would, you know, and I actually, I can't believe I'm saying this out loud - but so somebody would say, hey, do you have any like fliers or stuff for the event. And I literally in the beginning was like, that's, I'm just coming in, like, if you've got somebody, go ahead and do it, like I don’t, you know, basically I don’t have time for that. It was ridiculous because now with, you know, the digital space, you need to do pre-event marketing. You need to do, you know, in event marketing and post event marketing. So, that turns into, you know, fliers, and this isn't digital, but fliers, any time we do a seminar, fliers are up in every single one of the rooms and in the main lobby. Right? [0:34:02.5]
And we send out an email to everybody saying like, hey, we're going to the, so and so is going to be teaching this thing here - if you want to go this, great. And then we have fliers that go up on social media, a couple, you know like, right when we book it maybe and then the week of, and then obviously when you're there, you're doing the stories and all that kind of crap. And then afterwards, that might go in a newsletter or that might go in like a recap social media post. So now, from one event, all you're doing is saying like, hey, we're doing x, y or z, which feels much more like, it doesn’t feel as awkward or gross to me as opposed to like some ad that you just throw up and be like oh, you know, want to get your back cracked? You know, here's a free exam or whatever. Like that's not my thing but I think the marketing can be just as effective if you're seeing that, so you're getting that multilayer buzz, like sort of piggyback marketing where you've got the actual event. You've got social media. You've got email. You've got stuff in the office, reaching out to other, like posting stuff on like, you know, say, CrossFitters in Columbus or whatever. [0:35:11.2]
All of that is good and the result is you get more people there, so in some case, we have had it where people come in, they weren't going to that gym. They liked that gym, and then they join there. Well the members love that. Like, oh, okay - they brought 10 people to this class. Right? So we charge for all of our classes and then we take that money and we literally like go hang out with whoever hosted it.
Kevin: That's awesome.
Rich: If I've got like, you know, an Orange Theory, we go in there, we do this thing, you know, we make $300 or whatever - alright, let's just go grab some beers. I mean, food is on me. I don’t want the money. I want the time to sit down and get to know these people to develop actual relationships.
Kevin: No, it's great. And you know what - another thing that we do - I'm glad you brought this whole topic up because recently I did a prevention talk with a shoe store owner and so it was him and I presenting, and we put together a Facebook event around it. We did a couple of other things like …[0:36:09.0]
Rich: Creating a Facebook event is another big one.
Kevin: Yeah, and so, what I found was obviously we got a lot of people signed up through there and we promoted it and we put content in it before, and then, we gave the talk and we mentioned resources and all that and then for like a week afterwards, I kept on dripping in, like, oh, here's a video I talked about, this, you know, exercise, and then here's this pre-run warm up I told you about. And so it was like I had an audience in there that I was communicating with after the fact and it had some of that carryover effect you were talking about. So that's…
Rich: You know, and here's what's even crazier - like, so for some of these events, we will actually do paid advertising.
Rich: So like, I went from, no, I don’t do that to okay, hey, this would make more sense, so let's do some social media stuff during it. And then I'm like, wait a minute, I could just put up a flier. So if we're going to be treating at a venue, it says, you know, hey, you know, Dr. Craft and Dr. Ulm are going to be a Valitus Games this weekend, you know, if you want, if you need to get treated, come, you know, come on out. [0:37:13.1]
So we have people that just come in sometimes - I mean, one of the patients were like, they'll bring a non-CrossFitter or non runner to an event so that I can look at them and then I look at them and I, you know, I don’t see any value in like half assing the treatment. I try to fix them right there. If I can, anything that I can do - so if I can get them feeling 100% better, right there, I do it. And so, but I've had people that have turned into patients from current patients that are athletes that are at an event that, you know, this patient introduced. Like, and they're like can you look at my mom? Yeah, bring your mom. I don’t care. Like, what's the charge? Zero. Nothing. I don’t care. Just - I'm at the event, I'm treating whoever is there. It doesn’t matter. And then I just kind of come in and do that. [0:38:00.8]
So I used to just do that, but now, highlighting that we're going to be there has increased the volume of people that show up so now when you're at the event, you're not just kind of standing there twiddling your thumbs. You've got consistent action on the table, which then stimulates more action to get everybody - and like oh, let's see what those guys are doing. So that's great. The during is fine. And then of course the post is great, and you can do that with, you know, the follow up with the, not the blog, but …
Kevin: Email, Facebook, yeah, newsletter - all that's great to follow up. I'm a big believer in the crossover between having an offline event and using online to promote it and follow up. It's just a great combination. I remember when I used to, in 2006 when I first started doing events and talks and public speaking, I was like, there was none of that, you know, like I remember I had to direct mail people and fax people to see if they wanted to come to the office for a talk. Like it was treacherous. [0:39:01.3]
Rich: Oh, it's so, I mean, and the specificity, you can go crazy. You can actually go nuts with that. So that's a whole other thing that I'm sure you've covered quite a bit, and you know, when you're doing an advertisement, you know, initially I am like okay, I'll make it for a 50 mile radius. So now I'm like under 10. You know, and that's kind of, certainly one of your specialties.
Kevin: Do you guys do anything with corporations, corporate talks or anything on site?
Rich: Yes. I would say corporate talks have produced the best ROI.
Rich: Yeah, just because you show up. I don't know, and I do a talk. I have dangers of desk work so we talk about, you know, sciatica. We talk about carpal tunnel. We talk about chronic headaches. We have fads in the fitness industry and then we have nutritional myths.
Rich: We kind of come in, and they're just 20 minute talks, just kind of roll in, I guess to go through other talks what we do. Those are big ones - running, how to, you know, prevent running injuries so that might be the running shoe store or at a lot of times, at a big corporation, they might want that. [0:40:08.4]
I have a TMJ lecture that I'll do with dentists. That's usually the staff and so those are, those end up being pretty good. And not to bleed into the medical marketing, but I used to try to do that, like you know, what is functional training or what is active release technique or whatever. Now, I realized that you just want to get in front of them and chat with them and they want to say, oh, okay - he's not crazy. He uses normal medical terms. And that's fine. So I don’t do any presentations there. Occasionally, I might have like an OB/GYN office and they want to know about, you know, pregnancy and the pelvic floor or you know, what, you know, going through that whole process does to the core and why a lot of women get, you know, nonspecific low back pain. So I might do something like that. Those are much more rare. So we're by far the most are the workshops. [0:41:02.2]
Then we'll do lectures and then we, like sorry, for gyms and then we'll also do the lectures to corporations. The other thing that I do, because I speak on the strength training circuit and you know, just to be, to get more use out of this content that I spend hundreds of hours working on, I will do, I will rent out a room at like, you know, one of our really nice recreation centers around here, and then I will do that talk for anybody. So we'll market it to all the CrossFit gyms in the area, to all the training, you know, the fitness studios and the yoga places that they come in and they just see me - I just go through my talk. Right? So sometimes there's 20 people at it, which is still great. I mean, it's the same thing I've already done. Either I'm really sharp because I already did it at the big venue or it's a practice run for me to get, you know, to do better at the big venue. You know, if the topic is right to me, I probably had 150 people at one of them for a talk I did about CrossFit, Friend or Foe? [0:42:07.8]
Kevin: Oh, man.
Rich: It was great. I mean, so then they come in and I had a bunch of physicians that showed up and had those.. it was great. So those can be good, and those are nice because all that is is a little bit marketing beforehand, you know, renting the venue, which for two hours is you know, $100 or whatever like that. Then you just have this nice day and you just kind of hang out there and you just do that stuff. It's great.
Kevin: That's awesome. And I think one of the key things that we need people to take into consideration here is you just kind of get in action. I think that's the thing that people … I talk to so many chiropractors and I'm like, oh, you know, what's your community outreach look like or your whatever, you know, public speaking. And it's like, oh, I did it a couple of times and it just didn't work or I haven’t done one in a few months. And I mean, that's the reality for a lot of people and it's just not working. It's not going to work that way.
Rich: Well, consistency and playing the long game - now the other one was, you know, the anticipating, not reacting. Those are the three areas that I think people are kind of messing up. [0:43:06.3]
Either the walk in and chat with somebody is difficult, so try to think of a reason to go in there. It might just be like, hey, I'm in the area - here's this - I don’t want to take too much of your time, but you know, we work with a lot of people, you know, that I think you guys work with, so here's this - check us out if you want. And I would definitely, with trainers, I would say, hey, if you want to see what we do, like, you know, we'll give you a couple of sessions for free just so you can see exactly what we do, because we're different, and then that's a very strong call to action. Now, giving somebody free care, they're usually really crappy patients. A lot of times, they come in, they suck, they no show a couple of times, but then they refer a bunch of people in, and then so, long-term it's worth it, especially if you're just starting. Like, so if you bring on a new associate, I think that if they work an event, there needs to be, you know, the first, the assessment is free. [0:44:00.5]
And I don’t mean that in a chiro way where, well, I'll do a little bit of one, but if you really want care, then it's the full - no, fuck it. Just do the whole thing, waive the $55 or $155 thing, take good care of them, take the hit, and then get them in the door. And then if you're doing a good job with, you know, the digital stuff that you and I talked about before we started or doing a good job with the in-house stuff, then that person will turn into a producing patient, which is great.
Kevin: Which, is it, and I think, you know, what I love about what you're doing is obviously you have a growth mindset and you’ve got a full, well-developed practice now, and I think any chiropractor can do that, and it does take the four pillars that you mentioned. And so just to kind of summarize that - it's obviously the online stuff, which we didn't get a whole lot into, but we touched on it because it does piggyback the offline. Two is the in house. Three is the MD marketing, again, which is a whole other probably hour and a half podcast. And then the grassroots, and if your practice is doing that, that's how you're really going to get a lot of momentum and just grow really a great practice. So. I appreciate you coming on the show today and diving into that. It's been a pleasure workshopping these ideas with you over the last few month as well. [0:45:14.2]
Rich: Yeah, I'm excited to put to work some of the stuff we talked about beforehand. So, I've, I've certainly got gaps in my marketing strategy, so I'm always looking for knowledgeable people to take some stuff and implement it into the practice.
Kevin: Yeah. I think we all have gaps, even if you're well developed. I know for me, you know, I dove so much into the online the last four or five years. I sat back like a year and a half ago and say, oh, I think we're slipping on the community outreach and getting out there, and we were. And then we got back into it and we noticed an uptake. So you gotta be firing on all cylinders.
Rich: It's, and that goes, you know, tying it back into the meeting regularly, thinking about what you're doing. So I have a staff meeting every two weeks. We have a medical marketing meeting every two weeks and this is with different people, of course. [0:46:03.4]
Then we have a grassroots meeting every two weeks, and so those are things that we do to make sure that we're staying accountable because early on that was tough. We'd be like, alright, well let's do this, and then a month later or maybe we missed that meeting because we were only doing them once a month, so that's two months later, we're like, oh hey, what did we ever do with those emails? Oh, we didn't do it. Oh, okay. Well, let's do that now. And then two months go by again, and nothing happens. So the accountability is huge and being able to anticipate stuff has really kind of helped at least keep the wagon going.
Kevin: Definitely. Well, I really appreciate your time today, doc. I think this was great information and I hope it spurs some chiropractors along and to have a plan, be consistent with it and make sure you're just getting out there as much as you can.
Rich: It's no problem, man. Keep it up.
Kevin: Thank you.
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