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Chiropractic Marketing – Top 10 Tips

December 27, 2008

How many referrals to you get each week from Google and Yahoo searches?

Chiropractor Marketing Tip - Local Business Search Results in Google

Local Business Search Results in Google

If you are not using the web as a new way to attract new patients to your practice, you are missing out on a huge chiropractic marketing opportunity. There are many resources available now to create a presence online that shows up when people search for local services on Google and Yahoo. Any in many cases they can be more effective than the print Yellow Pages at a fraction of the cost.

These tips are based on my experience working with chiropractic clients, but could be used for any small business with a physical office or storefront.

Here is my list of the top 10 things you can do as a chiropractor (or any small business owner) to promote your practice online:

1) Get a website with your own domain name

If you already have your own domain name and a website that you control, great. I only bring this up because many small business owners I talk to don’t have a website or their own domain name. Some of them sign up with one of the online directories like Yelp or Merchant Circle or Yellow Book to get a profile in those directories and leave it at that.

The problem with these profiles is that you do not control them, and they typically show advertisements – sometimes for your competitors – right along side your profile. Let me ask you, if you have a website, do you advertise your competitor down the street on it?

Here’s an example for a Chiropractor in the LA area.

Search result pointing to a directory

Search result pointing to a directory

A search in Google for this chiropractor yields a result, but the link is to the South Bay Business Register domain, linking to an awful looking page full of advertisements to his competition.

Directory Listing with competitive Ads

A Merchant Circle directory listing also shows up in the the Google Search results for this business. A click on that link brings you to a page with some very basic information about the business, and no less than 25 Ads on the page, over half of them for competitors!

These online directories are valuable as “citations” or validations of your business, supporting your own website and your Google and Yahoo local profiles (as we’ll see in #4 below), but do not use them as a replacement for your website and domain name.

Besides, when a good hosting plan that gives you a domain name, and one-click WordPress installs is $6.95/month you can’t deny that it is affordable!

2) Optimize your website for local search

Now that you have your site, there are some basic “on page” search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that you should do. First, determine the basic “keywords” that you are looking to rank for. For example, if you are a chiropractor in [cityname] you’ll want to rank for phrases like “chiropractor [cityname]“, “chiropractic [cityname]“, and other areas that you want to draw patients from.

And you should include your business name, and two or three of those keywords in the Title tag <title> of your web pages.

Your home page should also include keywords in your Header tags <h1, h2, h3>. You don’t want to stuff keywords in here – these titles should be written in natural language that your visitors understand. For example, if my practice is located in Portland, I might have a title tag something like:

Chiropractic Care in Portland | Gentler Chiropractic

Chiropractic Marketing Tip - Example Title Tag

Example Title Tag

And header tags that emphasize those keywords but do not exactly copy them.

You’ll also want to add your physical business address to every page on your site. This is helpful for your local search rankings, as Google and Yahoo can determine that the pages on your site are related to your business listing.

There are many other on-page optimizations you can do, but these are a few of the most important ones to start with.

3) Set up your Google and Yahoo Local business profiles

Google and Yahoo both offer free business profiles to small business owners.  I’m surprised at how many business owners don’t know about them or take advantage of this free resource. What’s more, bad things can happen if you don’t claim your Google Local Profile! Local search expert Mike Blumenthal has written about the “map spam” issue, which primarily affects unclaimed Google Local listings.

But the real reason you should claim these business profiles is that they can help you rank very highly in the search results on Google and Yahoo when people perform searches for local goods and services. (Here’s a great definition of Local Search.)

Chiropractic Marketing Tip - a Google Local Business Profile

Example of a Google Local Business Profile

There are many ways to optimize these profiles. One key is to standardize the business name and title in each of them, and include your city name. But the most important thing is that you claim your listing now. You can optimize them over time by adding photos, videos and coupons.

These local profiles also contain links to your website, and with a clear “call to action” you can start attracting new patients. Here are the links to the Google Local Business Center, and Yahoo Local.

4) Get links and “citations” from other sites and directories

A key part of how you will rank in the search engine results is how many other respected sites link to your site with your keywords in the anchor text. The anchor text is the text that you click on that links to your website.

For local search results in Google, their algorithm also counts “citations” of your business in other directories.

Do a search on your keywords (e.g. chiropractic in San Antonio) and see who ranks highly in the local search results 10-box (shown above.) Now click on the More link to see their Google Local profile. Click on the Web Pages tab to see all of the citations for their business. You’ll want to be listed in those directories too.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip - Example of web citations

Example of web citations

5) Publish original content to your website (aka “spider food”)

The key to great search results is increasingly determined by unique, original content. This is one of the reasons why I recommend WordPress for your website – WordPress is designed as a content management system and makes it easy to publish new content and it automatically  pings the search engines for you.

You’ll want to publish some content to your website regularly to give the Google and Yahoo crawlers a reason to come back to your site and add more pages to their indexes.

This isn’t as difficult or time consuming as you may think. For example, I’ve had several of my chiropractic customers go back through some of their print newsletters and take short tips and articles they’ve already written, and then publish those to an articles section on their website.

Another cool thing about WordPress is that you can queue up 10 or 20 of these articles, and then schedule them to be released every few days, or once per week, depending on how much content you have.

6) Set up Call Tracking on your website

You’ll want a way to measure the effectiveness of you Internet marketing efforts, and one great way to do that is to set up “call tracking” on your website.

Probably the easiest way to do this is with a virtual phone system like RingCentral. You can establish a unique phone number for your website, and add a Click-To-Call button to it as well. All calls from your website will be logged and you can set it up to give you a daily or weekly report. This way you’ll be able to track how many calls are generated from your website.

Other important ways of tracking the effectiveness of your website are setting up coupons (in your Google Local profile, for example) and having your receptionist ask every new caller how they found out about you.

7) Create a video and publish it on YouTube

Don’t be intimidated by this. You can create a great video by simply having a friend or co-worker do a 5-minute interview with you about your business and why you started it with a consumer grade video camera. All you want is a basic introduction to your business so that potential patients can get to know you a little better.

Once you have this video, you can publish it to YouTube, and link to it from your website. This is a great technique for building an additional “citation” for your Google Local profile, as Steve Espinosa described at at recent SMX Local event. Andrew Shotland has more local search tips here.

It also allows allows you to have an entry in the Universal Search results, and research shows that if you have a natural search result and a video search result on the same page people are over 3x more likely to click on your result!

8 ) Take control of your online reviews

Every business gets the occasional bad review. Maybe someone was having a bad day, and they took it out on you. And the reality is, people can leave reviews about your business on Google Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Citysearch and other sites without your permission.

So you need to take control of your online review process up front. The best way to do this is to ask your best patients if they will leave an online review for you. When the are in your office, explain to them that online reviews are important to your business, and ask them if they would be willing to spend 5 minutes to leave you a review.

Most of them will say yes, and at that time give them a letter that has a link to your online profiles in Google, Yahoo and Yelp (or whatever site you want to emphasize for reviews.) I’ve got a sample letter template for requesting online reviews here.

Online reviews help you stand out

Online reviews help you stand out

Set a goal to get 20 or 30 reviews of your business. Having these reviews will help your business in the search rankings, and make it visually stand out from all the other results. Imagine the reaction of the person who did the search in Google, when she sees a list of 10 results – and yours has 20+ reviews and the other results have 1 or none!

9) Add a Map and Directions page to your website

Google has made it very easy to create a map to your business with driving directions. You want to make it as easy as possible for a visitor to take action when they come to your website. The primary actions that you want them to take are:

  1. Call you to set up an appointment, or
  2. Visit your office

So make it easy for them. Provide a map and driving directions in an clearly marked section of your website. Go to Google Maps to create the map, and it will give you the HTML to embed on your page.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip - Google Map and Directions page

Google Map and Directions page

You can follow this KML tutorial if you want to take it a step further.

10) Set up an email newsletter to increase your repeat business

One of the most important things you can do to increase your repeat business is follow up. A proven way to  stay top of mind with your patients is by communicating with them regularly with an email newsletter.

Explain to your patients that you are moving to a “green” practice and your newsletters will be delivered via email instead of paper now. Ask them for their email addresses when they are in the office and tell them you’d like to send them your newsletter.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip - AWeber email newsletter

AWeber email newsletter

You can sign up with a service like AWeber for $19/month to manage your email list. They have nice looking templates pre-made, so it’s easy to put the newsletter together. A great way to do this is to create a series of emails that will go out ever 3-4 weeks. Each email should be brief, and contain something valuable to your patients.

Give them tips on proper posture, or educate them on the value of being proactive in their health. You can even summarize articles that you have published to your website. Set up the series for 20 weeks in advance and AWeber will handle the deliver right on schedule.

What’s Next?

These tips can be applied to almost any small business with a physical storefront to rank highly in the local search results for your area.

For chiropractors, you should be getting several new patient referrals every week from your website and Google and Yahoo searches. I know because I’ve done this for my clients and it works. And we haven’t even talked about Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising yet.

Everything I’ve listed above helps you rank in the organic search results (read: Free Search Results!) Once you’ve established a powerful online presence like this, you can then start thinking about Pay-Per-Click marketing like Google AdWords to boost your traffic even more.

If you have questions or need help with this, contact me, I’ll be glad to help you put a plan together for your chiropractic practice!

About the Author

Don Campbell is the publisher of Expand2Web and Chiropractor2Web. He works primarily with Chiropractic practices helping them establish an effective online presence. Formerly from Microsoft and Interwoven, Don lives in Silicon Valley with his lovely wife and two beautiful daughters.

New Chiropractic Economics Article – Should You Write A Book?

December 16, 2008

I recently ran across a new article in Chiropractic Economics called “10 Reasons Why You Should Write a Book.”

The author is Billy Sticker, he is a chiropractic marketing consultant who runs the website Chiropractic Marketing University.

In the article he shares tips for chiropractors and talks about how writing a book could be a very effective marketing tool for their practice. He also shares some insight on self-publishing; I didn’t realize that you can self-publish a high quality book for about $2-$3 each and retain all the rights. 

It’s a good read for the chiropractor who is looking at new marketing angles and opportunities. Head on over to read the article here.

What Is Sports Chiropractic?

November 4, 2008

What Is Sports Chiropractic?

By Dr. Ted Omura, DC, QME

“Chiropractic, particularly sports chiropractic, can be of enormous benefit in training and preventing sports-related injuries and improving athletic performance.” – British Chiropractic Sports Council

Sports Chiropractic is a specialty in chiropractic care where the focus is to provide care in the management, rehabilitation and performance optimization of the neuromusculoskeletal system (nerves, muscles and bones) for athletes. Doctors of chiropractic identify underlying areas of dysfunction, which prevent athletes from achieving optimal performance.

For the athlete, chiropractic care is great for restoration of the spine to ensure it moves properly; helping to relieve pain; and to reduce inflammation after an injury.  However, many athletes are using chiropractic care as a preventive care to avoid injury in today’s highly competitive world. Whether it is golf, football, or participation in triathlons, chiropractic care is a key proactive ingredient to help you prevent injury in any sport.

Benefits of Sport Chiropractic Care

Some of the benefits Athletes receive with Sport Chiropractic are:

  • Running Faster
  • Better Coordination & Balance
  • Increased Range of Motion – Better Movement
  • Peak Performance – Allowing you to be your Best!
  • Proactive strategy for Reducing Injuries

If an athlete is injured as a result of a sport, chiropractic care can help their muscles, tendons, and ligaments undergo the proper joint movement to make the healing process much quicker.  Any injury to the muscles, tendons or ligament areas can restrict motion, blood supply and reduce overall performance. Seeking the care of a chiropractor who works with these specific injuries is a wise idea for any athlete.

Whereas a medical doctor will treat the symptoms, the Sports Chiropractor will work with the athletes in a more natural, preventative manner and treat the cause of the cause of the injury instead of simply masking the symptoms. Doctors of chiropractic also take the time to teach athletic patients the importance of consuming healthy, well-balanced meals as well as the relevance of proper hydration. Athletes especially need proper nutrition and hydration to perform at their best.

Reducing the Need For Drugs

However, the best thing about chiropractic is not only that it is drug-free natural care, but it is also preventative and performance enhancing care. Maintaining proper spinal alignment puts athletes in a state of peak efficiency, and adjustment after competition speeds the recuperative process after the stress of their particular event.

When the Chiropractor takes the time to teach the athlete in this manner and promote a proactive, preventive lifestyle, chiropractors help athletes cut their likelihood of injury while facilitating their nervous system to maximize athletic aptitude. Chiropractic also greatly reduces the need for non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs including Motrin and Advil,  Naprosyn and Alleve.

Sport Chiropractics is definitely a field where one must truly care about the people they work with. It is about taking an approach to healing where the doctor and patient must develop a relationship to work together for optimum healing.

About the author

Dr. Omura is the founder of SCORE Clinic – a San Jose Chiropractic care practice, founded in 1998. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology at UCLA.  He completed his graduate education at Palmer College of Chiropractic West to earn his Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

He continued his post-graduate education to become a certified chiropractic sports physician, a strength and conditioning specialist, and a qualified medical examiner.

Dr. Omura has been practicing chiropractic for over ten years.  He is also certified in Active Release Technique and Kinesio Taping.

Dr. Omura grew up in Los Altos and currently resides in Almaden Valley.  He enjoys golfing, running, mountain biking, and especially spending time with his family.  Dr. Omura is a proud father to his son, Brandon and his daughter, Taylor.

Obama’s Letter To Chiropractors

November 2, 2008

I recently ran across a couple of letters to the chiropractic community from Barack Obama. I believe they are authentic, since they are linked to from reputable sites like Planet Chiropractic and the American Chiropractic Association. The letters are very favorable to chiropractors, with Obama saying that he considers chiropractic care as “preventative” and in line with the philosophy of his health plan for America.

Here is a direct quote from the letter:

My health plan also prioritizes preventive care, and chiropractors play a significant role in this effort. As we shift our health care delivery system towards a culture of wellness and disease prevention, I believe that chiropractors must play an integral role in expanding access to preventive care and strengthening our public health system.

There is also a letter from Senator John McCain on the ACA website (see link above) that endorses chiropractic care, even if to a lesser extent than Obama does. It seems that chiropractic care will take a larger role in Medicare under both candidates health plans.

This looks like good news for the Chiropractic community, particularly if Obama is our next president.

Thanks to @Chiropractic for pointing these out!

How I Almost Missed The Solution To My Back Injury

November 2, 2008

…This is a brief story of how about how a skeptic (me) visited a chiropractor as a last resort, and became so convinced that I built a business around serving chiropractors…

We should never have watched that video. My friends and I got a hold of a video of the Korean National Tae Kwon Do demonstration team. These guys were absolutely amazing. Breaking boards, flying kicks, and acrobatics of all kinds.

They were the best of the best in a nation where Tae Kwon Do is the national sport. After watching the video, my fellow Tae Kwon Do class mates and I had no choice but to put together our own black belt demonstration team.

The technique that stood out for me was the 540 degree jump spinning kick. In this kick, you have to jump in the air, and then spin around completely once – that’s 360 degrees, and then another 180 degrees, and kick a board and break it with your heel before landing.

The Unexpected Back Injury

It takes a while to get this one right. I must have practiced that kick 400 times over the course of 3 weeks.

I still was surprised when I developed a pain all along my back, like a high tension wire running from the base of my neck all the way down my spine. I’d never had back issues before, and had been training for years so I didn’t make the connection at first.

But after a couple of weeks of not being able to even look down because my neck and back hurt so much, I started to get worried. I went to see the doctor – a sports medicine specialist, and he examined me. Since he was an orthopedic doctor focusing on sports injuries, I was hoping that he would have an answer for me. Well he did – 800mg of ibuprofin.  The most common version of this over the counter is called Motrin, and it is was is called a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory. He also offered to take X-Rays. He just said I’ll have to get the muscles in my back to relax and the drugs would help me do that.

Well, this was not the solution I was looking for. Then one night at a party, a friend of mine told me about her Chiropractor. She suggested that I go see him to see if he could help. I had never been to a Chiropractor before, and the thought of someone “manipulating my spine” when my back was in such pain was not very appealing.

But when my friend, whom I had known for a long time, told me she takes her kids to see this Chiropractor, I decided to give in and at least go for an initial visit.

My First Visit To The Chiropractor

At my first visit, this doctor sat down and listened to me about my injury and how I thought it came about. He examined my posture, my back and neck, and took some X-Rays. He found some “trigger points” on my back – places where the muscles were very tight and knotted, and spent some time on those to free them up. He then performed an adjustment on my back, by having me cross my arms in front of me, and then “hugging” me and adjusting my spine. I thought to myself – “here we go…”

I felt almost instant relief. I could hardly believe it. I mean, the pain was not totally gone, but it made a huge difference right away. He told me it would take a few more visits to get the problems with my back corrected.

I thought to myself, “Yeah, I’ll bet it will. You’ll probably have me coming back here for life!” But I was willing to continue for a while after such a dramatic result after my first visit.

So I went back about three times a week for three weeks. My back steadily improved over those visits, until after the third week he said to me “I think you are all set.” He gave me some advice about how to avoid this type of injury in the future, and also recommended that I come back every 4-6 weeks for a “maintenance” adjustment. But, he said, “that is up to you and how your back is feeling.”

Needless to say, this experience really changed my views about Chiropractic adjustments, and Chiropractors in general. Like any profession, there are good and bad practitioners – I was lucky to get a good one.

Fast Forward To Today

That was 10 years ago. As I get older, things like sports, too much time on the computer, and other factors get my back out of alignment from time to time. Now I visit the chiropractor when I have a problem, and then I try to go every 4-6 weeks for a while after that to keep things in tune. I’ve moved a couple of times and have seen about 6 different chiropractors.

Along the way I’ve found that chiropractors tend to be very “proactive” in nature. All the ones I’ve worked with have taken the time to listen to my concerns, and help me come up with preventative ways to stay out of their office. They have helped me with back and neck problems, given me tips on my posture, and recommended a number of exercises and stretches to help keep my back healthy and feeling good.

Now, in the area I live I have several chiropractors that I have become friends with. As I learned more about their businesses and challenges, I got involved with helping several of them establish a presence on the Internet so that they show up in Google searches.

They were having a tough time getting value out of the print Yellow Pages, and I helped them get a web site up and running using WordPress, and do some very targeted local search optimization so that they show up in the local search results in Google and Yahoo. I also helped them manage their online reviews, and build tighter relationships with their customers through an email newsletter. As a result, they are getting new customer inquiries every week from people doing searches on Google and Yahoo looking for chiropractic care.

After doing this several times, I got really good at it and turned it into a repeatable process.  Now I’ve built a business helping other chiropractors establish an online presence and get new customers from local Internet searches.

That’s My Story – What Is Yours?

So that’s my story. I’ve come a long way from that initial skeptic who couldn’t imagine going in to see a chiropractor. Chiropractic care has helped me tremendously over the years, and now it has become a big part of my business as well.

What is your story? I’d love to hear about your experiences with Chiropractors – if you are reading this please leave a comment below!

p.s. If you are looking for a recommendation for a Sunnyvale Chiropractor or a San Jose Chiropractor click those links to find two of the best.

About the author

Don is the publisher of Expand2Web, a website devoted to helping small business owners like Chiropractors build Wordpress powered websites, and get a steady stream of new customers from Google and Yahoo. In his leisure time Don enjoys learning to play Jazz piano, skiing, and wake boarding. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the San Jose, California where they enjoy traveling and exploring the Redwoods and the Pacific ocean beaches.

Download a complete small business website theme for WordPress – The Chiropractic WordPress Theme at Chiropractor2Web.

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