Chiropractic Marketing – Top 10 Tips
December 27, 2008 · Print This Article
How many referrals to you get each week from Google and Yahoo searches?
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.
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.
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
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.)
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.
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.
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:
- Call you to set up an appointment, or
- 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.
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.
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.
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.