Chiropractic Marketing: Your Best Channels
Editor’s Note: Originally posted on 2/1/2016. Updated with OIG’s 12/7/2016 Statement Regarding Gifts of Nominal Value (full text here).
As far back as 1880, department store magnate John Wanamaker became famous for saying, “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.”
Even with today’s measurables such as Google Analytics, open and click-through rate tracking, etc., it’s still difficult to know exactly what kind of marketing outreach works best. But that doesn’t mean you should give up and stop marketing your business. Here are the options ChiroHealthUSA recommends you investigate:
- Yelp – increasingly, consumers of all kinds of services and products are going to Yelp to read reviews before committing their dollars. Yelp can give your practice quite a boost, but there’s a downside. You can’t delete negative reviews, even if they have no factual basis. You can, however, promote positive interaction and encourage patients who’ve had good experiences to leave enough good reviews to outweigh the occasional negative outlier.
- Facebook – Facebook is becoming an increasingly tough nut to crack (the social media giant wants you to buy ads, so their algorithm suppresses business-related posts), but you can mix up sales-oriented posts with more lighthearted ones for better reach. Note: Facebook “likes” infographics and videos and tends to show them to more “likers” than posts that are text only.
- Twitter – Twitter has a better reach than Facebook, but it also trends toward a younger demographic, so phrase your tweets accordingly. Your tweets can refer your followers to your website or Facebook post. One thing to remember. Learn to craft your messages concisely. Tweets are limited to 140 characters.
- Pinterest – What started as a place to gather photos à la scrapbooking or vision boarding has rapidly turned into a viable marketing tool. Share visual information here such as infographics, photos of your office and/or staff, blog posts if you have a business blog, even recipes for healthy eating, or graphics of exercises.
- Mass Email Marketing – Whether you use Constant Contact, MailChimp or another email service, you can get a lot of mileage out of a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter. Consistency is key here. “Train” your mailing list to expect your newsletter at a specific time or times of the month and they’re much more likely to read it. Note: you MUST get every recipient’s permission to add him or her to your mailing list. Create a sign-up sheet at the front desk, so that you can make signing up for your mailing list a natural part of your new patient procedures.
- Local event sponsorship – does your community have fairs, farmer’s markets, school events and other places where you can set up a booth? Visibility within your community is a gift that gives both ways.
No matter where you advertise or market your practice, it’s critical that you avoid the “no-no’s” that may get you in trouble with the Office of Inspector General (OIG). These may include inducements via discounts or coupons, and/or potentially illegal dual fee schedules by offering one fee for insured new patients, but another for cash paying new patients. The OIG also prohibits any gift or providing of anything more than “nominal value” to a patient.
And, what is the definition of “nominal value”? It is anything more than $15.00, or a total of $75.00 in a year according to the 2009 OIG Special Bulletin Alert on Gifts and Inducements. Strict definition of “nominal,” don’t you think?
Practices are faced with either completely eliminating most discounts or find legal ways to offer discounts through a state registered Discount Medical Plan. Using this model, doctors can get paid well when insurance is available, yet keep care affordable for their cash and underinsured patients, including Medicare.
Editor’s Note: For more information about the dangers of offering discounts to patients and dual fee schedules, see the articles on the ICS website at www.ilchiro.org/discount.
Dr. Ray Foxworth is a certified Medical Compliance Spe¬cialist and President of ChiroHealthUSA. A practicing Chiropractor, he remains “in the trenches” facing challenges with billing, coding, documentation, and compliance. He has served as president of the Mis¬sissippi Chiropractic Association, former Staff Chiro¬practor at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center and is a Fellow of the International College of Chiropractic. You can contact Dr. Foxworth at 1-888-719-9990, email@example.com or visit the ChiroHealthUSA website at www.chirohealthusa.com. Join us for a free webinar that will give you all the details about how a DMPO can help you practice with more peace of mind. Go to www.chirohealthusa.com to register today.