How my marketing journey is changing my practice
The following case study was written by Dr. Jeremy Overholt – Inner Vitality Chiropractic, Fort Collins, Colorado. If you would like to share your own success stories please contact Premier Practice on our Write For Us page.
Like you, I am on a mission. I became a chiropractor to accomplish a lot of things but the biggest is to see lives changed. I came out of school like a soldier charging the front lines. I was going to make a difference. I was going to grow a practice that saw people’s health restored and on the increase.
To do this I tried everything to bring new patients to my office. I did print ad, health screenings, corporate lunch & learns, massage events, and worked a referral system internally. The nice thing is that they all worked! As long as I found or created events to screen or speak at, I had new patients coming to my office.
The problem was that only about 50% were even qualified patients.
What I mean by that is that some people were coming to my office because they were just interested to see what chiropractic was, just to get a checkup because the offer was cheap, they didn’t have the means to pay for care or people wouldn’t show up altogether even if they paid in advance. I always found it strange when people would pay $20 to hold their spot on the schedule and not even show up.
Then of those 50% my conversion rate was very erratic. My personal definition of conversion is an individual who receives some level of care and pays for it. This could mean that they received one or multiple adjustments. My highest conversion rate during this time was 65%. Believe me I was very excited about that!
But something changed about three years ago. I got tired. I got tired of all of the long hours at screenings, the no shows and the way I felt when people wouldn’t take up care. I beat myself up thinking I wasn’t working hard enough or that I wasn’t a good enough doctor. The reality was that I was equating my value and the value of care with other people’s values and decisions. That was going to get me nowhere.
So I decided to try something different. Build a different website and market it.
I already had a website, but it was very basic and nothing I would have wanted to have a prospective patient land on. I had very little money so I decided to build my own site.
I Googled things like “best websites for chiropractors” and I also searched for templates. I found one I really liked, bought it and worked with my host to get it installed.
There are experts out there that will do a way better job than I did. I am proud of what I have built and what it is doing for my practice.
The essential thing for me was to create a professional looking site that built trust and had all of the necessary information on it so people could contact me.
Now that it’s built I am still adding content to it in the form of blog articles that I can also distribute internally and on social media to get more engagement from my patients and friends.
From the time of purchase, my site was up inside of a week. I worked hard on it. The next thing I did would prove to be the most beneficial in converting people googling, to patients making a phone call, to scheduling an appointment.
I got Google reviews, a lot of them. I focused on getting as many reviews as I could. I would ask anyone who ever had a good experience in my office to review us online. I also gave a small thankyou gift afterwards. Routinely I still hear new patients remark about a specific review they saw on-line that motivated them to call. As well, this elevated my rankings on Google and I was found more often.
Of significant note here is that you never want to pay for reviews. The search engines know. And you don’t want to get reviews from the same computer terminal or a bunch in one day. The search engines will see that as spam. So I had a strategy to ask for a certain number of reviews each month from people getting great results with my care.
There are other things you can do with your reviews to increase their impact. If you have claimed your business on Google, you can respond to those reviews. Google really likes to see your participation and not many people do this. Another way I used these reviews is to show them off on Facebook and any emails or advertisements I was sending out.
There are other platforms and search engines where you can get reviews. They are all important, but I haven’t found one that has a return like the mostly widely used search engine does.
For me there was nothing more confusing and difficult to get than backlinks.
But they are so necessary. I kept reading that you needed these to rank on the search engines because it shows that your site is valid in the eyes of other sites and therefore search engines can trust you more.
Acquiring these is a slow process because there is a right way to do it so search engines don’t penalize you. I started by reaching out to any company or organization that I worked with that may have an opportunity to give my practice a shout out and link back to my site. I continued to expand my links by providing guest blogs, videos and social media posts.
These are another way for search engines to tune their trust that you are a valid business.
Essentially a citation is the name, address and phone number of your business. This needs to be consistent across the internet. If it’s not, your local rankings will suffer.
I had a unique situation in that there are two chiropractic businesses at the very same address. They operated together, but were different businesses altogether. The problem with that is that if they both use the same address and phone number, but have a different name; the search engines get confused.
To keep things clean and consistent, I purchased a virtual number that is forwarded to my office phone. I also eliminated the suite number from my address. This is not optimal, but it works. From there I set the way I wanted my name, address and phone number to be in google business and worked to have all other citations reflect it.
In the beginning I did all the citation work myself simply by searching for citations lists on Google and then going to those sites and listing my business exactly the way I did in Google. It was a painful task so I then used a service that would locate my citations and opportunities for more. I would then manually add the new listing.
These were the only things I focused on. A good site, reviews, backlinks and citations. There are so many other things that I could have invested my time into, but from the information I could find these were the heavy hitters.
I can’t say that the results were instant, but I did see its impact in the coming months. I did go from pages 5-11 on Google to page 1.
The biggest change was that patients started coming to me instead of me physically going out to a screening or talk looking for them. And when they looked for a chiropractor, they found me and all of my reviews. They had an immediate trust and this resulted in more phone calls and scheduled appointments.
Within the first year this initial build and implementation became a system that brought an average of 6 more new patients monthly, from Google alone, into my office with no more effort on my part. That is 72 new patients a year only from Google! In that time I had only 1 no show, I enjoyed an 87% conversion rate and 80% received more than one adjustment. Google has become my number 1 referral source.
Dr. Jeremy Overholt runs Inner Vitality Chiropractic in Fort Collins, Colorado.