Direct Marketing Crash Course For Chiropreneurs

When it comes to marketing your brand of chiropractic, you have dozens of media choices. They range for no-cost, low-cost to high-cost. Here’s just a few:

* Radio
* Television
* Billboards
* Magazines
* Newspapers
* Outdoor Media, i.e., bus stops or the actual bus!
* Shoppers
* Free Standing Inserts
* Yellow Page
* Building Signage
* Window Signage
* Branded Promotional Items
* Branded Apparel
* Sponsorships
* Exhibits
* Business Cards
* Alliances
* Lectures

… and direct marketing.

Direct Marketing is called many things from advertising mail to junk mail. Regardless of what you call it, it is a high-powered marketing tactic, if you understand how to use it.

Consider this:

79.6% of the adult population made at lest one purchase in response to junk mail in the past 12 months.

As you can see, direct mail is profitable. In fact, for each dollar spent on direct marketing yields, on average, a ROI (return on investment) of $11.65.

By comparison, each dollar spent on NON-DM advertising yields an ROI of just $5.29.

Eleven is much better than FIVE…. Yes or Yes?

Benefits of Direct Mail

Unlike most marketing media, with direct mail you can target your message to the Prospex most likely to be receptive to your brand of chiropractic.

DM is measurable… you can know exactly who responded and what your results were in no uncertain terms.

You can easily improve your DM. You can test lists, design, offers and even the headline.

And, regardless of your budget you can get started with as few as 250 Prospex or Patients and ramp up to one million or more as you grow!

Here’s something you may not have considered:

* 55% of Americans read a newspaper… pretty depression, all things considered.
* 95% have telephones.
* 98% have television sets..
BUT EVERYONE HAS A MAILBOX! That’s 100% of our population.

People Read Their Mail

What do you and every other American do when you get home? Yes, we read our mail. And, we quickly divide it into two piles…

* Relevant
* Junk

Relevant mail is bills, which by the way is declining as more people get their bills online, and any mail that we have an interest.

Junk mail gets tossed in the trash. Junk mail is any mail that is not of interest to us.

If the mail was for a summer camp for children, and you have no children… right to the trash!

But, if you have back pain and the message was about back pain relief, you just may put that into your relevant pile. If you don’t have pain, then it goes into the trash!

It’s that simple. And, we all do this in minutes, if not seconds.

The Advantage of Direct Mail

DM is convenient, if it is relevant, it’s on your kitchen table. You can study and re-read the message without any time constraints, i.e., radio or television spots. And, of course, you can file it, save it. Show it to others. How many times have you put a “coupon” on the fridge door with a magnet?

6 Ways to Use Direct Mail

DM is versatile and can be used for multiple strategies. Here are six:

1. Generate visits to your office or website.
2. Generate Leads for your brand of chiropractic.
3. Respond to competitive activity.
4. Generate Patient Loyalty
5. Generate Patient Referrals
6. Promote special events, new products or services and technology.

Have a Plan!

As with any marketing activity, you need a plan. Without one, you are planning to fail.

Establish realistic expectations. Far too often, Chiropreneurs expect way too much from their marketing efforts. They loved their marketing so much, why doesn’t everyone respond.

Maybe you decide to send out 1,000 mailers to area residents. What do you expect to happen? Generally, you cannot expect to get 1,000 new patients from the single mailer. In fact, it is possible you will not get ONE new patient… but could get a dozen or more “leads,” which you convert to patients using follow up marketing tactics.

Your DM should have a sure-fire, can’t miss method of capturing the reuslts. The captured results should be evaluated and then you make changes as needed.

The best “plan” is 12 months, using a continuous, spaced repetition model. When Ford Motor announced a new marketing strategy and plan, the VP of Marketing conceded that it would be five years before they know if it works. Even the deep-pockets of major corporations understand that marketing is a process… a long-term process… for optimum success.

Goals and Strategies

One of the most common mistakes made by Chiropreneurs when marketing their brand of chiropractic is that they fail to share the “vision” with the T.E.A.M. They run an ad or mail a mailer, but fail to tell everyone! It’s true. It happens.

Imagine the impact when someone does respond to the promotion and the Receptionist hasn’t a clue what they are talking about.

Your DM needs to be focused on those whom you want to attract to your office… no, it isn’t everyone with a spine! Your headline and message must be what interest those to whom you are communicating. The more targeted the message, the better the results.

How will you get your prospects to respond? By phone. By mail. By fax. By email. By website. By visit. Plan it.

Consider what your competitive colleagues are doing in your marketplace as you plan your DM.

What is your deadline? If you are planning a seminar, how far in advance will you need to do your mailer, in order to allow people to plan on attending?

What is your budget? And, finally, What is the OFFER?

All these issues require thought, research and planning.

Will Anyone Respond?

The single most common question asked by Chiropreneurs is: “What kind of response will I get?”

That’s the wrong question to ask. The better question is: “What kind of response do I need?”

Here’s a scenario:

Your Case Average is $2,500.00
Your Overhead is 40%
Your Gross Profit Per NP is: $1,500.00

List Size: 1,000
Mailer Cost: 50 cents per resident

Total Budget: $500.00

New Patients: 1

Bottom Line: $1,000 Additional Profit

ROI: 300%

That’s with just one new patient for every 1,000 mailers…

NOT COUNTING REFERRALS!

Plus, this is based on CASE AVERAGE, not the more accurate method of Lifetime Value.

Here’s another way to look at it. How much would you pay for each new patient? In other words, based on your Case Average or better yet, your Lifetime Patient Value, how much would you pay for a new patient?

If each new patient was worth $1,500 in additional profit to your practice, would you be willing to invest $200, $300, $500 or more? Even at $500, your ROI is 100%, which is much better than any other form of investment you could make. think about it. Where could you invest $500 today and expect to get $1,000 in profit.

Or, consider the LTV approach used by successful corporation whether they are selling burgers or automobiles… each new patient could have a LTV of $25,000 or more! What would you be willing to pay for a bus load of new patients at this level? Surely more than $500!

5 Key Direct Mail Elements

1. Timing
2. Maiiler Format
3. Headline and Copy
4. The Offer
5. The List

The List is Key

Of all the elements in DM, the list is the most important. In fact, many direct marketing gurus believe that a list can influence the success of the marketing campaign up to 40% or more!

DM is about using a rifle instead of a shotgun. Your target audience must be:

* Identifiable
* Likely to Buy (be able to afford your services)
* Accessible

You Must Mail to Non-Patients

You can certainly direct a mail campaign to your existing and inactive patients… and you should… but your current patients will only buy so much and don’t forget, you lose patients every year! Some move away. Some die. And, some decide to try a competitive colleague.

If you don’t market your brand of chiropractic to non-paitients, your practice can stagnant, decline and fail to grow.

Identify the Right List

One of the best ways to determine whom to mail your message is to identify your best patients by tracking revenue, loyalty, referrals during a specific date range and determine what the group has in common in terms of:

1. Demographics
2. Psychographics
3. Lifestyle

Select your mailing list based on Prospex that match your best Patients! It’s that simple.

Identify the Right List

There are a number of list types:

Compiled Lists consist of Consumer, B2B and Resident/Occupant. The worst list is your Resident/Occupant list. Avoid even though it is the least expensive list to acquire. Consumer lists that are defined by demographics, psychographics and lifestyle elements are the best for your purposes.

The next category is Specialty List which includes lists of people who have responded to an offer, subscribers and/or members of a group.

This list could include people who purchased pain relief OTC medication or active golfers for example.

The more “targeted” a list, the more expensive it is to “rent” the names. But, the results generally will improve with a highly selective list.

Designing Your Mailer

After you have plotted your strategy, it’s time to start developing the mailer. You begin with the format of your mailer.

Budget will play a role here. Here’s four widely used formats for direct mail marketing:

* Dimensional Mailer
* Traditional Letter Mailer
* Self-mailer
* Post Card

Each of these formats has a purpose. For the purpose of generating leads, the post card is a very effective format and is cost effective.

The Headline

Using the psot card format does not mean you don’t use proven advertising elements and the headline is the most important element on your post card.

Keep it simple: one or two QUICK benefits and do it in 6-7 words!

* Stop suffering from back pain.
* Instant pain relief in just minutes.

Give a reason to continue reading your message:

* See the other side for a FREE 72-page report on how to avoid back surgery.

Make a BIG promise and be sure you can fulfill it:

* Download your free report 24/7, without any cost or obligation. Be on your way to pain-free living without risky back surgery.

The Offer

The offer is vital to a successful DM campaign. Most Chiropreneurs and even some marketing “experts” attempt to go for the sale on the first message. This is wrong. Your DM campaign should focus on getting “leads,” people of interest first and then move them to a conversion funnel.

Your offer could offer a sample/trail, discounts, have a time limit, a free gift, a special event or buy-one, get one free promotion.

The Call to Action

Your DM efforts should encourage people to respond. But, you must tell them exactly what you want them to do:

* Go to [www.website.com]
* Redeem this coupon at our office before [Date]
* Call XXX.XXXX to reserve your seat.

In other words, speill it out clearly what you want the reader to do. Don’t assume you’ve gotten through. Consider an expiration date to create a sense of urgency or exclusivity.

Writing Postcards

Keep it simple with no more than two or three points. Don’t try to reduce a “letter” to a postcard. The best approach is a “series” of postcards over a period of time.

Testing

Since you can mail as few as 250 postcards, with most postcard vendors, you can test four different messages and still use your 1,000 mail list.

Try different headlines, change the offer to see what works best with your targeted list. Never stop testing, even when you find a combination that is delivering profitable results. The marketplace is constantly changing, and so should you.

Post-Mailing Analysis and The Profit Picture

Tracking your responses is vital for assessing your ROI (return on investment). The best way to accomplish this is to code your reply device, i.e., promotional codes on the “coupon,” personal URL’s online, color coding and varying discount offers.

Record the Numbers

* How many responses?
* How many conversions?
* How many phone calls did you receive?
* What was offered?
* What is the future value of your new patients?

Keeping Track of Results

Tracking your results and capturing the results are vital for determining what to do next. You should plan on implementing a system, i.e., ACT!, Beneto, Goldmine, Salesforce or similar program.

You can even use Excel or Numbers spreadsheet for this purpose.

Don’t put them into a box or in a notebook. By using technology, you can “work” your leads to move more from Prospex to Patient using a different DM campaign for those residents that responded to your Prospex campaign.

Direct Mail is a viable and important component to your marketing mix. Some believe DM is more expensive than other marketing alternatives… and it is… purely from a CPM (cost per thousand) measurement.

But, usually form a pure economical perspective, direct mail delivers more bang for your buck.

Like any other form of marketing, it is not a one-shot tactic. it’s a continuous and repetitive process. At the very least, try it for 12 months to a list of 250 highly targeted Prospex in your marketplace. Track, measure and then see if you should increase your list size next year.

One last piece of DM advice… don’t offer FREE professional services. This creates the wrong image of your brand of chiropractic. Focus on “information” based offers or product offers to get them into the office.

Once inside the building, then do a spinal screening, using your external spinal screening protocol, and then conver those to first vist new patient status and then convert those into patients! That’s the ultimate process. 3-steps or more, don’t go for 1 step!