I have always had a love/hate relationship with marketing my practice.
In acupuncture school, we were never properly trained as marketers.
Most of the acupuncturists I have coached over the years have had little if any training on patient attraction and retention - and these are both keys to a successful practice.
In this blog post, I’ve listed out nine strategies any practitioner can do, and none of them require an MBA! Anybody can do them, and for low to no cost.
Whether you are a new practitioner or a seasoned one, the following nine strategies can help you increase the number of patients coming into the clinic.
Try one a week, and you will see your practice grow. Even if it is with one new patient per week. It’s better than none!
Strategy #1: Strive for 200!
Set a goal for yourself of handing out 50 or more call-to-action cards per week. Handwrite a note on the back of each business card that says, “Please come in for a free 20-minute stress reduction treatment” or “Bring this card with you for a free first visit.” People will be less likely to throw away a business card that has a handwritten free offer on it by the practitioner himself. Tell them they can pass it onto a friend or a family member if they want. With 200 call-to-action cards a month distributed in your local area is a great way to help your practice grow!
Our Call-to-Action cards for Acupuncturists are designed to generate more referrals and attract more new patients. Call-to-action cards are a low cost way to attract new patients.
Strategy #2: Send a letter of introduction.
Send a letter of introduction to local chiropractors, personal injury lawyers, massage therapists, physical therapists and any other referral source you can think of. Include a short bio of yourself, the type of care you provide and the fact that you want to network with them. Let them know you are interested in what they do and you would love to send some people their way. Ask them out to lunch or tea. Attempt to mail out 20 introduction letters a month, and don’t forget to include a follow-up date when you will call them to make sure they received your letter and to see if they have any questions. Remember to place business or call-to-action cards inside!
Strategy #3: Send a press release to your local paper.
If you’re new to a certain area, use a press release to let people know you’re there. If you have been in your area for a while let people know what you have been doing; teaching, presentations, continuing education classes to expand your care for the public, a new addition to your office, etc.
Strategy #4: Get active!
Become known in your community as a wonderful volunteer. Help out your local food bank, nonprofit organization, homeless shelter, senior center, etc. Let your community know you have a willing and caring heart and want to give back to them! You can even use this in the your press release. Another good strategy is to do a fundraiser for a charity of your choosing. Announce to the community you are offering a certain percentage of that month’s proceeds to that charity and encourage them to come in.
Strategy #5: Talk it up!
Conduct a monthly or bi-monthly free health talk. This is a great way to get people in to the clinic and really interact with them. Advertise this to both your active and inactive patients. Tell them to bring a friend, and let them know if they bring a friend, both your patient and their friend will get a free treatment. If you can’t do this at your treatment space, try the public library, a yoga studio or dance studio. At the end of your talk, send the audience away with some free herb samples, brochures or literature relevant to the material covered in your lecture. You want to leave them with information that will reinforce what they learned.
Purchase as a set and save. These brochures and booklets are the perfect patient education tools to use for your first few visits. Includes: Acupuncture in a Nutshell (50), Your First Visit (50), Questions and Answers (50), Steps of Care (50)
Strategy #6: Don’t like to talk?
Join Toastmasters International. This is the best tool any person can use, especially if they are in private practice. It will provide you with the confidence, experience and organization needed in order to give an effective and powerful talk! You may even get a few clients out of it. Even if you don’t want to do any public speaking, improving your presentation skills will help you feel more confident when you talk about acupuncture.
Strategy #7: Join your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary club.
These are local people who are all working and living in your community and their purpose is to support and help people in the community. If you practice there, they may help to grow your practice with referrals.
Strategy #8: Write an article for your local paper.
Submit an article to your local paper. Inform the public on what it is you are doing and the far-reaching effects beyond pain that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide. You can also gear your article towards a specific seasonal issue, depending on when the article would be printed.
Strategy #9: Send a letter to your "A+" active clients.
Write them a letter, or send them a postcard. Tell them you value their presence in your clinic, you miss seeing them and you would love to fill your schedule with people just like them! They probably have friends like them, so include three certificates that will entitle the bearer to a free consultation and possibly a treatment. (If that’s what you want to offer). Suggest to this client that if they hand out all three certificates, they will receive a free treatment.
So, here they are!
Even if only a few of these strategies speak to you, that is OK.
Just go with the ones that feel right.
This was you can stay consistent in your business development and expand your practice.
Let me know which strategy resonates with you.
We’ll talk soon,
Jeffrey Grossman, EAMP
“Patient attraction and retention are the keys to a successful practice”