The fastest way to affect public opinion is through television. Shows like CBS’ Two and a Half Men, in which one of the lead characters is a chiropractor, show that the profession has, indeed, entered the mainstream of American culture… albeit with a less than ideal portrayal of a chiropractor, it’s a start.
So how do you use this mega-tool to promote your practice and enhance your image? Here are three proven options available to get you started.
Do-it-Yourself TV Advertising:
After ten years advertising on TV in his local community, Dr. Richard Busch III shares some tips for you to get the best results on your own.
Describe the process for creating your own commercials:
The first step in creating a commercial is simple but not easy. It takes critical thinking, evaluation and consulting with others to decide exactly what about your business you need to advertise.
Develop a specific definition, statement and slogan about your business. You can have more than one statement, but only one slogan. What exactly do you do besides run a chiropractic clinic? Are you the most-on-time, most gentle, most kind, most fun, easiest to get to, the most successful clinic in the area? The more common the benefit you have, the easier it is to market.
It can be very easy to make a commercial. You can consult with a local or cable television station or full-service production company, comparing fees and quality. There can be a drastic quality difference. The lower end looks adequate, like a good video camera; however, eventually, you want to have the quality of a national commercial. This is all part of your perception and image. However, you have to stay within budget. It is wise to get a quote and request a clear discussion on the exact process involved.
You need to know your target market. Lacking that knowledge, you can be certain you may be throwing some of your money away! But, not all your money, because it is better to have some coverage rather than no coverage. You will learn as you go!
The actual process of writing the spot is as simple as sitting at your computer and talking out loud! Then, just type what you say, read it out loud, add and delete parts, then read it again. Most television commercials are 30 seconds long and not all that time will be allocated to your exact message. There should be an introduction, message, and exit. This doesn’t allow for much verbiage. Ask your television representative for help. If you can get something started on paper, the process falls in line. It is a matter of rewriting and rereading against the clock. Remember your mission, vision, results and your slogan. Keep these as part of your commercial. Think of Hertz and “We try harder!” Use testimonials; they sell you the best! Your patients will be delighted to be in your commercial. It just takes coordination, and that is simple.
Busch Chiropractic Centers began 10 years ago and, initially, had negotiated the commercial production into the cost of the over all commercials—in essence production was free. As time went on and our needs began to change, and we wanted to have a higher quality spot, we actually went to a production company and filmed our commercials and infomercials in their facility with a director and cameraman. This is definitely more expensive, however it does look a great deal more professional, and that is an important message to convey at any stage of your career. Always dress for your part; dress for success. You are the finest doctor delivering the finest care because you care!
What’s the budget required?
The budget to produce a commercial can vary from nothing to thousands of dollars; it really just depends on where you’re producing. Your advertising schedule could offset your production expense in certain markets. Higher quality costs. It also depends on if you want to re-film frequently, run longer-term, or try for free production. However, a quote to you is free! So call your television stations, and have them come out and visit. See what the representatives have to offer in both personal knowledge and added value for your business. Most of the time, you can expect help in script writing, which you should expect to rewrite. You are the one with the intimate knowledge of your business, vision, mission and personality. You are your business. Don’t be afraid to change things.
What results can be expected?
When it comes to advertising, there is nothing that can be taken for granted; it is something you have to commit to and you must stick with it. The only thing you can expect is there is no way to receive results if you don’t advertise. Responses will begin slowly and then build on themselves. There is no way to advertise a fire sale and expect a full office. You can work on a full marketing program to back up your commercial. Contact your local publications, magazines, and newspapers, all of them; ask for news releases and news stories. You will surprise yourself with what you will accomplish. You must commit to marketing and that is more than one commercial.
How should the results be measured?
The only way to measure results is with statistics. You have to measure the new patients you are seeing prior to the advertising campaign and then you must track the new patients and where are they coming from. Are they coming from TV advertising, radio, newspaper or referral? Graph the results and also compare overall numbers. The only way you can measure the success is to look at the past and compare the past to your new effort.
Have set tracking methods in place, begin asking your patients, “How did you hear of us?” Then write this information down and graph it monthly. Or you can say, “Please help us with our marketing by filling out this form, telling us more about your viewing and listing preferences.” Larger groups can use specific telephone numbers tagged with a specific commercial.
What is the Return On Investment (ROI)?
Well, I don’t really think you can paint it in that much of a black and white picture. Again, it really depends on your goal. If you look at it from the right perspective, when you spend 100 dollars and you collect 110, I’d call that a success. That, of course, is on the very low end of the scale, though. In an ideal world, advertising budgets should be about 10% of gross collections.
Any other information you think is pertinent/relevant?
I think it is important to note that what you commit to you must follow through on. Otherwise, you cannot determine the extent of success; and you cannot determine success with just a week or month of advertising—it will take much longer than that, but the long-term commitment is worth it!
Additionally, interview advertising agencies; they may have ways of actually paying for themselves! They may be able to negotiate bulk rates based on their client base and, while you’re interviewing them, you have the opportunity to learn a lot about marketing! Don’t be afraid to ask for value-added bonus spots, interview opportunities and ways to participate in your television stations’ community involvement.
Know that, when you are seen on a television commercial, it is a one-on-one experience with the viewers. It is as if you are a guest in their home and they feel as if they know you!
Dr. Busch can be reached at 888-471-4090 or at www.buschchiropractic.com.