Let’s face it: We practice an ancient medicine in a modern world. You are not only a healer but also a business owner in a rapidly changing world that seems to gravitate more and more towards marketing online. Getting a website up and running in order to attract new patients may feel like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be. Below are 12 good reasons for not letting this apprehension stop you from taking the next step for practice success.
1) It is targeted
A website has the ability to allow you to market your practice to “warm” leads -patients actively searching for an acupuncturist- rather than you trying hard to make your presence known in your community. A prospective patient browsing your website has the opportunity to get a feel for who you are before they even meet you in person. At this point, how good your website represents you will determine whether or not this “just looking” patient makes an appointment.
2) Lots of space for content
A website provides you with the space that a brochure, a business card or a newspaper ad cannot. When people are shopping for a practitioner online, the more information they can access about you and how you practice, the better. How long you have been in practice, what got you into acupuncture, health issues you specialize in treating, etc are information that will attract your ideal patients to you.
3) No contracts to sign
Traditional advertising requires contracts, ad submittals and basically, money. When you have a website, you are free to use the internet and drive traffic to your website without being bound by the cost or the limitations of a contract.
4) Available 24/7/365
Your online presence is available all the time, any time. Someone could do an online search for a local acupuncturist specializing in insomnia at 3:00 am and can still find you. Your marketing efforts are not limited by the times you are awake or open for business.
5) Higher Return On Investment (ROI)
When you are running a business, the need to get the highest return on each dollar you spend on marketing becomes a priority. According to a study by the Direct Marketing Association, the ROI (return on investment) from email marketing in 2008 was $45.06 for every dollar spent while every dollar invested with direct offline marketing brought in an ROI of just $15.55. The math speaks for itself.
6) Make Changing Information Available Quickly
Sometimes, you get brochures printed but then you decide to no longer offer a service you used to or to change your fees. When you are relying solely on printed materials for marketing, you can end up with a pile of expensive, worthless paper as your business needs change. This is the beauty of electronic publishing. No paper, no printer’s bill, no wasting trees. Web content gives you the flexibility no printed product can offer.
7) Test-market new services and products
When you decide to offer a new service or a product, you don’t always know whether your target audience will embrace it. When you publish this content on your website, you can request feedback from patients, either by directly asking for it or setting up a feedback form to invite it. You will know whether this new product or service is a good idea before spending lots of money on marketing it.
8) Appealing to Many Senses
A website gives you an opportunity to make a more lasting impact by adding videos, pictures and graphics. These are important features that no brochure can offer. Videos and pictures are worth a thousand words and possible new potential patients.
9) Online Directly Effects Offline
Even if you don’t sell products online, marketing online directly effects business done offline. People would rather take a business card and look up somebody’s website to gather information about them before they make a call. The decision is made online even if the “transaction” is completed offline.
10) Everyone else is doing it
Your competitors have an online presence and are maximizing this exposure. Staying behind the times and not jumping on the online marketing wagon will lead to less patients and decreased opportunity to grow your business. Why miss out?
11) Eliminate Barriers
All customers and potential customers have questions that they want answered before they call you for an appointment. Think of the typical questions you are asked in the past and post them with answers on your website. This will help eliminate some, if not all the barriers a potential new patient may have to coming to see you.
12) Appealing to Private Pay Customers
Patients who don’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover the services they need, will need to pay out of pocket. For these people, pricing information is important and they look for practitioners who post their rates on their website. When you make this information available, you make it easier for the patient to choose you.
Keep in mind, one marketing method can’t meet all the needs of your practice. But marketing your practice online with a professional website can help you accomplish many of your marketing goals. It is an important tool that can make being a acupuncturist/ business owner easier – allowing you to focus on what you love: Healing!