And hello ChiroSecure secure viewers. Thank you for joining me today. I’m Kim Klapp, founder of Assistants for Chiropractic Excellence, and I’m excited to help you overcome the three biggest pitfalls to successful internal marketing events. But first, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to ChiroSecure. Aren’t they incredible? Yeah. Not only do they sponsor these programs, but they also support the profession in so many other generous ways. Of course, we all know that ChiroSecure has the best coverage, hands down, and exceptional customer service, but they are such a tremendous resource. I’m also grateful that you’ve chosen to watch.
So in addition to my CA coaching program that I founded in 2000, I have been managing my husband’s practice, Dr. Tom Klapp, in Ann Arbor, Michigan for 25 years. Go Blue. So if you have any questions, whether it’s on hiring, or training, or practice systems, just post them and I’ll be happy to answer either during today’s show or afterwards.
Let’s get started. If you’ve ever wondered why two chiropractic practices can hold the same marketing event yet have very different results, you kind of get it. It’s often a very simple obstacle though, and luckily it’s easy to overcome. So we’re going to talk about that today. The first pitfall is an unclear purpose. It’s staggering how many times I’ve heard doctors complain about how, “Oh, I didn’t get enough new patients,” from their patient appreciation day. I’m always like, “Whoa, wait a second. That’s kind of like throwing a party just to get gifts.”
Now, in addition to being ironic, being more concerned about garnering new business than actually expressing appreciation to your existing clients may actually be sabotaging the event. If you’re hosting internal marketing events solely out of a desperate need for new patients, or fear, or lack, you may need to shift your focus of internal marketing and realign yourself with your purpose. Otherwise, you’re going to attract more neediness, more desperation, more fear, and more lack. And that’s obviously nothing any of us wants.
So to clear this up, we want to start out by clarifying the why of your internal marketing events. I know I talk about starting with the why often, but successful events have a clear purpose, such as investing in building of positive relationships with your patients and your community. Instead of focusing on a specific number of new or update patients, consider focusing on sincere appreciation of the patients that you have, not only for choosing chiropractic, but for choosing your office, or on helping more people, or educating your community, getting the chiropractic message out, or better educating the clients you have, or starting more clients’ families under care, or fundraising for a charity, that’s a great one, or increasing the fun, smiles, hugs, laughter and warm fuzzies in your practice, or being a blessing and a light in your community, or merely planting seeds.
But whatever you choose, get clear on your purpose. Since I believe that the ultimate goal of a CA is to build as many win-win relationships as possible between the practice and the community, internal marketing events offer the perfect vehicle for that.
Now, the second pitfall is the wrong fit. To be successful, events need to be, obviously, a good fit. What do I mean by that? Well, consider the type of new patients that you want to attract, that way the events that you choose are congruent. You’d obviously pick very different events for attracting more kids versus seniors, or for attracting athletes versus pregnant moms. Then also be careful to choose events that are congruent with the doctor’s personality. Whether your doctor thinks it’s fun to occasionally act a little wacky and crazy, or if they pride themselves on always maintaining a high level of serious professionalism, you want to find events that are a good fit. Hug day will not work if you’re not comfortable touching others, although you might be in the wrong profession if that’s the case.
Years ago, we hosted what I was sure was going to be an amazing golf themed event. We had the office all decked out with a putting green in the reception room, we had prizes, we had logo golf giveaways, all this kind of swag, you name it. However, it turned out to be a flop. Why? Well, because Dr. Klapp hates golf. So make sure everyone is on board in your office. You don’t want to fall prey to that one bad apple that spoils the whole event. So choose an event that excites your team and engages your patients, because that energy is going to help attract people to it and truly make it a success.
Now the third pitfall, and probably the largest, is a lack of planning. When it comes to internal marketing events, failing to plan is planning to fail. Honestly, the most common post I see on Facebook CA groups, or on any chiropractic groups on social media, are questions relating to what other offices are going to do for the next holiday. Unfortunately, in most cases, the next holiday happens to be less than a week away. So it is critical to develop a marketing calendar rather than deciding on a whim by a month by month basis.
Instead, you want to conceptualize a full year in advance. And if you don’t have one in place for 2020 yet, now is a great time to create your calendar or modify the one you already had. Whether you choose monthly, bimonthly, or at a minimum quarterly events, it’s a great idea to create the themes based on either the season, on holidays, on sporting events or national fill-in-the-blank observances. As you can see, there are ton of month-long, week-long or daily holidays and observances to choose from each month. These are just the ones I pulled from November from BrownieLocks.com.
But once you have your themes in place, develop the various components of each event. So if your event includes a prize drawing or a giveaway, make sure to keep it in accordance with federal and state guidelines, as well as any insurance participation agreements. If your event … You also want to consider your environment. Decide what decorations, what costumes, what entertainment would coordinate with each theme. Then, you also want to consider if the food and drinks you’re going to be serving are going to be in alignment with healthy eating, or instead going to be a more festive treat, such as for a holiday. Then tailor your patient education around your theme, if appropriate. For example, women’s health issues for a Mother’s Day event, men’s health for Father’s Day, et cetera. You get the idea.
Of course, budget is certainly a consideration for designing your event components. So you’re going to need to determine and allocate resources, primarily time and money. The good news is that often time can compensate for money, and vice versa. If you’re newer in practice or you’re seeing fewer patients than your capacity, you can take advantage of your extra time, do more yourself, and save money. Or if you already have an accumulation of money, yay! You can outsource some of those tasks, and save time. But your budget will serve as a guideline of how creative you’re going to need to be. However, the good news is that most internal marketing can really be done very inexpensively. Outside sponsors are just one of numerous ways to increase your budget and minimize your costs.
Now, there are two critical tools for a successful event. The first is a comprehensive planning spreadsheet. You want it to cover what each component of the event will entail. So like I mentioned, any special offers for new or established clients, any gifts or giveaways for participants, whatever logo swag or kid-friendly versions you want to include. If you have prize drawings, what type of education, whether you host a workshop on your theme topic, or you provide articles, or your social media posts are in alignment with your theme.
Then there’s also refreshments, and when you’re talking about refreshments, you also have to think about your serveware, your table, your coverings, et cetera. With the environment, your decorations, costumes, music, entertainment, activities, games, just to name a few. You can see how many things are listed. And promotion, everything from press releases to community calendars, flyers, email, recorded phone calls, social media posts, posters, and more. Then there’s the miscellaneous issues. Contingency plans for inclement weather, setup, cleanup, talent releases for photographs, thank yous, and not to mention analyzing your return on investment. So again, that’s your planning sheet.
The second tool is a detailed timeline. That’s going to help you identify your tasks, action steps, and due dates. When it comes to the timeline, begin at the end, which is the day of your event, and work backwards. I do the same when I host a dinner party. If my guests arrive at 5:00, everything’s ready by 4:45, which means the 30 minute dishes go in the oven at 4:15, et cetera. And I will say that my color coded Thanksgiving spreadsheet has never let me down.
Anyway, when it comes to lead time, two or three months ahead is best for a stress free event. If you’re coordinating a large event with other area businesses or charities, four months lead time is often necessary. It’s often more helpful, too, if you’re new to recording your events or if they’ve been less than stellar in the past. But you’ll notice that the timeline includes all the details, as well as delegating who’s going to be responsible for each action step. Also on your timeline, you want to highlight your can’t miss milestones. Promotion is critical. If it’s late, you’re going to have low turnout, which is completely preventable. So make sure to utilize some sort of alert or reminder in your software, whichever you’re using to organize, for each action step to stay ahead of the deadlines and ensure a successful event.
Now, I’ve streamlined internal marketing events into five basic categories. The first are charity fundraising and community service. For example, your new patients come in for a donation to charity during the week, your current clients might bring in a donation on one day in lieu of payment, and make sure if you’re accepting a donation or contribution in lieu of payment that you do not bill any third party for that care. And because these are service-oriented, you happen to get great PR for this type of events. The second type are patient appreciation days, which are just like they sound like, an opportunity to express appreciation. The third are what I consider holiday or calendar event celebrations. The fourth are surprise party days, and the fifth art chiropractic fun days. Now, I actually include over a hundred examples in the ACE internal marketing course, but we obviously don’t have the time for that today.
However, here is our simple Black Friday event that we’re doing this month for the day after Thanksgiving. All patients have to do to enter our drawing for a shopping gift certificate is come in. Come in on black Friday. It’s really just our kickoff to the holidays to help them understand that adjustments combat holiday stress. So of course, we’ve been promoting that since the beginning of November. We follow it up with our Happy and Healthy Holidays event for December, which is always one of our most popular because we educate clients on how to stay both happy and healthy. Plus, of course, we give away a gift card each week. January 14th is going to be our 40th Practice Anniversary. Congratulations Dr. Tom. So we’ll be celebrating that all your long.
But our clients’ favorite is probably our Superbowl Party, and you can do that for any sports playoff, and your theme can be Get the Winning Edge, or Put the Odds in Your Favor, Celebrate Superbowl with Super Health, Super Prizes, Super Fun. Choose whatever resonates with you. Here, you can see, we do Put the Odds. Our team loves to dress up in costumes, so we can dress up as players, or referees, or cheerleaders. And we also like to educate clients about the pro players and teams who get care. Now, The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has awesome resources for that on their website, f4cp.org. So if you’ve done football pools, you know how our event works. In our office, each client who stays on their recommended appointment schedule gets a square with their name on it, they add it to the grid. Now, the actual size of this grid is two feet by three feet in our office. As the grid gets filled, we just repeat layers as necessary, and winners are determined based on the score at halftime and the end of the game.
Now, as I mentioned, there are literally 100 examples in my internal marketing course, but these are the next ones we have coming up, in addition to our kids day, which we hold on the first Friday of each month, and the typical ways that we stay connected to our clients. But regardless of whether you choose simple or complex events, I like to have a variety, plan your internal marketing event calendar for the year ahead in 2020 with your purpose and your patients in mind. As you continue to build your relationships with your clients and your community, you’ll continue to build your practice.
So again, if you have any questions, just add them to the comments, I’ll be happy to respond. And if I can help you in any way, whether you’re looking for this month’s excellence coaching on a success mindset, or training for new CAs, hiring systems, or practice systems, please visit my website, chiropracticassistants.com, and you can either click or call to email me. I would love to help your team reach higher levels of excellence.
Thanks again to ChiroSecure for providing this forum to increase chiropractic success. Your host next week will be Dr. Sherry McAllister from The Foundation, so you’ll definitely want to see her. Thanks again. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
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