The 3 Basic Elements of Internet Marketing for Chiropractors

It seems like there are chiropractors on every street corner! With over 1,200 licensed chiropractors in Oregon alone, you are faced with more competition than ever before, and it is only going to get worse. If you are like many in your field, you are bombarded with calls and emails every day pitching you on web design, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO). The problem is, you don’t have the time to learn SEO or internet marketing. So, I wrote this guide to help you make informed decisions about your website and online marketing strategy.

This guide will cover the three basic elements you need to know about marketing your services online:

  1. How to evaluate the effectiveness of your website.
  2. The important factors that Google uses to decide your online ranking.
  3. How to use social media to create an online following.

#1 – Evaluating Your Website’s Effectiveness

When it comes to online marketing, the best tool you have is your website. It is your home base online and it is your opportunity to tell your potential patients why they should trust you with their chiropractic needs.

Everything you do outside of your website, whether it is online advertising or social media, should have one goal: Get people to your website.

Once someone comes to your site, you have ten seconds to make a connection. You have to give them a reason to look twice at you. You have to be what they are looking for in a chiropractor.  If you don’t make that connection, they are going to leave. There is actually a term for this online. It is called bounce rate.

Your bounce rate is the percentage of people that come to your site and then leave without clicking anything. That is the equivalent of someone coming through the door of your practice, looking up, turning around and walking right back out.

This doesn’t just mean that you have lost them as a potential patient. It could also affect your search engine rankings, making it more difficult for others to find you. I will explain this and what other factors Google takes into consideration in the Basics of Google section below.

Your website needs to do more than just advertise your services. The Internet is not like a phone book or a radio ad. It is so much more!  With a phone book ad, you have a limited amount of space and you have to get your message across within a certain number of words or seconds.

With the Internet, you have the ability to really show people who you are as a chiropractor. Your website should be a reflection of you, and it should showcase how you are different. People need to leave your site thinking, “Why would I go anywhere else?”

When thinking about your website, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is my website a reflection of me?
  2. Does my website tell my visitors what I want them to know within the first ten seconds?
  3. Is my website more than just a digital Yellow Pages ad?

The marketing and set up of your website is only part of the equation. Once you have a site that meets your marketing goals and needs you need to get people there. A key aspect of that is to make sure it is optimized for Google.

#2 – The Basics of Google

In order to understand what Google is looking for, it’s important to understand its history.

In the early days of the Internet, it was just like a digital phone book. Companies would put up websites and submit them to directories like Yahoo!, which just listed sites alphabetically by category. It wasn’t even localized! “AAA Chiropractic” maybe have been in Oregon, but it just as easily could have been in New York, Vancouver or San Diego.

Being on the web made sense if you were selling physical products, because it opened up a whole new world for your product – one that was not constrained by your location. For example, if someone on the other side of the country wanted to buy your 17th-century antique dresser, you would find a way to get it to them.

Unfortunately, for chiropractors and doctors, the web did not make a lot of sense, because you had to be in the same room as your patient. There was no benefit if people in New York saw your listing if your practice was in Oregon.

Everything changed when local directories emerged. Yahoo! Local came along and it started a gold rush to get online. Chiropractors were suddenly able to use the internet to market to people in their own towns and cities. However, it still had that directory feel to it. Yahoo! Local did not tell you which chiropractor was better than the rest.  It still listed them alphabetically, so it was just a digital version of the Yellow Pages, albeit now a local one.

Then, along came Google and what they did quite literally changed the online world!

They realized that people did not want to see sites listed alphabetically. People wanted the internet to do the work and show them the best chiropractors in their area, not just the ones that have the most A’s at the beginning of their name.

The problem was, how was a computer program such as Google going to know if one website was better than another? The answer was simple. Google was going to let the internet tell them.

They developed a formula that was actually really simple. It counted how many other websites linked to yours. The basis of the theory was that if your website had more incoming links than your competition, then yours was obviously better, so Google ranked it higher.

Of course, things did not remain that simple for long. Over the past 17 years, Google has made around 300 updates to their formula, some of them major re-writes. With every update, the goal has remained the same: Google still wants the Internet to tell it which sites are better than others. However, now Google’s formula is based more heavily on things like the actual content of your website, how often your site is shared and featured on social media, as well as a number of other factors. Here are a few of the things that Google looks for:

Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate (explained above) is one of the clearest indications that your website is not what they were expecting and Google is tracking that through its search pages.  If someone clicks on your site from a search, closes it and then clicks on another one, Google notes that your site was not relevant to that user.

Amount of Quality Content
Google wants to know that you are more than just a yellow page ad disguised as a website. Therefore, it reads through your content and indexes each article in its search database. If you have a lot of great quality content that is being read and linked to, then Google knows that your website is creating a quality user experience that people are talking about and sharing. Here is an excerpt from Google’s own guidelines on how to create a Google-Friendly website:

“Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.”

Social Media Activity
I will go into a lot more detail about social media below. However, let me just say that if you create great content that becomes popular on social media, then people are likely to like it and link to it. That is definitely going to increase your Google rankings.

Mobile Friendliness
Imagine someone sitting in their favorite recliner, watching tv. Unfortunately, his neck still just feels wrong. He tries to move his head around, tensing different muscles to try to get it to crack back into place. But the relief doesn’t last very long and it just starts to feel wrong again. He pulls out his phone and Googles something like, “Quick fixes for neck pain.” You may have an excellent article on your site where you offer great tips for his exact issue. Unfortunately, if your website is not formatted so that it fits on his screen, then Google is going to ignore your perfect article and it won’t even show up in the search!

In addition, Google also looks at:

  • Page loading times
  • Ease of navigation
  • Keywords

From all of these elements, the formula for search engine success becomes clear: Create the best user experience you can, and the traffic and SEO rankings will follow!

#3 – The Basics of Social Media

As I mentioned above, your social media activity does have an effect on your search rankings. However, that is only a small part of the benefits of social media.

With social media, you get to build a real local following. Every person you connect with has the potential of sharing your practice with an average of 200 people, including their entire social circle!

To illustrate how this works, let’s think about what people want from a chiropractor. They want someone that they trust. Someone who is willing to give them real advice and help. They want to know that you care and that they can talk to you.

With social media, you get to be that person. If you really connect with someone online, you can bet he is going to talk about you. Let’s say this person runs across a post you made about what they should be doing if they have to sit at a computer all day. He immediately thinks of his programmer friend, so he clicks on the article. It makes a lot of sense and it has some exercises in it, so it is definitely something the programmer should read.

Well, social media makes this really simple. He just clicks on the share button and sends it directly to her with a note.

The programmer reads it and tries the exercises you recommend. It makes a huge difference, and she definitely feels some relief. She in turn shares the article with the programming group she belongs to, which based on the group size could mean exponential sharing possibilities – all from just one post.

That’s just one interaction out of an infinite number of possibilities. Social media is one of the greatest marketing tools available to a business, but unfortunately it is also very easy to get it wrong!

You can’t just blindly post things without a strategy, and you don’t want to just come across as someone who thinks Facebook is an even better Yellow Pages. You need a strategy, and that’s what we have been doing for twenty years.

How We Can Help

We can:

  • Evaluate your website and let you know where it can be tweaked or improved.
  • Create a marketing strategy for your practice, which includes blogging, social media, and email marketing
  • Help you implement your online marketing strategy or train you on how to do it yourself.
  • Help you write your blog articles and social media posts.

If you are interested in learning more, please call me at 541-226-3200 or e-mail me using the form below.