I am often asked, "What is the very best acupuncture marketing method for acupuncturists?"
My answer may surprise you. Most people think (with good reason) that I recommend an acupuncture website as the best acupuncture marketing tool they could possible have. But that's not entirely true.
Although I think a business website is crucial (especially for NEW acupuncturists just starting out), it is not necessary to have a website to use what I believe to be the single most effective marketing technique for acupuncturists who are already starting to see a few patients.
You may have heard that the most powerful word in marketing is "free", but I am here to tell you that there are two words that are far more powerful.
Before I tell you what those two words are and how they can build your acupuncture business, let me share a quick story.
There is a famous report in the Guinness Book of World Records about a man named Joe Girard who sold more cars per year than any other automobile salesman for 12 years in a row. The amazing thing is that Joe did not achieve this with the use of television, radio, or Internet advertising. Nor did he knock on doors or give talks around town.
Instead, he got organized, hired the right help to take care of time consuming tasks, and he did one simple thing. Joe Girard sent a handwritten greeting card saying Thank You to every single customer who purchased a vehicle from him.
Joe understood the power of gratitude and showing heartfelt appreciation to his customers, and Thank You became the two most powerful words in his business success.
By sending personalized greeting cards to say Thank You, as well as to acknowledge holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions, Joe built trusting relationships and planted the seeds for future sales and referrals. In fact, over 90% of his business came through referrals. And remember... this was selling cars for tens of thousands of dollars that were purchased years and years apart!
You too can use this simple (almost free) technique to build your acupuncture practice by saying the two most powerful words in marketing, Thank You.
Showing appreciation and gratitude to patients, customers, and professionals may appear overly simplistic, but when used in combination with an automated system which also leverages your time, money, and efforts, you have the ability to keep patients coming through your doors for years to come.
Sending a personalized Thank You card to patients sets you apart as an acupuncturist and a business owner. And I can tell you firsthand that customers appreciate being appreciated! I often receive calls thanking me for the Thank You for Your Referral cards that I send to patients and other professionals.
Sending cards reminds your patients that you are thinking of them. It is a great way to build a loyal customer base and give them incentive to refer new patients to you.
Keep a stack of thank you cards in your office and every time you get a referral ASK for their permission to thank the referrer. The reason to ask permission is NOT to identify the patient in your thank you card, but rather in the instance that the referrer deduces (on their own) who the patient is, it's not a surprise to the patient. Asking permission also gives the patient an opportunity to say "no".
Resist the temptation to "reward" referrers with gifts, discounts on treatments or any other monetary reward. In fact, in some states it is illegal to exchange anything of monetary value for referrals. But it is also just bad business. It sets you up for having to provide gifts to everyone and once you start it's hard to stop. And people will expect rewards so keeping track of who referred whom becomes a nightmare.
Instead, keep it simple and stick to what works. Show your sincere appreciation by saying thank you for your referral in person, by phone or in a greeting card (my favorite way).
In case you need a little help, here's an example of what I usually say:
Thank you so much for your referral. I do not do any advertising so I really depend on word-of-mouth referrals. I sincerely appreciate you continuing to share your positive experiences so more people can benefit from acupuncture and I can stay in business!
Remember, the two most powerful words in acupuncture marketing are, Thank You. I always thank my patients for referrals in person whenever possible. I also send a card so that have that added sense of appreciation (and something tangible to SHOW their friends and family.) It's a very fun strategy!
These two simple words can build your acupuncture business more quickly and less expensively than any other type of advertising or marketing campaign.
The best acupuncture marketing technique you can start using today is sending a card to your patients, customers, and colleagues.