Common Marketing Mistakes That Cost Chiropractors Thousands In Ad Spend

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… And how you can avoid making these same mistakes yourself.

As a chiropractor you already know that in order to grow your practice you need to get new patients. But unless you’re giving out free adjustments, new patients don’t just come strolling into your lobby.

Marketing advice and strategies for chiropractors nowadays aren’t really focused on bringing in new patients. As a result, chiropractic practice owners are burning through cash without seeing any results- it’s hard to see, especially as a small business owner myself.

Nowadays, running Google ads, building a brand new website, and posting on social media can help- but it’s not enough to become profitable.

Basically, doing everything right can still lead you straight back to square one wondering what went wrong and what’s the next step, if it at all.

In order to get the best results from your marketing efforts and achieve profitability, you need to do all of the above with an added layer of strategy. Doing this can yield results like this:

In this case study you’ll learn what exactly is that added layer of strategy and be able to apply it to your own practice. You might also have some major “Ohhhh” or “WTF” moments, but don’t beat yourself up about it. These answers can usually only come from actual implementation and testing, so most people who find quick solutions online wouldn’t go through that process themselves.

  • How Google Search Works – Words From Google Itself
      • Setting Up Google Ads The Right Way
        • Using Negative Keywords To Tell Google What You Don’t Want To Pay For
        • Using Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) To Control Your Ad Delivery
    • Be There For Patients Even When They’re Not Your Patients Yet
  • Using Facebook Ads To Grow Your Practice
    • Marketing Is Like Dating
      • Creating Awareness & Providing Value-Driven Interest – AKA The Courting Phase
      • Warming Up For The Sale – AKA “Will You Marry Me?”
    • Using Lookalike Audiences (LLA) To Find More Of Your Ideal Patients
  • Remarketing With Facebook + Google Ads
  • Boosting Conversion Rates With Optimized Post-Click Landing Pages
  • You Are Now An Expert On Chiropractic Marketing

How Google Search Works – Words From Google Itself

For any local business, Google’s search platform will be the foundation for growth. Searches that happen on Google are high intent searches. Whether it be looking up a celebrity’s net worth or nearby chiropractic office, every search is made because a person is looking for an answer.

Google delivers search results both organically and through paid ads using a sophisticated algorithm that connects to millions of data points to find the most relevant information for a search term.

The job of marketers like myself and the Collide Digital team is to study and learn that algorithm. We dissect it to figure out exactly how the input-output relationship works.
This allows us to get you right in the middle of that and in front of high intent searches.

Setting Up Google Ads The Right Way

With proper planning and setup, Google Ads can drive hundreds of new patients to your chiropractic practice. However, when done poorly your Google Ads campaigns can result in a steady stream of burning cash.

In the next few sections we’ll go over the common Google Ads mistakes most people don’t catch until they’ve already spent hundreds of dollars and hours “optimizing” their campaigns.

Use Negative Keywords To Tell Google What You Don’t Want To Pay For

You’re not actually paying for the keywords you pick for your campaign. What you’re paying for are the search terms in which your ads show up in and are clicked on by users.

Based on your match type settings, the keywords you select for your campaigns can be queried by different search terms. These search terms can be relevant to or have nothing to do with your business- and you don’t want to pay for irrelevant search terms.

Here’s an example of what your search terms report looks like when you’re paying for those irrelevant search terms.

As you can see, this chiropractor business is showing up in search queries that have nothing to do with what their objective is: to get more new patients. The keyword they were bidding on: chiropractic – yikes!

Their listing is showing up in searches looking for chiropractic equipment, lawyers, and education. Definitely not ideal for getting new patients. So what’s the solution?

Negative Keywords. You can actually tell Google that you don’t want to be showing up in these searches. All you need to do is add search terms you don’t want to appear in to a negative keyword exclusion list.

Here’s what that search terms report would look like after you’ve created a list of negative keywords.

Now because you’ve told Google what you don’t care about you’ll only show up and pay for relevant searches for your chiropractic office. The result?

  • Reduced ad spend waste
  • Higher chance of conversion
  • Smarter ad delivery

One thing to keep in mind. The process of optimizing campaigns is an ongoing process. You need to frequently monitor your search terms report to check for any new potential negative keywords.

Using Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) To Take Control Of Ad Delivery

When building campaigns and selecting keywords Google Ads recommends starting with broad match keywords then refining later. This way you can cast a wide net then start refining negative keywords. The logic makes sense right? Sure. But actual implementation of this has been shown to yield poor results. Let me tell you why.

When you build a list of keyword phrases you’re telling Google that you want to deliver your ad to those keyword matches. But what happens when your keywords aren’t all extremely relevant to each other?

The problem that arises out of this misguided common practice is that it becomes difficult to build ads that have a high level of relevance to all of the keywords within that ad group.

For example, here’s what happens when you have too many broad match keywords that trigger one ad with no specific messaging.

Although the ad might be a good result for a general search, it’s not actually relevant to those search phrases. It doesn’t answer several questions being searched for:

  • What location is the Chiropractic office in?
  • What kind of injury or pain do they specialize in?
  • Do they take same day appointments or walk-ins?

People searching these high volume keywords will most likely click on an ad for another chiropractor that does specify what they specialize in or whether or not they take walk-ins.

Building a Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) will allow you to create ads with specific messaging that address the keywords being searched.

So let’s take a look at what a SKAG can do. First off, what you’ll want to do is come up with a list of keywords or phrases for unique questions. Someone searching “chiropractor walk-ins” may not care about the same thing as someone searching for “chiropractor specializing in back pain”.

For this example we’ll use “San Francisco Chiropractor Walk In”. In a SKAG group you’ll want to split out the keyword or phrase to work with all three forms of matching that Google Ads offers:

  • Broad match: +broad +match
  • Phrase match: “phrase match”
  • Exact match: [exact match]

We’ll set up our SKAG as shown below:

Now whenever anyone searches for a chiropractor in San Francisco that takes walk-ins, we’ll be there to give them what they’re looking for:

Now this chiropractor’s ad has a much higher chance of attracting a lead and converting them into a new patient because they’re answering the user’s searched question with an answer.

By using Single Keyword Ad Groups you will have more control over what searches you show ads to and control over what kind of messaging you want to display to those search terms.


Be There For Patients Even When They’re Not Your Patients Yet

Ok so you’re running effective ads now thanks to Negative Keywords and SKAGs, great. But what about capturing the percentage of people who aren’t yet ready to “buy”?

In marketing users are typically lumped into three stages:

  • Awareness – the buyer realizes they have a problem
  • Consideration – the buyer defines their problem and begins their search for solutions
  • Decision – the buyer chooses a solution

These three stages make up what is called the buyer journey – original right?

Running search ads on Google typically covers the consideration and decision stage, but what about the awareness stage? Sometimes people aren’t yet ready to search for a chiropractic office near them and get adjusted.

Everyone starts their buyer journey at the awareness stage. So how can a chiropractor engage a buyer at the awareness stage when the buyer isn’t even considering a chiropractor? You answer their questions.

For example, someone at the awareness stage of the buyer journey for a chiropractic office might be wondering whether or not chiropractic care is a viable solution for them. So what do they do? They ask Google.

Remember back when I was telling you about how Google’s algorithm delivers results to user searches? Well, what do you think happens when someone searches “can chiropractic help my back pain?”

Google scours the web for published content to display in the results based on a few criteria:

  • Relevance of the published content
  • Credibility of the source
  • Matching keywords

If you regularly publish content about chiropractic care and, in this case, whether or not it can help back pain then you have a greater chance of being listed as a result when someone searches “can chiropractic help my back pain?”

Notice that the highlighted listed appears at the top near where all the paid ads would be. This is where publishing regular content on your website helps improve your search list ranking for matching keywords. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO is extremely important because you want to build trust through Google so it will display your content as results to user searches and provide non-sales value to your audience. Because not everyone wants to be sold to every time.

The best part: it’s completely free. If you’re taking the time to write your own content that means you’re not spending any money on ads and you’re still building exposure for your business.

A field such as chiropractic has endless possibilities for producing content that answers its patients’ questions. Just think about all the simple questions you answer each day in your clinic or on the phone- these can all be written about and published.

Using Facebook Ads To Grow Your Practice

Now that you’re a master at using Google for your chiropractic practice, it’s time to learn about Facebook. Unlike Google, Facebook is not where you’ll find high intent searches. You’ll find people who are here just hanging out on the web. But that doesn’t mean you can’t generate new patient leads.

In fact, Facebook is arguably the best platform to capitalize on the awareness stage of the buyer journey. Let me tell you how you can do that.

Similarly to capturing your audience’s attention at the awareness stage with SEO on Google, Facebook ads allow you to put a little money behind it and get that content out to people who might be interested in it.

Marketing Is Like Dating

When you first meet that special someone you typically want to get to know them a little more first before popping the big question. That way you know about them- their interests, their desires, all the good stuff. Asking someone to marry you on the first date usually doesn’t end well.

The same concept applies in marketing. When you engage with a new customer, or patient in our case, you wouldn’t want to say “Hey! Come buy a session at my chiropractic office!”. They don’t know you. They don’t trust you. They may not even need your services!

So what do we do. We date them. We get to know them. How do we do this? I’ll show you the exact strategy to deploy on Facebook ads to attract new patients for your chiropractic office.

Creating Awareness & Providing Value-Driven Interest – AKA The Courting Phase

What’s the first few dates look like for a chiropractic office? First thing you want to do is let them know you exist. Then you want to provide them with some non-salesy value to show that you’re not just trying to sell them, but provide value for them.

You’ll want to create content that is not only relevant to your business but also answers questions for your audience. In this case an article about at-home solutions for back pain is perfect. Because why would anyone who doesn’t have back pain care to read?

So off the bat you already know the people who click on this article are the people you want to be creating awareness about your chiropractic office for.

This is just one example of a great ad to run, but you’ll want to have 2-3 different ads with unique content- back pain, neck pain, etc- to really drive awareness and engagement on all fronts.

As people read your content, the Facebook pixel you set up on your site will build a database of these highly engaged readers of which you can then do a few key things:

  • Build a custom audience of highly qualified new patient leads
  • Retarget that audience of high qualified new patient leads with more specific ads
  • Build a Lookalike Audience (LLA) of more potential new patient leads

Warming Up For The Sale – AKA “Will You Marry Me?”

Now that you’ve warmed up your audience to your chiropractic office by showing them that you know your stuff and providing value with these brilliantly written articles it’s time to pop the big question.

Thanks to the Facebook pixel, you already know that everyone in the custom audience you created of highly qualified new patient leads has some interest in what a chiropractic office might offer.

So now you could show them a new ad that gets them to come in and become a paying patient. This can be done multiple ways with many different hooks. For this example, John’s Chiropractic is promoting a really enticing introductory offer:

Chances are that someone who has read John’s Chiropractic’s articles about back pain and neck pain will be familiar with their practice, browsed their website a little bit, and be interested in their services- they just need a little nudge to come try them out. Also, this is just an awesome offer.

Using Lookalike Audiences (LLA) To Find More Of Your Ideal Patients – AKA The Facebook Matchmaking System

A very, VERY useful tool Facebook Ads provides you is a Lookalike Audience. What the heck is a Lookalike Audience…

This is a Lookalike Audience (LLA):

  • You sell a unicorn mug to 100 people who like pages related to unicorns, horses, farm animals, and share similar demographics- age, education, and income.
  • LLAs take those 100 profiles and their common denominators and finds millions more people who share the same common denominators down to a 1% similarity.
  • Theoretically if you find 100 more people who like pages related to unicorns, horses, and farm animals they probably might be interested in a unicorn cup too.

So applying the same concept here and applying it to your custom audience of highly qualified new patients, you can find more people who share the same interests.

This allows you to essentially skip the first date, past “Go”, and start warming up for the sale. Because chances are those people who share similarities up to 1% discrepancy to your patients may also be interested in your chiropractic services.

Remarketing With Facebook + Google Ads

It’s important to engage with every missed opportunity as well. Similarly to how we retarget Facebook users with Facebook data, we want to retarget missed opportunities from Google with Facebook as well.

For example, let’s say someone searches for a chiropractic office on Google and clicks on your ad. They browse around a little but then they get distracted and leave.

What you do here is set up a Facebook remarketing campaign with an ad reminding them about their interest in chiropractic services.

Now next time they log on Facebook they’ll see your ad and be reminded that they need your services and be inclined to go book an appointment.

You can also use this strategy to inform your current patients about new promotions or services happening for your office and bring them back in or upsell them.

Boosting Conversion Rates With Optimized Post-Click Landing Pages

The core function of Facebook and Google Ads is to generate traffic to your business. So once you’ve locked down the strategy to bring people in, it’s time to make sure you’ve set the mood for them to convert into a paying customer.

Otherwise all the traffic you’re spending money to drive to your business will just slip right through your fingers.

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people do is send all their paid traffic to their home page. While this might seem like the right thing to do, it’s not ideal for conversions. Here’s why.

This is the homepage for John’s Chiropractic. It looks great, sure. But if you’re trying to sell someone on a specific thing you want to minimize distractions and focus on your goal.

Everything that links out to a different part of the page or doesn’t directly relate to the goal of getting people to sign up for the new patient special is a distraction.

So what’s the solution? A post-click landing page. These pages are designed to keep your visitor focused on a single goal: to buy your service or product. Take a look at this post-click landing page example below for John’s Chiropractic.

What’s the first thing you notice? We present the new patient offer. You’ll also notice we don’t link out to anything else in the navigation menu because we want them to be focused on becoming a paying patient. So we replaced the navigation menu with a call-to-action (CTA)

Below that, we have another CTA section that briefly describes our services but still keeps focused on conversion with the form box.

You Are Now An Expert On Chiropractic Marketing

Congratulations! You’ve now learned some real, effective strategies on how to properly generate new patients for your chiropractic office.

Far too often I see “gurus” and marketing agencies over-promising and under-delivering with cookie cutter strategies that leave local chiropractic offices with a hole in their wallet.

As a business owner who has trekked through the mud to learn these mistakes firsthand I feel obligated to share these valuable tips so you don’t make the same mistakes so many others inevitably will.

So, to wrap it all up, if you want to grow your chiropractic with a steady stream of new patients each month then you have to make sure you do everything I explained, the right way.

  • Set up Google Ads with negative keywords and single keyword ad groups (SKAGS)
  • Create valuable content to engage your audience at every stage in their buyer journey
  • Create segmented Facebook audiences and target them with stage-specific ads
  • Send. Users. To. A. Proper. Landing. Page.

Chiropractic marketing is not easy. It takes an experienced team with a strong strategic drive to achieve strong results. Setting up Google Ads with some suggested keywords and running a few Facebook Ads won’t do the job.

I know it’s a lot to digest, but I hope I’ve made it easy for you to understand and execute on your own. But if you need some clarification on anything, set up a free meeting with me and I can explain in detail or if you want to just have it all done for you so you can invest your time back into your business.

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