Acupuncture practitioners are passionate about healing people but often dislike marketing and promotion. Here are 7 things you can do that will help people discover the wonderful ways you can improve their health.
Acupuncture has the same problem many alternative medical practices have. Practitioners are trained in the healing arts and tend to be empathetic, nurturing people.
They view marketing – and certainly sales – as diametrically opposed to their purpose. These disciplines are deceptive and manipulative. Even sleazy. Nobody goes through acupuncture training to learn how to market it.
But market you must. The best acupuncturist on Earth won’t succeed if nobody knows who you are. You must make a connection with the people who need you.
Start by changing your mindset. Don’t think of marketing as manipulation. Think of it as connecting with people you can help. People who will be glad they discovered you. When you market with precision, you’re doing people who need acupuncture a favor.
A lot of digital marketing today centers around information and education. Use that to start the process of helping patients, and naturally lead them down the path of having procedures.
Here are 7 essentials you need to be executing to market your acupuncture practice. Get these right and you’ll stay busy with trusting, loyal patients.
#1. Develop Your Acupuncture Practice Website
A look at search results for acupuncture practices in most markets reveals a sad selection of websites. Many independent acupuncturists still have makeshift, outdated sites that create a sketchy first impression. Visitors look at the unprofessional presentation and immediately start to second guess if they want this person sticking needles into their body.
Set their minds at ease with a professional design that’s informative and easy to navigate. This UXI® acupuncture website mockup has a straightforward layout with images of people getting back to action:
Make sure your content is understandable for someone not familiar with acupuncture. If you have any areas of specialization, such as sports medicine, surgery recovery, or relaxation techniques, use them to differentiate yourself. Have a clear call to action that motivates people to schedule an appointment, and make sure your phone number and location are easy to find.
Pro Tip: Do a Usability Test
When you’re working on your own business website, it’s impossible to be totally objective about it. Your investment in the project makes it hard to view your content as a client will.
As you complete the first round of work, do a usability test. This is a simple run-through where you get feedback on how people react to your content the first time they see it.
Are you getting your message across? Do they trust you? What objections do you have to overcome?
Do you immediately answer these questions:
- Where am I?
- What can I do here?
- Why should I do it?
Also, take a look at your website and compare it to other acupuncturists, massage therapy, or chiropractic clinics in your area. Would you choose you? Or do they make a better presentation than you do?
Never lose sight of how valuable it is to understand your web content from the perspective of potential clients visiting you for the first time. Making a strong first impression is vital.
#2. Inform People About the Benefits of Acupuncture
As an acupuncturist, you know that people new to these procedures often feel fear and skepticism. Use your website to overcome these feelings.
The best acupuncture websites are excellent information resources. They have articles, videos, blogs, and infographics that explain how acupuncture works and clarify what benefits can be expected.
For example, this blog post explains how acupuncture is used in fertility treatments.
This video shows how acupuncture is used to help with weight loss:
Infographics also make effective content in a more visual form:
People looking into acupuncture often have information gaps. Those gaps can boost your marketing when you fill them with information that’s useful, complete, and easy to understand.
Be specific about the procedure and the medical issue you’re dealing with. Many leads are motivated because they have a specific medical problem for which they’re seeking alternative medicine. Make that connection, and people will be willing to give acupuncture a try.
#3. Manage Your Reputation
Online reviews are another type of information prospective clients seek. They want to know what previous patients thought of your work, and they want to hear directly from them.
Online reviews on Google, Top Rated Local, Facebook, and Yelp play a big role in exposing your services to new patients and convincing them that acupuncture can help with their medical problem.
When people do a search on Google, they’ll go through the Google places section, where star ratings and review content are dominate.
Often, the top organic result is a review website; people read reviews before seeing any other content on a clinic.
People read these reviews carefully and are strongly influenced by them. Consumers today trust other people – usually more than a business itself.
This means you need to make efforts to gain positive reviews on various platforms.
It starts with your service. Make it part of your business plan to go above and beyond with customer service as well as the execution of procedures. Every happy patient is a boon to your marketing, every disgruntled one a problem.
We’ve also found it necessary to make unobtrusive efforts to ask for reviews. Mention it in person when dealing with clients. Send out an email follow up asking for a review on a particular platform.
More people today are familiar with online reviews, so getting positive comments is easier than it used to be. As you keep the positive reviews coming, they’ll push any negative ones you have down the list. An overall high rating is all but a necessity for your acupuncture clinic marketing.
#4. Be on Page One of Search
To drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to show up for acupuncture related searches in your area. There are three ways to dominate the search results.
The first is pay-per-click advertising. These ads are run through auction-based systems like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. The main advantage here is that you show in the top positions (reserved for paid ads) and that you can control the ad copy and landing page. For example, you might want to run an advertisement for your postpartum acupuncture. Your ad and the page it goes to on your website can match that offer.
Next, you need to set-up and rank for Google My Business. This is the maps listing and review platform Google uses for geo-targeted searches. It’s a free listing you can optimize with your descriptions and by getting customer reviews.
Then you have the organic website listings. These are also free clicks, with ranking gained by optimizing your website for keywords, gaining links, getting social media traffic, and adding content to your blog.
Organic listings do well for acupuncture because there aren’t too many industry or reviews sites taking over the organic rankings, which is a problem with some other services. You can get your website to rank on page one for general acupuncture searches, and for searches on specific medical issues when you have a thorough blog article on the topic.
#5. Social Media Marketing
Social media has a variety of effective marketing tactics you can employ, with almost unlimited means to target people who might be interested in acupuncture.
First and foremost, have an active Facebook page. Today, almost as many people “feel out” businesses on Facebook as they do websites. They’re looking for an active, useful page with positive reviews and a variety of content that explores not only acupuncture but other health issues. They also love to see updates from your clinic and clients success stories when possible.
Take images of your clinic, update events, share your blog posts, curate content from other sources, and build out your following as much as possible. Encourage patients to share positive experiences on their page (if privacy is not a concern, of course). Also, encourage reviews on Facebook.
Follow other alternative medical pages, including non-competing local businesses like yoga studios.
Likewise, you can use Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to extend your reach. Anything that gives you exposure on mobile devices is working in your favor.
As you advance, you can try some paid advertising with retargeting and interest-based campaigns. With Facebook, you can target people who are interested in certain diets, yoga, or meditation, and therefore might be interested in acupuncture.
However, sharing information and building trust is the primary goal of social media marketing. Display your expertise and successes, and word will spread.
Pro Tip: Use Facebook Messenger
Facebook messenger is an increasingly popular way for consumers to contact businesses. Set up your messenger and make sure you respond within the time-frame you indicate.
You may get direct requests for appointments but will also get many questions about your procedures and processes. These inquiries should be treated as leads. Take care of them and you’ll get new appointments scheduled.
If don’t have the time or knowledge to be active on Facebook, considering hiring a social media management service.
#6. Create an Introductory Video
You can get a lot of marketing mileage out of a personalized, short video that introduces your practice and services.
Because acupuncture is a personalized service where people need to feel trust and relaxation, it works well if you as the acupuncturists introduce yourself with a brief overview of how you view acupuncture. Here is a good example:
This 30-second video is a minimal investment, but it gives prospective patients a completely different level of comfort, just seeing who you are and hearing your voice.
Remember that for people new to acupuncture, you’re a person who’s going to poke them with needles. Lowering that apprehension is key to getting them started.
#7. Use Marketing Software
All of these digital channels and marketing tactics can get unwieldy fast. In fact, many small businesses fail with digital marketing simply because they can’t organize their efforts and maintain consistent activity.
Software like Marketing 360® allows you to track what you’re doing across your website, search, and social media – all in one easy to understand interface. It helps you understand where your investment is going and what the results are. From there, you can identify what works – and what doesn’t – and do more of what’s filling your schedule.
Call us today for a free demo and website design mockup. Don’t let a lack of marketing be the barrier that keeps you from connecting with and helping your patients.