Acupuncture Clinic Marketing

Acupuncture Marketing and Advertising

Meet My Competitors

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This will be different – I’m going to tell you about my competitors.  And I recommend all of them.

Why would I do this?!?

Several reasons:

  1. I want to see you succeed, even if it’s not my fault.
  2. I don’t think of them as competitors, or at least not as “threats”.  We’re all after the same goal.  We want to see you succeed.
  3. Most acupuncturists don’t market enough.  That’s why at least 4 out of 5 acupuncturists aren’t in practice within 5 years.  Almost any kind of marketing is good and will help you succeed.
  4. And, to be perfectly upfront, I really believe in my book.  Never Market Again can enhance the results of any other system.  It’s also incredibly cost effective.  Most of what the book recommends is free, or nearly so.

So let’s get started.

David Singer Enterprises

David Singer is a chiropractor who also branched out into helping acupuncturists with their marketing.  The first time I heard of his stuff, it really ticked me off.  He uses scripts to counter every objection and goad people into making the decision he wants.  It’s pressure salesmanship – something you would expect in a used car salesman’s office, not a place of healing.  Even if you persuade someone using his recommendations, you’re likely to make them resent you.

No acupuncturist I know that uses his system will use his scripts.  As one of them told me, “It’s not from the heart.”

We have Dr. Singer to thank for inspiring me to get into acupuncture marketing.  I knew there had to be a better way to do it, and I found it.

However, despite my initial revulsion, I’ve come around.  The sales tactics are only a small part of Singer’s system, and shouldn’t eclipse all the other good points. For example, he’s great with practice management.  Not just good – great.  Now that I think of it, all of the acupuncturists I’ve met that use his system have GREAT intake procedures.  I cover this in “The Slippery Slope” section of Never Market Again, but Singer has more specific guidelines.

Singer seems to advocate giving a lot of talks.  He even has a “Doctor’s Speakers Bureau” non-profit organization that practitioners are supposed to mention when trying to book a speech.  As I’ve mentioned before, giving talks are “buckets” – a lot of work.  However, they’re great when you’re just starting out, and if you can do them without wasting much time (for example, if an assistant lines them up for you), they’re definitely worth it.

He has trainings throughout the year.  Most people need regular shots of inspiration.  Singer delivers this.

He probably has other positives to his system, but I’m not privy to them.

I’d recommend the Singer System if:

  • Especially if you’re starting out, but can afford it.  (Unfortunately, most can’t)
  • You don’t mind pressure salesmanship or are ready to come up with your own, non-pressure methods.
  • If you have a receptionist that can help you implement his system, or if you have more time than patients.
  • If you want to put in place good business processes.  (Read “The E-Myth Revisited” to find out why this is important.  Despite the dumb title, it’s an easy and enlightening read.)
  • You want ongoing support.

Costs:

Last I heard, the Singer System costs $7,500, plus $1,000 or $1,500 a year to maintain membership.

Kevin Doherty/Build Your Dream Practice

I first met Kevin right when he finished writing Build Your Dream Practice. I was actually the first person to buy his book, and the only one who paid $49.95 for it.  He reduced the price and said he’d send me a refund for the difference.  He never did and I don’t care.  It was worth it to be the first.

Kevin is also a certified life coach.

One of the biggest problems when most acupuncturists try marketing, is actually getting things done.  Even though things aren’t especially complicated, most acupuncturists resist self-promotion.  To that, Kevin says “If you don’t promote yourself, you’re actually hiding from people you could be helping.”

Kevin brings his coaching skills to bear on this resistance.

I recommend Kevin and Build Your Dream Practice, period.  Get it.  If you don’t like it, there’s an 8 week guarantee.  You can’t lose.

I recommend his coaching, and think you’ll find it most helpful if:

  • You want ongoing inspiration – you feel blocked for some reason, or tend to procrastinate.
  • You like Taoist concepts – you see your work is an expression of who you are.
  • You want a “from the heart” approach.
  • If you like Build Your Dream Practice and want guidance in implementing it.

Costs:

Kevin’s ebook, Build Your Dream Practice costs just $34.95.

His Thriving In The Modern World: A Layperson’s Guide To Chinese Medicine gives you author credit and lets you provide an informative ebook to your patients.  I liked this concept so much that I actually asked Kevin if I could contribute a chapter!  It costs $149.  You pay for it once, and you can use it for the rest of your professional life.

Kevin also has other products, but I think you’ll find these two to be most helpful.

While looking this up, I was surprised to find that Kevin also sells an package for acupuncture websites.  You can read about it here – the cost is approximately $1,400, and $6.95 a month to maintain it.

Frank Prieto/New Acupatients

Frank is a bit of an expert on the search engines.  This means he knows how to set up websites that get a lot website visitors.  You need visitors for a site to work – if no one visits your site, it’s like it doesn’t exist.    Frank originally created this system for his daughter, Christine Prieto over at Harmony Wellness Center.

Christine practices in Orlando, Florida, which is a pretty competitive area.  I asked around and was told she always ranks high or at the top in the search engines for her area, but “on the plus side, she is a great person, very good at representing our field. ”

Nice.  Somehow I think Frank did quite well for his daughter, and probably could do well for you.

Starting sometime in the last month or two, Frank’s site beats mine in Google for the search term “Acupuncture Marketing.”  (Nice going, Frank!)

I recommend Frank if:

  • You want a hands-off system.  Frank’s system is the only one listed here that is truly hands-off.
  • You check email several times a day, or have it sent to your cell.  (Frank’s sales letter lists checking email as a requirement.  Using a cell phone is my suggestion.)
  • If you’re willing to try him for at least 3 months.  Even though he can get immediate results using paid ads, the real payoff is when your free search engine traffic kicks in – so that’s when results should really start to happen.  Frank guarantees his system for what’s essentially four months (though you will have to pay for the paid ads separately), so this isn’t too much of a risk.
  • Especially if you’re in a competitive area (a metropolitan area like Vancouver, New York City, Chicago, San Diego, etc.) where it’s hard for a website to climb the search engine rankings and get traffic.
  • If you have some reserve cash.  Although each patient is worth $150-$225 or more, this happens over time, not immediately.  His system should pay for itself, but the payoff will occur over time.
  • If you use the methods in Never Market Again to increase the “lifetime value” of new patients.  Three things in particular will help with this:  Setting expectations, increasing patient retention through education, and word of mouth (patients bringing you more patients).   These three things will make every patient Frank’s system brings in (or any system) even more valuable to you.

Check out Frank’s Turn-Key system for getting new patients.

Costs:

Frank charges $349 a month for this service. It also costs an additional $250 per month in adwords costs (paid online ads).  According to my calculations, just three or four new patients per month will pay for the service. You’ll probably get more than four, but I’m not privvy to the specifics.

(Frank and I think similarly about the lifetime value of a new patient.  His calculations show a new patient is worth about $225.  My calculations – detailed in “The Faucet” show $150.  Both of us are almost certainly over-conservative.   I also write about it here.)

800 Number Guy

There’s always someone advertising practice building in Acupuncture Today.  I think of them/him/whoever as the 800 number guy. The latest classified doesn’t use an 800 number though:

How to Build YOUR Profitable Practice!

In 30 years of practice I have learned
How to —- Atrract New Patients!
Orient Patients to Accept My Recommendations, Get Paid
Fellow Acupuncturists continually ask me and I help them. My experience is vast and I have countless easily implemented techniques —- THAT WORK.
If you desire a more profitable practice contact me for my consulting service.
Dr. Bruce S. Hirsch D.C., Lic. Ac. doctor.bh@gmail.com or 617 694 2320

He might be onto something.  Who knows?  It costs nothing to ask.

Me

The last person helping acupuncturists with their marketing?  Me, of course.  I wrote Never Market Again about using word of mouth and relationships to build your practice.  The cool thing is that what’s in Never Market Again can stand alone, or will make any other system you implement even better.  I also wrote “The Faucet” which is about the most cost effective paid marketing, and how to go about it.

I also run Acupuncture Clinic Websites with Bonnie Koenig, L.Ac..  Frankly, it’s the best out there, at almost any price… but costs just about half your monthly phone bill.  This means just 1-2 patients are all it takes to pay for the site for a full year.  Most websites bring in about twice that many patients a month on average.  That’s a 12x to 24x return on your money – without requiring a large upfront investment.

I use it myself for this site and others, and love it.  You can add pages, photos, switch designs, and customize it just for yourself.  We offer great support – if there’s something you want to do, we probably have a step-by-step video that makes it easy.  If there isn’t a video, we’ll either do it for you, create a video showing exactly how to do it, or both!

There’s no need to wait weeks or months to get started.  We start you off with prewritten pages, so you can have your site up in 24 hours, or less.  Even so,  changing them is almost as easy as sending an email.  You can make the site truly reflect you as a person… and as a practitioner.

I recommend my book (note that I’m biased) if:

  • You have an existing a patient base, or
  • You have (and are using) Kevin’s Build Your Dream Practice, or
  • You are starting to get more patients (perhaps through a website).

Otherwise I don’t recommend my book!  The reason why is the book works best when you already have relationships with patients.

Lisa Hanfileti at Insights for Acupuncturists disagrees with me.  She believes the book will help even the newest practitioners.  I just think it’s not the book for someone with no patients yet.

Also, I recommend our website service if:

  • You don’t want to spend $300 or more (minimum!) upfront for a nicely designed site.
  • You want a reliable, cost-effective source of patients, but don’t have a website.
  • You want a great looking site that’s easy to change, from any web browser.  You’re in control, not some designer.  (Too often, the designer doesn’t give a damn about you once they have your money!)
  • You don’t want hidden costs ($30 a month covers everything).

Note: In the past two months, I’ve heard horror stories from three acupuncturists about their web designers.  Two say the designer took their money and haven’t delivered, one told me they took her money, then  squeezed every last dime out of her they could for any changes she wanted from her site.  (She even had to pay for a “divorce” to get control of her site!)

If you sign up for ANY service (even mine) look for a guarantee, and pay by credit card.  If you have problems, the credit card company will help you get your money back!  Please protect yourself!

Costs:

Never Market Again and “The Faucet” come together for $49.95.

Anyway, please do check out all of my worthy competitors.  They all have something to offer.  The important thing is that you get your marketing handled and be a raging success!

Did I leave out anything?  Any comments about the above?  Any feedback would be great, thanks!

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Robin // Dec 2, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for posting such a comprehensive list of marketing options for us. Where were you five years ago when I started my practice!!!

    Speaking from my own experience, you don’t need to pay a lot of money for motivation. Burton’s e-mail newsletter and blog are a great way to plug into a positive energy that attracts new patients. Read his e-mails and visiting his website have motivated me enough that I don’t need coaching (at least not at this point) but I still need a positive source for marketing inspiration and I’ve found that here! And its free! Thanks Burton for helping my practice and the acupuncture field grow!

  • 2 Jared McCollum // Dec 2, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Thank you Burton,

    This just shows how honest and confident you are in you book and services. I love your book and read it regularly to stay on top of my success.
    You have inspired me to write up a similar outline on my website for my acupuncture competitors in my area.
    Keep up the good work.

  • 3 Lisa Hanfileti, LAc // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Hi Burton,

    Thanks for the review, but I STILL disagree with you!

    I know you think that “Never Market Again” is only appropriate for acupuncturists with an existing patient base, but the marketing methods you outline in your book are important for NEW acupuncturists too.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you answered my question about “the biggest blind spot that acupuncturists face”. (You actually point out three blind spots! See the Interview with Burton Kent on my website. ) If acupuncturists are aware of these “blind spots” BEFORE they open their practice, they can avoid the potentially detrimental effects.

    In addition, your book helps ease new practitioners into the marketing mindset and gives simple steps to follow up with new patients. Without this kind of pro-active plan for follow up and referral education, acupuncturists are unequipped to build their acupuncture businesses quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

    Both you and Kevin do an awesome job at preparing the new (and experienced) practitioner for success, and I always recommend BOTH of your books.

    So, sorry… but I remain your disagreeing friend.
    : )

    Lisa Hanfileti, LAc

    (Burton’s Note – check out Lisa’s site, Insights for Acupuncturists. It’s another resource for acupuncture marketing, but because it’s free, I didn’t list it above.

  • 4 Burton Kent // Dec 2, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Thanks everyone.

    @Robin – glad it helps. One of the biggest problems seems to be keeping up momentum. None of this stuff is hard, but too many people don’t get around to it.

    @Jared – Confidence is part of it, but I ran this article past a couple people yesterday. I wanted to make sure I didn’t come off as completely crazy!

    I wrote: “If I lose, I still win – the acupuncturist will still be more successful.”

    It’s difficult to know the good points of various approaches and figure out what’s right for you. I hope it helps someone figure out what’s best for them.

    @Lisa – Don’t be shy about linking to your site in comments. It was polite of you to not use it as an opportunity for self-publicity, but you’re a great resource. I added links to your comment so people can find you. (Go visit Lisa, everyone!)

  • 5 Moriah Polanco // Dec 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I am so happy that you and others are putting acupuncture marketing/business materials out there. I have wanted to go to acupuncture school for years, but have put it off for fear of failing, losing money, etc. Reading these blogs and E-books have helped to keep me motivated and positive when I start to feel like I could never run my own practice. Maybe I’ll start school next fall :)

  • 6 Eric Schanke // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks Burton, I’ve used your website service since you first started it. It is the best way to get started fast (and the most economical!). You can do as little or as much customization as you want. That made it easy for me to ad content as I had time. Every marketing person will tell you that a website is a must- and it’s true. This is a great service that I recommend highly.

  • 7 5 Interesting Links About Chinese Medicine | Chinese Medicine Notes // Dec 3, 2008 at 6:12 am

    [...] Meet my competitors is a post by Burton Kent, over at Acupuncture Clinic Marketing. Burton lists the blogs that have good advice on how to help us promote our clinic, and to be quite honest, I think we could all use all the help we can get. 2009 seems to be a nice new year, but could be difficult where finanace is concerned, so I would imagine that those of us who have a clinic would like to get more ideas on how to keep our patients close and how to get new ones. [...]

  • 8 Frank Prieto // Dec 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Burton,

    This is your competitor Frank Prieto hacking into your blog… hehehe.

    Seriously, I take off my hat to you for having the courage to publish information on your own blog about your competitors. I found out about it when I got a call from an acupuncturist interested in my marketing system who told me he heard about me on your blog.

    I said to him– “Are you saying somebody is giving me a free plug?” He said; “Yes sir, check it out for yourself.” So here I am to pay my dues. The least I can do is thank you for the kind words. As of this day forward please consider me a friend and not a competitor. Anybody that has the guts to do what you did earns my respect.

    If you ever want me to contribute marketing articles or posts on your blog completely free of any self promotion I will be happy to do so.

    Thank you once again.

    Frank Prieto

    PS– Lisa Hanfileti was a marketing guru in her previous life. She has denied it but I know it’s true ;)