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Chiropractic Special Promotions
By Edward W Petty
Jul 21, 2008, 23:22

  • What is a Special Promotion?
  • How often do you use them?
  • Why do you use them?
  • Are there times that you shouldn’t use them?
  • What is the key to their success?
  • Plus- 12 Questions for each promotion.
  • Plus - 24 examples of promotions
What Is a Special Promotion?

A special promotion is a promotion that is not a regular part of your standard patient marketing procedures.  Every clinic should have routine and recurring procedures that serve to promote its services.  This would include different forms of patient education, recommendations to patients to bring in family members for a check-up, the manner in which the phone is answered, newsletters, etc. 

On occasion, however, you may want to celebrate a special event, like the anniversary of our clinic, or hold a party for all of your patents for the holidays, or take part in a community wide donation program with your patients.  This is called a special promotion.  They can be targeted to your entire patient base, or just a section of it. For example, you could set aside a special day for just for kids or an after hours “Girls Night Out.”.  

How Often Are Special Promotions Used?
Because these promotions can be directed at select groups of patients and non patients, you could have as many as one or two per month.  However, they do take up staff time to prepare properly and to execute each promotion effectively. Therefore, a special promotion every 2 to four months is usually adequate.

Why use Special Promotions?
There are a number of reasons to do special promotions.  First, of course, they can generate new patients.  But there are other reasons as well.  For example, handing out carnations to mothers on the week before Mother’s Day is done just for the goodwill, because it is a nice thing to do.  Another reason is that it can add fun for the staff by providing them with an activity outside of their usual patient services and clerical duties.  It gives them a special project that they all can work on together for the benefit of the clinic.

When Not to Use Special Promotions 
If you or your staff are already stressed with extra work, major in-office changes, or have repeatedly done new patient promotions recently, do not schedule a special promotion soon.  You need to build up your routine and recurring internal and external promotional procedures for a while in order to “grow” more new patients.  A special promotion is like a special harvesting... you can’t pick apples of a tree more than once in a season. 

Special promotions can act like an artificial boost.  Often, the real energy has been built up in the office or in the community and a special promotion just “releases” it.

You may have seen other doctors trying to run a special promotion in the newspaper over and over, usually for something free.  It may have worked once, and may work again, but probably not right away.  Continuous “specials” poorly targeted and improperly timed will grind your other promotions down to a halt.

Preparation Is The Key
Plan ahead.  At least 70%, of the work of a special promotion is in preparation.  Avoid “too little too late”, a common mistake with  many promotions. 

Plan several special promotions for the next six months.  You can always cancel them later if you have too many. You can tie them into seasons, holidays, special events, or anything that might be of particular interest to your community, to your patients, and ... to you and your staff.  They should be kept fun and creative.  Everyone should be involved.  The event should be discussed at staff meetings, and different projects delegated to different staff, even the doctors. 

Lastly, someone should act as the Event Coordinator.

12 Questions to Ask for Each Special Promotion

1. Who exactly is the special promotion for?
2. Is the event just internal to the office, or just external, or both?
3. Is the event designed to directly generate new patients, just generate good will, or both?
4. What do they get out of it? Why would they want to participate? What is in for them?
5. What are we going to get out of the event?  How will it benefit our clinic?
6. When are we going to have it?
7. What is the duration of the event?
8. What is our budget?
9. How are we going to promote it.
10. What needs to be done:
   -->before the event
   -->during the event
  --> after the event.
11. Are all of the duties listed above are delegated to individual staff?
12. Who is the coordinator for the event?

Examples of Special Promotions
(I-Internal, E-External)
1.    Senior's Day (I&E)
2.    Valentine's Day (I)
3.    National Correct Posture Month (May) (I&E)
4.    Mother's Day (I)
5.    Father's Day (I)
6.    Kid's Day (I&E)
7.    Back to School Day for Kids (I&E)
8.    Patient Appreciation Day (I)
9.    Community Appreciation Day (E)
10.    Open House (I&E)
11.    Grand Opening (E)
12.    Anniversary (I&E)
13.    Spinal Health Care Month (I&E)
14.    Food Drive (I&E)
15.    Toy Drive (I&E)
16.    Other donation drives, such as YMCA (I&E)
17.    Christmas gifts, coupons and health certificates (I&E)
18.    General referral coupons for friends and family members of patients
19.    Teacher's Appreciation Day (I&E)
20.    Care to Share (Internal)
21.    Doctors with a Heart
22.    Girls Night Out (Internal/External)
23.    Cinco de Mayo Party
24.    Fireman Appreciation Week

Example of One Doctor's Successful Promotion

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