Despite acupuncture's ancient legacy and modern-day relevance, a vast majority of Americans are still uninformed about what acupuncture is or when and how to seek a trained acupuncture professional.
Acupuncturists like you must be marketing savvy if you hope to grow your practice and the reach of acupuncture to a wider audience.
Here are some marketing tips that just might help you grow your brand awareness and win new customers:
1. Open Houses
Hold regular open houses. Invite the community to learn more about acupuncture and how it has evolved into one of the fastest-growing healthcare practices in America. Keep the group small and intimate to maximize impact.
2. Meetup Group
Try to get speaking engagements in Meetup groups, or even start your own Meetup group to educate people about "alternative" medicine. You'll have to book a steady flow of speakers but it's worth it if it puts you in the center of the healthcare conversation as a respected expert.
3. Target Market
Figure out who your best customers are based on frequency of visits and revenue; make a plan to go after them in a more focused way. If you work with lots of senior citizens, then spend more time engaging with retirement centers and other senior resources like AARP. Maybe you can write a regular column for a senior center newsletter!
Pitch local news media about acupuncture as it relates to trending topics like helping treat veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Day, which was on October 24th this year. For hot tips on how to get in the news, consider following my PR over Coffee blog.
Keep your past and current patients up-to-date with regular email campaigns. Consider doing a monthly e-newsletter with lots of interesting facts about acupuncture and alternative medicine so you are constantly "top-of-mind."
6. Social Media Contest
Create a "following" on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets; then run occasional contests where you find a fun and clever way to get your followers to engage with you.
7. Loyal Customers
Offer specials that reward your most loyal customers. It will make them feel valued and probably result in more friendly referrals.
8. Holiday Specials
Offer a package deal that is available as a holiday gift for family and friends.
Advertising is still a way to be seen in a community. Look for a well-read community news outlet (in Austin, we have Community Impact News) and check out the cost of various advertising options. Some are pretty darn affordable.
Keeping a blog on your website is a great way to share information with customers and prospects even as you improve your website's search engine rakings by embedding keywords relevant to your industry. You can also have guest bloggers share related information about acupuncture. (Secret: it's also a great way to avoid having to write a post every week!)
Slow and steady wins the race!
About Dave Manzer
Dave Manzer is the owner of a PR firm based in Austin, Texas called Dave Manzer PR & Marketing. He works primarily with small businesses and startups and offers a revolutionary pay-for-performance PR model that allows even the smallest businesses a chance to win game-changing publicity. He also runs PR over Coffee, a do-it-yourself PR resources group that has helped hundreds of small businesses figure out how to leverage PR for their benefit.