By Frank Prieto
Let’s say you want to go fishing. You gas up the boat, buy some bait, grab a few snacks and make sure you don’t forget the beer. You launch your boat in the water and take off. You head to this fishing spot you’re familiar with called “yellow pages.” You’re comfortable coming out to the yellow page fishing hole because it’s not too far from shore and it’s not so deep. You sit there for a few hours and all you catch is just a couple of small grunts. You come back home and when you figure what you spent on gas, food, bear and bait, you realize these two little grunts have cost you a fortune. And they’re not that tasty anyway.
The next day you figure you’re going to try another fishing spot. So you head out and this time you go on over to “city newspaper” fishing spot. Here too you feel safe because it’s still just about a mile and a half from shore. It’s a sunny morning and the winds are calm. You throw your line in the water and you sit there for hours without getting a single nibble on your bait. You’re frustrated because you really want to catch fish. You need to catch fish otherwise it’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich again.
By now you’re wondering if this is worth the hassle. As you take a deep breath you look over to the horizon and way out there you see a bunch of boats. They look tiny from where you’re anchored so you figure they must be at least 10, or even 15 miles away. You say “wait a minute... that’s probably the spot my buddy told me about called “internet.” He claims people catch fish at the “internet” fishing hole all the time. The problem is you’re a bit apprehensive about going all the way out there. You love fishing but you’re not to anxious to go out so far into waters you haven’t navigated before. You’ve heard the current is stronger outside the reef and you need a longer anchor line because it’s deeper too.
Since it’s a nice day you grab another beer and muster the courage to give it a try. You open the throttle and take off. As you approach this “internet” fishing spot the tiny boats look bigger. Before you know it you’re way out there and you can barely see the shore line. But it’s a nice day so you’re going to try your luck at this new fishing spot.
You don’t have enough anchor line to reach the bottom so you choose a spot, turn off the motor and you drift with the current. You throw your fishing line in the water and not even 10 minutes have gone by before you get a nice heavy tug on your line. You yank your rod to set the hook and you find yourself fighting a nice heavy fish. After a nice back and forth struggle between you and the fish, you bring up this nice fat red snapper.
Suddenly you break into this uncontrollable silly laughter because you realize you’ve found a great fishing spot. You try again and 30 minutes later you find yourself fighting another nice one. While you were drifting along passing by the boats that were anchored, you notice that on some boats the fishermen are catching twice as many fish. So you start paying close attention and you notice these fishermen are chumming the waters. Then you notice most of the boats catching fish are using live bait instead of frozen squid. Your curiosity is killing you so you grab your binoculars and zero in on one of these boats and you notice that these pros are using a #2 long shank hook instead of the standard hook everybody else is using. But it doesn’t stop there. Now you zoom in even closer and you observe as one of these guys rigs a new line and you see him tying the hook to the line using a special knot you’ve never seen before. You’re sitting there nodding your head in amazement because you’ve just realized that to be a successful fisherman you not only have to go where the fish are biting, but you also have to chum the water to attract the fish and then use the right bait and hook to catch’m.
My dear friend, acupuncture practice building is like fishing. To catch more fish (acquire new patients) you go where the fish are biting (the Internet,) then you chum the waters to attract the fish (search engine optimization and pay-per-click) and use the right bait and hook (a compelling marketing message) to catch’m. Once they’re in YOUR bag, they are off the market. Their search is over and now YOU have another “new” patient.
This is what your marketing is supposed to accomplish. You want to take prospective patients off the market and bring them into your space so they stop searching. When you accomplish this wonderful things start to happen in your acupuncture business. This is how you take your practice to the next level.