Friday, September 6, 2013

Get publicity (and more patients) for doing good in your community

by Honora Lee Wolfe, Dipl.Ac.

One of the best ways to call attention to yourself and your services is to either organize or participate in activities that contribute to your community in a positive way. You don’t need to spend a great deal of time or money on a project that will make the news.  For most of these, it would have an even greater impact to get more than one practitioner involved. That way, “acupuncture” and not just you, get a boost from the activity. So ask your colleagues to get involved and make sure the media knows about what you’re doing. Here are some ideas.

Get every acupuncturist in your community to collect in their clinic:
    1. toys for the local family shelter at Holiday time
    2. food for the community food share
    3. $$ for a local charity drive

Make sure your patients are involved in this effort. Create signs for your treatment rooms and your waiting area. Once you have collected everything, make sure you send out a Press Release to all the local media with a headline such as “Local Acupuncturists Donate 500 New Toys to Local Battered Women & Family Shelter” or whatever. Make sure that every acupuncturist involved gets their name in the Press Release.

Need more patients? Offer free or greatly reduced fee acupuncture one day per week for people who have lost their jobs (up to three treatments maximum). Do this on your least busy day of the week or during your least busy hours. That helps insure that no one scams you because working people probably cannot come on Wednesdays from 11 AM- 3 PM. Do you think these people might become paying customers once they get a new job?? Do you think they will tell their friends? You bet they will. (You can take this idea and do the same thing for the annual “Great American Smoke Out”... i.e., free stop-smoking treatments.)

Join together with some other businesses to sponsor a trash pickup or a graffiti cleanup campaign.  Get a local paint store to donate some paints that were “mis-tints” and get some high school students to help with the painting. Everyone gets good publicity and who knows how many people at the paint store or at the high school (parents, teachers, counselors, administration) will become your patients!

Got old inventory of herbs and vitamins or other products? Get a tax write-off by donating them to the Guatemala Acupuncture Project, Bobbi Aqua’s free clinic in Banda Ache www.gentlebirthsbali.org, or to a free clinic on a Native-American reservation.

Sponsor a little-league team or girls soccer team.  You get to put your name on the back of the t-shirts and all the parents know who you are.

Work with a local nursery to create a tree-planting or flower planting weekend at a local park, along a specific street, around a school playground, or to reclaim a vacant lot. Get as many other businesses (especially acupuncturists) involved as you can.  This is also a great photo opportunity and you may make the 5 o’clock news!

Organize a neighborhood crime watch with other businesses in your area. Get help from the local police department.

Whenever you create any community activities such as these, make sure the local media knows about it as far in advance as possible. This qualifies as “good news”, which is something we could all use more of in our lives. Even the media people may become your patients.

If you cannot find the juice to create your own community event, join in on ones that someone else is creating.  This at least gives you the opportunity to meet new people and tell them about the wonderful benefits of our medicine.  Either way, make sure to send a thank you card to anyone you work with on such projects and be sure to include your business card. Remember, everyone is someone’s patient at some point.  Why shouldn’t they be yours?

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