Things I learned from Guy Kawasaki at Pubcon 2006

DorauschBy Michael Dorausch, D.C.

It’s amazing how many things can change in a single year’s time.

About this time last year I was attending an Internet conference at the Las Vegas convention Center in Nevada. The conference is called PubCon and it is attended by thousands of webmasters, SEOs, web marketers, and entrepreneurs. This years PubCon 2007 event begins on Tuesday, December 4th, and I will be attending in representation of Planet Chiropractic.

I was looking back over some of the changes that Planet Chiropractic has experienced during the past year and I was reminded of a keynote address given by Guy Kawasaki during the first morning of last year’s conference. I had come to Las Vegas in 2006 because the web site was going through some growing pains and I was seeking some information that would help me make decisions to move things in the right direction. Attending the event was the best that I’d ever made in Vegas (it certainly beat betting on the Raiders over New England in the 2001 divisional championship).

Stop Asking the Wrong People
I’ve been to hundreds of conferences over the years and I love when you’re sitting in the room getting the feeling that someone is speaking directly to you. I remember Guy asking the audience to link to his blog and help improve his Technorati ranking. What enlightened me was not what he asked but who he asked. He was in a room of nearly 2000 webmasters, all of whom had the ability (and the understanding of value) to move forward and take action. His blog currently ranks among Technorati’s most popular, with a current position of number 33.

Make Something Meaningful
I had started Planet Chiropractic back in the late 1990s, when I was a student in a Los Angeles Chiropractic College. While attending school I discovered there was a lot more about the profession than cracking backs and bones. As a student I became real passionate about my profession and the Internet showed great promise as a way to evangelize. There were chiropractic schools all over the United States, numerous professional organizations, hundreds of conferences to attend, thousands of chiropractors throughout the world, and above all, a lifestyle lived by many in the field that was nearly a polar opposite of everything espoused in the field of medicine. I felt I was on the right track here, but something had happened in recent years that I hadn’t anticipated.

Who are all these people?
Guy was talking about letting a hundred flowers blossom and something related to innovation. He basically said that sometimes people who you do not anticipate, will buy your product or use your service, and he used the example of early Apple users compared to the audience the company reaches today. Light Bulb! That’s exactly what had been going on. While the web site had started as a destination for chiropractors, it was increasingly receiving traffic from two very distinct group of users. The first group was people looking for chiropractors. The second group was people looking to become chiropractors.

9618 calls answeredLet 9618 Flowers Blossom
To help the people that were looking for local chiropractors, we contacted chiropractic authors from our web site, chiropractors that had purchased products from us, chiropractors that had posted classifieds, and chiropractors that had accounts in the event system, and asked if they would mind if we added them to a chiropractic directory. There were no objections. In fact, about 70 chiropractors agreed to participate in a call tracking study which allowed us to gather statistics as to when calls were made to their offices from our web site.

The image shows 9618 answered phone calls to date, beginning from the first of January 2007. One chiropractor added more than 300 new clients to his business as a result of those phone calls. Those are some serious flowers.

Don’t Panic
The group looking to become chiropractors has been interesting, since they’re typically young adults aged 16 to 25, who don’t know much about the industry of chiropractic. Unlike chiropractors that had been in the field for a number of years, this group had three basic interests when visiting the website.

  1. Is this something I want to do?
  2. Can I make money doing this?
  3. Where do I get started?

We had hundreds of articles addressing why one would want to become a chiropractor, and I thought that would be good enough, I was wrong. When we covered news that a Playboy cover girl (and Super Bowl Godaddy Girl) was married to a chiropractor, the MySpace generation poured in, and as a result we identified two areas receiving a significant amount of new traffic. The first was a series of articles about chiropractic salaries and the second was the school review pages.

Here we are telling them you can help a lot of people in your community and make a nice living, and they’re thinking… go to school – make great money – marry a centerfold, where do I sign up?

I’m working on where we go from here, and I’m looking forward to getting some answers at this years PubCon 2007.

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