Put the Best PT Marketing Ideas to Work for Your Practice

pt-marketing

Is your PT practice struggling to get new clients, losing clients, or just lacking the consistency needed to keep your therapists busy? If this sounds familiar, it might be because you aren’t taking full advantage of all the effective PT marketing strategies that are available to you. To help you make better use of these essential tools, here are the best PT marketing ideas that you can start utilizing at your practice today:

Overcome the POPTS dilemma:

Many orthopedic doctors refer to their own physical therapy  (POPTS), which can leave your PT practice hanging, especially if the majority of your patients come from orthopedic physician referrals. If this is your practice’s problem, then it’s time to overhaul your marketing strategy, which will help you rely less on orthopedic physician referrals and more on referrals from GPs, internists, returning patients, and patient referrals. When it comes to marketing, it’s best to re-order your priorities to the following groups:

  1. Referrals from GPs & internists,
  2. Returning patients,
  3. Referrals from returning patients,
  4. Walk-ins.

How do I do that?

Start with a budget for marketing. Many practices don’t worry about marketing because they’ve been reliant on orthopedic physician referrals to drive their business. With your new priority list in mind, develop a realistic budget to determine how much you can spend on marketing.

How much should you budget for physical therapy marketing?  My standard answer is as much as it takes to grow the practice and meet your goals, and not a penny more.  That said, it’s not uncommon to budget 20-30% of your profits or 4-10% of your gross revenue for marketing.

Once you’ve established a budget, focus on formulating a game plan for how you will market your PT practice.

Online marketing is the fastest growing promotional channel, and this is for a good reason: It’s quick and cheap, and also gives you access to a wide audience.

Types of Online PT Marketing to Consider

So now that you have a budget and are committed to online marketing, it’s time to get started. Here are the basics for any PT online marketing campaign:

Search Engines: the search engines are where a vast majority of your patients or prospects start the process of getting to know you.  It’s important to put some time, effort, and money into ranking your practice on page one for:
1. a search for your business name,
2. a search for physical therapy in your city (e.g. physical therapy Los Angeles),
3. a search for niche services you provide (e.g. vestibular therapy, women’s health, TMJ treatment, etc.).

Website: Your practice needs a good website that gives visitors the information they need to decide that you are in fact the right practice for them. While you can make a website on your own, it’s a better idea to have it created by professionals instead. A company that builds websites will know the right way to create a design so that it attracts attention without annoying your visitors. You want your website to look polished and professional, and unless you have experience designing business websites yourself, you will will need a professional to get the look you’re going for.

Your website should include basic contact and location information, your hours, and your practice’s specialties. Include bios and pictures of each physical therapist that details their experience, certification, and specialties. This will help you with Internet searches, since many people use it as their main tool to find a therapist who can help them with a specific injury.

Newsletter: An email newsletter is a great way to reach new and returning patients who can subscribe using their email address. These newsletters should detail news about your practice (new equipment, a new therapist, special holiday hours, etc.), along with some information about physical therapy in general. The options are really quite wide open here. Stay conscientious of the fact that your newsletter readers are interested in staying healthy, recovering quickly, and preventing future injuries. Use your newsletter as an opportunity to demonstrate that you are the experts in your field by highlighting educational and informative articles and adding in your own expert voice.

Social media: Your practice should also have a social media campaign as a way to reach existing patients who will refer your practice to their friends. Encourage your existing patients to follow your social media accounts to keep up to date with your practice. Your social media campaign should be informative and interactive. Follow and post content that relates to health and physical therapy in general, rather than topics that are only specific to your practice. Also be sure to respond to any comments you receive, both positive and negative. Having a strong social media presence will make your practice stand out within your community and will also lead to more walk-in patients.

Ratings & Reviews: online reputation is the second most trusted form of advertising.  Establishing yourself as a leader in the community, via patient ratings and reviews, will definitely drive business. Having a systematic process in place to capture the 5-star satisfaction your patients’ convey to you in the practice and then getting that message out on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Healthgrades.com, is another great way to drive new business in the door.

[squeeze_box]If an online marketing campaign seems daunting to you, don’t worry. You don’t have to be in this alone. For more information on PT marketing ideas for your practice or to find out how we can develop a campaign for you, contact E-Rehab today![/squeeze_box]

Video Marketing for Physical Therapists: Targeting the Right Patients and Bringing Transparency

The process of video marketing for physical therapists is one that requires showcasing exactly what makes you different from your competition. No doubt you have many other physical therapy clinics competing with you in your town or city. You might have even lost many of your patients to your competition because your competitors offered something different or innovative.

While this might sound like pure business logic, the real problem is your competitors either do a better job of marketing, have stronger relationships with referring physicians, or have some sort of financial relationship with doctors/hospitals.

One way to “even the playing field” is to use video to share your high quality care.

In a visual culture, video marketing is one of the best methods of bringing differentiating yourself and what better way to do it than with patient testimonials on camera.

Patients who seek physical therapy want more transparency about how your clinic operates. They also want educational information about what you provide and what sets you apart from others. Even if you don’t feel like you are a leader with your treatment techniques or outcomes, patients still want to learn more about you.  Video is a great way to create a long-term competitive advantage.

Many who seek physical therapy do so out of necessity or due to physical pain. So the video marketing you do needs a serious approach. How do you properly convey who you are, though, in a marketing video?

Some Topics for Your Videos

  • Most companies have a mission statement.  Creating a video about your mission statement and your goals for patients is important.
  • Telling stories about what led you to pursue a career in physical therapy is a great lead-in for patients as a way toward more trust.
  • Telling stories about patients you’ve worked with in the past can help demonstrate your empathy.
  • Even better is when you equate your founding to perhaps your own physical ailments. If a specific physical therapy experience helped you overcome a past medical issue or injury, this enhances your sense of understanding about how other patients feel when they seek physical therapy.
  • Expert interviews are great ways to establish authority and differentiate your self from the competition. Pick topics that you specialize in and share your knowledge with your community (see the example below).

Transparency About How Your Clinic is Run

Secrecy in any company, especially a medical clinic, frequently turns off prospective patients. They want to see what you do.  With consent of your medical staff (and even patients), footage of actual physical therapy techniques taking place is a great way to share your clinical expertise, culture, and to improve transparency.

Social Proof

As we have mentioned before, and as stated in the Neilson’s Trust in Advertising study, ratings and reviews come in second or third when it comes to consumer action and advertising trust.  If ratings and reviews are trusted, certainly patient video testimonials are also going to be a great trust builder for your practice.

Targeting the Right Patient Demographic

In Dan Kennedy’s book, No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate, No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-direct Marketing Businesses , he provides readers with some simple yet crucial advice when creating your marketing message.  Match your message to your market and use the right medium.  You should absolutely apply these simple principles to your video marketing efforts.  If you are trying to reach the senior demographic, use senior testimonials, and have them discuss their success with their “senior” diagnoses (e.g. stenosis, osteoarthritis, balance disorders, etc.).  If you are targeting younger athletes, then consider using video but delivering it via 15 second snippets on Instagram.

Use Keywords in Your Videos

We recommend that you also use specialized keywords (both short and longtail) to increase the likelihood that your videos will rank better in YouTube and in some cases, even on Google. You can increase the chance that your videos will rank by posting them on your social networking platforms and encouraging likes, comments, and shares.

Video is a great online marketing tool, no question about it.  It’s well within the financial reach of any physical therapy private practice.  When you create your videos, consider your demographics, use video to share transparency about your clinic, and use them for social proof or patient testimonials.  Good video can create a competitive advantage for you so have fun with it.

Improving Your Physical Therapy Newsletters Open Rate

physical therapy newsletters

As a small practice, physical therapy newsletters are a great way to share news, explain your expertise, and provide offers to your patients, but what happens if your analytics are telling you that no one reads them? Here are our top strategies to increase the open rates for your physical therapy newsletters.

1. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize.

There are many things that you can personalize in order to encourage click-through rates.

First, personalize the “From” field by including your real name. People are more inclined to click an email coming from a real person (you), not just the name of your practice. In addition, having your name in the “From” field dissuades spam filters from blocking your email. This also helps build your office as a people-friendly one, when people can recognize you as the sender.

Second, personalize emails by addressing your subscribers or patients personally. If you have the data to apply your subscriber’s name to the subject line or preview to the body of an email, use it. According to research by Hubspot with Market Domination Media, open rates increased by 1.2 percent when the first name of a subscriber was included in the subject line. By addressing a recipient personally, you‘ll draw their attention more so than not using their name.

If you don’t have the data to address your recipients with their names–maybe due to online sign-up forms versus patients who have already visited youyou can still market to them personally by using “you.” In the same study, addressing the receiver as “you” and telling them what they will receive increased open rates. Thank yous are also effective in increasing the click-through rate.

Overall, personalization is a helpful strategy in improving your email open rates. If you aren’t doing it, it’s time to start incorporating it into your emails. Just remember to do it sparingly; overuse can decrease curiosity, so rotate this strategy with other tools.

2. Pay attention to the subject line.

Getting someone to open an email is largely dependent on how the subject line grabs the reader’s attention.

The same tricks to writing a headline for an article applies to an email’s subject line. Keep your subject lines short (around 6 words), use eye-catching adjectives and phrases (such as “strange,” “essential,” “against all odds” etc.), and avoid spammykeywords (such as “cash” or “save”). By spending time on crafting an interesting headline, you‘ll have a better time convincing readers to click on your email, before they decide to avoid or trash it. You can find the research that backs up these tips over at Entrepreneur.

3. Make sure your emails are mobile responsive.

As statistics have shown, checking and opening email on mobile devices have grown. About 74 percent of mobile users check their email, and while open rates vary from one industry to the next, everyone can benefit from responsive email design. Simply making sure your campaigns are visible on a smartphone or tablet can increase your open rates drastically, especially if your email newsletters don’t currently support responsive design.

4. Use segmentation.

Segmenting your email list is a great way to improve your email open rates, since it allows you to get the right content to the right people. Basically, after studying your lists and finding out what people want, you can send emails with differing content, based on the receiver’s personal interests or challenges. In a study by Marketing Sherpa, using segmentation strategies increased their open rates from 20% to 40%, and clickthrough rates from 2% to 6%. For your office, a segmented list can look like one group who wants special information and tips for physical therapy after work-related problems or injuries, and another segmented list could be for sports or active bodies that could see you for sports-related pains.

5. Share Something of Value

Offering diverse content that is worth reading is the holly grail of email marketing. When your emails don’t apply to your patients are are simply about musculoskeletal conditions that your patients don’t have, you‘re likely to see a drop in open rates. You can spice them up by adding videos, photos,infographics, and links to valuable, useful content on your blog or website. In addition, changing your email’s layout might do some good as well.

E-rehab’s Newsletter Strategy

[info_box]Since 2003, E-rehab.com has provided its PT customers with patient and physician newsletters.   Originally, we would send out information about conditions that PTs treat.  After a small patient focus group, we switched our message.  We now send out information about wellness topics that are more interesting, patients report they are more valuable, and we’ve repeatedly heard positive feedback from our customers.   You can check out some newsletter examples here. If you need help developing your physical therapy newsletters, contact us. We’d love to help you with your newsletter marketing.[/info_box]

Google AdWords – Who Shows Up Where?

Google AdWords for Physical Therapy Private Practices

Physical therapy private practice owners are always looking for ways to generate leads.  Google AdWords is certainly one option but it can be expensive.

I just finished auditing another client’s AdWords account.  One of the main questions she had was, “How does Google determine who shows up number 1?”

It might seem complete but Google has published their formula to determine where you rank in Google AdWords.  It’s called Ad Rank.

This infographic hopefully will clarify things for you a bit

google-adwords-ad-rank-methodology

 

As you can see, it isn’t simply an auction where the highest bidder for given keywords wins.  A lot of it depends on your Quality Score.  Google defines it as follows:

Quality Score is a metric Google uses to determine your page ranking and how much you pay per click in a particular Google AdWords campaign. Quality Scores are essentially a measure of relevance; more relevant ads, campaigns, and landing pages have higher clickthrough rates (CTRs), which raises your Quality ScoreApr 19, 2014  Here’s a link to more detail.

Here’s a good video about it too straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth:

Have Questions about Google AdWords?

If you have questions, about Google AdWords for your physical therapy private practice, don’t hesitate to give us a call.