Most Physical Therapists are on a tight budget, especially when it comes to marketing. Many clinics simply don’t have financial resources to invest in advertising and marketing.
The irony is that NOT marketing your clinic will have a detrimental effect on your business.
Here are some big marketing ideas for a small marketing budget:
- Optimize your website for Google
- Start a Blog
- Social Networking
- Post a free ‘Guide’ or article for patients to download
- Harness the Power of YouTube
- Answer Questions Relating to Physical Therapy
- Do some online PR
- Go To Networking Events and Share Your Web Address
- Ask For Referrals
- Provide Exceptionally Good Patient Care Then Ask for an Online Review
This is one of the first things you need to put on your ‘to-do’ list.
Why? Because Google is the most popular search engine on the Internet, and so it is the foundation and key to marketing your clinic.
However, you have to invest a small amount of time “optimizing your site” to make it easy for Google. Done in-house, this is free and will one be of the best investments that you could ever make.
Most site optimization work involves using appropriate ‘keywords” – or the most common phrases patients use to find your clinic – i.e. “Houston Physical Therapy”. Google has a great Starter Guide on just this topic.
While we are on the subject of Google, we can’t miss out Google+. As mentioned in the previous marketing tip, Google really is on your side, because it’s in their best interest to provide users with the most relevant search results.
As a result, search results are becoming much more local and personalized and companies who claim and complete their Google+ profile and optimize it properly get the best rewards.
It seems everyone has a blog these days– so why not set one up for your Clinic or Practice? It is a great way to keep connected to your current patients, as well as help potential patients learn about Physical Therapy and the specialties of your practice.
Keep in mind, if you are going to create a blog for your clinic you need to do the following:
* Host the blog on your own domain. E.g. www.YourPhysicalTherapyWebsite.com/blog
* Take care with content. Do some industry research, look at current events or talk to those at your clinic to choose what topics you can write about that will be interesting to your patients and the Physical Therapy community.
* Make your blog’s visitors feel part of it by responding to each blog comment. If you do, the more people will be inclined to read and comment on your blog more often.
Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all popular sites and excellent sources of traffic that you can’t ignore. By creating a profile on each of these sites, you will open new opportunities for potential patients to find you.
In our experience, it seems that therapists and clinics that use social media sites almost always see a significant increase in monthly traffic. And the best thing is, besides a small investment of your time, this is completely free! The results are well worth it. This will raise your online clinic profile and make your site easier to find in the search engines
If you already have happy patients that love your services, why not get a testimonial from them?
Testimonials are a perfect way to attract brand new patients because they build credibility and give them the confidence to try your practice knowing that other people like it.
The secret is to get your patients to talk about what you do and the results that they got.
Most patients will be happy to do this if you ask them.
You could also provide patient feedback forms on your website. Online users are used to and conditioned to leaving reviews. They are a great way to get more people interested in your clinic.
No matter what kind of business you are in, you can get a lot more business by providing free information. It is an excellent marketing technique.
Posting downloadable guides and/or informative, “newsworthy” articles are an excellent way to increase your web traffic, increase interest in your clinic and increase your overall rapport.
Beginners Guide to Back Pain
The Basics of Occupational Therapy
What To Expect From Your Child’s Physical Therapist
These kinds of ‘free reports’ rank highly in the search engines, thereby increasing your search ranking, as well as making you an ‘authority’ in your field. Patients will see that you know your specialty well and will feel more confident about their decision to see you.
YouTube is now playing a bigger role in marketing campaigns of all industries. Videos now appear in the search results.
If, for example, you have a unique Therapy Program, a piece of new and promising equipment, or have been featured on a local television station, create or link to a video — or even a simple slideshow — that you can post on YouTube to let users see your clinic “first hand”. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, and there is plenty of free video creation software available to download online. Even a general photo tour of your clinic could be helpful to your potential patients.
It’s no secret that the internet is the first place people look to for answers.
They post their questions on discussion forums and question and answer sites like Yahoo Answers. Providing answers to Physical Therapy questions from users all over the world, you can attract attention to your practice as well as new patients in your area. It is a perfect free way to get more traffic to your website and gain credibility.
As you know, getting some good PR is a great free way to get a buzz around your clinic. The your Physical Therapy services are mentioned in the community, the more patients will visit your website and potnetially use your practice.
Most people think of PR coming from major media outlets such as radio and television. While this would be fantastic, it is not easy to get that sort of attention.
However, there are easier ways to get PR online which can be just as effective, especially if you have a targeted customer group.
Getting the attention of blog owners is one way of doing this, especially if it is a popular and attracts the sort of readers that you want to target.
You can email the blog owner, asking if they would like to interview you. As they are constantly looking for new topics to write about, many will be happy to interview you, especially if it is something that they think that their readers will benefit from.
Networking events are a great place to find new patients and all businesses should make it a practice to attend networking events if possible.
These are generally arranged by The Chamber of Commerce or global organizations such as BNI (Business Networking International). A quick search online will reveal a number of networking events in your area.
They work because you will always meet somebody who you can form a business relationship with. This will either be as a customer or as a useful contact to give your referrals or joint venture with.
It is surprising how many practices don’t ask their patients for referrals. Why not? If you have satisfied and happy patient, you really should be asking for referrals as it a very effective way of getting even more happy patients in the door.
Some people feel shy about asking and are afraid that the patient will turn them down. However, you will be surprised at how few patients actually will say no. If a large proportion of patients do refuse to introduce you to others, it might be a sign that you are doing something wrong and could be doing a much better job of making them happy, giving you something to work on.
For a pain-free way of asking for referrals, why not try this method; When patients says “thank you” for something you have provided them, ask them if they know of anyone else you can help. It’s human nature to reciprocate. Most, if not all will say yes, especially if you return the favor.
The best way to keep a patient for life is word of mouth. Getting patients to share this information is by providing exceptionally good patient care. This of course goes from their first phone call to each and every appointment and follow-up.
There has never been a more important time for Physical Therapists to provide excellent care, especially as more and more patients are willing to share their experiences, good or bad, on social networking and review sites. By providing satisfied patients with simple paper instructions on how to review you, you can remove some of the barriers that make it a challenge for patients to spread the word about your practice.
1. Optimize your website.
2. Utilize Google+.
3. Start and maintain a Physical Therapy blog.
4. Make the most of Social Networking.
5. Ask for and publish patient testimonials.
6. Post an info guide or video.
7. Get something on YouTube!
8. Answer Questions Relating to Physical Therapy.
9. Use the web for Public Relations.
10. Go to Industry Events where you can network & give out cards with your web address on them.
…and most importantly
11. Ask for Referrals
12. Provide Exceptionally Good Patient Care.