Most small or medium-sized businesses are on a tight budget, especially when it comes to marketing. Times are hard and many companies don’t have a lot of money to invest on advertising and marketing.
The irony is, not marketing your private practice will actually have a detrimental effect on your business.
Take Tom, for example, a hypothetical local business owner of a fireplace store. Tom just put a closing down sign in his window because nobody is visiting his store and he says he can’t afford to advertise anymore.
This year alone he has spent over $6,000 on advertising in his local newspaper with expensive one-time ads, which turned out to be a total waste of time and money.
Although it is sadly too late for Tom, the good news for other companies who are still in business is that online marketing is not only much cheaper, but is also far more effective than traditional methods of marketing. Plus, you can easily track the success of each marketing campaign that you launch.[note_box]Here are some big online marketing ideas for your practice if you operate on a small marketing budget:[/note_box]
Optimize Your Website for the Search Engines
This should be one of the first things you put on your “to-do” list. Why? Because Google is not only the most popular search engine on the Internet, but it’s also your practice’s best friend.Google and the other search engines want you to rank high in the search results. If their clients are searching for a particular service like physical therapy in their local area, it is Google’s job to tell them about your practice.
However, you have to make it easy for them by optimizing your site. This doesn’t need to be expensive and yet will be one of the best investments that you could ever make. The return will be phenomenal as a whole new crop of potential patients discovers your practice online.
Google Plus Local
While we are on the subject of Google, we can’t leave out Google+ Local. As mentioned in the previous marketing tip, Google really is on your side and wants to help your practice be found. They make sure that if potential patients are looking for services that you provide, then the results will be completely relevant and your practice should appears in the listings.As a result, search results are becoming much more local and personalized, and companies who claim their Google Plus Local Page and optimize it properly get the best rewards.
Start a Blog
Blogs can be appropriate for any type of business, and private physical therapy practices can particularly benefit from these by providing patients with educational and informative blog posts. In case you don’t know what a blog is, it basically stands for “web log,” and they’re effectively online diaries. If you’re going to create a blog for your practice you need to do the following:
- Host the blog on your own domain (e.g., YourBusinessWebsite.com/blog)
- Anyone can set one up, that’s the easy part. Thinking of something interesting to say each time you blog is the tricky bit. You need to write good content that will be interesting for your visitors and patients. People won’t thank you if it’s just going to be one long sales pitch.
- Create a community and make your 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 Plus are all popular sites that you can’t ignore. By creating a profile on each of these sites, you will not only create new opportunities for potential patients to find you, but they will also be excellent sources of traffic.Local businesses that use social media sites like these almost always see a significant increase in monthly traffic. The part that excites them the most is the fact that it’s completely free. All it costs is a little of their time, but the results are well worth it.
By investing a bit of time and effort providing good content that’s relevant to your audience and interacting with your followers you will soon build a loyal following. This will raise your online profile and make your site easier to find in the search engines.
You can no longer afford to ignore social media marketing. In 2012, 85% of marketers found that social media generated more exposure for their business.
Case Studies and testimonials
If you already have happy patients who love your practice, why not get a testimonial or case study from them?Case studies and testimonials are a perfect way to get brand new patients because they build credibility and give the potential patients the confidence to come to your practice for treatment knowing that other people like it. They will be less inclined to come to you if they don’t see any testimonials or reviews.
The secret is to get your patients to talk about your why they received treatment in the first place and how it’s helped to improve their lives since they first started coming to you. Most patients will be happy to do this if you ask them.
Ask For Referrals
It is surprising how many companies don’t ask their customers for referrals. Why not? If you have satisfied and happy patients, you really should be asking for referrals as it a very effective way of getting even more patients.Some people feel shy about asking and are afraid that the customer will turn them down. However, you will be surprised at how few people actually will say no. If numerous patients do refuse to introduce you to others, it might be a sign that you’re doing something wrong and could be doing a much better job of making them happy, giving you something to work on.
Harness the Power of YouTube
Companies are latching on to the importance of YouTube in their marketing campaigns. Not only do videos now appear in the search results, but you can also use videos to show how good your services actually are.One suggestion for private physical therapy practices is to post videos of exercises commonly prescribed to patients, so when they attempt to perform them at home, they’ll have a direct reference that is linked to your online persona when they click on it.
There is no end to the things that you could use for video relating to your practice. Even a tour around your premises could be interesting to your patients.
Do Some Online PR
As you know, getting some good PR is a great free way to get people talking about your practice. The more they talk about you, the more people will come to your website and check out what you’re offering.Most people think of PR coming from major media outlets such as radio and television. While this would be fantastic, it’s 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 group of potential patients.
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.