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I just returned home from 3 consecutive weekends of travel to different areas of the United States. The topic I spoke on was PT promotion in today’s online marketplace. It’s always nice to get out and meet with my colleagues…those on the front line. I wanted to share some of my observations:
1. Physical therapists seem so concerned about payment and things that they can’t control.
2. There was some negative conversation about online marketing services, a few that start with a “Y”, that didn’t work for anyone that tried them.
3. Even though there was a strong desire to have patients directly access physical therapists, some of the PTs I spoke to clearly couldn’t articulate their value. In other words, they didn’t have an “elevator speech” that was top-of-mind.
4. There were plenty of practice owners that were doing quite well and were happy so share with others about their success.
5. Clearly, physical therapy is still a vastly underutilized health care profession and service.
6. When it comes to online marketing and consumer perceptions and behaviors, PTs still have a lot to learn.
7. PTs still don’t understand how consumers digitally interact with their practice and the opportunities these interactions present.
8. One of my pet peeves reared is ugly head. More than once PTs referenced, in my opinion, an incorrect comparison about consumers and their willingness to pay for “personal trainers” but not pay their copay. Which leads to my next point…value.
9. Almost every presentation at WebPT’s Ascend event or one of the others made mention of “value”. PTs being able to communicate their value. The value of PT before drugs, imaging and surgery. The value of marketing to patients, the public, and our referral sources.
10. When it comes to marketing…there’s lots of confusion.
In summary, with PTs wanting to have consumers directly access their services, we are seeing an groundswell of ideas, successes, marketing opportunities, and supporting services emerge in the market.
Considering consumer behavior, there are many opportunities but they have to match the market’s needs:
- 8 of 10 patients are going online these days for healthcare information.
- There are an estimated 150 million smart phones in use in the US
- Social media is part of consumers’ daily life
- Ratings and reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising.