Do you get upset and frustrated with the constant changes that take place in the world of online marketing. Are you confused about how to create a complete online physical therapy marketing strategy?
You Don’t Have to Be…
While marketing online can seem overwhelming, with just a little knowledge, patience, and perseverance, some simple physical therapy online marketing tactics should be part of your overall practice marketing strategy.
It’s 2014. You can’t expect to make it as a small physical therapy practice unless you use the Net to grow your new patient baseand maintain a competitive advantage over the big-box clinics. With over 80% of all Americans seeking out health information online, you need to embrace online marketing opportunities.
I get calls almost every day from practice owners asking me how to get found online? Who should they trust? Is it worth the money? They want to know what systems and processes they should put into place to attract website traffic and convert them into patients.
In the offline world, brick and mortar practices need to be found first when people are searching for the practice by name. Think about it. You are a referral-based business. It’s crucial for your practice to survive and even when patients are referred to your clinic, they will first look you up online to make sure you are a credible practitioner.
Once prospective patients arrive at your website, you need to have the right copy and content to make sure they are performing your call to action, which is (not to sign up for a newsletter) to pick up the phone and make an appointment.
As such we’ve put together five essential marketing tactics, that will give your practice’s online presence an edge over the competition.
Some are easy and free and others require some money and expertise.
1. Get Your Physical Therapy Online Brand In Order
First of all, make sure you have a beautiful website that makes a great first impression and reflects the 5 star service you provide. Read through each page, correct spelling errors and grammar problems, make sure links work and everything is up-to-date. For example, check the copyright year at the bottom. Does it say “2010?” If so, it makes you look dated and out of touch with technology.
Is your address and phone number at the top of your home page? There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find a simple phone number to contact a practice and make an appointment. Make the user experience a fast and easy one. In other words, don’t make your viewers think.
Is your website mobile-optimized? If not, then you are simply disrespecting and making it difficult for 30-40% of your viewers. At E-rehab.com, you can’t buy a desktop website from us anymore. We feel it is important to lead our clients and there’s no better way to do it then with a mobile-optimized website.
2. Claim your Important Online Business Listings
After your website and an email newsletter, the most valuable online marketing tool for your practice is Google. Use Google My Business to set up your G+ page, map listings and more.
It’s a fact. The search engines, like Google, have replaced the yellowbooks in referring patients to practices, and Google My Business is critical tool for making this is happen. Listing your practice with help you gain credibility, generate more traffic, and help you build your online reputation.
3. Reviews – The 21st Century Version of Testimonials
Reviews on sites like Google+, Facebook, YP.com and Yelp are extremely influential. Have you ever read the reviews on Amazon before making a purchase? Of course you have. Your patients are doing the same thing.
If you don’t have any reviews (i.e. no online reputation), start encouraging your patients to review you online. However, don’t just blindly e-mail all employees and their spouses. It’s all about “review velocity”. If you get 20 reviews in one week when you had none the previous week, that looks suspicious, and worst case scenario, you could get your Google account suspended. Getting ratings and reviews is not as hard as you may think and most patients are happy to do it if you just provide them with simple instructions. Make it part of your company culture. Kindly ask your patients to “provide you with a review if they think you have earned it.” A few will, most won’t, but over time you can build quite a reputation online.
Don’t be fearful of negative reviews either. No one can please everyone. We all have a bad day (especially when dealing with insurance companies and documentation as well as treating patients). If you are lacking good reviews, those negative reviews stick out like a sore thumb. So be proactive and start collecting good reviews from your patients. That way, when a bad review comes, and it most certainly will, it will actually give you some credibility (what I mean here is if you have 20 positive reviews and 1 negative review, it mirrors your customer service reality; because, no one can please everyone all of the time).
Also, when you get a bad review it’s critical that your response be swift, professional and polite. Let the person know that you want to make their bad things right: offer them something to give you another chance (but don’t waive copays or refund money – this could get you in trouble). Acting immediately goes a long way in diffusing a bad review. Not doing so will cost you more in the long run and you may sacrifice new business and not even know about it.
4. Build Your Social Networks
There are hundreds of social networks but don’t fret, you don’t have to use all of them. At the very least set up a Facebook and Google+. Later you can experiment with Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
The old saying is that no one buys through social media. Instead, use social networks to stay in touch with your followers. Provide them with interesting and valuable information about your company culture, your profession, something cool that’s going on in the community, or something a strategic partner (massage personal training, physician) is offering.
There is a familiar saying: “People buy into you before they buy from you.” That is especially true on social media. If your social media is current, provides valuable information, videos, articles, and photos, people will engage. If you haven’t posted for 3 months, no one will care anymore about your brand on social media.
5. Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to Attract New Patients
Google, Bing and Yahoo want your practice to be found by patients searching for physical therapy services in your community. If they don’t deliver the search results people expect, users won’t continue to use them. In other words, the search engines want to deliver relevant search results about you and your practice but you need to help.
To ensure that viewer get the information that they are looking for, search engines index (or catalog the words on your website) what a website is all about and how important that website is regarding certain keywords. This is where we get into Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
Being a physical therapy practice owner, your website is going to be all about the physical therapy services you provide, the area you serve and most important, your business name. These keywords should be found in text content on your website, your meta data and blog posts. It’s likely that the search engines therefore will recognize that your website is genuinely dedicated to physical therapy.
The challenge is that there are often many other physical therapy websites competing for viewers on the search engines. Some have deep pockets too.
Another challenge is that you, the practice owner, are going to get almost daily calls from so-called experts wanting to market your practice online. Who can you trust, which services work in the physical therapy market? These are E-rehab.com’s strengths and we encourage you to call us and find out more.
It’s a Volume Game Now
Payment is declining; therefore you have to see more patients to make a profit. By implementing these 5 steps, your online presence for your private practice is very likely to improve.
We realize that many private practice owners feel discouraged…left behind.
[fancy_box]Just pick up the phone and give us a call, toll-free at 800-468-5161 x 1101 for a free consultation. I promise you won’t be sorry.[/fancy_box]