Physical Therapy Marketing Strategy Part 1: How to resist ‘bright and shiny objects’ by using a concrete marketing plan

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It’s 2020 – Happy New Year! Now’s the time to execute the planning you did last quarter. If you are like most, you may not have had the time to plan and feel behind. As such, you could be more susceptible to the latest and greatest marketing ad promising you massive growth and riches.

You may want to ask yourself the following:

  • Do you ever find yourself jumping from one physical therapy marketing idea to the next?
  • Do you see one social media post offering to grow your practice, then another email, and maybe a postcard?
  • Do you often start several projects at once, only to see most of them fall by the wayside after a few weeks?
  • Do new marketing suggestions make you feel like you need to stop what you’re working on and pursue the latest solution instead?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have some degree of “bright & shiny object syndrome”.

In the marketing world, bright & shiny object syndrome is essentially the tendency to be distracted by claims of the newest and best rather than focusing on what you’re doing at the moment. Those who are affected by it tend to begin projects based on new ideas without properly assessing long-term goals and whether or not the new pursuit is feasible and sustainable. As a result, very few marketing tactics—if any—actually get completed. Worse yet, if they do get implemented, they often yield little to no measurable return. As a result, you may fall into the trap of thinking that marketing doesn’t work.

Stop the Madness – Stop FOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is one of the psychological tactics along with outrageous claims like “doubling your patient volume in 60 days”, that companies use to generate curiosity. These types of claims while possible, are not usually the average result of any one marketing tactic. Companies tend to promote the outliers to get your attention.

Strategy vs Tactics – In Most Cases, Tactics Should Come as a Result of Strategic Thinking and Planning

This brings up an important distinction that needs to be made between marketing strategy and marketing tactics. A physical therapy marketing strategy is the first step of the process in which you do the “big picture” planning for your practice prior to determining what tactics to use and how to use them. Individuals with bright & shiny object syndrome often try to implement their tactics before taking the time to lay out a strong strategy, which can wind up robbing you of your precious time and at worst, harming rather than helping your marketing efforts.

Here’s the problem: if you don’t think through and write up a marketing plan before implementing it, you may likely run into unexpected obstacles that you are not prepared to deal with. When confronted with these types of problems, it may then seem easier to abandon the project altogether and move on to the next, newer one instead. As you can see, taking this approach could lead to lots of unfinished business and can take a toll on your marketing budget over time.

Physical Therapy Marketing Planning Versus Taking Action

There’s a regular debate about strategy versus tactical implementation. The fact is, most small businesses (this includes PT private practices), don’t do much planning at all.

The flip side of the argument is that strategic planning is a way to delay action. The thought that you need a perfect plan that is going to guarantee results is enamoring but folly. It won’t happen. It’s best to do the following:

  • Get help where you need support,
  • plan,
  • take imperfect action,
  • measure the results,
  • modify the plan and future actions, and
  • continue to consistently implement!

Gary Vaynerchuk does a nice job of answering this question:

6 tips to help you stay focused and avoid distractions

If you’ve noticed any signs of bright & shiny object syndrome in yourself and want to change your ways, identifying the issue is the first step. In addition, keep these 5 tips in mind to help you stay focused with your marketing plan and block out the temptation to try the newest thing:

  • 1) Take the time to set realistic short- and long-term goals for your physical therapy marketing campaign that will serve as the backbone of all future decisions
  • 2) Try to commit to these goals no matter what, and only change them when you can realistically state that they are no longer serving your practice well
  • 3) Understand that new does not necessarily mean better
  • 4) Ask yourself if a new marketing tactic is feasible for your practice—both budget- and time-wise—before executing it
  • 5) Discuss ideas with one or two at most, of your coworkers to get their feedback.
  • 6) Avoid sharing ideas and developing strategy with everyone – that leads to “design by committee” in which you have too many ideas, too much criticism, and it slows down execution.

Need Help with Physical Therapy Marketing Strategy & Planning?

For additional suggestions on how to resist bright shiny object syndrome, we can help set you on the right track by analyzing your needs and capabilities to figure out what will work best for your practice.

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