Google My Business Updates & Your Practice Listing

If you’ve closed your practice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be thinking about marking your Google My Business listing to closed.

We don’t recommend you do this at this time.  This video will give you more details

Transcription of the video

Hi, this is David with the rehab. I hope you are well in this time of crisis. I wanted to do a quick video about Google My Business listings because we’re going to get questions about this and we’ve already had a few.

You’ll see here an example of coast physical therapy and sports medicine and Chico. You can see it on a phone here and you can also see it on desktop as well. You’ll notice the COVID-19 alert, which is necessary, but I’m not a fan of it being associated with your business listing. There isn’t much we can do there to change it.

What we have noticed though is if you go into your Google my business account, there is a link at the top. I’ll learn more with limited Google my business functionality due to the coronavirus and COVID-19. Click here for details.

There are three things we’ve noticed and then one big one that we’re getting questions about.

  1. The first is you cannot get new reviews.
  2. The second thing is you cannot respond to reviews.
  3. The third thing is, is that they have removed questions and answers in your Google My Business account.

The Most Important Question – Do I Mark My Business Closed?

The big one though is when people ask us if they should Mark their clinics closed because they have closed their practice in response to the crisis. Our answer is no.

Google reinforces this. If you click on this, learn more here. You, you, you can get to this page and you notice that they want you to do business edits. It’s gonna take them some time to verify new listings and they have removed the Q and A; but if you click here on this link, it goes to more specifics. What do you do if you have changed your hours?

They want you to update your hours. They want you to add in to your information under the info tab, that you have changes in your hours and they’re saying to create a post and then if you’re temporarily closed. They’re saying that they get information from elsewhere.

Basically they don’t have functionality yet that says they are temporarily closed in your Google my business listing. So that leads me to the next point – your INFO link in your GMB account.

If you wanted to click on that and you could go down here and you could change your information right here, but they also talked about creating a post.

So here’s what posts look like and what you do is you click add an update. And if I do that, I have that, uh, here. You would drag an image in there and then write your post where you could say that your, you things have been modified or you’re closed or when we get through this that, you would post that you’re open again and then you just simply click publish there.

In Summary

The question being, should I mark my business closed in Google my business? Do NOT do that. If you do, it could impact your search listings.

So, modify the information as stated above in the Info section of your GMB listing and/or create a post and put it up there under your Google my business account.

I hope this helps. If you have questions, let us know.

Images for You to Use on Your Google My Business Posts

Here are three images you can use to upload to your Google My Business account depending upon the status of your clinic.  Simply right-clinic on the given image and save it to your computer.  You can then upload it to your Google My Business post.

 

Telehealth Updates for PT Private Practices

Telehealth Information from Various Resources (Make Sure to Add Additional Resources in the Comments)

Start Here

1. PPS Impact Magazine – Tips & Tricks to Start Telehealth Tomorrow.  A nice summary of how to use telehealth by Mark Milligan, PT, DPT.  Starts on page 24.
Click here for the issue.

2. Payment and regulatory resources from the APTA
Click here

3. I recommend you read this document which was posted by the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.
Click here.  It provides current information on evisits and telehealth as of March 19th, 2020

4. Then, I suggest you join the TelehealthPTs Facebook Group. Lots of good info – look in the Files section of the Group.
Click here for the Facebook Group and request to join it.

Let us know if you need a telehealth page on your website.

3-23-20

Software Services Clients are Using to Assist with Telehealth/E-visits

Zoom.us – live video software
Vsee.com – this company has been around for a long time/HIPAA Video and waiting room
Doxy.me – simple, free, secure telemedicine solution
Phzio.com – live video call service
Fiizio.com – an app that you can give to patients. Enables cash transactions.
Digitalintakes.com – to set up secure, HIPAA compliant intake forms
Vsee.com – secure video
Valdhealth.com – online programs
BetterPT.com – they have a telehealth option

Additional Web Resources

WebPT blog post about billing and using G codes

APTA FAQ about Evisits

For Billing Questions about Telehealth and E-visits, I recommend Rick Gawenda at GawendaSeminars.com

3-20-20

Are Physical Therapy Essential? Memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security via the PT Private Practice Section

We are writing to share a memorandum from the US Department of Homeland Security issued on the list of essential infrastructure workers (see page 5 of the memorandum). It may be argued that it is our duty to continue to care for our patients’ physical therapy needs during this time of crisis.

The guidance from the memorandum states that:

If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.

If your clinic is able to practice within the recommended CDC guidelines and follow your local government mandates, consider that community-based physical therapists assist in keeping people healthy. According to Dr. Matos, an expert in biologic surety and the management of select agent programs at federal facilities:

“Physical therapists are essential in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. They play a key role in keeping people they can help out of the doctor offices and ER’s. This will not only free up the medical teams to treat those impacted by COVID-19, but also limit the exposure of those seeking the care of the physical therapist.”

Additional Links, Experts, and Resources
What are your state policies regarding evisits/telemedicine?
Here’s a good website with more details.  Click here.

TelehealthPT.com
Telehealth resource from Rob Vining, PT, a leader in telehealth – telehealthpt.com
Facebook Group is here.

Example Language for Those Offering Telehealth:
Here’s an example telehealth webpage we’ve put together and is available for our clients: https://pillsburypt.com/telehealth

PPS APTA Resources
The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association has a page dedicated to telehealth.  Lots of good resources and more to come I’m sure.
Click here to visit that page.

Major Update for California PTs – Department of Managed Health Care:
“..health plans must take steps to allow people to obtain health care via telehealth when medically appropriate to do so.”
Click here to read the release.

From CMS RE: Telehealth

Clinicians who may not independently bill for evaluation and management visits (for example – physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, clinical psychologists) can also provide these e-visits and bill the following codes:

o G2061: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment and management, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 5–10 minutes

o G2062: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment and management service, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 11–20 minutes

o G2063: Qualified non-physician qualified healthcare professional assessment and management service, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 21 or more minutes.

3-19-20

From the American Physical Therapy Association
Here’s a link to some good resources.
Click here for additional information.
PT News from APTA about COVID-19 and Telehealth

Update: APTA to host a live webinar on “Medicare “E-visits” March 19 at 8:00 pm, ET and a Facebook Live event on Friday, March 20 at 2:00 pm, ET.

From a the California Physical Therapy Association:

Telehealth: Billing and Coding Considerations

Medicare

Billing physical therapy services that have been provided through telehealth is an emerging challenge. Due to the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their providers without having to travel to a healthcare facility.

For the first time, PTs will be allowed to bill Medicare for telehealth visits under codes associated with online assessment and management services, HCPCS codes:

  • G2061: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 5–10 minutes;
  • G2062: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 11-20 minutes;
  • G2063: Qualified non-physician healthcare professional online assessment, for an established patient, for up to seven days, cumulative time during the 7 days; 21 or more minutes).

Providers must use place-of-service code “02” and “GT” modifier. The payment rates are significantly lower than the traditional payment for an in-person visit under the CPT 97000 code series.

To determine the reimbursement rates for G2061-G2063, visit the CMS Physician Fee Schedule lookup tool. Medicare coinsurance and deductible apply to the services.

To qualify as an e-visit, three basic qualifications must be met:

  1. The billing practice must have an established relationship with the patient, meaning the provider must have an existing provider-patient relationship;
  2. The patient must initiate the inquiry for an e-visit and verbally consent to check-in services;
  3. The communications must be limited to a seven-day period through an “online patient portal.” (see the definition below)
  4. Although the patient must initiate the service, CMS allows “practitioners to educate beneficiaries on the availability of the telehealth service prior to patient initiation.” For example, if a patient cancels treatment because they can’t come to the clinic or are concerned about leaving home, then the PT may advise the patient that she or her can “virtually” contact the therapists as needed.

Medicaid

As of this writing, Medicaid does not pay for telehealth in California. Governor Newsom has requested a Federal Government Waiverto expand telehealth options under Medicaid. Stay tuned…

Third-Party Payers

Payment for telehealth depends on your contract with your payer. There is no list of third-party payers that pay for telerehab. Also confirm with each payer whether the originating site can be a private home or office, if services must be real-time or can be asynchronous, and any other limitations to your use of telehealth.

For third-party billing, there are “telehealth” CPT codes. But before reporting CPT codes you traditionally use for clinical visits or billing for telephone services (98966-98969), check with your payer. Many of the physical medicine and rehabilitation codes (97000 series) specify “direct 1-on-1 patient contact,” which by strict definition would exclude telehealth unless you and your payer have agreed to include these services. A payer also may require an addendum attached to the bill that identifies the service as being provided via telehealth, along with an explanation of the charges, so be prepared to outline the reasoning for using telehealth.

You also should check with your payer about using place-of-service code “02” when billing for telehealth services to specify the entity where service(s) were rendered. Regardless of the payer or policy, if you provide and bill for services using telehealth, make sure that you are practicing legally and ethically, and are adhering to state and federal practice guidelines and payer contract agreements.

3-18-20

Here’s a webinar that Chad Madden did with Tom Dalonzo-Baker about how you can use his techniques to treat over video.

Click here to watch it on their blog.

Telehealth – A HIPAA Compliant Telehealth App for Physical Therapist by Fiizio.com 

Here’s a webinar I did with the owner, a couple weeks ago.

If you are interested in providing telehealth services to your patients, here’s a new company and app that will allow you to accomplish this.
You can reach the owner, Eran Tagor by email at eran@fiizio.com .

The website is https://www.fiizio.com

For an example web page that we put together that explains the process, you can go to https://bandgpt.com/telehealth

March 17, 2020

Some good FAQ about Telehealth from BreakthroughPTmarketing.com

1. Is Telehealth billable right now, or is it out-of-pocket for the patient?
Yes you can bill under asynchronous telehealth. However, medicare/caid will not reimburse, only private insurance. Some states have parity laws in place to ensure it. Please check this link for each state’s specifics: https://evisit.com/state-telemedicine-policy/ Out of pocket is always an option as well.

1 a. If it’s out-of-pocket for the patient, how does a Medicare patient sign an ABN if they aren’t with you? telerehab is only the vessel used to interact with the patient. The ABN would be between the patient and practitioner (or practitioner’s clinic).

2. If it is billable, do you bill a normal office visit (3-4 units, 97110/97530/97116/97112) with a modifier, or are there separate codes to use? Great question. This was asked at APTA CSM and we are still seeking verification for the proper information to provide. What I am confident in saying is this: If you are only prescribing for at-home completion and the practitioner is not monitoring/communicating with the patient actively, it is not considered a timed visit. If you are performing rehab with the patient due to not being able to see them in-office, and are actively monitoring to review each set and provide feedback to patient before the next set, you should be able to bill as normal with modifier. (This will need to be verified with your billing org)

3. How effective are you finding telehealth, given how hands-on PT is? Very, but you do need the initial assessment to be in person in order to properly prescribe a rehab protocol. Very difficult to assess without the use of hands. This is one of the primary reasons patients cannot access telerehab without first being prescribed a protocol by their practitioner.

4. Do you worry about teaching people this and then them not returning because “they can do it on their own?” No, telerehab only provides a different method to work with your patients, it does not replace the practitioner. Comments that I have gotten surround patients actually become more engaged in the rehab process. This benefits the therapist by not having to spend time convincing the patient to complete self-care. The compliance metrics within telerehab provide the patient (and clinician) with valuable insight into how they are impacting their own well-being and as a result, they complete things so they can get better.

Telehealth Definitions from the Private Practice Section of the APTA and AmericanTeleMed.org

The Private Practice Section provided some good guidance in their March 19th memo.  I recommend you read this first by clicking here.

Evisit:
CMS describes e-visits as “non face-to-face patient-initiated digital communications that require a clinical decision that otherwise typically would have been provided in the office.”

Online Patient Portal:
An online patient portal is defined by the HHS Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), as a secure online website that gives patients convenient, 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. A patient portal requires a secure username and password to allow patients to securely message their provider

Telehealth:
Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions. Wikipedia

Telemedicine:
Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology. Learn more.

Telerehabilitation:
Telerehabilitation refers to the delivery of rehabilitation services via information and communication technologies. Clinically, this term encompasses a range of rehabilitation and habilitation services that include assessment, monitoring, prevention, intervention, supervision, education, consultation, and counseling. Learn more.

Synchronous:
Interactive video connections that transmit information in both directions during the same time period. Learn more.

Asynchronous:
Term describing store and forward transmission of medical images and/or data because the data transfer takes place over a period of time, and typically in separate time frames. The transmission typically does not take place simultaneously. This is the opposite of synchronous. Learn more.

Distant or Hub site:
Site at which the physician or other licensed practitioner delivering the service is located at the time the service is provided via telecommunications system. Learn more.

Coronavirus Email Messaging & Social Posts for E-REHAB Clients

We have been working overtime to help you share the message that you are open and still treating patients.

We Will Send Out a Message to Your Email List for You

 

Now We are Getting Ready to Send the March Newsletter for Our Clients

You should log into your Control Panel and Edit your newsletter if you have updates to communicate to your list.

Reviewing & Authorizing Your Facebook Timeline Post for Your Facebook Page.

This post is about your practice being open for business during the outbreak. 

**Note: If you are closed, let us know if you want us to post this to your website.**

We have also created a Facebook post for you. Below, you will see an example of it on the Coast Physical Therapy Facebook page.

Adding the Image Yourself

If you’d like to add this image to your website, right-click on the image below and save it.  Then upload it as an image post to your Facebook page.

Instructions on how to release this message, so it shows up on your Facebook Timeline, are also in your Control Panel and explained in the video above, as well.

​Check Our Blog for Frequent Updates

I’ve compiled a list of resources that I’ve found online. You can see these if you click here.

We plan on updating our blog with additional information as needed.

If you find additional resources, please let me know. I’ll evaluate them and if I have time, I will add them.

Telehealth Image to Add to Your Facebook Page

Below is an image that you can right-click and download the image then add it to your Facebook page.

In good health!

Resources for PT Private Practices Dealing with the Coronavirus Outbreak

We are compiling a list of resources for physical therapy private practice owners to help them deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.

Financial Resources

Smart Assist has a good list of financial resources by state.
Click here for details

PPS Special IMPACT Issue

An entire issue about dealing with COVID-19 – Click here

Telehealth Resources

I created a dedicated telehealth page.  Click here for this.

Webinars & Recordings

From Clinicient
Clinicient is providing virtual town hall meetings: As the COVID-19 situation remains everchanging, the well-being of our clients, their patients, and our employees is our top priority. Like you, we want to do our part to help.  Starting today we will begin holding virtual town halls to give you, and all rehab therapists, practice owners and their staff a forum to hear from us, share ideas and collaborate as we mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Click here to register.

From Breakthrough PT Marketing
Chad Madden at Breakthrough PT Marketing did a good webinar with answers about the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak and what PT practices can do.
Click here to watch that.


Click here to watch the webinar.

He also created a Facebook Group – PT Private Practices Standing Up Through Crisis.
Click here to visit the group and join if you are interested.

Important Documents

3-15-20

Provided by BCMS Comp. Facility Message to Patients, Patient/Employee Questionnaire, Patient Decision Tree for Questionnaire, Employee Decision Tree for Questionnaire

In response to “how do we decide” how to handle certain Coronavirus issues, Mary, Alicia, and Teresa at BCMS Comp have created two Decision Tree documents for your review and use, as applicable. It is critical that you don’t put yourself in jeopardy by changing content that could be state or federal law requirements or prohibitions.  If you have questions, please email Alicia Nevins Mahoney at nevinsa@bcmscomp.com .

Click here to download all 4 documents.

Business Relief

Disaster Relief from the Small Business Administration

The SBA is providing guidance and small business loans for economic damages.

Click here for more information.

Local SBA Assistance

Here’s a resource to local SBA counselors that you can reach out to.  There’s a finder function on this website to locate a resource near you.

Click here for more information.

Interim Guidance Resources from the CDC for Businesses & Employers

Other Business Resources

Thoughts on How to Lead & Manage Your Staff from Simon Sinek

Here’s a good post from Simon Sinek about options to retain your staff.  I hope this helps.

It’s on Facebook.  Click here to view it.

Idea to Offer Elderly Hours – Grocery Stores are Doing This. Perhaps It Would Work in Your Practice

Here’s a story about how some grocery stores are offering elderly hours for their patrons.  Perhaps you can do something similar and offer elderly hours for higher risk patients?

Click here to read more.

E-REHAB’s Website Resources – Our Response to Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak for Our Clients

As you are very well aware, we are in the midst of a Coronavirus outbreak and considerable social action & reaction.

In an effort to support our clients, and the well-being of patients, we have put together resources that are available now, with plans for more in the near future.

Here’s What We are Doing:

  • We created a home page message
  • We created a special FAQ web page

1. Messaging for your website home page
We have a prepared statement for your home page based on the current best information available.
Click here to see a live example.

**YOUR ACTION ITEM: You need to let us know if you want this information on your website.**
​​
2. You now have available a Special FAQ COVID-19 Page
Click here to see a live example.

3. We have created a telehealth page that can be added to client websites.  We recommend you keep it short and have a strong call to action to have viewers call you for details.
Click here to see an example.

Note: We understand every clinic is unique and if you need to supplement or remove what we’ve provided, please send a request to support@e-rehab.com with clear and specific information to replace our text.

More to come soon.

Inbound Vs. Outbound Physical Therapy Marketing Part 4

For the Most Effective Long-Term Strategy, Content Marketing is King

An essential recommendation that we’ve touched on several times throughout this blog series is to develop a better grasp of who is—and who isn’t—actively looking for a physical therapist, and how this should affect your marketing strategy. This is a universal concept that applies to all aspects of marketing your private physical therapy practice, so it’s worthy of a closer look.

To develop a clearer picture of the whole of society and how much the average person is considering the prospect of physical therapy, it helps to get acquainted with the 6-7%, which was created by marketing consultant Chet Holmes in his book, The Ultimate Sales Machine. The pyramid breaks down the consumers in any market into five categories based on their interest levels, and for physical therapy marketers, your audience looks like this:

  • About 3% of people are interested in starting physical therapy and looking to set up their first appointment right now
  • About 6-7% are open to the idea of seeing a physical therapist, but not actively pursuing it or looking into options
  • About 30% are neutral, meaning they probably have not given any thought to undergoing physical therapy, but might be interested in it
  • About 30% are pretty sure that they are good “as is,” and don’t need physical therapy, but they haven’t completely ruled it out
  • About 30% are certain that they don’t want or need physical therapy

It’s a Conceptual Model but Fairly Close to Reality

These statistics may appear to be discouraging, but they should serve as an important reality check. If you buy into this model, it shows that only about 10% of the public is actually receptive to physical therapy as a solution to their pain, and only 3% is at the point where they are actively searching for a therapist or practice to begin treatment with.

The research supports this as well:

  • Only about 7-8% of lower back pain patients see a PT, but the value proposition is clear [1]
  • Clinical guidelines suggest that seeing a PT early on for neck pain is of high value. [2]
  • Yet, referrals to physical therapy are declining according to some research. [3]

Example Patient in Your Community with Low Back Pain

Let’s consider an example. Let’s say that someone in your community has back pain.  Who do they think of as the primary care providers for back pain? Most would say a medical doctor and others a chiropractor.  The evidence supports this.  This is the reality of most communities.  Physical therapy is lost in obscurity.

How does a practice rise out of obscurity and become a treatment option for the average consumer?

Enter Content Marketing – An Affordable Method that Can Pay Off Down the Road

The remaining 90% of the people discussed above, is a portion that needs to be nurtured in the long term. Since these individuals don’t generally care much about physical therapy—or downright don’t want it—you need to work on fostering a relationship that will help them get to know, respect, and eventually trust you. With this approach, when the time comes that they do need a physical therapist, they’ll be far more likely to keep you in mind.

This is why traditional marketing may not be as effective for this population. Instead, you should focus your efforts on content marketing.

Content marketing is defined as follows: Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. [4]

Online or Offline – Content Marketing Applies to Both

Content marketing can apply to both your online and offline strategies. When devising a content marketing plan, it may help to follow the 80/20 rule:

  • 20% of your content should be clearly self-promotional
  • The other 80% should be useful, interesting, and educational, thereby benefiting anyone that reads it

Educational content that covers a range of topics related to:

  • Obtaining value from healthcare providers,
  • Conservative care options
  • Sports health,
  • Fitness,
  • Exercise, and
  • Nutrition

Many of these topics will be immediately helpful to potential patients/readers and will also stand the test of time. In addition, by showing your audience that you are an authority source that provides reliable answers to some of their most common questions, they’ll keep coming back to you in the future to read more. This will in turn will help build trust and will likely place you in the running if—and when—a time comes that physical therapy might be needed.

We hope this series has shown that there is an abundance of options for both inbound and outbound marketing, and there are plenty of benefits of both approaches. Utilizing some of each and diversifying your tactics will likely yield the greatest return, but what works for your private physical therapy practice will be completely unique to your goals, message, and budget.

If you’d like some assistance in navigating this process, we are happy to help. Contact E-Rehab today to learn more.

Physical Therapy Marketing Part 3 – Inbound Vs. Outbound

The 5 Best Offline Tools that You Should be Using

So far in this blog series (click here for Part 2 and click here for Part 1), we’ve covered a variety of inbound and outbound marketing methods that revolve primarily around a web-based strategy. Our last blog evaluated the merits of an outbound approach and offered a few tips to get you started on some of the most commonly used advertising platforms. But it’s important to realize that this is only part of the full potential of outbound.

In our digital age, it may be easy to forget that there was a time when the only way to reach people was through print, television, and radio. Offline advertising—which is essentially any form of marketing done without the internet—doesn’t seem to get nearly as much attention as online marketing these days, but you certainly shouldn’t neglect it. In fact, an offline campaign can prove to be a major boon to your private physical therapy practice by getting your name in front of a larger number of prospective patients in your area.

One of the biggest problems private practices face is convincing individuals in pain that physical therapy will address their problems, and that you specifically can make their lives easier if they complete a comprehensive treatment program. We’ve already discussed how someone with neck pain might do an internet search to find answers and possibly come across your name, but what about those who don’t even make it to that step? Or better yet, what about the demographic that hardly uses the internet?

As you can see, every effective marketing strategy must consider these populations, too, and offline marketing is the best way to reach them. Offline tactics give you the control to introduce your practice and what you offer to anyone in your region that opens their mail, reads local publications, or attends community events who may not have otherwise known you exist. Over time, these methods can help to reinforce your values, build confidence and trust, and—when done successfully—convert more new patients. Here are the 5 best offline marketing tools that we recommend and some tips to guide you:

  • Local ads
    • Get your name out to the local public by running an ad or series of ads in your community newspaper or magazine
    • Be sure to use this valuable advertising real estate wisely by carefully deciding on the message you want to send and choosing words that best represent your values
    • TV ads are another option, but these are often expensive and may only be worthwhile in smaller communities
  • Local media article
    • Another way to utilize local media is to write an article for a newspaper or magazine in your area
    • These articles will provide you with more room to explain what a physical therapist is and how you can effectively manage a wide variety of painful conditions; this will in turn help to create a favorable reputation and keep you fresh in the minds of local residents
    • If the response is high, you may be able to become a regular contributor
  • Direct mail
    • You can purchase a mailing list through a distributor and send out flyers or brochures about your practice to every address on the list
    • Direct mail is generally a cost-effective option, as you can reach a large number of individuals at a low cost
    • Most people at least briefly scan through their mail, so if you present them with a well-designed ad and engaging content, they may keep you in mind or consider looking into your practice
  • Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
    • Another option for getting into local residents’ mailboxes
    • Unlike direct mail, no mailing list is necessary, as you can simply send it to all addresses in a particular zip code or region; EDDM is also even less expensive than direct mail and does not require a permit to disperse
    • There’s a great deal of flexibility in terms of size, format, and design to allow you to represent your private physical therapy practice in the best possible light
  • Attend or Sponsor Community Events
    • Attending or sponsoring fundraisers, sporting events, or charity events is another great way to get your name out there and show that you care about the local community
    • It will also give you and your employees an opportunity to meet individuals and establish a relationship that may be considered if they decide to undergo treatment

In our final blog of this series, we present you with a wider view of your audience and make the case for a content marketing focus.

If you have questions about your physical therapy marketing strategy and need some help, contact us at (800) 468-5161

Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing Part 2: Outbound Helps You Cast a Wider Net

In our last blog, we showed you what an inbound marketing campaign can accomplish and walked you through the key steps needed to execute these types of strategies. An inbound approach can work incredibly well once someone finds you on the internet, but as we’ve pointed out, this isn’t always easy or likely. It also takes time, and lots of patience, which some private physical therapy practice owners may not have.

Enter Outbound Marketing.

Also referred to as “traditional marketing” or “push marketing,” outbound is more about casting a wide net with strategies that find your patients, rather than hoping that they somehow find you. It gives you more control over how to establish the first point of contact, and is therefore more direct and immediate than most inbound strategies.

Example Patient with Neck Pain

One way to understand the primary benefits of an outbound strategy is to think about the behaviors of an average individual who has neck pain. If this person is like most people with neck pain, he or she is probably not actively looking for a physical therapist, and may not even be aware that the option is available.

An inbound strategy probably won’t work unless they happen to be searching for terms related to neck pain and your area and you have pages that rank for these terms.

An outbound approach, on the other hand, is far more likely to bring your practice front and center through the use of advertising and other broad marketing tactics.

Getting to know the best outbound advertising options

Advertising is the most common and reliable form of outbound marketing, and there are numerous options available today. A selection of some that will be worth your time follows:

  • Paid Banner Advertising: this is essentially any type of advertising that’s used in a search engine; specific search terms are not always necessary, so these ads can pop up regardless of what’s being searched for
  • Social media advertising: these ads are paid for on specific social media sites, and are helpful for increasing awareness of your practice, better understanding your audience, and boosting your reputation; in general, it’s also less expensive than search engine ads
    • Facebook advertising: one of the most popular options; ads are easy to create and can be segmented by interest, age, and other variables
    • Instagram Ads: Instagram includes a number of highly engaged users, making your ads more likely to be seen by a larger number of individuals; these ads are also connected with those on Facebook
    • Twitter Ads: promoted Tweets can use keyword targeting to go after specific individuals, and you only pay when you’ve achieved your marketing objective
    • LinkedIn Ads: this type of advertising isn’t to generate new patients; rather, LinkedIn ads are typically used to attract new professional talent. While they are generally more expensive than on other social media platforms, they may yield better overall results than sites like Indeed.

physical therapy outbound marketing

Pros & Cons of Physical Therapy Outbound Marketing

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both inbound and outbound marketing, and that’s why we believe it’s best to spend time on each and find a balance that works for your practice and your budget.

Outbound marketing is usually far more expensive that inbound and also tends to be short-lived, but if you’re looking for more immediate results and have the funds, it’s certainly an option worth pursuing. In our next blog, we look into the role offline marketing can play in today’s times.

Outbound Marketing – A Great Way to Reach Referring Physicians

In conclusion, outbound marketing has its place.  It’s often underutilized by physical therapy private practices and a quick piece of advice – if you still get patients from referring physicians, we definitely recommend you use this marketing strategy to reach them.

We offer a physician newsletter that is ideal and affordable for any practice.  Contact us for more information.

References:

Here Are The Outbound Marketing Tactics That Still Work in 2019 (According to 29 Marketers)

Physical Therapy Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing – Part 1

There are Two Types of Physical Therapy Marketing: Inbound & Outbound Marketing.  This is Part 1 of my 4-part series: The 3 Steps of Inbound to Boost Your Physical Therapy Reputation and Build Confidence in Your Community

Marketing strategies for your private physical therapy practice can be categorized in a number of different ways, but the two primary groups you’re likely to hear more about than any others are inbound vs. outbound. These terms relate to the main direction that your message is being sent, and can be defined as follows:

  • Inbound marketing: any tactic that attracts readers and draws them in to your practice; this includes social media posts, opt-in emails, search engine optimization (SEO), blogs, and other types of website content.
  • Outbound marketing: any tactic that is directly sent out to a wider audience, including referring physicians, current/past patients, and patient prospects; social media advertising, print advertising, newsletters for referring physicians, and other types of outreach all fall under this category.

Moz created a good graphic that contrasts inbound versus outbound marketing:

Source: Moz

More on Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing, or “pull marketing,” is all about executing smart strategies that will lead individuals who may be in need of physical therapy to your practice’s website or social media page. Once they’ve found you, the goal is to keep them there long enough to show who you are, what you’re all about, and why you have the solutions to their problems—even if they aren’t necessarily looking for these solutions. How do you accomplish this? With brilliantly crafted content, of course.

One way to break down your content plan is by following three steps that were originally defined by Hubspot.  Those are attract, engage, and delight.

Here’s how:

Step 1 – Attract

Bringing web browsers to you is perhaps the most difficult step, simply due to massive number of pages on the web and sheer improbability that the right person will find your website. This is why it’s absolutely imperative that you utilize SEO strategies for all content hosted on your website. By utilizing smart and specific SEO terms that apply to your target audience—like “physical therapy in Smithville or Springfield physical therapists,” for example—you’ll significantly increase the chances of someone identifying your website when doing a search for those terms.

You should also aim to utilize SEO strategies (i.e. including keywords and links back to your website) in all of your social media posts to help with your search rankings.

Step 2 – Engage

Once someone has made their way to your website or social media page, you need to give them a good reason to stay there. For an individual who has an injury and is looking for a physical therapist specifically, this means showing them what you offer over your competitors and why you’re the best practice in the area for their needs. For a reader who isn’t even aware that physical therapy is right for them, this means highlighting the numerous benefits of therapy that will solve their problems.

Blog posts that describe the wide variety of conditions you treat are essential for engagement, but you should also need to have additional content that conveys your commitment to your community, your authority, and your expertise—like “About Us”, FAQ, and Mission/Vision/Values pages—that tell your story and boosts your reputation.

Step 3 – Delight

If you’ve executed the first two steps successfully and have fully engaged a reader, then he or she may go on to choose your practice and schedule their first appointment. This is great, but it’s not the end of the story. Assuming the patient does begin treatment, you’ll also need to delight them throughout their course of care to keep them engaged in their plan of care, progress, and outcomes.

Targeted emails/sms messages that patients can opt into are effective at this stage to show patients that you care and want to ensure their experience with you is positive. You can send surveys and newsletters through email that keep the engagement level high and continue to direct your patients to your website and social media platforms, which will reinforce your message and show them they’ve made the right choice. Hosting large volumes of informative content on a variety of topics will also reinforce your position as a trusted authority on physical therapy and general health.

Inbound Marketing – Planting the Seed that You are There for Them, Even if They Aren’t Ready to Use Your PT Services Yet

Inbound marketing can be seen as planting a seed and then waiting for it to sprout, and the better your strategy, the higher the chances this will occur. It offers some advantages over outbound marketing, but we believe it’s most effective to utilize both approaches.

Read our next blog for a closer look at outbound marketing.

If you need help with inbound physical therapy marketing for your  practice, simply click here to schedule some time with us.

Reference: Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan

 

35 Physical Therapy Blog Resources

Publishing content on your physical therapy website may often feel like a daunting task.  Figuring out what to write about, how best to convey your message, and what elements to include in order to rank and attract readers can take some time to navigate.  This tends to ring especially true for newcomers, but even seasoned bloggers and content creators can run into snags of their own.

If you are blogging, over time you may struggle to find ways to keep coming up with fresh ideas for content that will continue to engage readers without growing stale.

Coming Up with Physical Therapy Blogging Ideas Can be the Tough Part

If you handle any of the physical therapy marketing for your private practice with blogs or other content, you’ve probably run into issues like this in the past (or you may be in that position right now, which is what brought you to this page!)

It goes without saying that there’s so simple way to guarantee that you’ll never run out of ideas and always post the most riveting content, but it will be a major benefit to have some trusty resources to consult for topics, guidance, and writing assistance.  Below are 35 essential tips and resources to help you become—or remain—an established physical therapy blogger in the long term:

Blog Topic Ideas

  1. Statistics summary: write a post loaded with important statistics about physical therapy from across the industry, with commentary about how these statistics affect readers
  2. Study summary: find a study that highlights the benefits of physical therapy and do a brief summary of its findings and why they show physical therapy is best
  3. Success story: write about a patient at your practice that experienced a positive outcome after completing treatment; success stories are an incredible way to promote your practice, and you’ll never run out of them so long as you continue to treat patients
  4. How-to guides: teach your readers how to get involved in a new exercise or activity with a step-by-step guide
  5. Injury spotlight: pick a common injury or painful condition and explain why it occurs, what it feels like, and why physical therapy is the best treatment for it
  6. Sport-specific injury guide: select a sport and describe the most common injuries that athletes experience, and how physical therapists can help patients return to activity
  7. Body region injury guide: along the same lines, pick a joint or region (e.g. knee, back, ankle) and provide some details of what injuries occur most frequently, and of course, what physical therapy can do to address it
  8. Services spotlight: promote a unique service you offer that’s not found at most other physical therapy practices, like the Graston technique, aquatic therapy, or dry needling
  9. Seasonal blog: discuss how the current weather relates to exercise habits or common problems and provide tips on how to remain active while avoiding injury
  10. Countdown list: readers love lists, so try creating a blog on “The 5 best stretches for shoulder pain” or “The 8 most common mistakes made when training for a road race”
  11. Physical therapy news: link to an important development in the physical therapy industry and explain how it could affect patients in the future

Resources for physical therapy blogging or health topics to write on

General

  1. Feedly: one of the many websites available for organizing RSS feeds
  2. Healthline
  3. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
  4. WebMD
  5. MedicalNewsToday
  6. MayoClinic
  7. The New York Times: Health
  8. NIH

Physical therapy-specific

  1. APTA: great for industry-related news and developments
  2. ChoosePT: APTA’s consumer-focused website (formerly MoveForwardPT)
  3. PT in Motion: APTA’s monthly magazine for physical therapists
  4. GetPT1st blog: loaded with topics for physical therapists and patients
  5. Evidence in Motion blog: industry-specific blog geared more towards physical therapists
  6. Physiospot
  7. The Physical Therapy Advisor
  8. Athletico Physical Therapy blog

Resources to improve your writing and posting skills

  1. CoSchedule: analyzes your headlines to ensure you’re using your words wisely
  2. SEOPressor: a WordPress plugin that assists with search engine optimization (SEO)
  3. XML-sitemaps: free service that creates a sitemap for your website, which helps search engines better scan each of your pages
  4. Hemingway Editor: a grammar service that helps you improve your writing by avoiding sentence that are too long or wordy
  5. Grammarly: another helpful grammar service to assist your writing
  6. Quick and Dirty Tips: website that provides grammar tips and answers to your questions
  7. Portent’s Content Idea Generator: enter a keyword and get topic ideas at this website
  8. Hubspot: another helpful topic generator if you need to come up with new ideas

 

In our next blog, we discuss why all your content should include a call to action that will keep readers engaged with all your online accounts.

Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas – Positioning Yourself Against Your Competition

One of the most common challenges that private physical therapy practice owners face is something that’s seen across all businesses:

How do you set yourself apart from everyone else? 

Unless your clinic is in an extreme rural part of the country, you probably have to compete with a number of other practices in the area, many of which have claims about why the patient should choose them. Example claims are typically as follows:

  • We’re the best,
  • Best in the city,
  • 1 on 1,
  • Hands-on,
  • Experienced,
  • Top-rated.

So how can you show prospective patients that they’re better offer choosing you than the competition for their care?  It’s all about communicating your message and having a well-designed reputation marketing plan.

Here are 4 big ideas that will elevate your practice above your competitors:

I. Create clear distinction

One of the foundations of your physical therapy marketing strategy should be to determine how you will create distinction between your private physical therapy practice and all the other practices in your region.  Distinction is all about standing out from the crowd and presenting yourself as better than average so that patients will choose you.  Scott McKain, who is a global expert in the art of distinction, breaks this method down into the 4 Cs:

  • Clarity: before you even work on delivering your message, you first need to define who you are as a business, what your practice is all about, and perhaps just as importantly, what your practice is not about; this step is crucial, because it is extremely difficult to differentiate your practice unless you know how you want to represent it.
  • Creativity: research has shown that in the best marketing strategies, this step follows clarity, and not the other way around; some may find this to be counterintuitive, but the truth is that while being creative is absolutely necessary, it needs to be guided by the clear definition of your business.
  • Communicate: using a creative approach, you next need to figure out a way to clearly and effectively communicate the message you’ve landed on to current and prospective patients, and do so on a consistent basis; one way to accomplish this is by providing success stories of patients that have had a positive outcome from treatment.
  • Customer-experience focus: this means planning every business decision around the patient experience, listening to their feedback, and responding in such a way that shows them their interests are your top priority.

II. Write an attractive value proposition

Along with the formula to creating distinction, another essential component how you should position yourself amongst your competitors, should be your value proposition.  Proposing your value means articulating to prospective patients why you can solve their problems more effectively than other practices in the area.  It shows patients what specific benefits they can expect if they see you for treatment and the value of your services that you’re guaranteeing.  When created and delivered properly, this can be the ingredient that will give you a clear competitive advantage over others.

Below are a few key elements of a good physical therapy private practice value proposition and some tips on how you can create one for your practice:

  • It should contain a headline, sub-headline or paragraph, and possibly a few bullet points or a visual element
  • Start by making a list of all benefits your patients will experience, then identify what value your services will bring to them, and finally differentiate and position yourself to make it clear who your target patient is, what you offer them, and how you’re different
  • Your proposition should be easy to understand, clearly communicate the benefits patients will get, and show how you’re better than competitors; it should also take 5 seconds or less to read and understood your value proposition
  • You should also focus on highlighting the countless benefits and advantages of physical therapy over other treatments, showing that it is an effective first-line intervention supported by research for a wide range of conditions with little to no side effects; it is also easily accessible, saves patients money, and will help them avoid additional specialist visits, diagnostic tests, opioids, and unnecessary surgeries

III. Bring what makes your practice unique front and center

This next one is more than just saying your are the best.  It can set you apart when done right, but won’t necessarily result in a long-term competitive advantage (because your competition could replicate it).

As with the other strategies mentioned above, the goal is to show why a patient should choose your practice over your competitors, and one of the most powerful ways to do this is by clearly showing them what makes you unique.

In order to do this, first do a detailed review of all the other private physical therapy practices in your region, taking stock of what services they offer, what advantages they claim to provide, and what some are missing.  From there, take a close look at your own practice and work to identify some of the prime characteristics, qualities, and services that aren’t found elsewhere.  Some examples of services or traits that might set you apart are:

  • Having hours of operation that are more extensive than other practices
  • Accepting more insurance types than other practices
  • Having several locations to better serve patients
  • Providing treatment services that are not typical, such as aquatic therapy, laser therapy, or certain techniques like the McKenzie method, the Active Release technique, myofascial release, or ASTYM
  • Having a policy that ensures physical therapists—rather than aides or assistants—spend a certain amount of time with each patient

An Example of a Private Practice “Positioning” Themself Against Corporate and Hospital PT Care with a Comparison Table

physical therapy positioning

IV. Use the right language…especially on your website

The final step is to make sure that you’re using the clearest and most effective language when creating content.  Without the right language, you could have the right idea of what you want to say, but are not saying it in a way that engages readers and drives them to your clinic.  Consider website visitors as an example. It usually only take about three seconds after landing on your page to decide if they want to continue looking or not, so you definitely want to make a positive first impression (a good image will do that for you) that keeps them there.  Next, they will start reading, so you need to use the right language.

One method to determine if you’re using the right language is to think about the following three questions that visitors are asking when visiting your website:

  • 1) What do you offer?
  • 2) How will it help me recover?
  • 3) How do access your services?

If the answers to all three questions are clearly visible on your website above the fold (the bottom of their computer or phone screen), you’ll be increasing your chances of getting that visitor to read on and hopefully turning them into a new patient.  So it’s best to consider them when creating any type of content for your practice.

A Quick Glance at this Website and You Can See that They are Physical Therapists, Have 3 Clinic Locations, and They Help their viewers “…Get Back In The Game”

 

Additional reading: If you want to get clear on your message, one good reference is Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen.

StoryBrand’s tagline makes it very clear how they help business owners to brand and position themselves:

Their tagline is: If you confuse you’ll lose. Noise is the enemy and creating a clear message is the best way to grow your business.

Click here to get the book.

In our next blog, we’ll offer some tips and resources to assist your writing process and ensure that you always have an engaging topic to discuss.

Physical Therapy Marketing Strategy Part 3: Look to the marketing hourglass and patient journey for opportunities

When it comes to laying out an effective physical therapy marketing strategy, it helps to have a conceptual structure to serve as the backbone for decision making. Figuring out how to formulate this structure can be challenging, but one smart guiding principle is to follow the shape of an hourglass to understand various thoughts patients go through when choosing a PT private practice.

For a long while, business owners and marketers were told to focus on the idea of the marketing funnel. To make matters more confusing, enterprise companies, marketing experts, and gurus have come up with different types of funnels.  Generally, a funnel is a concept that you conceptually describes the large target group of people that might be interested in your services (the top or largest end of the funnel), and then describes the thoughts, steps, or processes prospective patients go through…with people walking in the door, and doing business with you, being down toward the bottom of the funnel (the small end) where they become customers, clients, or patients. Many funnels include retention, repeat business, and referrals also down at the small end of the funnel.  The problem with this concept, is that this concept doesn’t do enough to emphasize the importance of great customer service and the future ramifications as a result of delivering great care.  As John says,

“Of course, the funnel concept won’t ever go away, but about ten years ago I defined what I think is still a much better approach – I call it the Marketing HourglassIt borrows from the funnel shape but turns it on its head after the purchase to help intentionally account for the idea of creating a remarkable customer experience.”

The marketing funnel would usually consist of about three steps on the front end of the process—such as awareness, consideration, and purchase—but did not account for what happens to the patient after their initial evaluation at your clinic. On account of its symmetric shape, the marketing hourglass approach gives equal attention to both building trust on the front end and ensuring an optimal patient experience from the moment they walk through your doors and all that follows.

The 7 steps of the hourglass to shape your physical therapy marketing ideas around

Before constructing your marketing hourglass, you need to take stock of how your physical therapy practice comes into contact with prospective patients through various touchpoints, and then try to map the journey that would lead them to call your clinic for their first visit. Once you have a good idea of these points, you can begin crafting your marketing plan by following these 7 steps of the marketing hourglass approach:

  • 1. Know: try to understand how most of your prospective patients will first hear about your practice, whether that be through an online ad, referral, or something else.
  • 2. Like: if someone learns of your practice they often will want to know more about you before they call to schedule or request an appointment online. This is where a great website with authoritative and up-to-date content comes in.
  • 3. Trust: before a patient chooses your practice, they will also want to see that they can trust you; the best way to do this is with reviews, success stories, and testimonials.  Video is something that most practices are still NOT leveraging to build trust.  It’s something to consider.
  • 4. Try: we define trying physical therapy as the communication during appointment setup and the initial evaluation.  There are a number of opportunities to optimize these experiences.  From answering the phone, what you say, being on time, evaluating the patient and communicating properly.  This step is where you sell the patient on your plan of care.
  • 5. Buy: the first step on the opposite side of the hourglass, this is the actual treatment phase of a patient’s experience; work to ensure a positive patient experience that exceeds their expectations; from proper goal setting, reinforcing progress, a good home-exercise program, and regularly checking in with the patient to make sure the plan of care is progressing as expected…these are all areas you can work on at this stage.
  • 6. Repeat: after ensuring that the patient had a positive first experience at your practice, shift the focus to follow up. After they have completed their plan of care, how are they doing on their own.  Follow-up letters, phone calls, and regular offers to come back can help here.
  • 7. Refer: you know who your patient ambassadors are… you know, the ones that love you, the ones that you made a significant change in their life.   When these patient views your practice in this positive light, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to refer you to others by creating tools they can access through your website or elsewhere.

Another Way to Look at Your Physical Therapy Marketing – The Patient Journey

The marketing hourglass is a great way to visualize the process that patients go through.  Another way to visually describe this is the patient journey.  While there are dozens of touch points, one way to look at it is by asking yourself, “What online marketing technologies can I use to connect with prospects and patients through the journey.”  This graphic we created might help you visualize some of the opportunities.  We tied it into the marketing hourglass as well.

 

What are you doing to optimize your marketing?

Take a look at the above and see if you have any real blind spots.  What can 2-3 things can you affordably and effectively do to get people into the hourglass and optimize their experience as they go through it.

If you’re looking for additional assistance or other physical therapy marketing ideas, we can help. Give us a call to find out what we can do for your private physical therapy practice.