Physical Therapy Ratings and Reviews – Negative Reviews Aren’t So Bad

Here are some thoughts about negative physical therapy ratings and reviews, why they aren’t so bad, how and why you should respond to them, as well as positive reviews too.

Before I get into it, you should know that an occasional negative review is actually beneficial.  Don’t believe it? Check this study out (available as a PDF from a Google search).

Background – Physical Therapy Ratings & Reviews on Your Website vs. Online Directories

I define online reviews [when I say reviews, I am implying both a star rating and text review] as those posted to directory sites, such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook to name a few.  Our data, from over 1700 PT websites, indicates that Google is the first place that most prospective patients see you online; therefore, online reviews at Google matter the most and you should have a system to capture them. Like many other systems, E-rehab has a killer system (we have many clients with over 100 Google reviews) that either directs patients to the proper place to write a review on Google My Business or to write a review for their website.

I speak to many practice owners that are so focused on Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews that they forget that the second most common way prospective patients get to your website is by directly going to it…in other words, they type your web address/URL into their browser.  For this exact reason, you want to make sure that you have reviews on your home page, not only Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

Jay Baer, marketing and customer service expert, articulates this well in his post: 

But there’s a second type of review that is just as important: first-party reviews. These are the reviews that are on YOUR website. They’ve been common on e-commerce websites for years, but are now popping up on retail, restaurant, and professional services sites.

You’re going to see more and more first-party reviews because they help convince customers late in the funnel, by ratifying their decision to make your enterprise the finalist for their purchase.

Bad Reviews Aren’t So Bad but You Must Collect Reviews from All of Your Clients

In a study by reevoo.com (that’s worth the download), they noted that bad reviews are helpful to consumers in the following ways:

Consumers want complete information
We all know that no product or service is completely perfect. Consumers want to know the few negatives so they can weigh them up against all the good points and make a fully informed decision.

Consumers don’t always agree on ‘bad’ points
A bad point to one purchaser is often irrelevant to another – and can even be an advantage. One guest could hate a hotel because there were ‘too many’ children but, to someone planning a family holiday, that’s an advantage.

Consumers don’t look at reviews in isolation
The mere presence of bad reviews isn’t enough to put most consumers off: it’s the ratio of good to bad that matters. A few bad reviews carry much less weight with readers when they appear alongside dozens or hundreds of good reviews.

Consumers notice when there are no bad reviews
Shoppers are suspicious when the reviews don’t include any complaints. They won’t assume your product or service is just that good – they’ll assume it’s so bad you have to censor customer feedback.

If you read the ebook, you’ll notice that it is primarily about products, not services, or specifically physical therapists.  Nevertheless, their conclusions on how consumers utilize review information is likely to apply to the PT private practice space.  At the very least, it should give practice owners better perspective on the value of reviews to consumers and alleviate some of the anxiety when you receive a bad review.

But, you don’t want to just sweep a bad review under the carpet.  You need to take action.

Responding to Negative and Positive Physical Therapy Ratings & Reviews is Important

It’s important to respond to reviews because as much as anything, you are writing the response for other people that will be reading the negative reviews.

Below are tips, that when followed, may keep the patient coming back and prevent prospects from choosing another practice instead of yours.

1) Respond fast –  51.7% of consumers expect businesses to respond to their negative review within seven days. The quicker the response, the better. Patients that see you respond quickly to their issue helps them to understand that you are a customer-service oriented practice. By delaying a response, you risk never getting any business from not only that customer, but future patrons as well.  Prospects who read these reviews and see you respond in a genuine, caring way are very likely to still choose you because they see you are actively involved with making sure your patients’ concerns are addressed.

Case Study: in 2018, I helped several clients respond to negative physical therapy ratings and reviews.  Two clients that I helped said that a patient read the response and chose their practice.  Not to say that I have some magic formula to respond, it was more about being polite and timely.

2) When you respond, don’t be defensive or argumentative – First, thank them for letting you know there was an issue. Then, offer your sincere apology that it even happened at all. Tell them that this is not typical of your company and that you are giving this issue your utmost attention. If possible ask them to contact you so you can resolve it as quickly as possible. How you resolve the issue is up to you.

Some patients just want to be heard. Others will try to extort money from you, or in other words, will tell you they are going to write a negative review if you don’t forgive their copay or co-insurance. Responding to them by letting them know that you went through a rigorous process of verifying insurance before they came in (assuming you did of course) and what their responsibility was is often a good way to handle these.


Don’t be Afraid to Share Your Side – While some physical therapists would prefer not to defend themselves fearing ongoing negative dialogue, other experts argue that you should tell the story as it went down. Neil Patel SEO expert and blogger extraordinaire, states in this post:

Don’t be afraid to tell your side of the story…Bad reviews are not always your fault. But when a number of things add up to a negative customer experience, your business might suffer.  If somebody were to falsely accuse you of a crime, you would do anything in your power to prove your innocence.  When a review is simply untrue, you might need to do the same.  Sometimes, you need to share your side of what really happened.

I happen to agree with this.  Too many consumers write negative reviews  about health care without thinking.  Some have the crazy notion that insurance is going to cover everything (and fail to read the financial fine print on PT intake forms).  Setting the record straight can sometimes lead to the patient removing the review.  This was an experience I had with a client in Brooklyn.  She wrote a negative review, we responded properly, and she removed it.


3) Ask Them to Update Their Review If you were able to successfully resolve an issue, ask the patient to return to the directory site and update their review! Don’t try to post yourself stating that the issue was resolved. It is best coming from the patient. They may not update their response, but it does no harm to at least ask and may go a long way to, once again, increase your reputation online!

Still others are just unhappy people and that’s okay.  As I indicated earlier, having a few bad reviews isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, when it comes to purchasing many goods and services, maximum purchases occur from vendors when their online reputation is less than five stars.  I haven’t seen that play out in the rehabilitation profession but if you have a very large volume of reviews, >100, it could be an advantage.

4) Responding to Reviews is a Differentiator – in a large data study by reviewtrackers.com (worth the read), they indicated that 63% of consumers never hear back after they post a negative review.  In a cursory inspection of 50 different physical therapy practices, we too noticed that neither positive or negative reviews received responses from PT practices most of the time.

5) Responding to Positive Reviews is an SEO Factor Finally, why bother to respond to positive reviews?   Google confirms that it helps with local search rankings.

In a statement released by Google on a Google My Business support page titled Improve your local ranking on Google, they stated:

…businesses should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”  This statement is then followed by “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”

Like the process of capturing ratings and reviews, responding to reviews is another positive ranking SEO factor you can control that will help…and of course we highly encourage this.

[IMPORTANT: The best defense to physical therapy negative reviews is to get your patients to proactively review you.  Having 60+ positive reviews drives business.  It gets patients that are comparison shopping or are sitting on the fence, off the fence and increases the likelihood that they will call you.]

If you don’t proactively capture the customer sentiment from almost all of your patients and just passively let unhappy patients post negative reviews, that may be all that is present.  If you do capture the reviews from all your patients, you get a balanced picture of the customer experience as noted in pie charts.

Reference: https://blog.reevoo.com/ebook-bad-reviews-good-business/

Again from the Reevoo ebook, they sum it up well:

Proactively reaching out to invite all customers to review gives happy ones the little nudge they need to get reviewing. By collecting reviews from a whole spectrum of customers, the bad reviews are properly diluted by the crowd of satisfied purchasers.

In Summary – When it comes to Physical Therapy Ratings and Reviews, Don’t Ignore Them, Embrace Them, Respond To Them, and Understand There’s Value in Good and Bad Reviews

Replying to negative reviews shows those reading that you are proactive and concerned about things that are important to your patients. This can serve to improve your online reputation. But ignoring these issues is the same as turning your back on them, something that could give your practice a black eye and may even turn consumers away..

I hope you are finding this information useful to your practice. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to give us a call at (800) 468-5161 or send an email to dave@e-rehab.com .

The Six-Step Process For Creating Physical Therapy Marketing Content Even When You Are Very Busy

We’ve all heard that we should be creating more content for our practice.  Physical therapy content marketing is a type of marketing strategy that you might want to consider.

Years ago, popular marketer Gary Vaynerchuk stated that all businesses are media businesses.  You’ve probably heard you need to create blog posts, videos, podcasts, and social media content which have all become a requirement of marketing and growth in just about every industry.

But creating content is definitely time consuming, and can be the last thing on your list of things to get done on an already busy day. So here’s a six step process for creating more content even when you’re really busy treating patients and running your business.


physical therapy content marketing calendar

1. Create a Calendar of Content Topics

The first step is to create an outline. Simply outline the core ideas for your content on a notepad and transfer those topics to a Google Calendar or similar.   Here’s a good resource with free Excel sheets that you can use for planning.  You can use the Simple Marketing Worksheet to get started.

IMPORTANT: when creating a content outline, topics can consist of things like patients you want to see, the problems they have, how physical therapy can help them, and information on particular techniques-especially those that are known already to your community.  Examples include:

  • McKenzie Method,
  • Graston Technique,
  • ASTYM,
  • dry needling,
  • myofascial release,
  • manipulation, etc.

physical therapy content outline

2. Create an Outline for each Individual Topic

You don’t want or need a ton of detail, just enough to give structure to your thinking as you do your content creation.  Think about this popular presentation format:

  1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  2. Tell them about the topic.
  3. Tell them what you told them.
  4. Add a Call to Action

Write out the outline as a cue card and then your off to the next step.


physical therapy video recording

3. Record a Video

Step number three is to then record a video. I know you may not be comfortable on video – many people aren’t – but it’s something that you’ll get used to over time, and the value of video in marketing today is tremendous. So record a video of you speaking to the outline that you just put down on the notepad. For those that aren’t “off-the-cuff” presenters, a good teleprompter can help.  Here’s a link to a resource for you.  Don’t overthink it. You can use a camera or iPhone/Android and a shotgun mic (we like the Saramonic or Rode brands).  Make sure you get the iPhone connectors as well.  If you want to use your iPhone, here’s a cool mobile filmmaking case that we like.  Click here.  Then the KineMaster video recording app works well too.

Now that you have the gear, record it and you’ve got your first piece of content!


physical therapy podcast

4. Want to Go Bigtime with Your Content – Create a Podcast

The fourth step is to then have the audio exported and edited as a podcast. Podcasts are one of the fastest growing forms of content in terms of consumer consumption because they can be listened to while doing other things, like driving, working out, walking on the treadmill, or running on the beach.

For these reasons, podcasts are experiencing incredible growth, and many people consider them to be the most important form of marketing now. So you definitely want to make sure that you’re getting your podcast created. A simple way to do that is to record your video first, and then export the audio content.  There are a number of resources to export the audio portion of a video.  I personally like Camtasia.  It’s a bit spendy but a quick search should enable you to find some additional resources.

Then you will need a service to upload your audio file.  This is called a podcasting platform.  Here’s a link to reviews of podcasting platforms and some are free.


5. Transcribe the Audio into a Blog Post

Next you’re going to take that audio content and have it transcribed into a post. I like to use an app called Rev for this. You simply upload your audio file or- even a video file – and the app will extract the audio and transcribe it for approximately $1 per minute of audio. I found that a typical blog post is five to 10 minutes long, so I can get the transcription done for $5 to $10.

The service is fantastic and creates a transcript that is very easy for me to put some final editing polish on, and use it as a blog post or use it as content for my social media posts and my YouTube video.


6. Have a Designer Create Images

Next is to have a graphic designer create images for every place that you want to post your content. Images are very important to go along with your content, regardless of whether it’s going up on YouTube, a podcast, Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform.

Images help sell the content and get the attention of your audience in the first place. Hire graphic designers from affordable services like Fiverr, UpWork, or Design Pickle and you can quickly get custom-designed image – often within 24 hours.


Your Turn!  Create your content and push it out to a blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more.  You too can be a media company and get your name out to your community.

Want Some Help?

If this all seems a bit too much or you know you simply won’t be able to find the time, let us know.  E-rehab specializes in physical therapy content marketing and we can help you get your name out to your market.

Just give us a call at (760) 585-9097

Get Better Results From Your Physical Therapy Social Media Marketing

Not where you’d like to be with your social media presence? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – social media is a challenge (and perhaps even a mystery) for many physical therapy practices!

The good news is that the pace of change in today’s private practice marketing world means that it’s never too late to jump in and compete, no matter where you’re starting from.

Here are seven things you can do right now to improve your social media presence and get better results from your social media efforts:

1. Understand Your Audience

This is perhaps the most important part of your social media strategy.  While many get lost in the content development, planning, and technical use of social networks, physical therapy marketing is all about reaching your target market. The fundamental question that you need to ask is, “Do patients seeking out physical therapy or past patients seeking out my physical therapy services, use social media?”  In our opinion here at E-rehab, past patients do use social networks to continue the relationship with a clinician/clinic they’ve had treatment at.  Therefore, it does make sense to use them.  In doing so, it is always important to focus on three things – educating past patients, entertaining them to maintain engagement (continued interaction on your the social network you’ve connect with them on), and making occasional offers.

NOTE: Years ago, at a WebPT conference, I was speaking with the director of marketing, he made an interesting comment that has stuck with me to this day.  He said, “If you want to try to measure ROI with social media, don’t.  It’s the wrong question to ask.”  While I can appreciate this from his context, I was speaking with a dedicated marketing expert that had a team of people and a health budget.  Why am I bringing this up?  You need to make peace with the inability to measure ROI, and you need to make sure that other marketing strategies, that do provide a measurable ROI are a higher priority.

2. Sharpen Your Physical Therapy Social Media Strategy

Simply posting content on social media isn’t enough. Before you can expect to generate a tribe of fans, followers, or community on a social network, you need to take a sharp look at your current strategy, and be realistic about what’s working and what’s not.

Start, consider the following questions:

  • Which social media platforms are you active on?
  • Which social media platforms are relevant to your business goals?
  • Which social media platforms are providing the most traffic and conversions?
  • Which social media platforms are underperforming?
  • What kind of content are you most effective at creating?
  • What kind of content will most effectively accomplish our social media goals?

Take a step back and really consider these questions. When it comes to the business of physical therapy, and I can’t overstate this enough, you may find that you’re wasting your efforts on platforms that don’t get results, you’re not using the platform’s features to the fullest, or you’re spreading yourself too thin. Don’t be afraid to change directions in your pursuit of your goals.

Important Concept: Physical Therapy isn’t very social.  No one wants to go to physical therapy and you can’t make people have pain or induce demand for it.  Yes, people “need” physical therapy and it’s important for your brand name and expertise to be present in your prospects’ minds when they do have a problem.  It’s super important to understand this.

3. Optimize Current Accounts

Once you’ve decided on your social media platforms and strategy, you should consider how you can strengthen your presence by optimizing your accounts.

To start, ensure your profile and header images are current and clear, and reflect your brand wherever possible.

Next, make sure you are making full use of any opportunities to add copy, a call to action, and hashtags. Also, check all links to be sure that they’re working properly.

Finally, remember that your profile shouldn’t be static, but rather a living asset that changes to reflect current seasons, campaigns and promotional themes.

4. Identify Clear Goals

What gets measured, gets managed…and improved. It’s time to identify clear goals that you will commit to monitoring and measuring moving forward.

You’ve likely checked your analytics in the process of evaluating your current social media accounts, so you already have the information you need to set your goals for the following year.

Remember, your goals don’t need to be elaborate or involved. A goal can be as simple as increasing your content posting or mixture. In any case, create goals that inspire you and share them with your team or peers and mentors that will hold you accountable.

5. Create a Schedule – Consistency is the Key

We’ve found that in almost 100% of cases, the most effective social media pros have a thoughtful posting schedule that they adhere to.

As a result, a big part of the execution of your social media strategy should be finding out the ideal timing for your content to maximize reach and engagement, and then creating a schedule around those times.

A schedule is more than just an alarm clock to time your posts by though – it also forces you to think ahead about your content plan. This keeps you from having gaps in your content, and ensures that you are giving yourself enough time to thoughtfully create your social content to tie into your greater marketing plans.

6. Use Video

In March of 2019, we attended Social Media Marketing World conference.  If there was one underlying theme that crossed many discussions, it was this…use video!  Video on Facebook, live video, YouTube video, Instagram video…video is where it’s at.

Many practices shy away from video marketing, but it’s effectiveness in unquestionable. Videos are easy and fun to consume, more engaging, and more likely to hold the attention of your audience for longer periods of time. In other words, you can’t afford to skip it!

Keep in mind that videos don’t need to be professionally done to work. In fact, in most cases, an informal and more relatable video will beat a Hollywood production any day!

A great way to capitalize on video that anyone can do is to go live. Many social media platforms offer live video options now, and it’s as simple as turning on your phone or webcam and hitting ‘broadcast’.

Don’t overthink it…just do it!

7. Don’t Wait – Get Started Now

Developing a strong social media presence is incredibly important for physical therapy private practices, today and for the future. Given that most people with musculoskeletal problems never see a physical therapist, social networks are a great way to reach many.

Hopefully, these tips will help you enhance your social media strategy and smash your goals!

How to Develop a Winning Multichannel Marketing Strategy for your Physical Therapy Practice

When the path of a new patient appointment can begin at any time, in any location and on any device, it’s becoming apparent that physical therapy practices need to create a seamless experience across the entire process.

With so many devices available to complete a task, patients can switch between them to set their appointments. If they encounter problems across any of them, it could mean the difference between making the appointment and the potential patient moving on to someone or something different.

As a result, more and more practices should be nurturing leads through an omnichannel marketing strategy, which optimizes the experience across all patient touchpoints.

What is Multichannel Marketing?

Multichannel marketing is the concept of providing a seamless experience across all available channels relevant to the patient’s journey. This applies to the shifts and transitions in the way new patients progress through the appointment setting, treatment, discharge, and follow-up hourglass (for more on the marketing hourglass, click here).

Patients are more connected and have more control over who they choose for their rehabilitation needs than ever before, often using three or four devices to access the internet or make their first appointment. As a result, what used to be completed on one site, in one location, at one time is now completed over days, locations, times and channels. 

The Importance of a Unified Profile

The multichannel roadmap is achieved by building a unified patient profile that segments the content and offers provided to them. This can only be achieved through strong multichannel marketing.

One of the challenges of multichannel marketing is the isolation of channels, which all provide data in different times with the marketing automation platform. This may include different vendors for the development of a website, email marketing, search, automation, print newsletters, and social media. As a result, patients may not recognize these disparate channels as part of the same marketing effort, which can be confusing.

A rich and deep personalization is only achieved if the data from all the individual interactions is unified to deliver:

  • Messaging content that resonates with the patient.
  • A frequency of messaging that the patient will respond to.
  • The services the patients need.
  • The types of recommendations that patients will respond to.

A responsive marketing platform captures all this patient data, such as email addresses, phone numbers, promotion responses, appointment inquiries, therapy services viewed and other touchpoints.

Once this unified patient profile is achieved, campaigns can be automated to trigger marketing activities from all channels and lead the patient through the treatment journey.

Getting Started With Multichannel Marketing

Though many practices experience it with other brands or may even be aware of the value of multichannel marketing, many struggle with some of the obstacles to creating this strategy. These include:

  • Lack of resources necessary to succeed.
  • Lack of communication between marketing agencies.
  • Lack of practice owner support and understanding of the value of multichannel marketing.
  • Organizational silos (clinical teams, front office/reception, back office/billing as examples).

Creating an omnichannel marketing strategy isn’t as difficult as it seems, however. Here’s how to get started:

Emphasize Content

With potential patients connecting over various devices in many different situations, a practice marketers need to offer information and value to keep their attention. Without valuable content, your physical therapy omnichannel marketing strategy is nothing.

For this, you need to understand what kind of content your patients consume and when. Is your content giving them what they need? Is it optimized for the device they’re using? Are you offering suggestions based on their specific needs? Are you optimizing their health and wellbeing?

On top of that, are you reactivating and cross-selling to your patients? Are you sending follow up message to those that discontinued care? Are those messages optimized for different devices?

These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered about your ideal patient, which is why you need to know all you can about your patients.

physical therapy content marketing to different patient types

Get In-Depth Understanding of the Patient

If you want to provide a truly multichannel experience, you must have intimate knowledge of your patient. You need to understand who they are and what’s important to them (fast access to care, insurance coverage, clinical excellence), what challenges or problems they face (what they really want to return to), and how you can solve them (e.g. which one of your clinicians is best equipped to help).

To get this information, welcome patient feedback, employ social listening tools and leverage condition and treatment specific pages to find out more about their needs. Even more than that, find out which channels they use most to access your content.  Your website analytics play an important role here.

Here are the channels most important for multichannel success, in order of value:.

  • Brand websites.
  • Mobile responsive site.
  • Search engine listings
  • Ratings & review sites – (Google, Facebook, Yelp, HealthGrades, etc.)
  • Email marketing.
  • Digital video.
  • Print newsletters
  • Social media marketing
  • Live events.
  • Local retail partners.
  • Direct mail.
  • Radio advertising
  • Sponsorships with local schools or sporting programs.
  • Coupons for free screenings.

Develop Agile Departments

One of the biggest challenges to multichannel marketing implementation is the organizational silo effect.  Marketing, therapy, and customer service support often “do their own thing”, which is an obstacle to creating a seamless experience.

Fortunately, a little training on what to do, how to do it, and restructuring of traditional roles can create shared responsibility across departments, letting each team know where they fit into the bigger picture and how they relate to the work of the other departments. This not only sets clear expectations for each team, but also streamlines the communication between them.

When communication is clear and transparent, the departments operate fluidly and create agile marketing strategies that focus on the patient experience.

Start by Optimizing Your Physical Therapy Website

When patients access your site across different channels and devices, your site needs to provide them with a user-friendly experience that’s highly “responsive” to succeed. All of your web pages should be designed to provide maximum usability to visitors and to allow them to access your phone number, location map, hours of operation, ratings & reviews options, social channels, online intake forms, and important content.

Final Thoughts

In today’s channel-rich environment, multichannel marketing drives the engagement of potential patients and compels them take action. Synchronizing every touchpoint of the patient’s journey for a seamless multichannel experience elevates your practice above the competition.

Need help implementing a multichannel marketing program?  Give us a call at 760-585-9097.

We’ve helped physical therapy practices generate more patients for over 15 years.  If you prefer, click here to schedule a free consultation.

 

Why an In-Depth Understanding of Your Patients Is the Only Marketing Strategy You Need

Successful marketing is about more than tracking analytics, building a social following and getting traffic on websites.

Ultimately, successful marketing is about knowing your patients. No matter how great your marketing efforts are, it doesn’t matter if you can’t connect with the audience.

So, if you want to be truly successful, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your patients.

What is a Patient-Centric Marketing Approach?

Patient-centric marketing uses personalization to deliver services, messages, and content to the patient that provides them with the answers they need. This applies not only to marketing but also to your entire organization.

Putting your patients first can improve your relationship with them and retain more patients over time since they feel valued.

With patient-centric marketing, you stop telling your patients what they need, which comes across as unappealing and untrustworthy. Instead of pushing services and aggressively asking for the therapy appointment, with patient-centric marketing, you craft your messaging, content and services around addressing their needs first.

Ultimately, if a patient knows they have other options and feel undervalued by the clinic’s lack of attention, they’ll move on.

knowing the value

The Value of Knowing Your Patients

More and more businesses are taking advantage of the power of blogging and content marketing, meaning that the internet is flooded with content everywhere you turn. As a result, patients no longer need to waste time on low-quality content that doesn’t serve their needs.

If you want to stand out among this crowd, you need to create unique content that’s relevant to the needs of the target audience. When you can create content that fits their needs, you develop trust and value with your practice. This makes patients more loyal to your practice and its services.

Having loyal patients who return to your clinic when therapy is needed offers many benefits to your physical therapy practice, not only in revenue but in positive brand reputation and word-of-mouth recommendations.

In fact, repeat patients are 65 percent more likely to convert over new prospects. This means reduced marketing costs and more new patients for you. Loyal patients are also more likely to support your efforts to generate new business since they want to share their experiences with their family and friends. This boosts your trust with new patients and gets you more cash revenue.

So, when you stop guessing at your customers’ wants and needs and start paying attention to the feedback they give you, you get both long-term patient relationships and increased profits.

patient persona

How to Get an In-Depth Understanding of Your Patients

Developing these relationships and this understanding of your patients takes time, however. Your patients’ needs may change over time, and you need to change with them.

Here’s how:

Build Your Patient Personas

A patient persona is a guide to the audience you’re trying to attract to your business. A patient persona describes one ideal patient or client in detail, giving you insights about their behaviors, demographics, background and other unique identifiers.

A truly in-depth buyer persona goes beyond this knowledge, however. It dives much deeper into understanding the patient’s life and the challenges they face. What are their problems? What influences their decisions?

The key to all of this is not to guess, of course. When you create buyer personas, you can’t just create a patient. It needs to be based on the loyal patient base you have.

If you’re trying to reach a different audience, you can even create multiple personas to target new patients, while also keeping your loyal patients happy.

Keep in mind that these may change over time as well, so you should watch how they evolve and continually find new ways to reach them.

Listen on Social Media

Many people are comfortable displaying much of their lives on social media. This can provide you with valuable insights about them and how they feel about your business.

If you only pay attention to posts and comments that relate to your business, however, you’ll miss out on insights from them about what they need from a product or service. To get a real understanding of the target audience and what they expect from your business, you need to go beyond the mentions.

Social listening tools can be helpful for this. Mention is one of the best tools to monitor your brand anywhere. It gives you insights about who’s posting about your business, where they’re located and what influence they have. From there, you can do a little more research into these potential patients to learn more about them.

You should also work to connect with your audience when they come to you. With the availability of therapists online, most patients expect quick responses when they inquire online. Be sure to pay attention to questions, comments, and feedback to you about your business, so you can get an idea of the problems your audience is experiencing.

Use Surveys

If you’re not getting the answers you need from social listening, don’t be afraid to ask your patients directly. Surveys provide you with opinions and insights that you may not have otherwise, and they’re easy for patients to participate in.

Keep in mind a few things, such as:

  • Keep your survey short and simple.
  • Humanize your message to let them know that their feedback has a purpose.
  • If your survey is a multi-page form, use a progress bar to let patients know how long they have to complete the survey.

Ultimately, the idea behind the survey is to keep it as quick and painless as possible for participants.

Pay Attention to Visited Content

Whether it’s videos, blog posts, infographics or images, patients engage with a variety of content throughout the day. To understand what they want and need, you need to pay attention to the type of content they visit.

The best way to learn more about popular content is with Google Analytics. This will show you popular content and the patterns that may arise, as well as the type of content that works better for your audience.

Don’t forget to check out your competitor’s social media pages to see what posts get a lot of attention as well. Using this information, you can create more content that’s aligned with what’s working for your competitor.

Look for Lost Conversions

In addition to learning about current patients, you can learn a wealth of information from the leads that don’t convert. This process is a little more involved, but it can provide you with valuable insights.

First, let’s look at the patient’s journey:

  • A patient is aware of a problem (usually some form of joint, muscle, and/or nerve pain)
  • A patient considers the options to solve that problem (often this starts at Google, then may progress to asking a family member, friend, doctor, or coming back directly to you)
  • A patient decides what solution to try (often based on their insurance coverage, the geographic location of a practice, and/or a practice’s ratings and reviews).

If you find that you lose patients in the consideration phase, you may be not doing enough marketing/advertising/or sales to let your community know that you exist. Of course, not every patient coming in contact with your clinic will make an appointment, but it’s still important to find leaks in the sales funnel.

With this in mind, you want to create content for each stage of the patient’s journey, so you can address any concerns they may have along the way.

building trust

Final Thoughts

When it comes to marketing, don’t assume you understand the patient better than they know themselves. Instead of telling your patients what they need, focus on providing them with information and solutions that address their needs, so you can create a loyal following that grows your business.

How to Ensure Your Physical Therapy Blog Posts Stay Evergreen

The best part about content marketing is its versatility. It can be specific to your practice, free and really covering any topic you want it to be, plus it’s easy for beginners to get started.
That said, not every aspect of creating content is easy. A successful content marketing campaign for your physical therapy clinic must deliver a valuable message, and consistently define you and your practice as the leader in your community.

One aspect of keeping your post evergreen is to revisit your blog history, we’re talking about the maintenance of your previous content marketing. Updating older content is a great way to boost your SEO, but many practice owners and marketers don’t take advantage of this opportunity.

Here’s why that should change.

physical therapy content marketing

Physical Therapy Content’s Final Stage

Content creation involves a defined process and repeated stages that begin with research. From there, the plan is formed to make new content over time. Once the content is designed or written, it’s published and shared, with not much done after the fact.
But the time after publishing, the maintenance phase is vital. Unfortunately, in the fury of constantly pushing new content, the end of this process is often neglected.
The content you’ve created to provide long-term value — your evergreen content — plays an important role in your site. These pieces are designed to stay relevant over time and guide new patients to your clinic, so they shouldn’t be neglected.

  • Just think about some of the benefits evergreen content brings to the table:
  • Driving traffic.
  • Backlinking.
  • Authoritative keywords.
  • Site and content continuity.
  • Improved ranking.

Evergreen and constantly maintained pieces serve as a foundation for the rest of your content and grow your authority as the leading physical therapist of your area. This also alleviates the stress of constantly struggling to source or validate new content.

Maintenance doesn’t have the urgency of creation, however, so it tends to take the back burner in content marketing. Content maintenance is about nurturing a sustainable relationship with your growing audience by keeping your post reliable.

If a loyal patient were to stumble upon an old, outdated post, they may lose faith in your practice.
Content maintenance is challenging though, which is why many content marketers ignore it. Evergreen content requires time, research and updates to stay relevant, which means adding a second plan in addition to your content marketing strategy.

Here are some methods you can use to update and maintain older content:

physical therapy blog posts

Physical Therapy Blog Technical Updates

Like anything else, your site needs maintenance over time. Whether it’s broken links or an outdated background, technical issues are likely present in your old content.
Even if it was published in peak condition at the time, there will likely be one or more elements that should be updated.

For example, Google recently made changes to their meta descriptions. The previous limitation of 160 characters is no longer the case, so what was once optimized is no longer optimized.
Maybe your meta description still works for SEO today, but it’s still worth the time to refresh your old content and check for things like this.

You may also want to experiment with new title tags to boost engagement and refresh your post. You may find that you have broken links or links to outdated resources that are no relevant which harms your credibility.

Broken links hurt your SEO, so take the time to find newer information or statistics that emphasize your point and link to those. You can also update your “last updated” timestamp to show viewers that your content is fresh.

Another technical challenge is the way content is consumed now versus how it was consumed years ago. The end of Flash, for instance, has also ended plenty of excellent content pieces that relied upon it. If you created content with Flash, it won’t last much longer as Flash is being phased out. Many sites recommend Flash be disabled anyway, so it’s a change that will come no matter what.

A way to update that content for modern audiences is by switching out JPEG images for PNG images. PNG images have better quality and load times than JPEG images, so if you don’t update them, you may find that you have slower load times that impact your SEO.

Revitalize Your Most Popular Old Physical Therapy Posts

While maintenance is important, you don’t need to update every single piece of old content, nor should you. The best place to start with updates is with your best and most popular pieces, regardless of how old they may be.

You can find out what these pieces are with Google Analytics under the “Behavior” section. This section will show you a detailed breakdown of each page’s performance for the history of your site and the posts that have stayed popular over the years. You’ll then have a list of pieces that are worth maintaining.

If you focus on maintaining and revitalizing these older pieces of popular content, you’ll most likely be able to continue to leverage them in the future.

You may also want to consider why these content pieces have been so successful. Each piece of content has a purpose, so you may learn more about what works and what doesn’t by analyzing your popular pieces.

If you think that an older piece could do better, consider “upcycling.” Upcycling turns your old pieces into a new format, which is commonly done with a video. It’s the same information, but it’s presented in a way that revitalizes the content and gets it more attention.

physical therapy content done for me

Make Relevance about your Physical Therapy Private Practice a New Goal

No matter how evergreen you thought your content was, time will always make your posts irrelevant. Eventually, posts will turn into old news, which requires maintenance to keep them relevant.
One of the benefits here, however, is that you can turn your piece into something noteworthy with your new perspective. So, instead of focusing on updating the piece for popularity, focus on making changes to make it more relevant.

To start, evaluate your content according to three questions:

  • Does your content still pique interest?
  • Is it timely?
  • Will it provide a purpose to your patients and your practice?

If the answer to all three of these questions is yes, then you have content that’s worth updating.

The most relevant content will be viewed and shared more, so taking the time to revamp your relevant content can improve your content lifecycle.

Once you decide that the piece should and could be updated, it’s a good idea to check the topic with Google Trends to make sure there’s interest in the topic of the old post you’ve chosen to update. If you see too many peaks and valleys, you may want to wait until the optimal time to revamp your piece.

Final Thoughts

Content maintenance isn’t the most exciting part of developing a content marketing strategy, but it’s incredibly helpful for your practice. If you want to continue to create evergreen content, you need to put in the effort to reach your patients.

This means taking the time with your old blog posts and checking for technical issues, popularity and relevance to see what will work best. It also means making a serious commitment to making these changes.

Evergreen content isn’t designed for overnight success. Instead, it takes up a vital place in your content library that will bring traffic and credibility to your brand for years.

Creating a Physical Therapy Marketing Campaign for 2019

When done correctly, a marketing campaign has the ability to resonate with your patients long after it’s out of the spotlight. A well thought out campaign will make your practice memorable and influence the patient to take action, as well as giving your practice a personality and sharing your culture.

If you want to create a successful campaign that can provide these results for your physical therapy practice, check out this guide to crafting a marketing campaign.

What Is a Marketing Campaign?

physical therapy marketing campaign

Marketing campaigns are organized and strategized efforts to promote a particular goal for a business. For example, generating more new patients from physicians or Google are just a couple potential campaign goals. They may involve personal sales, advertising, search engines, social media, emails, patient newsletters or other types of media to attract patients to your practice.

There are multiple channels to deliver your message to potential patients through; a strong campaign, however, will focus on strategies that target two things, a specific result from a specific audience.

Here are some key points to consider when crafting a successful campaign.

Planning

To begin, decide on what your overall goal is. Why are you running a campaign and what do you want it to accomplish for your practice. This may include increasing awareness of your services, building your reputation with Google and website reviews, generating new patients or promoting a new service.

The campaign must be carefully planned to ensure you have the best chance of reaching your goals. Once you have the broad goal of the campaign, you need to make sure that your goal is specific, attainable, measurable, relevant and timely. This will give you guidance and accountability for your campaign’s success.

You will need to identify your target audience, and decide what sort of patient (new, current, past) or referrals source (physicians, case managers, businesses) you will be reaching out to. Once you have established your targeted audience, your message can be developed to incorporate ideas might that appeal to this group.

For example, if your goal is to build your community reputation, lay out the specifics of how you intend to accomplish this. Break the goal down into defined measurable tasks by answering such questions as, the number of customers you’d like to take action, how you want them to take action, and by what date. This gives you guidelines and goals to achieve and helps you tailor your campaign for the goal.

Measuring Success

physical therapy marketing analysis

Each campaign has its own goal, so you must find a way to measure your success. If you’re looking to generate revenue, your measurement may be in how many new patients your practice attained during the campaign. If you’re looking to increase community awareness, your measurement may be in how many new patient reviews were received.

You will also want to determine the necessary measurements for each marketing/promotional medium being used to attain your specific goal.  These measurements are often called key performance indicators (KPIs).  As an example, let’s say you launched a Google Ads campaign.  One KPI you would want to know is how may times people clicked on your ad.  This is one KPI but you also want to know how many patients registered for your offer…another KPI.  How many patients that scheduled, showed up?  How many visits was each patient treated for?  All of these help you determine the profitability of your campaign.

You should also set some milestones throughout the campaign (i.e. I need to generate >3 new patients/month to break even), so you can determine whether to forge ahead or pull the campaign for reassessment and adjustment.

Target Audience

Properly identifying the target audience is the single most important aspect of your campaign. Regardless of the medium or message you use, promoting your message to the wrong audience won’t get you to your ultimate goal.

The first step in identifying the audience is learning what stage of the patient’s journey your campaign is targeting. This can be broken down into the awareness, consideration, and decision stages. For example, if you’re targeting new people to introduce your practice, you would be targeting the awareness stage.

Then, you’ll need to determine the interests and problems of your audience. Learn more about what they do in their spare time, what types of injuries do they experience, how they spend their time, why they’re on social media,  and what problems they have that may be solved by your services. Finding the answers to these questions will help you confidently craft a campaign that resonates with your audience.

Concept

At this point in the planning process, you know what your goal is for the campaign, how you’ll measure your success and what audience you’re targeting, so all you have left is the message and the medium.

Marketing campaigns need a vision and message all their own, which is an offshoot of your practice’s identity. Your campaign should stay within the bounds of the practice in style and message but still maintain its own identity.

For this step, you may want to bring in the whole team. Your clinical and administrative staff know your business well and can get you started, but you can always use an agency or freelancer for some or all of the campaign.

Once the campaign is complete, it’s time to consider how it will be distributed to your audience.

Reaching Your Audience

Your campaign’s distribution will depend on many factors, such as your budget and current engagement levels. Take a look at your current media channels and see which performs the best and which offers paid advertising, as well as channels that a majority of your target audience participate in (i.e. Facebook for the parents of pediatric patients, or Google for orthopedic conditions). Though it’s smart to promote your campaign on multiple platforms, it’s better to focus your efforts on the platforms in which you already have a presence.

After choosing your platforms, you can choose two or three media options for your campaigns. These may include pay-per-click, SEO, paid influencers, email offers, or scheduled office visits with doctors. You’ll also want to tailor your images, video and copy to suit the medium you’re using.

Campaign Timeline

Part of your campaign goal involves the deadline for your campaign, which helps you determine how and when you’ll promote it.

Beginning with a general campaign timeline, mark your start date and deadline. Then, determine your marketing assets and channels to decide how much you can afford to promote your content and how often.  This allows you to map out your scheduled ads for each channel, will help you disperse your message evenly, and ensure that you’re posting on each medium equally.

Conversions

Marketing campaigns are designed to generate particular actions – calls, reviews, or referrals. A conversion occurs when your campaign achieves a particular goal. No matter how well your campaign performs in terms of traffic or engagement, it isn’t effective if it’s not generating conversions. This goes back to your specific goals within the campaign.

Achieving the desired action is done through conversion assets, such as landing pages, lead forms, calls-to-action statements, and/or phone calls.

  • Landing pages are a destination web page for your campaign. These are dedicated web pages for your audience to visit and learn more about your practice, so they can decide if they want to utilize your service. This should be separate from the rest of your website.
  • Lead forms are web forms that capture information about a visitor and turn them into a lead. These aren’t necessary for all campaigns, but they can be important for campaigns that involve downloads or interests gathering.
  • Call-to-action statements are an image or line of text that encourages your visitors to take a specific action. It’s typically a clear directive, such as “call now” or “schedule today,” but the appropriate call-to-action depends on your goal.

Moving Forward

Congratulations! You’ve crafted a marketing campaign. Now, you just need to measure its performance and decide if it was effective. Thanks to all the planning involved and your clearly defined goals, this part should be easy.

If your campaign was successful in achieving your goal, you’re done. If not, you should see what areas were successful and decide what you can change for better results in the future.

Marketing campaigns aren’t the easiest thing to create, but they’re vital to growing a successful brand. They also give you an opportunity to connect with your audience and provide them with something valuable, which will only serve your practice needs in the future.

Why Patient Trust Is Vital to Your Practice

With increasing access to information on the internet, patient expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, and the competition is fierce. Patient trust has always been important for the success and growth of your physical therapy clinic, but this new environment makes it absolutely vital.

Once you gain patient trust, it increases the likelihood they will consistently choose your practice over another. It also gives you a little leeway if problems arise in the future. No matter what may happen, earning the trust of your patients ensures your practice can survive.

Arguably, the “caring” in health care, seems to have declined over the last decade.

So, what is patient trust and how is it earned? This isn’t a new concept, but it’s an area in which some practices fail. The transparency that leads to trust is more than including standard marketing and communications about why your practice is better than the rest — you have to “truly care” about your patients and their problems. 

What Is Patient Trust and Why Is It Important?

Generally, patient trust happens when you have a deep understanding of your patients’ needs and a valid solution to their problems. You provide them with relevant information and personalized care that caters to their unique needs, rather than just touting the benefits of choosing your practice.

Ultimately, this trust is about putting the patient first in your marketing content and your services.

The reason trust is more important now than it’s ever been is a direct result of the variety of treatment options available to patients today. Patients no longer need to choose between only one or two clinics. They have options and virtually limitless access to reviews & testimonials that can give them an idea of what you have to offer.

Because of this, practice owners need to look beyond the competitive pricing, features, and benefits, and direct their attention more toward the history and legacy. Patients have become empowered and skeptical, so they’re looking for the whole package — one that will not only give them reliable solutions to their pain, but also a physical therapy practice with patient services they can count on now and in the future. Ideally, your services will address their dysfunction, disability, and functional limitations; but in the event your services don’t completely alleviate their problems, patients still want to have an exceptional experience.  

In my personal experience, patients often care as much about the customer service, communication, and convenience as they do the outcomes of the treatment.  In other words, they don’t expect miracles, just a sincere attempt by the physical therapy practice to rehabilitate them.

How Is Patient Trust Created?

As we know, the idea of building consumer trust isn’t new, but it is difficult to achieve. Just making promises about your practice is no longer enough, since patients are looking for actions that back-up your claims. This has a big influence on loyalty as well since patients are more likely to return to the practice that gave them the experience and results they wanted the first time around.

Authenticity is key. Authenticity is the one thing that transcends industries, generations, and cultures since it’s the universal thing that all patients are looking for. It’s about being transparent and giving patients what they expect, both in developing the patient/therapist relationship and delivering on their expectations of meeting personal health goals and finding a solution to their existing condition.

Of course, authenticity and transparency are useless for the pure sake of it. You need to be able to translate this into the right verbiage, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of your patients’ needs and expectations, so you can provide them with relevant, valuable solutions. Superlatives, false claims, half-truths and other marketing hype that can’t be verified, instantly read as false, credibility killers. Focus on positive information of substance and value to your patient.

Also, if you’re falling below expectations in some way, it’s vital to learn from it and find ways to improve. While it may be difficult to accurately measure the value and performance in terms of patient trust, you can set standards for your physical therapy practice to ensure that each aspect of your patient’s experience is accounted for and completed. This not only makes your trust tangible for your audience, but it also keeps your business living up to the image of excellence you’re sharing with your community.

Why Is Patient Trust Hard to Earn?

There are many reasons trust can be hard to earn, but skeptical and savvy patients are the main reason. More and more false claims, scams, data breaches and misuse of data are dominating the headlines. It’s becoming more difficult for consumers to immediately trust a business and be open to trying an the little known practice of physical therapy.

Fortunately, this issue is easy to combat if you’re truly putting the patient first. A physical therapy practice must be clear about its purpose and values, as well as being transparent with policy and procedures. Perception is everything, and a clinic that offers the truth is more likely to have good impressions with potential patients.

There’s been a shift in power between the practice owner and the consumer. In the past, the physicians and physical therapy practice owners had the power and patients had to accept what was given. Now, patients have a broad outlook and understand more about what physical therapy should and should not be, so they’re less forgiving of missteps. Patients want a practice that shows loyalty and demonstrates shared values, so an effective strategy would be to align your practice’s values with the information you’d gladly offer to the public.

In addition, transparency is often forced upon the physical therapy practice, since patients can “find dirt on the practice” if they look hard enough. More than ever, questionable ethics and lack of sincerity are an major risk.  It’s so easy for them now to be published on social media and to be found by potential patients, leaving a practice looking disingenuous and sleazy.  Of course, this is worse than having no trust at all.

Handling Breaches of Trust

As hard as it is to earn the trust of your patients in the first place, it’s even harder to get it back following a breach. That’s why developing deep trust with your patient base in the first place, is the only way to bounce back and survive the fallout.

Physical therapy groups that offer a positive patient experience which meets or exceeds their expectations and delivers benefits that resonate with the patient is so important.  An overall culture that demonstrates a willingness to learn from mistakes is paramount. Gone are the days of media spin, since the best way to approach a mistake in the current climate is by owning up to shortcomings and showing a determination to move forward.

ADVANCED TIP: while most practice owners understand the importance of capturing online ratings and reviews, still very few do it.  Moreover, responding to negative reviews is a great example of owning up to legitimate mistakes that happen in the practice.

If handled properly, a small mistake or breach of trust can even provide an opportunity for growth. A physical therapy practice that gracefully addresses a mistake and has an effective plan to recover can gain some positive exposure.

Conclusion

While the patient’s trust may sound like a swift strategy or “silver bullet” for new leads and business growth, it’s anything but. Trust is difficult to earn and keep and is far more than just a marketing strategy.

The authenticity and transparency necessary to garner real patient trust comes from honest communications, a solid practice culture, and treating the patient as you would want to be treated, rather than just lip service on your physical therapy website or marketing materials.

Though it’s clear that consumers want a relationship built on trust with their physical therapist, their general trust of small business isn’t high. This can be an area of opportunity for new or developing clinics, or physical therapy groups looking to revamp their image and surge ahead of competitors. Whether we like it or not, the power is with the consumer, so it’s more important than ever to put their needs first for business success.

Video Marketing for Physical Therapists

It’s the new force for online marketing, and understanding its significance to the future of your Physical Therapy Practice.

The exponential growth of online video usage is undeniably the future of all small business marketing plans, including physical therapy practices.  By not embracing our video minded culture in your next marketing plan, would be equivalent to not having a website for your practice today. Business forecasters at Cisco, eMarketer, and The Drum all have astounding figures to show how online video popularity has grown in the past few years, and predict continual future growth should not be ignored. Physical therapy clinics will need a video presence in order to survive.

To better understand the significance of small business video marketing take a look at these statistics, and consider them when creating your future marketing plan.

The Unstoppable Popularity of Online Video

It’s hard to miss the epidemic of video streaming on mobile devices these days. Groups of teenagers and young adults all together, but no one actually talking.  Their heads down, trying to find the next great video to share on their social media pages. It’s a cultural phenomenon to witness the evolution of the mobile phone, and how it is impacting our lives.  Whether we like it or not, mobile phones, and video streaming are embedded in our modern world.

By looking at the following statistics, you can begin to understand the significance of this marketing media format.

  • Video made up 73% of global internet traffic in 2016; Cisco predicts it will make up 82% by 2021 (Cisco)
  • By 2021, the equivalent of 5 million years of video content will be watched every month (Cisco)
  • Live video will grow 15x by 2021, making up 13% of all internet traffic (Cisco)
  • In 2015, US adults spent an hour and 16 minutes of every day watching video online (eMarketer)
  • 69% of people worldwide watch video online, but 86% of those 18-26 do (eMarketer)
  • 71% of teens 13-18 say they watch mobile video (eMarketer)
  • The average person spends around 30 minutes watching video on their smartphones every day (Quartz)
  • Mobile video use grew 35% in 2017 (The Drum)
  • 55% of people watch a video online every single day (Forbes)

Technology advancements for smartphones, including improved bandwidth, allow users the ways and means for video streaming anywhere at anytime, but that is not the only driving force in its popularity.  Social Media is the fuel for the fire in video consumption. Social media platforms such as YouTube, and Facebook, are the power players, along with Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Differing social sites appealing to the interest of varying gender and age groups, prove that there is a social media site for everyone, and everyone is using one.

Here are statistics on how social media plays an important role in how we receive information today.

  • Youtube is the second-most popular mobile app; 71% of all mobile users have it installed (recode)
  • Youtube claims that mobile video consumption increases 100% each year (Forbes)
  • 300 hours worth of video content are uploaded to Youtube every minute (Statistic Brain)
  • 8 billion videos — equal to 100 million hours worth of content — are watched on Facebook daily (Social Media Today)
  • 500 million people watch video on Facebook each day (Forbes)
  • Snapchat users watch 10 billion videos every day (Social Media Today)
  • Over 500 million hours of video are watched on Youtube every day (Social Media Today)
  • Twitter’s video views grew 220x between 2014 and 2015 (Social Media Today)
  • 45% of people say they watch over an hour of video on Facebook or YouTube every week (WordStream)
  • People upload more video content in 30 days than what has been created by major US TV networks in the past 30 years (WordStream)
  • 92% of people who watch mobile video say they share videos with others (Forbes)
  • Video content on social media generates 1200% more shares than text content and image content combined (Forbes)
  • Since most videos autoplay on mute, and many people browse Facebook in a public setting, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound (Digiday)

Your patients have come to expect information in a video format.  

Your patients no longer have the attention to sit and read pages and pages of information.  They have come to expect the entertaining assets and quick bits of information a video can offer.  When patients are engaged in the branded video content, they are more likely to respond in favorable ways to the next call to action. Call today to learn more!  Schedule your appointment now! Learn more by clicking here! Patients are drawn in and take action.

  • 4x as many people would prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about it (Social Media Today)
  • When making a purchase decision, 4 in 5 millennials look for video content as a form of research (Social Media Today)
  • 70% of millennials say they’re likely to watch a branded video while shopping for products online (Social Media Today)
  • 96% of video viewers say they find video content useful when weighing a purchase decision (Vidyard)
  • 75% of executives say they watch branded videos related to their job at least once a week, and 65% end up visiting the website of the brand after viewing (Vidyard)
  • People are 10x more likely to engage with and share a post if it includes a video (Vidyard)
  • 43% of people say they want to see more video content from marketers (Hubspot)
  • Half of internet users say they search for videos related to a product or service before visiting a brick and mortar store (Vidyard)
  • One in four consumers say they lose interest in a business if it doesn’t have video content for them to watch (Vidyard)
  • When asked about the type of marketing asset they’d like to see more of from brands, North American consumers ranked video #1 (Vidyard)
  • 59% of consumers say video footage of testimonials help them decide whether they want to buy from a company (Vidyard)
  • Over a third of video viewers watch the video in its entirety (Hubspot)
  • 80% of consumers remember a video they’ve watched in the past month (Forbes)

Video content in your marketing plan will benefit your physical therapy practice with a higher rate of return, (ROI) They are cost effective and with better outcomes, by converting more potential patients, reinforcing your other marketing campaigns, and distinguishing you as a leader in the industry.  Here are a few advantages of video marketing to consider.

  • Adding a video to a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80% (Forbes)
  • Companies that create video content earn 41% more traffic from search engine results than those that don’t (Forbes)
  • Marketers using video earn 66% more qualified leads every year and earn a 54% higher lift in brand awareness (Optinmonster)
  • 76.5% of small business owners and marketers get positive results from their video content campaigns (Optinmonster)
  • 83% of business professionals using video assert that it gives them good ROI (Dreamgrow)
  • 82% of businesses consider video a key part of their marketing strategy (Optinmonster)
  • 97% of businesses that create explainer videos feel that leads understand their business better after viewing (Optinmonster)
  • 81% of businesses say that video has helped them effectively increase sales (Optinmonster)
  • Using embedded video on your website makes you 53% more likely to show up on the first page of search results (Dreamgrow)
  • 61% of all businesses now use video content (Dreamgrow)
  • Video spending increased 53% in 2016, and mobile video spending increased a staggering 145% (AdAge)
  • Mobile video ad spending is predicted to surpass desktop video ad spending in 2018 (recode)
  • 67% of marketers run video ads on YouTube, and 51% use Facebook video ads (eMarketer)
  • 83% of marketers say they are “confident” that their Facebook video ads will help them earn more purchases (eMarketer)

Taking Video Marketing to the next level

For those physical therapy practices who have mastered videos in their marketing plan, think about the next level of video media.  Live videos! Since Facebook and other platforms launched the ability to stream video live, the format has taken off.

  • People spend 3x more watching Facebook Live videos, on average, compared to a typical Facebook video (Facebook)
  • Live videos earn 10x the amount of comments compared to pre-recorded videos (Facebook)
  • 81% of people watched more live video in 2016 than 2015 (livestream)
  • 80% of people would rather watch a live video stream from a business than read its blog (livestream)
  • 87% of people want to watch more behind the scenes video content (livestream)
  • 67% of viewers say overall quality is the most important component of a live video stream (livestream)
  • 36% of internet users have watched a live video, but 63% of millennials have, and 42% have created their own live video stream (eMarketer)
  • The live streaming platform Twitch has 665 million viewers — a bigger audience than subscribers to HBO, Netflix, and ESPN streaming services combined (The Motley Fool)
  • Streaming service Twitch achieved a record 737,000 concurrent viewers in Q3 2017 (The Motley Fool)

To ignore the revolution of mobile technology and the positive effects of video marketing would drive your practice to closure. Stay ahead of your competition and plan your marketing strategies to embrace this significantly popular form of brand marketing. Include videos to let your patients know who you are and what makes your practice unique.

Keyword Research to Match the Patient’s Journey

Keyword research is as old as SEO itself. Search engines have always used keywords to provide a list of relevant results to the searcher, and as this SEO market expanded, Google brought in an advertising platform that gave businesses a chance to appear on search engine results pages for keywords like “physical therapy Los Angeles” or “physical therapy Midtown”.

From there, Google offered a tool that enabled businesses to see how many searches occurred for any keyword, eventually giving way to keyword research. This tool has been useful for businesses because it comes from Google itself and offers additional insights to gain leverage over the competition.

As practices began using more data for marketing, data comparisons revealed that the Google Keyword Tools wasn’t always accurate. More software tools emerged to provide additional keyword insights, giving marketers more opportunities than ever to use keywords to their advantage.

Unfortunately, historical keyword research has a few problems:

  • SEO is focused on the decision stage of the patient’s journey, and not the whole process.
  • SEO is focused on keywords alone, and not on categories or topics.

These two issues are being addressed as marketers focus on topics more than keywords, but that’s only part of the whole picture. Optimizing keywords to align with each stage of the patient’s journey is the key, which we’ll cover here.

What Is the Patient’s Journey?

The patient’s journey refers to a framework that acknowledges the patient’s progression through the research and decision process, which ultimately ends in the patient calling to schedule an initial evaluation. This concept isn’t new, but it has evolved over the years with new technology and marketing insights.

There are three stages of patient’s journey:

  • Awareness: The patient is experiencing and expressing a problem or pain and conducting research to understand, frame, and name the problem. This stage involves question-based searches that center around the problem.  Examples are “what causes back pain” or “the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear”.
  • Consideration: The patient has identified the problem and is investigating the available options to solve the problem.  Examples of these searches are: “Is physical therapy good for back pain?” or “best treatment for shoulder pain”.
  • Decision: The patient has developed a solution strategy and compiled a list of services to address the problem. They are narrowing down the possibilities to come to an ultimate purchase decision.  Example searches are “physical therapy New Orleans” or “physical therapy near me”.

Most marketers focus only on the decision stage, but there are opportunities at each stage of this process.

Patient Personas

A map of your ideal patient is vital, since it’s the only way to truly understand your patient’s journey. You should understand their needs and problems, which will ultimately drive them toward your solution.

This can be done a number of ways:

  • Website and social media data may be helpful if you have a large practice with a good number of clinics and website traffic: Your analytics should give you key data points about your audience. You can find everything from your audience’s demographics to the type of content they engage with most.
  • Surveys and feedback are usually the better choice: The best way to get insight into your ideal patient is by speaking with them directly. This can be done through polls, surveys, feedback requests, and other questions regarding their buying behavior at each stage of the buying journey.

This information allows you to connect the dots and create accurate patient personas and mapping of the patient’s journey.

Shifting From Keywords to Topics

Much of the SEO community has begun shifting from keywords to topics already. This comes in the form of long-form content that connects to other content across sections, providing a comprehensive overview of the broad topic. This approach addresses the new way that search engines are interpreting content.

For the purposes of this discussion, these long-form content pages typically target the short-tail keywords that have a higher search volume, ultimately addressing the awareness or consideration stages. Key decision-stage pages are narrow content.

These can be further subcategorized into pillar, target, and cluster pages:

  • Pillar page: This page covers the broad topic on a single page, with smaller cluster pages that link to it. This is focused on the awareness or consideration stage.
  • Target page: This page has a keyword or phrase linked to a specific condition or service page (think shoulder treatment or laser therapy).  This content is focused on the decision stage.
  • Cluster page: This page gives more detail about long-tail keywords related to the pillar page.

Putting It Together

The process to put all these pages together is simple. It begins like any other keyword research task, which is based on the keywords that a business is looking to rank for, and provides a starting point for what a prospective customer will search.

From there, you can begin to consider keywords outside of the obvious, such as synonyms and colloquial terms. This is the time to use keyword research tools, such as Google Ads, or consult customers about terms they may use to find your physical therapy practice.

Once this list is expanded, it can be narrowed down for better targeting. Irrelevant keywords can be filtered out, then relevant keywords can be sorted by topic and buying intent. For this part, be sure to put yourself in the shoes of the patient and consider what they would search to address a problem, as well as what keywords show intent to purchase.

This is when the stages of the patient’s journey come in. Keywords should be categorized to each stage, using your judgement about what you believe the patient is looking for. Categorizing is important, because it provides you with framework for what type of content is appropriate for certain phrases or keywords.

You’ll often distinguish patterns in the keywords along the patient’s journey. Words like “cost” or “price” are usually found in the decision stage, whereas “who should I see for” or “what causes” will be the awareness stage. These patterns will help you streamline your content planning.

Here are some examples of keywords at the awareness stage:

  • What is plantar fasciitis?
  • How do I know if I have a herniated disc?
  • Symptoms of arthritis
  • Bursitis vs tendonitis
  • Different types of hip pain
  • Is tingling in my hand carpal tunnel?

Here are some examples of keywords at the consideration stage:

  • Shoe orthotics for plantar fasciitis
  • Natural care for a herniated disc
  • How is arthritis treated
  • Home remedies for tendonitis
  • Exercises for hip pain
  • How to treat carpal tunnel syndrome

Here are some examples of keywords at the decision stage:

  • Physical therapy or podiatrist for plantar fasciitis
  • Physical therapy for a herniated disc
  • Best physical therapy in Los Angeles for arthritis
  • Tendonitis treatment physical therapy
  • Physical therapy for hip pain
  • Hand specialist for carpal tunnel in NYC

Once this is complete, you can group your keywords into pillar page, target page, and cluster page. This gives you insight into what type of content should be used, based on how competitive a term is, what the search volume is, what stage the patient is in, and how profitable a keyword might be.

This information not only informs your current content, but it also helps you fill gaps in existing content. Check that the topics haven’t been covered before, and look for gaps resulting from keyword searches that aren’t currently being targeted.

Moving Forward

Traditional keyword research isn’t successful because most marketers only consider volume and competition. They tend to go for the terms with the highest traffic, but traffic doesn’t necessarily indicate the patient is looking for care right now. In many cases, traffic indicates users looking for information about their problem, but are still trying to understand their problem or they are considering various solutions to their pain or condition.

Because of this, current keyword research is a nuanced process that considers the needs of the patient above all else. Used properly, keyword research can drive your content strategy to generate leads and convert customers, provided you address their needs throughout each stage.

 

 

7 Easy ways to turn Facebook into your  Physical Therapy Blog’s best distribution vehicle.

Do you ever wonder why your Facebook likes and posts seem to be from the same people? It’s true, you may have 100s of friends, but you only hear from the same group of people.  There are ways to reach a broader scope, but first you have to understand the techniques facebook uses to disseminate content.

Love it or hate it, Facebook is apart of our American culture.  It is estimated that 68% of Americans regularly check their Facebook accounts.  It is installed on 81% of mobile devices, and since the majority of internet traffic is viewed on a mobile device, this is something worth looking into and understanding.  Once you have a better knowledge of how Facebook can be one of your most efficient and cost-effective marketing tools, you will have a hard time arguing it’s not your best distribution module for reaching new and returning patients to your blog.  

1. Every blog you write should be shared on Facebook

Realize your reader is not sitting on pins and needles waiting for your next blog, checking it regularly to see what the newest addition is.  You need to utilizing the popularity of Facebook, to help deliver your message. Remember most Americans are checking their Facebook accounts multiple times a day.

2. Both quantity and quality matter

You will want to post often to Facebook, one to two times a day is acceptable, but the key is to keep it interesting and intriguing.  Don’t jeopardize your practice’s reputation by inundating readers with trivial posts. Be selective to what information you would like to be identified with. Posts that are just fluff information will turn patients away from regarding you as a leader in the industry, to seeing you more as a nuisance.

3. Consider Advertising on Facebook

At Facebook’s inception, a business had a pretty good shot of reaching a wide audience.  Today, however, organic reaches are falling rapidly. There is just too much supply of information available.  Facebook is constantly evolving to keep their subscribers happy, and to do this they are cherry picking the most relevant content based on their informational data algorithms.  This decisive feature of who see’s what is not necessarily a bad thing. All this gathered data and algorithm crunching, works in your favor too. By boosting your post thru paid advertising Facebook is exposing your post to a targeted audience, who actually have an interest on what your blog is about.  Factors such as where they live, their age, their interest and hobbies are just a fraction of the information used to funnel millions of viewers to those with real odds of becoming a future patient. One way to see how this might work for you is to give it a test run. Try boosting one or two blogs that you feel are your best, and measure the outcome.

4. Mobilize your Blog Site

Facebook is mobil is your blog site?  Again you need to keep it as easy as possible for your reader, if they have to work to view your blog they will move on to the next story.  Be mindful of your image sizes, and make sure your blog is mobile optimized.

5. Watch your Headlines

You have seconds to capture your reader’s attention, before they scroll to the next post.  How are you capturing their attention? Remember to start with a catchy headline without getting cliche, then funnel your most important facts down to the end with your call to action.  Consider how much information is out there, at any point of losing your reader’s interest they will move on.

6. Use Images

Facebook readers love images.  A relevant picture already begins to tell the story without even reading a word. Just remember to keep your images related to the subject of your blog, and use pictures that will stir an emotion for the reader.  

7. Finally do your own research

Try testing the same blog post with different variables to see the response you get from your audience.  Post the same blog, but use a different headline, or change up the image. Review the data from your previous blogs.  What worked for your popular posts in the past, is there a common denominator? Was it the way you approached your headline, or the subject addressed?  Perhaps a blog about sports injuries for children showed amazing results, but the blog about balance did not. This might give an insight to the demographics of who is seeing your Facebook posts.

Need Help?

I hope you found this advice helpful.  If you have additional questions about Facebook, blogging, or how we can help you generate more patients to your practice. please give me a call at (760) 585-9097 or email me at dave@e-rehab.com .

 

Physical Therapy Content Marketing – Creating a Budget

For most physical therapists, their expertise in having a successful practice is not linked to their personal knowledge of business or physical therapy content marketing.  It comes from their passion to deliver solutions to their patient’s physical needs.  Clinic owners have invested years into their physical therapy education, and it is this knowledge, patient care, and exceptional customer service that will ultimately set them apart from all other competitors.

The question is how will your community know you are the best?  Regardless of how special you make your patients feel when coming to your clinic, you need to get the word out. This is where as a business owner you need to grasp the reality that you must have a PT content strategy. Here are some tips on what you will need to plan for your marketing budget, which ultimately will determine your marketing plan.

Defining your available funds

Setting your sites on a specific dollar amount is unfamiliar territory for most owners, about ⅓ of small business owners have no idea how much they are spending on content marketing.  Knowledge is power though, and if you can keep to a focused marketing budget and plan, you will be able to track your progress and execute on necessary changes as you see what works and what does not. Practice owners want to spend enough to compete in the local market, but not so much that they become financially over extended.  There are a few must haves and a few should haves in today’s marketing budget; how you decide to fulfill these needs will help you set your budget.

#1 Must Have… a physiotherapy content marketing creative writer and editor.  

Whether you hire an outside source or delegate the duties to an in-house employee, their time spent on creating content will be portioned into your budget.  

For in-house employees, including yourself, the time spent compared with salary/wage should be factored into your expenses.  If you should decide to hire an agency for creative content, keep in mind that their expenses will cover more than just intellectual property, it will also include their taxes and overhead.  

#2 must have… a graphic designer that understands physical rehab content marketing

Content is the wording created by your writer.  How you envision the delivery is decided upon conversations you have with your graphic designer.  Premium content is packaged nicely with eye candy surrounding it. Pictures, logos, color schemes all play an important part in capturing the attention of your future patient.  This allocation of budget can also be fulfilled by an in-house employee or outsourced to an agency for a higher level of customization.

#3 Must Have…. A Physical Therapy Content Publisher

Without someone to push all your content out to online sources, all your efforts won’t do you much good.  According to eMarketer, 84% of all businesses will use digital content marketing in 2018.  Content publishing can again be managed by an in-house employee, but keep in mind the hours spent per week to keep your social media sites lively and your emails, blogs, and newsletters interesting should be taken seriously, and considered to be a part of your employees job description.  The time spent compared to wages/salary should again be taken into account, and not thought of as something to only do during down time.

#4 Should Have…. Content Promotion Expenses.  

The greater your budget, the wider net you can cast.  Your content audience is heavily determined by how easy your potential patients can find you online.  In this case, a set amount should be determined for paid social media presence and retargeting ads. On average you can figure approximately $1000 should be allocated to this need with ¾ of that budget geared for social promotion and ¼ for retargeting ads.  

#5 Must Have…. A Marketing Strategy Manager.  

Your marketing plan needs to be thought out, so that every bit of content hits an intentional target.  Unstructured content will not define your practice or deliver a deliberate message that you are the best in your community.  You will need someone to create and calendar out the messages you want to deliver through the year. Start with an overall theme for a period of time like 6 months.  Make it simple.  For example, the them could be “natural care.”  Then take one month at a time with a specific goal. For example:

  • January could focus on how your physical therapy practice provides natural care for the KNEE. 
  • February covers the area of neck pain, and so on.
  • March might be about the natural care of physical therapy compared to medications.

Each month gives you the opportunity to prove your expertise in the focused area, showing your patients you are the leader in your industry. Your marketing budget will determine how much attention you can allocate to this focus, but even on the slimist of budgets do not underestimate the importance of creating a plan.  

physical therapy content marketing

So how much will this cost me?

It is truly difficult to establish what the industry standards for physical therapy marketing content will cost you.  There are so many variables for each practice, and how much that practice can afford to delegate. Here are two working budgets that may give you an estimate of what you can expect. 

The Bare Bones Budget- $500 per month, plus 20 hours of employee time.

  • 15 hours of your time dedicated to content development, planning and writing
  • 5 hours of content management for social media and emails.
  • $200 for tools such as graphic design software, email manager, SEO measurement, and other content publishing/management tools.
  • $800 for paid content promotion for paid social media and $200 for retargeting ads.

The Cutting Edge Budget-$2000. Per month but read below to learn more about how E-rehab.com can help.

  • $1000. For an agency enlisted for content development, planning and writing, or the option of a full time paid employee to be your marketing director.  
  • $200 for necessary software tools
  • $800. For paid content promotions and $200 for retargeting ads

A few last thoughts to consider when planning your content marketing budget

It is often hard to spend money on things we cannot physically touch. In a way it’s like buying new pipes for your house.  You know they are there and provide security from old busted pipes, but you don’t really see them and you certainly can’t drive it around like a new car. Your reward for following a well thought out marketing budget and plan, will be in the return of investment (ROI). Your practice will benefit with new patients being able to find you.  

Keep in mind that every community has its own unique needs and characteristics, by understanding what your potential patients are looking for will help you financially plan with purpose.  Be flexible and monitor your different campaigns, knowing what worked and what did not is vital to moving ahead. Modify the marketing campaign calendar to include more of what works, and drop ideas of what did not work.  The decision of how to implement your content marketing budget with either in house talent, hiring an agency, or a combination of the two sources is entirely up to you. Just be honest of what you or your staff is truly capable of producing with both talent and time.  

Why You Don’t Have to Spend $2000/mo in Content Marketing

E-rehab.com has spent that last 15 years providing physical therapy private practices with content marketing strategies.  Since we know online marketing and content marketing as well as anyone in the private practice space, this translates into cost savings for you.

We can provide you with the following:

  • Custom blog posts
  • News stories
  • Promotional videos
  • 20+ social media posts
  • and more.

For a fraction of the cost needed to hire an agency that doesn’t know or specialize in the physical therapy private practice market, E-rehab.com has you covered.

We encourage you to contact us at (760) 585-9097 or email me at dave@e-rehab.com .