Call us crazy but we see great potential for online mobile marketing. We really don’t think it’s crazy given the unbelieveable statistics.
Check out these numbers from Google regarding the number of times users go online on their smart phone each day.
As such, part of a comprehensive physical therapy marketing strategy should be about mobile. Practices can improve their communications with patients and prospect thru the mobile platform.
Check out some of our new mobile designs too.
Click on the graphic above to see more of our designs on Pinterest.
I recently wrote this guest blog post on the Web PT blog. Below is the summary and you can follow the link for the entire article on physical therapy reputation management.
[colored_box variation=”wheat” bgColor=”#f8f0c9″ textColor=”#8d8d8d”]
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one negative one to lose it.” With this statement in mind—and 21st century technology—let’s talk about reputation management in 2013. Here are a few questions to start you thinking:
- Do you know your online reputation?
- Are there any negative reviews about your practice on the Internet? If so, do you have a procedure for handling these reviews?
- Do you have a proactive reputation management program in place to inoculate your practice against negative reviews?
- Have you considered the impact that positive reviews will have on your practice’s reputation?
What is Online Reputation Management?
Patient reviews are powerful. Consumers trust their peers more than anyone else when making buying decisions. Studies indicate that great Yelp reviews can positively impact business growth.
Pew Internet studies indicate that 19 percent of patients consult reviews when making health care decisions.
Yelp Wrong and It Could Cost You
Yelp is continuously making efforts to obtain consistent and authentic reviews from consumers. As such they have “review filter” system in place that will flag suspicious activity.
Yelp Takes Suspicious Reviews to the Next Level
I have often written about the importance of not fabricating reviews or equally important, not using the same computer (i.e. IP address) to collect reviews.
Yelp has taken it to the next level. If they think you are buying reviews, they will hit you with the Big Red Box that says “Consumer Alert”!
As Yelp management said in their a couple months back:
…the allure of a page full of five-star reviews can turn even the most ethical business owner starry-eyed and persuade some to attempt to game the system by paying for reviews.
This pretty much breaks every rule in the book, not to mention it’s just wrong to mislead consumers with fake reviews. To combat this, we’ve put on our detective hats, tracked down these rogue solicitations and are now giving you a heads up. Starting today, when we’ve determined that there have been significant attempts to pay for reviews, you may see a warning (like the one below) that some shady practices may be at play.
If you purchase reviews or try to game the system, it could impact your business.
We recommend you get authentic reviews, from consumers that feel you have delivered exceptional care.
The Easy Way to Gather Yelp Reviews
One of the easiest ways to do this is to direct them to your Yelp page from your mobile website. The patient “yelper” then logs in to their own account and does their own review. This is one of the better and easier ways to build your online footprint.
If you have questions about this, don’t hesitate to give me a call.
So, go out and build your practice’s online footprint. It will pay off.
I’ve been brainstorming with some of the industry’s leading professionals like marketing expert Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT of Steffes & Associates, and finance expert Chuck Felder, PT, DPT of HCS Consulting, about how we can help you succeed in 2013.
It’s not your fault that Medicare/CMS are proposing such drastic changes. We do need to work together and make sure you are prepared.
This is what we came up with:
Improve Your Message, Your Marketing, and Your Finances
Lynn, Chuck and I have come up with a plan. We are offering you a package of services and our support at a significant discount. Here’s our offer:
1. IRIS Marketing: Lynn’s program focuses on internal marketing and helps you capitalize on your practice team to build referrals in the most influential and cost-effective manner. Click here for more information.
2. Benchmark 2013: Chuck’s assessment provides you with the specific data you need to take control of your business operations and stop wasting precious time and money. Click here to learn more.
3. E-rehab’s Online Marketing Systems: My company provides time-saving online business growth systems like custom websites, search marketing, social media marketing, mobile websites and patient/doctor video newsletters. Click here to learn more.
[fancy_header2 variation=”red”]The entire package, tools and consulting are just $1,150*. That’s a savings of $1,200 to you.[/fancy_header2]
Start 2013 off with better internal marketing, online marketing, and solid financial information and advice.
[note_box]Call me, David Straight, PT for more information at 800-468-5161 x 1101. We want to get to know you and help you and your practice move forward in 2013.[/note_box]
TIP 4: CREATE YOUR PRACTICE BUSINESS PAGE
Last week I discussed 3 TIPS to help you make the most of LinkedIn when trying to hire a new PT for your practice. This week I am going to provide you with a 4th tip that will help improve your business’ presence on LinkedIn. Below are some procedures on how to create and optimize your LinkedIn business page.
Set up your page:
Just like your practice’s Facebook page, you can also set up your LinkedIn business page. To do so, click on the “Companies” icon on the upper tab of your profile.
Then click on the “Add a company” link on the upper right-hand corner. The first window will appear and ask you the name of the company and your email address that you are using for your company.
Note: your business email address should NOT be a generic account (e.g. @gmail.com or similar). It has to be an email address that is using the company domain name (if you do not have one, call me and I will explain to you the benefit of having one and how to do it). Check the box to verify that you are an authorized representative of the company and hit continue. LinkedIn will send you an automatic message to verify the email address you just provided. Next, fill in the necessary information about your company (e.g. size, type of ownership, industry, website, year founded and specialties).
- Pay attention to the description you provide for your practice overview. Avoid excessive text which forces the viewer to scroll down the page.
- Include the phrase “physical therapy in YOUR TOWN” (e.g. physical therapy in Encinitas) to help with search engine listings.
- Remember, your target audience is potential staff members, not new patients. A “very flexible schedule” for appointments may be very attractive for your patients but not so much for your potential employees.
- Focus your message on the unique culture of your practice and what makes it remarkable.
- You will be able to modify this overview after your page is set up; so, do not hesitate to tailor your message to your current staffing needs.
Add your services:
After you write a great practice overview that will catch the attention of your target, you can focus on the presentation of your services. From the company home page go to the “Edit” icon (upper right-hand corner), click on the arrow and select the “Add a product or service” option.
You will be taken to a page where you can complete your service tab in 11 steps. Don’t worry, it’s painless 🙂 Fill in the different items and do not forget to add a picture. This is the first thing that people will see when landing on your services page. I also suggest that you add a video presentation of your practice (step 11). This will give a prospects a better sense of the atmosphere and culture at your practice.
To create a free video slideshow of your practice, use a service like www.animoto.com
When you are done click “Publish” and LinkedIn will automatically post an update on your page saying you added a product or a service. If you want to modify it click on the “Product & Services” tab.
Next, click on the product you want to modify and click edit.
When you are done click “Publish” and LinkedIn will let all your company followers know that you updated your service. The “Product & Services” tab on LinkedIn is not a place where you want to showcase all the services you provide. Instead I suggest that you concentrate on 4-5 items maximum…the ones that differentiate your practice or in which you have the most expertise.
Again, remember that you are writing this for prospective employees. Here you can get away with PT jargon. Make your practice attractive to prospective employees.[/note_box]
Let’s now talk about how you can support your recruiting efforts with your company page.
The first level of subscription service on LinkedIn will let you add complete job descriptions on your “Career” tab. The higher level will allow LinkedIn members to apply for a position via their professional platform. However, this is not something I recommend for a small private practice. Chances are you won’t get a good return on your investment. Instead, I suggest you post your job descriptions on your practice website and then post a link to them on your LinkedIn Company page. This way all your followers will see it, as well as all people visiting your website.
To do so, go to the “Home” tab of your company page and write your update on the top of the page in the white rectangle. Copy and paste the link to the job description on your website, like the example below.
If your link is correct a second new box with your website preview will appear. When you are satisfied with your post select to whom the post will be visible (e.g. All followers) and hit share.
If you want your company page to be an asset for your practice, you should commit to the following:
- Let all your connections on LinkedIn know that you created your practice page, i.e. by posting an update on your LinkedIn profile, and encourage them to become followers of your page.
- Keep your company page alive by posting regular updates about your practice. It could be job posts, services updates, welcoming the arrival of a new staff member, or a special event or promotion. This will show candidates that you own an tech savvy practice, and will be more appealing than a page that has not been updated in months.
This concludes my 4 tips on how to make the most of LinkedIn for free.
If you have questions or comments please feel free to drop us a line on the comment section. Let us know what topics you would like to know more about!
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF LINKEDIN FOR FREE!
You probably already have a LinkedIn profile on the number one professional social media platform…LinkedIn. But are you using it to its full potential? For example have you ever used it to find your accountant or to recruit a new physical therapist for your practice? In this post I will give you few tips that might just help you find new employees without paying a dime to LinkedIn.
From the very beginning, when you create your profile, LinkedIn will try to convince you that you need to upgrade to a paid version and it’s tempting to do so as the platform does a very good job at hiding its most valuable features, even if they are accessible from the free version. Here are some valuable ways to unleash the true potential of LinkedIn.
Tip 1: To attract the best candidate, have an attractive profile:
Whether you are looking for new employment opportunities or trying to attract new candidates, it’s important that your profile make a great first impression. Some professionals do not take it seriously and only fill the name of their practice. Providing viewers with more details such as your location, specialty, your mission statement and some of the opportunities your community has to offer potential new hires, is crucial if you are going to attract savvy LinkedIn prospects. As far as your own career path is concerned do not forget to mention if you are board certified, if you belong to a professional association (e.g. the APTA or more specific organizations may exist in your specialty) or if you have other activities (volunteering, contributions to a magazine, website or journal) that are physical therapy related. Finally put a picture on your profile. It may sound unimportant (I know people should only care about your skills and experience) but statistics show that profiles with a picture have twice the chance of being clicked on than the profile without a picture.
Tip 2: Expand your Network
Now that your profile is ready, you can start building or expanding your network. Obviously, the number of profiles you have access to and can connect with, is proportional to the people you have in your network. Because of this feature, LinkedIn will try to convince you that you need to upgrade your account in order to be able to see more profiles and contact them. Therefore, my advice is that you concentrate on building your network of people you already have a relationship with. In order to do this there are quick and easy steps to follow.
Step 1: Start with your email contacts:
Fortunately, LinkedIn users are less reluctant to accept an invitation to connect with you than on other social networks. When you create your profile, LinkedIn will offer to search people you already know based on your email contacts. Even if you may be reluctant to “spam” all your contacts (including family and friends) with an invite, do not forget that LinkedIn is a PROFESSIONAL social network which means that they do not share personal or intimate information. Moreover, even your personal connections can still help you connect with other professionals that might be potential employees; i.e. your cousin Jane is an accountant and her best friend is married to a PT!
When you complete this first step your 1st level connections will enlarge your network and give you access to 2nd level connections (connections of your 1st level connections) and 3rd level connections (people connected to your connections’ connections). But you can broaden your network even further by joining LinkedIn groups.
Step 2: Join as many groups as you can:
Groups are very useful on LinkedIn. Not only do they enlarge your network but more importantly, they allow you to CONTACT other group members DIRECTLY (see tip 3). In addition they keep you updated about relevant discussions in your field of interest. The free version of LinkedIn will let you join up to 50 groups, which gives you plenty of opportunities to connect with new professionals. Here is how my own list of groups looks like.
There are 2 types of groups on LinkedIn: restricted and open groups. The restricted groups are the ones you can see with a lock icon like the APTA for example. Those may have special criteria for your acceptance e.g. a professional association may require you to be a member of the organization in order to be a member of the LinkedIn group.
When choosing your groups there are 4 things to consider:
- Is it an open or a restricted group? You want to have a good mix of open and restricted groups. This way if you reach the limit of 50 groups and you would like to join a new one, you are be able to withdraw from an open group without being concerned about the approval process if you choose to return to the open group you just left.
- What is the group interest? Choose that are relevant to your professional field, personal/professional interest or the field of professionals you’re looking to hire.
- How many members does the group have? Some group titles may seem very appealing but if they only have 50 members it won’t help you grow your network.
- How active are the discussions in this group? You want to belong to groups that have lively discussions. Groups where members are engaged are also groups where you can interact with people easily or get noticed when you start a public conversation.
Tip 3: Use your groups to their full capacity
One of the features I like with respect to groups is that they allow you to reach others within the group. There are 2 ways to accomplish this. First, you can post a discussion for everybody in the group to see, below are examples on the APTA LinkedIn group.
If you are looking for a new PT to expand your practice, you could start a discussion posting your job announcement headline.
The second way to contact group members is to send them a direct message. Let’s say that you noticed one very active member of the group, you looked at his/her profile and you think he/she could be a good fit for your practice.
Click on Members, (the icon circled in green in the picture below).
You will arrive at the following page:
Type the Name of your potential candidate in the search box and his/her profile will appear in the search result.
When you hover your pointer over the profile a “send message” link will appear.
Click on that link and you will be able to send a personalized message to this group member, including for example your job offer.
Tip 4: Take Things to the Next Level: Create a LinkedIn page for your practice
LinkedIn now offers you the opportunity to create a page for your business just like you can create a business page on Facebook or Google +. This feature allows you to post content related to your business on your page, and you can also fill in the services and career tabs.
All of these features are available within a FREE version account. Stay tuned and next week I will go over this last feature in more details and show you how to get the most out of your Physical Therapy Practice’s LinkedIn page.
Starting a Physical Therapy Blog
A website is a great way to increase visibility of your physical therapy practice, but some websites are far more effective than others. Every page should be easy to get to, attractive, organized, and provide valuable information to prospective patients. After all, if you don’t specifically direct patients back to your website, most will not go back on their own.
Websites that are updated frequently can reflect positively on your practice. A physical therapy blog is a wonderful one way to show your current and potential clients that you are the rehabilitation and information leader in your community.
[pullquote1 textcolor=”#004080″]”However, when we recently did a random search and examination of 50 different websites that rank at or near the top of Google for a geographic search (e.g. physical therapy Encinitas), only 1 of them had a blog.”[/pullquote1]
You may have read, from search marketing experts, that if you have a blog, the search engines will pick up on your website’s activity level. There is some truth to that. Google and others will take note of the specific words and phrases used in your blog. These details can contribute to your website’s ranking on search engines. A higher search engine ranking will result in more visitors to your website.
However, when we recently did a random search and examination of 50 different websites that rank at or near the top of Google for a geographic search (e.g. physical therapy Encinitas), only 1 of them had a blog.
Do You Have the Time for a Physical Therapy Blog?
Keeping a blog up-to-date requires repeated work. This is not an attractive option for many. A physical therapy blog does not have to be a complex addition to your website. Sometimes the simplest blogs are the best. An easy way to begin a blog is to use it to introduce patients to different aspects of your practice. People can feel nervous and even intimidated when approaching a new healthcare facility, especially if they have never visited a physical therapist before.
Here are some post ideas for you:
- Talk about your unique company culture,
- Treatments you offer,
- Success stories,
- People working there,
- The benefits of different treatments,
- The experience level of your staff,
- Other general details which will make people feel more comfortable visiting your office.
Attracting new patients is probably the reason you have a website to begin with, so do not be afraid to take a more direct marketing approach on your physical therapy blog. Posts should highlight your assets. Do not forget that a blog can be used to advertise special events and offers too (a free screening comes to mind).
Not every blog post has to relate directly to your physical therapy practice, though. Here are some more ideas for posts:
- News that has to do with the community,
- Physical therapy in general (see the APTA.org website),
- New clinical studies
- New treatment methods.
For Out-of-Network Practices
A number of practices are now “out-of-network” providers. This means you have to give patients a reason to pay more for your physical therapy services. A blog may just have the information that differentiates your practice enough to reinforce the patient’s choice to use you instead of an in-network provider.
At this point in time with respect to the search engines, many practices won’t need a physical therapy blog to rank well. Nevertheless, a physical therapy blog on your website is a great place to write about important information since websites can reach more people than local advertisements or phone calls can.
There are several benefits to having one though. Weigh them carefully and make sure you are willing to commit the time and have someone that can write in a manner that represents the quality care you provide. There’s nothing worse than a blog that was last updated in “November 2, 2009”. It won’t reflect well on the practice.
I should add, that E-rehab offers a fully integrated physical therapy blog for our customers. We also provide content for the blog and training so you can efficiently and effectively keep it up to date.
This is part 1 of a 2-part interview I did with PTPN’s marketing director Stephen Moore.
This issue features a Part 1 of a Q&A with David Straight, PT, DPT, founder of E-rehab, an online marketing company and PTPN Preferred Vendor, about Google+ Local.
[note_box]Q. What is Google+ Local?
A. Google+ Local is Google’s version of an online geographic business directory for local businesses, including therapy practices. It’s the new name for Google Places. Businesses can be listed there at no cost, with details like business name, address, contact information and website. In Google search results, they’re the listings you see that are marked A, B, C, and so on. To see an example, go to google.com and type in “physical therapy” along with the name of your city, and look for the area of the results page with those markers.[/note_box]
[note_box]Q. What are the differences between Google+ Local search results and other Google search results?
A. A Google search results page has three areas that can drive traffic to your website: At the top of the page, in most cases, are Google Adwords results, which are paid advertising. The Google+ Local geographic results are usually listed next, and the third area is the natural or organic listings, which are the search results based on Google’s algorithms that examine web page content, descriptions, etc.[/note_box]
[note_box]Q. How important is it for a private practice to be listed in Google+ Local?
A. It’s important to be listed on Google because people are using online research in a number of ways – not just searching for a nearby physical therapist, but also to do research on a specific therapy office when they’ve been referred to that office. And it’s not just patients; we did a survey of physicians, and two-thirds of them told us that if they didn’t know where to refer a patient, they would use Google to search for a practice that’s geographically convenient for the patient. About 80 percent of all online searches for physical therapy practices are done with Google, so it’s crucial to be in Google’s local business listings.[/note_box]
[note_box]Q. How do I get my practice listed in Google+ Local?
A. The first step is to claim your free Google+ Local listing, which you can do at www.google.com/places. Then you can do a number of things to get a higher “relevance” score from Google and increase your visibility…[/note_box]