7 Steps to Creating a Solid Referral Marketing System

Most physical therapists today would like an endless stream of direct access patients.  While this is a nice idea, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your number of new patients if you are not developing physician referrals.

If you’re ready to expand your patient base, then it’s time to create a solid referral marketing system. But before you can get started, you’ve got to make sure that the patient experience and your clinical expertise are worthy of referrals. Once you’ve refined those areas of your practice, you can feel confident about asking physicians to refer their patients to you.

Ready to get started?

Let’s cover how to create a referral marketing system that works best for your practice.

#1 Set Goals

The first step to creating a solid referral marketing system is deciding what your practice goals are. Here are some questions you need to answer:

Are you a new startup trying to create an initial patient base or have you been in the game for a few years and want to try to generate a few additional referrals?

If you’ve been in business for several years and currently have physicians that refer to you, this is a great opportunity. Your goal is to get doctors that send 2-3 new patients per month to send just 1-2 more.

Do orthopedists refer out or do they own their physical therapists?

Physician-owned physical therapy services, or POPTS, is the business arrangement whereby the orthopedist(s) have their own physical therapy inhouse. It’s not easy to get them to refer out because they will lose the revenue they generate from treating their own patients. (This is a huge ethical issue more on that here. If they own their services, they refer more (reference). Doctors are a powerful group with big money, a strong lobby, and a public perception of doing what’s best for patients…not always the case).

  • Are their GP, internal medicine, sports med, and/or physiatrists in private practice?
  • You need to know if they can refer out or if they are required to refer to their employer (i.e. a hospital that owns them).
  • How many new patients or additional new patients can you see (i.e. what’s your capacity)?

Knowing this along with your cancellation rate gives you an idea of your maximum capacity and helps establish the number of new patients you need to reach those goals.

If you don’t have referring physicians, then you’ll need to obtain a list of referring physicians from an online database service.  Here’s a good resource for that https://leads-app.infousa.com/Physicians/Selections

#2 Analyze Your Referral Data

Once you define your goals, you’ll need to determine how your referral strategy can and will help you reach your goals. Download a list of all of your referring physicians over that last year.

Look at the data. What does it tell you about your target doctors and patients? What kinds of patients come from these doctors and how often?

Answering these questions will help you determine what your ideal patients and referring physicians look like. This is the first step toward drawing up a strategy for referrals.

Next, identify the number of patients each doctor refers to. Who refers the most? How many do they refer per week/month? These are the ones who know the most about your practice, who send patients to you most often, and who believe in your services.

Finally, sort your list and determine who are the top referral sources. These are the referring physicians you never want to lose. They may keep your practice in business. Always assume your competition is whispering in their ear trying to take referrals away from your practice. You should spend the most time on this group.

Next look at the next group of doctors. Maybe they send 1 or 2 per month consistently.  This group is aware of you but doesn’t send many. Your goal is to try to get them to send 1-3 more each month.

Finally, you have a group that sends one or two patients over the course of the year. This group is the last segment you spend time on. The patient may have been the one that chose your practice.  In other words, the doctor may have not referred to you. Therefore, you don’t spend a lot of time with this group…initially.

#3 Equip Your Referrers

In Step 2, you determined which of your current referring physicians would be ripe for providing additional referrals. Now, you just need to give them the tools to be successful. A big part of equipping them to do the job right is to educate them about the value of a. referring to physical therapy and b. why they should refer to you.

One easy way to accomplish this is to visit their office and provide educational research about the value of referring to a physical therapist in the first place. The recent article published in NEJM is something you could easily print out, add a post-it note to it, that says “I thought you might be interested in this,” and hand it directly to the doctor. I also suggest you highlight key parts of the abstract so he/she can scan it.

If you cannot, put it in an envelope and write something on the outside of it like, “Dr. Smith, I thought you might be interested in this new research…”

Second, repeatedly showing up in their office, providing materials with your logo on them and your name, are good reminders that you are there for them.

#4 Next You Need to Differentiate Your Practice from the Competition

Once you remind them of the research that supports referring their patients to physical therapy, then you need to make sure they know what makes you different from the competition — in many cases, they’ll know this just by interacting with your you and the experiences patients have an report back to them.

Some ways to differentiate your practice are:

  1. Your expertise – board certifications & specialties
  2. Your location
  3. Your reputation
  4. Your clinical outcomes
  5. Hours of operation
  6. Communication
  7. Customer service
  8. Your fees
  9. Types of insurance you take
  10. How quick you can get a patient into your office

Don’t forget to tell your referrers what types of patients you are best at treating (also from Step

Last, make it easy for your referrers to send their patients to you.  Referral pads, business cards, rack cards, and brochures can help. A QR code that patients can scan and those patients to your website is helpful too.

#5 Take Action & Ask

It’s time to put your plan into action. Grab that list of ideal referrers and reach out. Remember: your physicians may be motivated in different ways, so if you see that part of your strategy is falling short, don’t hesitate to change it!

If you are talking with a front office person or any other support personnel, then you need to ask lots of questions.  As the saying goes, you have one moth and two ears, use them proportionally.

One way to pique the interest of the receptionist is to tell them that you are an expert at treating the spine or extremities.  Follow this up with a complex question, one that requires the receptionist to ask someone in the back office to get an answer. You might say, “My board certification was in the treatment of spondylopathy. Who does Doctor Smith refer to when patients have spondylopathies?”

Here’s another tip that’s equally important. Include the idea that you provide a “new treatment” to add curiosity.  Medical staff are interested in providing referrals to clinicians that provide new treatment options (high-intensity laser comes to mind).

Other questions you want to find the answer to are:

  • Who does Dr. Smith refer to?
  • Who decides where the patients go? If the answer is that the doctor or referring staff member picks from a list, then you simply ask, “How do I get on that list?”

I’ve observed a number of physical therapists and salespeople (commonly and errantly called marketing people) have a nice conversation with a doctor but fail to ask for referrals. This is very important to do.  When the time is right and you’ve established that you can provide value, simply say, “I’d like to see more of your X patients. Can you send me a few more so I can?”

#6 Recognize Your Referrers

People loved to be recognized for good deeds, and referring to your practice should count as one of them. When you thank and recognize your referrers, you further solidify your relationship with them. You can send a simple card for every patient that is referred, a gift of nominal value to avoid breaking legal anti-kickback regulations, and make sure that you provide timely, short and scannable progress and discharge reports..

#7 Track Your Progress

Once you’ve got a few weeks under your belt, it’s time to analyze the results and adjust accordingly. Take a look at the numbers: how many referrals have come in? What process worked best? In what ways can you make changes to your strategy to realize more ROI?

The Bottom Line

Patients coming to your clinic via direct access is a good thing; but, remember: adding more new evaluations to your schedule allows you to provide not only patients but doctors conservative, natural treatment options.

As you implement your referral marketing strategy, you might have to make several changes before you nail down a plan that really works. Be open to that, and remember to keep not only the patients’ experience but also your referring physicians’ experiences at the forefront of your efforts.

Need More Training?

E-rehab.com offers a program call More MD Referrals – Physician Sales & Marketing Training. If you have questions about this or any of our other services. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 760-585-9097 or email David Straight, DPT at dave@e-rehab.com.

10 Ways to Promote Your Small Physical Therapy Practice on a Budget

Whether you’re just starting your PT private practice or you’ve been running your clinic for a few years, during these times you have to be efficient with spending money on physical therapy marketing. For the savvy PTPP director who wants to save some money, here are some tips for marketing on a budget.

#1 Find Some Local Online Facebook Groups

You may be open and still treating patients, or you may be just doing telehealth; either way, you can leverage your community to market your business. Get your name out there by sponsoring local Facebook groups where moms gather, sports teams gather (e.g. a running club), or your neighbors gather. Get creative about offering value.  How can you help members of the group? Offer to speak on a Zoom webinar where share your expertise. This will boost awareness about your practice help you make one-on-one connections.

#2 Be Ready with a One-Liner, Talking Logo, or Elevator Pitch

If someone asks you what you do, does your answer put them asleep, confuse them, or arouse curiosity?  

A good one-liner as Donald Miller states, is one sentence that can grow your business (more here).

Another way to describe your business to another is with what John Jantsch calls, a talking logo.   John describes a talking logo as follows: “a tool that allows you to communicate verbally the single greatest benefit of doing business with your firm. A talking logo is a short statement that quickly communicates your firm’s position and ideally forces the listener to want to know more.” (more here

Yet another way to think about it is by simply following this formula: “I help x get y using z.”  An example might be: “I treat people in pain naturally recover with nothing more than my hands and mouth.”  If you were speaking with someone the first time, can you see how this type of answer invites additional questions? Fast, concise, and arousing curiosity are the keys to developing a good one-liner or talking. 

#3 Network with Other Local Businesses

Find other businesses that you believe in and make connections with them. Offer them your willingness to promote them if they’ll do the same for you. You could even come together for a community event and refer potential customers to each other.

Massage therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, acupuncturists, running, swimming, and sports equipment stores and of course medical doctors are some examples of companies you can cross-promote.  Make a list and start reaching out.

No matter how it looks, it’s a win for you and a win for the other businesses in your community.

#4 Take Advantage of Free Social Media

We all know that there are countless social media platforms out there, and it can seem a little overwhelming. But the good news is that it is either free or very inexpensive to market your business through this medium. 

If you are looking to treat middle-aged and senior patients then Facebook is the platform you should use.  If you are looking for the younger 20-35 y.o. crowd, then Instagram is a good place to start.

But here’s a quick tip: your goal is to nurture relationships by showing interest in them, providing good content and by asking others how you can help them.  One surefire way to kill your reputation is to look self-serving.  Following someone else on IG hoping to get a follow back won’t likely foster your relationships. Social media is meant for socializing.  Imagine if you were at a party and you approached a group of others, you would disrupt the gathering of people by trying to get everyone to focus their attention on you right away.

#5 Create and Publish Great Content

Sharing helpful content is important.  As the saying goes, content is king.  Not only does it establish you as an authority and increases practice awareness, but it also helps people. Of course, you don’t have to spend any money to create great content (if you someone at your practice is willing to do create the content on their own). If you’ve got older content, an easy way to get the message is out is by simply refreshing that old content. Add some graphics, update the content, add a new take on an age-old issue… whatever the case may be, don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.

#6 Call Up Your Referring Physicians

Believe it or not, many physicians are in the same boat as you are during this COVID crisis. Give your referring physicians a call. Ask them questions about how they are doing, their staff, their family. See how many patients they are seeing now. Offer to help them out. Ask how telehealth is working for them. Offer to help them promote their practice or find a collaborative opportunity. Offer to do a video conference call, record it and share it to your email list or Facebook fans.

#7 Email an Offer to Your List. You Could Offer a Free Telehealth Session

Many are just now experiencing how health care is delivered via remote video conferencing with systems like doxy, Zoom, Vsee, BetterPT, etc. When it comes to a hands-on provider like a physical therapist, the notion of communicating online assessments and treatment seems like a contradiction (when coming from a PT). 

One way to start the conversation and to get people to consider your physical therapy services is to email them an offer. Here’s how you can do this: 

  1. Get a list of first names and email addresses. Go to your EMR system and download a list of email addresses and names. I am assuming that you have permission to email your patients.
  2. Send out an email blast.  You want to put together a personalized message, first name only, and use a subject line like this:

    Remember, the goal of the subject line is to get them to open the email message.

  3. Get them to “click” to the next step. In the body of the message, you need to make a compelling offer.  Let your past patients know how you’re STILL able to serve them during this crisis – but it’s in a slightly different way.  Remember, the goal of the email message, in most cases, is to get them to click on a link to do something next.
  4. Give them something of value. Offer a free 15-minute “virtual” mini-evaluation to get them on the phone to see where they need the most help and let them know about your virtual services, or if you’re still open, to see if they are good candidate to come in for some therapy.

For some, this might be the solution they are looking for. If it is a valuable, compelling offer, your past patients will take you up on it.  If not, think of another offer. Most marketing campaigns fail on the first try; so, don’t be afraid to try again.

#8 Ask Your Patients for Referrals

Whether it be during a video conference or in person, ask your patients for referrals. This is how you can accomplish this.

  1. First find out if your patient is willing. Take their “temperature” by finding out how satisfied they are with your services. If you get a lot of positive feedback and you sense they are very pleased, then you can move to the next step.
  2. Ask an open-ended question. Don’t make the mistake of asking, “Do you know someone else I can help?” That’s a closed-ended question that will result in a yes or no.
  3. Take it slower with multiple, open-ended questions like:
    • “Who do you know that has a problem like you?”
    • “What have they done to deal with their pain?”
    • “What are you thoughts about how they might respond to this kind of treatment?”
    • “How could I work with you to see if they might benefit from what I’m doing with you?”

Knowing when and how to ask your patients for referrals will increase the likelihood of success. Give it a try and understand you’ll either get a No (in which case you’ll improve your ability to ask for a referral from your next patient), or you will get a Yes and you might be able to help them.

NOTE: if you do get a name from your patient, make sure you complete the process by having your patient make a warm introduction. Be willing to do a simple conference call with the patient and their family member or friend to take it to the next step.

#9 Increase the Value of Your Business Card and Add a QR Code

Business cards are cheap these days. Take a look at yours. Does it need a redesign?  Can you add services on the back?  How about a QR code that when scanned take the viewer to a video about you on YouTube or a web page where they can learn more about what you do, or perhaps to a page where you make them an offer? 

QR codes were popular back in the 2008-2012 timeframe; but, the need for users to install a QR reader app on their phone made them a challenge to use.  Back in September, 2017 when Apple released iOS 11, iPhone cameras became readers. Simply point the camera app at a QR code and it reads it.

Get creative with QR codes. Head over to QRstuff.com and create your own.

#10 Seek Out Recognition for Your Great Work

Believe it or not, it costs nothing to apply for business awards for your niche. If you are selected, you can tout that award on your website or on your front desk. This is a nice way to add credibility to your physical therapy services and it gives you another thing to write about in your social media posts.

#10.5 Bonus Tip

As of the date of this post, I’ve been in the PT private practice marketing space for almost 20 years. If there’s one thing I can share with you that is going to dramatically increase your odds of success it’s these 3 things: One, take action. Most just read about marketing and never take any action. Two, make sure you invest in your marketing. Marketing pays dividends and gives you returns. Sometimes your investments result in a loss but then you learn. Sometimes they provide you with a good profit. This leads me to my third point, persistence. Marketing is an ongoing process over time. It never stops. The more you do it, the more you learn and improve that process.

Working within Your Budget

You might think it is difficult to market your practice on a small budget. There is some truth to this. After all, you might be up against large hospitals, corporate big-box clinic chains, and POPTS clinics. The resistance is proportional to the reward though. If you want to generate patients that might net you up to $1000 when you complete a plan of care with them, it’s going to take some work.

Looking for the Best Online Marketing Services on a Budget?

E-rehab.com provides different packages of marketing services, training and tools to help you generate more new, repeat, and word-of-mouth business.

For more information about how we can help, click here to schedule some on my calendar and we can discuss your needs.

A Guide to Writing Your Physical Therapy Website Home Page

Learn to create an appealing physical therapy website  that will turn to visitors into patients by building a story

Just having a website is one thing. It’s extremely easy to create a website these days (that’s not much more than a basic online brochure), and most physical therapy practices have at least taken this initial step; but, creating a website that:

  • Communicates a promise,
  • Conveys a “picture” of how the clinicians can help,
  • Provides proof, and
  • Ultimately results in visitors becoming patients?

This is something else altogether, and a marketing strategy that many private practices really fall short of achieving.

It’s Not About You…A Physical Therapy Website Home Page is About the Patient

The primary issue most private physical therapy practices face when creating website content is simple: they spend too much time explaining who they are and what they offer, and not enough describing how it will actually help those reading it. As a result, a prospective patient may not become engaged, may not find what they’re looking for, and is likely to leave your website before they even understand what you can do for them.

Start with a Brandscript

physical therapy brandscript

There are many ways to address this common failing of websites, but one avenue way to think about how to communicate your brand message is to first create a BrandScript, which is a concept created by Donald Miller in his book Building a StoryBrand™ *.

We recommend reading this insightful book to anyone looking to build a new website or redesign a current one, but if you don’t have the time to do so, we’d like to offer a breakdown of its core principles and explain how you can utilize them for your practice.

The StoryBrand Framework: You’re the Guide, the Patient is the Hero

In order to understand how to create a BrandScript and develop a StoryBrand, we’ll first need to walk you through some of the key elements of the book. As we mentioned, one of the biggest mistakes that private practices make when building a website or creating any other content is making the focus about you instead of about them. This could be the case if a website is loaded with pages like “About Us,” “Mission Statement,” and “Values,” but doesn’t tell a prospective patient front and center how you will make their lives better.

While many physical therapists may consider themselves heroes (and in a way they are, after all, they provide great care, relieve pain, and restore function), Miller would describe the patient as the hero instead of the physical therapist. The guide (the PT) is meant to elevate the hero (the patient) and help them succeed in any good story.

In essence, to truly appeal to website visitors (potential new patients) and make them care about what you have to say, all of your marketing content should follow the same formula as a captivating story.

The Players and Elements of a Good Story

Miller breaks down the key ingredients of every good story as follows:

  • A character
  • Has a problem
  • And meets a guide
  • Who gives them a plan
  • And calls them to action
  • That ends in a success
  • That helps them avoid failure

If you think about the majority of your favorite novels, films, TV shows, and any other stories you’ve come across, chances are that they generally follow this formula. It’s also likely that the reason these stories are intriguing is because of the above ingredients, since it’s a winning outline that usually keeps audiences interested when executed properly.

Building a StoryBrand™ advises that all practice owners like yourself also need to craft an engaging story about their business that clearly shows why the patient is the hero and why you, the physical therapist, is the guide that helps them reach their goals.

The StoryBrand (SB7) Framework

Each of these components is part of the StoryBrand 7 (or SB7) Framework and is described in more detail in the sections below.

  1. A character: the patient is the hero, not you or your practice

Before moving forward, the first set of questions you need to ask yourself when going through the process of creating your story are these:

  1. What do you offer?
  2. How will it make people’s lives better?
  3. What does someone need to do next to use your services?

For your practice, the answers may seem obvious at first, but spend some time thinking these questions through before providing answers, because how you respond will play a major role in each of the other steps of this framework.

The first part of the SB7 Framework is identifying the character in the story and positioning them as the hero. As we mentioned above, the character (i.e. the patient) is clearly someone who’s being held back in their life by an injury or painful condition. And what does each of these individuals want? This of course varies from person to person, but in most cases it’s likely along the lines of:

  • Getting rid of the pain,
  • Living a life with less pain,
  • Improving mobility, and
  • Recovering strength.

We encourage you to take plenty of time when trying to figure out what your character wants, because it should be at the heart of what you do as a private physical therapy practice.

Once you have identified the character in your story and landed on a clear understanding of exactly what that character wants, you can visit mystorybrand.com to start working on your StoryBrand BrandScript and continue to fill it out as you refine your story.

  1. Has a problem: show that you solve internal instead of external problems

This step delves a bit deeper into what problem the character (your average patient) has and how that will guide your message. To more closely hone in on your patients’ problem, it’s also important to identify a “villain” in the story. The villain in the your patients’ stories, in most cases, isn’t a person.

Villains should be relatable, singular, and real, and should be the reason people will seek out your services in the first place. For a typical patient in need of physical therapy, the villain might be:

  • A torn rotator cuff
  • Sciatica
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Vertigo
  • Balance problems
  • Post-surgical deconditioning
  • Immobility,” or
  • Some combination of these elements.

It’s also important to know the difference between internal, external, and philosophical problems:

  • External problems: the obvious obstacle in the way of success (eg, back pain, knee pain, balance issues)
  • Internal problems: how does the external problem affect the character’s internal feelings and emotions? Using the above example, external problems:
    • Back pain is preventing me lifting boxes,
    • Knee pain is preventing me from running, and
    • Balance problems prevent me from walking on uneven surfaces.
  • Philosophical problems: why it all matters. Each of the external and internal problems really add up to why it a medical problem really matters so much to the patient.  Following through with the above examples (the bold text describes the philosophical problems):
    • My back pain keeps me from lifting boxes which prevents me from working and providing for my family.
    • My knee pain prevents me from running which keeps me from running the marathon I’ve been training for over the past 3 months.
    • My balance problems keep me from walking on uneven surfaces which means I can’t go to Disneyland with my grandkids.

By considering your patients’ perspective and identifying the “villain” in each of their stories, we can better understand their external, internal, and philosophical problems.

Then you’ll be able to more clearly see why it’s so crucial to show that they can overcome these obstacles, and that you are the guide that will help them do it.

  1. And meets a guide: to be clear, you are the hero’s guide

The next step of the framework is all about positioning you and your practice as the guide responsible for leading each patient towards success and positive outcomes. The two things you need to communicate to make it apparent that you are this guide are empathy and authority.

Empathy is showing your patients that you understand where they’re coming from, and that you truly care about improving their health and wellbeing. It means expressing common frustrations that they are likely dealing with and telling them that they are not the only ones experiencing these issues.

Demonstrating authority means presenting your clinic as a place that they can trust to provide the best possible treatments to help them improve. This is where you have the opportunity to promote all of your accolades and the nice things others have to say about you, but in a manner that’s humble and not pompous.

Some of the ways this can be accomplished are through:

  • Ratings and reviews,
  • Videos expressing positive outcomes,
  • Awards that your practice has won over the years, and/or
  • Statistics on how many patients continue to come back to you for therapy.

Balancing empathy and authority will help your patients feel confident in their decision to choose you to address their problem.

  1. Who gives them a plan: to be a good guide, you need to have a good plan

If you want your patients to trust you as the guide that will help them succeed, you must show them that you also have a clear plan that will get them there. A good plan should walk visitors on your website through what you offer and how this process will work if they decide to come to you for treatment. When done effectively, it should also eliminate any fears or concerns that might be holding them back from initiating therapy.

According to Building a StoryBrand™, there are two plans you can use to effectively encourage visitors to choose you:

  • The process plan
    • This type of plan is recommended and it describes the steps a prospective patient will take if they decide to visit you for treatment; for your practice, it might look something like this: 1) Schedule an appointment, 2) Prepare for your first visit, 3) Undergo a detailed evaluation, 4) Get started on your personalized treatment program
  • The agreement plan
    • This type of plan is essentially a list of agreements you make with your patients to help them overcome fears of going through with treatment; these plans generally work in the background and are there to give you visitors a deeper understanding of your practice; to create an agreement plan, think about all potential fears an individual might have about physical therapy and then counter that list with agreements that will alleviate these fears

  1. And calls them to action: make the next steps clear and easy

If you’ve effectively shown a visitor that they are the hero and you are the guide with a plan to solve their problems, it’s imperative that you make it obvious what they should do next. This is accomplished with a “call to action” that gets them to the next phase. There are generally two kinds of calls to action:

  • Direct: these include requests like “schedule an appointment” or “call our clinic today” that will directly lead the visitor to take the action needed to initiate their path of care
  • Transitional: this type of call to action involves less risk and usually offers something for free; they are there for website visitors that aren’t quite ready to set up an appointment, but are still interested in your practice and who are considering your services; a good transitional call to action should help position you as the most trusted physical therapy practice in your area, and some examples include:
    • A video or PDF of testimonials from patients with similar problems as the viewer
    • A downloadable list of reasons why a patient should choose you over competitors
    • An infographic that lists all the benefits of physical therapy at your practice

By using calls to action, you will give your visitors what they need to move forward with you or enough information to transition them from uncertainty to certainty.

  1. That helps them avoid failure: what do your visitors stand to lose without treatment?

This step of the framework builds off of #2 (identifying the problem) and is designed to remind your visitors what could happen if they do not choose to undergo physical therapy with you. The goal here should not be fear mongering, which can do more harm than good. Instead, find a way to effectively show your prospective patients what could potentially happen and what they stand to lose if they fail to have treatment for their condition with a subtle approach. Some examples might include the following:

  • Progressive functional loss
  • The need for opioid drugs, injections, or surgery
  • Increase financial costs for more expensive procedures

Once you have identified these, try to lightly sprinkle them into your story and message to make it clear why it’s a wise decision to move forward with therapy.

  1. And ends in success: tell your audience how you will change their lives for the better

The final step is to create a vision for your prospective patients of what things will look like on the other side, after they have completed their treatment program with you. A good exercise to guide you through this final part is to make a grid of “before” and “after” completing treatment that looks like this:

Before completing treatment After completing treatment
What do they have?
What are they feeling?
What’s an average day like
What is their status?

It will also help to once again think about the structure of a good story and what the hero gets in the end. In most cases, a good story ends by allowing the hero to:

  1. Win some sort of power or position
  2. Be unified with somebody or something that makes them whole
  3. Experience some kind of self-realization that also makes them whole

With this in mind, try to vividly describe to your audience how a successful course of treatment with you will enhance their lives and accomplish one or more of these goals. There are many possibilities here, but some ideas would be “getting your life back on track,” “moving better to feel better,” or “overcoming your pain to become whole again.” Making this clear to prospective patients will allow them to visualize the success that you can bring about and lead them to realize that your clinic is the best way to help them get there.

Bringing it all together: how to apply this framework to your physical therapy website development

Now that you have a general understanding of the StoryBrand BrandScript—and hopefully some ideas to get you started—the next step is to zero in your own practice’s story, and then put it into action. This applies to many aspects of your online presence and marketing plan, but most directly to your website.

As a quick reminder of what we learned above, we have the following StoryBrand elements:

  1. A character (the patient)
  2. Has a problem (pain, functional limitations, life limitations)
  3. And meets a guide (the PT)
  4. Who gives them a plan (follow these steps to come see me for treatment)
  5. And calls them to action (contact me to set up and initial eval)
  6. That helps them avoid failure (use of drugs, imaging, injections, surgery)
  7. That ends in a success (patient goals achieved and discharge)

If you don’t have a website or you don’t feel your current website effectively tells a story in which your patients are the heroes and you are the guide that will help them achieve success, it’s probably time to make some changes.

For many prospective patients, your website is likely the first detailed impression they will have of your practice, which means it should be designed to convey that you can be trusted to deliver whatever they are seeking. These prospective patients should leave your website with all of their hopes confirmed and be convinced that you can offer the solution to their problem.

Building a StoryBrand™ lists five basic things that your website should include to help get you started thinking about what changes you need to make:

  1. An offer above the fold

This is a short line or sentence combined with appropriate images that clearly explain what your practice does and how it will help your patients’ lives. In most cases it should include a tagline or headline that is aspirational and specific, and a sub-headline that goes into a bit more detail of exactly what you offer.  Here we are offering ourselves as the guide,  addressing what success looks like for the patient, and helping them avoid failure. In most cases, this is text that is over-the-top of the hero image discussed below.

  1. Obvious call to action (in the upper right and overlaying the hero photo)

Calls to action are the fifth part of the SB7 Framework. Your number one call to action should be to have the viewer call your office.  A secondary call to action is to have the viewer click on an Appointment Request button.  You’ll need to make sure that both of these are easy to locate. The two main places direct calls to action should be placed are at the top right of the website—which should appear on every page of your site—and in the center of the screen. They should also be of a different color, font, or size than the rest of the copy on your website to increase their visibility and make them more distinct.

  1. Outcomes Oriented Imagery (the Hero image)

Writing good copy is the first step to creating an appealing website, but this also needs to be accompanied by images that clearly illustrate your message. For a physical therapy website, the best approach is usually to display smiling images of happy people engaging in recreation, sports, and other physical activities. We call these types of images, “outcomes-oriented imagery.” Using these types of photos will essentially show your prospective patients what’s possible if they complete treatment with you.  This addresses point number 6 in the SB7 Framework.

  1. A list of services (your Value Stack)

This tip demonstrates authority and shows your website viewers that you can specifically solve their external, internal, and philosophical problems.

  1. A clear outline of what they can expect and success stories/ratings & reviews

The simple steps the website viewer needs to take to start the recovery process as well as ratings and reviews demonstrating social proof of positive outcomes with patients.

  1. A limited number of words 

While it may be tempting to be as thorough as possible when communicating your message, you can lose readers’ interest if you’re overly verbose. Most people only scan websites, so focus on trimming the fat and condensing your key talking points down to the minimal amount needed to convey the core of your practice. This is easier said than done, but will go a long way when executed correctly.

Most decisions you make for your website should also be closely based on your StoryBrand BrandScript by reinforcing the key elements of the story you’ve crafted. Words, images, and ideas shared on your website should be informed by your script. This means that everything should show your patients that you are the guide they need to be the hero in their story and achieve a successful outcome that will improve their lives.

We can help you build your Physical Therapy Website Including Your StoryBrand BrandScript

If you’d like to redesign your website or overhaul your practice’s marketing plan, E-Rehab can help. Our team is well-versed in the fundamental concepts of Building a StoryBrand™, and we can guide you through the process of creating a BrandScript and executing it in your website content.

Need Some Help?

Contact me, David Straight, at 800-468-5161 or Click Here to schedule some time on my calendar.  I look forward to learning more about you and sharing with you how we might be able to help.

*This website is NOT affiliated with, funded, or in any way associated with the StoryBrand™



Cares ACT and PPP

Disclaimer: this is information that is simply being passed on from other resources.  E-rehab, LLC does not guarantee its accuracy and encourages you to verify the information with additional government and professional resources.  It is for educational purposes only and we cannot guarantee its accuracy.

Tomorrow, April 3, 2020, the Small Business Administration in conjunction with the bank you use for your business, will be launching the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) to provide “covered loans” for a “covered period” to “eligible recipients” which includes “eligible self-employed individuals”.

To qualify, small businesses must employee fewer than 500 employees and this requirement is inclusive of sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals provided your business can certify in good faith that the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the loan request to support the ongoing operations of the eligible recipient and you acknowledge that funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments and utility payments per the terms of the law. The maximum “covered loan” amount (not to exceed $10,000,000) is in general 2.5 times the average total monthly payments for payroll costs (for the 12 month period prior to the loan origination) which is defined to include the compensation you pay on behalf of your employees (e.g. W-2 and benefits such as health insurance and pension) and the sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor (e.g. net self-employment income). However, the annual per employee or per self-employed person payroll costs are limited to a maximum of $100,000.

Allowable uses of the covered loans include at least: payroll costs; group health care costs; employee salaries, commissions or similar compensations; payments of interest on any mortgage obligation; rent; and, utilities. The loan is nonrecourse meaning no personal guarantees by you. Per the SBA and US Treasury websites, the initial loan has a maturity of 2 years at a fixed interest rate of ½ of 1% (i.e. .5%) with complete payment deferment relief for impacted borrowers for a period of not less than 6 months. Maturity for loans with remaining balance after application of forgiveness (discussed below) shall have a maximum maturity of 10 years while the interest rate cannot exceed 4 percent.

Loan Forgiveness Provision

The following section 1106 Loan Forgiveness provision states the following: The following are the essential parts of the non-taxable loan forgiveness: An eligible recipient shall be eligible for forgiveness of indebtedness on a covered loan in an amount equal to the sum of the following costs incurred and payments made during the “covered period”: payroll costs, “covered rent obligation”, “covered utility payment”, and any payment of interest on a “covered mortgage obligation”. Each of these terms are specifically defined in the law but the covered period is the 8 week period following origination of your PPP loan.

The loan forgiveness amount will be reduced based on a reduction in number of employees using a formula and factoring in a reduction relating to salary and wages if they drop more than 25% during the look back period in the law. There are exemptions for rehires if you have already let some employees go.

Finally, if you want to proceed with applying for a PPP loan then it is recommended that you contact the bank you do business with because the SBA is providing them guidelines to initiate and fund these loans very quickly starting with an application by you.

Applying for Forgiveness

Then, 8 weeks after loan origination you can apply for loan forgiveness provided you produce the following four things:

  1. Proof of payroll tax filings, full-time equivalent employees and their pay rates;
  2. Proof to verify payments on covered mortgage obligation, covered lease obligations, and covered utility payments;
  3. Certification that the documentation is true and correct and the amount for any forgiveness was used to retain employees and make payments on those listed covered expense items;
  4. Any other documentation that he Administrator determines necessary.

Examples Simply to illustrate the application of a forgiven PPP loan.  You should input your own financial data.

  • High Salary Business: Let’s say the practice owners is paid an annual salary of a million dollars but all the rank and file are paid annual compensation packages that average $48,000/yr. Assume 10 rank and file full time employees and no layoffs. Then $48,000 x 10 employees equals $480,000 in annual wages. Divide that by 12 months to get average monthly payroll for them of $40,000 times 2.5 is $100,000. Then for the CEO you can only count $100,000 of his annual salary which you divide by 12 to get monthly average of $8,333 times 2.5 equals $20,833. Aggregate the two results of $100,000 plus $20,833 and the maximum PPP loan is $120,833. If in the next 8 weeks after the loan is funded that business complies with the rules discussed above and spends all $120,833 on those payroll costs plus the other covered costs for rent, utilities and mortgage interest payments, then the full loan of $120,833 is forgiven. (Complications are likely to exist to calculate fringe benefits related to “payroll costs” as well as full time equivalent employee headcount and pay rates.)
  • Self-Employed Business making $48,000 net income : In this example the sole-proprietor divides $48,000 by 12 times 2.5 and their PPP loan is $10,000 which can be forgiven if their covered costs and net income in the following 8 weeks adds up to $10,000. (Complications exist to calculate applicable health insurance benefits related to the self-employed situation.)

Suggested Action Plan: Since the CARES ACT passed 3-27-20, during the evolving roll out by the SBA and banks on this PPP loan program, we encourage you to at least inquire with your bank and go onto the following websites to read current news from SBA and the US Treasury.  Also shown below you can find updated info at IRS.gov.

From the US Treasury website on the new guidance that has just been released on these loans:



Now on the SBA website, see what they are rolling out in terms of the paycheck protection loans.


You can also get Coronavirus Tax Relief update info on the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Finally, the actual law with the statutory language of the CARES ACT is found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text

Google My Business Updates & Your Practice Listing

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

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

Transcription of the video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Summary

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

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

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

Images for You to Use on Your Google My Business Posts

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


Telehealth Updates for PT Private Practices

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

Have your patients support telehealth policy change.  Ask them to contact their Senator or Congressperson through this link from the APTA:

Start Here

  1. PPS Impact Magazine – Tips & Tricks to Start Telehealth Tomorrow.  A nice summary of how to use telehealth by Mark Milligan, PT, DPT. Starts on page 24.
    Click here for the issue.
  2. Payment and regulatory resources from the APTA
    Click here
  3. I recommend you read this document which was posted by the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.
    Click here.  It provides current information on evisits and telehealth as of March 19th, 2020
  4. Then, I suggest you join the TelehealthPTs Facebook Group. Lots of good info – look in the Files section of the Group.
    Click here for the Facebook Group and request to join it.

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


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

  • Zoom.us – live video software
  • EnGuard Telehealth – New HIPAA Compliant, Webmail-based Video Conferencing and File Exchange Service (call for more info)
  • Vsee.com – this company has been around for a long time/HIPAA Video and waiting room
  • Doxy.me – simple, free, secure telemedicine solution
  • Phzio.com – live video call service
  • Fiizio.com – an app that you can give to patients. Enables cash transactions
  • Digitalintakes.com – to set up secure, HIPAA compliant intake forms
  • Vsee.com – secure video
  • Valdhealth.com – online programs
  • BetterPT.com – they have a telehealth option

Additional Web Resources


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

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

The guidance from the memorandum states that:

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

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

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

Additional Links, Experts, and Resources

  • What are your state policies regarding evisits/telemedicine?
    Here’s a good website with more details. Click here.
  • TelehealthPT.com
    Telehealth resource from Rob Vining, PT, a leader in telehealth – telehealthpt.com
    Facebook Group is here.
  • Example Language for Those Offering Telehealth:
    Here’s an example telehealth webpage we’ve put together and is available for our clients: https://pillsburypt.com/telehealth
  • PPS APTA Resources

  • The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association has a page dedicated to telehealth. Lots of good resources and more to come I’m sure.
    Click here to visit that page.
  • Major Update for California PTs – Department of Managed Health Care:
    “..health plans must take steps to allow people to obtain health care via telehealth when medically appropriate to do so.”
    Click here to read the release.

From CMS RE: Telehealth

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

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


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

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

From a the California Physical Therapy Association:

Telehealth: Billing and Coding Considerations


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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. The billing practice must have an established relationship with the patient, meaning the provider must have an existing provider-patient relationship;
  2. The patient must initiate the inquiry for an e-visit and verbally consent to check-in services;
  3. The communications must be limited to a seven-day period through an “online patient portal.” (see the definition below)

Although the patient must initiate the service, CMS allows “practitioners to educate beneficiaries on the availability of the telehealth service prior to patient initiation.” For example, if a patient cancels treatment because they can’t come to the clinic or are concerned about leaving home, then the PT may advise the patient that she or her can “virtually” contact the therapists as needed.


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

Third-Party Payers

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

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

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


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

Click here to watch it on their blog.

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

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

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

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

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

March 17, 2020

Some good FAQ about Telehealth from BreakthroughPTmarketing.com

Is Telehealth billable right now, or is it out-of-pocket for the patient?
Yes you can bill under asynchronous telehealth. However, medicare/caid will not reimburse, only private insurance. Some states have parity laws in place to ensure it. Please check this link for each state’s specifics: https://evisit.com/state-telemedicine-policy/ Out-of-pocket is always an option as well.
If it’s out-of-pocket for the patient, how does a Medicare patient sign an ABN if they aren’t with you?
Telerehab is only the vessel used to interact with the patient. The ABN would be between the patient and practitioner (or practitioner’s clinic).
If it is billable, do you bill a normal office visit (3-4 units, 97110/97530/97116/97112) with a modifier, or are there separate codes to use?
Great question. This was asked at APTA CSM and we are still seeking verification for the proper information to provide. What I am confident in saying is this: If you are only prescribing for at-home completion and the practitioner is not monitoring/communicating with the patient actively, it is not considered a timed visit. If you are performing rehab with the patient due to not being able to see them in-office, and are actively monitoring to review each set and provide feedback to the patient before the next set, you should be able to bill as normal with modifier. (This will need to be verified with your billing org)
How effective are you finding telehealth, given how hands-on PT is?
Very, but you do need the initial assessment to be in person in order to properly prescribe a rehab protocol. Very difficult to assess without the use of hands. This is one of the primary reasons patients cannot access telerehab without first being prescribed a protocol by their practitioner.
Do you worry about teaching people this and then them not returning because “they can do it on their own?”
No, telerehab only provides a different method to work with your patients, it does not replace the practitioner. Comments that I have gotten surround patients actually become more engaged in the rehab process. This benefits the therapist by not having to spend time convincing the patient to complete self-care. The compliance metrics within telerehab provide the patient (and clinician) with valuable insight into how they are impacting their own well-being and as a result, they complete things so they can get better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus Email Messaging & Social Posts for E-REHAB Clients

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Adding the Image Yourself

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

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

​Check Our Blog for Frequent Updates

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

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

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

Telehealth Image to Add to Your Facebook Page

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

In good health!

Resources for PT Private Practices Dealing with the Coronavirus Outbreak

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

The Private Practice Section is recommending you contact your Senator and Congressmember to  ask for additional PPP funding.

Here’s a template for you:

My name is and I am a physical therapist in private practice. I am the owner of (name of clinic) located in (town). We have (number) clinics and employ (number) people. (Share brief story of how your clinic has been financially impacted by COVID-19). Thank you for the policies enacted which support small businesses and health care providers during this public health crisis-especially the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

As a small business owner, I am thrilled to be qualified for the PPP, but as of April 16th, there is no more money to lend. Without this loan, (describe the impact of not being able to obtain these funds-on patient access, on your business, as well as the local economy)

Please Senator __________, I (as well as my employees and my patients) desperately need you and your colleagues to enact legislation which will infuse another $250 billion into the PPP program. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


Name, credentials

If you are a PPS Member: Member: Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
Cell: ____________
Email: ____________

Talking Points
Thank you for enacting the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to help us small businesses keep our employees on payroll. As of April 16th, there is no more money to lend. Without this loan, (describe the impact of not being able to obtain these funds-on patient access, on your business as well as the local economy) Please Senator __________, I (as well as my employees and my patients) desperately need you to enact legislation which will infuse another $250 billion into the PPP program. As a voter and a small business owner, I thank you for your help!
Template Facebook Post
Template Facebook Post As of April 16th, the PPP has no more money to lend. (tag Senator __________ on Facebook), I (as well as my employees and my patients) desperately need you to add another $250 billion to the PPP program. Without this loan, (describe the impact of not being able to obtain these funds-on patient access, on your business as well as the local economy). As a voter and a small business owner, I thank you for your help!
Template Twitter Post
As of April 16th, the PPP has no more money to lend. (Use Senator’s twitter handle: @Senator __________), I (as well as my employees and my patients) desperately need you to add another $250 billion to the PPP program. As a voter and a small business owner, I thank you for your help! #PPSAdvocacy

Senate Committee’s Small Business Owner’s Guide here:

Here are two other links we think may be most helpful today:

California Physical Therapy Association Resource Page

Click here lots of resource links and information

Financial Resources

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

PPS Special IMPACT Issue

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

Telehealth Resources

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

Webinars & Recordings

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

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

Click here to watch the webinar.

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

Important Documents


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

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

Click here to download all 4 documents.

Business Relief

Disaster Relief from the Small Business Administration

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

Click here for more information.

Local SBA Assistance

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

Click here for more information.

Interim Guidance Resources from the CDC for Businesses & Employers

Other Business Resources

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read more.

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

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

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

Here’s What We are Doing:

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

    **YOUR ACTION ITEM: You need to let us know if you want this information on your website.**
  2. ​​

  3. You now have available a Special FAQ COVID-19 Page
    Click here to see a live example.

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

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

More to come soon.

Inbound Vs. Outbound Physical Therapy Marketing Part 4

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

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

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

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

It’s a Conceptual Model but Fairly Close to Reality

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

The research supports this as well:

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

Example Patient in Your Community with Low Back Pain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online or Offline – Content Marketing Applies to Both

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

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

Educational content that covers a range of topics related to:

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

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

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

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

Physical Therapy Marketing Part 3 – Inbound Vs. Outbound

The 5 Best Offline Tools that You Should be Using

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter Outbound Marketing.

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

Example Patient with Neck Pain

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

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

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

Getting to know the best outbound advertising options

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

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

physical therapy outbound marketing

Pros & Cons of Physical Therapy Outbound Marketing

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

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

Outbound Marketing – A Great Way to Reach Referring Physicians

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

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




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