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

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

Enter Outbound Marketing.

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

Example Patient with Neck Pain

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

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

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

Getting to know the best outbound advertising options

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

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

physical therapy outbound marketing

Pros & Cons of Physical Therapy Outbound Marketing

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

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

Outbound Marketing – A Great Way to Reach Referring Physicians

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

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

References:

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

Physical Therapy Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing – Part 1

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

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

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

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

Source: Moz

More on Inbound Marketing

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

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

Here’s how:

Step 1 – Attract

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

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

Step 2 – Engage

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

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

Step 3 – Delight

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reference: Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan

 

35 Physical Therapy Blog Resources

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Topic Ideas

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

Resources for physical therapy blogging or health topics to write on

General

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

Physical therapy-specific

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

Resources to improve your writing and posting skills

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

 

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

Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas – Positioning Yourself Against Your Competition

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

How do you set yourself apart from everyone else? 

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

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

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

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

I. Create clear distinction

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

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

II. Write an attractive value proposition

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

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

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

III. Bring what makes your practice unique front and center

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

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

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

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

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

physical therapy positioning

IV. Use the right language…especially on your website

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Click here to get the book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What are you doing to optimize your marketing?

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

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

Physical Therapy Marketing Strategy Part 2: Divide all potential patients into segments to reach people with a specific message

A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t cut it for many problems that need solutions, and this applies to your private practice’s marketing plan, too. While it may be easier to craft a single message and distribute it in a single way, you’ll fail to reach many potential patients and other individuals when you use this type of strategy. Instead, try to guide your physical therapy marketing strategies with segmentation.

Break It Down – Physical Therapy Marketing Segments

Marketing segmentation is the process of dividing your market of all the individuals you’d like reach into unique groups—or segments—based on a variety of characteristics. The intended goal is that each segment created by this process can have a specific message that targets their needs and matches their needs with the specific benefits they’ll receive when they take you up on an offer.

In effect, segmentation will allow you to more easily personalize the content you’re distributing by individually targeting these specific groups rather than using a general, all-encompassing concept. Segmenting your market reduces the risk of an ineffective or unsuccessful marketing campaign, and research has shown that businesses that utilize this strategy typically turn better profits than those that don’t.

For example, you might offer a free myofascial treatment to a segment of people that have neck problems at work.  You could offer a free balance screening to seniors as well.  You are simply creating an offer that would be most appealing to each of those segments.

Assumption: these should be your ideal target patients. I just wrote about ideal patients and physical therapy marketing segments last month because it was top-of-mind for me then as well.

Segment in ways that are most applicable to your private physical therapy practice

There are countless ways to segment your market, but some of the most common ones include doing so by age, diagnosis, or geographic location. If you’re not sure what will work best for your practice, a great first step is to study your patient population. Look into statistics from patients’ medical records to garner an idea of the average age of your patients, what regions most of them are coming from (this is a great way to know where to send direct mail), what types of conditions are most common, and what diagnoses are the easiest to get paid for. This can serve as a single segment, or if some characteristics appear in a bimodal or trimodal—or more—distribution—several segments can be created and targeted with your marketing content.

Other possible segments to consider targeting include:

  • Individuals in need of a specific service: do some research in your area to see if there are any physical therapy services you offer (eg, vestibular rehab, pelvic floor rehab, pediatric rehab) that are difficult to find locally; if so, be sure to highlight these services (on your website, blog posts, social platforms, and to your referral sources) and be sure to clearly state if you have specialists of any sort on your staff
  • Potential patients vs. existing patients: individuals in need of physical therapy that hear about your practice will be looking for a different message than your current patients; cater your marketing content accordingly
  • Patients vs. doctors vs. case managers: keep in mind that patients are not your only audience, and adapt some of your messages to those that are making decisions on what practice to choose for patients
  • Individuals most likely to benefit from your equipment or modalities: if your practice features any unique equipment or treatments (eg, aquatic therapy, high-intensity laser treatment, Biodex system), promote them in your marketing messages by explaining what conditions you are most capable of treating

Use the Media that a Majority of Your Segment Commonly Uses as Well

So many companies are selling tactics like Facebook advertising or postcards.  One thing you want to make sure you do is use the media that your market segment uses.  So, continuing with our example above, it might not be the best idea to run Instagram ads for balance screenings to seniors that could really use your help.  Why? It’s because people over 70, for the most part, aren’t on Instagram (at least a majority of them).  You’d be better off mailing them something several times.  Additionally, for people with neck pain at work, you might want to use Facebook ads to reach them since people in the workforce in your area are more likely to be on Facebook.  So, just keep in mind the segment, the offer, and the media that you will be using when putting together your marketing campaign.

A good reference for this is available here.  The concept of Market (the segment you are targeting), Message (the offer), and the Media you are using (Facebook or direct mail in our examples) comes from Dan Kennedy.

Need Help – Get in Touch with Us

If you’re still not sure how best to segment your audience, we can help by providing some additional physical therapy marketing ideas and show you what we think will work best for your practice. Contact us to learn more.

Extra Training from YouTube

Here’s a good video that describes segmentation, targeting, and positioning if you’d like to learn more.

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

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

You may want to ask yourself the following:

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

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

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

Stop the Madness – Stop FOMO

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

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

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

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

Physical Therapy Marketing Planning Versus Taking Action

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

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

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

Gary Vaynerchuk does a nice job of answering this question:

6 tips to help you stay focused and avoid distractions

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

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

Need Help with Physical Therapy Marketing Strategy & Planning?

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

Importance of Identifying Your Ideal Patients in Your Physical Therapy Marketing Plan

Increasing business at your practice starts with a strong marketing plan

If you own a private physical therapy practice, getting more business is likely a primary goal that dictates many—if not most—of the decisions you make. To this end, you probably also understand how crucial it is to market your practice in order to reach both current and prospective patients, but how to market and what you need to get there may seem a bit more daunting. That’s why we’d like to offer some physical therapy marketing ideas to assist you with this process.

Marketing is essentially the process of getting someone who is in need of physical therapy to know, like, and trust you.  When you achieve these goals, there’s a high likelihood that people that know, like, and trust you will contact you.

The services that you offer, what separates you from your competitors, and presenting this information in such a way to show patients why they should choose to visit you instead of another practice are all important.

In today’s business world, with a seemingly endless number of marketing tactics—like e-newsletters, paid ads, a wide variety of social media platforms—it’s difficult to decide what combination of tactics will work best and be worth your time.

But as with much else in business, it pays to start with a plan.

Identify your ‘ideal patients’ and group them into segments to better define who you want to market to


Before beginning any sort of marketing, spend some time to create a clear marketing plan. Doing so will guide your future efforts and allow you to determine what approaches you’d like to take, and the amount of resources needed to make them happen. A critical first step in formulating a marketing plan is to identify your ideal patient, which is an individual whose problems you are most adept at solving. Ask yourself these questions to help identify your ideal patient types:

  • What are the demographics of these individuals?
  • What types of diagnoses do these individuals have that would lead them to seek out physical therapy (e.g. immobility, chronic pain, sports-related injury, pelvic problems, vestibular conditions)?
  • What are the perceptions of these people with respect to using PT services (are they open to direct access or do they need a referral)?
  • What types of media do these patients consume (e.g. Facebook, Google, Instagram, YouTube)?

Niche Down to More Specific Segments for Better Clarity and Physical Therapy Marketing Effectiveness

Once you successfully answer these questions, build a marketing campaign that attempts to reach these ideal patients directly, as those are the individuals most likely to come to you for care. Marketing plans are often more effective when you further segment your ideal targets into smaller groups or segments. Here are a few examples to consider when further segmenting your ideal patients into target markets:

  • Past vs. current patients
  • Patients referred by physicians vs. self-referred patients
  • What types of insurance/payment do these patient types usually have available to pay for PT services?
  • Individuals that are most likely to benefit from your services

Again, try to understand what it will take to get past patients (warm leads) with a need for your services to come back versus what prospective patients (cold leads that have never used you before) are looking for and would make them select you over competitors.

Why ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect’

A common problem that many private practices owners run into in their physical therapy marketing strategy is spending too much time trying to ensure that a marketing plan is perfect. This can lead to delays in launching the plan, which in turn, could mean less potential business for your practice. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you get something off the ground and “done” first, rather than getting too hung up on perfecting it. Marketing plans are meant to be tweaked and improved upon as you go, so work on erecting a strong base at the outset, and then building on it from there.

Physical Therapy Local Online Marketing with Social Media

Online marketing has a lot of advantages. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy to track, and a great way to reach a patient pool that spends an increasing amount of time in front of screens.

Practice owners looking to leverage social media in their area can turn to three social media channels that will allow them to build a reputation as the local physical therapy expert in the area and/or affordably advertise to their community.

Become a Member of Your Local Facebook Groups

 

Telling you that you can advertise on Facebook doesn’t qualify as news, but you may not realize just how many ways there are to use Facebook to build name recognition in your community.

One way to promote your practice is to get involved with local Facebook Groups.  I’m not talking about creating your own group, I’m suggesting that you get involved in some of your neighborhood groups that contain members within the neighborhood you serve.

Here’s where most can start.

  1. Join Local Neighborhood Groups: Do you belong to any local community Facebook Groups?  How about your significant other? Many are private and you’ll need to be a member yourself or you will need a patient, or an administrator of the group to invite you.  So, step one is to join the group, browse the group, make sure it has several hundred members, and there are one or more posts within the group on a daily basis.  
  2. Do Your Research: Browse around the group.  What topics do people post on?  Identify the influencers in the group.  Who is leading the group?  Who writes the most for the group?  Who has had physical therapy from YOUR practice and commented in the group?  What are others saying about your practice and other PT practices in the group?  Use the group search function to gain a better understanding of the group dynamics and content they post.  Often these groups consist of moms that are sharing recommendations about professional services as well as events and news about the community.
  3. Contribute content:  Be careful here. Do NOT write about yourself.  You need to gain trust and credibility in the group.  Once you part of the group, give value.  Don’t promote your practice.  Comment on questions that are relevant to your PT professional skill set.  Ask the administrator if you can write in informative blog post and then paste a link to it the group.  
  4. Look for advertising opportunities: Another option is to pay the group admin to promote you to the group.  See if you can share any of your upcoming events to the group as well.

Facebook Groups within your neighborhood are a good way to get an idea of what others think of you, they’re a good place to identify influencers in your community, an opportunity to help and educate, and sometimes they are a great place to organically promote your physical therapy services.

Leverage the Nextdoor App & Community

Nextdoor is a bit like a hyper-localized Facebook. In order for users to join the network, they need to verify property ownership at a given address by phone or they can receive a piece of physical mail to validate that they live in the area. Due to the extra authentication, when businesses advertise on Nextdoor, practice owners can be certain that they’re reaching actual residents. However, unlike Facebook Groups, which is huge everywhere, the popularity of Nextdoor can vary by city or town.

Simply Instructions to Get Started

You’ll want to see how active the network is in your area before committing a portion of your marketing time and budget to it.  Simply download the app, find your neighborhood, and sign up yourself.  If there is a Nextdoor presence in your neighborhood, search for your business. 

If you find a Nextdoor member that was also your patient, connect with them again offline.  See if they are willing to comment on your services or even recommend you go others.  Also, remind patients of the Nextdoor app and have them recommend you as well.

Nextdoor does have some advertising options as well.  It’s not our top recommendation but for some practice owners, it might be a viable alternative.

Advertise Your Practice on Waze

Did you know you can put a billboard inside an app? That may sound crazy, but in a world where so many drivers use the Waze app, advertising on Waze instead of on street signs can put a lot of eyeballs on your practice in a hurry.

Waze Local is an easy way to advertise your practice. You can show more information about your practice on the app when people drive by. You can drop a pin of your practice on their map. You pay only for ad activity and their are a couple of different options.  The basic advertising option will be best for most small practices.

The company also provides analytics on your ads, which can help you better strategize how to reach potential patients.  If you practice is right next to a busy freeway or highway, it’s  an affordable option to keep your name in front of a bunch of commuters. 

You can learn more at https://www.waze.com/business/

 

The Number 1 Factor in Physical Therapy Referral Marketing

As the old saying goes, people buy from people they trust. How do you establish and maintain trust? Here are four easy ways to accomplish this today and improve your physical therapy referral marketing program.

1. LOOK LIKE A PRO

Like it or not, in this world, looks matter. A professional appearance conveys respect to the doctor and office staff, suggesting that you care enough to look like a professional for them. If you look the part, then the doctor or office staff will trust your authority, and that trust can then be built upon.

2. KNOW YOUR PROFESSION

Sharp style can only get you so far — especially when talking to a doctor with some knowledge on rehab of neuromusculoskeletal problems. Make sure you know the latest research that supports a referral to physical therapy, how your care can specifically solve a problem for that doctor’s patients, and what your competition does inside and out. Then share your information with confidence through intelligent, insightful conversation to build further trust.

3. KNOW SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY DO

In sales, the saying is that “everyone’s favorite subject is themselves.” That’s why when you take the time to really know their practice, the patients they see, what they think about treatment, and even solutions to problems they haven’t yet thought of, you immediately create authority and trust.

Do your homework and ask questions. Get to know your referring physician’s business, and then drop a little knowledge in your conversations to show you’re concerned about them. (Hint: Have you looked at your referring physician’s online reputation? If it’s not great, let them know about it and share the process to help them improve it.)

4. KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS

It’s such common sense but so rare! If you follow through with your commitments, you’ll quickly earn a physician office’s trust. Why? Because so many don’t keep their commitments.

If you fail to follow through on the little things, how do referring physicians know they can trust you when it really matters? More importantly, how will they know you are fully invested in the patients they refer to you?  Just like you, they are very busy and do not want to waste their time with people who may damage the relationships they have with their patients.

Don’t worry though, it’s easy to prevent these problems — just keep your commitments.

THE NO. 1 FACTOR IN PHYSICAL THERAPY REFERRAL MARKETING IS?

All of these tips contribute to the No. 1 most important factor in physical therapy referral marketing success: TRUST!

Looking for more information about how to generate physician referrals?

Contact us about our More MD Referrals Sales & Marketing program.

Physical Therapy Website Accessibility – ADA Compliance in the Digital World

Physical therapists understand the importance of creating an accessible environment better than most professionals. Working with people who are injured or struggling with pain often involves meeting them on their level, and the same is true for creating a space that’s welcoming for people with physical disabilities.

When it comes to creating accessible spaces, we usually think first about entryways, bathrooms, and other concrete obstacles that may present challenges for those with limited function or mobility. Tackling these areas is essential, but it’s also important to ask yourself whether or not your website is as welcoming as it could be.

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act Apply to PT Website Design & Development?

ADA compliance and physical therapy websites

When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, the idea that being able to use a business’s website would be essential to engaging with their business didn’t exist. As such, the bill has few guidelines for accessible website design. In the 30 years since, though, online commerce and interaction has become a much more integral part of our lives.

This year, the idea that a website is an essential part of a business was debated on the floor of the Supreme Court. Early in October, 2019, the Supreme Court upheld the right of blind people to sue Domino’s for failing to make their website and app accessible.

According to the LA Times, the court’s decision was based on the idea that the ADA “protects access not just to restaurants and stores but also to the websites and apps of those businesses.” The ruling doesn’t mean the plaintiffs will win their suit; it simply means they have a right to bring it. Legal precedence on the matter is still far from established, but that won’t stop lawyers from finding as many businesses as possible to bring suits against.

E-rehab has accessibility tools for your website that might help you to avoid the hassle of a lawsuit.

Contact Us today at (760) 585-9097 or request a free consultation by clicking here.

To learn more about accessible digital design, visit W3.org/standards/webdesign/accessibility.

Physical Therapy Marketing Tip: How to Use Micro-Influencers To Grow Your Practice

What are Micro-Influencers?

Micro-influencers are people with a distinct social media presence, typically between 1,000 and 100,000 followers, that are in your local community. They know a lot about your community and people look to them for recommendations and advice about what matters and what to purchase.

Since micro-influencers resemble more of a trusted friend than a slick salesperson, they have some serious marketing power that you should capitalize on.

The Data on Micro Influencing

A 2017 Consumer Content Report surveyed 2,000 adults in the US, UK, and Australia about their unique perspectives on the consumer buying process.

When it comes to engaging with a brand, it turns out that what matters most to 90% of Millennials is authenticity. And what do they consider “authentic”? Certainly not perfectly packaged branding.

Instead, people prefer to consult a trustworthy source to decide where to spend their money, and 60% of them find that content created by consumers themselves is where they can find it.

Furthermore, a study conducted by HelloSociety found that survey respondents were 3x more likely to follow an influencer than an actual brand.

What does this mean for you? That micro-influencing is a powerful tool to reach potential patients, no matter what their age or demographic.

A Powerful Tool in Your Local Market

We all know that word-of-mouth is the most powerful tool to win new customers. Well, micro-influencing takes it to a whole new level by combining word-of-mouth with social media.

Micro-influencers have “influence” because they’ve built a rapport with their audience and, in many cases, some of that audience is made up of a local community of followers. By connecting with micro-influencers in your area, you can create buzz and really raise awareness about your physical therapy services.

How to Find Micro-Influencers for Your Physical Therapy Practice

Ok, now that you know how powerful local micro-influencers can be, let’s discuss how to find them.

Here are three simple recommendations:

  1. Check out a micro-influencer online properties such as Facebook Groups in your neighborhood and the Nextdoor app.
  2. Search keywords and hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, or other social media channels to find influencers that fit your practice and have a local audience.  For example, #SanDiegoRunners or #HanfordSwimmers .
  3. Use Google to manually type in [YOUR CITY] + [PRACTICE SPECIALTY] + [BLOGGERS or INFLUENCERS]  and scan the results. For example, if you treat runners, you could search for “San Diego Running Experts or Influencers.”

Look for local influencers that have a good-sized general audience similar to your patient base and let them strategize creative ways to share your practice…that’s what they do!

Tips for Using Micro-Influencers

  • Invite them to try your practice “on the house.” If they love your physical therapy services, you may get some good (and free!) exposure as they could respond to your efforts by mentioning them in their Facebook Group or posting a “thank you” on their blog.
  • Reach out and ask if they are open to doing paid posts or shout-outs. Prices could vary depending on their amount of influence, so determine what you’re willing to pay ahead of time-based on what their influence could mean for your practice.
  • Let them be authentic… don’t try to guide their campaigns too much. Remember, your potential patient base is looking for genuine interactions with your practice, and the micro-influencer will provide just that.
  • Use a variety of micro-influencers. Rinse and repeat! The more positive exposure form multiple avenues, the more awareness for your brand. But don’t use them all at once or it will be very clear to your community that it’s a paid campaign, which defeats the purpose of using influencers for more authentic feeling marketing.

Your Turn!

It’s time to get off the fence and commit to putting in the time and effort to find micro-influencers that can drive you more business!

Use the tips outlined above to launch your first local micro-influencer campaign!

 

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