Facebook has become a powerful advertising platform for small businesses including physical therapy practices. The combination of being able to reach people by their interests, social connections, pages that they’ve visited, as well as by their location makes this ad platform a very effective option for PT clinics. Practices can reach potential new patients, grow their following, and increase revenue.
Facebook has four primary location targets available that allow you to create locally-focused ad campaigns.
Facebook’s Help articles define them as the following:
1. Reach everyone in this location
‘Reach everyone in this location’ is the default option. This option allows you to reach people whose home or most recent location is within the selected area.
You set the parameters for the location. Let us say, everyone in Encinitas, CA. It will automatically advertise to everyone in Encinitas.
2. People who live in this location
The second option is people who live in this location. This includes people whose home is within the selected area.
You might want to advertise a retail business. For example, to people who live in a specific location, perhaps, a real estate agent would want to advertise only to people that live in a certain location.
3. People recently in this location
People recently in this location, is the third option.
With this option, you’re reaching people whose most recent location is within the selected area to which you are advertising. You may want to advertise to people that visited health clubs or sports complexes. For example, to people who are recently in the location that you choose, say, ‘People who are in CrossFit’.
4. People traveling in this location
Finally, people traveling in this location, is the fourth option.
This includes people traveling in the selected area who are more than 125 miles from their home location. This is determined by the device and connection information that Facebook collects.
This would be a powerful option for people that have “snowbird” populations or large college campuses.
Facebook is Very Powerful
That’s four different options that Facebook gives you for creating very powerful, targeted local advertising campaigns. Depending on your target audience, you should consider those four different options. Think about how you may use them creatively to reach the ideal prospects with the ideal offers, while they’re in the ideal location.
Authority, credibility, expertise, and trust are all important factors that patients scrutinize when looking at a physical therapy website. Patients that are unable to develop a sense of trust with you as a physical therapy service provider are less likely to call or request time with you on your appointment request system.
Increase trust and you will increase new patients!
Here’s a quick list of credibility opportunities that you can implement to increase trust between you and potential patients.
In a Physical Therapy Practice, People Judge What They Can’t See Based on What They Can See
Fact is, in a service business, people can’t test drive you or try on your physical therapy services. An outdated website may leave an impression that your practice is out of touch and may not be a clinic of expertise or excellence. I have compiled a list of seventeen things you can do to improve your online appearance and help you successfully convey that you provide exceptional services:
1. Upgrade your website design:
Creating a new physical therapy website design is well within the budget of any practice. It is important for your website to look great on smartphones…so, a responsive website is the right choice. Don’t forget to test all your website’s marketing features on more than one type of smartphone. NOTE: E-rehab clients can get a new website, free of charge, every 3 years.
2. Take real photos of you, your staff, and your patients:
Don’t use stock photos…or at least not ones that look like stock photos. And never, ever use clip art! Hire a professional photographer to take some pictures for you or license unique images from a pro, and you’ll immediately upgrade the appearance of your site.
4. Make it easy for patients to communicate with you:
With smartphones, apps, sms, email, chat, and social networks, there are many ways for patients to connect with your office. Don’t miss out on vital communications by ignoring some communications channels.
5. Make sure your phone number is on top and on every page:
Your phone number should be visible above the fold on every page of your website along with a click-to-call function when people visit your site on their smartphone.
6. Add a live chat option:
Adding a live chat option is easy (and free too!) with a system like tawk.to .
7. Don’t want the commitment of live chat; add a bot:
Chatbots are a popular way to automate the interactivity on your physical therapy website. With a physical therapy chatbot, you can answer many of the questions that your patients may have before they even come in to see you. It’s a great way to educate your patients and it’s a great place for patients to submit an appointment request as well. We find that 1 in 10 people that use an E-rehab Physical Therapy Chatbot are scheduling an appointment.
8. Make sure you have a map that’s easy to access:
Make sure your address(es) is easy to see. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking up a local practice only to find that you don’t know where they are located. Make sure you have your address permanently placed on your site above the fold and also have a Google Map available.
9. Leverage your great service:
I rarely meet a practice owner that doesn’t think they provide great service. Fact is, if a practice has been around for five or more years, they’re probably right. If they weren’t providing great service, they would have gone out of business. But here’s the problem; it doesn’t matter how much YOU tell others that you have a great practice, that you are the best, that you are number one…it will never be as effective as the social proof that other patients can and will share about your practice. Encourage your happy patients to share the word about the success they had with you.
10. Include patient ratings and reviews:
I’m going to spend a little extra time on this by leading with a question. If you were a consumer that needed a locksmith, an urgent care practice, emergency plumber, orthopedist, or a physical therapist, would you look for one on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter? Out of the literally hundreds I have asked, I’ve only had one person say yes. Another couple said they might ask for a referral from Facebook. My point is, and your web stats will prove this to you, people check PT practices out online, most of the time, by either Googling you, or by going directly to your website. You may be asking, “What’s your point Dave?” My point is that there are two places that you want to have your ratings and reviews for prospective new patients; on Google and on your website. Start by getting ratings and reviews on those two platforms (and in most cases, it won’t matter if you have reviews anywhere else).
NOTE: Of course, this is how the E-rehab system works – we help practices capture ratings and reviews to be displayed on Google or your website. We also will import Google reviews and post them on your website as well.
11. Add patient video testimonials:
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth millions. If you have a bunch of positive ratings & reviews, undoubtedly, some will question their authenticity. You can avoid any doubt and demonstrate the happiness and satisfaction of your patients with video testimonials. Click here to see an example.
NOTE: We have a patient video testimonial system that is so fast and easy to use, anyone can use it. Contact me and I’ll show you that it’s as simple as it gets and there isn’t any emailing or uploading of videos.
12. Highlight your specialties:
If you offer services that are uncommon, such as aquatic therapy, women’s health, vestibular rehab, concussion treatment, etc., make sure that you have a dedicated web page about these services. Also make sure that you include the service and your city in the page title and body so it’s more likely to rank on Google.
13. Highlight professional awards and association affiliations:
Have you won a Top Rated or Best Of award? Make sure that you display the badge on your website. While most of these “best of” websites have no relevant criteria to judge the quality of a practice, they do give badges away to many practices. Why do they do this? They want you to put the badge on your website that links to them so they will rank better in the search engines for industry searches like “best physical therapy in Salt Lake City” or “top physical therapy clinic in New Orleans”. Yes, it’s a joke/game, but if you are lucky enough to get the arbitrary award, add it to your website. It can’t hurt. I do recommend that you simply add the image but don’t link back to the ratings and review site.
14. Personalize your website:
Today’s patients want to see who will be treating them. Here’s how you can add a personal touch to the experience:
Make sure that you have updated staff biographies on your website. Include the schools that staff member attended, certifications, specialized con-ed, types of patient conditions they like to treat, and then humanize the staffer. Tell viewers what they like to do in their spare time, mention some details about family, and involvement in the community if it’s relevant.
By providing video and pictures to show viewers what happens at the practice, a patient can more easily visualize their own visit. You may also want to showcase any unique company cultural traits. Both of these will result in impressing to the patient that your physical therapy practice is relatable and trustworthy.
Pictures of your great service
We are frequently asked what kinds of pictures should be on a physical therapy website. I suggest you share images of what you do best…patient education, manual therapy, and the sophisticated therapeutic exercises/neuromuscular reeducation that you use every day. For various services pages, take specific photos of the above three categories and include them on the respective services pages.
15. Be a healthcare professional:
A lot of the tips above are designed to make your business feel more relatable and friendly. But when it comes to opening up their wallets, customers still want to know you are a clinical professional. Here are ways to show you mean business:
Have a secure domain
This is a big one! Invest in an SSL certificate and secure your domain. It will help with SEO, build viewer trust, and HTTPS 2.0 protocols can speed up your site too.
Make sure you address the payment, billing, and co-insurance payment processes on your website
Show that you stand behind your physical therapy services with confidence!
Make it clear that you’re going to protect their valuable information.
16. Make it clear how to reach support:
Let them know how you will handle things when they go wrong. When it comes to healthcare services, most complaints are centered around money. Clearly communicating how you verify insurance benefits, how the billing process works, and communicating in a timely manner can go a long way toward building trust.
17. Take Action!
It’s so important to communicate credibility and trust to prospective patients that are viewing you on the web. In today’s complex, competitive, and the oftentimes confusing marketplace, businesses need to go above and beyond to set themselves apart. Hopefully, the tips mentioned above will help your physical therapy practice stand out.
Contact Us if You Need Help
If you need help, don’t hesitate to give E-REHAB a call at (760) 585-9097. Since 2003, we’ve been helping PT private practices get the word out to their communities.
Most practices owners would agree, that in today’s competitive PT market, you need a great physical therapy online marketing to win. With the myriad of online marketing options, get-rich-quick, “be a 7-figure practice” schemes, misinformation, and time constraints, practice owners are often left very confused.
While every practice has different needs, we’ve found that there are seven fundamental strategies that practices should invest in to win online today. Focus on these, and you can beat the POPTS, HOPTS, and corporations…and in most cases generate some significant new business.
1. A Physical Therapy Responsive Website
Your website is hub of your of your physical therapy online marketing strategy, but if it’s not mobile-optimized, you’re simply missing out on patients that would like to easily connect with you on their smartphones.
According to our research mobile visitors account for over 40% of visitors to physical therapy websites. This is slightly less than the research site Statista, which indicates that mobile website visitors account for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide. In the first quarter of 2019, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 48.71 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017.
In addition, Google has made it clear that it evaluates your website for a mobile optimized version, and if the site isn’t optimized for the mobile user, it’s likely to impact your search rankings. Google states:
“Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.”
If your site isn’t optimized for smartphone users, your search rankings are very likely to suffer.
NOTE: one tool that can be extremely useful on physical therapy websites, is chat. 79% of customers prefer live chat over email or social media for customer support due to its immediacy.
The problem with live on small PT practice websites is staffing the live chat. If you do have a request from a website viewer to chat and no one in your office is available or knows how to use a chat service, it can negatively impact your reputation.
A good solution is a chatbot. Physical therapy chatbots can proactively answer common questions and provide immediate answers to common questions and can help nurture users to the end goal of requesting an appointment. Interestingly, E-rehab.com chatbot data suggests that 1 in 10 chatbot users actually request an appointment. A chatbot should be included in your website and is an affordable way to convert more website viewers to new patients.
2. A Fast & Secure Website for Physical Therapy SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing practice of engineering your online brand and website content to increase your website’s chances of appearing at or near the top of search results.
According to a recent study, the number one search ranking position earns around twice as many clicks as the number two. Once you reach position six, you start receiving clicks from less than 3% of the people who see your search result listing.
More specifically, “People will have a really hard time finding your practice if you aren’t ranked near the top of search results, and you’ll miss out on the lifeblood of your practice – new patients!”
It’s been reported by many SEO authority websites that Google’s algorithm contains over 200 factors that impact a practice’s physical therapy search rankings. Some of them are out of your control and others can be addressed to improve your search rankings. Two such factors are a. having a secure website and b. the speed at which your website loads.
“Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.”
“Page speed is also important to patients that are visiting your website on their smartphones. If your web pages take a long time to load some of your website visitors will leave and search for your competition. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions.”
Simply put, a faster-loading site will rank higher and when people click on your Google listing, they will have a better experience and are more likely to become a patient.
If page speed isn’t something you’ve considered in the past, we do recommend you consider it now.
3. Physical Therapy Reputation Management
Physical therapy reputation management has a negative connotation. Many think of reputation management as the process of limiting negative reviews, responding to negative reviews, and getting them removed from your online directory profiles (Google, Yelp, Facebook, Healthgrades, etc.).
Here at E-rehab.com, we use the term Reputation Marketing for physical therapy private practices. It’s the process of not only making sure you deal with negative reviews but also the systematic approach of capturing ratings and reviews and marketing those reviews to generate more new patients.
First, a quick reminder about why you should be building your online reputation.
People will drive past your competition if you use this form of marketing
It’s the second most trusted form of advertising
86% of consumers read this type of marketing
50% of consumers visit a local business after reading this type of marketing
79% trust this form of marketing as much as a personal referral
65% of patients say this marketing is moderately or very important
48% are willing to go out-of-network if you use this strategy
72% of consumers use this as the first step to choosing a doctor
Implementing a process this like this can have a profound impact on your bottom line. Making the active choice to be number one in your market, as evidenced by a large number of ratings and reviews, can generate 5, 10, even 20 or more new patients per month.
Unfortunately, many practice owners don’t understand or are unwilling to do the work to capture ratings and reviews. The good news is we’ve made the process very simple. Some of our clients are generating over 50 new patients per quarter. It’s one of the most affordable marketing opportunities for small practices and one of the only ways to compete with the large corporations and hospitals ( that will always have a bigger marketing budget than almost all small practices ).
Reputation marketing is also a marketing multiplier.
Not only does having a large quantity of ratings and reviews increase the likelihood that someone will choose your practice, they can also impact or enhance other areas of your marketing efforts. For example, if you are looking to hire a PT. We’ve heard a number of anecdotal stories from practice owners stating that they had PT employment applicants mention the practices “large number of reviews” as a factor as to why they considered applying for a job at the given practice.
While some say it is “the way” to rank number one, this is simply not the case. Take a look at this search for “physical therapy costa mesa”.
As you can see here, the company with the most Google ratings and reviews (i.e. Ann Steinfeld Physical Therapy) does not rank number 1. Nevertheless, accumulating ratings and reviews is a positive factor that can help with your Google Maps/Three Pack ranking. It’s just not the only factor.
Nevertheless, Google ratings and reviews are indeed a marketing multiplier and physical therapy reputation marketing should be one of the top fundamentals you implement in your marketing mix.
4. Physical Therapy Content Marketing
As the saying goes, “content is king”. This means that good physical therapy content will have a positive influence on new business generation. Good physical therapy content can:
Help capture the attention of potential new patients,
Help define you as an authority,
Help you rank in the search engines for various keywords, and
Your physical therapy content can be used across a variety of online marketing channels.
Whether it’s a blog, videos, podcasts, or all of the above, your physical therapy content should be a great resource about the conditions you treat, the services you offer, and above all, make it clear that for most diagnoses, physical therapist directed care is a great first choice.
But content is also the way prospects find and evaluate your clinical expertise. Content that educates, answers questions, puts a patient/reader’s mind at ease and is generally helpful can then be followed by a call to action that can generate more initial evaluations.
Content is an important part of your search engine optimization efforts. Google loves to index new content, meaning that more frequent quality content is produced, the more likely your content is to rank for a given keyword search.
As marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuck famously said, “ We are all media companies now.”
Commit to producing high quality content on a regular basis. It’s a fundamental marketing strategy.
5. Physical Therapy Email Marketing – A System for Keeping in Touch
Once you’ve done all of the hard work of generating new patients, you also need a system to educate patients about the additional services you offer. Retention marketing or patient reactivation are the terms commonly used to market to past patients and get them back in your clinic.
Email marketing has long been a reliable channel to stay in touch with your past patients. Offering “good will” by providing quality educational information is an easy way to stay top-of-mind with your past patients.
It’s also a good idea to use other options like SMS if you have special offers like a free screening offer for past patients. Younger generations are rarely in their email inbox, preferring the speed of text messages and the social connection of messaging apps instead.
Regardless of the choice of technology, build your list and keep in touch to maximize the value of your marketing activities and the relationships you develop.
6. Really Want to Stand Out? Use Physical Therapy Videos
Video has officially taken over the Internet! According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, online video will account for 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019, up from 67 percent in 2014.
Ninety-five percent of people say they have watched an explainer video to learn more about a business, product, or service.
Why is video specifically a great choice for physical therapy practice owners:
It helps build trust. People like to see the providers that will be treating them and the clinic where treatment is provided.
You can deliver your specific message. Fact is that most scan web pages these days. With a good video, patients will watch the entire piece and will hear your entire message.
It’s a great educational tool. Using video to in the following ways can be extremely beneficial:
Help potential patients understand their condition,
Share the services you offer,
Share success stories and the experiences of other patients,
Help patients understand what will happen during their first visit,
Help patients understand why physical therapy should be their 1st choice
You don’t need a degree in film to produce great videos. Creating quality video is very simple with a newer smartphone and any number of apps to assist you.
If you really want to set yourself apart, physical therapy video marketing is a great opportunity. Most do nothing more than share exercises. There aren’t many (or enough) videos to describe why patients should be choosing physical therapy in the first place.
7. A Physical Therapy Social Media Presence
According to Verto Analytics, as of July 2017, we spent more than 41% of our online time on social media apps, which equates to an average of more than 25 hours per month per user. This number has stayed pretty consistent so far through 2019 as well.
Social media has its place in physical therapy marketing. The problem is that most potential new patients DO NOT look for a physical therapist on social networks. Let me illustrate this with a simple question. “If you are in need of a locksmith, an emergency dentist, a plumber, an orthopedic surgeon, or a physical therapist, would you search for someone on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?” Most answer this question with a resounding “NO”! First this reason, social media marketing shouldn’t be your top priority. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it or it isn’t important. When practice owners think of marketing, they think about generating new patients. Your social media presence might help with the retention of past patients when they follow you on Facebook, but if you want to generate new patients, posting content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or YouTube isn’t going to generate many calls or appointment requests.
That said, advertising, or paying to get your social media posts/content in front of your local audience can be an effective way to generate more new business. This type of marketing is an advanced advertising strategy though, and requires considerable time, money, and ongoing effort. It’s not a fundamental marketing strategy for most new and small PT practice owners.
I absolutely believe that practices must have an active social media presence. However, measuring ROI can be a challenge.
Conclusion: Focus on Physical Therapy Marketing Fundamentals
There are a number of online and offline marketing options. It’s easy for practice owners to get confused, waste money on bright and shiny objects…marketing tactics that promise riches, and lose focus on the basics. Don’t make this mistake.
E-rehab.com has been helping private practice with their physical therapy online marketing and physical therapy offline marketing for over 15 years and chances are, we can help you too.
Click here to request an appointment with me or call (800) 468-5161 to learn more about how we can help.
Physical therapy video testimonials are yet another marketing strategy that so few PT practices are implementing.
Proof in the form of happy patients that are willing to tell the world how happy they are with your physical therapy services is the best marketing content possible.
Nothing will give a prospective patient more confidence than seeing a variety of glowing testimonials about the treatment they so badly want…and need.
So how can you build up your cache of video testimonials? Here’s how!
Have a Process
The first step to getting more testimonials and getting them consistently is to make it a process at your business.
This is too important and valuable to leave to chance, but that’s exactly what most businesses do. I’ll show you how to do it better!
Create a process that is triggered when a positive patient experience happens, so you approach your patient for a testimonial when they are going to be most willing to provide one.
A possible process could look like this:
Listen for a patient comment that includes the words “thank you…”
Respond with something like, “I’m glad you are doing so well, would do me a small favor and allow me to get that on video?”
Have the patient sign a video release form and HIPAA release.
Pull out your smartphone and have the patient answer 4 questions:
a. their first name
b. the problems they had before you helped them
c. what they did in therapy/with you
d. what they are able to do now or how their pain has diminished/gone away
e. a recommendation for you
That’s it – pretty easy, right?
Make It Easy
Shooting a video for you was probably not on the list of things a patient might do for you so you need to make it easy.
Use E-rehab’s slick video testimonial system – point, shoot, send. That’s all it takes.
If you’d like to know more about this, let us know.
Share Them Everywhere
Once you’ve collected your testimonials, be sure to put them to good use by sharing them everywhere and making them as visible as possible.
Share them on your website, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Add them to the newsletter we provide each month.
You might even be able to think of other ways to share them (how about with the referring doctor?).
You now have a simple process and tool to add some serious firepower to your marketing. The importance of getting good physical therapy video testimonial can’t be overstated – get started today!
Disclaimer, we aren’t HIPAA experts or attorneys. For legal questions, please consult with a compliance company such as bcmscomp.com or your own attorney.
HIPAA and Responding to Physical Therapy Ratings and Reviews
A cursory Google search with various search terms related to HIPAA and responding to reviews resulted in the following conclusions:
If a patient has already revealed his or her personal health information in his or her online review Doesn’t this authorize a provider to acknowledge that the person is a patient? After all, this individual has already admitted this in the review. The answer is “no.” Per HIPAA regulations, regardless of what a patient says in his or her review, you are NOT authorized to release any private health information in your response. According to Deven McGraw, the deputy director of health information privacy at the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR). https://www.reputationdefender.com/blog/doctors/online-reviews-and-hipaa-what-you-need-to-know-about-responding-to-patient-reviews
Numerous responses to Google, Yelp, and Facebook ratings and reviews include Protected Health Information.
There seems to be no legal precedent that we could find related to litigation, fines, or complaints regarding a response from a physical therapy practice to a positive or negative review.
There are legal cases surrounding physicians’, chiropractors’, and dentists’ responses to negative reviews.
In a 2016 ProPublica post, Yelp gave ProPublica access to their ratings and reviews for study and the authors noted: “We identified more than 3,500 one-star reviews (the lowest) in which patients mention privacy or HIPAA. In dozens of instances, responses to complaints about medical care turned into disputes over patient privacy.”
HIPAA Journal made no reference to fines related to responses to negative online reviews in this post.
Common sense suggests that you shouldn’t discuss the patient’s case at all in a public venue such as ratings and review sites.
Responding to positive reviews in such a way that it acknowledges that the review was a patient, while apparently a HIPAA violation, hasn’t resulted in any negative consequences for providers.
Most patients write positive reviews so, you won’t be responding to many negative patient reviews. Reference
Best practices are to respond to reviews with generic language and a focus on office policies, e.g. thank the reviewer but don’t acknowledge they were are patient.
Background – Physical Therapy Ratings & Reviews on Your Website vs. Online Directories
I define online reviews [when I say reviews, I am implying both a star rating and text review] as those posted to directory sites, such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook to name a few. Our data, from over 1700 PT websites, indicates that Google is the first place that most prospective patients see you online; therefore, online reviews at Google matter the most and you should have a system to capture them. Like many other systems, E-rehab has a great system (we have many clients with over 100 Google reviews) that either directs patients to the proper place to write a review on Google My Business or to write a review for their website.
I speak to many practice owners that are so focused on Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews that they forget that the second most common way prospective patients get to your website is by directly going to it…in other words, they type your web address/URL into their browser. For this exact reason, you want to make sure that you have reviews on your home page, not only Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
But there’s a second type of review that is just as important: first-party reviews. These are the reviews that are on YOUR website. They’ve been common on e-commerce websites for years, but are now popping up on retail, restaurant, and professional services sites.
You’re going to see more and more first-party reviews because they help convince customers late in the funnel, by ratifying their decision to make your enterprise the finalist for their purchase.
Bad Reviews Aren’t So Bad but You Must Collect Reviews from All of Your Clients
In a study by reevoo.com (that’s worth the download), they noted that bad reviews are helpful to consumers in the following ways:
Consumers want complete information We all know that no product or service is completely perfect. Consumers want to know the few negatives so they can weigh them up against all the good points and make a fully informed decision.
Consumers don’t always agree on ‘bad’ points
A bad point to one purchaser is often irrelevant to another – and can even be an advantage. One guest could hate a hotel because there were ‘too many’ children but, to someone planning a family holiday, that’s an advantage.
Consumers don’t look at reviews in isolation
The mere presence of bad reviews isn’t enough to put most consumers off: it’s the ratio of good to bad that matters. A few bad reviews carry much less weight with readers when they appear alongside dozens or hundreds of good reviews.
Consumers notice when there are no bad reviews Shoppers are suspicious when the reviews don’t include any complaints. They won’t assume your product or service is just that good – they’ll assume it’s so bad you have to censor customer feedback.
If you read the ebook, you’ll notice that it is primarily about products, not services, or specifically physical therapists. Nevertheless, their conclusions on how consumers utilize review information is likely to apply to the PT private practice space. At the very least, it should give practice owners better perspective on the value of reviews to consumers and alleviate some of the anxiety when you receive a bad review.
But, you don’t want to just sweep a bad review under the carpet. You need to take action.
Responding to Negative and Positive Physical Therapy Ratings & Reviews is Important
It’s important to respond to reviews because as much as anything, you are writing the response for other people that will be reading the reviews.
Below are tips, that when followed, may keep the patient coming back and prevent prospects that have examined your reviews from choosing another practice instead of yours.
1) Respond fast –51.7% of consumers expect businesses to respond to their negative review within seven days. The quicker the response, the better. Patients that see you respond quickly to their issue helps them to understand that you are a customer-service oriented practice. By delaying a response, you risk never getting any business from not only that customer, but future patrons as well. Prospects who read these reviews and see you respond in a genuine, caring way are very likely to still choose you because they see you are actively involved with making sure your patients’ concerns are addressed.
Case Study: in 2018, I helped several clients respond to negative physical therapy ratings and reviews. Two clients that I helped said that a patient read the response and chose their practice. Not to say that I have some magic formula to respond, it was more about being polite and timely.
2) When you respond, don’t be defensive or argumentative –First, thank them for letting you know there was an issue. Then, offer your sincere apology that it even happened at all. Tell them that this is not typical of your company and that you are giving this issue your utmost attention. If possible ask them to contact you so you can resolve it as quickly as possible. How you resolve the issue is up to you.
Some patients just want to be heard. Others will try to extort money from you, or in other words, will tell you they are going to write a negative review if you don’t forgive their copay or co-insurance. Responding to them by letting them know that you went through a rigorous process of sharing your financial policies with them and verifying insurance before they came in (assuming you did of course) and what their responsibility was is often a good way to handle these.
Don’t be Afraid to Share Your Side – While some physical therapists would prefer not to defend themselves fearing ongoing negative dialogue, other experts argue that you should tell the story as it went down. Neil Patel SEO expert and blogger extraordinaire, states in this post:
Don’t be afraid to tell your side of the story…Bad reviews are not always your fault. But when a number of things add up to a negative customer experience, your business might suffer. If somebody were to falsely accuse you of a crime, you would do anything in your power to prove your innocence. When a review is simply untrue, you might need to do the same. Sometimes, you need to share your side of what really happened.
I happen to agree with this. Too many consumers write negative reviews about health care without thinking. Some have the crazy notion that insurance is going to cover everything (and fail to read the financial fine print on PT intake forms). Setting the record straight can sometimes lead to the patient removing the review. This was an experience I had with a client in Brooklyn. She wrote a negative review, we responded properly, and she removed it.
If indeed you do take a position of defending yourself, make sure you don’t violate HIPAA regulations. You might choose to say something like this in response to a negative review: “Thank you for your review. We take all reviews very seriously both positive and negative. Because of HIPAA regulations, we cannot discuss patient cases publicly. However, we make every effort to avoid situations like the one you are suggesting, given our policies…x, y, z. That said, patient satisfaction is our highest priority and we are absolutely willing to discuss this matter. Please contact the owner at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.” By responding in this way, you are articulating to other readers that your reputation and the care of your patients is important, you have policies surrounding care complaints, and you would like to address the given negative review in a legal and private manner. Readers are likely to respect an organization that responds in this manner.
3) Ask Them to Update Their Review – If you were able to successfully resolve an issue offline, ask the patient to return to the directory site and update their review! Don’t try to post yourself stating that the issue was resolved. It is best coming from the patient. They may not update their response, but it does no harm to at least ask and may go a long way to, once again, increase your reputation online!
Still others are just unhappy people and that’s okay. As I indicated earlier, having a few bad reviews isn’t a bad thing. In fact, when it comes to purchasing many goods and services, maximum purchases occur from vendors when their online reputation is less than five stars. I haven’t seen that play out in the rehabilitation profession but if you have a very large volume of reviews, >100, it could be an advantage.
4) Responding to Reviews is a Differentiator– in a large data study by reviewtrackers.com (worth the read), they indicated that 63% of consumers never hear back after they post a negative review. In a cursory inspection of 50 different physical therapy practices, we too noticed that neither positive or negative reviews received responses from PT practices most of the time.
5) Responding to Positive Reviews is an SEO Factor – Finally, why bother to respond to positive reviews? Google confirms that it helps with local search rankings.
…businesses should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.” This statement is then followed by “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Just like you should have a process to capture ratings and reviews, responding to reviews is another positive ranking SEO factor you can control that will help…and of course we highly encourage this.
[IMPORTANT: The best defense to physical therapy negative reviews is to get your patients to proactively review you. Having 60+ positive reviews drives business. It gets patients that are comparison shopping or are sitting on the fence, off the fence and increases the likelihood that they will call you.]
If you don’t proactively capture the customer sentiment from almost all of your patients and just passively let unhappy patients post negative reviews, that may be all that is present. If you do capture the reviews from all of your patients, you get a balanced picture of the customer experience as noted in pie charts.
Proactively reaching out to invite all customers to review gives happy ones the little nudge they need to get reviewing. By collecting reviews from a whole spectrum of customers, the bad reviews are properly diluted by the crowd of satisfied purchasers.
A Good Infographic from Software Advice Describes What You Should and Shouldn’t Do
In Summary – When it comes to Physical Therapy Ratings and Reviews, Know the HIPAA Regulations, Don’t Ignore Reviews, Embrace Them, Respond To Them, and Understand There’s Value in Good and Bad Reviews
Replying to negative reviews shows those reading that you are proactive and concerned about things that are important to your patients. This can serve to improve your online reputation. But ignoring these issues is the same as turning your back on them, something that could give your practice a black eye and may even turn consumers away..
I hope you are finding this information useful to your practice. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to give us a call at (800) 468-5161 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
We’ve all heard that we should be creating more content for our practice. Physical therapy content marketing is a type of marketing strategy that you might want to consider.
Years ago, popular marketer Gary Vaynerchuk stated that all businesses are media businesses. You’ve probably heard you need to create blog posts, videos, podcasts, and social media content which have all become a requirement of marketing and growth in just about every industry.
But creating content is definitely time consuming, and can be the last thing on your list of things to get done on an already busy day. So here’s a six step process for creating more content even when you’re really busy treating patients and running your business.
1. Create a Calendar of Content Topics
The first step is to create an outline. Simply outline the core ideas for your content on a notepad and transfer those topics to a Google Calendar or similar. Here’s a good resource with free Excel sheets that you can use for planning. You can use the Simple Marketing Worksheet to get started.
IMPORTANT: when creating a content outline, topics can consist of things like patients you want to see, the problems they have, how physical therapy can help them, and information on particular techniques-especially those that are known already to your community. Examples include:
2. Create an Outline for each Individual Topic
You don’t want or need a ton of detail, just enough to give structure to your thinking as you do your content creation. Think about this popular presentation format:
Tell them what you are going to tell them.
Tell them about the topic.
Tell them what you told them.
Add a Call to Action
Write out the outline as a cue card and then your off to the next step.
3. Record a Video
Step number three is to then record a video. I know you may not be comfortable on video – many people aren’t – but it’s something that you’ll get used to over time, and the value of video in marketing today is tremendous. So record a video of you speaking to the outline that you just put down on the notepad. For those that aren’t “off-the-cuff” presenters, a good teleprompter can help. Here’s a link to a resource for you. Don’t overthink it. You can use a camera or iPhone/Android and a shotgun mic (we like the Saramonic or Rode brands). Make sure you get the iPhone connectors as well. If you want to use your iPhone, here’s a cool mobile filmmaking case that we like. Click here. Then the KineMaster video recording app works well too.
Now that you have the gear, record it and you’ve got your first piece of content!
4. Want to Go Bigtime with Your Content – Create a Podcast
The fourth step is to then have the audio exported and edited as a podcast. Podcasts are one of the fastest growing forms of content in terms of consumer consumption because they can be listened to while doing other things, like driving, working out, walking on the treadmill, or running on the beach.
For these reasons, podcasts are experiencing incredible growth, and many people consider them to be the most important form of marketing now. So you definitely want to make sure that you’re getting your podcast created. A simple way to do that is to record your video first, and then export the audio content. There are a number of resources to export the audio portion of a video. I personally like Camtasia. It’s a bit spendy but a quick search should enable you to find some additional resources.
Then you will need a service to upload your audio file. This is called a podcasting platform. Here’s a link to reviews of podcasting platforms and some are free.
5. Transcribe the Audio into a Blog Post
Next you’re going to take that audio content and have it transcribed into a post. I like to use an app called Rev for this. You simply upload your audio file or- even a video file – and the app will extract the audio and transcribe it for approximately $1 per minute of audio. I found that a typical blog post is five to 10 minutes long, so I can get the transcription done for $5 to $10.
The service is fantastic and creates a transcript that is very easy for me to put some final editing polish on, and use it as a blog post or use it as content for my social media posts and my YouTube video.
6. Have a Designer Create Images
Next is to have a graphic designer create images for every place that you want to post your content. Images are very important to go along with your content, regardless of whether it’s going up on YouTube, a podcast, Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform.
Images help sell the content and get the attention of your audience in the first place. Hire graphic designers from affordable services like Fiverr, UpWork, or Design Pickle and you can quickly get custom-designed image – often within 24 hours.
Your Turn! Create your content and push it out to a blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more. You too can be a media company and get your name out to your community.
Want Some Help?
If this all seems a bit too much or you know you simply won’t be able to find the time, let us know. E-rehab specializes in physical therapy content marketing and we can help you get your name out to your market.
Not where you’d like to be with your social media presence? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – social media is a challenge (and perhaps even a mystery) for many physical therapy practices!
The good news is that the pace of change in today’s private practice marketing world means that it’s never too late to jump in and compete, no matter where you’re starting from.
Here are seven things you can do right now to improve your social media presence and get better results from your social media efforts:
1. Understand Your Audience
This is perhaps the most important part of your social media strategy. While many get lost in the content development, planning, and technical use of social networks, physical therapy marketing is all about reaching your target market. The fundamental question that you need to ask is, “Do patients seeking out physical therapy or past patients seeking out my physical therapy services, use social media?” In our opinion here at E-rehab, past patients do use social networks to continue the relationship with a clinician/clinic they’ve had treatment at. Therefore, it does make sense to use them. In doing so, it is always important to focus on three things – educating past patients, entertaining them to maintain engagement (continued interaction on your the social network you’ve connect with them on), and making occasional offers.
NOTE: Years ago, at a WebPT conference, I was speaking with the director of marketing, he made an interesting comment that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “If you want to try to measure ROI with social media, don’t. It’s the wrong question to ask.” While I can appreciate this from his context, I was speaking with a dedicated marketing expert that had a team of people and a health budget. Why am I bringing this up? You need to make peace with the inability to measure ROI, and you need to make sure that other marketing strategies, that do provide a measurable ROI are a higher priority.
2. Sharpen Your Physical Therapy Social Media Strategy
Simply posting content on social media isn’t enough. Before you can expect to generate a tribe of fans, followers, or community on a social network, you need to take a sharp look at your current strategy, and be realistic about what’s working and what’s not.
Start, consider the following questions:
Which social media platforms are you active on?
Which social media platforms are relevant to your business goals?
Which social media platforms are providing the most traffic and conversions?
Which social media platforms are underperforming?
What kind of content are you most effective at creating?
What kind of content will most effectively accomplish our social media goals?
Take a step back and really consider these questions. When it comes to the business of physical therapy, and I can’t overstate this enough, you may find that you’re wasting your efforts on platforms that don’t get results, you’re not using the platform’s features to the fullest, or you’re spreading yourself too thin. Don’t be afraid to change directions in your pursuit of your goals.
Important Concept: Physical Therapy isn’t very social. No one wants to go to physical therapy and you can’t make people have pain or induce demand for it. Yes, people “need” physical therapy and it’s important for your brand name and expertise to be present in your prospects’ minds when they do have a problem. It’s super important to understand this.
3. Optimize Current Accounts
Once you’ve decided on your social media platforms and strategy, you should consider how you can strengthen your presence by optimizing your accounts.
To start, ensure your profile and header images are current and clear, and reflect your brand wherever possible.
Next, make sure you are making full use of any opportunities to add copy, a call to action, and hashtags. Also, check all links to be sure that they’re working properly.
Finally, remember that your profile shouldn’t be static, but rather a living asset that changes to reflect current seasons, campaigns and promotional themes.
4. Identify Clear Goals
What gets measured, gets managed…and improved. It’s time to identify clear goals that you will commit to monitoring and measuring moving forward.
You’ve likely checked your analytics in the process of evaluating your current social media accounts, so you already have the information you need to set your goals for the following year.
Remember, your goals don’t need to be elaborate or involved. A goal can be as simple as increasing your content posting or mixture. In any case, create goals that inspire you and share them with your team or peers and mentors that will hold you accountable.
5. Create a Schedule – Consistency is the Key
We’ve found that in almost 100% of cases, the most effective social media pros have a thoughtful posting schedule that they adhere to.
As a result, a big part of the execution of your social media strategy should be finding out the ideal timing for your content to maximize reach and engagement, and then creating a schedule around those times.
A schedule is more than just an alarm clock to time your posts by though – it also forces you to think ahead about your content plan. This keeps you from having gaps in your content, and ensures that you are giving yourself enough time to thoughtfully create your social content to tie into your greater marketing plans.
6. Use Video
In March of 2019, we attended Social Media Marketing World conference. If there was one underlying theme that crossed many discussions, it was this…use video! Video on Facebook, live video, YouTube video, Instagram video…video is where it’s at.
Many practices shy away from video marketing, but it’s effectiveness in unquestionable. Videos are easy and fun to consume, more engaging, and more likely to hold the attention of your audience for longer periods of time. In other words, you can’t afford to skip it!
Keep in mind that videos don’t need to be professionally done to work. In fact, in most cases, an informal and more relatable video will beat a Hollywood production any day!
A great way to capitalize on video that anyone can do is to go live. Many social media platforms offer live video options now, and it’s as simple as turning on your phone or webcam and hitting ‘broadcast’.
Don’t overthink it…just do it!
7. Don’t Wait – Get Started Now
Developing a strong social media presence is incredibly important for physical therapy private practices, today and for the future. Given that most people with musculoskeletal problems never see a physical therapist, social networks are a great way to reach many.
Hopefully, these tips will help you enhance your social media strategy and smash your goals!
When the path of a new patient appointment can begin at any time, in any location and on any device, it’s becoming apparent that physical therapy practices need to create a seamless experience across the entire process.
With so many devices available to complete a task, patients can switch between them to set their appointments. If they encounter problems across any of them, it could mean the difference between making the appointment and the potential patient moving on to someone or something different.
As a result, more and more practices should be nurturing leads through an omnichannel marketing strategy, which optimizes the experience across all patient touchpoints.
What is Multichannel Marketing?
Multichannel marketing is the concept of providing a seamless experience across all available channels relevant to the patient’s journey. This applies to the shifts and transitions in the way new patients progress through the appointment setting, treatment, discharge, and follow-up hourglass (for more on the marketing hourglass, click here).
Patients are more connected and have more control over who they choose for their rehabilitation needs than ever before, often using three or four devices to access the internet or make their first appointment. As a result, what used to be completed on one site, in one location, at one time is now completed over days, locations, times and channels.
The Importance of a Unified Profile
The multichannel roadmap is achieved by building a unified patient profile that segments the content and offers provided to them. This can only be achieved through strong multichannel marketing.
One of the challenges of multichannel marketing is the isolation of channels, which all provide data in different times with the marketing automation platform. This may include different vendors for the development of a website, email marketing, search, automation, print newsletters, and social media. As a result, patients may not recognize these disparate channels as part of the same marketing effort, which can be confusing.
A rich and deep personalization is only achieved if the data from all the individual interactions is unified to deliver:
Messaging content that resonates with the patient.
A frequency of messaging that the patient will respond to.
The services the patients need.
The types of recommendations that patients will respond to.
A responsive marketing platform captures all this patient data, such as email addresses, phone numbers, promotion responses, appointment inquiries, therapy services viewed and other touchpoints.
Once this unified patient profile is achieved, campaigns can be automated to trigger marketing activities from all channels and lead the patient through the treatment journey.
Getting Started With Multichannel Marketing
Though many practices experience it with other brands or may even be aware of the value of multichannel marketing, many struggle with some of the obstacles to creating this strategy. These include:
Lack of resources necessary to succeed.
Lack of communication between marketing agencies.
Lack of practice owner support and understanding of the value of multichannel marketing.
Organizational silos (clinical teams, front office/reception, back office/billing as examples).
Creating an omnichannel marketing strategy isn’t as difficult as it seems, however. Here’s how to get started:
With potential patients connecting over various devices in many different situations, a practice marketers need to offer information and value to keep their attention. Without valuable content, your physical therapy omnichannel marketing strategy is nothing.
For this, you need to understand what kind of content your patients consume and when. Is your content giving them what they need? Is it optimized for the device they’re using? Are you offering suggestions based on their specific needs? Are you optimizing their health and wellbeing?
On top of that, are you reactivating and cross-selling to your patients? Are you sending follow up message to those that discontinued care? Are those messages optimized for different devices?
These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered about your ideal patient, which is why you need to know all you can about your patients.
Get In-Depth Understanding of the Patient
If you want to provide a truly multichannel experience, you must have intimate knowledge of your patient. You need to understand who they are and what’s important to them (fast access to care, insurance coverage, clinical excellence), what challenges or problems they face (what they really want to return to), and how you can solve them (e.g. which one of your clinicians is best equipped to help).
To get this information, welcome patient feedback, employ social listening tools and leverage condition and treatment specific pages to find out more about their needs. Even more than that, find out which channels they use most to access your content. Your website analytics play an important role here.
Here are the channels most important for multichannel success, in order of value:.
Sponsorships with local schools or sporting programs.
Coupons for free screenings.
Develop Agile Departments
One of the biggest challenges to multichannel marketing implementation is the organizational silo effect. Marketing, therapy, and customer service support often “do their own thing”, which is an obstacle to creating a seamless experience.
Fortunately, a little training on what to do, how to do it, and restructuring of traditional roles can create shared responsibility across departments, letting each team know where they fit into the bigger picture and how they relate to the work of the other departments. This not only sets clear expectations for each team, but also streamlines the communication between them.
When communication is clear and transparent, the departments operate fluidly and create agile marketing strategies that focus on the patient experience.
Start by Optimizing Your Physical Therapy Website
When patients access your site across different channels and devices, your site needs to provide them with a user-friendly experience that’s highly “responsive” to succeed. All of your web pages should be designed to provide maximum usability to visitors and to allow them to access your phone number, location map, hours of operation, ratings & reviews options, social channels, online intake forms, and important content.
In today’s channel-rich environment, multichannel marketing drives the engagement of potential patients and compels them take action. Synchronizing every touchpoint of the patient’s journey for a seamless multichannel experience elevates your practice above the competition.
Need help implementing a multichannel marketing program? Give us a call at 760-585-9097.
Successful marketing is about more than tracking analytics, building a social following and getting traffic on websites.
Ultimately, successful marketing is about knowing your patients. No matter how great your marketing efforts are, it doesn’t matter if you can’t connect with the audience.
So, if you want to be truly successful, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your patients.
What is a Patient-Centric Marketing Approach?
Patient-centric marketing uses personalization to deliver services, messages, and content to the patient that provides them with the answers they need. This applies not only to marketing but also to your entire organization.
Putting your patients first can improve your relationship with them and retain more patients over time since they feel valued.
With patient-centric marketing, you stop telling your patients what they need, which comes across as unappealing and untrustworthy. Instead of pushing services and aggressively asking for the therapy appointment, with patient-centric marketing, you craft your messaging, content and services around addressing their needs first.
Ultimately, if a patient knows they have other options and feel undervalued by the clinic’s lack of attention, they’ll move on.
The Value of Knowing Your Patients
More and more businesses are taking advantage of the power of blogging and content marketing, meaning that the internet is flooded with content everywhere you turn. As a result, patients no longer need to waste time on low-quality content that doesn’t serve their needs.
If you want to stand out among this crowd, you need to create unique content that’s relevant to the needs of the target audience. When you can create content that fits their needs, you develop trust and value with your practice. This makes patients more loyal to your practice and its services.
Having loyal patients who return to your clinic when therapy is needed offers many benefits to your physical therapy practice, not only in revenue but in positive brand reputation and word-of-mouth recommendations.
In fact, repeat patients are 65 percent more likely to convert over new prospects. This means reduced marketing costs and more new patients for you. Loyal patients are also more likely to support your efforts to generate new business since they want to share their experiences with their family and friends. This boosts your trust with new patients and gets you more cash revenue.
So, when you stop guessing at your customers’ wants and needs and start paying attention to the feedback they give you, you get both long-term patient relationships and increased profits.
How to Get an In-Depth Understanding of Your Patients
Developing these relationships and this understanding of your patients takes time, however. Your patients’ needs may change over time, and you need to change with them.
Build Your Patient Personas
A patient persona is a guide to the audience you’re trying to attract to your business. A patient persona describes one ideal patient or client in detail, giving you insights about their behaviors, demographics, background and other unique identifiers.
A truly in-depth buyer persona goes beyond this knowledge, however. It dives much deeper into understanding the patient’s life and the challenges they face. What are their problems? What influences their decisions?
The key to all of this is not to guess, of course. When you create buyer personas, you can’t just create a patient. It needs to be based on the loyal patient base you have.
If you’re trying to reach a different audience, you can even create multiple personas to target new patients, while also keeping your loyal patients happy.
Keep in mind that these may change over time as well, so you should watch how they evolve and continually find new ways to reach them.
Listen on Social Media
Many people are comfortable displaying much of their lives on social media. This can provide you with valuable insights about them and how they feel about your business.
If you only pay attention to posts and comments that relate to your business, however, you’ll miss out on insights from them about what they need from a product or service. To get a real understanding of the target audience and what they expect from your business, you need to go beyond the mentions.
Social listening tools can be helpful for this. Mention is one of the best tools to monitor your brand anywhere. It gives you insights about who’s posting about your business, where they’re located and what influence they have. From there, you can do a little more research into these potential patients to learn more about them.
You should also work to connect with your audience when they come to you. With the availability of therapists online, most patients expect quick responses when they inquire online. Be sure to pay attention to questions, comments, and feedback to you about your business, so you can get an idea of the problems your audience is experiencing.
If you’re not getting the answers you need from social listening, don’t be afraid to ask your patients directly. Surveys provide you with opinions and insights that you may not have otherwise, and they’re easy for patients to participate in.
Keep in mind a few things, such as:
Keep your survey short and simple.
Humanize your message to let them know that their feedback has a purpose.
If your survey is a multi-page form, use a progress bar to let patients know how long they have to complete the survey.
Ultimately, the idea behind the survey is to keep it as quick and painless as possible for participants.
Pay Attention to Visited Content
Whether it’s videos, blog posts, infographics or images, patients engage with a variety of content throughout the day. To understand what they want and need, you need to pay attention to the type of content they visit.
The best way to learn more about popular content is with Google Analytics. This will show you popular content and the patterns that may arise, as well as the type of content that works better for your audience.
Don’t forget to check out your competitor’s social media pages to see what posts get a lot of attention as well. Using this information, you can create more content that’s aligned with what’s working for your competitor.
Look for Lost Conversions
In addition to learning about current patients, you can learn a wealth of information from the leads that don’t convert. This process is a little more involved, but it can provide you with valuable insights.
First, let’s look at the patient’s journey:
A patient is aware of a problem (usually some form of joint, muscle, and/or nerve pain)
A patient considers the options to solve that problem (often this starts at Google, then may progress to asking a family member, friend, doctor, or coming back directly to you)
A patient decides what solution to try (often based on their insurance coverage, the geographic location of a practice, and/or a practice’s ratings and reviews).
If you find that you lose patients in the consideration phase, you may be not doing enough marketing/advertising/or sales to let your community know that you exist. Of course, not every patient coming in contact with your clinic will make an appointment, but it’s still important to find leaks in the sales funnel.
With this in mind, you want to create content for each stage of the patient’s journey, so you can address any concerns they may have along the way.
When it comes to marketing, don’t assume you understand the patient better than they know themselves. Instead of telling your patients what they need, focus on providing them with information and solutions that address their needs, so you can create a loyal following that grows your business.
The best part about content marketing is its versatility. It can be specific to your practice, free and really covering any topic you want it to be, plus it’s easy for beginners to get started.
That said, not every aspect of creating content is easy. A successful content marketing campaign for your physical therapy clinic must deliver a valuable message, and consistently define you and your practice as the leader in your community.
One aspect of keeping your post evergreen is to revisit your blog history, we’re talking about the maintenance of your previous content marketing. Updating older content is a great way to boost your SEO, but many practice owners and marketers don’t take advantage of this opportunity.
Here’s why that should change.
Physical Therapy Content’s Final Stage
Content creation involves a defined process and repeated stages that begin with research. From there, the plan is formed to make new content over time. Once the content is designed or written, it’s published and shared, with not much done after the fact.
But the time after publishing, the maintenance phase is vital. Unfortunately, in the fury of constantly pushing new content, the end of this process is often neglected.
The content you’ve created to provide long-term value — your evergreen content — plays an important role in your site. These pieces are designed to stay relevant over time and guide new patients to your clinic, so they shouldn’t be neglected.
Just think about some of the benefits evergreen content brings to the table:
Site and content continuity.
Evergreen and constantly maintained pieces serve as a foundation for the rest of your content and grow your authority as the leading physical therapist of your area. This also alleviates the stress of constantly struggling to source or validate new content.
Maintenance doesn’t have the urgency of creation, however, so it tends to take the back burner in content marketing. Content maintenance is about nurturing a sustainable relationship with your growing audience by keeping your post reliable.
If a loyal patient were to stumble upon an old, outdated post, they may lose faith in your practice.
Content maintenance is challenging though, which is why many content marketers ignore it. Evergreen content requires time, research and updates to stay relevant, which means adding a second plan in addition to your content marketing strategy.
Here are some methods you can use to update and maintain older content:
Physical Therapy Blog Technical Updates
Like anything else, your site needs maintenance over time. Whether it’s broken links or an outdated background, technical issues are likely present in your old content.
Even if it was published in peak condition at the time, there will likely be one or more elements that should be updated.
For example, Google recently made changes to their meta descriptions. The previous limitation of 160 characters is no longer the case, so what was once optimized is no longer optimized.
Maybe your meta description still works for SEO today, but it’s still worth the time to refresh your old content and check for things like this.
You may also want to experiment with new title tags to boost engagement and refresh your post. You may find that you have broken links or links to outdated resources that are no relevant which harms your credibility.
Broken links hurt your SEO, so take the time to find newer information or statistics that emphasize your point and link to those. You can also update your “last updated” timestamp to show viewers that your content is fresh.
Another technical challenge is the way content is consumed now versus how it was consumed years ago. The end of Flash, for instance, has also ended plenty of excellent content pieces that relied upon it. If you created content with Flash, it won’t last much longer as Flash is being phased out. Many sites recommend Flash be disabled anyway, so it’s a change that will come no matter what.
A way to update that content for modern audiences is by switching out JPEG images for PNG images. PNG images have better quality and load times than JPEG images, so if you don’t update them, you may find that you have slower load times that impact your SEO.
Revitalize Your Most Popular Old Physical Therapy Posts
While maintenance is important, you don’t need to update every single piece of old content, nor should you. The best place to start with updates is with your best and most popular pieces, regardless of how old they may be.
You can find out what these pieces are with Google Analytics under the “Behavior” section. This section will show you a detailed breakdown of each page’s performance for the history of your site and the posts that have stayed popular over the years. You’ll then have a list of pieces that are worth maintaining.
If you focus on maintaining and revitalizing these older pieces of popular content, you’ll most likely be able to continue to leverage them in the future.
You may also want to consider why these content pieces have been so successful. Each piece of content has a purpose, so you may learn more about what works and what doesn’t by analyzing your popular pieces.
If you think that an older piece could do better, consider “upcycling.” Upcycling turns your old pieces into a new format, which is commonly done with a video. It’s the same information, but it’s presented in a way that revitalizes the content and gets it more attention.
Make Relevance about your Physical Therapy Private Practice a New Goal
No matter how evergreen you thought your content was, time will always make your posts irrelevant. Eventually, posts will turn into old news, which requires maintenance to keep them relevant.
One of the benefits here, however, is that you can turn your piece into something noteworthy with your new perspective. So, instead of focusing on updating the piece for popularity, focus on making changes to make it more relevant.
To start, evaluate your content according to three questions:
Does your content still pique interest?
Is it timely?
Will it provide a purpose to your patients and your practice?
If the answer to all three of these questions is yes, then you have content that’s worth updating.
The most relevant content will be viewed and shared more, so taking the time to revamp your relevant content can improve your content lifecycle.
Once you decide that the piece should and could be updated, it’s a good idea to check the topic with Google Trends to make sure there’s interest in the topic of the old post you’ve chosen to update. If you see too many peaks and valleys, you may want to wait until the optimal time to revamp your piece.
Content maintenance isn’t the most exciting part of developing a content marketing strategy, but it’s incredibly helpful for your practice. If you want to continue to create evergreen content, you need to put in the effort to reach your patients.
This means taking the time with your old blog posts and checking for technical issues, popularity and relevance to see what will work best. It also means making a serious commitment to making these changes.
Evergreen content isn’t designed for overnight success. Instead, it takes up a vital place in your content library that will bring traffic and credibility to your brand for years.
When done correctly, a marketing campaign has the ability to resonate with your patients long after it’s out of the spotlight. A well thought out campaign will make your practice memorable and influence the patient to take action, as well as giving your practice a personality and sharing your culture.
If you want to create a successful campaign that can provide these results for your physical therapy practice, check out this guide to crafting a marketing campaign.
What Is a Marketing Campaign?
Marketing campaigns are organized and strategized efforts to promote a particular goal for a business. For example, generating more new patients from physicians or Google are just a couple potential campaign goals. They may involve personal sales, advertising, search engines, social media, emails, patient newsletters or other types of media to attract patients to your practice.
There are multiple channels to deliver your message to potential patients through; a strong campaign, however, will focus on strategies that target two things, a specific result from a specific audience.
Here are some key points to consider when crafting a successful campaign.
To begin, decide on what your overall goal is. Why are you running a campaign and what do you want it to accomplish for your practice. This may include increasing awareness of your services, building your reputation with Google and website reviews, generating new patients or promoting a new service.
The campaign must be carefully planned to ensure you have the best chance of reaching your goals. Once you have the broad goal of the campaign, you need to make sure that your goal is specific, attainable, measurable, relevant and timely. This will give you guidance and accountability for your campaign’s success.
You will need to identify your target audience, and decide what sort of patient (new, current, past) or referrals source (physicians, case managers, businesses) you will be reaching out to. Once you have established your targeted audience, your message can be developed to incorporate ideas might that appeal to this group.
For example, if your goal is to build your community reputation, lay out the specifics of how you intend to accomplish this. Break the goal down into defined measurable tasks by answering such questions as, the number of customers you’d like to take action, how you want them to take action, and by what date. This gives you guidelines and goals to achieve and helps you tailor your campaign for the goal.
Each campaign has its own goal, so you must find a way to measure your success. If you’re looking to generate revenue, your measurement may be in how many new patients your practice attained during the campaign. If you’re looking to increase community awareness, your measurement may be in how many new patient reviews were received.
You will also want to determine the necessary measurements for each marketing/promotional medium being used to attain your specific goal. These measurements are often called key performance indicators (KPIs). As an example, let’s say you launched a Google Ads campaign. One KPI you would want to know is how may times people clicked on your ad. This is one KPI but you also want to know how many patients registered for your offer…another KPI. How many patients that scheduled, showed up? How many visits was each patient treated for? All of these help you determine the profitability of your campaign.
You should also set some milestones throughout the campaign (i.e. I need to generate >3 new patients/month to break even), so you can determine whether to forge ahead or pull the campaign for reassessment and adjustment.
Properly identifying the target audience is the single most important aspect of your campaign. Regardless of the medium or message you use, promoting your message to the wrong audience won’t get you to your ultimate goal.
The first step in identifying the audience is learning what stage of the patient’s journey your campaign is targeting. This can be broken down into the awareness, consideration, and decision stages. For example, if you’re targeting new people to introduce your practice, you would be targeting the awareness stage.
Then, you’ll need to determine the interests and problems of your audience. Learn more about what they do in their spare time, what types of injuries do they experience, how they spend their time, why they’re on social media, and what problems they have that may be solved by your services. Finding the answers to these questions will help you confidently craft a campaign that resonates with your audience.
At this point in the planning process, you know what your goal is for the campaign, how you’ll measure your success and what audience you’re targeting, so all you have left is the message and the medium.
Marketing campaigns need a vision and message all their own, which is an offshoot of your practice’s identity. Your campaign should stay within the bounds of the practice in style and message but still maintain its own identity.
For this step, you may want to bring in the whole team. Your clinical and administrative staff know your business well and can get you started, but you can always use an agency or freelancer for some or all of the campaign.
Once the campaign is complete, it’s time to consider how it will be distributed to your audience.
Reaching Your Audience
Your campaign’s distribution will depend on many factors, such as your budget and current engagement levels. Take a look at your current media channels and see which performs the best and which offers paid advertising, as well as channels that a majority of your target audience participate in (i.e. Facebook for the parents of pediatric patients, or Google for orthopedic conditions). Though it’s smart to promote your campaign on multiple platforms, it’s better to focus your efforts on the platforms in which you already have a presence.
After choosing your platforms, you can choose two or three media options for your campaigns. These may include pay-per-click, SEO, paid influencers, email offers, or scheduled office visits with doctors. You’ll also want to tailor your images, video and copy to suit the medium you’re using.
Part of your campaign goal involves the deadline for your campaign, which helps you determine how and when you’ll promote it.
Beginning with a general campaign timeline, mark your start date and deadline. Then, determine your marketing assets and channels to decide how much you can afford to promote your content and how often. This allows you to map out your scheduled ads for each channel, will help you disperse your message evenly, and ensure that you’re posting on each medium equally.
Marketing campaigns are designed to generate particular actions – calls, reviews, or referrals. A conversion occurs when your campaign achieves a particular goal. No matter how well your campaign performs in terms of traffic or engagement, it isn’t effective if it’s not generating conversions. This goes back to your specific goals within the campaign.
Achieving the desired action is done through conversion assets, such as landing pages, lead forms, calls-to-action statements, and/or phone calls.
Landing pages are a destination web page for your campaign. These are dedicated web pages for your audience to visit and learn more about your practice, so they can decide if they want to utilize your service. This should be separate from the rest of your website.
Lead forms are web forms that capture information about a visitor and turn them into a lead. These aren’t necessary for all campaigns, but they can be important for campaigns that involve downloads or interests gathering.
Call-to-action statements are an image or line of text that encourages your visitors to take a specific action. It’s typically a clear directive, such as “call now” or “schedule today,” but the appropriate call-to-action depends on your goal.
Congratulations! You’ve crafted a marketing campaign. Now, you just need to measure its performance and decide if it was effective. Thanks to all the planning involved and your clearly defined goals, this part should be easy.
If your campaign was successful in achieving your goal, you’re done. If not, you should see what areas were successful and decide what you can change for better results in the future.
Marketing campaigns aren’t the easiest thing to create, but they’re vital to growing a successful brand. They also give you an opportunity to connect with your audience and provide them with something valuable, which will only serve your practice needs in the future.
With increasing access to information on the internet, patient expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, and the competition is fierce. Patient trust has always been important for the success and growth of your physical therapy clinic, but this new environment makes it absolutely vital.
Once you gain patient trust, it increases the likelihood they will consistently choose your practice over another. It also gives you a little leeway if problems arise in the future. No matter what may happen, earning the trust of your patients ensures your practice can survive.
Arguably, the “caring” in health care, seems to have declined over the last decade.
So, what is patient trust and how is it earned? This isn’t a new concept, but it’s an area in which some practices fail. The transparency that leads to trust is more than including standard marketing and communications about why your practice is better than the rest — you have to “truly care” about your patients and their problems.
What Is Patient Trust and Why Is It Important?
Generally, patient trust happens when you have a deep understanding of your patients’ needs and a valid solution to their problems. You provide them with relevant information and personalized care that caters to their unique needs, rather than just touting the benefits of choosing your practice.
Ultimately, this trust is about putting the patient first in your marketing content and your services.
The reason trust is more important now than it’s ever been is a direct result of the variety of treatment options available to patients today. Patients no longer need to choose between only one or two clinics. They have options and virtually limitlessaccess to reviews & testimonials that can give them an idea of what you have to offer.
Because of this, practice owners need to look beyond the competitive pricing, features, and benefits, and direct their attention more toward the history and legacy. Patients have becomeempowered and skeptical, so they’re looking for the whole package — one that will not only give them reliable solutions to their pain, but also a physical therapy practice with patient services they can count on now and in the future. Ideally, your services will address their dysfunction, disability, and functional limitations; but in the event your services don’t completely alleviate their problems, patients still want to have an exceptional experience.
In my personal experience, patients often care as much about the customer service, communication, and convenience as they do the outcomes of the treatment. In other words, they don’t expect miracles, just a sincere attempt by the physical therapy practice to rehabilitate them.
How Is Patient Trust Created?
As we know, the idea of building consumer trust isn’t new, but it is difficult to achieve. Just making promises about your practice is no longer enough, since patients are looking for actions that back-up your claims. This has a big influence on loyalty as well since patients are more likely to return to the practice that gave them the experience and results they wanted the first time around.
Authenticity is key. Authenticity is the one thing that transcends industries, generations, and cultures since it’s the universal thing that all patients are looking for. It’s about being transparent and giving patients what they expect, both in developing the patient/therapist relationship and delivering on their expectations of meeting personal health goals and finding a solution to their existing condition.
Of course, authenticity and transparency are useless for the pure sake of it. You need to be able to translate this into the right verbiage, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of your patients’ needs and expectations, so you can provide them with relevant, valuable solutions. Superlatives, false claims, half-truths and other marketing hype that can’t be verified, instantly read as false, credibility killers. Focus on positive information of substance and value to your patient.
Also, if you’re falling below expectations in some way, it’s vital to learn from it and find ways to improve. While it may be difficult to accurately measure the value and performance in terms of patient trust, you can set standards for your physical therapy practice to ensure that each aspect of your patient’s experience is accounted for and completed. This not only makes your trust tangible for your audience, but it also keeps your business living up to the image of excellence you’re sharing with your community.
Why Is Patient Trust Hard to Earn?
There are many reasons trust can be hard to earn, but skeptical and savvy patients are the main reason. More and more false claims, scams, data breaches and misuse of data are dominating the headlines. It’s becoming more difficult for consumers to immediately trust a business and be open to trying an the little known practice of physical therapy.
Fortunately, this issue is easy to combat if you’re truly putting the patient first. A physical therapy practice must be clear about its purpose and values, as well as being transparent with policy and procedures. Perception is everything, and a clinic that offers the truth is more likely to have good impressions with potential patients.
There’s been a shift in power between the practice owner and the consumer. In the past, the physicians and physical therapy practice owners had the power and patients had to accept what was given. Now, patients have a broad outlook and understand more about what physical therapy should and should not be, so they’re less forgiving of missteps. Patients want a practice that shows loyalty and demonstrates shared values, so an effective strategy would be to align your practice’s values with the information you’d gladly offer to the public.
In addition, transparency is often forced upon the physical therapy practice, since patients can “find dirt on the practice” if they look hard enough. More than ever, questionable ethics and lack of sincerity are an major risk. It’s so easy for them now to be published on social media and to be found by potential patients, leaving a practice looking disingenuous and sleazy. Of course, this is worse than having no trust at all.
Handling Breaches of Trust
As hard as it is to earn the trust of your patients in the first place, it’seven harder to get it back following a breach. That’s why developing deep trust with your patient base in the first place, is the only way to bounce back and survive the fallout.
Physical therapy groups that offer a positive patient experience which meets or exceeds their expectations and delivers benefits that resonate with the patient is so important. An overall culture that demonstrates a willingness to learn from mistakes is paramount. Gone are the days of media spin, since the best way to approach a mistake in the current climate is by owning up to shortcomings and showing a determination to move forward.
ADVANCED TIP: while most practice owners understand the importance of capturing online ratings and reviews, still very few do it. Moreover, responding to negative reviews is a great example of owning up to legitimate mistakes that happen in the practice.
If handled properly, a small mistake or breach of trust can even provide an opportunity for growth. A physical therapy practice that gracefully addresses a mistake and has an effective plan to recover can gain some positive exposure.
While the patient’s trust may sound like a swift strategy or “silver bullet” for new leads and business growth, it’s anything but. Trust is difficult to earn and keep and is far more than just a marketing strategy.
The authenticity and transparency necessary to garner real patient trust comes from honest communications, a solid practice culture, and treating the patient as you would want to be treated, rather than just lip service on your physical therapy website or marketing materials.
Though it’s clear that consumers want a relationship built on trust with their physical therapist, their general trust of small business isn’t high. This can be an area of opportunity for new or developing clinics, or physical therapy groups looking to revamp their image and surge ahead of competitors. Whether we like it or not, the power is with the consumer, so it’s more important than ever to put their needs first for business success.