Physical Therapy Google Ads Management – 4 Ways to Improve

We’re well into 2021 and the pandemic is waning.  If you’re still struggling to fill your clinic, so it may be time to think about advertising…in particular, Google

The first component (and usually the most expensive) of a marketing strategy is lead generation. John Jantsch calls this step getting people to “know” you.

Alan Dibb calls this the “before” stage of a marketing campaign. In other words, this is the process of making people aware that you exist and of what you do.

In terms of marketing funnels, this is called a “top-of-the-funnel” (TOF) strategy.

Advertising is a Necessary Component of PT Marketing in a Crowded Physical Therapy Market

Advertising is indeed a way to make your community aware of who you are and, specifically, one method of advertising online is Google Ads, formerly called Google AdWords.

Google Ads are the search results that usually show up first when you type in a search like “physical therapy in your town.”

You will be able to differentiate an ad from organic and local maps listings because ad results have a small box (with a border around it) right below the headline that says “Ad” along with the “display path,” URL, or web address in green next to it.

A good ad is going to capture the attention of the person searching for physical therapy and speak to what they may be looking for in a PT practice.

Headlines like “Physical Therapy Nearby,” “Same-Day Appointments,” and “Voted Best in the Community” often get a viewer’s attention. Adding the following extensions like a: SiteLink, Location, and Call extensions can also help.

In my 14 years of experience running Google Ads, I’ve found that most practices are missing huge opportunities to improve their Google Ads’ return on investment.

Many are just throwing money away using Google’s Smart Campaigns.

If you’re guilty of one or more of the following common flaws, change your strategy if possible. Here are five of the most common ad campaign mistakes I see with Google Ads.

1. Running the ad for people that show “interest” in your ad. Don’t do this. Change this in your campaign settings so that you are running your ad only for people inside your geo-targeted area. For example, look at the image of the Google Ads above. I’m in San Diego. Why are ads for Brampton, Ontario showing up in San Diego?
2. Running your ad at night or on the weekends. Doing this is only going to get more clicks from either competitors or people who would like to connect with you right now but can’t call you because you aren’t in your office. Run your adduring your hours of operation.
3. Practice owners under-budgeting for their ad campaign. If you don’t invest enough in your ad campaign,your ad will show less often and you will end up paying more than your competition.
4. Not managing your ads on a regular basis. Too many often he practice owners I talk with just set it and forget it. This is a great way to waste money.

Here’s an example of the metrics you should be measuring that we gathered from working with a client of ours.

Metrics You Should Be Measuring
  • Ad Impressions 8.16K;
  • Clicks 320;
  • CPC $5.54;
  • Leads 79;
  • Conversions/New Patients 63;
  • Conversion Rate 80%;
  • Money spent on ads $1.77K;
  • Cost per lead $22.40;
  • Cost per conversion $28.10;
  • Revenue generated from ads this month $31,500;
  • ROI 17.79x.

Part of a good marketing strategy involves lead generation or getting people to “know” that you exist and are a solution for their problems.

Google Ads for physical therapy clinics is one way to drive leads.

Try to avoid some of the mistakes as outlined above, and also make sure you are looking at the key metrics to confirm your advertising campaign is generating a positive return on investment.

Need help getting your PT Online Marketing Right?

We can help. Click here to schedule some time with David Straight, DPT & co-owner or call 760-585-9097

Physical therapy online marketing is affordable and doing it right is a must. Contact us today!

Physical Therapy Marketing Funnels – Understanding the Concepts First Can Increase Your ROI

The AIDA diagram pictured describes the path that a consumer will follow to become a patient.  In this conceptual funnel, the patient passes from one step to the next.  Those that do not move to the next step, are said to have “fallen or leaked out of the funnel”.

I particularly like this way of describing the patient’s buying journey because it’s easy to understand.  It’s one of the first buying models of advertising that I was introduced to quite some time ago.

There are 4 stages in the model:

  • Attention,
  • Interest,
  • Desire, and
  • Action.

The AIDA model is one class of collective models knows as the Hierarchy of Effects which is summarized here in this article. The hierarchy of effects theory describes how advertising affects consumers’ behavior and leads to the transition from not knowing a product or brand to liking it and finally making the action to purchase.

Physical Therapy Marketing and AIDA

AIDA model can be tailored to the physical therapy market of course. Each stage of this model helps practice owners and marketers conceptualize the thoughts patients move through and allows one to analyze key points to identify opportunities for improvement.

Attention – think about how you might be able to make people aware of your practice’s services.  This is commonly called an outreach strategy, outbound, or advertising strategy.  Examples might be direct mail, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, SEO, etc.

Interest – once you’ve captured the attention of a potential patient, you’re just getting started. Now, you must hold consumer’s interest long enough to relay your most pertinent information in order for them to take the next step in the AIDA process. You can accomplish this in any number of ways (and should take advantage of as many as possible).  A fast loading, beautiful looking, easy to read, and easy-to-use website, is a great way to maintain a potential patient’s interest. No matter how you choose to hold interest, it is crucial to continue to move your consumers to the next stage in the AIDA hierarchy.

Desire – think about how you arouse desire in a prospect’s mind to choose your physical therapy services.  One excellent way to position your practice as the clear choice is to have a custom designed, responsive website that tells a great story about how the patient can achieve his/her goals by choosing your practice.

We’ve Got You Covered!  This is exactly what E-rehab does to help clients position themselves as the best choice for their community…we help you tell a story about why you are the best choice to help the viewer achieve their treatment goals.  You can learn more about the modified StoryBrand model we follow by clicking here.

Action – not that a member of your community is aware of you, becomes interested in your physical therapy services as a solution to their problem, desires the benefits/results/outcomes they can achieve by working with you, you need to move them to take action. In other words, this is a final reminder to call the office or request a digital appointment.

NOTE
Note: Repeating your call to action throughout your homepage and your website is important as well.  You never know when the prospect (the website viewer) has consumed enough information to take the next step, i.e. connecting with your clinic.

If you’re interested in generating more new patients affordably and using the web to do it, we can help.

Click here to schedule a time with me now!

 

10  Ways Online Marketers Make Their Products More Attractive*

I get more calls, now more than ever, from physical therapy clients trying to figure out how to build their practice back up to where they were pre-COVID.

This article is about some of the predatory marketing practices that I’ve seen in a number of online advertisements, as well as complaints I’ve heard from a number of PT business owner. 

  • One paid $12,000 and didn’t get a single new patient in the two months they used them.
  • Another paid $17,000 for marketing training – no new patients
  • Another practiced owner estimated that they had spent over $100,000 in marketing services and it was a huge loss.

If you are a PT practice owner (I used to own a practice), you feel bad for these owners.  All they want to do is care for their community and make a reasonable living doing so.

It has to be said that there are also a number of ethical marketing companies in the physical therapy space. 

TL;DR 

  1. Online marketing companies use tactics to get you to buy
  2. Here are 10 of them to be aware of if you are going to invest
  3. Work with an online marketing company that knows physical therapy
  4. Marketing companies have an obligation to provide ethical services

This piece is about companies that have aggressively targeted physical therapy private practice owners during the COVID crisis, fully aware of their limited business/marketing knowledge, as well as knowing that their products are unlikely to help their customers achieve the results that are being sold to them.

Desperate Times Can Lead to Bad Physical Therapy Marketing Decisions 

It’s easy to understand why some practice owners face such a great challenge, when it comes to discerning good marketing versus bad marketing, especially when they’re desperate.

After all, if you’re faced with having your career, passion to help others, as well as all of the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve invested in your private practice business, stripped away, it’s easy to see why some clinic owners fall for these tactics.

Note: some of these sales strategies I have employed in the past. Because they work. Indeed, if you’re offering a good product or service and you use the strategies ethically, in many cases I see no problem with it. The problem is that many online and information marketers are taking advantage of physical therapists and small business owners.

At the end of the day, of course, the consumer is responsible for what they buy but, some of the psychological tactics end up leading to purchases that Even when implemented as instructed, will not have a positive benefit on the practice. It’s the marketers that are selling information products and services fully knowing that the results are unlikely to be achieved by a majority the purchase them, that I have a problem with.

Quick Backstory – Marketing Tactics Can Be Used for Both Good & Bad

Here are 10 ways to determine if a marketing company is likely to be disingenuous, but first, here’s a quick backstory: There have been many information marketers that have achieved great success selling their knowledge, experience, and services to others online.   

Many of these information and service marketers use psychological sales/marketing techniques to persuade prospects to become buyers. 

While some of these marketers do indeed offer quality information and services, many don’t. Moreover, the psychological formulas/sales tactics these predators use are so common, they’re very easy to identify.

10 Ways to Recognize if a Webinar is Offering Something that’s Unlikely to Get You the Physical Therapy Promotion Results You Want 

So, here are some easy ways for you to recognize if an advertisement and/or a sales webinar is likely to be offering something that isn’t going to get you the results that they promise.

  1. A rags to riches backstory. So many people that sell information online report that they went from having next to nothing to riches. Redo this to make it seem like anyone can achieve similar results. Fact is, to achieve remarkably remarkable results, takes a tremendous amount of work over an extended period of time. In fact, one of the true cornerstones of marketing is repetition.
  2. Extraordinary income as a result of using the product. I’ve seen it many times, marketers saying if you use our product you can double your business, you can have a seven-figure practice, you can have your best month ever. While these results can sometimes be attained under rare circumstances, most of the time marketers are selling the outliers, the very best cases, results that are unlikely to be able to be repeated over and over. Worse yet, when people buy these products and try to implement what they’ve learned, and don’t get the results they are sold, they’re made to think that is their fault rather than the bad information that they’re sold. Often times people that buy these products are unwilling to speak out against them. They feel like they should’ve got results but it was their own fault that they didn’t. Fact is, extraordinary real results or just those extraordinary. When it comes to marketing getting a one, two, or 3% return on your marketing efforts is typical. In most other things in life if you got a 12 or 3% return on anything would be considered a failure. Having the proper expectations is important when it comes to implementing any marketing program.
  3. Wishful identification. This is the next indicator that a product might NOT be a good one to buy. When the salesman is pitching you what life could be like before and after the use of the product, they’re playing upon your desire to attain a certain outcome. Again common sense applies. If the use of a product or service made it so easy to get rich quick, why would this marketer be selling it. Wouldn’t they just be doing it themself? Why would they share? If your goal is to double or triple your practice, you have to understand that to get to this place in business takes time, a considerable monetary investment, A willingness to test and retest, and some significant risk.
  4. Demonstrating significant material reward. Many of the marketing gurus that sell information products will demonstrate their success by showing themselves in a new Lamborghini/sports car (that is probably not even theirs) or in a multi million dollar mansion, you don’t see this as much from marketers that are selling information to PhysicalTherapy ‘s. However, displaying materialistic rewards as a result of newfound knowledgeAnd a secret strategy that no one else has ever heard of, her common psychological tricks to get you to think that you too can achieve exceptional financial success.
  5. Disguising their sales pitch as free expert information. A common tactic is to promise to reveal something unique, something extraordinary, something that no one has ever seen before, something that is new, something that is different, something that has been successful in another industry and now has been discovered to be successful in the physical therapy industry, all in the name of getting you to sign up for a webinar or a podcast. Now the information marketer has your name and email address and is going to drip market on you and tell you or in a week position financially in our desperation to find a solution. This is a common sales tactic. Moreover, this free information almost always ends up being a sales pitch for their product. How many times have you heard that you can do “what I’ve told you on your own,“ or you can buy my product and achieve things much easier. Now, well this is sometimes true, the tactic of promising free, unique, or secret information so that you’ll listen to the sales pitch is what information marketers are really after.
  6. The heavily discounted product. Another strategy that information marketers used to sell their information is a heavily discounted product it’s very common for these marketers to say that they offered this information in a live course or as a video series but today we’re discounting it by not just 50% but 90% so it appears to be affordable for everyone. Moreover when you add on a couple of key psychological sales tactics like urgency (a deadline to buy the product) and scarcity, a limited number of the products being made available, it makes the information product even more attractive. You can get it at a discount price but you need to get it before the inventory runs out and the discount deadline expires.
  7. Bonus after Bonus. Offering multiple additional bonuses on top of the main product is a common sales tactic. These bonuses are often used to make the entire package appear even more attractive. One way this is achieved itactic by marketers is through the use of an OTO or one time offer. You buy the main product but before you have the chance to start consuming the information, product or service you purchased, the marketer offers you a one time offer called an OTO. Moreover, it’s also common to upsell the prospect on more than one OTO. If the prospect doesn’t buy the first one time offer, then a common strategy is to down sell them the same thing at a lower price or offer even a different OTO. The net result is additional income in the marketer’s pocket.
  8. Inflated value. What inflated value means is it if you were to buy individual components of the package that is offered, it was some up to be much more expensive than the cost of the product they’re trying to sell plus all of its bonuses. This tactic is called inflating the value of your product. Again, it makes the information product’s Price with all that’s included bonuses as noted above, much more attractive.
  9. End the price in a seven (e.g. $497, $997, or $1997). This strategy comes from research that demonstrates of the prices the end of the seven are more likely to be purchased then Products that have a price and in a zero or a nine.
  10. Risk reversal. This sales tactic is used to limit risk for the buyer. Offering a product guarantee or even the price you paid plus money back is again away to minimize risk. While this is an attractive offer to a prospect, if indeed the marketer will honor the guarantee, if the marketer makes it difficult for you to obtain your money back, add stipulations on a refund offer  within the fine print ( e.g. you have to complete every single task in the information product or you can’t get your money back), or if the marketer simply understands that some people will buy the information product knowing that a certain percentage of paying customers will be too lazy, not have the time, or will simply for get to ask for their money back. In all of these cases it’s advantageous for the marketer to offer some sort of risk reversal.

You Have to Invest in Marketing to Survive

We at E-rehab are first believers that the best care provided to patients occurs in a small private practice. So, it’s important that you invest money (i.e. put in a dollar and make more than a dollar back) in your marketing.  E-rehab provides the best value, incredible customer service, and a suite of tools and marketing support to help any small practice.  Make sure you invest to survive.

We Marketers Have an Obligation to Provide High Quality Services

Everyone in the PT industry has an obligation to provide great service to not only patients, but those that support PT clinic owners as well. Vendors should also feel an obligation to provide great information, products, and services to the physical therapy clinic owners that are for them as well.

For those vendors that don’t, I hope the information above helps practice owners tease them out.

Looking for an Honest & Ethical Marketing Company?  Give Us a Call at (800) 468-5161 or Click Here to Schedule Some Time with David Straight

*Some of the information presented above is based on Mike Winnet’s Contrepreneur Formula https://youtu.be/vC5cmW8O3L8

9.5 Marketing Tips You can Implement Right Now During The COVID Crisis

Tip 1: Update Your Website

  • Work on your message – is your home page optimized to convert viewers to patients? Are there calls to action?
  • Add a payment button – it’s an easy way to for patients to pay their statement online.
  • Add digital intake forms – these days, it’s much more convenient and saves time if you allow patients to fill out their forms on your website.
  • Add a store – this is a nice way to generate a little bit of revenue to cover some smaller expenses.
  • Update staff CVs – make sure that you have updated photos and biographies.
  • Feature areas of expertise, advanced degrees, board certifications, and specialized certifications.

Tip 2: Update Your Brand Materials

  • Refresh your logo – If you want to reopen with a more professional brand look, updating your logo is one way to do it.
  • There are a number of companies like 99 designs, Fiverr, or Logo My Way that offer various logo design packages.
  • Update your brochure – have you reviewed your brochures or rack cards recently? Consider refreshing them and clearly stating benefits and make sure you have a good call to action.
  • Take inventory of your referral pads
  • Create a digital business card – make it easier for people to connect with you. switchitapp.com/ is a unique service that provides digital business cards.

Tip 3: Use Social Media to Engage with Your Community Online

  • Create a series of posts to engage your community.
  • Boost posts to both your fans and the area 5-10 miles around your practice.
  • Post videos about home exercise types, home office setup, nonpharmacological pain relief.
  • Build your following with inspirational messages and a request to like your page.
  • Update your social media cover photos. Canva.com or snappa.com are good resources for this.

Tip 4: Create educational videos with your smartphone

  • What better time to shoot a video than now. Your practice is likely to be quiet so it’s a great time to shoot some videos. Here are some topics:
  • If you’re open, take some time to share how you’re keeping patients and your staff clean.
  • Create an expert interview video that differentiates you from the competition.
  • Discuss various conditions & demonstrate how you treat them.
  • Make a series of stretches and boost them out to your community – 1 per day for a month.
  • Contrast your service to other more aggressive treatments.
  • Here are a couple sample videos on the home pages of these websites:
    GMSPT.com | Procarept.net | Ptcare.net

Tip 5: Review the patient value journey.

This an often overlooked and a great exercise to map out all of the places/things that a patient might see as they move from awareness to patient ambassador.
Break down each touch point and examine where you might be able to improve the processes and provide a higher level of service.

Here’s a blog post where I discuss the patient journey in more detail:
https://www.e-rehab.com/2020/01/26/physical-therapy-marketing-strategy-part-3/

Tip 6: Review & Update Your Google My Business Listing

  • Review your process to capture Google ratings and reviews…one of the best ways to differentiate yourself. If you aren’t getting 5-10/mo (obviously this depends on patient volume), you are missing a big opportunity.
  • Review how it works – I did a blog post about Google My Business – click here to review it.
  • Add pictures – this is a great way to show others some of the unique features of your practice. Create a regular schedule to add photos and delegate it to someone in your office.
  • Update your listing – if things have changed in your office, update your listing. For example, update your business description and add in keywords. Add any additional business categories as well.
  • Respond to reviews – responding to reviews is a great way to show people that are considering your practice that you care. Even a thoughtful response to a negative review can generate more business. I did a blog post on this this with some additional advice. https://www.e-rehab.com/2019/05/24/physical-therapy-ratings-and-reviews/

Tip 7: Send Out Email Messages to Your Past List

  • Introduce the idea of telehealth and offer a free telehealth session.  Limit the time of the session to maintain your value.
  • Keeping in touch with past patients is a great way to generate more new business. Past patients are more likely to consume your content too.
  • Give them a combination of good will information…wellness information as well as educational information about the conditions you specialize in treating.
  • On occasion, you should make offers to your past patients. The combination of email and direct mail can be more effective.

Tip 8: Educate Referring Physicians with Research

  • If you get referrals from physicians, then take the time to collaborate with your referring doctors. Don’t be what I call a “physical pharmacist” and wait for the referral. Physical therapy is the best first choice for some many neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Make a point of reaching out to your referring physicians and send them a copy of a research paper. Put a post-it note on it saying something like – I thought you might be interested in this and sign your name on it.
  • To find these studies, do a Google search for a reference, add in the words PDF and often you will find that the document is public. Make sure you follow the necessary copyright laws.
  • Shortcut: the New England Journal of Medicine published an article with this conclusion: Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who underwent physical therapy had less pain and functional disability at 1 year than patients who received an intraarticular glucocorticoid injection.
  • Here’s a link to the article: https://www.nejm.org/do/10.1056/NEJMdo005728/full/
  • Look up additional authors like Julie Fritz, John Childs, or Gail Deyle to name a few.

Tip 9: Kill your Google Ads if They Aren’t Performing

  • I’ve run Google Ads for PT private practices since 2007.
  • One thing I can tell you, in my experience, most physical therapy practices are wasting their money on Google Ads because they aren’t managing them properly.
  • Don’t be afraid to either invest in having someone do them right or cut this cost and put the money elsewhere.
  • It’s highly likely that you’ll never notice you turned the ads off.

Tip 9.5: Look at your budget, ROI, and Opportunity Costs

  • In all of the years I’ve been marketing for PT private practices, I’ve notices that large percentage of practice owners don’t have a strategy.
    They pick a tactic and spend some money on it…often not even knowing if they are getting anything out of it.
  • This is a good time to take inventory of what you are spending your money on and making sure you are getting value from it.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater but make sure you have some key performance indicators that suggest you are getting a good return.
  • If not, consider spending that money elsewhere.

If you need help with your physical therapy marketing, we have a variety of packages that will fit the budget of any practice.  Click here for our package information.

Give us a call at (760) 585-9097 or Schedule a Time on David Straight’s Calendar by Clicking Here

A Guide to Writing Your Physical Therapy Website Home Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start with a Brandscript

physical therapy brandscript

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Players and Elements of a Good Story

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

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

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

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

The StoryBrand (SB7) Framework

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Some of the ways this can be accomplished are through:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. An offer above the fold

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

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

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

  1. Outcomes Oriented Imagery (the Hero image)

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

  1. A list of services (your Value Stack)

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

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

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

  1. A limited number of words 

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

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

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

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

Need Some Help?

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

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

 

 

Physical Therapy Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing – Part 1

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

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

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

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

Source: Moz

More on Inbound Marketing

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

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

Here’s how:

Step 1 – Attract

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

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

Step 2 – Engage

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

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

Step 3 – Delight

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reference:
Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan

Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas – Positioning Yourself Against Your Competition

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

How do you set yourself apart from everyone else? 

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

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

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

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

I. Create clear distinction

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

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

II. Write an attractive value proposition

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

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

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

III. Bring what makes your practice unique front and center

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

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

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

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

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

physical therapy positioning

IV. Use the right language…especially on your website

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Click here to get the book.

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

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

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

Break It Down – Physical Therapy Marketing Segments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other possible segments to consider targeting include:

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

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

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

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

Need Help – Get in Touch with Us

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

Extra Training from YouTube

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

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

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

You may want to ask yourself the following:

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

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

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

Stop the Madness – Stop FOMO

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

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

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

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

Physical Therapy Marketing Planning Versus Taking Action

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

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

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

Gary Vaynerchuk does a nice job of answering this question:

6 tips to help you stay focused and avoid distractions

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

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

Need Help with Physical Therapy Marketing Strategy & Planning?

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

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

Increasing business at your practice starts with a strong marketing plan

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Why ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect’

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

Physical Therapy Website Accessibility – ADA Compliance in the Digital World

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

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

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

ADA compliance and physical therapy websites

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

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

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

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

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

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

17 Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas to Make Your Physical Therapy Website More Credible and Generate More New Patients

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.

3. Update your font:

Studies have shown that your website font actually impacts the believability of the claims you make on your website. Font matters! Make sure you’re using fonts that are proven winners on the web and that are big enough to easily read.

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:

Staff biographies

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.

Behind-the-scenes

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 your Privacy Policy visible

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.

 

 

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