The yellow pages are a thing of the past for most patients. Tens-of-millions of people now use online business directories each year and this applies to physical therapy business directories as well. These directories are designed to help online users locate the websites and information they are looking for. They are also a great way to help practices increase their Internet traffic and improve patient recognition.There are many reasons why a physical therapy practices will want to register with the top directories on the web. Directories serve many purposes, such as:
Categorizing websites so that they are easily found using search engines.
Linking websites to one another for easier access.
Increasing traffic to your PT practice website
Providing an easy way for patients to find out about specialized information about your practice.
Assisting with SEO or search engine optimization. Having accurate business listings increase the likelihood that your practice will rank higher in a Google, Bing, or Yahoo search engine results page.
Helping business websites stand out to potential consumers.
Here is a list of the top business directories you want to submit your practice to:
Google My Business
Bing Places for Business
Google My Business
Yahoo! Aabaco Small Business
Each of these business directories requires specific information. Below is a checklist of the information that you need to gather to register your physical therapy practice on these business directories. Not all the information is required but best practice is to fill in as much information as possible.
A Google Account/Gmail address (make sure the practice owner has access)
User name for the directory
Business owner’s name
Is the business inside another location, such as another business?
Main business phone number
Additional phone numbers
Main email address
Preferred method for customers to contact the company
Payment information including credit card, account holder’s name, etc. (for sites that require it)
Accepted payment methods by the company
Business category (physical therapy clinic, physical therapist)
Featured message, such as a slogan, tagline, etc.
Number of locations
At least 10 pictures of your clinic
Do you serve customers at your business address?
Are you authorized to manage this business?
Security questions and answers
A document or system like lastpass.com to store each directory’s log in information
It takes a lot of time and effort to register your practice at each of the recommended business directories. However, putting in the time to do this can certainly help drive more patients into your practice.If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, contact E-rehab.com for more information about how we can help.You can reach us at (760) 585-9097.
6. Use Facebook and Twitter to communicate social signals to the search engines and to demonstrate your expertise and credibility.
7. Create a blog and optimize the posts to rank for common conditions you treat like MBF Rehab has done.
Invest in the Hub & Spokes
[info_box]You can spend hours every week chasing after the latest tech that might generate new patients. Our advice is to stop the madness and create a solid online marketing platform that includes the seven components above. We call it the Hub & Spoke Model. Your website is your hub of online marketing and the other components are the spokes. Invest in these and you will build your brand and develop more business from community members that have a need for PT.[/info_box]
Digital marketing has quickly become the most common and fastest way to reach a wide audience. However, simply having a website isn’t enough to reach a vast audience. We recommend you have a simple physical therapy social media marketing strategy. A 2014 study performed by Social Media Examiner found that a whopping 97% of marketers were using social media to expose and sell their services; meaning that if you aren’t currently using social media to market your business, you are already behind. But it takes more than just opening a Facebook account to succeed at physical therapy social media marketing. Here are some things you need to know about social media marketing so that you can take your physical therapy clinic to the next level by reaching and impacting a wider range of audience:
Use Multiple Social Media Sites
It might seem like everyone in the universe has a Facebook account, but this isn’t necessarily true. Individuals tend to favor one social media outlet over the others, so someone who is very active on Twitter might miss your Facebook announcements and promotions. To optimize your business’s outreach, set up accounts on all the major social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Simply having social media sites isn’t enough to draw attention or business from followers. You need to update regularly with new information, exciting news in your office, and any news events that are relevant to your practice, your community, and the profession. But don’t panic if you don’t have time to personally make these updates. E-rehab takes care of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ updates for you so your pages will always be active and current.
Engage With Followers
Consumers are more likely to trust brands and companies they follow on social media than those that they don’t, largely because social media offers a personal, human factor that just isn’t present in direct marketing or even commercial campaigns. People are likely to lodge complaints or offer high praise on your social media sites, and these need to be addressed. Apologizing publicly to a dissatisfied client on Facebook or Twitter demonstrates that you listen to your clients and care about their feedback. Further, you can openly discuss any new policies or strategies that will take place based on the feedback. Likewise, accepting compliments and graciously saying Thank You shows followers that your business takes the time to read and respond to clients long after they have left your office.
Word of Mouth
We all know that personal referrals are the most important way for PT practices to generate new patients. When your patients respond to your social media announcements, they end up referring you to their followers, meaning you are reaching a much wider range of audience than through other forms of marketing. The best part is, you don’t have to do any extra work to reach this audience.
[info_box]Is Your Competition Already Ahead of You? Do a quick Google search for your competitors, and you will likely find that they are already using social media to market their business. Don’t waste any more time giving them the social media advantage and taking clients away from you. Contact us today, and let E-rehab work with you to develop a complete social media campaign for your physical therapy office. We will develop and maintain a customized Facebook account, a customized Twitter account, and a customized Google+ channel. “Not having time” to keep up with your social media accounts just isn’t an excuse anymore since we do all the work for you. All you have to do is sit back and reap the benefits of getting additional business for your physical therapy office thanks to your social media marketing campaign.[/info_box]
Google has made life much easier for physical therapy practice owners with the launch of its exciting new tool, Google My Business. It combines:
Google Analytics & Insights
They are all under one easy-to-use dashboard and now, managing multiple Google accounts has never been simpler and the marketing advantages are endless.
What’s more, it’s free with no hidden costs. Here’s a quick summary of some of the services included in Google My Business:
Google+ (Google Plus):
G+ (Google Plus or Google+) This is Google’s answer to Facebook. It’s a social networking platform that allows you to share messages, photos, videos and links to your followers, directly from the My Business page.
Reviews: Google is the number 1 business review platform online. Google My Business has an entire review platform that gives practices a place to manage ratings and reviews in one location.
Google Analytics: You can very quickly and easily see all of your websites stats right on your business dashboard.
Insights: Insights gives you vital information on your visibility, engagement and trends in the market.
Maps: Manage your businesses location and information available on Google Maps.
YouTube & Hangouts: Video chats with key members of your physical therapy practice (think expert interview, patient testimonials, doctor interviews, etc.).
As mentioned earlier, this is all a free service. If you currently use Google Places for business or Google+ Pages to manage your online presence, you will already have been upgraded.
Not only that, but they are fine-tuning the My Business platform for mobile use too, and it is available in both iOS and Android.
6.5 Ways That You Can Take Advantage of Google My Business Right Now and Quickly Overtake Your Competition
1. Be easily found on Google Brand awareness is vital for any practice. How can you gain patients if people don’t know who you are or what types of services you offer? As a small private practice, you know how hard it can be to get high rankings on Google, especially if you’re in a big market with corporate and hospital brands.
So in order to create better brand awareness your first step would be to create an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to make your site more searchable on Google. Research has proven (and you probably know from your own personal experience) that 75% of Google users never scroll past the first page. This highlights how without good Google rankings, you are simply missing new patients.
This is where Google My Business comes into play. When you create a My Business account, fill out all of the information Google requests, as it will increase the odds that your practice will show up on a Google Search, Maps and Google+.
You’ll need precise information about your location, your office hours, contact information, website address, email and fax numbers, and at least 10 pictures of your practice.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that the information you put on Google is the exact information NAP (business Name, Address, Phone number) that you have on your website and any other places where your practice is listed online. Consistency is very important in SEO and it can affect your search engine rankings if there are any inconsistencies.
The more information you add, the more Google’s search algorithms will work to help your search ranking.
Together, all of these features will give your patients an inside look at your practice. As a result, when potential patients are comparison shopping or simply doing a broad search for “physical therapy and a location”, they will be more likely to find your Google My Business listing and visit your website.
2. Connect with existing and potential patients Not only can you manage your practice listing (AKA Google online phonebook listing), you can also manage your Google+ page from your My Business dashboard. It has taken a while for people to get used to the Google+ social network, and most people still prefer and use Facebook and other social media sites, but bear in mind that your Google+ business page increases the trust in your practice name and gives you significant boost to with respect to your Google Local SEO listings.
Google is always trying to provide its users with the best, most relevant experience. As such Google takes note of those who comment, shares or +1 your G+ page posts, captures this information, and identifies your audiences identity, activity and interests. From there, they can even deliver your Google+ page content to your followers in the organic search results. It’s truly amazing how Google provides users such a customized experience.
The other advantage of using Google+ is this; while other social media sites place a “no follow” tag on any link you post, Google+ doesn’t. So if you posted a link on Facebook for example, any links that you put in your posts (to your website in attempts to improve search engine optimization) will not influence your practice’s Google search results. Google, on the other hand, treats them G+ posts as web pages, which then helps increase your sites visibility and page rank.
But even without the SEO benefits, Google+ is also a terrific way to engage with past patients and build a long term relationship with them, which will increase the trust in your company.
Just as on any other social network, if you expect any kind of results on Google+, you need to be consistent and post regularly. If you have a practice blog, post the links on your page and ask your audience to read and share them. Post fun pictures of you and your employees so that your followers can get to know you better and have a clearer picture of who you are. It will encourage brand loyalty.
It is worth reminding you that any content you share should be relevant and interesting to your audience. You don’t want to keep posting promotional offers like Free Screenings or Discount Massages. The point of Google+ is not to push your physical therapy services on people, but to create a close-knit community, which will inspire trust and loyalty in your practice.
3. Hang out with your clinicians If you are not already familiar with it, Google Hangouts are another great way to demonstrate your clinical expertise. You can hang out with up to 15 people at a time.
It’s the perfect way to build an online video marketing strategy for free. Use it to answer questions, share information about your new services or even give online demos of treatment.
4. Check the Performance of your activity It’s helpful to post on Google+ and host Hangouts with your patients, but it could all be a waste of time and effort if they are not producing the desired results.
This is where the Insights tool comes in for your Google+ page and Analytics for your presence across all Google platforms. Both of these tools make it very easy for you to see how many views you’re getting, and you can even see how many people are reading your specific Google+ posts. It even gives you information on how many people have checked out your practice on Google Map searches.
5. Encourage and Respond to Patients’ Reviews Whether you love them or you hate them, some patients want to leave a review about your practice. It’s part of online culture and people will either want to rave or complain about any experiences that they’ve had.
Side Note: the most common “bad reviews” are about patient billing and payment. It’s worth knowing this and making a little extra effort to make sure patients understand your physical therapy billing practices and policies.
Since online reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising, it’s worthwhile to make it easy for patients to post ratings (0-5 stars) and reviews (text comments about your practice). Chances are positive reviews will generate more business for you too, as many patients decide to make decisions based solely on what their peers have to say about your practice. Google My Business makes it easy by allowing you to claim your practice listing so that patients can add their rating and review by simply by Googling your name and clicking on the blue Google+ page link under your business listing.
The dashboard even makes it easy for you to promote the reviews on your Google+ page and monitor reviews on other platforms like Yelp. This will help you to easily respond to positive reviews, while professionally and politely dealing with any negative reviews. You will have a great pulse on the online reputation of your practice…certainly an asset for any physical therapy practice these days.
6. Create an AdWords Express Account It probably won’t surprise you that at the bottom of the My Business dashboard, there is a button that will bring you to an AdWords account. After all, advertising is where Google makes 95%+ of its money.
The “express version” if AdWords, in my experience is very easy to use for private practice owners, but your ads will often show up for keywords that aren’t related to your business. This will result in unnecessary clicks and expense. Nevertheless, it still super easy to quickly create ad campaigns. It’s very similar to the right-side and inline Facebook ads, where you simply write your ad and set your budget and then Google AdWords will do the rest the work.
6.5 Stay Informed on Your Mobile Device Just as 30-40% of your patients are likely to visit your physical therapy practice website while browsing on their smartphones, Google My Business will allow you to do manage My Business with either both iOS and Android apps. The mobile streamlined dashboard makes it easy for you to simply swipe through all of your tools and data, allowing you change dates, manage ads and modify your online presence from wherever you are.
Claim Your Page Today
With Google My Business, you will find all of the best Google tools are right in front of you by simply by logging into your dashboard. It makes management of your online presence easy.
[info_box]As you can see, Google My Business is a robust practice brand management platform; but, as with all aspects of online marketing, your web performance is only as good as you can make it. It’s very important that you include as much relevant information about your practice as you can. If it’s done right, it really can make a difference between your online success or failure.[/info_box]
If you are in any doubt or would like more helpful tips and advice on how to make the most from this great tool, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
I get calls from my clients almost every week – “These Yelp sales people are hammering me,” is what I heard yesterday. They share numbers that aren’t likely to be accurate (e.g., number of leads & page views) and try to convince them them they are missing out.
I thought I would share my perspective on their advertising program.
Here’s what Yelp offered one of my PT clients:
“We offer 6 programs that vary based on how aggressively you want to advertise your business on Yelp. All packages include the mentioned* features and are based on an annual agreement.
Ultra Premium- $2,200/mo – includes 6,500 targeted ads per month
Super Premium- $1,600/mo – includes 4,650 targeted ads per month
Premium- $1,050/mo – includes 3,000 targeted ads per month
Standard- $800/mo – includes 2,100 targeted ads per month
Basic- $550/mo – includes 1,200 targeted ads per month
Intro- $350/mo – includes 500 targeted ads per month
*Mentioned features include: video production, video hosting, picture slideshow, Call to Action button, competitors ad removal, tracking in your business owners account, and an Account Manager.” [note_box] Most of these things aren’t clear.
Video production – who produces the content for the video? Who owns the video? Can the video be used on your website?
Call to action button – what is that?
Competitor ad removal – does that mean that others that are advertising on Yelp, will be removed? I bet not.
Tracking – how is this accomplished to demonstrate if a patient truly came into the practice?
These are not easy questions to answer.
Will Yelp Pay for Itself…Probably Not
Financially, there are 3 ways that I see you can analyze this opportunity and see if it makes sense for you.
A. Straight Profit and Loss Analysis
Remember, you have costs to treat/run your business (i.e,. salary & overhead) for every patient and what you have left over is profit of course.
Each one of you is different but the typical profit on a patient case is 10-20% and average revenue per patient about $800 (so, profit per patient case is $80).
If you aren’t getting a minimum of 4 patients from your Yelp advertising, you are losing money.
Conclusion: No one I have spoken with (well over PT practice owners about this) has used Yelp’s paid advertising and made a profit. Note: 1-3 patient per month, for most PT clinics, even if they advertise at the cheapest level, will not result in a break even ROI.
B. Lifetime Market Value Analysis
In this analysis you take into account the number of patients (generated from your advertising campaign) that will return when calculating ROI.
For example. Let’s say you spent $550/mo on Yelp ads (the basic package noted above). You have a year contract as well so your annual expense is $6600. Applying the rationale from Straight Profit and Loss Analysis, you need to generate at least $6600 in new patient revenue to break even.
Let’s say you generate 5 patients/mo (this is very aggressive and unlikely but let’s use this number). That is 60 patients per year. Your profit is $80/patient and your ROI from your Yelp advertising is 60 x $80 or $4800.
Now, let’s consider that 30% of those patients will come back (that’s 18 total over the course of the year). The number of new patients you generated from your Yelp campaign might be considered to be 60+18 returning or 78.
Now multiply 78 x $80 and you get $6240 of profit.
You still don’t break even.
Obviously, this analysis depends on a number of factors. The total number of patients you get per month, your profit margin, and the percentage of patients that return to you (i.e., Lifetime Market Value of your patient).
Conclusion: Looking at ROI over the long haul. This is a reasonable way to analyze your ROI for an ad campaign but your ROI is recovered over a longer period of time (i.e., the time it takes for the patients to come back a second time, or even a third time).
C. Gross Revenue Out and In Model
In this analysis of your campaign spend, you aren’t concerned about profit. Rather, your objective is just to cover your costs, pay your salary, your staff and your overhead. In other words, you want to keep your doors open It looks something like this.
You generate 60 patients (5 per month) in one year from your Yelp advertising at a cost of $6600.
Your gross income generated from the advertising campaign is 60 new patients created from Yelp ads x $800 of revenue/case = $48,000 of gross revenue from Yelp Ads.
Assuming a 10% profit per case, your profit is $4800 (i.e., 10% of $48,000 gross revenue).
Your cost to do the Yelp ads, again is $6600.
Your total $4800 in profit – $6600 in Yelp ad costs = ($1800) loss.
NOTE: if you consider Lifetime market value (i.e., your ads generated 78 patients), your profit is $6240-$6600 in ad costs and you still lose $360.
Conclusion: If you are more interested in getting people in the door, then this might be a way to analyze your advertising costs. In the end, you are still losing money and most practices can’t afford to do that anymore.
Things to Consider
These analyses heavily depend on the number of patients you get from the Yelp advertising. Five new patients per month, that would have NOT come to you anyway, is a large number. I don’t think this is possible except in the largest markets like San Francisco and NYC.
Opportunity Costs: Finally, you need to ask yourself, if I am committing to spend this kind of money (i.e., $350/mo+) on marketing, is there a better use of this money doing something else? For example, Google Ads, Doctor Lunches, Novelty Items like shirts, postcards mailing, patient follow up campaigns, etc., etc. I think there might be some better options. What do you think?
[colored_box variation=”deepblue”]Take Home Message: I don’t believe, based on the input of many others that have advertised, and the financial analysis, that Yelp advertising is a good use of your dollars. However, you have to plug in your own values (percentage of profit margin/case, number of patients you get from Yelp ads, lifetime market value, and the number of months you are committing to run the Yelp ads) to arrive at your own conclusions.[/colored_box]
Please share your thoughts too and help your colleagues and help your colleagues make good decisions about how they spend their ad dollars.
If you’ve done a geographic search for physical therapy clinics in your area, you’ve probably noticed a link to one or more Yelp listings on the search results page. If you’ve asked yourself, “How can I get my business listed on Yelp?”, this post should help. Claiming your listing might get your business listed when someone searches for a physical therapy practice in your area. Also, having a completed business listing will also count as a good “citation” which helps with Google Local search rankings.
3. If you can’t find your business, click “Add your business to Yelp link”. If Yelp does find your business you will skip this and go to Step 7.
4. Fill in the necessary information and make sure it is complete! If Yelp does find your business you will skip this.
5. Check the email box you used when signing up with Yelp and click the “confirm your email address link”. If Yelp does find your business you will skip this.
6. Your business Submission will be reviewed by Yelp. If Yelp does find your business you will skip this.
7. After your submission has been approved, you will have a basic listing. If your business was found, then this is where you will add additional information.
8. Next, fill in and complete all of the form fields and options for your business listing.
9. Add photos by uploading them into Yelp’s system.
10. Then, include captions for each photo you upload. Note: add in some keywords that describe your business. For example, “physical therapy Carlsbad”. Do NOT keyword stuff the caption (use the same phrases over and over again).
11. Make sure you watch your email for a message from Yelp to “unlock” their business tools. Click that link.
12. Review the section on Yelp’s business tools page about how to obtain Yelp reviews.
13. Verify your business on Yelp.
That’s it. Assuming you completely filled out your listing and uploaded photos, your Yelp business listing should be complete.
Now it is time to go get some Yelp reviews which will be the subject of our next post.
NOTE: if you see any inconsistencies, let us know with a comment below. Yelp is always changing its process.