Physical Therapy Website Accessibility – ADA Compliance in the Digital World

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

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

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

ADA compliance and physical therapy websites

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

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

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

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

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

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

Physical Therapy Online Marketing – Focus on the Fundamentals

Most practices owners would agree, that in today’s competitive PT market, you need a great physical therapy online marketing to win.  With the myriad of online marketing options, get-rich-quick, “be a 7-figure practice” schemes, misinformation, and time constraints, practice owners are often left very confused.

While every practice has different needs, we’ve found that there are seven fundamental strategies that practices should invest in to win online today. Focus on these, and you can beat the POPTS, HOPTS, and corporations…and in most cases generate some significant new business.

1. A Physical Therapy Responsive Website

Your website is hub of your of your physical therapy online marketing strategy, but if it’s not mobile-optimized, you’re simply missing out on patients that would like to easily connect with you on their smartphones.

According to our research mobile visitors account for over 40% of visitors to physical therapy websites.  This is slightly less than the research site Statista, which indicates that mobile website visitors account for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide. In the first quarter of 2019, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 48.71 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017.

In addition, Google has made it clear that it evaluates your website for a mobile optimized version, and if the site isn’t optimized for the mobile user, it’s likely to impact your search rankings.  Google states:

“Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.”

If your site isn’t optimized for smartphone users, your search rankings are very likely to suffer.

NOTE: one tool that can be extremely useful on physical therapy websites, is chat. 79% of customers prefer live chat over email or social media for customer support due to its immediacy.

The problem with live on small PT practice websites is staffing the live chat. If you do have a request from a website viewer to chat and no one in your office is available or knows how to use a chat service, it can negatively impact your reputation.

A good solution is a chatbot.  Physical therapy chatbots can proactively answer common questions and provide immediate answers to common questions and can help nurture users to the end goal of requesting an appointment.  Interestingly, E-rehab.com chatbot data suggests that 1 in 10 chatbot users actually request an appointment.  A chatbot should be included in your website and is an affordable way to convert more website viewers to new patients.

2. A Fast & Secure Website for Physical Therapy SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing practice of engineering your online brand and website content to increase your website’s chances of appearing at or near the top of search results.

According to a recent study, the number one search ranking position earns around twice as many clicks as the number two. Once you reach position six, you start receiving clicks from less than 3% of the people who see your search result listing.

More specifically, “People will have a really hard time finding your practice if you aren’t ranked near the top of search results, and you’ll miss out on the lifeblood of your practice – new patients!”

It’s been reported by many SEO authority websites that Google’s algorithm contains over 200 factors that impact a practice’s physical therapy search rankings.  Some of them are out of your control and others can be addressed to improve your search rankings.  Two such factors are a. having a secure website and b. the speed at which your website loads.

Here’s what Moz.com has to say on the topic:

“Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.”

“Page speed is also important to patients that are visiting your website on their smartphones. If your web pages take a long time to load some of your website visitors will leave and search for your competition. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions.”

Simply put, a faster-loading site will rank higher and when people click on your Google listing, they will have a better experience and are more likely to become a patient.

If page speed isn’t something you’ve considered in the past, we do recommend you consider it now.

3. Physical Therapy Reputation Management

physical therapy reputation management ratings and reviews

Physical therapy reputation management has a negative connotation.  Many think of reputation management as the process of limiting negative reviews, responding to negative reviews, and getting them removed from your online directory profiles (Google, Yelp, Facebook, Healthgrades, etc.).

Here at E-rehab.com, we use the term Reputation Marketing for physical therapy private practices.  It’s the process of not only making sure you deal with negative reviews but also the systematic approach of capturing ratings and reviews and marketing those reviews to generate more new patients.

First, a quick reminder about why you should be building your online reputation.

  • People will drive past your competition if you use this form of marketing
  • It’s the second most trusted form of advertising
  • 86% of consumers read this type of marketing
  • 50% of consumers visit a local business after reading this type of marketing
  • 79% trust this form of marketing as much as a personal referral
  • 65% of patients say this marketing is moderately or very important
  • 48% are willing to go out-of-network if you use this strategy
  • 72% of consumers use this as the first step to choosing a doctor

Implementing a process this like this can have a profound impact on your bottom line.  Making the active choice to be number one in your market, as evidenced by a large number of ratings and reviews, can generate 5, 10, even 20 or more new patients per month.

Unfortunately, many practice owners don’t understand or are unwilling to do the work to capture ratings and reviews.  The good news is we’ve made the process very simple.  Some of our clients are generating over 50 new patients per quarter.  It’s one of the most affordable marketing opportunities for small practices and one of the only ways to compete with the large corporations and hospitals ( that will always have a bigger marketing budget than almost all small practices ).

Reputation marketing is also a marketing multiplier.  

Not only does having a large quantity of ratings and reviews increase the likelihood that someone will choose your practice, they can also impact or enhance other areas of your marketing efforts.  For example, if you are looking to hire a PT.  We’ve heard a number of anecdotal stories from practice owners stating that they had PT employment applicants mention the practices “large number of reviews” as a factor as to why they considered applying for a job at the given practice.

Another example is the importance of Google ratings and reviews and your search rankings.  As noted here in this 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors article, SEO experts agree that ratings and reviews account or approximately 15.44% of the “influence” on search rankings.

While some say it is “the way” to rank number one, this is simply not the case.  Take a look at this search for “physical therapy costa mesa”.

physical therapy seo

As you can see here, the company with the most Google ratings and reviews (i.e. Ann Steinfeld Physical Therapy) does not rank number 1.  Nevertheless, accumulating ratings and reviews is a positive factor that can help with your Google Maps/Three Pack ranking.  It’s just not the only factor.

Nevertheless, Google ratings and reviews are indeed a marketing multiplier and physical therapy reputation marketing should be one of the top fundamentals you implement in your marketing mix.

4. Physical Therapy Content Marketing

As the saying goes, “content is king”. This means that good physical therapy content will have a positive influence on new business generation.  Good physical therapy content can:

  • Help capture the attention of potential new patients,
  • Help define you as an authority,
  • Help you rank in the search engines for various keywords, and
  • Your physical therapy content can be used across a variety of online marketing channels.

Whether it’s a blog, videos, podcasts, or all of the above, your physical therapy content should be a great resource about the conditions you treat, the services you offer, and above all, make it clear that for most diagnoses, physical therapist directed care is a great first choice.

But content is also the way prospects find and evaluate your clinical expertise. Content that educates, answers questions, puts a patient/reader’s mind at ease and is generally helpful can then be followed by a call to action that can generate more initial evaluations.

Content is an important part of your search engine optimization efforts. Google loves to index new content, meaning that more frequent quality content is produced, the more likely your content is to rank for a given keyword search.

As marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuck famously said, “ We are all media companies now.”

Commit to producing high quality content on a regular basis.  It’s a fundamental marketing strategy.

5. Physical Therapy Email Marketing – A System for Keeping in Touch

physical therapy email newsletter example

Once you’ve done all of the hard work of generating new patients, you also need a system to educate patients about the additional services you offer.  Retention marketing or patient reactivation are the terms commonly used to market to past patients and get them back in your clinic.

Email marketing has long been a reliable channel to stay in touch with your past patients.  Offering “good will” by providing quality educational information is an easy way to stay top-of-mind with your past patients.

It’s also a good idea to use other options like SMS if you have special offers like a free screening offer for past patients. Younger generations are rarely in their email inbox, preferring the speed of text messages and the social connection of messaging apps instead.

Regardless of the choice of technology, build your list and keep in touch to maximize the value of your marketing activities and the relationships you develop.

6. Really Want to Stand Out? Use Physical Therapy Videos

Video has officially taken over the Internet! According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, online video will account for 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019, up from 67 percent in 2014.

Ninety-five percent of people say they have watched an explainer video to learn more about a business, product, or service.

Why is video specifically a great choice for physical therapy practice owners:

  1. It helps build trust. People like to see the providers that will be treating them and the clinic where treatment is provided.
  2. You can deliver your specific message. Fact is that most scan web pages these days.  With a good video, patients will watch the entire piece and will hear your entire message.
  3. It’s a great educational tool. Using video to in the following ways can be extremely beneficial:
    1. Help potential patients understand their condition,
    2. Share the services you offer,
    3. Share success stories and the experiences of other patients,
    4. Help patients understand what will happen during their first visit,
    5. Help patients understand why physical therapy should be their 1st choice

You don’t need a degree in film to produce great videos. Creating quality video is very simple with a newer smartphone and any number of apps to assist you.

If you really want to set yourself apart, physical therapy video marketing is a great opportunity.  Most do nothing more than share exercises.  There aren’t many (or enough) videos to describe why patients should be choosing physical therapy in the first place.

7. A Physical Therapy Social Media Presence

physical therapy facebook marketing

According to Verto Analytics, as of July 2017, we spent more than 41% of our online time on social media apps, which equates to an average of more than 25 hours per month per user. This number has stayed pretty consistent so far through 2019 as well.

Social media has its place in physical therapy marketing.  The problem is that most potential new patients DO NOT look for a physical therapist on social networks.  Let me illustrate this with a simple question.  “If you are in need of a locksmith, an emergency dentist, a plumber, an orthopedic surgeon, or a physical therapist, would you search for someone on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?”  Most answer this question with a resounding “NO”!  First this reason, social media marketing shouldn’t be your top priority.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it or it isn’t important.  When practice owners think of marketing, they think about generating new patients.  Your social media presence might help with the retention of past patients when they follow you on Facebook, but if you want to generate new patients, posting content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or YouTube isn’t going to generate many calls or appointment requests.

That said, advertising, or paying to get your social media posts/content in front of your local audience can be an effective way to generate more new business.  This type of marketing is an advanced advertising strategy though, and requires considerable time, money, and ongoing effort.  It’s not a fundamental marketing strategy for most new and small PT practice owners.

I absolutely believe that practices must have an active social media presence. However, measuring ROI can be a challenge.

Conclusion: Focus on Physical Therapy Marketing Fundamentals

There are a number of online and offline marketing options.  It’s easy for practice owners to get confused, waste money on bright and shiny objects…marketing tactics that promise riches, and lose focus on the basics.  Don’t make this mistake.

E-rehab.com has been helping private practice with their physical therapy online marketing and physical therapy offline marketing for over 15 years and chances are, we can help you too.

Click here to request an appointment with me or call (800) 468-5161 to learn more about how we can help.

Thanks for reading!

David Straight

 

 

Physical Therapy Mobile Marketing: Capturing First-Time Patients with a Compelling App

physical therapy mobile marketing

Physical therapy mobile marketing has grown to become an essential process that all private practices need to take advantage of. This is the result of more people spending more time on mobile devices, as well as the increasing competition of the medical industry.

In the world of physical therapy, evidence has shown that the industry is continually growing in demand as the population ages, especially baby boomers. With awareness of this reality, your own physical therapy practice may be starting to feel the pain of local competitors taking away your old patients and not know how to react.

Why Your Practice May be Struggling

If you’re beginning to feel like your practice is struggling or slowing down, there may be good reason for this. You possibly have dozens if not hundreds of competing physical therapy clinics within your city or state. With that in mind, you may be realizing how much more marketing you need to do in order to stand out above the rest of the herd.

Marketing physical therapy can sometimes turn into an uphill challenge because some believe that marketing content can only be general. If you think you don’t offer anything different from all of your competitors, try analyzing your practice a little more thoroughly.

Rather than focusing completely on you and your physical therapy practice, it’s worth remembering that paying more attention to the patient is now more relevant than ever.

[pullquote2 textColor=”#000000″]Rather than focusing completely on you and your physical therapy practice, it’s worth remembering that paying more attention to the patient is now more relevant than ever.[/pullquote2]

This is where physical therapy mobile marketing can work well in capturing a prospective patient. Much of this comes in integrating technology with marketing so they coalesce into something different and informative. At the same time, you want more direct communication with future patients to make your marketing a more personalized experience.

Integrating Apps into Your Physical Therapy Mobile Marketing

There isn’t any denying that using apps in the medical community has the potential for exponential growth. Apps are used in a variety of ways, some of which involve usage directly in the medical facility itself. However, they’re just as useful as a form of marketing on mobile devices.

A perfect way to provide both information and personal connections with your future patients is to provide a free app on your website. When people search for physical therapy on their mobile devices, they want information immediately. A free app is one way for those people to find that information and to refer to later for details.

[highlight3 textColor=”#000000″]The key here is to make your app as simple to use as possible. Simplicity in app design is peaking now for good reason. [/highlight3]
A case in point: mobile users want info in seconds before moving on. Here are some other tips to keep in mind when creating your app:

  • In your app, provide the most essential information users need, including content about your practice and what services you offer
  • Analyze all of your procedures and find something different from what your competitors are doing
  • Incorporate some educational content into your app so users get a sense of worth after downloading it
  • Another advantage of an app is that you can even integrate contact methods, including some in real-time; if possible, provide this through your staff so you can answer questions in real-time if a patient needs an answer to something they didn’t find on the app

Having a portal to social media through your app also allows conversations with users in a more personal way. Natural conversations that don’t use hard-sell tactics are the best way to prove your expertise without looking like a spammer.

Providing Directions on How to Find Your Facility

Another huge benefit of physical therapy mobile marketing is the ability to have GPS-like maps available so that patients know exactly where they are in relation to your clinic. By incorporating this into mobile ads on your website or app, patients who need to find a place in a hurry can do so in seconds.

More localized marketing is worth doing on the mobile platform to help you move to the top after possibly losing business to a physical therapy practice in your local area.

[note_box]For additional guidance on physical therapy mobile marketing, contact us here at E-rehab.com, where we can help you find new marketing strategies for growing or recharging your practice and attracting new patients.[/note_box]

Physical Therapy Website Design: Creating a Library of Educational Information for Patients

A crucial part of physical therapy website design is providing information patients really want to know about rather than reading mere sales tactics. When prospective patients seek out physical therapy, they want to know what sets you apart from everyone else. Ultimately, most of those people likely have serious physical problems and don’t want to spend hours of time deciding between physical therapy clinics that look too much alike.

One way to set yourself apart is providing a library of educational information on your site that’s easily organized under categories. Under each category, you can bring a comprehensive list of what you do, what your mission statement is, plus answering pertinent questions most patients ask.

Here at E-rehab.com we’ll help you put this all together utilizing the best in multimedia so a first-time visitor gets a complete picture of who you are within minutes.

Creating a Q&A Section

One of the most essential elements in a menu providing information is a basic Q&A section answering the most pertinent questions about you. However, if you’ve ever been in the shoes of a patient, you know not every question is easily answerable in a Q&A. Try to think more thoroughly about what you’d want to ask and place the question and answer there. The more obscure the question, the better since someone will inevitably ask it eventually.

When creating the Q&A, organize it alphabetically or by subject for faster reference. In a mobile culture, especially, many patients are probably reading this on their mobile devices. If they can’t find information in minutes (or even seconds), they’ll likely give up and go somewhere else.

Also, when providing answers in your Q&A, be thorough in the answers. Provide information you can’t find on a Google search so patients know you went to more work for their benefit. One thing patients won’t warm to is overly simple, pat answers.

Providing Information on Individual Procedures

Most people searching for info about physical therapy want to know what type of techniques you provide for various physical ailments. Again, creating categories for each condition is a smart way to organize this information so someone doesn’t have to search on your site to find something.

Under each category, mention any innovative techniques you bring to physical therapy that few others are doing. Be thorough with the information like you were with the Q&A, especially under categories that are the most typical. Physical therapy for back problems are quite common, as are techniques to help those recovering after accidents or surgeries.

Indicate exactly how long each procedure takes and what the best results are. It’s here where you can provide a separate library of videos that showcase exactly what you do.

Creating a Library of Short Videos

When creating videos about your procedures, being as transparent as possible is essential in an era where we want facts about everything. Creating a video series is also a good idea so you break down a particular physical therapy technique into multiple, short segments.

With patient approval, try creating short videos showcasing the physical therapy taking place. By showing one session in real-time through a series of videos, you give a sense of actually being there, how patients react, and what the immediate results are.

End your video series with testimonials from those patients and how they felt after one or several physical therapy sessions. This is the best information your first-time videos can have and tells so much in a mere minute. Nevertheless, your textual information is there to complement the videos. Add detailed images of inside the body showing how physical therapy helps muscle tissue.

[note_box]

Your Website can be More than a Sales Tool

Patients check you and your practice out online before they come in for care.

Use your website as a digital tool to reinforce the information/education you have provided them verbally. A good physical therapy design should consider educational opportunities. E-rehab.com provides patient education, patient handouts, exercise videos, and more.[/note_box]

Contact us here at E-rehab.com and we’ll help you put together a library of information on your site that encapsulates everything for both mobile and desktop users.

Stop the Lead Generation Madness

Each day I speak with a client or prospect that wants to generate more business from the web.  They are overwhelmed, confused, have been burned and simply don’t know what to do.

It’s not surprising when you consider all of the possible forms of advertising communication as diagrammed here in The Conversation Prism:

JESS3_BrianSolis_ConversationPrism4_WEB_1280x1024

 

Your head really starts to spin when you think of social media:

By Brian Solis and JESS3 (https://www.theconversationprism.com/) [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are E-rehab’s Physical Therapy Online Marketing Recommendations

1. Make sure you have a great website – it’s one of the most trusted forms of advertising according to Nielson.

2. Make sure you have a mobile optimized website.  30% plus of your physical therapy website viewers are going to visit you on a smartphone.

3. Send out an email newsletter (examples here).  It is the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to welcome, communicate, and stay in touch with past patients.

4. Ratings and Reviews – online reviews are the second most trusted and actionable form of advertising according to Nielson.

5. Create videos about your practice, your expertise, about patient reviews, and patient testimonials. Here are examples of reputation videos at Terrapin Physical Therapy’s YouTube channel.

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

physical therapy online marketing hub and 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]

Practices Need Physical Therapy Mobile Websites

Google Warning Those without Mobile Optimized Websites

Physical Therapy Mobile Websites (also called Mobile-Optimized) are Now a Must for PT Practices

 

Are your prospects and patients having a bad online experience when they visit your website?  If you don’t have a mobile optimized website, about 30%-40% probably aren’t happy.  In raw numbers, that could be 100 or more visitors each month.  Have you looked at your web statistics lately?  I bet that at least 25% of your website visitors are on mobile devices.  Take a look at this graphic here that shows website traffic over a 90 day period…over 406 users have visited this 3-location practice in the last 90 days.mobile-website-visitors

This is What They Saw…Ouch.  The Viewer Has to Pinch, Zoom, Scroll, and Struggle to Find Your Phone Number, Map, Etc.

 

non-optimized-website

How to Make Patient Interaction with You Online, a Great Experience

When patients contact a practice to schedule a new evaluation or treatment session, they do it primarily by phone.

What you may not know is that those same prospects  and patients (406 of them as noted above) search for you on the web before they make a call.  This is a great opportunity for you to make it easier than your competition to connect with you.  How?  With a mobile optimized website.  A mobile website is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). 1.  We would argue that Wikipedia’s definition of a responsive website better fits that of three different types of mobile optimized websites which are described below:

1. Adaptive -Adaptive design is more like the modern definition of progressive enhancement. Instead of one flexible design, adaptive design detects the device and other features, and then provides the appropriate feature and layout based on a predefined set of viewport sizes and other characteristics. 2.

2. Responsive – Responsive design works on the principle of flexibility. The idea is that a single fluid design based upon media queries, flexible grids, and responsive images can be used to create a user experience that flexes and changes based on a multitude of factors. The primary benefit is that each user experiences a consistent design. 2.

3. A completely separate website – This development principle is primarily one based on ease of implementation.  The idea here is that there is a completely separate website that exists, in many cases, on a separate web server.  A user agent detection script senses that a request is made from a mobile device and then redirects the user to the separate mobile website.  The primary benefit is both ease of implementation and they are cheap.

Regardless of the type of mobile website you have, there are clear advantages to having one as I outlined here in this blog post.  However, now Google is stepping up the pressure on PT practice owners and telling them, “Hey, you better have a mobile optimized website, or else!”  It is well summarized in this article by Searchengineland.com:

[warning_box]Google is sending mass notifications to webmasters who manage websites that are not mobile-friendly. These notifications contain the subject “fix mobile usability issues found on…” It then goes on to explain that these sites have critical mobile usability errors on 100% of the pages on the site and thus the pages will be “displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.” These notifications are being sent via Google Webmaster Tools and via email. It is also being sent to sites that are simply not mobile friendly at all and typically, the webmasters know their sites are not mobile friendly. What we have here is Google reminding these webmasters their sites are not mobile-friendly and issuing a warning that the pages won’t rank well in mobile search.[/warning_box]

Here’s an example of the email message with the domain in question removed:

google-webmaster-tools-no-mobile-warning-email
This is the email that Google sends to webmasters telling them they need a mobile website.

Notice their language, “These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”  In my opinion, this could be interpreted to read, “If you don’t have a mobile optimized website, you won’t rank as well when people search for you on their phones.”

It’s Not All Negative Though…

There are advantages to having a mobile website with respect to your Google search engine listings, as well. Assuming you have a mobile optimized website, one of them is what your patients and prospects will see when they view your listing on a Google search results page.

Take a look at this screen capture of Google search results for the search “Physical Therapy Encinitas”.  You have to do this on your smartphone of course, but what you can see is that there is a small notation that the landing page for the Google search result is “mobile friendly”.  In other words, if you are searching with Google on your phone and you click on one of these links, the resultant website you go to is optimized for your mobile device.

google-showing-mobile-website

Note: this Mobile-friendly tag only appears in the natural listings.  Nevertheless, it’s a simple and easy way to differentiate your practice’s listing on Google from others…at least in the short-term.

[info_box]Take Home Message:  As I have mentioned in previous posts here and here, there are big advantages to having a mobile optimized website.  Now it seems that Google is making it almost mandatory for businesses to have a mobile optimized website.  The good news is that a mobile optimized website is affordable, easy to implement, there are multiple options (responsive, adaptive, or a separate website), and as I will discuss in future posts, it’s a great way to promote your practice.  Make sure a mobile optimized website is part of your physical therapy website development strategy![/info_box]

Why Every Private Practice Should Use Google My Business

Google-My-Business-for-Physical-Therapists

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 Places,
  • Google Maps,
  • Google Analytics & Insights
  • Google+

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):

Google Plus Page for Physical Therapy Marketing
Here’s a Google + Page that’s great for your physical therapy online marketing

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.

Why Your Private Practice Can’t Afford to Ignore Tablet Users

Tablet User
Tablet User

Who would have thought when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad back in 2010 that it would become anywhere near as popular as it is today? All over the Internet, reviewers were openly mocking the tablet as a clumsy oversized iPhone.

Now a quarter of all U.S. Internet users own tablets and the figures are similar in other countries too. That means in the U.S. alone, there are 56 million people who are just as likely to encounter your site on a tablet as they would on their laptop or desktop. Your practice really can’t afford to miss the opportunity to talk to that many people, and if you don’t make your web design tablet-friendly, you will miss them completely.

Having a tablet-friendly website can mean a huge boost to your revenue.

Who are tablet users and why should your practice care?

Tablet users aren’t just a random selection of the online community. They are a discerning group of patients and are among the wealthiest because they come from demographics with the largest disposable income.

[note_box]Recently released stats give you an idea of the market your site could reach as a result of having a tablet-friendly site.

  • The gender of tablet users are pretty much evenly split—51% female, 49% male
  • About half of tablet users fall between the ages of 25 and 44
  • Just over half (51%) are college graduates
  • Just over half (53%) make over $75,000 a year
  • 71% prefer to read their news as opposed to watching it—a huge boon for bloggers.
  • Tablet users are more likely to be employed full-time (62% of tablet users are employed full-time versus 41% of the general population)

In other words, tablet users are Internet-savvy, educated and financially independent. This is why it is so important to reach this demographic.[/note_box]

Another hugely important reason to target tablet users is the way they use them to view information online. You will often see people in waiting rooms, on public transport and in coffee shops and bars using their tablets. That is in addition to them using them before they go to bed or other opportunities when they just want to wind down. They are giving their undivided attention to the information that they are browsing, so they are much more likely to explore and shop online without any distractions.

How you can attract tablet traffic

It is the sites that fail to accommodate tablet-based browsing that will eventually lose out and get left behind, so if you want your site to attract these visitors, then you need to make your user interface as smooth and visitor-friendly as possible.

The most important part of attracting tablet consumers is to make sure that your web design displays correctly on both Android and iPad tablets. Users should be able to check out your site in both portrait and landscape mode. They definitely will not want to have to zoom or swipe their device in order to navigate around your site.

[colored_box variation=”steelblue”]Now is the perfect time to start attracting highly-connected, high-income consumers and make sure that your practice is doing all it can to keep up with the times so it prospers rather than getting left behind. If you need any assistance getting your site tablet friendly, call E-Rehab. We will be happy to help.[/colored_box]

Use This Checklist To Ensure Your Mobile Web Design Is Up To Par

Modern responsive web design computer, laptop, tablet and smartp

Just because you can see your desktop site on a mobile phone doesn’t mean that it’s using mobile web design. Mobile sites are specifically designed for the small screen, with the needs of mobile users (your patients) in mind. A mobile-friendly site helps your practice connect with patients and drive conversions.[note_box]No business can afford to ignore the fact that more than a billion people primarily access the Web from mobile devices. Some of the most recent studies indicate that about 50 percent of people with a smartphone or another mobile device use mobile search on a daily basis. And 17 percent of mobile users make a purchase after performing a search.[/note_box]

To ensure it is mobile-friendly, view your website on your smartphone, and while doing so ask yourself these questions:

Content

Does the site fit the screen?
Almost 50 percent of your audience already uses a mobile phone as their primary Internet access device. In other words, you are losing nearly half your audience if you do not make your website mobile-friendly. Make sure content fits on the screen and can be read without pinching and zooming.

Is the content readable?
Do not try to cram all the information you provide on your website into your mobile site. Make it easy for your patients to read and bear in mind that they might be reading it in a place with low light.

Does the site load quickly?
Include important information like phone numbers, addresses and maps which would be useful to people on the move. Instead of giving a detailed description about your practice, provide a one-liner, which is good enough to entice your mobile audience.

Do videos and animations load?
Avoid using large, Flash-based video files on your mobile site, as most smartphone browsers do not support Flash. Instead, use simple images to improve the look and feel of your mobile website.

Is the site responsive?
With the rapid evolution of touch-based smartphones and tablets, touch has taken over typing. When designing your mobile site, use drop down menus, check boxes, and pre-populated fields whenever possible, so that your mobile visitors can navigate and input information easily rather than having to fill in long forms.

Images

Are file sizes as small as possible?
Use simple compressed images and keep them small for faster loading. This will improve the look and feel of your mobile website—but make sure all images used on the desktop are set to resize automatically to fit a mobile device’s smaller screen sizes. We can do all of this for you (see our contact information).

Is there a home page icon set?
Nobody likes to be confused. Help users navigate between levels with clear “back” and “home” buttons.

Do all images fit on the screen?
Use plenty of negative space and don’t let the images overcrowd the page.

Usability

Do the gestures work?
Use large-centered buttons to reduce accidental clicks and make sure that they all work. This will ensure that visiting your site will not be a frustrating experience for your patients.

Is it thumb friendly?
People use their fingers to operate mobile devices, especially their thumbs. Design your mobile site so even large hands can easily interact with it.

Are number and e-mail addresses actionable?
Remember to use click-to-call functionality for all phone numbers.

Are forms easy to fill out?
Use check boxes, lists and scroll menus to make data entry easier.

Would you stay on the site?
Try to be objective and try to look at this through your patients’ eyes.

[colored_box variation=”steelblue”]If you were shocked and disappointed by the results, or would just like to talk to us about making your website mobile friendly so that you don’t lose any more potential patients, we would love to hear from you.[/colored_box]

Physical Therapy Marketing with Instagram

Instagram and physical therapy marketing
Instagram and physical therapy marketing

Though the first image that might come to your mind with any mention of Instagram could be the constant flow of filtered personal pictures sent between so many with no real objective in mind.  Physical Therapy Marketing with Instagram can also be a powerful tool if you are trying to reach a younger audience. When used properly, the extremely popular and successful photo sharing application has the capability to increase your practice’s exposure, increase your name recognition and increase demand for the physical therapy services you provide.

[note_box]With over 150 million users it is no wonder that so many businesses are turning to Instagram to engage consumers and boost their brands. Recent statistics on Mashable.com revealed that 40% of the top 1000 videos on Instagram are from big brands. MTV, Starbucks and TopShop are regularly featured in the top 10 brands using Instagram.[/note_box]

They invest time and money into marketing on Instagram because its been proven to work. To take full advantage of the power of Instagram and to bring in more patients for your physical therapy practice, sign up for the application and follow these six tips:

1. Show Your Services in Creative Ways

Instagram has so many advantages and one of them is to be able to promote window-shopping by using Instagram to show off a collection of your services.

You don’t even need to be an expert photographer as the application already comes with filters and editing options that help you to be very creative. It is so easy to add your style to your photos. This will help grab the attention of users to your photo.

Photos attract users but it is the conversations that engage them. You want your pictures to be good enough to provoke a good reaction from your followers so that they ‘like’ the photos and add their positive comments. It is even better if they decide to share the photo on other social media platforms as well.

Instead of just writing out the different types of services you provide, add a picture or a sequence of images to better illustrate these services in action to give prospective patients a better idea how they work. Visualizing the treatment and seeing how things work inside a practice will always be a more attractive option to patients than reading form a list.

2. Post Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Your Practice

You can take a shot of almost anything and share it on Instagram. A great suggestion is to post behind-the-scenes photos of your practice, such as a patient receiving treatment.

You will find that your followers really like these kind of photos and will be keen to ‘like’ and comment on them. Why? Because on the whole, we are a curious breed and it’s interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes of any business. Let your patients and followers see what you are doing to provide them with the best offers and service.

3. Show What Your Services and Treatments Can Do

A good way to increase demand for your services and treatments is to show patients ways how they can benefit from them. Engage your followers by inviting them to comment and let you know what they think of the work being done by your practice. You can create an Instagram contest, which is a very effective way of guaranteeing their involvement and spreading the word. For example, ask users to share photos of them after recovering from an injury as a result of treatment from your practice.

4. Update Followers on Your Latest News and Developments

What better way to get the word out about your practice than using Instagram to share the latest activities and events that are happening. Post photos of new staff members, services offered, local news or anything else that you think might interest patients.

To get even more publicity don’t forget to use popular hashtags like #physical therapy, #back pain rehab or #dry needling, etc. This will make it much easier for people who are not following you on Instagram to find out about your offers.

5. Introduce your Employees

Introducing your employees to your followers on Instagram will bring a human touch to your brand and will increase customer loyalty even more.

Use the caption box to share a little bit about your employee such as their role within the company or what their hobby is.

You can spread these posts out and make spotlighting a member of staff a weekly feature. Include all departments within your company and put a human face to your brand. Your followers will love you for it.

6. Expand and Grow Your Audience

You don’t need to confine your followers to Instagram. Why not connect your Instagram account to other social media networks and use relevant hashtags (e.g. #yourbrandname ) to make it easier for people to find your account.

Your followers will love it and reward you with their loyalty if you respond to their comments. You can encourage dialogue by asking questions in your photo caption to engage them.

Your goal is to make them want to interact with you and make some sort of positive response whether it be a comment or simply a ‘like’.

Physical Therapy Mobile Marketing FAQ

physical therapy mobile marketing
Physical Therapy Mobile Marketing is a great opportunity.

Q. I can see my website on my phone so does that mean that it is already mobile-friendly?

A. While most sites will show up on a Smartphone, they aren’t necessarily “mobile-friendly”. Unless your website has been especially designed for mobile devices, your patients are most likely waiting a long time for the site to load on their smartphone and doing a lot of pinching, zooming and scrolling to view your site on their phone. A truly mobile-friendly site is specifically tailored to the needs of mobile users and for the capabilities of mobile devices.


Q. My patients are mostly older. Do they really use mobile phones for web browsing?

A. There are over 120 million smartphones in use in the United States (some estimate the number is as high as 165 million). At this time, 9 out 10 phones sold are Smartphones. As current contracts are running out on older model phones, people renewing their phones are highly likely to get a Smartphone. If you’re truly curious, take a minute to ask you patients and co-workers what kind of phone they have. If they don’t have a Smartphone at the moment, no doubt they will tell you that they will be getting one soon.


Q. We have an app on our company website. Is that the same thing?

A. That’s great, you are forward thinking because most practices don’t have an app that can be downloaded from the Apple App store or Google Play. A mobile apps can be an important part of your clinic’s marketing strategy, but they are not a replacement for a mobile friendly website. The reason is, apps are platform specific, which means that they are only compatible with the specific mobile the customer used to download the app. For example, a patient would not be able to see the app if it was designed to be downloaded from iTunes to use on an iPhone and they were using an Android phone. A mobile site is browser agnostics; therefore, it will work on any mobile device with a browser. And unlike an app, which takes a lot of work to update, it is much easier, quicker and cheaper to update content and information on a mobile site. Fact is, for most practices, an app that a patient would download from iTunes or Google Play is probably not a good investment.


Q. I can’t give my attention to a mobile site at the moment. Can it wait?

A. Yes, it can wait….but only if you are willing to risk missing out on the huge number of patients now using their phones to locate Physical Therapists. Recent website visitor data, pulled from 50 different websites, indicates that 30% of visitors to your website are probably using mobile device. That amounts to about 75-100 visitors per month. It won’t be long before more people are accessing the internet from mobile devices than from desktop computers, and a mobile optimized website is a great way to differentiate your practice.


Q. How can I be sure that a mobile site will help my clinic?

A. This is a good question and it’s understandable that you would like to know for certain if a mobile site really is going to drive patients to your business. The statistics and reasons why you should invest in a mobile site stress the urgency to get yours up and running as soon as you can. Think about it: if a patient finds your clinic on a desktop, they will still need to use a phone to call. In the many cases when this is a mobile phone, if your clinic has a mobile friendly site, they could contact you or make an appointment in a single touch.


Q. Will I really see an increase in my patients?

A. As you would expect, results differs from site to site. Think about it like this: You will be providing current and potential patients an additional and convenient way for them to be in touch with you. It will be a quicker, more pleasurable experience and as a result, they will be more inclined to choose or continue their services at your clinic and maybe even tell their friends about it as well. In the very near future, this will especially be the case if other clinics and therapists in your area haven’t gone mobile.

[info_box]Action Items
1. Ask around your clinic to see what mobile devices people are using.
2. For ideas and research, look at our mobile website designs and the mobile sites of other clinics in your area.
3. Look at the numbers: PC sales and shipments are decreasing, as net browsing on tablets and mobile devices has doubled in the last two years (Source: NetMarketShare.com).
4. Look at your website analytical data and check how many people are visiting your website on a mobile device. If you don’t have access to this or don’t have website analytics, it’s a standard part of all of our service packages.
[/info_box]

If you have any more questions or want more advice on setting up your mobile site, please call David Straight at e-rehab.

This Infographic Summarizes Why Physical Therapy Mobile Websites are a Must

mobile website use
Physical therapy mobile websites – if you don’t have one, this is why you should!

 

 

Don’t Miss this Physical Therapy Marketing Opportunity

Physical therapy practices are challenged with creating patient loyalty and retention. If your patients don’t keep coming back chances are your practice won’t be successful in the increasingly competitive rehab space.

It’s common knowledge that it’s easier to get a former patient to come back to you again then attract a new patients who has never been to your practice.

A big mistake practices make today is focusing their sales efforts on attracting new physician referrals and neglecting to properly retain their existing patient base.

That is where mobile marketing comes into play.

Our mobile marketing services are a great way to not only tap into the massive mobile audience but also use cutting edge technologies to retain and build loyalty with your patients.

Our suite of mobile marketing services not only produce results, they also help build serious brand loyalty. We help practices by building premium mobile friendly websites and QR code campaigns, that together can provide you with a rich set of tools that will result in more patient visits and help retain and bring back old patients.

For more, check out our mobile samples by clicking here.

Reference: https://www.netbiscuits.com/reports/reports-and-papers/the-peoples-web-infographic/