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

7 Steps to Creating a Solid Referral Marketing System

Most physical therapist today would like an endless stream of direct access patients.  While this is a nice idea, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your number of new patients if you are not developing physician referrals.

If you’re ready to expand your patient base, then it’s time to create a solid referral marketing system. But before you can get started, you’ve got to make sure that the patient experience and your clinical expertise are worthy of referrals. Once you’ve refined those areas of your practice, you can feel confident about asking physicians to refer their patients to you.

Ready to get started?

Let’s cover how to create a referral marketing system that works best for your practice.

#1 Set Goals

The first step to creating a solid referral marketing system is deciding what your practice goals are. Here are some questions you need to answer:

Are you a new startup trying to create an initial patient base or have you been in the game for a few years and want to try to generate a few additional referrals?

If you’ve been in business for several years and currently have physicians that refer to you, this is a great opportunity.  Your goal is to get doctors that send 2-3 new patients per month to send just 1-2 more.

Do orthopedists refer out or do they own their physical therapists?

Physician owned physical therapy services, or POPTS, is the business arrangement whereby the orthopedist(s) have their own physical therapy inhouse. It’s not easy to get them to refer out because they will lose the revenue they generate from treating their own patients.  (This is a huge ethical issue more on that here . If they own their services, they refer more [reference]. Doctors are a powerful group with big money, a strong lobby, and a public perception of doing what’s best for patients…not always the case).

Are their GP, internal medicine, sport med, and/or physiatrists in private practice?

You need to know if they can refer out or if they are required to refer to their employer (i.e. a hospital that owns them).

How many new patients or additional new patients can you see (i.e. what’s your capacity)?

Knowing this along with your cancellation rate gives you an idea of your maximum capacity and helps establish the number of new patients you need to reach those goals.

If you don’t have referring physicians, then you’ll need to obtain a list of referring physicians from an online database service.  Here’s a good resource for that https://leads-app.infousa.com/Physicians/Selections

#2 Analyze Your Referral Data

Once you define your goals, you’ll need to determine how your referral strategy can and will help you reach your goals. Download a list of all of your referring physicians over that last year.

Look at the data. What does it tell you about your target doctors and patients? What kinds of patients come from these doctors and how often?

Answering these questions will help you determine what your ideal patients and referring physicians look like. This is the first step toward drawing up a strategy for referrals.

Next, identify the number of patients each doctor refers. Who refers the most?  How many do they refer per week/month? These are the ones who know the most about your practice, who send patients to you most often, and who believe in your services.

Finally, sort your list and determine who are the top referral sources.  These are the referring physicians you never want to lose.  They may keep your practice in business. Always assume your competition is whispering in their ear trying to take referrals away from your practice.  You should spend the most time on this group.

Next look at the next group of doctors.  Maybe they send 1 or 2 per month consistently.  This group is aware of you but doesn’t send many. Your goal is to try to get them to send 1-3 more each month.

Finally, you have the group that sends one or two patients over the course of the year.  This group is the last segment you spend time on.  The patient may have been the one that chose your practice.  In other words, the doctor may have not referred to you. Therefore, you don’t spend a lot of time with this group…initially.

#3 Equip Your Referrers

In Step 2, you determined which of your current referring physicians would be ripe for providing additional referrals. Now, you just need to give them the tools to be successful. A big part of equipping them to do the job right is to educate them about the value of a. referring to physical therapy and b. why they should refer to you.

One easy way to accomplish this is to visit their office and provide educational research about the value of referring to a physical therapist in the first place. The recent article published in NEJM is something you could easily print out, add a post it note to it, that says “I thought you might be interested in this,” and hand it directly to the doctor.  I also suggest you highlight key parts of the abstract so he/she can scan it.

If you cannot, put it in an envelope and write something on the outside of it like, “Dr. Smith, I thought you might be interested in this new research…”

Second, repeatedly showing up in their office, providing materials with your logo on them and your name, are good reminders that you are there for them.

#4 Next You Need to Differentiate Your Practice from the Competition

Once you remind them of the research that supports referring their patients to physical therapy, then you need to make sure they know what makes you different from the competition — in many cases, they’ll know this just by interacting with your you and the experiences patients have an report back to them.

Some ways to differentiate your practice are:

  1. Your expertise – board certifications & specialties
  2. Your location
  3. Your reputation
  4. Your clinical outcomes
  5. Hours of operation
  6. Communication
  7. Customer service
  8. Your fees
  9. Types of insurance you take
  10. How quick you can get a patient into your office

Don’t forget to tell your referrers what types of patients you are best at treating (also from Step

Last, make it easy for your referrers to send their patients to you.  Referral pads, business cards, rack cards, and brochures can help.  A QR code that patients can scan and those patients to your website is helpful too.

#5 Take Action & Ask

It’s time to put your plan into action. Grab that list of ideal referrers and reach out. Remember: your physicians may be motivated in different ways, so if you see that part of your strategy is falling short, don’t hesitate to change it!

If you are talking with a front office person or any other support personnel, then you need to ask lots of questions.  As the saying goes, you have one moth and two ears, use them proportionally.

One way to pique the interest of the receptionist is to tell them that you are an expert at treating the spine or extremities.  Follow this up with a complex question, one that requires the receptionist to ask someone in the back office to get an answer.  You might say, “My board certification was in the treatment of spondylopathy. Who does Doctor Smith refer to when patients have spondylopathies?”

Here’s another tip that’s equally important. Include the idea that you provide a “new treatment” to add curiosity.  Medical staff are interested in providing referrals to clinicians that provide new treatment options (high-intensity laser comes to mind).

Other questions you want to find answer to are:

Who does Dr. Smith refer to?

Who decides where the patients go?  If the answer is that the doctor or referring staff member picks from a list, then you simply ask, “How do I get on that list?”

I’ve observed a number of physical therapists and sales people (commonly and errantly called marketing people) have a nice conversation with a doctor but fail to ask for referrals.  This is very important to do.  When the time is right and you’ve established that you can provide value, simply say, “I’d like to see more of your X patients.  Can you send me a few more so I can ”

#6 Recognize Your Referrers

People loved to be recognized for good deeds, and referring to your practice should count as one of them. When you thank and recognize your referrers, you further solidify your relationship with them. You can send a simple card for every patient that is referred, a gift of nominal value to avoid breaking legal anti-kickback regulations, and make sure that you provide timely, short and scannable progress and discharge reports..

#7 Track Your Progress

Once you’ve got a few weeks under your belt, it’s time to analyze the results and adjust accordingly. Take a look at the numbers: how many referrals have come in? What process worked best? In what ways can you make changes to your strategy to realize more ROI?

The Bottom Line

Patients coming to your clinic via direct access is a good thing; but, remember: adding more new evaluations to your schedule allows you to provide not only patients but doctors conservative, natural treatment options.

As you implement your referral marketing strategy, you might have to make several changes before you nail down a plan that really works. Be open to that, and remember to keep not only the patients’ experience but also the your referring physicians’ experiences at the forefront of your efforts.

Need More Training?

E-rehab.com offers a program call More MD Referrals – Physician Sales & Marketing Training.  If you have questions about this or any of our other services. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 760-585-9097 or email David Straight, DPT at dave@e-rehab.com .

10 Ways to Promote Your Small Physical Therapy Practice on a Budget

Whether you’re just starting your PT private practice or you’ve been running your clinic for a few years, during these times you have to be efficient with spending money on physical therapy marketing. For the savvy PTPP director who wants to save some money, here are some tips for marketing on a budget.

#1 Find Some Local Online Facebook Groups

You may be open and still treating patients, or you may be just doing telehealth; either way, you can leverage your community to market your business. Get your name out there by sponsoring local Facebook groups where moms gather, sports teams gather (e.g. a running club), or your neighbors gather. Get creative about offering value.  How can you help members of the group? Offer to speak on a Zoom webinar where share your expertise. This will boost awareness about your practice help you make one-on-one connections.

#2 Be Ready with a One-Liner, Talking Logo, or Elevator Pitch

If someone asks you what you do, does your answer put them asleep, confuse them, or arouse curiosity?  

A good one-liner as Donald Miller states, is one sentence that can grow your business (more here).

Another way to describe your business to another is with what John Jantsch calls, a talking logo.   John describes a talking logo as follows: “a tool that allows you to communicate verbally the single greatest benefit of doing business with your firm. A talking logo is a short statement that quickly communicates your firm’s position and ideally forces the listener to want to know more.” (more here

Yet another way to think about it is by simply following this formula: “I help x get y using z.”  An example might be: “I treat people in pain naturally recover with nothing more than my hands and mouth.”  If you were speaking with someone the first time, can you see how this type of answer invites additional questions? Fast, concise, and arousing curiosity are the keys to developing a good one-liner or talking. 

#3 Network with Other Local Businesses

Find other businesses that you believe in and make connections with them. Offer them your willingness to promote them if they’ll do the same for you. You could even come together for a community event and refer potential customers to each other.

Massage therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, acupuncturists, running, swimming, and sports equipment stores and of course medical doctors are some examples of companies you can cross-promote.  Make a list and start reaching out.

No matter how it looks, it’s a win for you and a win for the other businesses in your community.

#4 Take Advantage of Free Social Media

We all know that there are countless social media platforms out there, and it can seem a little overwhelming. But the good news is that it is either free or very inexpensive to market your business through this medium. 

If you are looking to treat middle-aged and senior patients then Facebook is the platform you should use.  If you are looking for the younger 20-35 y.o. crowd, then Instagram is a good place to start.

But here’s a quick tip: your goal is to nurture relationships by showing interest in them, providing good content and by asking others how you can help them.  One surefire way to kill your reputation is to look self-serving.  Following someone else on IG hoping to get a follow back won’t likely foster your relationships. Social media is meant for socializing.  Imagine if you were at a party and you approached a group of others, you would disrupt the gathering of people by trying to get everyone to focus their attention on you right away.

#5 Create and Publish Great Content

Sharing helpful content is important.  As the saying goes, content is king.  Not only does it establish you as an authority and increases practice awareness, but it also helps people. Of course, you don’t have to spend any money to create great content (if you someone at your practice is willing to do create the content on their own). If you’ve got older content, an easy way to get the message is out is by simply refreshing that old content. Add some graphics, update the content, add a new take on an age-old issue… whatever the case may be, don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.

#6 Call Up Your Referring Physicians

Believe it or not, many physicians are in the same boat as you are during this COVID crisis.  Give your referring physicians a call.  Ask them questions about how they are doing, their staff, their family.  See how may patients they are seeing now.  Offer to help them out.  Ask how telehealth is working for them.  Offer to help them promote their practice or find a collaborative opportunity.  Offer to do a video conference call, record it and share it to your email list or Facebook fans.

#7 Email an Offer to Your List.  You Could Offer a Free Telehealth Session

Many are just now experiencing how health care is delivered via remote video conferencing with systems like doxy, Zoom, Vsee, BetterPT, etc.  When it comes to a hands-on provider like a physical therapist, the notion of communicating online assessments and treatment seems like a contradiction (when coming from a PT). 

One way to start the conversation and to get people to consider your physical therapy services is to email them an offer.  Here’s how you can do this: 

a. Get a list of first names and email addresses. Go to your EMR system and download a list of email addresses and names. I am assuming that you have permission to email your patients.
b. Send out an email blast.  You want to put together a personalized message, first name only,  and use a subject line like this:
Remember, the goal of the subject line is to get them to open the email message.
c. Get them to “click” to the next step. In the body of the message, you need to make a compelling offer.  Let your past patients know how you’re STILL able to serve them during this crisis – but it’s in a slightly different way.  Remember, the goal of the email message, in most cases is to get them to click on a link to do something next.
d. Give them something of value. Offer a free 15-minute “virtual” mini-evaluation to get them on the phone to see where they need the most help and let them know about your virtual services, or if you’re still open, to see if they are good candidate to come in for some therapy.
For some, this might be the solution they are looking for.  If it is a valuable, compelling offer, your past patients will take you up on it.  If not, think of another offer. Most marketing campaigns fail on the first try; so, don’t be afraid to try again.

#8 Ask Your Patients for Referrals

Whether it be during a video conference or in person, ask your patients for referrals.  This is how you can accomplish this.

a. First find out if your patient is willing.  Take their “temperature” by finding out how satisfied they are with your services.  If you get a lot of positive feedback and you sense they are very pleased, then you can move to the next step.

b. Ask an open-ended question.  Don’t make the mistake of asking, “Do you know someone else I can help?” That’s a closed-ended question that will result in a yes or no.

c. Take it slower with multiple, open-ended questions like:

  • “Who do you know that has a problem like you?”
  • “What have they done to deal with their pain?”
  • “What are you thoughts about how they might respond to this kind of treatment?”
  • “How could I work with you to see if they might benefit from what I’m doing with you?”

Knowing when and how to ask your patients for referrals will increase the likelihood of success.  Give it a try and understand you’ll either get a No (in which case you’ll improve your ability to ask for a referral from your next patient), or you will get a Yes and you might be able to help them.

NOTE: if you do get a name from your patient, make sure you complete the process by having your patient make a warm introduction.  Be willing to do a simple conference call with the patient and their family member or friend to take it to the next step.

#9 Increase the Value of Your Business Card and Add a QR Code

Business cards are cheap these days. Take a look at yours. Does it need a redesign?  Can you add services on the back?  How about a QR code that when scanned take the viewer to a video about you on YouTube or a web page where they can learn more about what you do, or perhaps to a page where you make them an offer? 

QR codes were popular back in the 2008-2012 timeframe; but, the need for users to install a QR reader app on their phone made them a challenge to use.  Back in September, 2017 when Apple released iOS 11, iPhone cameras became readers.  Simply point the camera app at a QR code and it reads it.

Get creative with QR codes.  Head over to QRstuff.com and create your own.

#10 Seek Out Recognition for Your Great Work

Believe it or not, it costs nothing to apply for business awards for your niche. Iff you are selected, you can tout that award on your website or on your front desk. This is a nice way to add credibility to your physical therapy services and it gives you another thing to write about in your social media posts.  

#10.5 Bonus Tip

As of the date of this post, I’ve been in the PT private practice marketing space for almost 20 years. If there’s one thing I can share with you that is going to dramatically increase your odds of success it’s these 3 things: One, take action.  Most just read about marketing and never take any action. Two, make sure you invest in your marketing.  Marketing pays dividends and gives you returns.  Sometimes your investments result in a loss but then you learn.  Sometimes they provide you with a good profit.  This leads me to my third point, persistence.  Marketing is an ongoing process over time.  It never stops.  The more you do it, the more you learn and improve that process.

Working within Your Budget

You might think it is difficult to market your practice on a small budget.  There is some truth to this.  After all, you might be up against large hospitals, corporate big-box clinic chains, and POPTS clinics.  The resistance is proportional to the reward though.  If you want to generate patients that might net you up to $1000 when you complete a plan of care with them, it’s going to take some work.  

Looking for the Best Online Marketing Services on a Budget?

E-rehab.com provides different packages of marketing services, training and tools to help you generate more new, repeat, and word-of-mouth business.

For more information about how we can help, click here to schedule some on my calendar and we can discuss your needs.

Google My Business Updates & Your Practice Listing

If you’ve closed your practice because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be thinking about marking your Google My Business listing to closed.

We don’t recommend you do this at this time.  This video will give you more details

Transcription of the video

Hi, this is David with the E-rehab.  I hope you are well in this time of crisis. I wanted to do a quick video about Google My Business listings because we’re going to get questions about this and we’ve already had a few.

You’ll see here an example of Coast Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine and Chico. You can see it on a phone here and you can also see it on desktop as well. You’ll notice the COVID-19 alert, which is necessary, but I’m not a fan of it being associated with your business listing. There isn’t much we can do there to change it.

What we have noticed though is if you go into your Google my business account, there is a link at the top. I’ll learn more with limited Google my business functionality due to the coronavirus and COVID-19. Click here for details.

There are three things we’ve noticed and then one big one that we’re getting questions about.

  1. The first is you cannot get new reviews.
  2. The second thing is you cannot respond to reviews.
  3. The third thing is, is that they have removed questions and answers in your Google My Business account.

The Most Important Question – Do I Mark My Business Closed?

The big one though is when people ask us if they should Mark their clinics closed because they have closed their practice in response to the crisis. Our answer is no.

Google reinforces this. If you click on this, learn more here. You can get to this page and you notice that they want you to do business edits. It’s gonna take them some time to verify new listings and they have removed the Q and A; but if you click here on this link, it goes to more specifics. What do you do if you have changed your hours?

They want you to update your hours. They want you to add in to your information under the info tab, that you have changes in your hours and they’re saying to create a post and then if you’re temporarily closed. They’re saying that they get information from elsewhere.

Basically they don’t have functionality yet that says they are temporarily closed in your Google my business listing. So that leads me to the next point – your INFO link in your GMB account.

If you wanted to click on that and you could go down here and you could change your information right here, but they also talked about creating a post.

So here’s what posts look like and what you do is you click add an update. And if I do that, I have that, uh, here. You would drag an image in there and then write your post where you could say that your, you things have been modified or you’re closed or when we get through this that, you would post that you’re open again and then you just simply click publish there.

In Summary

The question being, should I mark my business closed in Google my business? Do NOT do that. If you do, it could impact your search listings.

So, modify the information as stated above in the Info section of your GMB listing and/or create a post and put it up there under your Google my business account.

I hope this helps. If you have questions, let us know.

Images for You to Use on Your Google My Business Posts

Here are three images you can use to upload to your Google My Business account depending upon the status of your clinic.  Simply right-click on the given image and save it to your computer.  You can then upload it to your Google My Business post.

 

Inbound Vs. Outbound Physical Therapy Marketing Part 4

For the Most Effective Long-Term Strategy, Content Marketing is King

An essential recommendation that we’ve touched on several times throughout this blog series is to develop a better grasp of who is—and who isn’t—actively looking for a physical therapist, and how this should affect your marketing strategy. This is a universal concept that applies to all aspects of marketing your private physical therapy practice, so it’s worthy of a closer look.

To develop a clearer picture of the whole of society and how much the average person is considering the prospect of physical therapy, it helps to get acquainted with the 6-7%, which was created by marketing consultant Chet Holmes in his book, The Ultimate Sales Machine. The pyramid breaks down the consumers in any market into five categories based on their interest levels, and for physical therapy marketers, your audience looks like this:

  • About 3% of people are interested in starting physical therapy and looking to set up their first appointment right now
  • About 6-7% are open to the idea of seeing a physical therapist, but not actively pursuing it or looking into options
  • About 30% are neutral, meaning they probably have not given any thought to undergoing physical therapy, but might be interested in it
  • About 30% are pretty sure that they are good “as is,” and don’t need physical therapy, but they haven’t completely ruled it out
  • About 30% are certain that they don’t want or need physical therapy

It’s a Conceptual Model but Fairly Close to Reality

These statistics may appear to be discouraging, but they should serve as an important reality check. If you buy into this model, it shows that only about 10% of the public is actually receptive to physical therapy as a solution to their pain, and only 3% is at the point where they are actively searching for a therapist or practice to begin treatment with.

The research supports this as well:

  • Only about 7-8% of lower back pain patients see a PT, but the value proposition is clear [1]
  • Clinical guidelines suggest that seeing a PT early on for neck pain is of high value. [2]
  • Yet, referrals to physical therapy are declining according to some research. [3]

Example Patient in Your Community with Low Back Pain

Let’s consider an example. Let’s say that someone in your community has back pain.  Who do they think of as the primary care providers for back pain? Most would say a medical doctor and others a chiropractor.  The evidence supports this.  This is the reality of most communities.  Physical therapy is lost in obscurity.

How does a practice rise out of obscurity and become a treatment option for the average consumer?

Enter Content Marketing – An Affordable Method that Can Pay Off Down the Road

The remaining 90% of the people discussed above, is a portion that needs to be nurtured in the long term. Since these individuals don’t generally care much about physical therapy—or downright don’t want it—you need to work on fostering a relationship that will help them get to know, respect, and eventually trust you. With this approach, when the time comes that they do need a physical therapist, they’ll be far more likely to keep you in mind.

This is why traditional marketing may not be as effective for this population. Instead, you should focus your efforts on content marketing.

Content marketing is defined as follows: Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. [4]

Online or Offline – Content Marketing Applies to Both

Content marketing can apply to both your online and offline strategies. When devising a content marketing plan, it may help to follow the 80/20 rule:

  • 20% of your content should be clearly self-promotional
  • The other 80% should be useful, interesting, and educational, thereby benefiting anyone that reads it

Educational content that covers a range of topics related to:

  • Obtaining value from healthcare providers,
  • Conservative care options
  • Sports health,
  • Fitness,
  • Exercise, and
  • Nutrition

Many of these topics will be immediately helpful to potential patients/readers and will also stand the test of time. In addition, by showing your audience that you are an authority source that provides reliable answers to some of their most common questions, they’ll keep coming back to you in the future to read more. This will in turn will help build trust and will likely place you in the running if—and when—a time comes that physical therapy might be needed.

We hope this series has shown that there is an abundance of options for both inbound and outbound marketing, and there are plenty of benefits of both approaches. Utilizing some of each and diversifying your tactics will likely yield the greatest return, but what works for your private physical therapy practice will be completely unique to your goals, message, and budget.

If you’d like some assistance in navigating this process, we are happy to help. Contact E-Rehab today to learn more.

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

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

Enter Outbound Marketing.

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

Example Patient with Neck Pain

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

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

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

Getting to know the best outbound advertising options

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

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

physical therapy outbound marketing

Pros & Cons of Physical Therapy Outbound Marketing

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

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

Outbound Marketing – A Great Way to Reach Referring Physicians

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

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

References:

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

35 Physical Therapy Blog Resources

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Topic Ideas

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

Resources for physical therapy blogging or health topics to write on

General

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

Physical therapy-specific

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

Resources to improve your writing and posting skills

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

 

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

Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas – Positioning Yourself Against Your Competition

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

How do you set yourself apart from everyone else? 

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

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

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

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

I. Create clear distinction

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

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

II. Write an attractive value proposition

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

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

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

III. Bring what makes your practice unique front and center

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

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

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

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

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

physical therapy positioning

IV. Use the right language…especially on your website

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Click here to get the book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What are you doing to optimize your marketing?

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

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

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

What are Micro-Influencers?

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

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

The Data on Micro Influencing

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

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

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

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

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

A Powerful Tool in Your Local Market

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

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

How to Find Micro-Influencers for Your Physical Therapy Practice

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

Here are three simple recommendations:

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

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

Tips for Using Micro-Influencers

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

Your Turn!

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

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

 

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 Social Media Marketing Tips

With just a few improvements, your social media profiles could become the crown jewel of your digital marketing strategy. By switching up your approach and committing to a higher level of quality, you could soon be generating more leads, revenue, and interest in your physical therapy practice with minimal effort.

The great thing about social media marketing is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time to work wonders. If you plan ahead and use social media to reinforce your other marketing activities, you can achieve huge ROI through both organic and paid social campaigns.

So, to inspire you to improve your social presence and go beyond expectations, try implementing the following five highly effective social media marketing improvements.

Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy Document

Writing down your marketing ideas matters. According to CoSchedule, professionals who document their planned marketing strategy are over five times more likely to achieve success. Also, 88% of people who set marketing goals actually achieve them.

Documenting your social strategy involves both high-level and low-level considerations.

On the high level, you want to include your overarching goals for social. You want to describe how social media fits within your overall digital marketing plan. You want a few guiding pointers for brand voice and the type of values you want to express.

For low-level strategy, consider how often you want to post per week or per month. Plan a budget for the next quarter. Describe publisher sources for shared content you want to write.

Getting all of this down in writing helps you stay focused and consistent. It also makes it easier to communicate your intended strategy to others, such as employees or contract marketers.

Most importantly, it keeps you from approaching your social media activities haphazardly. Having intention and purpose is the key to achieving better results.

Coordinate Social Posts With Specific Campaigns

If you want to push your social media marketing to the next level, try a couple of test campaigns. These campaigns should start with you posting about your expertise and in time and with repetition, branding yourself in your areas of expertise.  

Then, you should tie your brand expertise (i.e. clinical expertise) into special events, promotions or campaign pushes so that they can have an express purpose beyond “just posting because.”

For instance, if you have a promotional offer like a free consultation, your social campaigns can convert audiences into leads or customers. If you have an event, like a lower back pain seminar, you will be aiming to increase foot traffic over the seminar period.

Connecting social media activity to campaigns in this way ties them to concrete goals. Your performance can be benchmarked, helping you seek out ways to improve your next campaign based on past data.

For each campaign, create custom graphics and a variety of post ideas. For example, you can plan to develop a few beautiful photo-based posts as a way to turn heads on a platform like Instagram. You can also create a few strong call-to-action posts to generate interest and early signups on Twitter or Facebook.

Creating special, limited time campaigns like these helps you learn quick lessons and improve rapidly with your social media use. The data you generate and experience you gain gives you skills that make you better at using social media, helping you improve and accomplish your goals more consistently over time.

Create Content Marketing Assets and Landing Pages Just for Social

You can significantly upgrade your social media marketing returns by creating assets specifically designed to complement social posts.

For instance, you can create a lead capture landing page for specific target segments to use with targeted promoted social media posts. That way, your call to action can take 18-year-old college students to a different page with different appeals than your page aiming to convert 70-year-old retirees.

You can also create assets that you know will perform well on social, such as infographics. Infographics get around 41.5% engagement, on average, making them the content with the second-best ROI behind video.

Developing assets like these help connect your social media presence to customer actions that actually generate revenue. They also ensure you have a best-fit destination for each outgoing click to your website, as opposed to shoehorning a single “contact us” page link into every post or something similar. Since each asset is custom-made for social, they’re better suited to their individual purpose.

Invest in Professional Grade Social Video

Speaking of developing visual content with high ROI, now is the time to start considering using video within your social media marketing strategy.

Businesses that use video marketing generate 66% more qualified customer leads and earn 54% more brand awareness  compared to those that don’t use any video. Even more impressive, 77% of small practice owners who use video report significant benefits and positive ROI.

These assets get attention and shape the way people see your practice. They serve as a form of social proof for the quality of your services when they include live testimonials. They give you something to link to within other campaigns and to embed within your blogs. They also serve as brief sales pitches that can be far more convincing than any chunk of text.

For best results, plan ahead for when and why you want to use your video assets and how you can repurpose them in multiple ways for future campaigns.  

Need a Complete Online Marketing Strategy for Your Physical Therapy Practice?  We Can Help.

For a free, no-obligation consultation, you can contact us at (760) 585-9097.  We will discuss what you are doing know, your goals, and show you how we might be able to help.

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