As a physical therapist, there’s no arguing that your time and expertise are best spent on patient care. You are trained to deliver quality care to patients, and the time that you spend with patients is also billable time -- meaning your practice is making money when focusing on patient care. The caveat, however, is that to get new patients in the door, they first have to hear about your practice. Whether they learn about your services through a friend, a doctor, or a flyer they saw on the street -- the marketing efforts that your practice utilizes will help drive new business.
No matter the age, size or type of practice you are a part of, spending time and effort on marketing for your physical therapy practice is essential for increased patient growth, retention and revenue.
We’ve put together this marketing mini guide for physical therapists, to help you put the marketing plan and strategies into practice. Start promoting your physical therapy services and drive new patients through your practice doors.
If you’re interested in further scaling your wellness business, click here to learn how Healthie’s practice management software can help your practice grow, all for $0.
Let’s Make a Marketing Plan: Who, What, When and How
It can be overwhelming when starting to think about how you want to market your physical therapy practice. It is important that before you get too ahead of yourself, that you have an organized plan. There is no one exact formula in marketing a physical therapy practice.
We recommend that to start, you decide WHO you are targeting with your marketing campaign. Creating lists with information based on your target population can be helpful in the design and organization of future strategies. Researching and knowing these things about your target population will help guide your marketing plan in deciding locations to market at, types of verbiage, colors and media used.
Common target client demographics to consider:
- Socioeconomic status
- Marital status
- Common diagnoses treated
- Sporting activities/hobbies
- Locations where target population spends time
The next step for providers to recognize is WHAT they are marketing. Now, this blog focuses on promoting physical therapy practices, but what, specifically is your physical therapy practice marketing. Physical therapists must build and identify their clinics brand, mission, values and logo. WHAT makes your practice special? We suggest downloading our free Branding Ebook to help you with these decisions.
Main branding elements for your clinic to keep in mind:
- Brand personality
- Services you offer
- Clinic's mission
- Clinic's values
After you have identified your target population and clinics brand it is then important to determine WHEN you want to begin your marketing campaign. A marketing campaign can start at any time but it is important that physical therapists create a timeline to stay on track with accomplishing their marketing goals. At this point it may be helpful to decide what your clinic's marketing budget will be.
Common marketing assets that physical therapists budget for:
- Business website (ie. web designer fees, site hosting subscription)
- Business cards
- Business pamphlets
- Swag items (ie. t-shirts, water bottles, health fair giveaway items)
Once a budget has been set it can help guide the development of realistic goals, timeframes and how you will market your physical therapy practice.
The U.S. Small Business Administration states that “small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8% of their revenues to marketing.” Your practices annual revenue, age and growth are just a few of the many things that they recommend should be taken into consideration when determining a budget. Newer, less established practices may need to spend more upfront on marketing in order to increase referrals and obtain referral sources as compared to older, more well-known practices.
Regardless of the type and age of your practice, staying organized and on budget will improve your chances of increasing your revenue and the financial growth of your practice.
Once a marketing budget has been established, the most exciting part comes next: HOW you want to market your practice. There are multiple different routes that physical therapists can take in terms of marketing their services. Coming up with marketing strategies that are within your budget, meet the needs of your target population and abide by your brand's identity are essential in having a successful marketing campaign.
7 Physical Therapy Marketing Strategies
Determining HOW you want to market your practice is exciting and creative but can also be difficult. There are multiple routes that can be overwhelming to figure out. Below we have come up with a list of our favorite types of marketing that we think will fit the needs of ANY physical therapy practice. However you decide to reach out to potential clients, Healthie’s free starter plan can help you build out your calendar and manage client scheduling. Click here to get started today.
1. Create a website for your physical therapy practice
We live in a very digital world, more people than ever are communicating and obtaining information through the internet and social media platforms. With that being said, it may be advantageous for physical therapy practices to take this into consideration when determining digital marketing outlets promote your practices.
One of the most important digital marketing assets is your practice website. Having a strong online presence has been proven to be an effective way in getting people to choose a provider. Having a user friendly, informative website is important in attracting and driving leads. Your website acts as a first impression and should represent your practice's identity in totality. According to recent consumer research, 63% of patients would choose one provider over another due to a strong online presence.
Physical therapy is an interactive practice and your website should be too. Having the ability to schedule appointments, ask questions or reach out to the provider with concerns is the link that is needed to start the relationship between provider and patient. Highlighting your clinic's specialities and specific services you offer can make you and the staff of your clinic stand out. Including patient testimonials is a great source of added support for your practice. Research found that “81% of patients will read reviews about their provider even after they have been referred.” Having patient testimonials on other platforms that include a “call-to-action” button that links them to scheduling an appointment on your website is a great way to drive traffic. Lastly, making the mission statement and core values known on the website is a great way to show people just how great your clinic is... before they even walk through the doors.
2. Leverage email marketing to nurture contacts
Email marketing is a highly effective way to market any physical therapy practice. Studies have shown that email marketing is 40 times as effective as social media, and buying from email campaigns occurs three times as fast. The purpose of email campaigns is to pique the interest of prospective patients and remind previous patients of the services that offer.
The goal of many email campaigns is to convert the leads of prospective patients into scheduling appointments and becoming patients. When coming up with a strategy to implement this type of marketing, physical therapists will need to include ways to allow engagement. A “call-to-action,” is a button that you can include in your email, asking a lead to take the next step. Physical therapists may also highlight other marketing outlets that they utilize, such as social media,website links, messaging systems, etc as another source for continued engagement. Sending emails that are informative, personal, and welcoming are a great way to gain patients, increase patient retention and increase financial growth of your practice.
3. Utilize social media platforms to drive new patients
Physical therapy practices may also want to create a social media marketing strategy. Social media is on the rise and more and more people of all ages are using it. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more are being used by businesses to promote themselves. Platforms like Facebook offer services including groups and forums where people can join, to discuss trending topics. Physical therapists can join online “physical therapy relevant” social groups to get the word out about their practice. Clinics can also share videos, links to their website and educational information as well to attract new leads. Having direct links to your website with the “call-to action” buttons can ease the process for people wanting to communicate with you and your clinic.
Lastly, creating blogs, vlogs and/or virtual webinars can be another beneficial source of communication with patients that can be promoted through social media platforms as well as your website. Staying informed on trending topics that relate to the specialities that are provided at your clinic and marketing them through these platforms is a great way to gain new leads and increase traffic on your platforms.
4. Focus on SEO to drive organic traffic to your website
Sometimes traffic on your website might be low and coming up with new ideas to get people attracted to your website is time consuming and frustrating. That might be your sign to create a strategy utilizing an SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
Creating an SEO strategy is critical for increasing the number of visitors to your website, which will, in turn, increase your lead, and hopefully new patients. Increasing traffic organically, instead of using paid ads, may actually be more beneficial for your website. While only 3.4% of searches resulted in a click on a paid ad, 12.6% of Google clicks go to the top 100 search-traffic receiving domains. So, it is more effective for you to dedicate time to SEO than just resorting to paid ads.
While you can learn the basics of SEO and optimize your website independently, hiring an expert in SEO may be the next step in driving new leads to your website.
5. Implore traditional marketing techniques
The digital world has certainly taken over, but many people still rely on traditional methods such as newspapers and snail mail to receive information. Clinics may consider using traditional branded marketing collaterals to target patients who do not engage in social media. These can include business cards, newspaper advertisements, brochures, t-shirts and signs.
Having patients help you promote your practice is a great way to be resourceful and efficient in trying to gain new referrals. By giving current patients t-shirts with your clinics logo, you are showing them you care and appreciate them while also targeting new physical therapy referrals.These traditional marketing strategies can be an easy and efficient way to market your practice.
6. Build referral partnerships
A physical therapist's main target population for their overall marketing campaign may be prospective patients but another great alternative is to market to other wellness professionals. Many of the patients that come through your clinic may also be members of local gyms or see other local wellness professionals. Marketing to other wellness professionals is a great way to increase patient referrals. A referral partnership can take place between any provider who targets the same demographic of patients that your clinic does. Popular places to seek referral partnerships may be gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, massage therapy clinics, chiropractic and other physician offices. Referral partnerships benefit both parties involved. By marketing your business to them and creating a partnership, they add as a continuation of your marketing strategy. To learn more about creating referral partnerships, read our blog here!
7. Attend networking events for a cross referral network
Attending networking events is a great way to meet other wellness professionals who may work with the same patient population. If your clinic is looking to expand their services and their target patient population, attending these events may also be a great way to collaborate with other professionals. For example, you can connect with orthopedic surgeons in your area who could benefit from having a physical therapist to refer to.
Physical therapists should stay informed about attending these events by joining online (or local in-person) groups and forums.
Marketing your physical therapy practice can have so many benefits, including: growth in financial resources and improved financial stability, increase in patient satisfaction and patient retention, and new partnership and networking opportunities. There is no exact way to market your physical therapy practice, but with these helpful marketing strategies and resources we have no doubt that your marketing plan will be headed toward success.
Healthie offers a cloud-based EHR and telehealth platform that is quick to implement while supporting compliance with HIPAA regulations — while being customizable to meet your business needs. With Healthie’s plans, you can easily incorporate your branding and marketing strategies directly into the platform. Create custom emails, add your logos, and build brand awareness using Healthie. To learn how you can try out all of our most sought after features with none of the risk, click here.
Here’s what you gain when working with your physical therapy or occupational therapy clients via Healthie:
- Insurance Billing
- Favorite ICD-10 & CPT Codes
- Anatomical Charting
- Patient Engagement
- Payment Processing
- And much more
We have seen physical therapists and occupational therapists find success using Healthie within their practices. Whether you’re a solo practitioner or part of a multi-provider group or organization, our flexible membership plans adapt to meet your business needs. Let us help you launch your practice.
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