All businesses live or die by their marketing strategy, but what makes for an effective marketing strategy for physical therapists?
Let’s examine some of the best practices we’ve accrued over the years as practice management specialists. And of course, it starts with your audience. First, you need to understand who your customers are. Second, you need to know their expectations.
To accomplish this, you, as the owner, must use a marketing mindset to find your “why.” At the end of the day, what kind of practice do you need to be to ensure your community elects you as their neighborhood PT and not someone else? By making this your organizing principle, it will help dictate all of the marketing moves you make.
While you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression – you actually don’t even get much time to make that impression in the first place. Consider this, a sale is made or lost in the first 3-4 seconds of a television commercial, 75% of the buying decision is made at the headline of a print ad, and a sale is usually made or lost within the first three minutes of a sales presentation. Focused marketing matters.
With those facts in mind, your whole practice needs to be on board with who you market to, their perceived need and how your practice fills that need based on the public’s expectations. Similarly, your whole organization should understand their role in marketing from lead generation to lead conversion to client fulfillment.
The Must Haves for an Effective Marketing Strategy
Below is a list of basics that your internal and external marketing strategy should have – from a budget, a plan, and a team – these are the basics that are going to drive new patients to your practice and build those relationships. If you are a high quality practice, then you know that more than 65% of all your NP’s are return business.
Here are some examples on how you can strengthen it:
- A website that is built upon lead generation and user experience best practices
- An Annual Marketing Plan based off the goals of the Business Strategic Plan
- A marketing budget that is 3-5% of the total gross income each month
- PR Personality in yourself or hired staff
- A marketing tracking sheet with ongoing training at the front desk.
- A video to tell your story and connect with your public
- A social media system including a website, email, Facebook, Google and Instagram that are all integrated and run with consistency.
Open the Digital Doorway for Patients
Are your website and digital marketing assets operating like a glorified business card or as your hardest working salesperson?
Despite the fact that your website, for instance, is the first place your patients are likely to begin your brand experience, too many physical therapy owners consider it an expense rather than investment to put their best marketing foot forward.
We recommend making sure your website solves for these key functions:
- Your website should reflect your brand – in terms of messaging, design and simplicity – it should be as easy to work with you as it is to use your website.
- The User Experience (UX) should be based on the current visitor behavior best practices and evaluated often to ensure it’s getting the job done.
- Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is in place using on-page and technical SEO best practices, as well as following a keyword strategy for your content to help it rank well with search engines.
- It should motivate action. Too often, websites lack a natural conversion path – in other words, how are you getting visitors to take action on your website? (ie. filling out forms, clicking for more information, starting a chat, booking an appointment, etc.)
- Should serve a content marketing strategy that produces helpful, optimized content for your potential patients. This is based on the keyword strategy mentioned earlier, but can also take direction based on an audit of the competition’s content as well.
One digital marketing tactic can help serve multiple purposes for PTs: Blogging.
Blogging should be an important part of your online marketing strategy because it can help position your brand as an industry leader, build better relationships with your patients, improve SEO and drive more traffic to your website.
We recommend you follow these general rules with your physical therapy blog:
- Consistent blogging around your specialties, services and products
- Make sure your blog is at least 500 – 600 words to better rank in Google
- Use images where appropriate to create more engaging content
- Use a call to action at the end of every blog to funnel the reader into related content that further feeds their interest in that subject
- Eventually move into creating guides, infographics or eBooks that provide even more information and can be “gated” on your website so that visitors must complete a form to receive them.
- Leverage this content on the website, via social media and as assets for your marketing team as you look to engage current or potential patients.
Finally, any local private practice should be diligently managing their online presence and reputation. Beyond just ensuring you’re on the appropriate directory listings like Google My Business or Yelp, it also means monitoring your reviews and responding accordingly. The modern patient will be certain to check these reviews and your social media before stepping foot into your practice.
Need help amplifying your marketing and brand presence, MEG can help. Contact us to learn more about how our digital marketing specialists can partner with your practice. In the meantime, download our 2021 Resource Guide for PTs to learn more helpful tips!