As clinicians and private practice owners, you are not necessarily trained in business operations. But when you make the jump to practice owner, you likely do so because you’re a great clinician and you know how to treat patients well and how different could it be, right? You went to school to become a physical therapist, not necessarily to own your own business. Well, owning your own business and being successful in this endeavor means understanding how to manage and operate to be successful.
One key operational aspect is marketing. Some of the most common questions we get about marketing are, where do we start? What do we do? If you already have marketing efforts in place, we often get asked about measuring their effectiveness. Here are the key marketing mistakes we see, and how to stop doing them.
NOT TRACKING METRICS OR STATISTICS
How do you know if your marketing is being effective? You need to track metrics & statistics like new patients, number of doctor contacts, patients surveyed and what your web/social media traffic and engagement is. How many new patient calls did your front desk take? How many drop offs did your marketing coordinator do? These all impact the gross divisional statistics and should be uptrending on a week to week basis.
NOT BEING CONSISTENT
The worst thing you can do in regards to online marketing or external marketing is not being consistent. We hear over and over again that clients who were doing marketing but then stopped, see a downturn in their clinics. Therapists who were going out and meeting with doctors and then just stopped, so the doctors stopped referring and thus the new patient visits suffered. Any inconsistency is going to impact every statistic in your business.
IGNORING YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING
Do you think that your online presence doesn’t matter? Well, it does. If you think that social media is for the youngen’s, then think again. According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of US adults are on Facebook and 41% of adults aged 65+ use Facebook. If you think you can’t market to seniors online, think again. Similarly, digital marketing matters for search purposes. If your information isn’t updated, people won’t find you. Even if a large percentage of your clients are returning clients or referrals (word of mouth), you can bet that they are likely still looking you up online. Bright Local notes that 86% of consumers read online reviews, 69% of those aged 55 and older may not ALWAYS read reviews, but they do read them occasionally. Having reviews is the new online trust builder, so make sure your information is up to date and that you’re capturing the words of the customers who are your biggest fans online.
NOT TRACKING REFERRAL SOURCES
When doctors send patients to you, you need to follow up with them, share your patients’ successes and thank them for their business. But you also need to know where your referrals are coming from so you can make sure that they’re diverse. Imagine if you had one great orthopaedic doctor referring to you and that’s where 80% of your business came from. What would happen if he retired? If he moved away? Similarly, if you’re investing money into advertising – digital, print, or television – you want to know if those efforts are referring patients so you can measure the ROI (return on investment) of these activities. If TV ads aren’t driving new patients, why invest the money when your efforts might be better spent online. Tracking your referral sources helps you determine this ROI and the effectiveness of your marketing activities.
YOU DON’T SET TARGETS
What are your targets that you’re setting? Do you have a set number of doctor drop offs your marketing coordinator is supposed to hit? If not, how will your referral sources increase? Do you have a target of new patients? This would be established in your annual marketing plan/ business strategic plan but ultimately you won’t know the effectiveness of your marketing plan without setting realistic targets for your marketing team.
If you want to turn around your marketing efforts for the year, do these four things:
- Set targets
- Track your stats/metrics
- Don’t ignore your online marketing
- Track your referral sources.
Then, make sure you’re reviewing on a week to week basis to ensure your staff is being effective and that your marketing efforts are paying off.
To learn more about setting and measuring targets with practice statistics, watch our on-demand webinar “How to Implement Statistics into Your PT Private Practice.”
Brian Gallagher, PT is the founder and CEO of MEG Business Management, LLC. He has more than 27 years of experience in the field of rehabilitation and 19 years in business and specializes in Physical Therapy practice management and executive coaching nationwide. As a licensed business management consultant, Brian has helped hundreds of business owners nationwide improve their business operations through proper restructuring to achieve improved systems of efficiency and productivity as well as marketing and sales with effective public relations which have proven results for double-digit growth year-over-year with businesses around the country.