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7 essential rules for developing your brand awareness

Let’s face it, physical therapy is big business in 2018.  Sure, it remains a blend of art, science, and the wonderful humans who’ve blessed themselves with an amazing career choice – but it’s still big business.

In fact, outpatient rehabilitation as a whole is $30 billion dollars big. And physical therapy is responsible for 90% of it…and growing.

With that kind of size comes competition for the value we provide – and this competition comes in all flavors.  Massage therapy, medical doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, personal trainers…should I continue?

The point is, as a maturing profession, we will have to continually work harder and harder to maintain our position as a relevant and trusted point of entry into the healthcare system.  Because others want to take our place.

And if you haven’t figured it out already, traditional methods of building “consumer mindshare,” or “top-of-mind” awareness among our desired audience don’t work very well anymore.  If you don’t believe me, try out that billboard, or yellow pages advertisement, or television commercial…and let me know how well that resonates in your market.

Blog Post: A beginner’s guide to marketing your practice like a pro

As our profession has matured, our society has also worked its way behind the screen of a computer and smartphone.  And believe it or not, this has given rise to a tremendous opportunity for our collection of wickedly smart, insanely creative, and generally awesome physical therapists.  It’s called content marketing, and in our digitally inclined era of information sharing, it’s the bridge of trust and relevance we can create between our profession and the communities who need us.

Content marketing (as defined by yours truly) is simply the use of content to generate interest in your product or service.  And content can be anything which is readily consumed by your audience for the mere reason that it’s interesting – video, articles, tweets, white papers, pictures, memes, etc…use your imagination, there’s a ton more.

The best part of all – it’s fun, it’s effective, and it’s [kinda] easy…as long as you have a passion for it.

Below, I’ve outlined what I consider to be the 7 essential content rules which will cast a magnet into your community, drawing your [future] customers near.

Rule #1: Always be telling a story.  Above all else, effective content tells its readers a story.  There are characters, a setting, a plot, a conflict, and a resolution.  Not unlike the ingredients which make their way into every bestseller ever written, you – as a physical therapist – can tell a story in which you help your customers overcome obstacles in their lives (learn how you can engage patients with storytelling in this blog).  From the youth athlete you’ve helped successfully return to sport, to the widower who you’ve helped live independently by helping prevent life-threatening falls, you are a critical aspect of many stories which should be told in your community.

Rule #2: Strike an emotional chord.  So, you’ve got your story.  Now super-size it by striking an emotional chord which resonates with your audience.  Instead of sharing about all the great features of your women’s health program, leverage the way in which you help prevent the embarrassment of “leaking” while on a long plane trip.  Have a patient who’s overcome an obstacle shared by others?  That’s going to be great content because it strikes a chord with your audience – don’t be afraid to use it.

Take your practice to the top. Learn 10 habits of high performing PT practices in this free tip sheet.

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Rule #3: Conversations are content.  In today’s digital era, content doesn’t just flow down a one-way stream.  Conversations are content, and they make for an important component of your content marketing strategy.  Conversations can come by way of back-and-forth communications with your audience on social media, or by going live on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.  Leverage these authentic and real-time experiences into valuable content which showcase your values, personality and skillsets.

Rule #4: End in a funnel.  Providing value beyond the walls of your clinic is great for building the physical therapy brand for all of us with a vested interest, but it has to make sense for you as well.  In order to make [financial] sense, you need to leverage your free content into the ability to form relationships with the community you wish to serve.  So, when you wrap up that amazing blog post on how to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle by using a standing workstation at the office, include a link to more information in your whitepaper which you can send to your new contact via email.

Blog Post: Learn four ways to hit your marketing out of the park from a leading PT.

Rule #5: Don’t be afraid to show your personality.  I like to think of personality as your externally facing DNA.  It is THE only true aspect of you that is uniquely different from anyone else on this planet competing for your customers.  So use it!  You’ve used it to successfully enter PT school.  You’ve used it to land your first job.  And you’ve used it to hang your shingle for the first time.  Get comfortable with your content marketing approach and before you know it you’ll be employing a marketing approach which is TRULY unique in your community.

Rule #6: Hitch a ride.  OK, I’ll admit that I’m lazy.  And hopefully you are too.  Because if you’re lazy, you’ve got the motivation to hitch a free ride anytime you can – and there’s no more effective way to get a LOT of miles out of your content than when you attach it to a story that is already moving.  Remember when Tiger Woods “dislocated his sacrum?”  That’s called a moving vehicle – because it was EVERYWHERE in the media…and EVERY PT IN AMERICA should have been setting that record straight (hint: Tiger doesn’t know as much about his sacrum as he does his 9-iron).

Rule #7: Make someone’s life better.  At the end of the day, this is why we’re all here.  By telling your emotional, personality-rich, ride-hitching stories, you’re improving lives beyond the walls of your clinic.  By doing so, you’re helping aspects of your community you may never touch, feel or see.  And that’s GREAT!  Focus on making your community better for hearing from you and you’ll find an enrichment in your life that matches the enrichment you’ll bring to the brand you’re using to create value in your market.

I hope you enjoyed these 7 essential rules for developing brand awareness in your market.  If you’d like 3 more BONUS rules, shoot me an email and I’ll share ‘em with you, along with my complete presentation which outlined examples of each.  I can be reached at tannus@vantageclinicalsolutions.com.

Learn more about me and my business ventures at BuildPT, Vantage Clinical Solutions and PT Pub Night®.

Author

Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

Tannus

Tannus Quatre PT, MBA, is a marketing specialist with BuildPT, a digital and content marketing agency for physical therapists in private practice. Tannus attended physical therapy school at UCSF and has practiced as a physical therapist in outpatient, inpatient and home health settings. Tannus maintains certifications in athletic training and strength and conditioning, and in 2006, he earned an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. In 2007, he founded Vantage Clinical Solutions, a business-services firm serving the marketing and revenue cycle needs of physical therapy clinics, and in 2013, he launched PT Pub Night®, an international community of physical therapists who have connected through over 1,700 events across 12 countries and nearly all US states. Tannus speaks nationally on the topics of entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance, and has been published in numerous publications including PT in Motion, Impact Magazine, and Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation. He lives in Bend, Oregon with his wife and three children.

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