Marketing to consumers is an important part of business – but in physical therapy it’s essential. Gone are the days you could get away without marketing your practice. Now, deductibles can be $5,000 or higher and patients have the internet to help them decided whether or not their doctor’s word is the final say in their healthcare.
So, how do you successfully and cost effectively market your practice to get patients through your doors? Follow these five steps to success.
The first step in making sure your practice stands out is making sure your website stands out. While it might be tempting to include all the bells and whistles, a modern, mobile friendly website is the real goal. The most effective website will be one where your contact information is easy to find and it gets patients in your door and scheduling appointments.
Pro tip: Starting at $10 per month, companies such as Squarespace and Wix offer easy drag and drop editors to create modern (i.e. mobile friendly) websites.
Join the conversation
Even if you aren’t on social media, that doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about you. So why not get into the conversation? Social media lets you connect in new ways with current or future patients, and can help reduce your marketing budget by building traffic for your website and helping you gain more visibility in your community.
Not sure what to share? Blogging is another great way to boost your brand and ensure you have engaging content to share on social media. It’s an easy way to keep connected to your current patients, as well as potential new patients who are looking to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy. A blog also allows you and your staff to showcase your expertise and share knowledge around therapy topics that matter to you. It’s a great way to build your professional brand and highlight your specialty areas.
Pro tip: For the best results, make sure to host your blog on your own domain (ex: www.physicaltherapy.com/blog). This will make it easy for readers to find your blog and lets them quickly navigate to your other website pages after they’re done reading.
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Use search engines to your advantage
Listing (or claiming) your business on Google and Bing increases your visibility online and allows you to stand out when people search for you. Add up to date business information, including your business hours, phone number and website link so people can get in touch with you in just one click. Upload clear, accurate photos to show your practice in its best light. It’s also important to include different keywords in your description about your business, industry and the services or products you offer so that it’s all recognized by Google or Bing. Encourage satisfied patients to leave a review and consider offering an incentive for them to do so.
Manage your online reputation carefully by consistently monitoring the types of reviews you’re receiving on sites like Yelp, Google and Bing. If you do see a persistent issue with negative reviews, deal with it before it’s too late. Criticism and negative reviews can actually be an opportunity to fix potential issues and demonstrate that you are listening and genuinely care about customer concerns. It is easy to get defensive, but taking the time to empathize with a negative reviewer can be very powerful. It can even turn a negative into something positive!
Nurture your relationships
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has an average return on investment (ROI) of 4,300 percent for businesses in the US. This is a great way to grow relationships with potential patients and maintain relationships with current and past ones. Ensure you are collecting patient emails and leveraging this low cost marketing channel with a periodic newsletter and promotions.
Pro tip: Sites like MailChimp and Constant Contact offer low cost services with easy to use, modern email templates.
Pull it all together
Did you know you can use your EMR software to help generate a list of patient email addresses? Say you are looking to re-engage past patients with an ankle injury. Why not write a blog about the topic and then send it to them? Just run a report looking for patients with an ankle injury who have been discharged and pull their email addresses. Then simply enter them into your email marketing software and send out the blog!
Pretty slick, huh?