Are you trying to get your marketing plan off the ground but you keep hitting pop flies? While this might sound like cliché baseball terminology (and it is), if you don’t have an aligned, practiced and well thought out marketing plan, you won’t be hitting very many home runs.
From knowing what your patients want to understanding the importance of tracking your results, there are a handful of tactics you can employ to move your practice in the right direction. Follow my top four strategies below for practice success.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
Physical therapists have one of the best occupations in healthcare because we are still able to connect with our clients – arguably more than any other provider – so use that to your advantage! When you are about to discharge a client after a course of physical therapy, tell them how helpful it would be if they shared their positive experience with your business and ask them to provide a review online or tell their doctor about your services. Give them a couple business cards and tell them that if they have any friends who are in need of PT, you would be happy to treat them as well. There is no better patient to have than one who has been referred by another happy, healthy patient. By simply asking this group to spread the word about your clinic will put you ahead of the rest and inch you closer to a home run.
Put a personal touch on your brand
You should market not only your company but your individual physical therapists as well. Building the personal brand of your staff should always be a strategy of yours – and this is true in many industries outside of healthcare. A simple example of this is that while we do have business cards for our clinic, each clinician has their own business card with their name and face on it as well. Mixing these two together helps us always feel local and personalized, but also promote our company in different locations.
Additionally, through the use of social media, we have found that Facebook has been a great way for us to produce and share interesting content about both physical therapy as a whole and about our company (this helps you with brand awareness and thought leadership). Whereas Facebook is a good channel to promote your clinics brand, Instagram is a way that you can highlight the personal things that your PTs are doing and are willing to share, like their own personal fitness journeys or glimpses into their background (this is your personal touch). Nowadays, potential clients don’t just want to connect with a company, they also want to connect with the therapist who will treat him or her.
Track your information and always create a standardized process for collecting it
This is, by far, the biggest mistake I see made. Physical therapy clinics have such good intentions with marketing but they often have no way to keep the process moving over any length of time or to repeat the results. While I stated earlier that we are in a good position for this, if your business relies on having discharged clients review your services online, it’s best to have a standardized process for this. Have your office manager collect the discharged names every week and then contact those individuals separately about a review. Simply requesting that your PTs ask each client for a review at the time of discharge isn’t enough. Physical therapists will forget to do it, and even if they do ask, the client can forget too. Having a dedicated individual and process in your office to make sure each discharged client gets contacted will provide a greater return on your marketing investment.
Remember to take baby steps
I’ve seen some large scale community marketing attempts by some small/medium sized clinics that were not worth the money or time invested in the event. Make sure you master your marketing and customer service skills inside of your practice before you try any large event to capture people who may or may not be interested in PT. Remember that patient word of mouth is often one of the most effective marketing tactics in your back pocket. Make sure you have perfected customer loyalty among your current patients before you start to look elsewhere.
Marketing is hard enough. It’s even harder when you aren’t following strategies like these. Reevaluate your clinic’s marketing plan to make sure you avoid these common mishaps – and hit that home run.