The Complete Guide to Growing your Practice with Patient Case Studies
The best way to gain credibility and trust with patients is to share engaging, human stories about other successful patients.
Let’s jump right in.
When done correctly, case studies serve as a powerful marketing tool, establishing your authority as an expert and answering questions about therapy, through the patient’s voice.
They create the right psychological framework for patients (this therapist is going to help me because she helped others) and forge an emotional bond between your practice and your patients. The readers can relate to someone else’s situation, as if it were their own.
This helps the clinic achieve the desired outcome – the patient returns for more services and invests in cash paying services and related products.
They recommend you to family and friends through verbal and social media communication. They are more willing to pay a premium for services and products, and the clinic enjoys a positive reputation.
Everybody wins, because trust and loyalty is established. This trust is more important than all the marketing in the world, but it takes work to earn it.
Trust and Loyalty – On the Decline…
Trust in companies and businesses is on the decline, and that’s why it’s so important to use case studies to gain, and to build that trust.
Trust equals loyalty, but trust is getting more difficult to earn (and maintain).
That’s where case studies can help demonstrate expertise, commitment and success. Marketing expert, Steve Rayson, noted that case studies establish credibility and provide evidence. They provide a learning experience for the reader and unique content that competitors can’t easily copy.
The Proof Is In the Details
Highly specific case studies provide more details, are more specific, and a tactic that’s surpassed only by an in-person interaction as a method of social proof.
In other ways, the best way to motivate and influence a patient is in person.
The next best way is through case studies.
A case study encompasses 400-500 words, while testimonials range from 50-100 words. Readers want details about symptoms and results to compare with their own situation and case studies are tailor made to accomplish that.
In an interview with author Bob Bly, copywriter Heather Sloan explains that everyone loves a story and the greatest value of a case study is that it evokes emotion within the reader. Memorable stories remain with individuals longer than a clinical dissertation or pitch about the clinic’s value.
When the clinician’s audience sees the words case study, they perceive it as more real and assign a higher value to the information. It includes quotes from actual people.
Testimonials are an important part of physical therapy marketing, but the way in which they’re written often appears like an advertisement to potential patients, turning them off.
Uncertainty Can Kill a Case Study
One of the biggest patient deterrents is uncertainty and it’s critical that practitioners understand this and find ways to dispel it. People don’t really care about the process. They just want to know the results.
Potential patients are uncertain about things such as:
- Can physical therapy really help?
- What are the benefits?
- Is it painful?
- Is it covered by insurance?
- When will results be evident?
New patient decisions are based on emotion and the level of risk versus benefits, combined with countless other qualifiers ranging from practical to financial concerns. During each encounter, either on line or in a clinical setting, patients are unconsciously collecting reasons to continue with the practitioner or go elsewhere.
The more evidence clinicians can provide when marketing physical therapy, the more fear and uncertainty is removed from the potential patient.
Individuals generally avoid taking risks, especially when they have no experience from which to draw a conclusion.
Headlines and a Personal Touch
Potential patients are more likely to become actual patients after reading cases studies, but the key is to get them to actually read a blog post, newsletter or download information.
Headlines that create curiosity and interest draw readers in, but physical therapy marketing requires that the headline also be descriptive and the content results-oriented.
A few statistics and percentages may be helpful, but readers want the human touch in a case study. They want to know how the patient felt, how their life was limited and the circumstances that led to the need for physical therapy. Readers want to be able to relate to the patient. They want specifics and practitioners can provide that without disclosing any confidential information.
A case study should focus on the patient and be a real account of what happened, not a veiled advertisement.
The audience wants to feel as if they could have been the patient that was treated. Explain why the specific treatment was chosen and maximize impact with images. An image breaks up a long piece of copy, adds interest, and can convey complex concepts to further understanding.
Many marketers advocate a photo of the patient, but it can have a myriad of legal ramifications involving patient confidentiality and privacy.
Clinicians who choose to ask a patient for the use of their image must ensure the individual understands how it will be used and obtain their permission in writing. It is also important to consult an attorney, and the state practice act before you use a patients picture or full name. To be on the safe side, de-identify the patient as much as possible, using first name, initial of last name, and avoiding the use of pictures.
Just because a case study can be told doesn’t mean it should. The most effective case studies provide readers with a positive or beneficial end result. Case studies can be used as a powerful tool not only because they demonstrate how patients can be helped but they should also reinforce the brand.
Content strategist Amanda Farmer has worked extensively with case studies for Fortune 500 businesses. She says an effective case study should provide a quick summary, the challenge faced, the solution and results, and a clear conclusion that tells readers the customer’s plans for the future or what they can do now that they couldn’t do before.
Call to Action
The reader that has followed throughout the entire case study will be interested enough or envious of the patient’s result and want it for their own.
It’s the perfect opportunity to insert a call to action by making an appointment, opt-in for a newsletter, or download information.
Not Your Grandmother’s Market
The Internet has changed the way consumers and patients locate the products and services they need. Patients used to rely almost exclusively on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family when they sought medical expertise. The Internet has expanded that circle of referral sources through a variety of social media platforms, websites and blogs.
According to Pardot senior content strategist, Jenna Hanington, today’s individuals are increasingly engaged in research through reviews, testimonials, videos and case studies.
Modern patients want to see the human aspect behind brands. Clinicians that aren’t afraid to share that information are doing themselves a huge favor toward creating trust that translates into conversions.
A valuable tool for managing and implementing a physical therapy business plan is the In Touch EMR™ integrated software. It tracks and monitors multiple advertising efforts and campaigns, provides analytics and metrics, and offers an easy way to distribute newsletters. The software is capable of communicating with established patients and opt-ins in a variety of ways that fits patients’ busy, mobile lifestyles.
A physical therapy practice should use case studies to answer questions, and make it a no-brainer for the patient to say ‘yes’ to physical therapy. Building trust through case studies results in increased trust and credibility that can be transitioned into more patient visits.
For more information about In Touch EMR™ or to schedule a free demo, call (800)-421-8442.
Learn How to Create and Use Case Studies at Ignition Orlando
You now have the opportunity to join the ranks of the most successful and highest earning physical therapists on the planet when you attend the 2017 Referral Ignition Event on April 21, 22, 23 in Orlando, FL.
You’ll have access to every tool, resource, and system available to help you reach your goals.
We look forward to seeing you there.
If you want to learn more about how to create case studies and take advantage of other trends, I go into a lot more detail during the event.
This is ideal for owners, clinicians, front desk staff, managers, and billing staff.
Click below to learn more about the educational sessions, schedule and hotel information and secure your fast action price tickets.
This is a must-attend event to take your practice to the next level, and to learn the things they don’t (but should) teach us in PT school. The conference is ideal owners, clinicians, front desk staff, managers, and billers in physical therapy private practice.