In a time of digital communications and social media networks, the best physical therapy marketing method is still word-of-mouth advertising. Provide patients with the appropriate information, tools and motivation and practitioners can easily turn those individuals into a personal marketing force.
Patients who are happy and satisfied with “their” physical therapist are happy to pass that information along to their social network of friends and family both online and off. They have an intimate understanding of the benefits to be derived and can empathize with others experiencing the same or similar problems.
Clinicians should already have a physical therapy business plan in place that includes utilizing patients to tell the story of the clinic, the services offered and their benefits. Individuals turn to family, friends and co-workers for recommendations on everything from the best dining places to effective dog trainers. There’s no reason why they can’t be sharing the same information about their physical therapist.
The takeaway from a physical therapy practice will be different for each patient. It may be pain relief, better mobility or easing of a chronic condition and that will be communicated in their interactions with others.
According to Jilly Badanes, director of marketing at Viraltag, clinicians who want to more finely focus their overall message about the practice can help do so by working that information into conversations with the patient. Practitioners must first define their message and what they ultimately want patients to share about the clinic.
It helps to let patients know how valuable they are to the practice and how they’re connected to the clinic. The mind works in mysterious ways and patients will make the link between themselves and others with similar conditions or problems that could benefit from the therapist’s ministrations. Ensure the message that’s conveyed is consistent online and in the office.
People have a desire to share “good” news with others about products and services that have helped them. Clinicians can further their marketing efforts by helping patients understand the problems that therapists solve. Integrating that message into patient interactions will allow it to surface when they think or talk about the clinic, their personal experiences, and the treatment they received.
Make it easy for patients to become cheerleaders by providing them with the tools to do so. The solution is content through newsletters, videos and images that explains what the clinic does, the problems it solves and the benefits. Keep content simple and easy to read. A patient newsletter shouldn’t be any more technical than absolutely necessary. Clinicians who can successfully integrate humor into their content have an advantage.
Clinic content can contain links or even feature a patient. Provide individuals with ideas on who to share information with about the physical therapy business. For optimal effectiveness, content should be easy for patients to share and customizable across multiple platforms – videos for YouTube and Facebook or visuals for Instagram.
A scheduler like the one contained in the In Touch EMR™ medical software makes the entire process much easier and enables clinic owners to quickly change or adjust content as needed. It allows clinicians to monitor and track progress of multiple campaigns, identify where referrals are originating, and provides sophisticated analytics.
Incentives for referrals provide extra value to patients and can significantly increase the number of patient-generated referrals. Credit on patients’ accounts, discounts, and swag bags are all ways that clinicians can motivate patients to become part of a practice’s sales force. Thank them for their efforts and acknowledge their contribution to the clinic’s success.
Physical therapy marketing is a complex process that can be enhanced with the assistance of patients. Once practitioners provide patients with the information, tools and a reward system to promote the clinic, clinicians need to step back and let the process work and evolve.
It’s imperative that patients share and reach potential new patients in their own way without any interference from the practitioner. Patients approach the referral process from an entirely different perspective than clinicians, but the result is the same – greater patient retention and an unbeatable referral source for marketing physical therapy.