I’m sitting in business class in a plane heading to Chicago to meet a colleague,while in the plane, I noticed that the flight was only half full, and a number of passengers were bumped up to first class. It was instructive that the airline afforded the ‘privilege’ of a wider seat in business class (they were also blessed with some mixed nuts to chew on) to ‘elite’ level passengers (frequent flyers) during a 90 minute flight from Newark to Chicago.
It got me wondering – as private practice owners, the last thing we want is a ‘half empty’ patient schedule, and while we never want to treat some clients ‘better’ than others (like the airlines do), we need multiple physical therapy management systems in place to minimize ‘gaps’ in our patient schedule.
I know this is easier said than done, because there is no one authority to trust, no one to really depend on.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of all the ‘fluff’ about what and how to get new patients for our physical therapy business. Some say you need to send surveys to doctors while others say “offer patients a world class experience” (what does that mean? how about some specifics?).
The list goes on… everyone has an opinion, and the most dangerous individuals (whom you want to stay away from) are the ones who ‘know it all’ and tell you ‘It’s their way or the highway”
Here’s another one of my peeves – You’ve probably that you have to “be a fly on the wall in a doctor’s clinic”. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to attract patients and doctors to me with strategic, targeted physical therapy campaigns as opposed to hovering around them (like other physical therapists) and waiting for months, sometimes years hoping for their attention.
I don’t want vague ideas, give me results right away. Life is too short. As a practice management expert, I am in favor of swift, effective marketing techniques that are a function of quick results, not the amount of time spent building a ‘brand’ or a ‘reputation’.
Notice I said marketing techniques (plural). I also said quick results, because most physical therapists think it takes YEARS to become successful in a physical therapy business. I am here to tell you that’s a myth. You can have a full patient schedule and have tons of doctors referring to you but only if you make the right decisions and have several physical therapy management mechanisms in play at the same time.
That’s why I write this blog – to help physical therapy management and physical therapy business owners identify whats working.
If you are an owner of a physical therapy clinic, I’m going to set the record straight today. Physical therapy management and general practice management is all about multiple methods working simultaneously.
- Free Reports / Consumer Guides / Patient Giveaways (I call these resources ‘prospect stimulators’ in my Referral Ignition program)
- Free recorded messages / hotlines (Patients call a toll free number to listen to a prerecorded message about the benefits of a particular service. ID you want to hear a sample, call 800-421-8442 and press extension 3 for an example. You can use the same service I use – it’s called www.ifbyphonesystem.com). In fact, I arranged a special discount for my readers – you will pay $5 a month LESS than you would normally pay, since they offered a discount to my company Clinical Contact and all my readers.
- A regular patient newsletter (you may want to use something my physical therapy newsletter system called Therapy Newsletter)
- Video, print, fax distribution of your message (included in Therapy Newsletter – with complete customization)
- Referral program (guidelines, reminders and recommendations for patients to refer family and friends)
- Conditioning scripts (words, phrases, gestures that condition patients to refer)
- Client anniversary / birthday reminder greetings (included in Therapy Newsletter)
- Thank you gift / note / cards (use a service like www.sendoutpatientcards.com)
- Testimonials / eavesdrop line (a special phone number where clients can call in to record a testimonial or even listen to one if they want to)
- Client council / survey (engaging clients with surveys is a good way to ‘remind them’ you are thinking of them)
- Email marketing – email reminders and autoresponders (automatic sequences of emails to patients). For example, a new patient can get an email saying “Welcome to our clinic” on day one, “How was our service” on day seven and “Tell your friends about us” on day 14, all automated. (Therapy Newsletter allows this and is the only such service created exclusively for physical therapists)
- Mobile marketing – using text messages for appointment reminders. This boost patient arrival rates, increases referrals and boosts engagement with patients.
- Voice broadcasting – the automated calls you get during election time – remember those? You can do the same to reach out to your patients and remind them about the importance of referring to you, or just saying you are checking in to make sure they are satisfied with your service. Clinical Contact is a web-based, integrated email, mobile and voice broadcasting platform for the medical community.
- Social media marketing – reaching patients through facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Clinical Contact has built-in social media capabilities.
- Signage – storefront / car wrap / billboards – a great way to increase visibility. A car wrap in particular can go a long way in raising visibility for your clinic.
In a nutshell, for physical therapy management, a variety of marketing methods should be used to maximize the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Click on the ‘services’ tab above to access a variety of free products to help you grow your practice, and let me show you how to build a profitable, sustainable practice built on the foundation of high standards of care.
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