NITIN CHHODA: Today, I am interviewing one of the pioneers of online marketing, David Frey. David, what suggestions do you have for any physical therapists or health professionals who have their own blog? How would they start monetizing a blog?
DAVID FREY: The number one way to monetize a physical therapy blog is to actually get patients to come to your practice from your blog and bridge online and offline marketing. So the number one objective is to get patients. To do this, you need to drive traffic to your blog. You need to get people to opt into it so you can continually talk to them and give them great content. You need to interact and start conversations with individuals who visit your blog, and this is the art of physical therapy marketing.
Once the person starts a conversation with the therapist, the therapist can persuade that person to come and see them.
You cannot achieve this unless you start a conversation with patients. You are building relationships as you market your clinic. So I think that every therapist who has a blog or website needs to have a link at the top where the patient can click on “Ask The Therapist” and talk to you. To market a physical therapy clinic, interaction is the key.
This online conversation can translate into an actual visit (what we call offline) and the therapist needs to be very skills inviting people into his clinic. Physical therapy marketing is taking the unknown referral source and making it the known, and the reliable referral source.
NITIN CHHODA: Many therapists have a list of patients, addresses and emails, so the list is already there. But they generally don’t communicate with these patients once they are discharged and once the patients do home. So if I was a therapist and if I had a list of 1000 patients with there names and emails, how would I go about starting to communicate with them and try and get them to become referral sources? Especially when they have probably forgotten about me it has been a few weeks or few months since they were discharged from my clinic.
DAVID FREY: That’s the most underutlized area in physical therapy marketing. Here is the first thing I would do as therapist. I would create a series of Q&A emails, for instance and then I would load those emails into an auto responder so that when the person leaves the clinic, the therapist gets the patient’s email address and the therapist puts him automatically into an auto responder system. So that they start getting emails on a regular basis and I would do a question and answer type of emails. Very easy to write patients they are almost always asking questions about there health and other things. I know when I go and see a doctor, I ask the same old questions. So what a therapist might want to do is sit down and write out 25 most commonly acknowledged asked questions of somebody who might be coming out of there clinic that day. Or just 25 questions in general with someone would ask a therapist and then the email would look like a memo.
At the end of the Q&A session, you want to invite them to call you to suggest and refer you to one of their friends.
So you essentially promote yourself at the end of each email, an indirect way to market your physical therapy clinic.
NITIN CHHODA: Do you feel that a therapist should stay in touch twice a week, maybe even three times a week, with present and past patients? Is that too much communication?
DAVID FREY: I might communicate once every 3 days, or at the very least once a week. Definitely not less than once a week, every week that is the minimum. And if a therapist has no list at all, then I would suggest swapping advertisements with other health professionals who have the same audience. Maybe even realtors or insurance guys so that we now start sharing traffic together. Another thing I might do is I might look at all the newsletters of businesses that are local so I was looking at the chamber of commerce list and I would find everybody’s website and I would get on everybody’s newsletters.
Another thing we have done very very successfully is promote at 5 local restaurants. Just offer to sponsor a lunch every week for 2 people. Create a drop box that announces the name of your practice, and asks for people’s business card.
THIS WORKS BIGTIME FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY MARKETING!
Share the list with the restaurant owner. You tell the restaurant that you will create an email list for them and provide it to them. You just helped them create their own list of potential customers!
NITIN CHHODA: With this method, I was able to build a list of over 8000 local people in 4 months. About 30% of these people might be duplicates, so the actual list might have been around 6000. Once you have got a list like that, the sky is the limit.
Once you have a big local email address then local businesses gravitate to you and cross promotions are easy. People listen to you, since you are in the drivers seat and you can start doing venture deals with other businesses.
So just put ‘fish bowls’ in local restaurants and start doing email marketing for all these restaurants.
NITIN CHHODA: What advice would you give health professionals who want to sell their own products? How do we build relationships with our patients and market our physical therapy private practice at the same time?
DAVID FREY: Just be careful what products you want to associate yourself with, one of the most important things you can do on a blog is to build trust and a relationship. So on the blog you should have testimonials, of your patients. If you get video testimonials that is even better. People like to be entertained, show 3rd party endorsements like published articles and things like that.