If you think that your physical therapy degree will allow you to set up a successful private practice and have patients flocking at your door, you may be mistaken. Most physical therapy degree programs do not equip students with the skills required to make their physical therapy practice a success. While it is important to be a good physical therapist, it is equally important to market your physical therapy practice.
I was invited by a colleague to speak to a group of physical therapy students pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. The general impression I got was that students needed something EXTRA in the curriculum, specifically a course on marketing.
As a physical therapist in private practice, you need to market your practice at every possible opportunity. You have to sell your services to everyone. They may have the potential to become a patient, or may have the ability to refer you a patient for your physical therapy business.
A physical therapy degree does not always prepare you to run a private practice, which can be a multi-faceted activity. The most successful physical therapy practices utilize many different types of marketing and promotion.
Successful physical therapists know that marketing is done not only to increase the number of patients but this also help in the growth of the private practice. Marketing is an ongoing process that never slows or comes to a halt.
Some physical therapists spend considerable amounts of money each month to market their practices using all sorts of expensive marketing tools, while others spend virtually nothing.
Some physical therapists are not successful in marketing their practices despite spending lavishly on advertising and promotions. They simply market the practice the way they have seen their friends market their own practices. As a physical therapist you need to differentiate yourself from others in the field.
Colorful brochures and expensive prescription pads are usual ways of marketing. There are likely many other physical therapists adopting these strategies to market their services. Setting up lunches with doctors is a marketing strategy that is used by most physical therapists to market their practice.
These standard marketing methods are not very effective because they are only utilized if customers require those services. Similarly, doctors are accustomed to pharmaceutical companies offering far greater incentives than you as a physical therapist could ever afford to provide.
Additionally, there are so many other physical therapists doing the same thing.
A physical therapy degree needs to prepare the aspiring physical therapist with the laws which govern effective promotion and marketing. In addition, a physical therapy marketing plan should taught to all new physical therapy graduates.