Does Viral Marketing Work?

What are you doing to promote word of mouth publicity for your practice?

By definition, ‘viral’ marketing allows awareness about your clinic to spread rapidly and is the simplest, fastest way for you to get more patients.  The world of private practice is becoming increasingly competitive each day, which is why new physical therapy business strategies like viral marketing are important. In fact, I am working on a special report to reveal my biggest marketing predictions for the physical therapy and private practice industry in 2010.

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How many times have you had patients refer their friends and family to your practice? Now imagine if you could leverage all such referrals and drive them towards your practice…

The potential is significant, but always underutilized.

If your patients found out you were offering a one-time seminar on “The 5 minute self-help low back massage” in your clinic next weekend, would they spread the word and become walking billboards for your practice?

For an idea to be viral in the real sense, it should help the patient’s condition and the service provider’s profitability.

A viral message empowers the patient to tell your story for you and become your own marketing representative. In addition, viral marketing is social proof, which carries the stamp of credibility. A patient is very likely to pay attention to the success story of another patient who has worked with you in the past.

A viral message should

– be perceived as beneficial by the patient or referral source
– be ‘buzz worthy’ and stand out so it is discussed
– should appeal to a large audience

When you find the right ‘viral’ message for your audience, it will

– raise awareness about your practice
– bring in scores of new patients
– heighten curiosity from referral sources
– enable you to get ‘free publicity’ from patients and referral sources

Let’s assume you conduct a seminar on low back massage (as mentioned above). Several attendees manage to show up for the seminar. This makes the seminar ‘somewhat’ viral.

But then, something unexpected happens. You deliver a dry, tedious presentation. Unfortunately, the attendees don’t enjoy the seminar. They walk away confused and dazed; they don’t recommend the clinic to a single soul. They never become your patients.

The viral intent is crushed.

On the other hand, you conduct a great seminar filled with energy and passion. The patients understand, enjoy and apply the techniques they have learnt. You now have a winner. You provide a ton of patient-friendly information, ‘pre-written’ notes, practical tips, ‘refer-a-friend’ cards and ready to use appointment cards that patients can fill out on the spot. The therapist can offer incentives to prospects by offering free ebooks (which require a patient’s email address). This allows the therapist to accumulate a list of emails, that can be used to provide timely, relevant information to patients.

Your seminar is transformed into a viral, patient-stimulating phenomenon ready to increase your referrals.

What are you doing to make your practice ‘viral’?

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