Each quarter, Breakthrough hosts a live event featuring training sessions focused on private practice growth.
Our most recent event was the “Increasing The Value Of Your Practice Virtual Summit” where we brought together the best from within the Physical Therapy Industry to address how you can find opportunities in the current market.
Here’s a breakdown of the day and key takeaways from each session.
Practice Value in Today’s Marketplace with Chris Reading
Chris, the president of USPH, shares how practice valuation has changed because of the pandemic.
Hiring strategically can help you diversify the services offered at your clinic in an intelligent way that doesn’t distract from your core offer. It’s better to hire someone who is already passionate about a new service instead of trying to start from scratch yourself.
There’s a lot that smaller PT practices can learn from corporate practices. Don’t dismiss good ideas because they come from a corporate setting. Instead, find ways to adapt and adopt them into your smaller company.
3 Things Driving the Value of Your Practice Today with Paul Welk
Paul Welk is a PT and transactional attorney at Tucker Arensberg, P.C. In his session he covers the the top 3 things driving practice value in the current economy.
While your 2020 financial numbers may not accurately reflect the true value of your practice, resiliency – the ability to bounce back to pre-COVID numbers – is something that potential buyers will look for.
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Use hard economic times as a forcing function to fix issues in your practice.
One of the largest assets in your practice is your staff and company culture.
Having systems and process in place at your practice makes your business more attractive to potential buyers.
Grow Your EBITDA with Robert Kowalick
Bob Kowalick built a very successful private practice before transitioning into revenue cycle management at CRS. And in his session he shares some actionable insights on maximizing EBITDA.
Many private practices are leaving money on the table and not achieving the highest amount of revenue per visit.
Data points to pay attention to: revenue per visit, Average Days Outstanding (ADO) score – how long is it taking you to get paid, and billing process efficiency.
In general, a good margin for PTs to aim for is 20%.
Opening De Novo Clinics (New Clinics) with Dave Del Vecchio
In some cases, sellers can use a projection of EBITDA for a de novo clinic to increasing the value of their practice.
On average, Dave expects de novo clinics to become profitable in 3 months.
“How Can I Scale My Business In The Next 4 Years With Direct To Consumer Marketing?” with Kathy Borkoski & Carl Mattiola
Kathy Borkoski, the Head of Product at Breakthrough, and Carl Mattiola, Breakthrough’s CEO, share the steps involved in creating an end-to-end direct marketing strategy at your practice.
Many practices have a solid foundation with physician referrals, past patients, general marketing (website, email, SEO), but have not figured out how to attract people with musculoskeletal issues who don’t know that PT can help them.
Free screens and workshops (both virtual and in-person) are the best converting offers to use with cold audiences.
Improving the ROI from paid advertising must involve taking steps to properly nurture and convert the leads generated from ads. This process involves following up with the people who engage with your ads, presenting a strong close at the end of workshops, and using standardized conversion techniques during free screens.
There is a right way to grow a practice, especially during a time of crisis like we’re experiencing now. Watch the full session replays from the Virtual Summit for free when you sign up at the link below.
Physical therapy marketing is more important than ever before.
Between 2003 and 2014, there was a 54.5% decrease in physician referrals to Physical Therapy as reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Any owner who wants to grow their practice needs to look into other marketing channels.
One of the easiest channels to set up are social media profiles and pages for your business. To help you get started, here are several tips for getting your page up and running, increasing your number of followers, and actually generating new patients from social media.
Just note: these tips can apply to different social networks but were all created with Facebook in mind.
People may gripe about different aspects of Facebook, but it is still the undisputed leader when it comes to social media. Facebook has 2.45 billion monthly active users and 1.62 billion daily visitors. On top of that, older demographics are the fastest-growing group on Facebook.
So, don’t think you’ll end up marketing physical therapy to teenagers. The number of Facebook users aged 65+ has doubled in recent years.
Bottom line: Your target audience is on Facebook. Everyone is on Facebook. And your brand should be there, too. This will help keep your practice top-of-mind and help you connect with future patients.
1. Keep it Real and Be Human
First and foremost, you want your business page to reflect your personality and the personality of your team. Yes, you always want to keep your social posts professional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be also be fun and personable. Don’t feel pressured to be or act a certain way. Just be yourself and give people a look of what it’s like to be a patient at your clinic.
And always remember that you are talking to people who aren’t experts on physical therapy terms and musculoskeletal conditions. So, nix the complicated terms and use simple language when you post.
Another note: Don’t buy fake fans. Yes, there are some less-than-scrupulous companies out there that promise business owners thousands of cheap likes. But services like this aren’t worth the money.
There’s really no benefit to buying fake fans. It won’t make your page look more established or encourage other people to follow you. Better to save your money and focus on creating valuable content.
2. Complete Your About Section
The about section on your page is valuable real estate. Take the time to complete this section and supply all the necessary information. You don’t need to get to 100% completion, but contact information is a must. You should also share a bit about your practice and what makes you different.
You’ll also want to follow Facebook’s guidelines for selecting a cover photo. This is your chance to make a good first impression, so use a high-quality image.
It’s also a good idea to update your cover photo a few times a year. This shows that your page is active, and it can help you show up in your followers’ timeline.
3. Share Your Profiles Online and Offline
Include links to your Facebook and other social media pages on your website (and vice versa).
Create fliers with your social media handles and keep these at your front desk, or even have one hanging on the wall inside your practice. If you publish a newsletter, you should include links to your social media there as well.
4. Post Content Regularly
Social media shouldn’t take over your life, but you also don’t want your Facebook page to become a ghost town.
To start out, pick a posting schedule that works for you and strive to be consistent. Posting at least once a week is a good baseline. After a few weeks, you can go back and see which posts generated the most engagement.
Many social media pros recommend setting aside a block of time to create and schedule all your physical therapy marketing posts for a week. Get some Facebook content ideas and plan out your next 4 posts in advance. There’s software that can help with scheduling, but you can also do this natively on Facebook.
5. Share What Makes You Special
Share exclusive content that followers can’t see from anyone else. Like behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your PTs and staff, patient stories and testimonials.
Other physical therapy marketing content ideas include:
Practice Events (Like anniversaries and upcoming physical therapy workshops)
Selfies with Staff and Patients
Short Explainer Videos (“Top 3 Exercises for Shoulder Pain”)
6. Consider Holding a Contest or Survey
Contests and polls are great ways to get followers to engage with your posts. For polls, aim for a mix of fun and physical therapy-related topics.
The Single Question Email template can be adapted and used on your personal and professional Facebook page. This question has generated tons of responses and plans of care in the past.
An example of a fun survey question can be asking your page to share their favorite Halloween candy as a kid. When you’re just starting out on Facebook and still growing your followers, encourage your staff to comment and respond to questions like these.
With contests, don’t think that you always need to offer expensive prizes to get people to participate. Photo caption contests are usually big hits. As are any contests involving cutest pet.
If you do want to go the prize route, consider offering gift cards to local businesses in your area. This can be a great way to create social media content and to network with potential CAWs partners.
7. Add Context When You Share Links
If you share links on your page, take a moment to add some context and commentary of your own.
For example, say there’s a great link to an article about the effectiveness of physical therapy prior to getting surgery. This is a great piece of content to share, but don’t just copy/paste the link and hit enter. Write out your thoughts on the news and encourage people in pain to stop by your clinic.
This is true even if you’re sharing content that you’ve created such as a blog post from your website. Even a sentence or two is fine, but you just want to add something unique to everything that you share.
8. Engage with Comments and Messages
Engagement on social media is a two-way street. If you want people to like and comment on your posts, you should be sure to like and reply to their comments.
You don’t want to hide the fact that there is a real person (or real people) behind your page. Or make people feel like they are interacting with a brick wall.
This rule is especially true for comments where someone asks a question, but you should like and reply to every comment you get.
This not only encourages people to keep engaging with you and your page, Facebook will also give the user a notification which will bring them back to your post.
What about negative comments? You should reply to those, too. Keep your tone professional and light-hearted if possible.
That being said, there are some comments and commenters that aren’t worth interacting with. If you encounter a troll or someone who is using crude/inflammatory language on your page, feel free to delete their comments and block them.
Use your best judgment to decide what negative comments fall into which category. You don’t want to run from negative comments, but that doesn’t mean you have to let people spam your page either.
9. Get on Camera
Plan on creating video content for your page and even consider streaming live on Facebook. Facebook itself has said that video content drives higher engagement and interactions from users compared to other types of content on the platform.
When it comes to video, don’t think you have to make big-budget commercials for your practice. A simple video tour of your clinic or staff introductions are great pieces of content.
You can also create valuable exercise videos for people in pain. With any videos that are directly related to physical therapy, just make sure that you extend an invitation for viewers to visit your clinic in-person.
10. Let’s Get Visual
Similar to video, you want to share some purely visual content on your page as well. Facebook prioritizes content that doesn’t try to take users away from the platform, so your content will show up in more timelines.
Plus, sharing photos and images garner 87% more engagement than links and text post.
11. Try to Collect Email Addresses
With any form of marketing, you want to invite people to take the “next step” towards working with you.
This could be a direct invite to schedule an appointment in your clinic or a request to get people to sign up for your email list.
Growing your email list may not seem as impactful as getting someone to visit you in-person, but it’s still advantageous.
Someone who likes your business page won’t see everything you post on their Facebook timeline. Over the years, Facebook has shortened the organic reach of page posts and updates.
But none of that matters once someone is on your email list. At that point, you are no longer bound by Facebook’s algorithm. You can now continue to build a relationship with this person by showing up directly in their inbox.
12. Use Paid Advertising to Reach a Wider Audience for Physical Therapy Marketing
Our tips so far have focused on organic social media for PT marketing, but paid advertising is a great method if you want more direct control over your results.
With organic, your posts will reach some of the people who like and follow your page. With paid traffic, you can target a completely cold audience. Meaning, people who have never heard of your business before. With this expanded reach, private practice owners have the ability to control their new patient flow by attracting direct access patients.
At Breakthrough, we’ve found that advertising physical therapy workshops is a very cost-effective way for PTs to advertise on Facebook. Ads for workshops attract people with a need for the services PTs provide and gets them off the computer and into your practice for the presentation.
There are many different moving parts to this process, which is why we created the Growth X system to handle them all. Growth X covers Facebook advertising, landing pages that capture new patient leads, workshop tools to track individual progress toward becoming a patient, and an automated email system that increases workshop attendance.
From 1929 to 1939, the world endured a severe economic downturn that would later be referred to as the “Great Depression.”
This economic turmoil resulted in a difficult period for most companies…but not all of them.
Some brands where able to make great strides during this time. These successful companies were different sizes and came from different industries. What they had in common was the fact that they kept investing in growth while others cut back.
Right now, the entire world is dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. So we are sharing 3 tips for private practice owners looking for ways to grow their practice during hard times.
Trim the Fat
Now is the time to be brutally honest about the necessities in your business…
And to cut anything that is unnecessary.
This sounds simple, but it’s a task that many business owners struggle with. Particularly when it comes to making hard decisions about personnel. Or past investments that have yet to produce a return.
Now is the time to take a deep dive into your numbers to find areas to cut back.
Marketing expenses are often the first thing put on the chopping block when it comes to trimming the fat. But eliminating marketing will also impact your revenue and may slow your recovery. Keep the big picture in mind before making the call to stop or cut back on marketing.
Realize that Everything is Cheaper Now
Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.
Over the past few months, the hiring market for PTs has completely flipped. In the past, some owners struggled for months to fill PT job vacancies. Many private practice owners expressed how hard it was to compete with HOPTs and POPTs practices when it came to hiring new grads.
Now, that situation has flipped. And the same is true for the real estate market. Now is a great time to hire new PTs and/or renegotiate the terms on recurring expenses like rent.
Plan Ahead Now
No one can predict exactly what will happen in the economy. But, it’s a given that there will continue to be cycles of growth punctuated by periods of decline.
In the last two decades, the U.S. experienced recessions in 2001, 2007, and right now in 2020. And there will likely be another recession approximately 10 years from now.
Again, the exact time and circumstances are unknown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead.
One exercise is to develop a “Grey to Black” plan for your practice. This Grey to Black plan is a financial forecast that looks at what would happen if you lost 25%…50%…or even 100% of your revenue.
How much time could your practice remain open? What steps would you take to minimize the damage?
Taking the time to plan ahead now will help you make better decisions during an actual crisis. Don’t let yourself be caught off-guard a second time.
Right now, times are tough for businesses. But growth is still possible.
PTs provide a vital service helping people in pain. It’s important that PT owners do what they can to ensure their practice survives hard economic times so you can continue to provide this service to your community.
We’ll be going more in-depth on the topic of Growing Your Practice During Hard Times during the upcoming Breakthrough Virtual Summit.
Each year, Inc. Magazine calculates the fastest-growing private companies in the United States and ranks them on its Inc. 5000 list.
Having achieved a 276% growth rate over the last three years, Breakthrough is excited to announce that we’ve made the list for the second year in a row.
The team at Breakthrough is honored to receive this kind of national recognition and we are grateful to the community of Private Practice owners we get to work with every day.
Our company’s mission is to help people in pain get back to normal naturally by working with PTs who provide their patients with the highest quality care.
The fact that this is the second year in a row Breakthrough made the Inc. 5000 list is a testament to our marketing software’s ability to help physical therapists grow their businesses and see real results from their online advertising. Unlike other solutions, practice owners appreciate the ability for Growth X to bring patients in from the community who had never heard of the practice before.
Carl Mattiola, CEO of Breakthrough PT Marketing
Continued Growth in 2020 and Beyond
There have been many hurdles affecting the private practice industry over the last few years. According to PT in Motion, there was a 54.5% decrease in physical referrals to Physical Therapy between 2003 and 2014.
CMS proposed a 9% cut to physical therapy reimbursements earlier this month.
And on top of everything else, the entire world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many practices being forced to close their clinics during state-wide lockdowns.
But the tide is shifting and now many owners are bouncing back to their pre-COVID numbers. Some Breakthrough members are even reporting higher patient visits than any other period this year.
This is the #1 problem facing the market right now.
Most of us risk insolvency if we can’t solve this problem.
For those of us who can solve it, we can gain market share at an unprecedented rate – with a flipped PT job market and rock bottom marketing/space costs.
In the past few months, the team at Breakthrough has experimented with new campaigns like Virtual Workshops.
But we’ve largely relied on a few fundamental marketing strategies to solve the problem of getting new patients. The strategies themselves may seem simple, but don’t let that stop you. Actually implementing them will produce results and set your practice apart from most business owners (who have reduced and in some cases completely shut down their marketing efforts).
For example, here’s a story from an owner in the Breakthrough community:
This is a pretty remarkable rebound.
But there’s a deeper story which can be easily overlooked:
The people who made it happen: Deepak and his team. Deepak is in my list of top owners ever in one significant category – Study.
He’s an amazing student and is genuinely interested in growing his practice and learning the best marketing methods to help with this.
He and his team take action and implement. When asked about the secret to his success – Deepak will frequently say, “I just do what I learned here”
Sounds simple enough, right?
Well unfortunately for most of us, we seem to struggle doing that. Deepak implements the control first – then will adjust based on his metrics. He and his team will start with the fundamentals, then progress as they learn, and update the technique to make it their own.
They are successful in a nearly impossible environment. In the greater Edmonton area, Deepak and his team compete with a free healthcare system (you can get physio for free down the street).
Yes, Deepak is in Growth X and has access to software that automates his marketing.
But it all starts with taking action.
You can do the same. Here’s how…
3 Steps for Getting New Patients NOW:
Market to your past patient list ASAP. At Madden PT, we just ran a our Greatest Promotion Ever at all 5 locations. The result of that was 50+ Plans of Care. Deepak mentioned calling clients personally, but you can also use email for this. Your patient list is the most valuable asset in your business, but only when you nurture it and engage with the people on it.
Market to the general public. Pick a niche – a specific target market – and make sure it’s someone who your clinic can treat profitably. Host an in-house workshop that will appeal to this demographic. One example would be a free event for back pain sufferers.
Send a fax to physicians, NPs, PA-Cs letting them know you’re open.
An easy way to take action is with the Single Question Email. This one strategy can quickly produce multiple plans of care in only a few hours.
Not only that, but it’s a great way to engage with your email list in a way that past patients will appreciate now more than ever.
There are three markets you can target to attract patients to your clinic and successfulyl grow your practice:
Direct to consumer
Past or current patients
When it comes to marketing, most focus is put on external marketing – going direct to the consumer to get brand new patients.
However, internal marketing – marketing to your current and past patient list – is a strategy that should not be overlooked. Here are five internal marketing campaigns you can use to market your practice and re-engage past patients.
These campaigns are a great first step towards getting your practice “back to normal” after COVID-19.
1. Green Ink Letters
Green ink letters are powerful marketing tools because they’re personal to the patient or referrer. It’s a one-to-one interaction that’s packed with personalized attention and value.
At Madden PT, we send out green ink letters when a patient graduates a program. We also send them to physicians who refer patients to us at the beginning of the patient’s plan of care. We include how the initial evaluation went, along with a promise to keep them updated on their care.
The benefit of using green ink letters is that you can write these any time. Make them personal to the patient using something you’ve discussed with them to strengthen that connection. Also, don’t forget to include a soft call-to-action to encourage engagement. This doesn’t have to be a sales message or asking them to book an appointment, but it should be enough to get them to take the next step.
Extend an open invitation to visit your clinic again if they have any other issues or simply let them know that you and your staff are available to help anyone the patient knows who may also be in pain.
2. Patient Newsletters
Some practices print newsletters to mail or distribute in the office, while others offer a digital newsletter. Our patients respond better to receiving something physical in the mail, but there’s no wrong way to go about creating a patient newsletter.
The important parts of a newsletter are:
Some of your content should have nothing at all to do with PT. This could be a staff member spotlight, a new hire, holiday traditions, or anything else your patients might find interesting. We’ve found our patients love to learn about our PT team and keep up to date with what’s going on in the practice.
Relevant content will have something to do with PT and your practice. It could be a patient testimonial, success stories, or an exercise of the month. Skip the scholarly articles on PT-related topics or anything you’d discuss one-on-one with a patient.
Call to Action
Every newsletter should have a call to action. We use a standing insert inside our folded newsletters. It’s an 8 ½”x11” page, front and back, that’s often used to highlight an upcoming workshop, free exams, free reports, or something else of value. We’ve found the freebie is most effective when people are getting information from it.
3. Patient Interviews
This is one of the most important roles of an internal marketer in your practice. Our internal marketer meets with every patient three times during their plan of care: once at the beginning, once in the middle, and once at the end.
The first goal is to establish rapport with the patient. The second goal is to ensure the patient is staying compliant with the plan of care set forth in the initial evaluation.
A lot of times, the conversation has nothing to do with PT. Talk about their interests and get to know them so you have a meaningful connection with each patient.
The second interview is your opportunity to get their feedback on how things are going and whether they’re seeing any progress. This is a great opportunity to educate them on what they can expect next in PT.
During this interview, we like to bring in cash pay services (we also do this during the first interview) to see if they’d like to continue with them. Some patients prefer these services after having gone through most of their plan of care when they know how things are progressing.
In the discharge interview, we get a picture of the patient with their team and celebrate the end of their plan. This is the point where we ask for referrals, online reviews, and testimonials since we’ve already built a great rapport with the patient.
During the discharge interview, we also book a follow-up appointment for a couple of months later. Our purpose in doing this is to take measurements and make sure nothing has backtracked. But it also helps us keep the lines of communication open and stay top of mind with the patient since they’re not coming into the office as frequently, and we’ve actually reactivated a lot of patients this way.
4. GPE – Greatest Promotion Ever
Choose a day to offer free screenings to friends and family members of patients and past patients. We have five teams, so we try to do ten free screens for each time at a half-hour per screen. You’ll also want to plan for five weeks of marketing after the event with emails, newsletters, Facebook Live videos, and other content.
5. Killer Testimonial Machine
Last but not least, we love the Killer Testimonial Machine, which is a wall of patient testimonials that new patients see when they walk into the clinic. This shows them how many patients have gotten great results and gives them hope for what they can expect. It also establishes celebrity, authority, and expertise for the PT to boost their credibility.
All of these marketing tips are excellent for bringing past patients back into your practice, and they’re easy to implement when you can hand them off to a marketing person.
Consistently fill your schedule with new patients by creating a marketing calendar for your clinic.
One thing that private PT practices have in common is that they thrive on consistently filled schedules. You know you have a lot to offer your patients, but first, you’ve got to get them through your door.
That’s where marketing comes in. This is your chance to spread the word about your practice and services and how you can help others get back to normal naturally. Using a marketing calendar to guide your efforts can help you plan out activities and ensure your schedule stays full. Here’s how:
What Is a Marketing Calendar?
Simply put, a marketing calendar is a written plan of your marketing activities for a given time period. You could create a calendar for the next month or even for a whole year at a time.
Your marketing calendar should include all three of your target markets:
Direct to consumer
Past or current patients
Why Do I Need a Marketing Calendar?
Much like any type of calendar, a marketing calendar allows you to work a few steps ahead and avoid having gaps in your PTs’ schedule—and, ultimately, your practice’s revenue. It also allows you to maximize the space you’re in to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. Why pay for a 3,000-square-foot space when you only have 50 patient visits per week?
More patients = more revenue, which helps transform your liabilities (e.g., personnel, equipment, space) into assets. You’re already paying for these, so it makes sense to generate as much revenue as possible to help cover the costs.
In addition, having a planned out marketing calendar ensures you’re not overlooking any of your three core target markets. For example, if you have a past patient list but file it away and let it collect dust, there’s really no value in keeping it. You might not give it a second thought for months or years. But having past patients on your marketing radar (and the calendar) can help you maximize its value and give you more opportunities to grow or maintain your practice.
Using a marketing calendar to target your three markets also allows you to divert your dependence on physician referrals. There’s no doubt that physician referrals aren’t what they used to be to a typical private practice. Designing marketing activities around other markets allows you to capitalize on more revenue opportunities.
Most importantly, once you create a marketing calendar, you can use it as a template for your entire marketing department and stop reinventing the wheel. This is part of creating a marketing system that will give you more time freedom, less guesswork, and better financial stability in the short and long term.
How to Build a Marketing Calendar
When creating your calendar, it’s best practice to work backward. Ask yourself: What do I need to do to fill my schedule, as well as the overall space?
To do this, you can use your space’s capacity and availability to figure out how many patients you need to see in a given time period (e.g., the number of patients per day, week, month, etc.). This number should help to guide your marketing activity planning to ensure you’re meeting your space’s goals.
Once you know your goals, you can start planning activities that will help you achieve them. Here’s a quick breakdown:
1. Pick a Month to Plan
The best place to start is to look at the following month and start planning. Look for any holidays that could reduce appointment availability when calculating how many slots you have to fill.
2. Gather Larger Planning Pieces (Quarterly or Annually)
If you have a quarterly or annual calendar, you’ll want to review these pieces to ensure your monthly activities align with your greater goals. Annual and quarterly planning is usually more general, while weekly and monthly focus on more specific goals.
3. Choose a Market
Pick one of your three target markets to focus on for that month. Most practices aren’t investing a lot of time, money, or resources in marketing to physicians, so this will likely be your past patients or the general public.
4. Review Past Successes and Failures
Think about what marketing activities have worked well for you in the past—and which ones haven’t. What media did you use (e.g., Facebook ads, direct mailers)? What was the message that worked?
5. Decide How to Execute the Campaign
There’s a lot that needs to happen to set your campaign into motion. Your goal is to break down those steps and figure out what you need to do to launch. For example, if you’re running a newspaper ad, you probably have to meet specific deadlines to get published in a specific run.
6. Repeat Steps 3-5 for Other Markets
If you have the time, budget, and resources, repeat steps 3-5 for another market. Maybe you’re doing a workshop for the general public but also want to do a reactivation event for past patients. Once you start planning your marketing activities, you’ll have a better idea of how much time you realistically have to connect with prospects and bring them into your practice.
Campaigns to Choose From
Marketing activities are organized by campaign, with each campaign having its own steps to execution. Some of the ones we’ve found to be the most impactful are:
Patient & physician newsletters
Captured audience workshops
In-house & virtual workshops
The Greatest Promotion Ever (GPE)
The Single Question Email campaign
We’ve also tested other types of campaigns, like the recent in-house book signing we did for current patients. It’s best practice to review what’s worked and hasn’t worked in the past and double down on what you know will bring results.
In-person workshops have proven to be the most effective way of converting the general public into direct access patients.
During the COVID-19 crisis, many owners in the Breakthrough community have experimented with online PT workshops. Making the switch from in-person to virtual workshops isn’t as simple as you might expect, but the results have been similar.
Here are some ways you can get the most out of your online PT workshops to make them even more successful and worthwhile:
1. More Engagement = More Appointments
Engaged audiences are more likely to become patients than passive participants.
But holding someone’s attention is much easier when you are giving a presentation in front of them, face-to-face. With virtual workshops, attendees are at home watching on their computer screens and only one click away from checking social media or otherwise being distracted.
Giving simple directions like “Look at the screen” during your presentation can recapture their attention and pull them into what you’re talking about. Give them directives and keep them in the moment.
2. Stick to the Format
It’s easy to go off course in an online workshop, which is why we recommend sticking to a format that logically moves you through each part. Download the free Online Workshop Template to discover a proven format for structuring your physical therapy workshops.
Practice it to get comfortable in teaching an audience that isn’t right in front of you.
3. Focus on Your Final Five Minutes
No matter how long your workshop is, the last five minutes are always the most critical, as you’re giving your audience the call to action to move forward with you. The CTA should be clear so that people go right into scheduling an appointment with you.
Make sure your “next step” is congruent with the online format and avoid asking attendees to do anything that would require them to leave their computer.
Other Ways to Set the Stage for Success
There are several moving parts to conducting a successful online workshop, and knowing these parts can help you get one step closer to your goal.
First, you need to have people in pain watching your workshop. This is where strong workshop marketing skills come into play. If you don’t have the right audience in seats (or the right eyes on your presentation), you’re not going to get the results you expect.
Second, you need to know what to say that’s going to trigger conversions. This is different from in-house workshops. It takes more engagement, more interaction, and more conversations to help people feel safe enough to come in for an appointment.
Also, you need a follow-up sequence to follow up with people who didn’t schedule an appointment right away. Again, this looks a little differently than it does for in-house workshops because it all takes place online.
And finally, you need to understand the right levers to pull to get the most engagement from your workshop.
If you’re like most practice owners, online workshops are new to you and you may be wondering how to get started.
That’s why we created a free Online Workshop Template that shows you how to create a presentation that will maximize conversions. At Breakthrough, we’re purpose-driven and want to help people get back to a pain-free life naturally, and the best way to do this is through private practice owners like you.
In the past, we’ve discussed the state of PT and our aspirations to Flip the Pyramid and make conservative care the first choice for people in pain – ahead of injections, medications, and surgery.
But the current state of PT looks a lot different than it did just a few months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the chaos and uncertainty it’s created in the world.
The truth is that similar events and challenges have occurred throughout history. Case in point: just 12 years ago, the financial crisis of 2008 hit and shook PT practices everywhere. At Madden PT, we were already battling encroachment from HOPTs and POPTs practices and ended up losing $98,000 in a single quarter. Back then, we were focused on physician referrals, but that crisis made us realize the need to diversify our income and create systems that would put us in a much better position during a future crisis.
Understanding these events can help us to better shift our thoughts and behaviors that will allow us to thrive now and in the future.
Exploring the Transition Curve
In the past, PT owners have typically followed a transition curve, where we start our PT practice with uninformed optimism that turns into informed pessimism when something goes wrong or business doesn’t come as easily or quickly as we’d hoped. Soon after, a crisis of meaning follows, where we explore what we really need and want from our practice. This leads to either crashing and burning or informed optimism, in which we are more aware of what it’s going to take to be successful and have new hope for the future of the practice.
But today, the transition curve looks much different. We’re now on a cycle of market emotions.
But now, just within the last week, we’re starting to see the bounceback. Patients are trickling in once again. They’re wearing masks and acting with caution, but we’re finally starting to see some hope for normalcy.
Learning How to Pivot (and Pivot Quickly!)
Just two months ago, our goals at Breakthrough looked drastically different than they do now. As a rule, our goals have always been to help private practice PT owners become successful while helping our own patients get back to normal naturally and make PT the first option they think of when they’re in pain.
We haven’t lost sight of those goals, but we immediately shifted our focus so that we could help other owners and the PT industry at large survive this crisis. We’re doing this by focusing our content and training on things to do during the pandemic, such as where to turn for financial relief and how to stay connected to your team and patients (even if you’re not treating them at the moment).
Just like we have four seasons in a year, we also have four “seasons” of the economic cycle in a given year. And it’s important to understand these seasons so that you can be in the best financial position when the market starts going up again. There will be an “end” to this pandemic, and when that end finally comes, PT owners should be prepared for the rebound.
The State of PT and the One Goal to Set Moving Forward
Bob Kowalick from Revenue Cycle Solutions shared some interesting stats with us recently on the financial state of private practice. His research found that about a third of practice owners are not in a financial position to survive this crisis. They’re in the same boat with about 43% of small business owners throughout the country that are saying they’ll likely not be able to reopen their doors when the pandemic is over.
For PT owners, avoiding this situation might mean not taking a salary for a little while. You still need a staff, a facility, and a way to pay for these things, so you might have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Kowalick also found that almost half of owners only have a partial financial bridge. Of those, the majority are about 5% off their goal. If they need $50,000 in total to make it through, they are likely just $2,500 short of their goal. Some may be able to cut enough corners to come up with what they need, but if you can’t, your goal should be to do what you need to do to get into this next group of owners—the 19%.
Roughly one in five owners have a clear financial runway to the end of this crisis. Those 19% are at a major advantage because they’re going to be able to advertise and gain market share when the majority of their competitors cannot. They’re going to be in a better position to rebuild and hire the best staff and continue to grow their practice, both now and when the pandemic is over.
For the remaining 81% of owners, it should be the goal to become among the 19% that can weather tough storms like COVID-19 and be in a better position to continue growing.
For us to do this during the financial crisis of 2008 and the following months, we shifted our focus to three things:
Marketing direct to the consumer to become less dependent on physician referrals
Learning how to influence your payer mix and build a financial bridge
Building a better culture through personnel
When the pandemic conditions started rising earlier this year, these are the same three things we focused on. That’s because physician referrals have been in a tailspin, along with declining reimbursements. And since many people aren’t hiring right now, we’re using this opportunity to attract top talent to the practice to create an optimal patient experience.
PT practice owners can put these same ideas into motion to become one of the 19% (and ideally turn that 19% into 100% by the next time crisis strikes). To start, you need to know where you are right now, then understand where you need to go.
We have tons of resources available at Breakthrough University that can help you take the necessary steps to connect your present situation to your ideal destination― learn more about Breakthrough University today.
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