Marketing tips for physical therapists and chiropractors from the Evidence Based Chiropractor on the Grow Your Practice Podcast.

How to Grow Revenue and Help More People in Your Community

In a recent episode of the Grow Your Practice Podcast, chiropractic marketer Dr. Jeff Langmaid shares his top marketing tips for physical therapists and chiropractors. 

Known as the “Evidence Based Chiropractor,” Jeff is devoted to increasing chiropractic utilization. His great-grandfather was a chiropractor who studied under BJ Palmer nearly 100 years ago. His goal is to continue that legacy as a chiropractor himself and by highlighting the power of chiropractic adjustment through research and marketing. He believes it’s time for conservative care practitioners of all types to step up and create a healthier world by scaling their unique healthcare professions. 

Chad and Jeff discussed the top marketing tips for chiropractors and physical therapists. Some of Jeff’s key principles are to start with your patient database, lead with educational content, and create monthly recurring revenue. By implementing these practices, owners of chiropractic clinics, physical therapy practices and integrated wellness centers can improve profitability and generate consistent visits. 

Why should practice owners care about marketing? 

Dr. Jeff shared an unfortunate approach that he sees many clinicians make. He labels it the “journey of professional indifference.” 

Every day in your community, there are people undergoing unnecessary surgeries, taking unnecessary medications, and receiving unnecessary injections that affect them and their families for the rest of their lives. Opioid addictions are by far the worst they have ever been, largely due to doctors overprescribing opioid painkillers after surgery. 

The “journey of professional indifference” describes the approach where a practice owner passively waits for patients to come to them. These patients may have already undergone surgery or another intervention. They could have been referred by their physician or found you as a last hope. 

Whether you’re a PT, OT, or DC you are an integral part of a patient’s journey. You have the ability to get in earlier in a patient’s journey and help them take their health into their own hands. So they can avoid the fate that so many people in your community fall into. 

“If you care about the health of the people in your community, you need to get out there and tell your story,” Langmaid said. “You have to be proactively answering the questions people have about their health. The more you can build trust and rapport, the more you can help people in your community avoid the fate that so many have fallen into.” 

So you want to help more patients. Where to start? 

Dr. Jeff and Chad both recommend that you always start with your warmest audience. These are the people you have already seen. People who likely already know, like, and trust you. Reach out to your existing or past patient database. Email them consistently to let them know you’re around. 

Share educational content in your emails and invite them to something to learn more. A webinar, a workshop, or an appointment. Avoid using jargon or overly medical terms. For instance, if you’re writing an email to educate about radiculopathy, use terms like ‘how to tell if your arm pain is coming from your neck’ instead of the actual term ‘radiculopathy.’ Use patient-centric language and offer something of value. Then invite them to come in if they’re still not seeing relief. 

The key is to engage with your patient database consistently. Being consistent is what most practices struggle with most. Patient Demand software can help you automate this process, enabling you to choose from hundreds of pre-written and customizable campaigns. 

Top 3 Marketing Tips for Physical Therapists and Chiropractors 

When it comes to getting started with marketing, the lowest-hanging fruit is marketing to your past and existing patients. But that’s not where your marketing should end. To reach a broader audience and help more people in your community, you eventually need to create demand beyond your existing list. 

Here are the top 3 marketing tips for practice owners:

1. Lead with Patient Education: Teach and Invite

Jeff’s core philosophy is to teach and invite consistently. If you show up and teach, engage, entertain, and then invite – and you do that consistently – then you’re going to see success. Lead with educational content, then invite them to something: Say give us a call, hop on the schedule, join the webinar, or come to a workshop. 

This methodology applies to all audiences: past patients, existing patients, and cold traffic (people who haven’t interacted with you before). As practice owners, we often have this resistance to sales and marketing. We think we’re going to provide high quality-of-care and evidence-based practice, then just grow by word-of-mouth referral. But we need to be getting out there and educating, building marketing systems, teaching and inviting. The reality is that marketing is just educating people in your community and showing them how you can help solve their health problems. 

Most people equate marketing with paid marketing and discount advertising. That’s just a small piece. The majority of your marketing should lead with education.

2. Avoid Discount Advertising

Tens of thousands of providers are offering deep discount advertising on a regular basis. This is not a cost-effective marketing strategy. Why? Most often, patients that come in because they saw an ad for a discounted service are not the people that are going to stay, pay, and refer. They are deal shoppers. And what do deal shoppers do? They shop for deals! So when they take advantage of that offer, you’re going to notice that there’s a small percentage of them that actually stick around. You’re going to get dramatically fewer visits from someone who comes in from discount advertising compared to someone who comes in through educational content. In most cases, Jeff recommends sticking to the teach and invite methodology over discount advertising.

When IS it okay to offer discount advertising? If you’re doing it to keep your doors open in the short-term, that may be appropriate for you. Or, if you’re already doing everything else right, and you want to sprinkle on some discount advertising, that’s fine. But Jeff recommends first leverage free or lower cost options. This includes marketing to past and existing patients, teaching and inviting, and leveraging retargeted online advertising. 

3. Create Monthly Recurring Revenue

There are ways to create monthly recurring revenue and this is a great way to diversify your income stream. You can make your practice more durable and less vulnerable. The goal is here to create monthly recurring revenue that meets your minimum viable monthly expenses each month. If you can have recurring revenue that meets your expenses, working in your practice becomes a lot more fun and way less stressful. 

This does not mean changing your business model or giving up patient care. This is about diversifying income streams, reducing stress and increasing revenue in a patient-centric way. Dr. Jeff and his business partner Jason identified three primary ways that most clinicians can implement this in a way that makes sense:

  • Provide ongoing services

    This can look like a monthly movement assessment, a monthly check-in, or any type of maintenance care that makes sense for you. After your patients complete their plan of care, have them check in with you once a month. A majority of time this is warranted and is not overtreating. Your patients come in because they have a problem and they come back for accountability. It’s better for the patient and better for you. Many of us have movement-based facilities that can be leveraged for a monthly check-in, but most of us don’t do it. A monthly check-in is a great way to increase patient visits and create monthly recurring revenue.

  • Open an e-commerce store

    Sell items that supplement your services. Supplements are a great example of what you can sell in an online store. We know that between 50 to 70% of people going to conservative care providers take supplements each and every day, whether its a multivitamin, Vitamin D, Omegas, etc. Other options could include exercise props, therapeutic heating/cooling devices, ergonomic products for sleep or work as examples. The key here is to create auto-recurring revenue is to have an online store that drop-ships direct to your patient. This way, you don’t need to have the inventory and utilize space in your clinic. Better for the patient, better for you.

  • Offer online coaching

    This could look like anything from telehealth all the way up to lifestyle coaching. For many providers this may feel like very new territory, but there’s an avenue there to create monthly revenue by providing value on an ongoing basis. This can be leveraged at scale online. You can create courses that can be sold online without actually requiring significant amounts of your time on an ongoing basis.

Summarized Marketing Tips for Physical Therapists and Chiropractors

Practice owners wanting to grow revenue and help more people in their community can start by: 

  1. Consistently engaging your past and existing patient database. Lead with patient education. Teach and invite. 
  2. Avoid overusing discounts in your online advertising. 
  3. Come up with a strategy to create monthly recurring revenue. 

Would you like to be able to automatically create educational campaigns for your patients and community, without much effort? Patient Demand software can help. 

See How It Works. 

 

How to get more patients: Fix your funnel. Get more patients out of your advertising spend.

Recently, Breakthrough Co-Founder Chad Madden and Customer Success Manager Daniel Mina hosted a webinar on the biggest marketing mistakes made in private practice physical therapy and chiropractic clinics. And how to get more patients by fixing a leaky funnel. 

The majority of practice owners — although they often don’t know it — are losing money spent on marketing. Usually, the culprit is not the marketing tactics themselves. The mistake is in not setting up and maintaining an ineffective follow-up process on marketing leads. This mistake creates a leaky funnel. 

What is a Leaky Funnel?

A leaky funnel is the secret killer of new patient opportunities. In a perfect world, when you get a new patient inquiry (whether through online advertising, referral, your website, etc), someone follows up with that lead by phone within several minutes of the patient inquiry coming through. The person handling this could be your front desk or office manager. If they’re adhering to best practices, they have a good conversation with the individual and follow up as many times as necessary (up to seven times) until that lead comes in for an initial patient evaluation. It’s then your clinician’s job to sign them up for a plan of care. 

The marketing funnel is how a marketing leads becomes a paying patient in a physical therapy or chiropractic clinic.

But what happens when this process is not followed closely? You start to get leads falling through the cracks — your funnel becomes leaky. While a lot of practice owners *think* this process is working perfectly for them, they lack the visibility to know that something is wrong. They end up missing out on a lot of patient opportunities. For most, something is going wrong at some step of that process and this creates a leaky funnel. We frequently see practices that don’t realize they have a problem!

The fact is, most practices generate  leads that never get followed up on. Some leads get followed up with too late, and some aren’t followed up with enough times. Ultimately, an ineffective follow-up process produces numerous drop-offs amongst would-be patients. 

What’s the Impact of a Leaky Funnel?

By now, you probably get the message: A leaky funnel is incredibly common and most practice owners don’t know it’s a problem. You could be losing out on dozens of patients each month and not even realize it. 

If you have a leaky funnel, you’re wasting money and getting a lower return on investment (ROI) on your marketing spend. Plus, you hurt your own brand reputation by not following patient inquiries all the way through to a plan of care. Those leads may go elsewhere to your competitors. Worse yet, those would-be patients of yours never get treated and their problem gets worse until they need surgery, injections, or pharmaceuticals. For the sake of your practice and the community you serve, it’s important to be able to identify and fix a leaky funnel. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Leaky Funnel? 

As a practice owner, it may not be obvious that you have a leaky funnel. It’s unlikely you get into the weeds around tracking leads and their follow-up. Most practice owners have poor visibility into metrics around lead follow-up. They’re usually not involved in lead follow-up on a day-to-basis. And if your team is working out of spreadsheets, it’s near impossible to pull out  learnings from the data. 

There are warning signs you can watch for to help identify a leaky funnel. Here are the warning signs to watch for, and helpful tips for fixing your leaks:

  • If the front desk or marketer seems busy and has a very hard time keeping up, then make sure you have a clear process for following up on leads. 
  • Alternatively, it may seem like things are in control, but if there’s no accountability for those who are following up on leads – or if you don’t measure this – then follow-up can often be delayed or skipped completely.
  • Best practices are for your marketer to follow up on a lead within a few minutes of lead creation by giving them a call.
  • Many leads that could be patients never convert if you only call leads a couple of times before giving up. Inefficient processes like these result in a lower ROI on your marketing spend.

How to Get More Patients: Fix Your Funnel! 

Most practices miss out on potential new patients by thinking their funnel ends when an individual in need responds to an ad. But conversing with potential patients, giving them workshops or assessments, and reviewing the results are also crucial steps toward enrolling patients or members.

Poor calling practices reduce the number of appointments scheduled from a given number of leads. Poor follow-up processes reduce the share of scheduled appointments that are kept. Some owners think email blasts are enough, but email is for driving patient interactions – not for sending people to the homepage of your website for the first time. 

What Your Staff Needs to Know

  1. Follow-up conversations turn interested individuals into actual leads.

    Do confirmation calls within five minutes of signup. If at first you don’t succeed at connecting, keep trying! Seven attempts is the power number, so aim for that. After 7 failed tries, connection becomes very unlikely. But hit ‘em hard in the first few days following their signup, and be sure to use multiple channels – like text, phone, email – for best results.

  2. Never say “If…” on a follow-up call.

    From hundreds of hours of call tracking data, we’ve identified a key trend that does NOT perform well. Ending on “If” statements. What we’re talking about are statements like: “If you’d like to schedule an appointment, just let me know.” At the point that “If” statements are used, a lead has typically already inquired about your practice and demonstrated interest. So instead of saying “If you’d like to come in,” you can assume they want to schedule an appointment. 

  3. Have Patient-Centric Follow-up Calls.

    What should you train your staff to say instead of ‘If’ statements? After a short introduction, ask your potential patients questions about them and their pain. What’s their health concern? How long has it been going on? What have they tried for treatment? Patient-centric conversations turn leads into patients; talking about how great your practice is doesn’t. After plenty of discovery questions, your caller can ask, “Do you want to get that taken care of?” “When’s a good time to start the healing process? We have time on Monday at 11am or after 3pm, what time works for you?” 

  4. Use Initial Evaluations and Free Screenings as a Conversion Mechanism.

    The goal: to raise awareness and increase patient respect for the treatment plan. A killer exam begins by asking what their pain is stopping them from doing. Next, consider their history, including whether they’ve had PT before. Then test, treat, and re-test their issue. Help them understand the cause of the problem in lay language. Afterwards, formulate a treatment plan agreement, along with a financial plan and schedule for their treatment. Track who among your staff is best at converting new patients at this stage, so you can work to get your whole team to that level.

How Breakthrough Can Help 

Breakthrough offers a complete, all-in-one Patient Demand Platform that empowers practice owners and their staff to:

  1.  Attract patient leads through proven, top-performing marketing campaigns 
  2. Track leads through the funnel and easily identify stages of the funnel that need improvement. Plus, access hundreds of hours of training content to help your staff more effectively turn leads into patients.
  3. Gain visibility through measurement and intuitive dashboards.  Do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. 

A patient demand platform is the simple, repeatable way to consistently grow your practice by attracting leads, converting patients, and measuring success.

How would you like to have a team of experts audit and fix your funnel to fill up your practice?  

Request a free consultation today.  

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How to get more patients with Google advertising and YouTube ads. Physical therapy marketing to get more patients. Chiropractic marketing strategies to get more patients.

Do Google and YouTube Ads Work for Attracting Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Patients?

Whether you’re a private practice physical therapist or a chiropractic clinic owner, you need to get more patients coming into your practice on a consistent basis. Consistency is the key. The alternative — busy periods followed by significant slow-downs — is simply not sustainable. Whether caused by seasonality, macroeconomic conditions, or changes in your marketing, this type of rollercoaster scenario makes financial planning for the future nearly impossible. 

Online advertising can help bring stability to your practice by increasing demand for your services in your community. Regardless of how marketing savvy you are or aren’t, you can get started with Google advertising and YouTube ads to reach people in your community who need your help. These platforms offer some of the most effective marketing plays available to you today.

Getting Started with Online Advertising 

Advertising can be overwhelming at the beginning and does require some management and upkeep. You can reach a massive audience with the click of a button, but it will burn money very quickly if you aren’t careful with your targeting. 

In this article, we will share the do’s and don’ts of online advertising to help you get started. We’ll go over why you might choose one platform over another. Our focus will be on two of the biggest advertising platforms: Google Ads and YouTube. They’re both owned by Google, and they leverage respectively the largest and second largest search engine in the world. 

Hundreds of millions of people visit these websites every day, and among them, are those who need your services. Thus, knowing when and how to use these platforms will give your practice a consistent patient flow. That way, you can focus on growing your business, rather than hunting for patients.

How to Choose Your Advertising Platforms

Picking the right advertising platform is a challenge in itself. Choices abound, and all of them offer powerful features that make reaching the right people a breeze. 

What you want from an advertising platform is:

  • People who need your service
  • Targeting option that lets you connect to these people
  • Reach them when they are interested in buying from you

The first step in choosing where to allocate your marketing efforts is understanding who uses these platforms, and how

Let’s take Facebook for example. It is very likely that at least some of the people on it need your service, if not now in the future. But most of them are scrolling their feeds looking for entertainment. They will see various ads during their scrolling, but they probably aren’t looking for a solution to their problem while on Facebook. 

These people might notice your clinic’s ad, and even take a mental note of it, but the chances of them scheduling an appointment through a Facebook ad are lower than other platforms. Unless you are doing retargeting advertising on Facebook, this audience will likely be less familiar with physical therapy or chiropractic care. 

In contrast, someone conducting a Google Search for ‘chiropractic care near me’ indicates a much stronger awareness level and demonstrates higher intent to move forward with care. 

YouTube is similar to Facebook in that people use it primarily for entertainment. But it has advantages, such as being video-based. Videos tend to be more memorable than image or text. 

All three platforms can be effective tools for advertising your practice. To learn more about Facebook advertising, check out our earlier post on Facebook Marketing Strategies.  

Read on to learn more about how to get more patients advertising on Google and YouTube.

Why Advertise on Google?

Google is the world’s biggest website. With 45.41 billion monthly visits (November 2021), you can expect basically the entire population to use it. Between 90% and 95% of online searches are done through Google. 

But the wide reach isn’t the main reason we suggest using Google Ads. What makes this platform so valuable is how you can target keywords that highlight a specific intent. For example, when a user types in the search bar “physical therapist near me” you know that—most of the time—they are looking for a PT to visit them.

Compare this with TV or Facebook advertising. You’re interrupting people’s activity (enjoying a movie or scrolling through their feed) to market your service. People who see these ads most likely don’t need your services at the moment, so you won’t see much new business as a result.

Not to say that these advertising methods don’t work, because they do; they just achieve different goals. 

With Google Ads, you can reach the people who are looking to buy, and present them with the solution they need. 

Why Advertise on YouTube?

YouTube is a completely different beast. It’s the world’s 2nd most used search engine, with over 126 million unique users just in the United States. 

Advertising your clinic on YouTube offers a unique set of advantages over other platforms:

  • Videos are more memorable than text or images
  • It’s cost-effective
  • People can see who is actually going to take care of them
  • People can get a feel for the experience they’ll get in your clinic

Advertising on YouTube is also more challenging than on other platforms. Good videos are harder to produce, but this is an advantage if you think about it. How many other clinics are willing to invest in video production? You have way lower competition on YouTube.

Common Advertising Mistakes 

Creating performance ad campaigns is a mix of art and science. It’s also quite complicated when you’re a beginner, but even beginners can start seeing results by knowing the common pitfalls of online advertising.

The most common advertising mistake we see happen over and over is a lack of direction. We’ve seen clinics set campaigns that target everyone, and therefore they ended up targeting nobody. 

You need to know exactly who your ideal customer is, and how to best reach them. When you’re creating a campaign, do it with a specific target in mind. Targeting everyone will exponentially increase your costs and make you miss a lot of clients. 

The second most common mistake we see is making the ads all about you/your service. People don’t really care about you or your clinic. They have a problem and want it solved as quickly as possible. Writing patient-centric copy is crucial to getting people interested in your service. If you’re doing video ads, then start with a strong hook, don’t try to sell your service immediately.

Last, we see people who don’t test new ads regularly, or who give up too early. Your first few ads will most likely perform poorly, you need real-world data to adjust your messaging and see what resonates with your patients. 

This might seem complicated at first, but creating an advertising campaign that gets you sales is easier than you think.  

How to Get More Patients: Online Advertising Best Practices

If you want to build a campaign that will grow your practice, you need to follow a few simple steps:

  • Spend a lot of time on keyword research: Keyword research is the most important step in creating online campaigns. Put yourself in your patient’s shoes. What would someone with their issues search on Google/YouTube? And of those searches, which ones are likely to bring you a sale? For example, if someone types “why does my back hurt” they’re most likely looking for exercises, not for a physical therapist. If, instead, they type “who can fix back pain” they’re way more likely to click on your ad.

 

  • Use geo-targeting: A person who lives far away from you is unlikely to come to your clinic. Keep the advertising targeted around you. Also, think of what issue you’re dealing with. Someone with knee pain would rather get to the closest physician possible, and someone with shoulder pain would most likely avoid driving. 
  • Set up a sales funnel: Ads are only a small part of the customer journey. You can’t rely on them entirely. Make sure you have a system that takes people from not knowing you to becoming a loyal customers of yours. Your ads should get people to your clinic, and once they’re there, get them into an email/texting funnel. Another thing to consider is retargeting: not everyone who clicks on your ad will buy immediately, but if you keep poking at them, eventually they will. 
  • Tailor your messages for your ideal customers: You can’t please everyone. When you write your copy or video script, make sure it’s custom-made for your ideal customers. Don’t use generic ads like “We’re the best clinic in [location]”. Think about your customers: what do they need help with? Always create your ads with your ideal customer in mind.
  • If you follow all of these steps, you’ll create a strong marketing campaign that will bring in leads. But you must be careful, as Google’s ad guidelines are way more stringent when it comes to healthcare.

How to Avoid Setbacks and Ad Rejections

Google has a strict set of regulations regarding healthcare advertising. And every ad that doesn’t follow these regulations gets rejected, losing you money and visibility. 

Before publishing an ad, make sure it follows these guidelines. The main things to keep in mind are:

  • You aren’t allowed to hint at knowing the user has a certain medical condition, as it’s private data. Even if Google knows it, it can’t use it to target these people. Avoid asking things like “Hate your [condition]? Here’s how to treat it”.
  • You can’t promise results. Even if you are 100% certain your treatment will solve the user’s pain, you aren’t allowed to say it. You can say you’ll help them with managing pain, or alleviating the symptoms, but 
  • Do not, under any circumstance, mention chronic medical conditions. Words like diabetes or cancer should never ever appear in your ads.

An important thing to note is that Google, unlike Facebook/Instagram, also scans your landing page (where users end up when they click your ad) in your ad’s evaluation. This applies to everything in your landing page, including testimonials. So, make sure your landing page also follows these guidelines.

How to Turn Advertising Leads Into More Patients

Once the right people have interacted with your ad online, they’ll schedule an appointment with your clinic. This is where your staff’s qualities have a chance to shine. People will get to your clinic, and interact with your front office and doctors. 

You want your physicians to be top-notch and care for their patients. If a patient feels like they’ve received great treatment, they’ll gladly come back. They’ll also tell their relatives and friends about you. 

Want to create a constant patient flow through online advertising? Request a demo today to harness the power of online advertising and marketing automation.

Physical Therapy Marketing Flywheel: How to attract patients, convert them, and measure results for consistent growth.

Physical Therapists Have Become Masters of Adaptation

If there’s one thing we’ve had to become really good at as physical therapists, it’s how to adapt. 

The list of changes we’ve adapted to is long. Here are a few:

  • The way we treat patients has evolved over the years as new research comes out.
  • We’ve incorporated new types of treatment and medical devices into our practice. 
  • We’ve had to learn how to compete with hospital-owned and physician-owned clinics.
  • Every year, we see changes in reimbursement policies and compliance. 

One of the biggest adjustments for private practice owners has been the transition from a complete reliance on physician referrals to direct access. As a result, we’ve had to figure out how to balance time spent treating patients with time spent growing and marketing our business. 

The technology sector has not always kept up with the changing healthcare sector – in many ways, healthcare gets left behind in the traditional technology sector. Many marketing software platforms are not a great fit for the changing needs of private practice physical therapy. 

In this article, I’ll share my understanding of how physical therapy marketing has evolved over the years. This pulls from my own experience as a private practice owner and from what I hear working with hundreds of practices at Breakthrough. I’ll share how I think about physical therapy marketing today and what to look for in physical therapy marketing software. You’ll learn about tools that help you create consistent growth and adapt in our ever-changing field.  

The Old Way: Physician Referrals 

Over the last decade, customer acquisition in private practice has changed dramatically. When I started my practice in Central Pennsylvania twenty years ago, the name of the game was physician referrals. In order to get new patients, I was driving around to doctors’ offices, visiting physicians several times a week to drum up business. 

At my practice, physician referrals peaked around 2008. I was generating 154 physician referrals per month and nurturing 200 referral sources in a year. No physician represented more than 4% of total referrals. I had mastered physician referrals!

The New Way: Direct Access Ends Reliance on Physician Referrals 

The next year, everything changed. Between 2009 and 2011, referral sources started drying up as competition from hospitals and healthcare systems increased. At the time, 90% of physical therapists in the US relied on physician referrals and almost none were marketing direct to the consumer — yet. 

For decades, the APTA focused legislative efforts around increasing customer access to physical therapy care. And throughout the 2000’s and 2010s, direct access legislation passed widely in states across the country.

While direct access opened up a wider market for practice owners, it completely changed how we had to go-to-market and acquire customers. We no longer had to rely so heavily on physician referrals. But we had to learn marketing — something they never taught us in PT school. 

The Transition to Direct-to-Consumer Marketing in Private Practice

For many, the shift to direct access happened suddenly, over a short period of time. By 2011, I was spending much less time visiting physicians. Like many other practice owners, I was forced to become a student of marketing. 

Today, no matter where you are in the country, your practice has to dedicate resources towards marketing. 

To help practice owners learn the in’s and out’s of marketing, Breakthrough launched the first Killer Marketing course in 2016. We taught skills like email marketing, online advertising, promotions, and how to host workshops. Hundreds of owners and their staff went through the course and implemented its strategies. They implemented tools like CRM, automation, landing pages, and advertising across multiple channels. They captured new patient demand throughout their communities.

But even the best of us have found marketing to become more challenging over time. Privacy changes have made advertising online more complex. It seems like there are always more platforms to learn about. Loads of marketing automation platforms and engagement tools are available, but they’re often overly complex and bulky. Practice owners find they’re not getting their money’s worth because they simply don’t have the staff time or resources to use these tools.

The Future of Physical Therapy Marketing 

In his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, Jim Collins presents the flywheel concept. The concept is based on his observation that successful companies found their success in a series of gradual actions that built momentum over time.

Unsuccessful companies frequently launched new initiatives, chasing the shiny object — the one big move — that would transform their business. Successful companies, on the other hand, built momentum over time through a series of repeatable processes. 

The main premise behind the flywheel is once you get it moving, it requires very little effort to keep it moving. It builds on itself.

At Breakthrough, we believe the future of physical therapy marketing will be built around a flywheel that enables private practice marketers to create repeatable processes that: Attract patient prospects, convert them, and measure the results. 

This is how we think about private practice marketing today and in the future. 

Breakthrough Practice Growth Flywheel

It Starts with Attraction

When marketing our practices, first we must Attract potential patients with our advertising.

One of the most effective ways to buy market share in an area is to begin with online advertising.  Specifically, Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube.  (I’m not seeing consistent, repeatable results on other platforms…yet).

Rather than just advertise for the sake of advertising, we see direct-response campaigns working the best.  This allows for full coverage of all awareness levels, from unaware to solution aware to aware of your practice. 

This includes capturing the information of ad responders so we can communicate with them over time and nurture the relationship potential.  We do this with proven landing pages and compelling offers.

Next We Convert

Once people respond to our ads, we must have processes to convert them from ad responder to a plan of care.

Back in 2011, when I started posting YouTube videos, we started receiving emails and phone calls literally from all over the world – 5 continents – requesting more information, etc.

After a few months of trying to answer everyone, with frustration setting in, I simply started to ask, “When can you fly to Harrisburg?” It was a big ask. And it started to work.  

The lesson: conversion is the key. Marketing activities, generating patient demand, are not worth 2 cents, without conversion.

Conversion can include automation (and increasingly does).  However, all roads eventually lead to a human-to-human conversation.  It’s worth your while to master this as an organization.

How do we do that at Breakthrough?

It starts with Lead Management. If you’re truly generating patient demand – and the ad responses that come with it, sticky notes and spreadsheets aren’t going to cut it.  There’s too much wasted time…too many dropped balls.  That’s where Lead Management saves the day. Your staff will know exactly who to call or email and when. You’ll be able to update a contact with one click and automatically send reminders.

Then we have email automation. Email automation done well provides value, establishes your authority, celebrity and expertise, and ultimately increases the likelihood that lead has the human-to-human conversation with your practice. Included in the automation are pre-built email sequences you can pick and choose from to save time on follow-up. 

Rounding out conversion is Two-Way Texting.  Why? Some people prefer email, others are collecting thousands of unread emails in their inbox. Almost all who don’t prefer email will respond to a text message. We want to get through.

Finally, We Need to Measure It

As this Attraction and Conversion is happening, we must Measure what is happening, so we can do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.

This means ROI Intelligence. Which platform are we advertising on that is generating the most plans of care? Where are we having drop-offs or leaks in our processes?

Benchmark Insights – What’s a solid conversion rate in a workshop?  What % of the First Appointments (free screens, IEs or Discovery Visits) result in a plan of care – broken down by each clinician? These are variables we want to benchmark so you know where to focus your energies.

Training and Coaching – What are the workshop closes that work the best?  What should we say to the registrant who’s already tried PT and failed?  This is where a collection of best practices start with a coach walking you through the learning curve.

What’s next?

As your team improves their skill sets and competencies, you buy more market share, and the cycle repeats, beginning with Attraction. This is the exact process I’ve used to open our new locations and build to 5 full time clinicians within 18 months (now 3…almost 4 times).

The Attract / Convert / Measure flywheel is the key to consistent growth. The flywheel will be the backbone of private practice marketing today and in the future. 

Learn how to implement the Flywheel into your practice today. Request a demo. 

PT marketing strategies to fill your new hire's schedule

Conquer hiring fears with PT marketing strategies that create a steady stream of new patients.

As a Private Practice Owner, there are several tell-tale signs when it’s time to hire. 

  • You consistently have a full patient load
  • Or you spend all your time treating and not enough time working on your business
  • You may even have a waitlist (this could mean it is far past-time to start!) 

Yet even when the signs are apparent, many practice owners still harbor doubts when it comes time to hire. 

You may wonder if you can attract enough clients to your clinic. Or think that your patients have grown attached to you and your current staff. That they wouldn’t want to be treated by someone new. You may fear the costs of hiring would exceed the increased revenue.  

Many practice owners experience these fears of expanding their business. But there are plenty of successful practice owners who are able to grow, hire, and expand each year. Their secret? Implementing effective systems and repeatable processes to consistently produce a steady stream of new patients. 

In this article, you’ll get a blueprint for how to never run out of patients. The strategies in this article will help you consistently attract patients, scale your business, hire more, and keep growing your practice. 

Once you build a system that works for consistently getting more patients to your clinic, you can hire without fear. You can even open new practices and use the same tactics to grow them.

The State of PT Hiring in 2022

Before diving into PT marketing strategies, let’s look at the the hiring landscape for physical therapists now and in the future. 

At the macro level, an aging population and advancements in medicine are helping people live longer. This creates increased demand for physical therapy and other types of conservative care. Physical therapy is also becoming more accessible as more states open up for direct access

As a result, The APTQI estimates that the US will need 27.000 new physical therapists by 2025 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2030, there will be a 21% growth in PT job openings. Currently, there are around 13,000 people graduating with a physical therapy degree in the US annually. 

What does this mean for your practice? A couple of things:

  • The demand for physicians will keep growing for the foreseeable future. 
  • Because of increasing demand, the job market will become very competitive (it already is). Finding new hires that fit your needs will get harder.
  • With increased demand, salaries will go up. This means that each clinician you add to your staff is more valuable than they were a year ago.
  • A competitive job market means you’ll have to attract the best clinicians. You’ll face stiff competition by the hospital system.

How to Compete in Today’s Hiring Market

The key here is to make your practice an appealing place for people to work. More patients equals the ability to deliver higher salaries and better benefits. A demonstrable track record of consistent patient demand will show potential hires that they’ll have job security. You also want to be able to paint a clear picture of future growth. This motivates future and current staff members. 

Being able to quickly and consistently attract patients and fill a new hire’s schedule helps make your practice attractive to potential hires. In fact, you should start attracting new patients even before onboarding new staff.

When Should a New Hire Have a Full Schedule?

The timeline for having a full schedule for a new hire depends on various factors, like your practice’s location and popularity. Many successful practices follow a timeline such as this: 

  1. 90 days before hiring: If you’re not already at full capacity, this is a good time to implement a patient demand system to create a steady stream of patients for your new hire. A patient demand system includes solutions for marketing across platforms such as online advertising, email automation, and two-way texting.
  2. First 90 days after hiring: Once you’ve hired someone, it usually takes about 90 days to fully onboard a clinician.  This includes getting the PT used to their operations, acquainted with the front office, and taught to deliver the standard of care expected from the clinic. It’s normal to have a new PT work at lower capacity during this time.
  3. After 90 days on the job: After this first probation period, the new hire should be working at full capacity (or close to it). They should be integrated with the system, and visit as many patients as possible. A great way to structure your staff’s schedules is to have experienced clinicians seeing existing patients, and to fill your new hire’s schedule with new patients from cold traffic. 

PT Marketing Strategies for Attracting a Steady Flow of Patients

You have way more control over the client acquisition practice now than in the past. Back in the day, clinics relied on word-of-mouth and referrals to keep their practices working. These tactics are great to keep in the mix, but should not be relied on for all of your business.  

Nowadays, a complete recipe for growth goes beyond referrals and word of mouth. It includes a plethora of channels and tactics for reaching potential customers, including online and offline strategies. 

Typically, growing practices should budget around 10% of revenues for marketing. Marketing includes strategies to engage existing and past patients, such as automated email blasts, two-way texting and direct mail. It also encompasses advertising (both online and offline) for cold traffic. You can advertise online on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube. A comprehensive direct-to-consumer marketing strategy should also include automated lead management and follow-up to ensure a strong ROI for your ad spend. 

 Creating a Successful PT Marketing Campaign

It may feel a little overwhelming at first, but with the right processes and system in place, you can generate a constant influx of patients. You can avoid the dreaded feeling that you are continually reinventing the wheel each month by implementing plug-and-play campaigns that repeat throughout the year

Here is a 5-steps process for creating a successful marketing campaign:

  • Start by defining your audience. For example, if your clinic serves an older demographic, you’ll want to focus on means of communication favored by older folks. Things like snail mail and phone texts can yield amazing results for you. Conversely, younger audiences are easier to reach with digital marketing. 
  • Your messaging should be patient-focused. Most of your patients don’t know what latissimus dorsi is, or that they have tendonitis. They know they have pain, and only care about fixing it. And that’s how your marketing messaging should be. Make it patient-focused by using everyday language. 
  • Identify the channels you’ll start testing for both cold traffic and past patients. Different media types can be appropriate for different stages of the patient journey. For instance, Facebook and YouTube ads are great for cold traffic. They help educate a large, unaware audience that you have a solution for them. Google is more appropriate for advertising to a more aware audience that is already looking for physical therapy clinics in their area. Email, direct mail, and two-way texting are great tools for engaging past patients. 
  • Design a compelling offer. “Attend a workshop on solving back pain.” “Give the gift of a free screening to a friend or family member.” “Schedule an appointment easily online.” These are examples of call-to-actions, or compelling offers, that you can promote in your campaigns. Each campaign should highlight one clear call-to-action. For cold traffic, workshops are an incredibly powerful offer to promote online. This strategy lets you showcase your clinicians’ expertise on the workshop’s topic. Instead of telling people you can solve their health issues, you get to show them. And you enhance efficiency by driving multiple potential patients into your clinic at once. 
  • Measure how your campaigns are doing. Set targets for each of your campaigns, and ways of tracking how they are doing. This is all data that you’ll use in the future to refine your marketing strategies and prove ROI. A patient demand software like Breakthrough will have easy-to-understand reporting and dashboards built-in. 

Patient Demand Systems for Consistent and Predictable Growth

You can’t rely exclusively on referral marketing anymore. If you want your practice to thrive and grow, you must build a system that takes people from being unaware of your services to paying customers. 

In marketing speak, this is called a funnel. Patients are either unaware of your service, aware of it but unsure if it’s the right one for them, or ready to buy. The perfect marketing system gets people from all of these places, and gently accompanies them to the bottom of the funnel, which is purchasing a care plan. 

That’s why here at Breakthrough we built an all-in-one platform that does the heavy lifting for you. Its beauty lies in how it sustains itself. It starts by giving you the right tools, like our powerful online advertising tools and done-for-you campaigns to attract clients to your practice. Then, through email automation, two-way texting and lead management tools, it converts them into paying customers. This process generates lots of data you can then use to optimize your messaging throughout the customer acquisition process and beyond.

Do you want to learn more PT marketing strategies for consistently increasing patient growth? Request a demo today. 

See how our platforms can help you create a self-sustaining marketing system that makes filling a new hire’s schedule easy. 

Breakthrough Marketing Technology

Get More Patient Visits and Make Life Easier on Your Staff

Running your own physical therapy practice is extremely rewarding, but also challenging. Caring about patients is only  part of the business. You have to hire the right staff. Build a profitable business. And to do all of that, you have to consistently attract patients. Physical therapy marketing technology can help. 

The name of the game is no longer about physician referrals. Nowadays, people are searching for healthcare services online. It’s the perfect time to establish your online presence and use the power of physical therapy marketing to grow your practice.

Make marketing technology work for you. Leverage automation to improve your processes, so your team can spend less time on activities like following up with leads, and focus more time on delivering the best possible customer experience.

In this article, we are going to see how marketing technology can impact your business, and why you should embrace technology to increase your staff’s efficiency.

Identifying the Right Technology for You

Technology simplified our life, and keeps simplifying it with each passing day. What once took lots of people and inefficient processes can now be automated. Automatic systems aren’t prone to error—unlike humans—and free up people to work on higher value tasks.

You have likely had both good and bad experiences implementing new technologies in your practice. Learning a new system takes effort, and some are overly complex and time-consuming. One good rule-of-thumb for avoiding this problem is to identify technology that is designed specifically with the physical therapy practice in mind. These technologies have the best chance of integrating seamlessly with your existing processes and operations. 

So what can technology do for your practice? 

5 Benefits of Using Marketing Technology in Your Physical Therapy Practice 

There are 5  main benefits to using marketing technology to increase your business’ efficiency:

  1. You attract more patients

Technology simplifies the customer’s decision making process. If I have some sort of pain and I’m unsure if I should bother getting it checked out, the last thing I want to do is call 4 different practices to figure things out.

But if I regularly see educational advertisements from your practice about my condition, then I know to think of your practice when I’m in pain. I will think of you as the authority on the subject, and look up your practice when in need. 

Relying on a single channel—be it referrals or ads—is risky. You never know when it will stop working. But with technology, you’ll build up multiple acquisition channels. 

Make it easy for people to find you and get an appointment, and you’ll notice that your practice will grow on autopilot. 

2) You convert more leads into paying patients

Nobody likes calling a physical therapy practice and finding a busy landline. People are used to setting up appointments online, where they can see a range of available hours. That way, they don’t have to plan their day around the visit but can pick a time that works best for them.

Plus, calling comes with other inefficiencies. Your front-desk operators could make mistakes when writing down customer information, or the call could drop at any moment. These moments are extremely frustrating for all parts, but technology like two-way texting can help you avoid them. A study conducted by Avochato showed that across all generations over two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents would prefer an unfamiliar company to contact them via text rather than a phone call. Research shows that 3 out of 4 consumers actually get frustrated when they can’t text a business back. 

Imagine what could be possible with technology like an automatic messaging system. For example, a patient could call you, find a busy line, and get a text that suggests visiting your site to schedule an appointment. These types of process improvements can go a long way in helping get more patients in the door.  

3. You can centralize lead and customer data

What we’ve seen from businesses all over the country, is that most are quite disorganized. They have customer data scattered through emails, drawers, and Excel sheets. That’s fine when you’re just getting started, but it gets confusing real quick.

This is particularly important in physical therapy marketing because your messaging determines how well your ad campaigns will perform. And it’s impossible to get the messaging right without in-depth knowledge of your customers.

But with technology, you can centralize your data in a single hub. No more wasting time and energy combing through your records to find your customers’ information. With Patient Demand Software, you can see all your leads with actionable guidance on who to follow up with and when. Your front desk will be grateful for this.

4) You gain a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not 

Phone calls and traditional flyers have a huge weakness. They don’t give you any data on their effectiveness. Digital marketing solutions like ads and patient demand platforms solve this issue by giving you ROI intelligence and metrics tracking. Clear insights into marketing and staff performance allow you to ditch the spreadsheets and see the performance of your marketing efforts all in one place. 

5) You improve employee satisfaction and make it easier to hire

Aside from preventing mistakes, your front desk operators have more intellectually stimulating tasks to do. Starting at spreadsheets all day is mind-numbing and time-consuming. It’s also a low-value activity that lowers their productivity. 

Is your front desk spending most of their time on the phone booking appointments? That could easily be improved with technology. 

Use QR codes to get people to book appointments from you. Redirect people to your website when you can have online forms to automate data collection. Automate Insurance eligibility verification.

All of these activities are performed by front desks of inefficient practices. But with a little investment in the right technologies, you can get computers to perform then. This will lift a huge weight off your front desk’s shoulders.

Since these people are the face of your practice, you want them to always be in top shape.

By automating processes, you free up lots of time that your staff can spend on more fruitful activities. They’ll also be more satisfied with their work because you’ll have lifted them from tasks that nobody enjoys doing.

The Big Picture: Why Technology Matters

Implementing a solid physical therapy marketing strategy will make your practice thrive. You’ll be able to open more offices, add more clinicians, and improve your practice value. There is something special about seeing your business grow. 

You’re not only improving your patients’ lives, but you’ll also make your employees’ lives better. Everybody wins.

Technology, if used well, will drastically grow your practice. You can improve your services, attract more people who can benefit from your services, and streamline your processes. But, the key phrase  is “if used well.” You need everyone who works in your practice to understand the advantage of using technology, and must be trained accordingly. 

For physical therapy practices, technology can be looked at as a tool to improve your patients’ lives. If your patients are satisfied, they’ll gladly suggest your clinic to their peers, and become your best marketers.

It’s an investment for the future. Technology will turn your clinic into a sustainable business that grows on autopilot. 

Are you interested in giving your business the boost it deserves? Request a demo today, and see how Patient Demand Software can help you make your practice thrive.

 

Practice Growth Plan

How to Make Next Year the Best Year Ever for Your Private Practice

The holidays are approaching and we’re all looking forward to a much needed break and time with family. But before closing out the year, I highly encourage you to spend time building your 2022 private practice growth plan. With patient visits starting to wind down, now is a great time to get clear on what you want to achieve next year. 

We recently hosted a Webinar on this exact topic, so this video will walk you through the entire strategy and plan!

Why Create a 2022 Private Practice Growth Plan?

Because if there’s one activity I’ve seen that separates successful practices from struggling ones, it’s this: Setting measurable objectives and creating a practice growth plan that gets you there. An astounding number of practice owners don’t go through this process. And they’re usually the ones left wondering what went wrong. 

As healthcare practitioners, we face many challenges associated with a broken system. But with a bit of planning and strategy, you can take control of your own destiny and build a legacy that lasts. 

It’s always important to have a clear plan, but this year it feels even more urgent. With high inflation and a competitive hiring market, our costs are higher than ever. There’s not much we can do about it. That means we need to get very strategic about what we can control: The amount of revenue we bring in. Follow the practice growth planning process below to develop your strategy for increasing top-line revenue. 

How to Create an Annual Practice Plan

To do this process right, you should dedicate around two full workdays to building out your practice growth plan. If you have a leadership team, you can work through this process together.

I’ve created a tool to help guide you through annual planning: The Ultimate 2022 Planning Tool. Download the tool and sign up for the 2022 Planning Webinar, where I’ll walk you through how to best use the tool for your planning process. 

For any private practice, there are 3 pillars of successful practice growth. An effective way to begin is by assessing each of these key areas and determining what’s needed to achieve your goals in each one. 

3 Pillars of a Practice Growth Plan

1.Financial Plan

What are my projected revenues and costs? Do I need to make changes to increase top-line revenue? 

According to Greg Crabtree’s book, Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!, service-based businesses in the healthcare field typically have profit margins between 10 to 25%. The average margin in physical therapy is 14%. 

I prefer to aim for the high side of that range, and regularly see margins upwards of 20% in my practice. 

If your earnings are 10% or less, your business is at high risk. If this is you, then developing a strategy to improve profitability should be your #1 priority if you want to stay in business. 

To calculate your profit margins, subtract your costs from your earnings. Start by calculating these numbers for 2021, then project out to 2022. 

You can calculate total gross revenue by multiplying the number of treatment plans with treatment plan value. 

Expenses are derived from personnel, billing, marketing, space, office expenses (e.g. office supplies), and clinical expenses (e.g. medical devices). 

Once you’ve calculated 2021 earnings, it’s time to forecast 2022 profitability. Ask yourself questions like: 

  • How many treatment plans do I expect?
  • Has the value of a treatment plan changed?
  • How can I increase the value of each patient? 
  • Do I need to make any personnel changes?
  • What is my marketing strategy and what ROI can I expect? 
  • Are there any changes in financial expenditures? 

 2. Personnel and Hiring Plan

Do I need to make any personnel changes to grow profitability? 

If you have a full schedule, a waitlist, and space, then guess what — it might be time to bring on another clinician. Bringing on more clinicians enables you to serve more people in your community and increase profitability.

It’s a competitive hiring market, and there are a lot of changes in supply and demand in the workforce right now. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire right now. You likely only need one or two new clinicians. Even in a competitive market, it’s very possible to find a great fit. 

Follow best hiring practices: In your job ads and interview process, be very descriptive about what you’re looking for in the role. Make sure it’s a good culture fit and paint a picture of growth at your practice. Learn more about hiring mistakes and best practices in the upcoming 2022 planning webinar

3. Private Practice Marketing Plan

What strategies and systems will I use to increase revenue? 

Your marketing strategy is your biggest lever for increasing top-line revenue. When evaluating what changes you want to make to your marketing strategy for 2022, I recommend asking yourself the following questions: 

  • How will I attract more patients?
  • Can I increase per patient revenue? 
  • What’s my plan for reactivating past patients? 

As you answer these questions, consider: What goals do you want to achieve in each area? Which tools, systems and channels will you use? How much ROI can you expect from each strategy? 

To keep your practice profitable and growing, you should spend around 10% of your total revenue on marketing. For established practices, you can split your marketing budget between attracting new patients and reactivating past patients. Newer practices (under 2 years old) will want to allocate the majority of marketing budget towards cold traffic and spend a smaller amount on engaging past or existing patients. 

Ready to start planning for 2022? Let’s chat about partnering and automating your patient demand: head over for a free consultation

patient centric marketing

When talking to potential patients, most Physical Therapy practice owners focus only on their programs and products. They spend all their time talking about the PT services themselves, but by doing so, they’re neglecting a huge piece of their marketing strategy: the takeaway

In other words, what is the audience going to take away or remember about your message? What knowledge will they gain? If there’s nothing adding something worthy to their lives, they’re not going to act on your message, and they’re likely not going to remember it. 

You don’t want to get hung up on the details or start talking in professional terminology that only someone in the industry would understand, but this is the reality for a lot of PT practices when they’re trying to market themselves. It’s hard for them to step outside of the office and look inward from a patient’s perspective to develop messaging that speaks to the patient’s understanding of their own needs.

How can you shift from Physical Therapy Medical talk to delivering tangible, honest value to prospective patients? It starts with creating your unique value proposition and learning how to translate it into every component of your marketing strategy. Let’s dive in.

What is Patient Centric Marketing? What does it mean to be truly Patient focused?

Patient centric marketing flips the script and prioritizes value to the patient. Instead of talking about you, it pulls the patient into what you can do for them. You’re not just sharing content or creating workshops that will help the patient; you’re also trying to put the benefits into a perspective that the patient can understand, digest, and decide if it’s right for them.

Patient Centric gives a nod to fully immersing the patient in the experience, from their first click to the website experience to the way you navigate them through the funnel. It ensures that the view of your brand will be all about healing and helping the Patient recover.

Physical Therapy Medical Talk vs Patient Care

Promoting a Service vs. Promoting Value

Before we get into specifics, let’s visualize a quick example: 

If you’re shopping for a car, and the salesperson is telling you the car has a powder coat paint finish, you might politely nod in agreement. But when they tell you that the powder coating is more resistant to chipping, scratches, and wear and will keep your car looking like new for longer, then you might start tuning in.

It’s a similar story with physical therapy marketing. PT practice owners tend to focus too much on the service side of the business rather than the education.

And it’s through education that your audience will start to connect their own dots, draw their own conclusions, and decide to take action without you having “sold” them anything. 

Physical Therapy clinic owners often invest in self-serving marketing. They try to promote a program, a Physical Therapy workshop, or a new product, and even though these things will benefit the patient, the messaging is ultimately focused on the practice. 

To do this well, PTs need to first identify their value to the patients. You can help them eliminate pain, avoid expensive surgery, live a better quality of life, heal from an injury—there’s a lot of value in working with a Physical Therapist over another type of healthcare professional. 

But first and foremost, you need to translate this value in a way that patients can relate to. 

Finding Your PT Practice's Value Proposition

Finding Your PT Practice’s Unique Value Proposition

By definition, a unique value proposition (UVP) is a clear statement on the benefits of what you offer, how you solve your patients’ needs, and what makes you different from the competitors. These are what make your PT Practice truly patient centric.

In physical therapy, every practice should have two value propositions:

The first is what sets them apart from other healthcare options, such as surgery, a general practitioner, or a chiropractor. In a recent webinar, I asked our attendees (who were all physical therapists) where they thought people would go if they had back pain. Around 90% of them said a chiropractor, and that’s a big indication that we haven’t done a great job in building the value of what we do to become a go-to choice for the conditions we treat.

The second value proposition that PT practices should create is what sets them apart from other PT practices in the area. People have options, and the few that do choose PT as their treatment of choice will need to know why they should select you versus a POPTs or HOPTs practice, or even another private practice nearby. 

Take time to flesh out ideas that not only make you unique but also valuable in the eyes of your patients and prospects. These ideas aren’t necessarily something you’ll show to the public, but you can use them when developing your marketing messages and test your content against them. 

If you find that your Physical Therapy marketing isn’t reflective of your value propositions, then you’ll know you need to do some tweaking.

4 Ways to Promote Your Value in Your Direct Access Marketing

We’ve given value a face and a name, so now, let’s explore some ways you can make your value tangible for your patients. Remember, the typical audience isn’t going to understand PT terms and procedures the same way you do. It’s not their background, so they need an easy way to put your benefits and value into perspective from the outside looking in.

Here are four common Patient Centric PT marketing tools that are ideal for highlighting value:

Physical Therapy Workshops

Physical Therapy Workshops

Seminars, webinars, and workshops are too often synonymous with sales pitches, and that shouldn’t be the case in physical therapy. 

Your overall goal, of course, is to get more people to learn about your practice and the services you provide. But ultimately, the seminar itself is about the patient. You’re sharing information about a problem they’re experiencing, tackling potential causes of that problem, helping them understand ways to prevent the problem from recurring, and most importantly—proposing a clear solution that will solve their problem.

Your seminar should be designed so that no matter how many people sign up for a program of care or call for more information, every person will be able to walk out of your doors with something helpful, insightful, or important and not feel like they’ve wasted their time listening to a sales pitch.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the collective term for blog posts, social media posts, videos, e-books, and all the other content you create and publish to promote your practice. This is by far the easiest and most effective way to promote your value because your content doesn’t have to say anything about your practice or services. 

The main goal of content marketing is to position you as the subject authority in your area. People who read your content will learn from what you’re sharing, and they’ll know who to turn to if they ever have a problem you can help them solve.

Added benefits include increasing brand recognition, improving relationships with your patients and community, building trust, and giving you something to use to start conversations with your prospects. 

Good content isn’t overly salesy in nature but rather focuses primarily on the educational aspect of marketing. Let people draw their own conclusions from it, or include a call-to-action that encourages them to reach out for more information.

Online Reviews and Testimonials

Online reviews are powerful in patient centric marketing. Studies show that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a referral from a friend or family member, while 82% of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision. 

The interesting part here is that your patients are the ones who are delivering your value proposition; not you. They’re sharing their own experiences with your practice, how you helped them, why they chose you, and why they’ll do business with you again. 

Patient Retention Marketing

Retaining Physical Therapy patients is only possible when you’ve done a thorough job of promoting value throughout their experience. When you start a patient retention or reactivation marketing strategy, you should continue sharing valuable content and education that will remind them of how much you helped them in the past. 

Similar to the influence of online reviews, patients who continue to seek your services after completing a program are living proof of your value. They achieved great results, they’re living a higher quality of life, and they won’t hesitate to visit you if they get injured again or experience a new problem. 

In Closing

The biggest takeaway in pivoting  is that you not only need to show your prospects how you’re different but also why that difference is important. They’ve been sold enough by doctors and other providers, and this is your chance to step up and show them there’s a better way.

For more direct marketing access insights and patient centric marketing strategies, head over to our Physical Therapy Marketing & Business Resource Center to check out our newest online training.

Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas

If you’re reading this, then the chances are that you’re either a physical therapy private practice owner trying to wear ALL hats or the single marketing person in a practice that’s trying to get new ideas…but you have one burning problem around solving the physical therapy marketing mystery.

You want new and innovative ways to market your PT practice, get net new patients to convert into plans of care, and you want to grow the overall valuation of your practice…

You want

  • more referrals
  • more direct access patients
  • more business from your past customers

If that’s the case, then you’re in for a treat.

In this article and the video below you’re going to find out some of the best ideas I’ve found over the years in physical therapy marketing for my practice.

Ideas which grew Madden PT 600% in 30 months.

We even have great podcast (video) episodes you can watch directly related to PT marketing including:

The 3 Physical Therapy Marketing Target Areas

There are three “target markets” that you can focus your efforts on to get more patients. These are…

Marketing To the General Public

This is simple.

You market to members of the general population.

People who’ve never heard of you, who are coming across you “cold”. You could try any DIY marketing channel from SEO, to Google my Business location and reviews, to Google Adwords, to dipping your feet in the water on Facebook…go to where you audience is!

And then become Direct Access patients.

In spite of all the recent trends, we’ve gone from starting out with no Direct Access…to having over 80% of our patients be Direct Access.

This can be a powerful marketing strategy if done right.

Marketing to Past Patients

If there’s one axiom in business it’s this:

Your best future customers are your past customers.

And in private practice, your best patients are your past patients.

You’ve already built a relationship with them, they already trust you, and they already know the quality of care they’re going to get.

So why not market to them?

Marketing to Physicians

Yes, there are industry trends which are pushing referrals down, such as POPTS practices opening up and local hospitals doing all they can to kill referrals.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore marketing to physicians (only that it’s unwise to rely on it)..

Back in 2007 we hit a high of 154 physician referrals a month.

More recently we hit a low of 29.

We went from 154 to 29. Which admittedly is not great.

But guess what?

Even though this is a decrease, that’s still about 350 referrals a year.

350 people who were in pain and got help naturally.

And as you and I both know, those referrals can lead to lifetime customers that will never leave your practice.

 

 

The Proven Physical Therapy Marketing Strategies

Okay, those are three areas you can target to get more patients. But how do you go about doing this? What can you specifically get started on?

Well here are my #1 strategies for each of those markets.

1. Using Workshops to Get More Direct Access Patients

Workshops are the #1 most powerful tool I’ve found to get Direct Access patients.

Over the years we’ve had patients fly into Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from Montana, California, Lexington, Kentucky, Atlanta, and Georgia to name a few.

You can have the same results by throwing your own workshops.

How?

Well, I’ll give you an example.

We ran a Facebook advertising campaign (not easy, but doable) for a live Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.

Guess how many signups we got?

35.

Yup. 35 new potential Direct Access patients. All from one workshop.

Fast-forwarding to this weekend, we have another one scheduled and we have 43 people registered to attend.

So if you’re looking for a silver bullet to attract new patients from the general public, this is it.

Master the art of throwing workshops and you’ll have a source of new patients for the lifetime of your business.

2. Using Newsletters to Maintain the Relationship with Your Past Patients.

Use Newsletters for Direct Access Patients

Your past patient base is your most valuable asset. These are people who’ve been treated by you, who like and trust you, and who are more likely to come to you again.

But how do you tap into this asset? How can you utilize your past patients for future business?

Well…there are two ways your past patients can help your business.

The first is them returning to you for additional care.

For example, maybe they came in for back pain a year ago, and now they’re coming to you for a total knee replacement.

Now this is not really under your control, however what is under your control is providing quality care, as that’s why they’ll come back.

But you’re probably doing that already.

So what can you do to get more referrals from this asset?

Well…the second way they can help is by referring other people to your practice.

Your past patients know and trust you, they benefited from your help, so when they find out a friend or colleague of theirs is in pain, and it’s the easiest thing for them to recommend you.

But you can’t just sit back and wait for that to happen. What can you do to aid this process?

The best method I’ve found is to use a newsletter. I’ve been doing a newsletter for over 12 years, and have invested over a million dollars in newsletter printing.

This stuff works. When it comes to newsletters I put my money where my mouth is.

Without a newsletter, we’d have never been able to weather the storm of POPTS practices springing up in our area, and 3 local hospitals employing more than 70% of our referral services, making it hard to build a relationship with local physicians.

This would kill most private practices, but because of our newsletter we were able to survive that crisis.

3. “Top 3 Program” for Physicians

Like I mentioned before, physicians are still a great source for referrals. If you’re not tapping into this source, you’re losing hundreds if not thousands of potential patients.

But what if your local hospital won’t let physicians refer patients to you? What can you do then?

There has been times where I’ve not been even let through the door to talk to physicians I’ve treated.

So how can you get referrals from them?

Well this is by using something we call our Top 3 Program. By using this you can fly under the radar of the hospital, add value to the physicians and their patients, and get referrals.

We surveyed some physicians and asked them

“If I came in for back pain, what would you do for me?”

“Well, we’d hand you an exercise sheet.”

And they handed us this exercise sheet, and I was couldn’t believe my eyes.

It was an old ancient pamphlet that was out of date.

Specifically it was a 1977 AMA handout printed on pink paper with 9 lower back exercises on it. Almost every physician in our area had this.

It was out of date, wasn’t visually appealing, and had no form of differential diagnosis.

I know this because I asked the physicians,

“If I had stenosis which exercise would you give me?”

“Uh…well I’d tell you to do all of them.”

Really?

  • Just to clarify, this exercise sheet had 3 William Flexion Exercises, appropriate for stenosis or arthritis.
  • 3 were for SI joint and pelvic instability involving core strengthening exercises.
  • The last 3 were mainly extension exercises, which in particular seemed to be for disc herniation.

And if I was a patient and came in for stenosis I’d have to do all 9 of them?

Talk about overkill.

This was a problem that needed to be solved. The physician didn’t know enough to do a differential diagnosis, and the patient needed specific information that would improve their quality of life.

So we came up with an idea. The conversation with the physicians went like this:

“Hey, what about if I created a brochure that you could hand out to the patient who is older than 50, has pain standing and walking and gets relief from sitting, and they likely have stenosis on an x-ray….would that be beneficial?”

“Of course”

And that’s what we did.

We created 3 different brochures with the top 3 exercises for each problem:

The Top 3 Exercises for Lower Back Pain for Arthritis, Disc Degeneration and Stenosis.

The Top 3 Exercises for Lower Back Pain, Pain Bending Forward, Herniated Disc and Sciatica.

The Top 3 Exercises for Lower Back Pain, Pain with Sitting, Getting In & Out of the Car and Rolling Over in Bed, SI Joint Pain.

But wait…why would we want a physician handing these out? Surely this removes you from the equation?

Well, not really.

First off these physicians aren’t referring us as many patients as they could.

Second, we’re looking to build a relationship with these patients. We want them to feel like they stumbled upon us more than the fact the physician referred us.

Why? Because in our area making referrals is not really what the physicians are strong in.

They’re unlikely to make a referral, but they are likely to hand out a brochure.

But how does this brochure drive us business?

Well at the bottom of the brochure we have a clear call to action to learn more about their condition. And that opens a whole other conversation.

This method is amazing, because not only is it a value add for the physician AND the patient. It also flies under the hospital’s radar.

If for example, you’re in an area where hospitals won’t let you in, doctors can still hand these out and won’t get in trouble. It’s not a referral, it’s a brochure to help their patients.

In Summary

These are the top 3 physical therapy marketing methods we’ve used to grow our private practice in the three different sources of business.

There are quite a few other ideas you can use to market your practice, such as writing reports and books, which you can find more about in the video and below.

However, if you want the best bang for your buck, the three strategies I mentioned will start boosting your private practice:

  • Hosting workshops to attract the general public and get more Direct Access patients
  • Writing and publishing a newsletter to encourage your past patients to return and send you referrals.
  • Top 3 Programs to encourage physicians to discreetly market your practice.

These ideas have helped our private practice weather many storms, and ensure we have a constant source of revenue, despite local market conditions.

If you’re interested in learning more about Direct Access Marketing, be sure to check out this free training:

How To Attract Over 60 Direct Access Patients Each Month With Predictability

This training reveals the full “Patient Attraction Engine” System that I and over 179 other practice owners are using to attract 50+ patients from the internet every single month.

Also be sure to visit our PT Marketing and Business Resources with Courses, Podcasts, Books, Cheat Sheets, and More!

Opening a De Novo Clinic

*Updated: Original Publish Date 3/4/2020 / Latest Version changed 7/14/2021

Many owners go into private practice Physical Therapy with the goal of having more than one location. At Breakthrough, we’ve worked with a number of owners who have multiple locations in their home state and are opening up de novo clinics continuously.

At my practice, Madden PT, there’s a process that we follow to help us think through the opening of a de novo clinic location. We just opened our third clinic about a year ago, and we made it to the break-even point by our second full month. And now, we’re operating at about 100% capacity with two full-time PTs and two full-time PTAs.

If you have the time, I actually recorded a video to walk through this subject!

This is a huge difference compared to when we opened our second clinic about ten years ago. We didn’t know how to do it the way we would today, and we struggled for a few years before getting it up to speed.

We’re planning to open two new locations in the next few months, and we plan on using the same process we used a year ago to max out these locations quickly. 

3 Keys to Consider When Opening a De Novo Clinic (New Location)

Before you start to open a new location, there are three core things to think about that will guide your decisions:

  • Location – It’s a tired cliché, but location really is the most important thing when choosing a new location.
  • Pro Forma – Your numbers need to make sense before you decide to open a new location.
  • Next Steps – You need a plan to hit the ground running when you open the doors to your de novo clinic.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail. 

Location

When choosing a location, you’ll want to look at three things:

  • Where people live – This is the location of your target market. Ideally, your target market is a female aged 45-64 who is likely making appointments for herself, her husband, her children, and maybe even her parents (about 70% of all healthcare appointments are made by someone fitting this demographic).
  • Where people work – Most people want service providers that are close to their work or home.
  • Where people shop – The closer and more visible you are to where people shop, the more impressions you generate.

To gain more insight into a location, we use the USPS Every Door Direct Mail map. Enter whatever ZIP code you’re considering for your location and see who lives in that area. This map tells you which areas are residential vs. commercial, the average age of household members, the average household income, and other details. We can also pull a FREE full area assessment for any location using our internal tools that will give you an idea of total addressable market by demographic in that specific area. 

Once you learn about the people in an area, you can figure out where they work and shop and strategically choose your location.

Pro Forma

De Novo location success is also a numbers game. You’ll first want to look at the potential income vs. expenses of the new clinic, including the cost of the space – a Pro Forma for your Physical Therapy Practice. Next, you’ll want to calculate a target six months from your opening that will get you past the break-even point.

Now, step back and think about what you need to do to make those figures a reality.

We surveyed more than 300 private practice PT owners who were considering an expansion and asked them how many months they expected it would take to get an ROI on their de novo space. The first answer we got was from a practice owner who expected to invest anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000. That’s pretty expensive, especially given that we’ve opened new locations for less than $50,000 and done very well. This might make more sense if you’re in a large city instead of a place like Hershey, PA, where we are.

Whatever investment you decide on, the ultimate goal is to go from liability to asset as quickly as possible. As long as you’re still waiting to break even, your new location is a liability. But once it becomes profitable, it becomes an asset. We recommend making six months your target for turning your liability into an asset.

Once you go through the numbers, you’ll start connecting what you need to do to reach your target.

Here’s a sample breakdown:

Pro Forma for your Physical Therapy Practice

Once you’ve calculated your six-month break-even point and potential earnings, you can work backward to connect the dots.

Immediate Next Steps

We run the numbers first so we know exactly how many patients we need to reach our financial goals. In the example above, if we calculate that our potential is 900 patients a month and the average plan of care is about ten visits, then we could say that we need about 90 new patients a month to reach that goal.

Now, your job is to figure out how to get 90 new patients a month. You’ll want to hit the ground running even before your doors open. We do “seeding” workshops before we open the practice to ensure we have patients in our facility on the first day.

We also use the Market Message Media Match Triangle, in particular the Media aspect. If there’s a daily newspaper or other local publication, we want to try it out. EDDM campaigns is another outlet to try. We’re testing different media with bullets (and then cannonballs) to see what gets the best response in that location.

The other thing we do is Facebook Targeting with our automation team. They research specific areas for us and help us figure out more about our location and audience. This helps us decide what might work for that audience, but it also shows us where we might be overlapping with other owners that are part of the Breakthrough family. (By the way, this is something that we do for all of the owners we work with.) 

In Summary

We’re huge proponents of systems and processes here at Breakthrough, and that’s because they give us a better chance of repeating our results once we discover what works. We’ve used the framework outlined here to open additional de novo clinics for Madden PT and help other owners do the same. 

Reach out to chat with our growth team or for more PT practice insights and resources, head over to our free resource center.