21 Ways PT Practice Owners Wasted Money On Marketing - Survey

21 Ways PT Practice Owners Wasted Money On Marketing – Survey Results

How We Waste Money on our Physical Therapy Marketing


That went well.

Had very positive feedback from Part 1 of this Blog series on how most Private PT Practice Owners are waaaaay too reliant on physician referrals.

And have little or no idea on how to attract more new patients from 2 places:

  1. The General Public
  2. Their Past and Present PT Patient List

(If you missed Part 1, “The Shocking Truth About Physician Referrals for Physical Therapy” you can read it here)

So now that we understand the game is moving from primarily physician referrals to primarily New PT Patients from the public and patient lists.

Let’s discuss how to do that.

And before I give you a super important formula that’s essential to this, I want to share an industry insight with you…

Survey Results: US Private Practice PT Owners Sound Off on How They’ve Wasted Money on Marketing…

Within the past year, we sent out a survey to Private Practice Owners all over the U.S.

And asked this question:

“What’s been your biggest waste of money marketing your PT Practice?”


Here’s a short list of answers (email me at [email protected] for the full report):

  • Facebook
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Direct Mail
  • Postcards
  • Print Ads
  • Programs
  • Sponsorships
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Newspaper
  • T-shirts
  • Newsletters
  • 5K Race
  • Banner Ads
  • Billboards
  • Email Marketing
  • Web site
  • Open House
  • Doctor Lunches

While this list is not all-inclusive of every answer submitted,

It is revealing.

And here’s how…

Pop Quiz

1. Name one way you could market to the General Public that does NOT involve one of the marketing media above.

2. Now, what do you see when you look at the original survey question: “What’s your biggest waste of money marketing your PT practice?”, and the list of answers? What do 100% of the answers have in common?

Here’s how I see it:

There is no way to market to the General Public that does not involve one of the aforementioned methods outside of knocking on doors and cold calling. The real list was exhaustive of just about every way to market ANY business. 100% of the survey answers were MEDIA.


Now here’s what that tells us…

As Private Practice Owners, we have NO IDEA how to use the marketing media available to us.

And because of our ignorance and lack of marketing skill.

We blame the media.

Here’s a More Sophisticated and More Intelligent Way of Looking at It…

And by the way,

Before I get rolling on this “formula”

First realize that I know about this only because:

I used to think the same exact thing…. Early in my Private Practice PT career, I played “Marketing Roulette” with whatever Marketing Rep knocked on my door.

You know the deal!

We’re super busy treating patients in the clinic.

A sales person from the local TV or Radio or Newspaper walks into our clinic.

Talks with the Receptionist,

And she comes to get us.

(The big error really is our Receptionist isn’t trained to put up resistance and take a message but I digress).

So we walk out front.

Listen to their 30 second sales pitch

And agree to some lousy deal just to get that sales person out of our hair.

And get back to treating.

Two weeks later, we’re faced with a deadline for what our ad is supposed to say.

And we quickly throw something together.

OR better yet, just use the copy the media company gives us.

I see other Private Practice Owners do this way too often.

And must confess I did it myself for years.

I’d probably still be doing it.

BUT I discovered this:

The #1 Single Best Formula to Keep In Mind for Your Marketing… Market-Message-Media Match

First, this is not original to me.

I did not invent it.

I read it.

From Dan Kennedy.

I first heard about it in Dan Kennedy’s book, The Ultimate Marketing Plan.

(This book is a must read for any business owner especially Private Practice PTs. If you register and attend my POPTS Direct Access Marketing Webinar and type Ultimate Marketing Plan in the Questions or Chat Tab, I’ll mail you a copy of the book at my cost. It’s that good.)

Anyhow, here’s how the Formula works…

First, let’s define each of the three items.

Market. This is the specific group of people you are targeting your offer to. If you’re selling Physical Therapy marketing services (as I am) and more specifically back pain and sciatica treatment. Then you’re target market may be adults between the ages of 45 and 65.


If you want to improve the likelihood they’ll refer someone else?

Then make it adults 45-65 who are married with kids.

If you want to decrease the likelihood of price resistance (or co-pay complaining)?

Then make it adults 45-65 who are married with kids and have an annual household income of $100,000 or more.

This is Market — the group of people you are targeting.

Next is Message.

Message is what you say in your media.

In newspaper, print, postcards, and newsletters, this is called “copy”.

On the radio, it’s the words you say.

On TV, it the entire audio-visual presentation.

That’s message.

Finally is Media.


This is the channel we are using to communicate our marketing message to our market.

Remember the list of ways we waste money on marketing as Private Practice Owners?

Every single one of the answers submitted was Media.

Now Here’s How the Market-Message-Media Match Formula Works…

If the message and media align with the market, then you have a winner.

An ad that works and will bring in business.

If the message doesn’t match the market,

Then you have a loser.

If the media doesn’t match the market,

Loser again.

So getting back to the ways we’ve wasted money on marketing.

There are likely Message or Market mistakes being made there.

Does that make sense? do you see that?

For example:

Advertising Senior Living on Twitter

How well do you think that would work?

Not well, right?

Not too many 65+ Seniors tweeting 140 characters.

It’s not a match.

Advertising a Logo in a Program and hoping people come in.

Bad message — no match.

Physical Therapy advertising a Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop in a weekly local newspaper that has long copy.



I’ve been working with Private Practice PT Owners all over the US who are crushing it with this method.

Using simple, long form copy in a weekly paper.

Rolled up newspaper on white background

I spoke with one owner this past week who had 55 Registrants for his Workshop.

He frequently converts over 80% of attendees to a full plan of care.

Good deal.

Anyhow, the BIG Point of this is that it’s usually not the fault of the Media we select.

Bad Messaging

And Bad Target Market Selection and Research are MUCH More Common.

So how do we fix that?

I’ll be going more in depth on this topic in our next POPTS Killer Webinar.

You can click here to register for our next Physical Therapy Webinar

If you’re a Private Practice Owner who’s looking to get better ROI on your marketing dollars, then you’re going to love it.

Talk soon,
Chad Madden

PS – Again the link for the next POPTS Direct Access Marketing Webinar is here.

PPS – Remember, if you want a Free copy of The Ultimate Marketing Plan mailed to you, you know what to do.

Get Started

Join hundreds of
practices accelerating
their growth with