Get More Physical Therapy Patients & Spend Less Money On Advertising

Get More Physical Therapy Patients And Spend Less Money

How effectively are you targeting your patient list with promotions? Are you looking to attract more direct access patients while decreasing your advertising spend?

Use two proven marketing principles to hyper-target your promotions to get more PT  patients with less money

So I was on a coaching call recently and got a really good question.

The owner asked if it was reasonable to go to a less frequent mailing schedule for the patient newsletter.

I asked, “Well why would you want to do that?”

He said, “For this section of my business, I’m not quite getting the response that I am looking for.”

I said, “Ok, when you did your last promotion, did you get any response at all?”

He said, “Yeah, we had people respond.”  

“Great, how many did you have?”

He gave the number and I said, “Ok, well what you can do is you can go back and look at your entire patient list.”  I think he had around 5,000 people on his past patient list.

He noted the cost of mailing to that total number…

I said, “So you are looking to save money?”  he said, “Yeah absolutely.”

So he wanted to know how to save money on his mailings yet still maintain or increase the response-rates.

Simple enough…

In this post, I want to show you how to get smarter about the money that you are spending on your ads by using one time-tested marketing principles: Recency

But first, let’s illustrate this out…

Our Patient List Over Time

Get More Direct Access Patients with Breakthrough PT Marketing

To conceptualize our entire mailing list, let’s plot out our patient lists vs time.

Our X axis is time…Day 1 is when you opened up practice.  

As we go along, we should be adding more and more patients to our list…

The Y axis is number of patients on your list.  This list should be growing.  When I started I was at 0 and today I’m around 8,000. You are going to have this for your private practice.  

Maybe you are growing faster, maybe you are growing slower….The principles will be exactly the same.

Anyways, there are two ways to decrease your mailing expenses…Either:

  1. Decrease How Often You Send or…
  2. Decrease the Amount of People You Send to But Target the People Who Are Most Likely to Respond (Targeting)

In this example, we want to find the people who respond to our ads (or mailings) and mail to them more often…and stop mailing to people who don’t respond (to cut down our mailing expenses).

Makes sense right…

Let’s find or target the segment of our past patient lists that respond to our mailings and then focus our ad spend on them…

Now this is where the Recency principle comes into play…

Newer Recent Is Better

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This is key…

The first and easiest way segment your past patients is based off of how long they’ve been on the list…or how recent of a customer they are

A simple exercise is to find out people that respond to your ad and then go back and plot on a timeline and see when those people were patients.

What you should find is that the actual respondents to your promotions are typically going to be newer patients. They are more recent on the timeline…

If somebody came to you for physical therapy, let’s say it was 10 years ago, they are less likely to respond than somebody who came to you 3 months ago.

That is the Recency Principle in action…

You can use that.

So we can go back and find the cut off point on our timeline for the higher responding patients. For my example, we will eliminate maybe 2,000 names.  

So now you are only mailing 3,000.  But these are 3,000 that are the most likely to respond…they are more targeted

It is really, really important that you understand that….

A Buyer is A Buyer!

Increase Your Direct Access Patients

Another thing to understand…we always, always, always want to promote to past buyers (patients).

Let’s say that you live in an area where there is 100,000 people, out of everybody in your area, who is most likely to respond to anything that you offer?  

I don’t care where it is at, Facebook, in a print ad, postcard, newsletter, anywhere at all, with any sort of media, the person who is most likely to respond is the person who has bought from you in the past.  

That is true for any business.  

It is a principle.

It is a long standing truth.  You will be very hard pressed to disprove that….

So first thing first, always promote to your most recent buyers/patients..

With that said, what we absolutely, positively do not want to do is decrease the frequency of our mailings…

Don’t Cut The Frequency!

PT Marketing Strategies with Breakthrough

So remember how the owner wanted to save mailing costs by mailing less frequently?

I would highly recommend not doing that!


It has been proven that monthly, anywhere between 3 and 6 weeks is the range, is the sweet spot for mailing.

With anything, and especially in business, the longer it has been since you’ve communicated with someone (the colder they are) the less likely they are to take you up on an offer…

Here is a story to explain the importance of frequency:

Imagine your High School Prom Date…however long ago that was for you

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably fell out of touch with them as you’ve aged…

Now imagine proposing to them…

Weird Right…

Lesson: You always want to maintain consistent and frequent communication with your past patients and/or prospects

But Am I Supposed To Know The Cutoff Date For My Targeting?

Don't waste PT Marketing Spend

So we are going to segment our mailing list by their recency but where should you draw the line in sand?

It’s going to be different across the board… the best thing to do is…Test It!

Really what you should do is go back and test it.  Once you run any promotion, what you can do is just go plot this out on a timeline and you are going to see a very clear demarcation point of where most of your responders are.

If they are all within the last 3 years, then you can cut it off at 3 years.  

If they are all within the last 7, then you cut it off at 7.

But you want to take a very good guess at where you can spend your dollars the most efficiently and get the best response.

In conclusion, don’t save ad spend by decreasing the frequency of your mailings.  Rather, mail to a list that is more targeted (usually your most recent patients).

Hopefully that makes sense!

As always, if you have a question, feel free to email me.  

Leave a comment below and let me know how this has helped you.  Give me a thumbs up or thumbs down, whatever you want to do.  

Talk to you soon.


P.S. I almost forgot…we are opening up enrollment for our next Direct Access Marketing Class.

If you’re serious about taking your practice to the next level and want to join 100s of other Private Practice PT’s who have successfully implemented direct response marketing systems (just like the ones above) in their practice then apply for Killer Marketing.

Click Here to Apply

Complete the application.

You’ll schedule a call with one of the Coaches I work with to make sure you’re a good fit for the program…

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