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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.