My Physical Therapy Marketing Predictions For 2011

2011 will be a great year for physical therapists in private practice if they go beyond their usual ways of marketing and advertising. When I say “Usual Ways” I’m referring to relying on yellow page ads, newspaper ads, radio advertising and other traditional means of marketing. These mediums are slowly becoming less effective in reaching the audience you want to target.

Hopefully in 2010 you were able to avoid some of the physical therapy marketing mistakes that could have prevented you from seeing healthy profits last year in your business.
Moving forward into 2011 as my reader, I don’t want you to become one dimensional in your marketing efforts. An example would be to heavily rely on physician referral marketing as your only marketing strategy.

What if the physician that refers to you one day decides to refer to another clinic? Do you have other marketing streams in place you can tap into? Hopefully you see where I am going with this and stick around to see where I want to take you.

In 2010 many physical therapy private practice owners have discovered new ways of marketing to potential patients using the internet. Some have obtained new patient referrals through their website using effective search engine optimization strategies that I teach on this blog. Others have done it using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. One thing is certain is that using the internet as a way to obtain new patients and clients for your private practice will be something you cannot ignore moving forward into 2011.

How you market your physical therapy private practice in 2011 will determine the outcome of your future revenues and your overall profits. So below I have a few marketing predictions I feel will emerge in 2011 and that can position your physical therapy practice to receive some healthy profits in the future.

1. Mobile Marketing – Statistics have shown more people own a mobile phone than they do computers. People use their mobile phones as location devices, to receive text messages, search for local services in their area, and much more. What better way to get in front of your audience then through the device they use everyday! As a private practice owner you can send appointment reminders via text message, mobile coupons for cash based services, and create a mobile version of your website for those seeking out your services locally. This is only scratching the surface! There are a lot of things you can do with mobile devices in terms of marketing that can really help impact the growth of your private practice. More to come on this hot topic in future blog posts!

2. Online Reviews – More users are looking to online review sites like Google Places and Yelp to read what other patients have to say about their physical therapist. This is why it’s important to get your patients to write raving reviews about the PT services you offer. Good reviews written by your current patients will help build immediate trust between you and that potential patient who’s searching for a physical therapist. When a potential patient sees that other patients you’ve helped were very happy with the services you provided, they’ll trust that you can help them too.

3. Better Website Content – It is important that your website have quality content that provides the right information for your patients and to the public. Providing resourceful articles and informative videos helps potential website visitors view you as a trusted source of information and an expert in your field. The information you provide on your website could be a major pivotal point for a local website visitor to pick up the phone and call your office for an appointment.

4. Local Marketing – Optimizing your website for local keyword search terms will be vital to how people find you online. For instance, if your practice focuses on pediatrics and you are based in Marietta Georgia, then you want to make sure your website is optimized for the keyword phrase “Pediatric Physical Therapist in Marietta Georgia”. Placing your website in the local online directories also increases your visibility to the local community about your services.

5. Ebook Style Newsletters and Exercises Sheets – If you haven’t noticed, the sales of the Barnes and Noble Nook Reader and Amazon Kindle were a hot seller this past Christmas. This is a strong indication that users will soon choose these devices to consume books, magazines, and web content. I see plenty of opportunity here for you, the private practice practitioner, to create content like newsletters or exercise sheets for your patients to be viewed on these devices. Why not go with them when they are on the move?
Creating content for them to use in these “on the go” devices is a great way to brand your physical therapy practice and stay in front of your existing patients that use your services. You will also get a lot of cool points for being on the cutting edge of technology.

6. Better Strategic Use of Social Media – Social Media is probably one of the best free marketing and advertising tools online you can use to promote your physical therapy services. It is the most simplest and cost effective way to introduce your services to a mass market without squashing your marketing budget for the year. Strategic use of sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter can really help you to reach out to more people and spread the word about your physical therapy services. Just keep in mind it takes time to see a return from using social media. Most of your time will be spent building relationships and providing value to your existing patients and those who inquire about your services. If you view it more as a communication tool vs a sales tool then you will have better expectations about the time spent using it and the returns it can provide to your private practice in the future.

Those are my marketing predictions for 2011. I will expand more on some of these topics in future blog posts. If you have any predictions of your own or want to share what your physical therapy business will be doing different this year, please share your comments below. Would love to hear from you!