Physical Therapy Marketing Strategies For 2013

This is my first post for the year. Sorry it came so late. I had plenty of time to think about the direction I want to go with this blog for 2013. You will be happy to know I will be posting a lot more content that will help you get more website traffic to your physical therapy practice or business. Hopefully with the end result leading to more patient referrals than you can handle!

To get things started right, I created a little video presentation that will point you in the right direction for 2013 and for getting  more patients to your private practice from the internet.

 Below you will find the video transcript if you want to read it instead. Please let me know what you think of the content.  Also if you don’t mind sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goggle+, and other bookmarks, it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Video Transcript:

Samuel Awosolu:  Hey, guys. Sam here with PT Marketing Unleashed, and I want to say Happy New Year. Happy 2013. If you want to generate new patients this year using the Internet, listen closely to what I’m going to share with you. I’ve narrowed down seven online and offline marketing strategies that you can use to get more patients for 2013. If you check below, I have a link to a post that I wrote called “My Marketing Predictions for 2012,” and if you took action on any of those marketing strategies, you should’ve seen an increase in awareness of your physical‑therapy practice or some growth in your practice.

Start a Physical Therapy Blog

I want to know how many of you are blogging? If you aren’t, you should start now, and here’s why. I did a Google hangout recently with Dr. Erson Religioso. He has a blog called “The Manual Therapist,” and a lot of how he was able to attract patients into his clinic was through blogging.

What you have to understand is that patients are looking up or Googling their conditions. “Google” is a verb now. They’re Googling medical professionals who can help them treat their medical problems and conditions. If you don’t have content out there that can capture these patients, or at least get them to know more about your physical-therapy practice, then it’s will be a challenge for them to find you.

Patients will have difficulty researching and choosing a medical practitioner or professional online if that medical professional does not have content on the internet showing that they are knowledgeable in their field.

Blogging helps:

1. By placing a lot of content on the search engines so you can be found by patients who are looking for your services

 2. By increasing the awareness of your private practice.

The more content that you have out there, the more you can be found—not only by patients, but also by other healthcare professionals who may want to tap you for other opportunities such as teaching or sponsorship.

Start blogging today if you want to take advantage of the opportunities that can come from it. I have a course—I think I’ve mentioned it—the “PT Blog Academy“. There’s more information on the site if you want to get started with a PT blog.

Create and Upload Online Video Content

YouTube is the second‑most‑searched site in the world, and you can take advantage of it by creating informative videos for the patient population you serve. Some good ideas for videos would be “Dos and Don’ts for Hip and Spine Patients” or “Injury Prevention” for a specific patient population who are into sports. You could demonstrate condition-specific exercises that will achieve a desired result. Some other ideas for videos are to provide on-camera tours of your physical therapy practice or to provide engaging patient-education related videos. These are all types of videos that you can use. You’re only limited by your imagination. You can post these videos on YouTube, and they can drive traffic back to your site where people can find more information about your services.

A cool feature on YouTube is their geo‑targeting feature. Your video is tagged and geo-coded using this special feature. So when someone in your local area is searching on YouTube or Google, your videos, if tagged correctly for your local keyword, will pop up to web visitors who are local to your area.

If they are interested, they can click on a link in the description and visit your website. That’s how you can siphon traffic from YouTube to your website.

Use Social Media to Diversify Your Referral Sources

Something else that you may want to consider for 2013 is social media as a means to diversify your referral resources. I am going to talk a little bit more about this later on. I know many therapists don’t have time to engage in social media, but if you devise a plan to focus on even just a few social media outlets, you can get another stream of referral sources going.

This is done by connecting with other medical and health professionals online, building relationships, inviting them over to your blog or website, and letting them know what your practice is about, the type of patients and people that you see, and the types of services that you provide.

You should also go over to their websites to see what they are offering and what they are doing, and then collaborate with them. You can do all of this through social media. I have done this and have been very successful at it. I know other PTs who have used social media to connect with people and build relationships and they were very successful that way as well. Many things come from utilizing social media.

Using social media to diversify your referral sources is definitely something you should consider. Not too many people are doing it because they are either skeptical or don’t think it’s viable, but I am here to tell you that it is. I know it is because I have seen people doing it and I am doing it—it’s something to consider.

Developing a Small-Scale Mobile Strategy

Develop a mobile strategy now—you all know mobile is huge right now. If you go anywhere outside of your home, you’ll see that everyone is tethered to their mobile devices as if they are another appendage. We are constantly looking at our mobile devices. We are looking at our tablets, our Kindles, and you’ll find that many people search the internet using their mobile devices.

So at least some of the traffic that you will get will come from a mobile device. You want to have a site that’s optimized for mobile. You don’t need anything extravagant; just something really simple that maybe has a Home page, an About Us, maybe a way to collect an e-mail address if you have a newsletter, and then a Contact Us link with a map that can at least guide people to the location of your practice.

This is something very simple, but optimizing your website for mobile screens is something that you shouldn’t ignore. As I said before, if you go anywhere outside of your home—shopping at the mall, to the airports, even to work—and just look around, you see that we’re all tethered to our devices and we do a lot of searching through our mobile phones.

Creating a Presence on LinkedIn

Now, creating a presence on LinkedIn—this is what I was talking about earlier when I mentioned getting referrals using social media and using social media as another source of referral generation. Now, the beauty of LinkedIn is that on LinkedIn, you’ll find many healthcare professionals—a lot of medical professionals on there.

When you create a profile, you can go out and network with them. You can reach out to them. You can reach out to physicians. You can reach out to podiatrists, neurologists.

If you have a sports rehab facility, you can reach out to high school coaches, to college coaches, dance troupes. There are so many people on LinkedIn that you can reach out to professionally, people who you can collaborate with.

There are groups on LinkedIn that you can be a part of too where you can join and start discussions on various topics related to rehab or to physical therapy. It’s great. It’s a great way to meet, to link with people, to collaborate.

I use LinkedIn personally because it’s a great source for networking. I encourage you to use LinkedIn to establish your own network and to create a presence for your practice so that you can potentially drive some patient referrals using this social media network.

Communicating With Patients After Discharge

Communicating with your patients after discharge…I don’t see much of this. After your patients leave, what about sending a, “Hey, how are you? Hope you’re doing well,” just to reach out to your patients to let them know that you care even after they’re gone?

I can tell you that this goes a long way. They’re not expecting you to send them a card after they’ve been discharged. Most patients just go about their way. Most practices, after they discharge a patient, that’s it.

What if you were able to communicate with them, just show a little bit of a human touch? Say, “Hey, hope you’re doing well.” I can tell you that you can get patients to rave about you this way. This is what will make them spread the word to their family and friends. If they know anyone who needs your services, they’ll think about you because of the simple fact that you communicated with them after they were discharged. You just showed a little bit of compassion. Just because you showed that you care pretty much.

Making Digital Versions of Your Patient Education Materials

Making digital versions of your patient education materials for mobile and Kindle devices. Now, we’re seeing a shift from paper in many of our materials, our patient education materials. Now, because many people are using mobile, everyone has smartphones, they have a tablets, they have Kindle devices…well, not everyone, but we’re growing on that upward trend where many people are adapting to these devices.

We have to start thinking of transforming or converting our patient education materials to digital versions: converting them to PDFs, optimizing them for Kindle devices, these are great mediums for patients who are on the go a lot.

Patients who are vacationing or are going to visit their family members, they may leave your handout at home. They may forget it. They may misplace it. If they have it on their mobile phone, if they have it on their Kindle or tablet, it goes with them wherever they go, so they can’t lose it.

If you have specific exercises or instructions for them to do or to follow, this is the best way for them to remind themselves to look at them because they’ll have them right there on their phone or their tablet. That’s something you should look into.

You may want to poll your patients and just find out how many of them would prefer to use or to receive patient education materials on their mobile devices versus a handout.

You may be surprised. Some people may still prefer handouts, or you may have an overwhelming response to create a digital version. It’s something to think about as we move further and further into a digital world where everything we consume is on mobile devices.

That’s about it. That’s what I feel you should focus on for 2013. What is your focus? Where are you going to focus your marketing strategies for 2013 so that you can increase your patient referrals from the Internet? I’d love to know what you think and what your comments are.  Just leave them below, and I thank you guys for watching this video. See you guys soon.