By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, VP of Private Practice for Net Health
Every day, we’re all exposed to thousands of brands. Each trying to stand out from the pack. Each vying for our attention. And each adding a layer of noise into our already complex world.
It’s tiring to think about it. And it’s a problem for each one of those brands trying to compete for a sliver of your mindshare.
As physical therapists marketing our message to an audience who still largely misunderstands our value, our work is even harder.
That is, unless we use a tool we’re already quite good at – getting personal.
As a physical therapist, odds are you like people, you understand them, and you’re pretty good at relating to them.
We intuitively know the difference between relating to an elderly client, a soccer dad, and a 5-year-old. We must adapt our message to make a connection, and this comes naturally to us.
In this article, I’ve shared 5 ways physical therapists can get personal with their marketing message – putting their strengths to work to grow their businesses.
1. Adapt the message to demographic audiences.
Basic demographic information is a natural place to start when crafting a marketing message. For instance:
- Does your practice offer a women’s health program? Consider promoting the program to your female contacts by segmenting your email marketing list by gender.
- Do your services cater to the elderly? Appeal to their specific needs by calling out programs and services which preserve and optimize function in the aging adult.
Be sure to keep these messages separate from other segments of the population, such as the youth population.
2. Target messages to the diagnosis.
A back is not a neck, and a leg not an arm. Patients understand and appreciate that you likely treat all of the above, but that’s not the point. Remember, we are trying to stand out against thousands of other brands competing for OUR mindshare! Here are some examples of keeping the message to the diagnosis:
- If you have a lot of patients who suffer from throwing injuries, develop programs and messaging specifically related to the throwing athlete.
- If preventing falls is your thing, then your fall-prevention program is an important feature to bolt on to your practice, and your marketing message.
Appealing to the specific diagnostic needs of patient populations can effectively cut through the noise created by unrelated services featured by our competitors for consumer mindshare.
3. Select channels for your message.
Think of a “marketing channel” as the vehicle that carries your marketing message. If you call local referral sources to promote your services, then phone is the channel. If you advertise in the paper, the appropriate channel is a newspaper. And so on.
Channels are great ways to personalize a physical therapy marketing message because:
- They help segment the market. If a practice is looking for younger, more socially engaged clientele (youth populations, digitally savvy), users of Instagram would be a good bet.
- Messages can be personalized to users of a channel. For instance, run a promotional campaign or content to Facebook users in your practice’s area.
4. Market-based on previous purchases.
The least expensive customer is the one that’s already bought from you. Marketing to existing customers based on previous purchases is an effective means of tailoring your message as well.
Marketing an aftercare program to existing physical therapy patients creates a natural extension of existing relationships. Attendees of your shoulder workshop may also be interested in attending your upcoming class on self-management of low back pain, for instance.
5. Leverage life events to connect personally.
Who doesn’t like a pat on the back on their birthday? Nobody, that’s who.
Life events are a great opportunity to reach through the noise and grab a prospect’s attention.
Birthday messages and anniversaries may work for patients within your email marketing database, but don’t forget about others in your market as well. Ever share a kudos to the business owner on your block who just opened? How about reaching out to the newest appointee to your city council?
To wrap up, getting your message heard isn’t easy. You’re up against a lot of competition. The key to beating the competition is to blast through the noise, and personalization of your marketing message is how you get there.
About Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA
Tannus is a marketing expert in outpatient PT practice and speaks nationally on the topics of entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance, and has written articles for numerous publications, including PT in Motion, Impact Magazine, and Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation. In addition, Tannus attended physical therapy school at UCSF and practiced as a physical therapist in outpatient, inpatient, and home health settings.