By Tannus Quatre, PT, VP, Private Practice, Net Health
Consumers are a funny breed. Their attention span is short and minuscule, only about 8 seconds according to a 2015 study by Microsoft.
Man, that’s short.
They’re also distracted, focusing their short attention span across a variety of communication channels each day. It makes it tough for us wearing a physical therapy marketing hat to reach such an elusive beast—but hey, we need to fish where the fish are biting, right?
This is where a good, old-fashioned multi-channel approach comes in.
To properly reach your physical therapy audience, you need a solid multi-channel approach that doesn’t allow your desired audience to miss you. Below are 5 tips for creating a multi-channel physical therapy marketing plan that will work in your clinic.
Tip #1: Wow Consumers with Eye-Catching Emails
Your patients have email and they use it regularly. It’s normal, expected, and appreciated to get valuable content delivered into your inbox. For those that despise the salesy, value-stripped content that can flood an inbox, don’t worry about that, it’s not what you’re going to do. Your content is going to be of high quality and it’s going to stand out.
Focus on your subject line and article headers. Your content will be good too of course, but remember: your goal is to be here, there, and everywhere. You need clicks, good subject lines and titles to get ‘em.
Tip #2: Curate Blog Content Consumers Search For
Blogs are the crowdsourced newswire, op-ed, and education channels of today. They contain some of the most relevant and beautiful content available in today’s era. Consumers prefer highly local, trusted resources about topics they care about— healthcare and physical therapy are at the top of the list.
Optimize your blog posts using search strings your consumers will search for. For example: if you’re looking to reach consumers who have had an ACL reconstruction and that’s the phrase your patients are using when they discuss their injury, make sure the phrase is used multiple times in your post so Google knows you’re the expert on the matter.
Tip #3: Leverage the Reach of Social Media
Gone are the days when your website was the center of the physical therapy universe. Today’s internet is dominated by social interactions between consumers and their beloved brands. Consumers want to view videos, pictures, and posts that meet their needs and make them feel better about themselves. Your brand, your ideas, and your images need to be part of their feed in order to be noticed.
If you’re a practice owner that doesn’t know what to post, start off as a pundit – find articles, links, and posts that are relevant to your audience and throw in your two cents. It’s quick, easy, and super helpful to consumers who are otherwise likely consuming the same content on their feeds without your expert opinion. Help ‘em out, it’s low hanging fruit.
Tip #4: Build Relationships with the Local Media
Despite the competition for mindshare in the physical therapy space, the local media continues to be a largely untapped channel for sharing your expertise and your brand. The reason? Most physical therapists still misunderstand how easy and achievable it is to get local coverage of topics that are second nature to PTs. Form relationships with your local media, stick to a simple but consistent strategy of sharing content that is of value to their audience.
Think of your local media just as you think of your top referral source. You can’t neglect your referral source and you must focus on a relationship with them. Form relationships with writers and editors and establish yourself as a trusted and valuable resource.
Tip #5: Don’t Forget Old-Fashioned Paper and Print
Even though our focus is on digital channels for the marketing of our physical therapy services, believe it or not, your consumers will still pick up a piece of paper. Whether in your waiting room or in their mailbox, don’t neglect flyers, newsletters, rack cards, and brochures just because you can. It’s a more expensive and less trackable option, but if you’re looking to be here, there, and everywhere, a tree or two can still do you some good.
Printing can get expensive, so it’s best to keep your costs in check here. Repurpose content from your blog, email, and press releases to keep your copy development expenses under control. Use existing resources when available to produce and distribute print materials. An in-house digital printer may be less expensive at small quantities than your local print shop, so start small before racking up major print expenses.
Physical therapy marketing done right takes a commitment – you must be everywhere to catch consumers. We deliver our consumers a conservative and cost-effective healthcare solution that will help them live better lives, so let’s get their attention and do ‘em some good.
Listen to this on-demand webinar hosted by digital marketing expert Jesse McFarland, MBA, as he discusses navigating digital marketing for rehab therapy practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers
About Tannus Quatre
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.