As a rehab therapy clinic owner, the day-to-day challenge of running your private physical, occupational and/or speech therapy practice will demand a lot of you.
Medical billing, bookkeeping, financial obligations, development, marketing … it’s a mountain of obligations that must oftentimes feel insurmountable. Such is the not-so-glamorous part of being a private practice clinic owner.
The next time that overwhelming feeling creeps up on you, however, I want you to join me in considering the story of one man: Dashrath Manjhi.
The Ultimate Story of Perseverance
Manjhi’s story1 is several years old now, but it’s one worth learning and remembering. That’s because when he saw a mountain of work, he charged forth, cutting through it with drive, persistence, and an eye toward his final goal.
And what was this goal? To cut through a 300-foot-high mountain of rock. The story goes like this:
The rock cropping in question blocked Manjhi’s Indian village from direct access to a nearby city. Due to the placement of this “mountain,” what should have been a 1-kilometer trip to the town became a 70-km trek.
What was a significant inconvenience to people in the village became even more personal to Manjhi when his wife suffered an injury. She was able to get the timely medical care she needed, and she died.
The hospital was just too far away.
Vowing to not let others suffer the same fate, Manjhi spend the next 22 years – from 1960 to 1982 – cutting through the rocky hill that blocked the way. Using only a chisel, a hammer and rope, he completed a path during these years – 360 feet long, 16 feet wide and 25 feet deep – that is still being used by villagers today.
“When I started hammering the hill, people called me a lunatic, but that steeled my resolve,” Manjhi later said.
Manjhi died in 2007, but his legend remains. The same can be said for the way his story can inspire those facing difficulties and what seems at the time to be impossible odds to surmount.
Marketing Lessons for Rehab Therapists
Such is the mindset I often encounter when speaking with rehab therapy clinic owners who, while they have lots of ideas, simply don’t how to apply them to form a marketing strategy that leads them toward success.
For these PTs, OTs and SLPs, I’ve gleaned the following lessons from Manjhi’s story:
Keep an Eye on Your Goal
What’s the main goal you’re trying to accomplish through your rehab therapy marketing strategy?
Yes, it’s going to boil down to getting more clients and making more money for your clinic, but what’s your path for doing this? Is your focus on your area’s retirement community? Perhaps you plan to key in on cash-based, direct-access clients? Or, maybe your focus is pediatrics?
Whatever your goal, choose your route, stick with it, and don’t let yourself get distracted. Build your strategy around this specific direction, and cling to messaging and marketing channels that support your main goal.
Let it play out over time, then evaluate and redirect if and when it’s necessary.
Keep It Simple
Remember, Manjhi started his efforts armed with nothing but a hammer, a chisel, and some rope … along with incredible willpower. As a busy rehab therapist, it makes sense to start small as well, staying within yourself before growing your efforts.
So, before you get too ahead of yourself worrying about the bells and whistles of a full-fledged marketing plan, focus on the first step. Get your website in order, for instance. Update your Google listing. Start a blog. Focus on your social media efforts. Send out your first press release.
Once you get good and comfortable, then it’s time to strategize your next steps.
There’s nothing that will doom a marketing strategy more than the lack of consistency.
Consistency keeps you, your clinic and your services – your brand – from becoming stale within your community while helping you stay top-of-mind among local healthcare consumers. Consistency on the web also helps keep your brand relevant in the eyes of Google.
Regardless of which channel(s) you’re focusing on — your website, social media, the press, digital advertising … likely a mixed bag — being persistent with your content will, over time, allow you to rise above others in not only the minds of people but also in your online search rankings.
Follow Your Passions
Don’t ever forget: rehab therapy is what you love. And making it possible for people to reach their personal potential is one of the greatest perks a job could offer.
Take pleasure in this, and let your passions show through in your physical, occupational or speech therapy marketing efforts.
Be human. Share stories. Brag about your successes. Talk about your work family. Express why community and your patients are so important to you and your staff.
Not only will this make you relatable and a more effective marketer, but people will also be more likely to believe in you because you believe in yourself.
Leave a Legacy
Manjhi certainly didn’t set out to leave behind a legacy, but the results of his hard work and willpower spoke for themselves. As a rehab therapist, it’s important to give your work, and your patients, a voice so they, too, can speak for themselves.
Use patient outcome tools, like FOTO, to track your clinic’s success rates. Then, use this data to drive messaging that can generate more new patients.
And, when a patient has a great experience at your clinic, provide them with ways to share their stories with others through testimonials or online reviews. Happy patients, after all, make up the foundation of the most successful referral networks.
Boost Patient Engagement and Generate More Therapy Revenue
Deliver outstanding care and grow your rehab therapy business.
1 India Today, “Dashrath Manjhi: Some Lesser Known Facts on the Mountain Man Who Worked for 22 Years and Carved a Path Through a Mountain,” July 15, 2015