September 9, 2022 | Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

3 min read

Speak Patients’ Language to Make Connections, Earn Better Rehab Therapy Outcomes

We can all agree that effective communication is key when selling someone a product, a service and, yes, a more healthful outcome.

Yet, when private practice rehab therapists make their pitch to potential clients either in person, on their website or through digital listings and ads, it isn’t enough to simply speak the same language.

Effective written and verbal communication must be meaningful and relatable with an eye toward making a personal connection. For this to happen, your words must be culturally significant to the healthcare consumer.

See, the people in your community generally don’t live in a clinical world, and neither should you … at least not while you’re wearing your marketing hat.

Instead, be a layperson. Strive to connect with people where they are in their lives: the running trail, chasing after the kids or fighting through low-back pain just to get to work.

Engage With Patients at Their Level

This means speaking their language. It means getting to know the patient.

And, it means meeting them where they are and how they feel – not just where it hurts, but why the pain or lack of functionality ultimately matters so much to your typical or ideal patient.

This requires mentally breaking away from the clinic and forming a connection based not on your terms as a physical, occupational or speech therapist, but on the lives they strive to improve every day.

Such engagement can give client acquisition and retention a boost at your clinic, while also opening doors to more effective marketing and educational opportunities within your community.

Some ideas to consider when striving to make such connections within your marketing and communication efforts include the following:

Ditch the Clinical Jargon

While it may not be jargon to you, strive to avoid the use of overly clinical terminology and abbreviations when developing your marketing messaging.

Remember, you’re striving to connect with your audience’s world, so use words and descriptions that are both common and meaningful to people in your community. Don’t talk over their heads.

Focus on Outcomes, Not Treatments

A patient’s goals, while personalized, are relatively simple. They want to stop hurting. They want to move better. And, they want – perhaps even need – to get back to work, family, activities and life.

Does the “how” behind these journeys matter? Of course! But, preferred modalities and specialized treatments aren’t going to matter much if you don’t first make the case that, yes, you have a track record of helping patients reach their goals.

Benchmark your patients’ progress against thousands of others using FOTO. Learn more!

Tell Stories

While studies and statistics may draw the attention of medical professionals in a research-based profession like rehab therapy, consumers are typically drawn more to anecdotes and stories.

Whether of success or failure (hint: you’ll want to focus on successes), stories are memorable because they’re relatable. People see themselves through the challenges of others, and stories can help them envision success by way of scheduling that first appointment with your clinic.

Keep the Conversation Going

Even after a new patient’s first visit, continual engagement – staying connected, in other words – is critical in ensuring they make it to all appointments, complete their plan of care and achieve an optimal outcome.

Appointment and home exercise reminders, check-ins, follow-ups and motivational messaging can combine to keep patients focused as they work toward their goals.

And when these goals are achieved, providing them with a way to share their rehab therapy stories through testimonials and online reviews can further enhance your efforts to effectively communicate and connect with future patients.

5 Reasons Patient Engagement Marketing is Critical to Your Rehab Therapy Business Strategy

Improve patient acquisition and retention.

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