August 26, 2022 | Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

3 min read

Just the Facts? No. Tell Audiences Your Rehab Therapy Story.

Private practice rehab therapists would be wise to consider the advice of so many writing teachers and coaches.

“Build a narrative,” they say. “Show. Don’t tell.”

What they mean by this, of course, was that in order to make a memorable connection with an audience, it’s important to communicate beyond simply stating facts. Instead, be human. Construe value and purpose. Use imagination. Appeal to emotion.

In short, be a storyteller.

From a marketing perspective, stories are powerful in effectively communicating one’s value proposition to customers. And, if you own or operate a private practice physical, occupational and/or speech therapy clinic, this applies to you.

As a healthcare entrepreneur, you face the challenge of effectively communicating your value proposition to a variety of audiences — clients, potential clients, referral sources and your community as a whole.

You can most effectively (and memorably) construe who you are, what you do and how you’re different from others by appealing to values and emotions, and by simply being relatable.

Emotions Play a Significant Role in Decision Making

American Nobel Laureate scientist Herbert Simon once said, “In order to have anything like a complete theory of human rationality, we have to understand the role emotion plays in it.”1

And, while researchers are still scratching the surface on exactly how emotion guides our decision-making, one recent psychological study on the topic confirmed that “emotions constitute potent, pervasive, predictable, sometimes harmful and sometimes beneficial drivers of decision making.”2

In other words, people tend to be drawn to things that move and inspire them – to people, products, ideas and solutions that appeal to their human senses and make them feel seen.

From a rehab therapy marketing perspective, then, it’s important that all private practice owners strive to make this emotional connection within their communities. One way to do this is to tell stories from your personal experiences, and those of your patients, that make an emotional connection.

Use Stories to Make a Connection

For the private practice physical therapist, the use of memorable stories can serve as a powerful marketing tool for the clinic.

  • Use stories to paint a picture of your practice – who you are, what you do, where your values lie and why your work is meaningful.
  • Use stories, such as the drive and willpower of a patient, to demonstrate success and inspire others to consider following a similar path.
  • Use stories to engage and interact with your audience, whether it’s face-to-face or via a blog or social media site.
  • Through a consistent content marketing strategy, use stories to build a solid narrative around physical, occupational and speech therapy – what these disciplines are and how they can improve lives in your community.

For the best stories, rehab therapists need only to tap into their personal experiences and passions. If you’re enthusiastic and believe in your stories stories about a client’s success, say, or narratives about how rehab therapy can improve lives in unexpected ways so will your audience.

And, you’ll be memorable, which is what it’s all about.

Finally, stories can lay the groundwork for an effective content marketing strategy one that, through various channels (e.g., blog posts, e-newsletters, social media, press releases, etc.), serves to educate, attract and retain clients.

Educate, inspire and empower the healthcare consumer about physical, occupational and speech therapy, and more people will likely choose to include rehab therapy as part of their healthcare journeys.

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1 2 Annual Review of Psychology, “Emotion and Decision Making,” January 2015

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