The Business School 101 for Physical Therapy series is designed for outpatient therapy business owners and leaders. Over the next several weeks, we will explore concepts and strategies within business operations, marketing, finance, customer knowledge, and more. Of course, it is not meant to replace a traditional MBA degree, but we hope it will provide helpful insights, tips, or refreshers for growth-minded business novices and veterans alike.
Being in a therapy practice, you may think you already have a solid understanding of who your patients (i.e., customers) are. They have a certain set of ailments for which you provide care. They may come from a primary referrer or from a variety of sources. They likely live, work, or travel in relative proximity to your clinic.
Your EHR or marketing tools probably contain much of this information, and savvy therapy marketers may have even created personas or customer profiles representing their target market archetypes.
But the truth is, your patients only represent a fraction of all the potential customers who could be coming through your door. So you have to ask yourself: is my target market wide enough?
Cast a Wider Net with a Wish List
Making regular contact with your list of referral sources, patients, and community organizations is part of just about every marketing plan. But as with anything that doesn’t get regular attention, your list of marketing contacts can get old, outdated, and stale.
One way to find the untapped potential within your market is to stretch yourself by creating a wish list.
Different from customer profiles that define the demographics and psychographics of your target market, a wish list is an unabashed list of everyone in your market who can benefit from your services. It is not limited to those you think you can convert – it assumes you create a fan out of anyone.
Your wish list should include organizations you know would find benefit through your practice, referral sources you have yet to reach due to intimidation or lack of effort, and patient segments that should be the “bread and butter” of your practice.
What A Wish List Does for You
The true value of your wish list is that it stretches you to:
- acknowledge that you’re missing segments of the market
- define the segments you’re missing
- challenge your acceptance of these missed opportunities
Once you have created your wish list, challenge yourself and your staff to define three to five strategies that can be used to convert portions of the list into fans of your practice.
For instance, say you receive a ton of young patients with sport-related knee injuries (you may even currently market specifically to this group). Think about who else could benefit from your knee care services. It could be as simple as expanding the age range target. Or maybe there’s a runner’s club or retail store in the area where knee complaints are sure to pop up. Maybe you tap into doctors who can refer you for entirely different knee incidences, like motor vehicle accidents.
What new marketing tactics might you undertake to reach these wish list audiences?
Stretching yourself and your target market by defining your wish list may just expose you to some not-so-hidden opportunities that have been within reach all along.
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