Strike while the iron is hot. It’s tempting to gloss over cliché phrases, but this is one that couldn’t be more pertinent to the current status of the physical therapy marketing landscape. As the country begins lifting COVID-19 restrictions after a long uphill year-and-a-half battle, many rehab therapy providers are looking to better their balance sheets by cutting discretionary spending, especially in areas like marketing.
But, in reality, that’s just a short-term fix that won’t prove sustainable. As best encapsulated by another cliché phrase, it takes money to make money. The lifting restrictions paired with much of the market pulling back on their PT advertising spend is creating an incredible opportunity for forward-looking providers to grab new business, strengthen market share, and create a long-term solution for a battered balance sheet.
Let’s look at three reasons now is the right time for digital advertising and some physical therapy marketing ideas to utilize in response.
The Shifting Cost of Physical Therapy Advertising
Many online advertising platforms utilize a bidding format when it comes to ad pricing. The process operates on simple supply and demand. The more advertisers vying for an audience’s attention or trying to capitalize on a certain keyword (higher demand), the more expensive that digital real estate becomes. This is true for things like PPC (pay-per-click on search engines), Facebook ads, Google AdWords, and many other popular digital advertising mediums.
Why does this matter? As many providers have started cutting back on their physical therapy marketing during COVID (lower demand), it means it’s possible to scoop up prime marketing real estate for a fraction of the cost.
Patient Demand Doesn’t Run Congruently with Advertiser Demand
It’s important not to confuse a lower demand for digital ad space as a lower demand for services. Just because other providers are cutting funds to support their physical therapy marketing strategies doesn’t mean it’s in response to fewer patients looking for treatment.
In fact, as the COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, the number of patients looking for PT services is on the rise. Some of the reasons for that increase include:
- Resurgence of elective surgeries with a significant backlog of patients in line
- Patient fear from COVID-19 dropping
- New need for post-COVID-19 care, including patients who went to the hospital for treatment and those needing in-home care
More Patients are Turning to the Web for Answers
The previous comments prove the need to invest in physical therapy marketing. However, the distinction between traditional advertising and digital advertising needs to be addressed. Why not just invest in things that worked in the past?
The short answer is that the market is changing. Business cards or flyers at a local restaurant just aren’t enough anymore. According to a 2020 data survey by Softwareadvice.com,1 a staggering 90% of respondents use online reviews to evaluate healthcare providers. Even more important, though, is that the same study found that for 71% of respondents, online reviews are the first place they start when trying to find a new healthcare provider.
And this trend is not specific to physical therapy marketing. According to Zenith Media forecasting, digital advertising spending will overtake traditional television advertising for the first time in 2021.2
What to Do About It
This can all easily be summed up in one impactful and time-sensitive statement—More people are turning to the web to find and evaluate healthcare solutions, and it’s imperative to not only recognize the shift but to take the actionable steps now to capitalize.
What are some ideas of things a forward-looking physical therapy marketing department can do in response?
- Ensure your rehab therapy funnel is in place and optimized with digital solutions. (For more information, consider reading our free e-book Top 6 KPIs to Understand and Optimize Your Rehab Therapy Revenue Funnel.)
- Automate lead generation with dedicated landing pages on your website.
- Evaluate your current online reputation and look for areas of improvement or areas to double down on previous wins. (For more information, consider taking advantage of our Free Marketing Audit for Healthcare Providers.)
- Leverage content marketing to become a resource first to build trust for current or future service needs.
- Tailor your marketing message to meet patients where they’re at. Consider directly addressing COVID-19 fears, highlighting telehealth options, or offering reopening discounts and incentives.
While the pandemic was not ideal by any means, forward-looking physical therapy marketing departments are eyeing unique opportunities to capture market share, reengage with patients, and lay the groundwork to grow stronger than ever.
If you’d like to see how Net Health’s Digital Marketing Solutions (DMS) can help your team achieve these goals, we’d invite you to schedule a time to talk with us soon.
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