PTPN Insights

Making practice marketing a priority in 2013.

February 8th, 2013 |

Making practice marketing a priority in 2013.Are you doing everything you can to market your practice in order to attract (and retain) patients and clients? With a challenging economy, lower reimbursements and competition from physician-owned therapy services and lesser-qualified practitioners calling themselves therapists, your marketing needs to be compelling and productive in order to build and maintain your practice.

If you don’t already have one, a marketing strategy or general marketing plan is advocated by many PTPN members. You need to know where to spend your resources (money and time) to get the most results. Know who will market, when, and the resources dedicated to it. A comprehensive plan includes the following components:

  • Executive summary
  • Situation analysis
  • Services
  • Products
  • Competitive analysis
  • SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunities Threats) analysis
  • Competitive advantage
  • Marketing strategy
  • Marketing tactics
  • Financials
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

Note that only one part of the plan discusses the implementation, or what you’ll actually do. The plan focuses much more on analyzing your market, reflecting on your clinic’s services and products, and considering how much you’re willing (and able) to spend on marketing. It’s important to think about all of these factors before rushing into anything.

That said, there are several marketing tools you’ll need to implement once you’ve created your plan.

  • A website. Even though most of your patients will be referred by physicians, they’ll still go to the web to check out your practice, so you’ll need a web presence. Think of it as your digital Yellow Pages listing, a place where patients and clients can learn about your therapists, see what services you offer, and even download patient forms, so that they can have them in hand at their first appointment. PTPN has preferred vendors that offer reduced fees to PTPN members for website development and maintenance, e-newsletters and email marketing.

  • Social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media are becoming an increasingly important and cost-effective way to build relationships with patients and referral sources, both existing and new. PTPN’s Social Media Marketing Toolkit, available to all members, has videos, how-to guides and planning templates to help both beginners and experienced users make the most of new media.

    Sometimes just using social media to update followers on your programs and services can be enough to generate new business. When PTPN member Lee Couret, of Southshore Physical Therapy in Metairie, LA, posted some photos of children in his CATZ sports conditioning program on Facebook, a local daycare center owner saw them and asked Lee if he could conduct a class once a week at her center. You can also encourage satisfied clients to post about their own experiences, by writing testimonials on their own Facebook pages or adding comments to your business listing on Yelp.

  • Brochures, postcards and posters. Even in this digital age, print marketing materials are still essential to selling your practice to both consumers and other healthcare providers. Marketing materials that give a professional, detail-oriented impression are worth the investment. PTPN not only offers members templates and pre-designed pieces to download for use free of charge, but also partners with vendors like Modern Postcard to offer discounts on a plethora of print materials.

  • Evidence-based marketing to healthcare providers and insurance companies. While the above methods will help you reach consumers and new patients, it’s also important to remember that local doctors’ referrals are a key part of your business as well. By using patient outcomes data from programs like FOTO (Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes, the measurement tool that powers the PTPN Outcomes Program), you can demonstrate the quality of the services provided by your practice. PTPN helps members translate patient outcomes data into attention-getting marketing messages and materials with templates, webinars and other resources.

Regardless of how large or small your marketing plan is, be prepared to regroup when necessary. Market conditions can change rapidly, so be ready to reassess your marketing plan and re-strategize when appropriate. And remember to periodically evaluate all of your marketing activities, in order to stop spending time and money on tactics that aren’t working, allowing you to redirect those funds to the tools that bring more clients into your practice.

Want more advice on how to market your practice? Request our free white paper, Get the Word Out: Using Public Relations to Increase Your Practice’s Visibility.

Printable version.

For further reading:

Awosolu, Samuel. 5 tips to drive traffic to your physical therapy website. PT Marketing Unleashed, March 2012.

Nula, Michael. Better brand building. ADVANCE for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, January 5, 2012.

Girard, Genae. Social media success. ADVANCE for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, November 14, 2011.

Laporte, Matthew. Site seeing. ADVANCE for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, April 12, 2011.

Frellick, Marcia. Net gains. Today in PT, February 14, 2011.

Saeks, Ford. Fresh content is the new king. ADVANCE for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, December 28, 2010.

Fripp, Patricia and David Garfinkel. Market your way out of tough times: In a bad economy, increase marketing to retain customers. ADVANCE for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, December 2, 2010.

Steinberg, David C. and Trent Wehrhahn. Potent marketing strategies: Which ones work, which ones will leave you bankrupt and begging at physicians’ doors? ADVANCE for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, September 16, 2010.