Even if you have a loyal patient base, there may be an opportunity to grow your practice within your community. Without being proactive in your marketing efforts, an untapped target audience for your services could be in your city or town. Strengthening your advertising efforts so you bring in new business and create a memorable brand is challenging for smaller physical therapy practices. There are many ways to increase your local profile, even if you have limited resources. Where do you start?
1. Consider your patient base and your competitors’
You need to send the right message to attract new patients. Think about your target audience. Who are they? What are their concerns? What are their interests and hobbies? Where are they? Depending on who your audience is, they may only be willing or able to travel a small distance for physical therapy. This can help you define a marketing radius. There’s no sense in advertising your services in another city if your target patients won’t be able to travel. Concentrating on your audience’s needs and interests allows you to pinpoint the most effective marketing channels to reach this group.
In addition to your target patients, what are your competitors doing? Web PT recommended conducting some research on competing physical therapy clinics’ marketing campaigns. While you shouldn’t copy exactly what they’re doing, this activity can provide some ideas for effective messaging and how you can differentiate your campaigns.
2. Select the platforms you’ll use
After differentiating your brand from competitors and identifying how you can meet your patients’ needs, it’s time to select the platforms you will use to reach them. For example, senior patients may not be as comfortable navigating the Internet, so offline channels may be better suited for this target segment.
While online marketing is a great tool that physical therapists shouldn’t overlook, local marketing efforts can be enhanced with offline tactics. However, you need to have a strong website, even when most of your marketing takes place offline. All flyers, brochures, newspaper ads, radio announcements and banners should direct potential patients to your website so they can learn more about your clinic. If you don’t have a website, potential clients may choose a competitor. Physical therapists can hire a Web designer to create one or start one themselves with an online template, such as Wix.
Reach customers through local publications.
Publishing ads in community newspapers or recording a spot for a local radio station can help you reach your target audience. These communications will be more relevant to people in a specific area. It’s important to consider a mix of different tactics. Digital marketing should still be implemented. Search engine optimization can be beneficial for local marketing efforts, especially as more consumers rely on their mobile devices to look for businesses. Since physical therapists are often pressed for time, it may be helpful to schedule a specific time to devote to marketing each week, marketing resource Business News Daily suggested.
3. Consider ideas outside of traditional marketing
Because many athletes have needed a physical therapist at one point or another, sponsoring a local sports event is a great way to call attention to your clinic. Depending on the focus of your clinic, you can even consider hosting your own 5K. You can also sponsor a local recreational sports league. Look online for the types of events that are available in your area. You can also hang banners or flyers about sponsorship opportunities at local events, such as concerts or fairs.
Networking with personal trainers and other professionals at local gyms and athletic clubs can be a valuable way to make new connections, according to Web PT. You can offer cross-promotions and leave business cards or brochures at the front desk. Creating a personal connection with employees and patrons at these facilities can make a bigger difference. You can offer to give brief talks on how to avoid injuries at the gym.
While coupons have been around for a long time, many therapists may overlook this channel or think it doesn’t relate to their business. This is a great way to get local exposure and bring in new patients. You can list your coupon in a local booklet or publication, mail it directly to people in the area, advertise it on social media or email it. You can even list your coupon on daily deal websites like Groupon or Living Social. Coupons are still an effective approach, and now there are more channels to reach potential patients. In addition, you can consider extending special discounts for first-time patients at your clinic.
Sometimes when you want to bring in new patients, you don’t need to look much further than your own backyard. Your local community can be a great source of new business, especially if current patients are willing to refer new clients.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.