Jack Pentlarge, director of operations at ProActive Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, Inc. and a PREFERRED Therapy Providers member since 2012, along with his business partner Amyn Valji, showcases the positive effect a thorough marketing strategy can have for physical therapy providers. The minds behind ProActive excelled early by developing and sticking to a strong business plan, a point they attribute to much of their success.
In the duo’s eight years of business, they have seen their clinics grow significantly, and they are now about to open their fourth location. ProActive has become well-renowned in Southern California, made even more so by being the sole physical therapy clinic providing sports therapy in the training room of the San Diego Sockers, a professional indoor soccer team. However, ProActive’s remarkable growth must be attributed to more than just luck. Instead, the success of ProActive is a testament to their marketing abilities, and proof that persistence pays off.
ProActive has a lot to offer that other practices can make note of right away. However, building their practice into what it is today was no easy feat. Prior to opening ProActive, Pentlarge and Valji spent several months consulting with six successful clinic owners, then developed a marketing strategy by putting their own spin on it.
“We were all in from the get-go, but it was only because we did our homework. Prior to opening, there was a common theme amongst five of the six successful clinics we talked to on their marketing side, so that’s how we used that path to find answers for marketing … I highly recommend that,” Pentlarge explained recently in an exclusive interview.
Pentlarge feels that determining what your business and marketing plan will be before you open a clinic will pay off.
“It’s not easy, especially if you’re a new clinic, to stick to those plans. And that’s what we did. We stuck to it, and for year one, it was scary. The first couple of months that we were open, we had one patient. And then by month six, we had our 10th patient. We only know this because we had celebrations each time. And then it ballooned from there, even though we came into an area where we did not know one doctor.”
Keeping mindful of the marketing lessons learned from the successful clinics, Pentlarge and Valji took a hands-on approach to getting their name out in the community. One way was to develop marketing pieces targeted to doctors. Pentlarge explained that, “it’s important for doctors to know that we are completely focused on the patient because it creates a level of trust.”
Another way to get their name out in the community is by working with athletes who incur sports injuries at football games or other sporting events at certain area high schools. “Being the physical therapists for the San Diego Sockers has helped market our abilities pretty well. We see a lot of young soccer players from different teams around the area just because of that, which is interesting,” said Pentlarge.
On branding and social media
Having learned that a strong website presence is key to branding a business, Pentlarge and Valji are focused on developing a user-friendly and engaging site. They utilize an online patient engagement system designed to provide automated personal outreach to ensure that ProActive stays on top of mind with patients. Pentlarge says that patients like to look at the website because it has a lot of valuable health information and is easy to follow.
Communicating with patients encompasses more than just a website. Online reviews of the clinics on sites like Yelp allow patients to post reviews of ProActive and gives Pentlarge, Valji and their staff the opportunity to improve their practice and more effectively brand and market their business.
While online resources are necessary, therapy providers also must go out and work with people in person. Clinics can position themselves as integral members of an active community. For many therapy providers, knowing where to start when marketing your clinic may prove difficult. Navigating platforms such as Yelp, Google and Facebook not only takes a lot of time, but also requires knowledge of best practices. Essentially, there’s a lot of strategy regarding website design, social media promotion and in-person marketing that may be overwhelming for new clinics but Pentlarge believes that persistence will pay off.
“Find the best clinics in the nation, and as we know, there are some really good well-run clinics out there. And figure out if their ideas work for you or not, and if they do, go for it and stick to the plan.”
The work of ProActive demonstrates that a little elbow grease can go a long way. For therapy providers to confidently market their clinics, marketing itself must be prioritized within the broader business plan. Pentlarge and Valji, and ProActive as a whole, serves as an example of the importance of a strong work ethic, Internet acumen and active community engagement.
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.