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Venturing out into the world of advertising can feel a lot like undertaking a mission into parts unknown—especially for physical therapy private practice leaders. After all, far too many PT clinics don’t even bother with advertising, which is a shame considering that 60% of patients run an online search before booking an appointment with a new provider—and yes, that applies to physical therapy providers! Fortunately, online advertising isn’t exactly a place “where no one has gone before.” (Cue the Star Trek theme.) In fact, we here at WebPT have been there—a lot. To that end, here are six secrets to advertising your PT practice in the digital age:
1. Optimize your website for the “new patient” experience.
Your first mission is to optimize your clinic website so that new patients not only want to book an appointment with you, but also can do so easily. (If you don’t have a website, then creating one should be your number-one priority. Here’s a guide that explains exactly how to do that.) There’s a lot that goes into making a great website, so hiring a professional developer might be a good idea. However, if you don’t currently have the budget to hire outside help, websites like Wix, Wordpress, and Squarespace have professional-looking, customizable templates to help you get started.
To create a seamless user experience, your website should:
have an attractive, clean layout;
be easy to navigate;
have your clinic’s name, address, and phone number prominently displayed;
be mobile friendly; and
include a contact form.
That said, a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website will be useless if potential patients can’t find it on search engines like Google or Bing. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Whether you leverage organic search, pay-per-click, or social media marketing, your overall goal is to guide a customer down a path that ultimately ends at your website. If your site isn’t dialed in, it doesn’t matter how many people you attract through any form of advertising, because your conversions will most likely suffer.
Here are some crucial to-dos in order to bump your website up on search engine results pages:
Clean up your page titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.
Include important keywords in your website copy. (Check out this blog post for a list of examples.)
Include a list of services and accepted insurances.
Be sure your name, address, and phone number (collectively known as your NAP) are accurate and up to date.
When a new patient searches for physical therapists on Google, one of the first things they’ll see is something like this:
What do the businesses on this map all have in common? Well, aside from being local PT clinics, they all have a Google My Business (GMB) page—and with 97% of consumers searching for local businesses online, it’s absolutely essential for every PT practice to be on GMB. Not only will it let patients know where you are, but it’ll also help drive them directly to your practice.
Setting Up GMB
To start, you’ll need to set up a Google account (ideally, using a business email). Then, go to Google My Business and click “Manage Now.” From there, locate your practice by name or address. Once you’ve done all that, you can start managing your clinic’s digital presence. You’ll be able to do things like:
View your clinic’s web traffic, insights, and analytical data;
Manage photos that appear on your Google listing;
Reply to and manage your clinic’s Google reviews; and
Update information about your remote service offerings (an especially helpful feature during the COVID-19 pandemic).
Also, when setting up your account, be sure to use your business street address and not your home address. Once you set up your business account, Google verifies it by sending a postcard to that business address with a special code you’ll have to put into your profile. Having the wrong mailing address might create multiple profiles, and it can really make a mess that’ll be difficult to fix later.
If you look at the image in the previous section, you’ll notice the first result says “Ad” beneath the clinic name. This type of ad—referred to as a “pay-per-click ad” or “PPC ad” for short—is basically a shortcut to getting your clinic at the top of Google’s search results. (And being at the top means more people will see your clinic.) In the world of physical therapy marketing, PPC ads are sorely underused—which means any practice that does use them will reap massive rewards.
The keys to effective PPC advertising are:
strong keyword strategy (i.e., targeting your ads to people using relevant search terms)
geo-targeting (i.e., targeting ads to searchers in specific geographic locations)
effective ad copy (i.e., using the right words in your ad), and
For a full breakdown of effective PPC advertising for physical therapy clinics, check out this post from the WebPT Blog.
4. Advertise on social media.
Next, shift your advertising focus to social media. All major social media platforms offer some form of paid advertising or content boosting. (Our comprehensive guide to digital advertising provides step-by-step instructions on how to leverage this on multiple platforms.) There are three main platforms you should focus on:
At the bare minimum, your practice should be on Facebook. Other platforms can be great for small-to-medium-sized businesses, too, but because Facebook is the largest, you should focus your efforts there first. If nothing else, posting regularly on Facebook will help you climb the ranks on search engine results pages—and posting doesn’t cost you anything but time. (For creative ideas on what kind of content to post, check out this resource.) Once you’re ready to up the ante and start investing some of your marketing dollars in paid Facebook ads, take a look at this resource to get some tips for success.
Instagram is a visual-centric social network, meaning every post needs an image. And for PT practices, those images are most effective when they:
The hashtag function on Instagram also makes it a really effective tool for pulling in new patients. Instagrammers often browse and follow specific hashtags, so if, for example, you post a video with exercises to alleviate back pain, you could use #BackPainRelief to gain more visibility among those who are interested in this topic. You can also browse the hashtags yourself and like or comment on posts made by potential patients, which is another awesome (and free) way to bring in new business. Like Facebook, Instagram offers a variety of options for paid promotion, which you can learn more about in our free guide to digital advertising.
LinkedIn might seem like an unorthodox place to promote your practice. After all, most people think of LinkedIn as a digital resume, but because of this, business owners—including PT clinic owners—often miss out on the opportunity to use it to attract new clients.
Successfully advertising your physical therapy clinic on LinkedIn may take a little creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking, but it can be incredibly effective. LinkedIn also has powerful targeting tools that can help you reach patients in ways you may not have considered otherwise. Simply put, there’s no other social platform with the type of precision targeting and granularity that LinkedIn allows its advertisers. For more information on getting started with LinkedIn, check out this blog post.
5. Use landing pages.
So, let’s say you’re leveraging PPC and social media ads. What happens after potential patients click those ads? Where do they land? If you’re doing it right, those potential patients should be routed to a landing page. Think of a landing page as a standalone web page for a dedicated sales pitch. It should:
align closely with the content of the ad that the potential patient clicked on,
tell people exactly why they should come to you for therapy, and
make it as easy as possible for new patients to book that first appointment.
Beyond the basics, highly effective landing pages also:
ask for minimal patient information on the appointment request form; and
get their message across in as few words as possible.
To learn more about creating effective landing pages, refer to this blog post.
6. Track your advertising efforts.
Finally, once you’ve set up your profiles for all the platforms on which you plan to advertise—and you’ve developed a strategy for each—it’s time to measure the fruits of your labor. After all, you’ve put time and effort (not to mention money) into creating a successful campaign, so you want to make sure it actually pays off. And in order to do that, you’ll need to use Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that allows you to not only track the effectiveness of your ad campaigns, but also better understand your target audience. You can track things like:
who is clicking on your ads,
where they’re located,
which keywords searchers are using, and
so much more.
Our free guide to digital advertising includes an entire section covering the ins and outs of Google Analytics for rehab therapy clinics, so be sure to download your copy to learn more.
So, there you have it: six simple rules for physical therapy advertising. Looking for more ways to improve your clinic’s brand? Ready to set forth on an advertising journey of your own? Then check out this free webinar where we’ll discuss five common problems PTs encounter when marketing their clinics (and how to fix ’em).
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