Blog Post

Digital Marketing and Advertising FAQ for PTs, OTs, and SLPs

Wondering how PTs, OTs, and SLPs should handle digital marketing and advertising in 2021? Check out our advertising and marketing FAQ.

Josh Golden
5 min read
September 30, 2020
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Marketing is my passion, and I love helping others get their marketing off the ground. I recently had the pleasure of hosting a live Q&A session during Virtual Ascend, where I fielded all sorts of digital marketing and advertising questions from therapists and clinic leaders across the country. Here are the most common questions I received, along with my responses.

What is the best way to do digital marketing for physical therapy?

This is a broad and loaded question. Building a digital foundation and focusing on one area at a time is the best overall strategy. However, there are quite a few steps in this process.

First and foremost, build your website—something I hope most clinics have already done—and make it a great experience for potential clients who land on it. This means you must:

  • Make it easy for visitors to navigate and find information;
  • Make sure there are service pages highlighting the types of therapy you provide as well as a contact us page with a contact form; and
  • Make sure your phone number is displayed prominently on all pages (the header is the most common placement).

I would also recommend including your hours, any same-day or emergency services you offer, and the types of insurance you accept. To boost organic traffic to your site, I’d also encourage you to have a blog with content your ideal audience will find interesting—and make it easy to navigate and share.

Next, make sure you create a Google My Business page, because:

  1. It’s free; and
  2. It plays a major role in getting organic traffic to your website.

As of the publish date of this article, Google holds 92% of the online search market share, so making sure all of your information is correct and up to date there is important. Having an up-to-date Google My Business page will also help your clinic show prominently on the Google Maps section of local search results pages.

See how WebPT Local can help your clinic crush the competition in local search results.

From there, if you’re looking for new clients right now, pay-per-click marketing on Google is going to bring in the greatest number of high-intent potential clients. If you’ve set up your keyword strategy and maps targeting correctly, your ads will reach people who are specifically looking for your services right away.

Whether you leverage organic search (a.k.a. search engine optimization, or SEO), 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.

Our clinic has a Facebook page, and we have started posting more regularly. We currently have about 100 people view each post. Do you find it’s worth paying to boost posts?

If you’re looking for more views and engagement, boosting posts will help with that. I find that it’s cheaper to boost a post than it is to create an ad. When you create an ad, you can use specific strategies to better target your viewers, but when you boost a post, you’ll get it in front of a lot of eyes. Just make sure you take the time to build a relevant audience and that you’re targeting the right location. I have seen too many businesses boost posts without checking their target location, and the next thing they knew, they were displaying ads for their one-location practice to people across the entire US.

There are so many people posting their daily workouts on social media as a means to gain followers. How can we get heard over the noise?

You can actually look at the popularity of daily workout posts as a positive. After all, you know this type of “influencer” content may potentially capture the attention of your target audience, so why not mimic the strategy? Take a less-often used topic—stretching, for example—and use it to establish your own following. Determine the amount of content you can produce—maybe start with posting every couple of days, if you can—and demonstrate simple stretching routines on camera. See which hashtags are popular among current influencers and start using them in your posts. You can develop your own strategy along the way, but one idea I like is having monthly themes where you focus on one body part for an entire month (e.g., Oblique October).

If I only have enough budget to fund ads on one platform—Facebook or Google—which do you recommend?

It really comes down to what you’re looking to get out of your campaign. As I stated earlier in this post, Google allows you to reach high-intent searchers who are looking for your services right away—but it is the more expensive platform. Facebook advertising can be a little bit more of a long play. You’re showing ads, gaining followers, and staying top-of-mind to these people if you’re putting the time and effort into posting often. So, if you’re not hurting for clients at the moment, gaining a following on Facebook may be a better, more cost-efficient option.

What’s a good starting budget for Facebook? What about for Google?

Budgeting is always tricky. I tell people that a good budget is what you feel comfortable spending—and that really is the truth. Even if your starting budget is $50 a month, with a solid strategy in place, you can achieve a positive return on that investment.

If you’re having a difficult time deciding how much to spend, a good rule of thumb is to first figure out how much you make from a new patient walking in the door. If a new patient brings in a minimum of $59, then that means you can spend $100 on advertising, bring in two news clients, and have a positive return on your investment. So, if you’re paying $2 for a click, you have roughly 50 clicks to convert 2 patients. I think that is more than doable if your keywords on Google are targeting the right searchers. Regardless of how much you can spend, I would recommend starting with a conservative budget and seeing how many conversions you get. That way, you can fine-tune and optimize your strategy before you increase your budget—which ultimately ensures you get the most bang for your buck.

How can a clinic with a small budget obtain more reviews on review sites?

The best advice is also the simplest: just ask. At the end of a session—or when the patient is checking out at the front desk—ask that patient to provide you with a review. If you want to double down on that effort, try putting together a list of your most loyal or happy patients and emailing them with a direct link to the review site or page. That way, they can simply click the link and write the review with minimal effort on their end.

Why should I consider pay-per-click (PPC) ads?

You should consider PPC ads because they offer one of the most high-intent ways to drive new business. I hate to sound like a broken record, but if you have your keywords set up correctly, your ads will only show to searchers who are specifically looking for a service that you offer. If your map targeting is set to the right area, then these people will be extremely high-intent. And if your ads clearly indicate that you can give them what they are looking for—for example, same-day or emergency services—then there’s a very good chance they’ll click.

Is advertising on Google Maps different from Google Ads?

Yes and no. Google Maps will show your clinic if you have a Google My Business page set up and filled out fully. Depending on the competition in your area, your position will vary.

At the same time, Google Maps does offer advertising placement on its maps. When you pay for this type of ad, you’ll typically display in the top one or two spots on the map. You can choose to show ads on the map results by running Google Ads and linking your Google My Business page.

How do I get patients to click on my ads and not scroll past them? What kind of call to action (CTA) should I use in my ads (e.g., call us today, follow us on Facebook, click for more information, etc.)?

Have a clear and organized account with keywords that target high-intent searchers in your industry (examples of those keywords include “physical therapist near me,” “back pain physical therapist,” and “I need a physical therapist”). Use these keywords within your ad copy, as Google will automatically bold matching keywords. This will help your ad stick out. As for some specific CTAs, I would include insurances you’re contracted with (e.g., “Get PT covered by Humana”), whether you provide emergency services (e.g., “Get emergency PT treatment now”), your weekend hours (e.g., “Book a weekend PT appointment now”), or your same-day appointment options (e.g., “Book a same-day PT appointment now”). I would also recommend looking into what your competitors are offering and use that as a starting point to make your ads more appealing.

Do you think PPC is losing its effectiveness as consumers increasingly skip past ads on Google results pages?

I do not believe Google Ads are losing effectiveness, mainly because I see results and clicks coming from ads every day. I think that it is important to remember that not every single person will click on your ad—and that’s okay, because it’s not costing you anything when someone doesn’t click. What’s important is that your account is organized and that you have a strong website and landing pages. That way, when people do click on your ad, there is a clear and concise message to get them to convert. (Not sure what a landing page is—or how to use one? Check out this in-depth article.)

Do you have any additional resources to help with digital marketing strategy and account setup?

You bet! Here are some great resources to start with:

Thank you all so much for the questions! I had a blast running my live Q&A during Virtual Ascend, and hope to be able to do something like this again in the future. If you have any other questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below, and I’ll be sure to answer them.


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