Figuring out how to market your rehab therapy practice can be a tall task—particularly for clinicians who went to school to be movement experts instead of marketing gurus. Fortunately, we had a couple of PTs well-versed in the world of marketing—WebPT co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, PT, DPT, ATC, and MEG Business Management Founder and President Brian Gallagher, PT—discuss marketing best practices during our latest webinar. (If you didn’t catch it, you can view it here.)
As you may know, we conclude every webinar with a 15-minute Q&A session; however, we had more questions than we could get to during our allotted time (which seems to be pretty on brand with us). So, we’ve compiled the unanswered ones in this helpful FAQ.
How can we stop Google from displaying search results with old pages featuring providers who are no longer with our practice?
Fortunately, this is a fairly easy fix! You can start by updating your website to reflect any changes to your staff or practice, including deleting or archiving old, out-of-date pages. If you’ve done that and Google is still showing those inaccurate results, you can ask Google to remove search results by following these instructions.
What sort of organic content should our clinic post while we wait for ad spend to start converting patients?
Creating organic content from your wheelhouse is a great place to start. If you have a specialist certification or are the local expert in something like running or endurance training, then start there. You have the know-how that prospective patients want, and posting your insights will only increase your reach and engagement.
If you want advice specific to posting on social media, check out our recent interview with Dr. Julie Wiebe, PT, DPT, President of Julie Wiebe Physical Therapy and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan – Flint.
How does ZocDoc succeed at always being in the top three of Google organic search results?
Because so many people go to ZocDoc to search for providers in their area, its reputation as a trusted source of information is boosted by Google’s algorithm. Providers also link to their ZocDoc profiles on social media or their website, which also helps. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that their site has countless clinicians across numerous specialties in locations spanning the country, so they’re going to appear in a lot of keyword searches when patients are looking for healthcare providers. In short, being a popular website makes it easy to continue being a popular website. That doesn’t mean your practice can’t crack the top three local search results with some savvy SEO strategies, though.
Where can I find the rules for pay-per-click ads for physical therapists on Google and YouTube, or Facebook and Instagram?
Specific to physical therapy, the APTA has established guidelines for advertising for physical therapists. If you’re looking for rules and restrictions from social media or search platforms, you can review Google’s ad policies or Meta’s advertising standards.
Patient Reviews and Surveys
What strategies can you employ to encourage your patients to write Google reviews?
Sometimes the best place to start is with a simple question. While patients are in the clinic and you’re having a conversation about their care and progress, use this as a segue to ask if they’d be willing to write a review on Google. You can even go a step further with a QR code on a business card or smartphone for the patient to scan and submit their review on the spot.
If you need a little help soliciting patient reviews—or are looking for creative ideas—get your staff involved with fun incentives for clinicians and patients alike. One great example that we’ve seen a practice adopt was to encourage patients to leave a review and vote for their favorite therapist—who were then awarded with a pie in the face. Or, if you have more than one clinic you oversee, incentivize staff with a clinic-versus-clinic competition to see who can get the most Google reviews, with the winning clinic receiving a gift card or some other small prize.
Should we have patients complete satisfaction surveys quarterly, instead of every six months after re-evaluations?
The frequency of surveys largely depends on your client base and how you are looking to utilize NPS scores. In some instances, clinics will send an NPS survey after each evaluation, a two-week follow-up survey, and a survey at discharge.
As pediatric cases are often over a longer period of time, capturing the NPS score with each re-evaluation is certainly a good idea, but getting one more survey in between the initial evaluation and six months could lend more data and insight into your patients’ experience.
How often should you be reaching out to your top-referring providers?
As we mentioned in this blog post, referral marketing is a lot like dating—and in any relationship, communication is key. With that in mind, reach out to your top referral sources as often as necessary with regard to their patients. In some instances, having your referral source's direct number can be useful for a quick text to check-in.
If reaching out directly isn’t feasible, sending progress notes along with your patient for their next appointment is the next best thing. Or, if you want to take relationship-building to the next level, ask your patient and the referral source if you can tag along for the next follow-up—an idea Gallagher broached during the webinar.
What are some email marketing strategies for referring providers?
To echo something Gallagher said during the webinar, referral relationships are best built in person, with meaningful, face-to-face conversations. That said, if you do want to give email marketing a try with providers, you should follow the same guidelines as you would in their office—which is to highlight patient testimonials and outcomes data. Referring physicians are looking to send their patients to clinicians who will offer the best care and produce the most satisfied patients—it’s up to you to demonstrate you’re the person for the job.
What is the best practice for measuring your conversion rate?
To measure your conversion rate as accurately as possible, you need to track all the traffic your practice is getting. That means every visit, every click on your website, landing pages, or social media posts, and every interaction with ad campaigns you’re running (typically with the help of Google Analytics). From there, it’s a relatively simple calculation: divide the total views or visits by the number of patients you’ve pulled in from those sources. According to this article from Wordsteam, the average conversion rate for most businesses falls between 2% and 5%, although the top performers are closer to 10%.
Marketing Best Practices
What are some ways to target specific groups of patients, like police officers, teachers, or construction workers?
Often the best place to start is the source. Local unions for police officers and teachers can prove to be a good resource, and forming a relationship with these specific occupations can be an internal referral source to leverage.
One example that we know of is from a clinic in the Chicagoland area that created a police officer program. After successfully treating several police officers and implementing a value-driven worker’s compensation program, the clinic outfitted a section of its space to mimic active duty for law enforcement. The result was more referrals and even a contract with a local department for work physicals related to law enforcement applications.
What do you recommend for a successful "October is Physical Therapy Month" campaign?
If you want to create marketing efforts around PT Month, take a look at successful national campaigns and create something smaller that suits your company. For example, the APTA does a good job of promoting its ChoosePT campaign in October to help raise awareness; why not try something similar in your area?
Making the month of October about PT presents a good opportunity for marketing your clinic via social media and other digital marketing mediums. Use this national campaign as a call to action (CTA) for patients to get active, get out there, and visit their local PT for the various services your practice offers.
You could also plan some community outreach initiatives, like offering injury screenings, wellness consults, or other free services that highlight what your practice has to offer. Or, if you’re looking for a larger-scale initiative, you could try some version of the fall festival Gallagher hosted at his clinic, complete with games and activities in one of his clinic’s parking lots. Whatever option you choose, use community outreach to build your brand with people in your neighborhood.
Of course, it’s impossible to cover every question that can arise in marketing your practice to patients and other providers. Your business and clientele aren’t the same as anyone else’s, and bringing in new business requires an approach that fits your needs. But with any luck, you’re free of lingering questions and feeling more confident about how to build a marketing plan that works for you.
If you feel like you could use a bit more guidance for your practice marketing, Gallagher is offering webinar attendees a free practice assessment and $1,000 off their most popular Platinum Program in MEG Academy! Just reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to get started.