In today’s financial environment, rehab therapists must think about business decisions just as much as clinical considerations to stay afloat. As any business guru will tell you, advertising is vital to your efforts to attract new patients and solidify your brand identity. Unfortunately, how to advertise your clinic is not something most rehab therapists get an extensive education on in today’s classrooms.
Compounding the problem is that as a small business owner, you probably don’t have much money to throw at a marketing budget. But if you’re smart, you can get a lot out of the advertising you do purchase—even on a tight budget. Here are a few tips on physical therapy clinic advertising that’ll allow you to maximize your marketing dollars.
1. Consider your—and your competitors’—client base.
Even if you create the most ingenious ad in the world, no one will see it if you place it in the wrong space. So, get in your clients’ heads a little bit. Who are they? Where are they? What do they care about? What are their interests and hobbies? Answering questions like these will give you a better idea of which platforms will give you the most impressions and thus, the most bang for your buck.
Also, take some time to research the advertising strategies of other clinics in your market. While you certainly don’t want to be a copycat, your competitors’ marketing ideas can serve as a great jumping-off point for how to advertise your clinic. Figure out what they’re doing—then figure out how to differentiate and market yourself and your expertise better.
2. Choose your platforms.
Once you feel like you’ve got a pulse on your target audience, it’s time to identify the channels that will best reach that audience and the methods you’ll use to execute your strategy. If you’re thinking of going the old-school, traditional route, consider the following ideas:
- Hang flyers or sponsorship banners at community events like cooking contests, concerts, fairs, and sports games (and be sure to introduce yourself to the coaches).
- Sponsor a local athletic event, such as a bike race or a 5K run. If you’re feeling super ambitious—or if a good portion of your client base participates in these kinds of activities—think about starting your own event.
- Network with owners, trainers, and instructors at local gyms, yoga studios, or fitness clubs. See if you can work out a cross-promotion deal or perhaps just display some of your brochures and business cards at the front desk.
If you’re looking for a broader reach through the Internet—which is a must for any marketing strategy—here are a few pieces of advice on how to advertise your clinic:
- We’ll assume you have a website for your physical therapy practice—the minimum online presence for any business in 2023. However, your site might not be the marketing magnet it could be. Using search engine optimization will allow your site to rank higher for critical keywords in your area and allow more potential patients to find you—even without ads.
- Ask your happiest patients to provide positive online reviews of your clinic on sites like Yelp and Google. It’s basically free advertising, and many patients consult online reviews before choosing a healthcare provider. (You can even automate the review request process using intelligent patient relationship management software like WebPT Reach.)
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are one of the most commonly used forms of advertising for most businesses—and yet remain underutilized by too many clinics. Given that most prospective patients are beginning their healthcare journey online, you could be losing patients to other practices paying to put themselves at the top of search results or in social media feeds. Google ads and Facebook ads remain the biggest players in the PPC space, so if you haven’t set up an account, you need to get started today.
- Social media is another avenue for advertising online. In addition to the aforementioned Facebook, there’s Instagram, X (or Twitter, if you’re stubborn about the name change), LinkedIn, and even TikTok as options to advertise your practice. Granted, not all of those platforms might make sense for your business, so be sure to do your research before investing any money in social media ads.
- If you want patients to find you online, a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a must. Those businesses that appear in the little box below the Google Map at the top of your search results? Those are businesses with Google Business Profiles — and they’re benefitting from the perch atop the Google results. Plus, a Google Business Profile gives potential patients an easy way to look at hours of operation, pictures, reviews, and other details about your practice so they can feel comfortable booking an appointment. (Not sure how to get started? We’ve got you covered with this guide to setting up your Google Business Profile.)
3. When thinking about how to advertise your clinic, don’t forget email.
One of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolbox is email — so why not take advantage of it? Email marketing has a strong return on investment in terms of cost per lead. While it’s most often associated with patient engagement, you can also use it to continue your outreach to patients who have completed treatment. Provided they’re satisfied with their care, they’re a great source for word-of-mouth referrals — or as repeat customers.
There are a few best practices to keep in mind if you’re planning to use email as part of your plans on how to advertise your clinic:
- Segment your lists based on status and body part or injury type to send tailored emails to the right audience. Nothing makes readers tune out your emails faster than the perception that they’re irrelevant to their interests.
- Highlight the benefits you’re offering in your pitch. Savvy consumers can see a sales ploy a mile away, but if you highlight how the care you offer helps them in their lives, it will seem a lot less sales-y.
- Don’t email people without permission. Just because you have a patient’s email address doesn’t necessarily mean they want you to send them emails. Permission is everything in email marketing, so make sure patients are opting-in to emails (perhaps as part of the intake process) rather than sending you angry responses—or, even worse, reporting you as spam.
4. Create landing pages
Another highly effective (and highly cost-effective) tool for advertising is landing pages for different audiences. You’re likely targeting a few different types of patients in your campaigns based on the variety of specialties and services you provide. If you’re just directing those who click on your ads to your homepage, you’re forcing them to do the rest of the work in finding the information they want or booking an appointment.
With a landing page, you can tailor and simplify content to that audience to guide them to where you want them to end up: on your online scheduler. If you’re looking for another simple, cost-effective idea for how to advertise your clinic, landing pages are the way to go.
5. Leave design to the pros.
When you’re considering how to advertise your clinic, remember that logos and clip art do not make for a good ad. Remember, no matter where you place your ad, one thing’s for sure—it won’t be the only one. A professional designer can help make your ad stand out from the competition. The publication running your ad might even give you the option to have their in-house designer create the ad for you. While this is certainly better than doing it yourself, hiring your own designer is typically less expensive in the long run because you’ll likely be able to reuse those ads. Ask around for recommendations—or research your options online.
6. Keep track of your success.
We’re all painfully aware that our every move and click online is tracked. While that might be a headache in your personal browsing, it can work to your benefit in measuring the success of your advertising campaigns. You likely can’t afford to waste any of the money you’re spending on advertising—which means you need to know which platforms and campaigns are bringing in patients and which aren’t worth the spend.
Fortunately, both Google Ads and Facebook Ads have fairly robust reporting features that can help you determine your acquisition cost per lead. (WebPT Reach also allows you to track and manage your leads.) An important part of how to advertise your clinic is making smart investments, so see which campaigns are bearing fruit and which you can prune to invest the money elsewhere.
With everything you’ve got on your plate, it’s probably tough to carve out time to create a marketing plan. But remember, clients won’t come to you if they don’t know about you. Thus, if you truly want to grow your business, you need to know how to advertise your practice. Have you tried any of the above tips on how to advertise your clinic? Did they work? Share your experiences with physical therapy marketing strategies in the comments section below.