Unless you have a complete monopoly (or run an incredibly niche-based practice), word-of-mouth efforts generally won’t keep your clinic’s doors open. Marketing is an essential part of running a healthy PT clinic, and while many clinics keep a dedicated marketing specialist on staff, smaller clinics might not have the budget to do so. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to leverage existing clinical staff to help with marketing efforts—and they’ll get the chance to flex their creative muscles in the process!

There are countless reasons to involve your own PTs in clinic marketing efforts. Not only does it help fill gaps left by patient cancellations (thus eliminating the need to flex therapists), but it also affords those who best understand your clinic’s services the opportunity to represent what you do—all while giving them more of a stake in your clinic’s brand. And if you’re worried about adding more to your therapists’ plates, keep in mind that some of those staff members might jump at the chance to hone their non-clinical skills—as long as they feel supported in the process.

Here are four ways to involve your PT staff in clinic marketing efforts.

Suppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients High-Deductible Health Plans - Regular BannerSuppressing Sticker Shock: How to Handle Your Patients High-Deductible Health Plans - Small Banner

1) Enlist therapists to rep your brand.

Good old-fashioned brand marketing goes a long way toward building awareness around your clinic and what it has to offer.

Swag

T-shirts, pens, planners, and other forms of swag are great for getting your name and logo in the public eye. For example, by creating a clinic hashtag—and then encouraging therapists to use it when posting pictures of themselves wearing clinic gear at various community or athletic events—you’ll spread awareness and build team spirit. You can even create fun contests and reward programs to encourage your staff to display your gear in public. For example, perhaps staff members earn points—which they can redeem for PTO, bonuses, or prizes—each time they are tagged on social media while wearing clinic gear.

And don’t rule out involving your team in the creation of the swag in the first place. They’ll be the best ones to weigh in on the types of items you select—and maybe even the design!

Sponsorships

You can always take it a step further by putting your logo on team shirts and uniforms. Many local softball and kickball leagues are teeming with weekend warriors who are in desperate need of physical therapy. Consider sponsoring one of these teams and putting your name on their t-shirts—or even signing up as a clinic and playing in a league. Those too-proud-to-stretch 30-somethings on the opposing teams will be limping their way right into your clinic before too long!

There are also plenty of charitable organizations looking for support—some of which your staff may already have connections with. Task your therapists with finding ones with sponsorship levels that fit your budget, and allow them to set everything up—rewarding them with points for the find.

Pro tip: If you create clothing, spend the extra money to print on high-quality materials. Nobody wants to wear a stiff, scratchy t-shirt that feels like a cheese grater on the skin.

2) Encourage community outreach.

Community outreach is an incredibly effective and organic way to bring in new patients. From running booths at community events and races to hosting classes at your facility, your therapists are often the best ones to determine how and where to represent your clinic.

Community Events

Most locales have at least a few community events to choose from, so why not have a presence at the ones that matter to your own staff? Speak with your therapists and unearth their passions. Do you have a die-hard yogi on staff? Encourage him to run a booth at the local “Yoga in the Park” event. Do you have a therapist who heads to the rock climbing gym after work each night? Consider having her distribute brochures about climbing injury prevention at an upcoming climbing competition. You can reward them with points toward PTO or flex time for the hours worked at the event itself.

Community Education

Another way to leverage your therapists’ strengths and passions is to pay them to present on their expertise. After all, your therapists are extensions of your clinic, and you are helping them grow professionally—and building their caseloads—when you give them the freedom and tools to create presentations. If you’ve got a runner on your team, why not offer her the chance to host an injury-prevention workshop at your clinic in the weeks leading up to a big race? Not only does that offer her a chance to build her thought leadership and attract more patients, but it also gives community members a chance to see your clinic and get a better idea of how PT can help them become better runners. It’s good for you—and good for the profession!

Pro tip: Organizing events can be a challenge for some therapists, so don’t let the event planning part keep them from participating in marketing-related activities. Speak with your team and identify those who enjoy event planning; then, let them take the lead with the planning part, while allowing the other team members to shine during the presentation part. Also, remember to allow time in their schedules to work on these projects; that way, they will have the best chance of being successful—and won’t feel resentful for having to do extra work without extra pay.

3) Leverage their online marketing skills.

Back in the early days of PT, practice marketing efforts were largely limited to physician marketing and community outreach. But, times have changed. With direct access widening our ability to see patients without a prescription—and social media allowing us to target our outreach to patients in our specific regions—online marketing can be extremely affordable and simple, especially if you have tech-savvy clinicians on staff (and you probably do).

Blogging

Maintaining an active clinic blog has so many benefits, I could create a whole article on the topic! Some of the main reasons to prioritize blogging include:

  • Keeping your website content fresh so search engines find your site more easily;
  • Establishing your team as experts on relevant therapy topics;
  • Creating informative content to share on other forms of social media; and
  • Providing a creative outlet for your staff members, as well as helping them build their brands as clinicians and physical therapy writers.

As tempting as it can be to repurpose content you find elsewhere on the Internet, plagiarism is illegal—and if you straight-up lift your content from other sites, your readers will be able to tell. Besides, chances are you’ve got a talented writer/editor (or two) on staff who is looking for a creative outlet. Choose two or three of your best writers to create content each month, and have one volunteer to run point on editing other writers’ blog posts. That way, you can find a consistent tone of voice for your writing—“cutting-edge and clinical,” “fun and approachable,” or “empathetic and supportive” are all great examples—and ensure your copy is error-free. One to two posts per month is plenty, and shoot for a minimum of 300-400 words per article. Finally, remember that your primary audience is comprised of patients—not PTs—so authors should refrain from using clinical jargon in their posts.

Paid Ads and Search Engine Optimization

Attracting patients with little effort has never been easier. Facebook and Google both allow you to pay to run targeted local ads, which can help you bring new patients to the clinic. Find out if any of your clinicians know—or have interest in learning—how to run online ads. There’s a good chance someone will jump at the opportunity to gain non-clinical work experience. After all, today’s employees are more likely to stay put in jobs if they feel like they’re continually growing—and that they have their employers’ support in the process.

Pro tip: Your therapists’ blogging and online advertising efforts will only be successful if they have the time they need to follow through completely. So, don’t only let your therapists focus on marketing when there happen to be appointment cancellations. A fruitful blog and social media/paid advertising strategy requires dedicated time. For a complete modern marketing resource created specifically for PTs, check out our marketing e-book, “Download: Modern Marketing Decoded: A Guide for Rehab Therapists.”

4) Don’t rule out traditional physician marketing.

With so much focus on online marketing, hashtags, and fancy clothes, don’t forget that, for many clinics, physician marketing remains a powerful tool for attracting patients. And that’s good news for some of your therapists—especially the ones who don’t want to mix business with personal life (a.k.a. their wardrobes or social media profiles).

Encourage therapists who feel comfortable interacting with physicians to set appointments with some of your area’s top referring MDs to discuss your clinic’s offerings—as well as their own specialties. And don’t send your therapists in empty-handed; physicians’ offices are just as busy as you are, so they’ll appreciate some informative brochures, snacks, and swag—pens, specifically!

Pro tip: Create a clinic elevator pitch—as well as a general marketing packet—to give to your your therapists; that way, they won’t feel like they’re being sent to the wolves with no support.


These are some creative ways I’ve seen savvy clinics include PTs in marketing endeavors. How do you get your own clinical staff involved with in marketing? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Meredith Castin, PT, DPT, is the founder of The Non-Clinical PT, a career development resource designed to help physical, occupational, and speech therapy professionals leverage their degrees in non-clinical ways.

  • Modern Marketing Decoded: A Guide for Rehab Therapists Image

    downloadDec 5, 2017

    Modern Marketing Decoded: A Guide for Rehab Therapists

    Do you feel like your practice’s website could use a dose of TLC? Are you worried that potential patients aren’t finding you online? Have your attempts at generating online buzz fizzled out—or worse, backfired? If so—and if you want your rehab therapy practice to “live long and prosper”—then you may need to rethink your current marketing strategy. But, venturing into the brave new world of modern marketing can be a lot—especially if you’re new to the game. …

  • 6 Biggest Takeaways from PPS 2015 Image

    articleNov 16, 2015 | 10 min. read

    6 Biggest Takeaways from PPS 2015

    Last week, I joined hundreds of amazing physical therapy professionals, students, and vendors (including yours truly, WebPT) at this year's PPS Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. Despite the uncomfortable combination of tropical heat and humidity outside—and near-freezing conference rooms inside—everyone was in high spirits. Though I never made it to Disney World, I still felt like I was in the most magical place on Earth, thanks to the inspiring and informative presentations I saw and the thought-provoking …

  • articleSep 13, 2013 | 7 min. read

    6 Common Rehab Therapy Marketing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

    So, you’ve got a marketing plan , you’ve honed your content-creation skills , and you’re ready to get down to business—or, to be more accurate, you’re ready to get down to marketing your business. As with any new endeavor, you’ll probably experience a few bumps along the road to building a successful marketing campaign—and that’s okay. After all, some of the world’s best innovations came about through trial and error. But while mistakes often present you with …

  • 5 Easy Steps to Create High-Quality Videos for Your Practice Image

    articleDec 21, 2018 | 8 min. read

    5 Easy Steps to Create High-Quality Videos for Your Practice

    As a videographer, I’ve witnessed the far-reaching effects videos can have when it comes to promoting businesses. However, due to cost constraints, many rehab therapists and practice owners feel that hiring a videographer is not within their marketing budget . Still, based on what we heard during the marketing open forum we held at the most recent Ascend conference , they are interested in creating their own videos—but are unsure how to produce high-quality, effective videos. The …

  • articleSep 18, 2012 | 5 min. read

    Discovering and Marketing Your Physical Therapy Niche

    One way to better market the physical therapy profession is to ensure that you’re appropriately marketing your own clinic. As is the case with any business, you need to know your audience. A common mistake is the “we’ll-fit-anyone” approach. You either end up clueless as to how to promote your clinic or cast too wide of a net, catching flitting minnows rather than loyal marlins. But by narrowing your focus—by finding your niche—you can better position yourself …

  • The Golden Rules of Running a PT Clinic Blog Image

    articleMar 14, 2019 | 7 min. read

    The Golden Rules of Running a PT Clinic Blog

    If you’ve ever wondered whether blogging is a worthwhile use of your time as a PT clinic owner, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” After all, creating a blog for your PT clinic has countless benefits. In addition to providing valuable information to your current, past, and future patients, a blog helps keep your website fresh and relevant —as opposed to looking like nothing more than a digital brochure for your clinic. Furthermore, blogging allows you to …

  • How To Start An Outpatient Private Practice For Less Than $8,000 Image

    articleJul 19, 2017 | 5 min. read

    How To Start An Outpatient Private Practice For Less Than $8,000

    Our contributing blogger today is WebPT Member, Jack Sparacio, MSPT, COMT, CFMT . He is also the Owner and President of Sparacio Physical Therapy P.C. in New York. We're excited to have Jack sharing his expertise. Thanks, Jack! Starting a Clinic I know what you’re thinking. There is no way you can open an outpatient private practice for less than $8,000. But the truth is, you can. There are plenty of articles out there that will tell …

  • 3 Things You’ve Gotta Know About Running a PT Practice Image

    articleApr 7, 2016 | 8 min. read

    3 Things You’ve Gotta Know About Running a PT Practice

    As physical therapists, we’re observant. We closely examine movements, attentively listen to patient complaints, and expertly read between the lines. Unfortunately, though, we don’t always give that level of attention to the non-clinical stuff. Because while we’re expert empathizers, we’re not the strongest scrutinizers. And when it comes to business, you need to scrupulously scrutinize. I worked as a physical therapist for more than 15 years, and I spent a good portion of that time as a …

  • The Social Media ROI Quandary Image

    articleMar 24, 2014 | 4 min. read

    The Social Media ROI Quandary

    To take a page from Ferris Bueller , social media moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it. What do I mean by look around? Examine your metrics. Of course, I’m not talking about a traditional “dollars in versus dollars out” analysis.  A recent study from Business Insider (BI) found that the percentage of marketers tracking traditional return on investment (ROI) on social media is dropping; however, social media marketing budgets …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.