Why do patients drop out of therapy? As we explain in this WebPT Blog post, it can be for a number of reasons ranging from slow results to time constraints. But while the reasons may vary, most of them boil down to one thing: the patient just wasn’t right for physical therapy—at least not at your clinic. So, what’s a PT practitioner to do? After all, if you’re relying on referrals from physicians, there’s no guarantee that every patient they send you will be a good fit for your services. That’s where marketing comes into play—specifically, marketing to the right audience. And one way to ensure you’re attracting your ideal patients (i.e., the ones who would have the best chance of achieving success in your clinic) is to market your clinic’s culture.
What is culture?
Before we dive into leveraging your culture to better market your clinic, let’s first discuss what company culture means.
Defining company culture can be a bit, well, abstract. According to Andrew Hartley, owner and operator of The Alternative Board, company culture is “not just your personal values and the values of those around you at work. It’s how those values interact with the challenges and experiences of your market, the values and pressures added by your customers and suppliers and other stakeholders.”
You can measure your culture in the attitudes and actions of your staff. In a nutshell, having a great company culture is the difference between a team who comes to work to earn a paycheck and a team who comes to work because they love it. And that difference is visible from the patient perspective. If your staff buys into your mission, your patients will, too. After all, as author Simon Sinek mentions in his book Start with Why, “Customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
How can you market culture?
So, how can you project your culture—and your message—to the right people? Here are a few tips for weaving culture into your current marketing strategies:
1. Meet your patients where they are.
Start by getting involved in your community. Think about your ideal patients, what’s important to them, and where to find them. Some good examples are events like:
- Volunteer activities,
- Charity fundraisers, and
- Sporting events.
Whether you’re an organizer, participant, or sponsor, getting out in the community gives you a chance to talk with like-minded people. Perhaps more importantly, it shows them you’re passionate about the same things they are.
2. Network with other health and wellness professionals.
Along with speaking directly to prospective patients, don’t hesitate to be a friendly neighbor to potential referral sources. Specifically, seek out other health-centric businesses that cater to similar clientele (e.g., physician offices, gyms, chiro clinics, and health food stores) and have missions and cultures that jibe with your own. Consider developing cross-promotions to not only drive word-of-mouth business, but also build loyalty with those referrers.
By working with businesses that serve the same population as you (and have a similar culture), you know that any patients they send your way are likely to believe in your mission, too.
3. Blog about what’s happening in your clinic.
Blogging is an excellent way to not only share your culture, but also boost your clinic’s search engine optimization (SEO) power. As WebPT’s Brooke Andrus says in this post, blogging “not only builds trust with potential patients who might still be a bit hesitant about trying therapy, but also it allows you to woo prospective hires with your A-plus culture.” For example, you can blog about things like:
- Company parties,
- Community get-togethers,
- Learning events, and
- Employee spotlights.
4. Highlight it in your marketing materials.
Go on—it’s okay to brag a little. If you’ve got an amazing team, brilliant culture, and wonderful patients, there’s no shame in flaunting it on social media. (Just make sure you have permission before sharing pictures or names of patients!) In fact, showing off your company culture is an excellent online marketing strategy. That’s because doing so helps your patients get to know you before they even set foot in your practice. Better yet, seeing how gung-ho your staff and patients are about being there will get those potential patients excited about you, too.
Lights, camera, action!
In addition to posting pictures, consider harnessing your inner Copolla and putting together short videos for your practice. Videos are actually super-effective at attracting interest on social media. People are more likely to remember you, and according to the Content Marketing Institute, 43% of B2C marketers say “video is the most successful type of content for marketing purposes.” (WebPT’s own videographer explains how to make gorgeous videos for your practice without a Hollywood-sized budget in this post.)
Furthermore, as this article from Hearst Marketing Agency reveals, video:
- Helps you tell your clinic’s stories in a medium people are more likely to engage with.
- Allows your audience to connect with you and your clinic on a more personal, authentic level and thus, instills trust.
- Makes your practice a destination (so, instead of being just another PT clinic, your clinic is the one that made that cute “Safety Dance” video).
Testimonials are perfect for social sharing.
If you’re tracking your patients’ experience in your practice—which you absolutely should be doing—you can leverage this information by asking your happiest patients to provide you reviews and testimonials. (The Net Promoter Score® [NPS®] is the best way to track this, and we explain the how and why here.) Once you have your testimonials, be sure to obtain written permission to share them for marketing purposes; then, feature them on social media, your website, or other marketing materials. Having real-life recommendations from actual patients is a great way to build trust and establish credibility in your community, and prospective patients will respond to that.
For example, by infusing its fun staff culture into patient interactions, East Coast-based Pivot Physical Therapy makes true believers out of its patients (evidenced by this patient testimonial): “Possibly the most important thing, everyone at Pivot Physical Therapy is fun and great to be around. I look forward to getting away from work and ‘playing’ at your facilities.” Not only does this speak to Pivot’s amazing culture, but it also helps ease patient anxieties about how grueling physical therapy can be—making it an ideal testimonial to post online.
So, there you have it: the why and how of marketing your clinic’s culture. Got any tips of your own? Drop us a line in the comment section below!