If Don Draper strolled into today’s marketing firms, he’d need a smoke and an old fashioned, fast—well, faster than normal. Why? The computers! All the computers! And not just the devices themselves, but the marketing wizardry behind them. I’m talking about digital marketing. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I’m not an ad-man like Don Draper. What do I need to know about digital marketing?” And to that I say, while you don’t need to be as knowledgeable about digital marketing as ol’ Draper is about the Kodak Carousel, as a small business owner, you do need to know a thing or two. So, grab the bourbon—or a glass of iced tea—and let’s get down to brass tacks.

Speech-Language Pathologist Salary Guide - Regular BannerSpeech-Language Pathologist Salary Guide - Small Banner

What is digital marketing?

Simply put, digital marketing is everything that Don Draper would know nothing about. It does not include the traditional marketing channels from the ad-man glory days—like radio, TV, billboards, and print. Instead, it’s pay-per-click and banner advertising, search engine optimization, email and text messaging, blogging, podcasting, website development, social media, mobile—the list goes on and on. Essentially, it’s marketing born out of the Internet and conducted online, and because of that, it offers instant feedback in the form of data.

Why should you care?

As Heidi Jannenga made pretty clear in this month’s founder letter, modern consumers are doing everything online, including making healthcare decisions. If you’re not online—and if you’re not marketing to those prospective patients online—then you’re missing out on business, big time. No small business owner can afford that. Even if you’re a physical therapy clinic that receives almost all its patients from physician referrals, you’re still missing out. Why? Because there are people out there in need of PT, and they’re searching for providers online. And with some form of direct access existing in all 50 states, why shouldn’t it be your practice that benefits from their Googling?

So, what’s the plan?

Okay, you know what digital marketing is and why you should care about it. Now, you need a strategy:

  1. Ensure you have a marketing plan that accounts for digital opportunities. Need some pointers on how to make one? Check out this blog. Oh, and plans call for budgets, so make sure you have a marketing budget, too—and that, again, it accounts for digital. Here’s an article that explains how to make one.
  2. Create a website if you don’t have one now, and start blogging so your site always features fresh content. Already have a website and blog? Excellent. In that case, I challenge you to guest blog.
  3. Understand that you don’t need to do everything. I know I just told you to make a website and start blogging, but that’s just the tip of the rocks glass. Don’t feel like you have to order every drink on the menu right off the bat. Not every digital marketing initiative—and there are a lot of them—is right for you. Within your marketing plan, outline specific marketing objectives and choose digital initiatives that best align with your goals and budget. This super sweet chart from Moz breaks down dozens of digital options by cost, time involvement, and support requirements (i.e., whether you’ll be able to do them yourself or will need guidance, software, or technical help).
  4. Get your keywords and NAP on lock, get listed on local directories, and make sure you have social media profiles set up. For instructions on all of that, check out this article.
  5. Monitor and track. As I said above, digital marketing gives you instant feedback in the form of data. Gone are the Mad Men days of assuming all sales stem from the efforts of an ad agency. With digital marketing, you can see exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Take advantage of that. I recommend the Small Business Guide to Google Analytics.

Now that I’ve whet your appetite for digital marketing (and a classic old fashioned), it’s time to put your learnings to practice. Don Draper might’ve been a creative genius, but nowadays, he’s a man behind the times. Not you, though; you’re a clinician, and soon you’ll be a digital marketing technician. That’s a combination that could certainly Madison with the mightiest of Mad Men.

  • How to Spend Your Clinic’s Marketing Dollars for Maximum Returns Image

    articleAug 17, 2016 | 11 min. read

    How to Spend Your Clinic’s Marketing Dollars for Maximum Returns

    As author and marketing guru Seth Godin says, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” If you want to stand out in the rehab therapy marketplace—and potentially grow your clinic—then spending money on marketing is essential. But, to ensure a maximum return on investment, you’ve got to carve out—and carefully manage—your physical therapy clinic’s budget. Knowing where to put those dollars can …

  • How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients Image

    webinarFeb 27, 2015

    How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients

    Nowadays, everyone is looking for a way to “go viral” online. But with all that go-big-or-go-home hype, it’s easy to get intimidated—and that leaves many small business owners wondering if they have the time, resources, or wherewithal to even make a dent in the Internet, let alone break it.  Don’t get stuck in the muck and mire of cliché goals; you don’t have to hit a million views to make a big impact online. As a private …

  • Common Questions from our Physical Therapy Website Optimization Webinar Image

    articleOct 18, 2017 | 21 min. read

    Common Questions from our Physical Therapy Website Optimization Webinar

    On October 17, 2017, WebPT’s own Charlotte Bohnett and Shawn McKee hosted a webinar detailing how rehab therapy practices can make themselves findable—and, more importantly, discoverable—online. During the presentation, they covered everything from blogging and soliciting reviews to keywording and optimizing online profiles. It was a lot of juicy information—and we received a lot of juicy questions from our audience. We’ve compiled the most common ones—and their answers—in the FAQ below. Reviews Can I send patients a …

  • The 3 Immutable Laws of Direct Access Marketing Image

    articleOct 15, 2014 | 8 min. read

    The 3 Immutable Laws of Direct Access Marketing

    It took expensive membership dues, countless lobbying and volunteer hours, and 25 years, but we finally did it: Direct access to physical therapy services is now available in all 50 states in at least one form or another. It wasn’t easy, so it’s important to take a few moments to celebrate our achievements and raise a glass to all of the passionate physical therapists and physical therapy advocates out there who made it happen. Okay, time’s up—and …

  • Top of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online Image

    webinarSep 12, 2017

    Top of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online

    Where there are people, there’s also a demand for goods and services. And even in the age of the Internet, people still need brick-and-mortar establishments to meet their demands. That’s especially true with rehab therapy—arguably the most hands-on form of health care. But, just because people seek out physical businesses doesn’t mean they’re not using the Internet to find them. For this reason, rehab therapy practices must ensure that prospective patients can discover their services and find …

  • 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 …

  • 5 Steps to Create an Advertising Plan for Your Clinic Image

    articleJun 25, 2013 | 6 min. read

    5 Steps to Create an Advertising Plan for Your Clinic

    The purpose of this month’s blog theme—small business best practices—is to help you be better in business. And as any business guru will tell you, advertising is a huge factor in not only creating new business, but also in solidifying brand identity. As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a lot of money to throw at media buying opportunities. But if you’re smart, you can get a lot out of the ad spots you do …

  • How to Showcase Your Company Culture Externally Image

    articleJan 22, 2014 | 4 min. read

    How to Showcase Your Company Culture Externally

    The main purpose of establishing a strong company culture is to get everyone in your business on the same page when it comes to core values. So, on the surface, “company culture” might seem like a strictly internal initiative. But if you think about it, your company culture is basically your practice’s personality—the thing that sets you apart from all the other rehab therapy clinics out there. And because—according to this Bureau of Labor Statistics report —the …

  • FAQ: Make Google Do It: How to Use the Internet to Win More Patients Image

    articleApr 18, 2019 | 22 min. read

    FAQ: Make Google Do It: How to Use the Internet to Win More Patients

    Earlier this week, Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, and Scott Hebert, PT, DPT, hosted a webinar that dove into the depths of digital marketing in the age of the almighty Internet. Though they covered a lot of ground, they weren’t able to address all the questions that filtered in during the hour-long presentation . So, we took it upon ourselves to compile (and answer!) the most commonly-asked questions of the bunch! Don’t see the answer to your …

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