In the digital age, it’s easy for physical therapists to get caught up in developing a social media presence at the expense of developing face-to-face relationships in their own communities. While it’s vital to have an easy-to-navigate website that uses SEO to reach your target audience, there are a few things you can add to your marketing program to develop a strong local presence. Here are five ways to connect with your community and build relationships that support your business:

  1. Connect personally with other business owners. My office is located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Through the Old Town Boutique District, a group of small business owners who work together to maintain a vibrant shopping neighborhood, I have developed friendships with some amazing people, and I’ve received mentoring from a number of successful owners in industries other than healthcare. These business owners are able to refer potential clients to me (one of them owns a shoe store and refers her customers who complain of foot pain). In turn, I shop in the local stores, and I also refer clients to them. It’s a win/win for everyone.
  2. Offer community education and movement programs. Work with the Parks and Recreation Department in your town to co-sponsor events that get people moving. Walking, running, and cycling events are popular and provide a venue to discuss health and wellness with members of your community. When you build relationships and offer valuable information and programs, people are more likely to think of you when they need physical therapy. Fellow physical therapist Brian Finch described how he did this in his community here. If you decide to adopt this strategy as part of your marketing program, be sure to keep track of the number of clients you get from these events.
  3. Write for local publications. Most cities and towns have local papers or online magazines that need content. I have been fortunate enough to develop relationships with a number of these publications, and I frequently contribute to Northern Virginia magazine and Washingtonian online. These publications are highly visible to my target audience and provide a perfect opportunity to introduce potential clients to physical therapy. When you provide content in your area of expertise, you will draw your perfect clients to your practice. I’m often amazed by clients who call to schedule an appointment because they read one of my articles two years after it was published.
  4. Create brand ambassadors. When you provide high-quality service to your patients, they will be happy to tell others in the community about your practice. Your perfect patients already understand your value; you don’t need to convince them. Their values align with your unique value proposition (UVP), so they’ll be happy to work with you and tell others about their experiences. As the saying goes, “When you talk about your business, it’s marketing; when others talk about your business, it’s PR.” Word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways of drawing new clients to your practice.
  5. Collaborate with other professionals. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only building relationships with other physical therapists, but we need to branch out. Get to know personal trainers, massage therapists, hairstylists, and manicurists. These service providers interact with clients all day long and often hear about pain that their clients are experiencing. If you have built good relationships with them, they will happily refer clients to you (and you can refer to them as well).

I hope that these tips are helpful. I find that building relationships with members of my community is an effective way of marketing without the “hard sell.” What are some ways that you build community?

The PT Patient’s Guide to Understanding Insurance - Regular BannerThe PT Patient’s Guide to Understanding Insurance - Small Banner
  • Hit a Hole-in-One with Your Patient Engagement Strategy Image

    articleMar 23, 2015 | 7 min. read

    Hit a Hole-in-One with Your Patient Engagement Strategy

    I love hitting the links on a beautiful Saturday morning and watching all of the brave souls who decided that this would be the weekend they’d take up the amazing game of golf. They show up on their first day with the most expensive shoes, the nicest logoed pro gear, the fanciest new drivers, and the latest techy golf gadgets. Perhaps they find these items give them an added boost of confidence—or maybe they think these material …

  • 3 Quick Wins for Your Online Marketing Strategy Image

    articleMar 24, 2015 | 6 min. read

    3 Quick Wins for Your Online Marketing Strategy

    Starting a clinic in a new city—with new referral sources and limited networks—can be very challenging. But with the right online marketing strategy, you can expedite the process. In fact, over the last three months, I’ve been able to grow my patient base by using old school word-of-mouth marketing and establishing an online presence in the local community. There are many ways to use the power of the Internet to market to patients and referring providers, and …

  • Six Steps for PTs Considering Crowd-Funding Image

    articleMay 14, 2014 | 8 min. read

    Six Steps for PTs Considering Crowd-Funding

    Your next-generation rehab tool is poised to be a big hit in the market, but you can’t construct a prototype because you are maxed out on credit cards. You’re looking to expand your practice to a second location and are on a capital campaign to secure the lease and fund the build-out. Maybe you’re simply trying to purchase a much-needed piece of equipment for you clinic, but the bank isn’t extending your business’s line of credit. What …

  • articleAug 17, 2011 | 8 min. read

    How to WOW Your Website Visitors: Copywriting Recommendations for Your Home & About Us Pages

    How many visitors view your website each month?  Analytical data from our clients tells us it’s in the hundreds of visitors …even more of you drive traffic with search engine optimization and/or pay-per-click ads. It just makes sense that you put some time into your website copy .  Copywriting is meant to persuade someone to take an action.  It’s not written words simply to educate someone.  When writing home page copy, you need to refer to the …

  • D’Oh! 3 Major Physical Therapy Marketing Fails Image

    articleSep 18, 2017 | 8 min. read

    D’Oh! 3 Major Physical Therapy Marketing Fails

    Homer Simpson introduced the catchphrase “d’oh!” on the long-running cartoon sitcom, The Simpsons, in 1989. It’s arguably one of the most recognizable catchphrases in American pop culture. So much so, in fact, that the Oxford Dictionary of English added the word in 2001. Defined as an informal exclamation “used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one's own,” “d’oh” is the most fitting—and safe for work—reaction to committing a major fail. “D’oh” is even more …

  • 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 Patient Retention Webinar Image

    articleMar 28, 2018 | 12 min. read

    Common Questions from Our Physical Therapy Patient Retention Webinar

    Strive Labs co-founders Ryan Klepps and Scott Hebert recently joined WebPT president Heidi Jannenga for an insightful webinar about improving patient retention and reducing early patient drop-out. We know this is a super-relevant topic, especially because the cost of diminishing patient visits represents a $6 billion problem that not many people in the industry are talking about—at least not yet. As a result, we received a slew of great questions that we couldn’t get to live on …

  • articleOct 8, 2013 | 7 min. read

    How to Ensure You Stand Out Online

    Today's blog post comes from marketing whiz Alex Scioli. She's the director of community at Therapydia , an online community dedicated to physical therapy. Thanks, Alex! Social media and branding are topics we here at Therapydia are deeply passionate about. So, when WebPT asked us to contribute a post on the topic, we were excited. Whether you’re looking to promote yourself, your practice, or the physical therapy profession in general, there has never been a better time …

  • It Only Takes 3 Simple Steps: The Physical Therapist’s Guide to SEO Strategy Image

    articleMar 16, 2015 | 5 min. read

    It Only Takes 3 Simple Steps: The Physical Therapist’s Guide to SEO Strategy

    Let's face it: As the owner of a physical therapy practice, you probably have a shortage of hours in your day. You're not interested in learning the finer points of Facebook advertising. You don't care about the ins and the outs of crafting the perfect email drip campaign. And you're not even slightly amused by the cute black-and-white animal names in Google's zoo of algorithm changes (lookin' at you Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon ). And unless you’ve …

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