Here’s a question for all you practice owners and directors: how much extra time do you have in your day to devote to marketing your practice? If you’re like many, the answer is probably “not much.” So, it’s understandable that you may be tempted to delegate that task to someone else. Sometimes, that “someone else” ends up being an overburdened staff member with little experience in healthcare marketing. If you—and your budget—can swing it, though, you may have thought about bringing in an outside expert in the form of a freelance marketer. But, if you’ve never hired marketing freelancers, you may not know where to start. To that end, here’s the lowdown on hiring freelance healthcare marketers for physical therapy private practices:

Unwrapping MIPS and the Final Rule: How to Prepare for 2019 - Regular BannerUnwrapping MIPS and the Final Rule: How to Prepare for 2019 - Small Banner

Pros and Cons of Hiring Freelancers


  • Cost Effectiveness: While freelancers’ base rates are often higher than those for full-time employees—at least on an hourly basis—you don’t have to worry about traditional labor overhead costs (e.g., training and benefits). Also, freelancers typically offer quick turnaround times.
  • Expertise: If you’re venturing into digital marketing for the first time, there will probably be a lot of trial and error. However, a person whose job it is to write, code, or improve search engine optimization will have the know-how to do it right the first time, which means you start achieving ROI sooner. And if things need to be updated or changed, a skilled freelance marketer will know exactly what to do.
  • Variety: As WebPT President and Co-founder Heidi Jannenga explains here, “To make a truly effective team, you need many different ingredients. Challenge yourself to hire people whose stories are entirely different than your own—because that’s what cultivates cognitive diversity.” And this certainly isn’t limited to traditional employees. By bringing in an outside resource, you’re allowing your clinic and your marketing strategy to be viewed through a completely different lens. And that unique perspective could help you shake up your strategy or open the door to a new type of patient.


  • Risk: There’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee—especially on the Internet. If you’ve put a lot of thought into the hiring process, you’ve got a good chance of getting what you pay for—but you won’t really know for sure until the job is done (or at least in progress). And in most cases, you’ll still have to pay up.
  • Uncertainty: While a freelancer’s livelihood hinges on maintaining good relationships with clients, he or she may not always be available at the drop of a hat. In most cases, freelancers work with a number of clients—or they may only do the occasional freelance gig—and that means your business may not always be their priority. Furthermore, it can be tough for a freelancer to really get immersed in your brand and culture, which means less of that will shine through in your marketing materials.
  • Less Loyalty: As I mentioned above, you probably won’t be your freelancer’s only client. In fact, there’s a chance your freelancer may even work for your competitors (or will in the future). If that’s the case, there’s nothing stopping him or her from giving your competition an edge over you—or vice versa.

Ideal Tasks for Outsourcing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Between webinars and blog posts, we’ve talked a lot about SEO on the WebPT Blog. While you can learn to navigate the ins and outs of SEO on your own, we recommend outsourcing this task to an expert. That’s because effective SEO requires a lot of technical understanding, and staying on top of it can get time consuming. That said, maintaining good SEO on your own is a lot easier with tools like WebPT Reach.


If your marketing strategy includes blogging, you might consider hiring freelance bloggers. However, if you choose to hire writers for your blog, make sure they bring valuable—and more importantly, relevant—subject matter expertise for your intended audience (a.k.a. potential patients). In other words, make sure that writer can speak intelligently on the issues your patients want to read about. Ideally, this would be someone with a background in rehab therapy, health care, or other relevant fields.

According to this resource from InboundMD, even if you and your staff do all of your writing in-house, you may want to hire a freelance copy editor or content manager to proofread your work for typos and grammatical errors. After all, it’s a lot harder to catch your own mistakes than it is for someone else.

Web Design

A decade ago, if you wanted a beautiful and professional-looking website, you needed to either hire a web designer or get really good at coding. These days, crafting an aesthetically pleasing website is much, much easier thanks to online services like Wix and Squarespace. These template-based webpage builders are straightforward, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. Such tools are great for clinics with a “set it and forget it” website strategy. Alternatively, you can hire someone to design and code a site for you. How you proceed depends on your comfort level, time, budget, and skills.

Tips to Get Your Money's Worth

Hire from reputable sources.

While your employee’s cousin’s best friend may know a thing or two about coding a website, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will do a quality job—or deliver that work in a timely manner. Before hiring an outside contractor, make sure you:

  • hire through legitimate avenues like UpWork, Fiverr, LinkedIn, or;
  • read customer reviews;
  • review work samples; and
  • factor in past experience.

Alternatively, you can:

  • tap your existing network for great freelancers;
  • look up non-PT businesses with a marketing style that resonates with you and find out who they work with; or
  • approach local agencies.

Agree upon the terms.

In the vast majority of cases, the freelancer will have a pre-written contract that you must sign before he or she takes on your project. If a freelancer doesn’t have a contract, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it could indicate a lack of experience. So, if a freelancer positions himself or herself as highly experienced in his or her field—but he or she doesn’t have a pre-established contract—that could be a red flag. Regardless, it’s simply smart business to have something you both sign. According to this article from WAHM, you’ll both need to sign something that spells out, at minimum:

  • a “services” clause (i.e., what specific services the freelancer will provide you);
  • a term (i.e., a start and end date of the contract);
  • a termination clause (i.e., the specific terms under which the contract can be terminated).

That same article also advises: “Make sure the freelance contract specifically states that you're working as an independent contractor, and not as an employee. Otherwise, both parties may run into serious problems with the Internal Revenue Service.” Finally, it’s never a bad idea to have your lawyer look this over before you commit to anything.

Track deliverables.

Once you’ve selected your freelancer, it’s important to make sure he or she delivers the product in a timely manner. For this reason, it’s important to establish regular communication with your freelancer—whether that be through a regularly scheduled, face-to-face meeting or a weekly email with status updates from him or her. (You may even want to determine beforehand how often you’ll meet and when deliverables will be due, and include this in the terms of your contract.)

If sending frequent emails for status updates sounds like too much extra work, you might consider using a tracking software like Time Doctor, Toggl, or Hubstaff. These products are essentially staff monitoring platforms where employees can record the amount of time they spend on a task. In addition to boosting productivity, tracking software can keep you abreast of your freelancer’s progress as well as help both of you determine a fair and equitable payment once the job is done.

Establish payment rates.

So, let’s talk money. As a business owner, you’re probably not shy about telling people what their time is worth to you. However, if you’ve never hired a freelance marketer, you may not know what a fair wage looks like. Fortunately, freelancers typically have predetermined rates. Of course, the more experience and expertise a person has, the higher his or her rates will be. On top of that, the kind of work will often impact how much a freelancer charges. That said, you can usually find average pay rates with a cursory Google search. For example, according to this 2018 survey from ClearVoice, freelance content writers charge anywhere between $0.01 and $1.00 per word or $1.00 to more than $100 per hour—and that all varies by level of experience. Expect to pay more for a more seasoned marketing pro; as long as your vetting process is thorough, you can rest easy knowing the finished product will almost certainly be worth it.

Additionally, your locale will have a big impact on how much you can expect freelancers to charge. For example, if you live in a major metropolitan area like Los Angeles, you can expect freelancers to charge more than a freelancer in, say, Green Bay. So, put the onus on yourself to research average rates in your region by conducting Internet searches, asking around your professional network, and contacting agencies or freelancers directly to inquire about standard rates.

So, there you have it: your step-by-step guide to working with freelancers. Have questions about marketing, freelance work, or the tools I mentioned? Drop a line in the comment section below!

  • 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 …

  • Reactivate Now! How to Get Past Patients to Come Back Image

    articleJan 17, 2019 | 7 min. read

    Reactivate Now! How to Get Past Patients to Come Back

    Goodbyes shouldn’t be permanent—especially when it comes to discharging patients. In fact, should those patients ever need to return to therapy, your practice should be the go-to for all their PT needs. That’s why it’s crucial to integrate a patient reactivation plan into your overall healthcare marketing strategy. What is patient reactivation? But, first things first: what do we mean when we talk about patient reactivation—and why is it important? In a nutshell, patient reactivation refers to …

  • Are Conferences Worth It? Image

    articleJun 9, 2015 | 4 min. read

    Are Conferences Worth It?

    Networking, welcome parties, and complimentary food (and drink tickets) are nice, but conferences can run a pretty penny—anywhere from $100 to upwards of $1500 per attendee, depending on the size of the event and the caliber of the speakers. Before shelling out any of your hard-earned money to attend or sponsor an event of this kind, you’ll need to make sure it’s worth the investment of your time and money. But value isn’t one-size-fits-all. What might benefit …

  • 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. …

  • Can't Buy Loyalty: Why Patient Reviews Should be Your Number-One Marketing Priority Image

    articleFeb 19, 2019 | 5 min. read

    Can't Buy Loyalty: Why Patient Reviews Should be Your Number-One Marketing Priority

    I’ll let you in on a little secret: digital ads shouldn’t be the end all, be all of marketing your outpatient practice. Don’t get me wrong—digital ads are important. But when it comes to driving new patients through your front door, online reviews are your best friend. That’s because online reviews are essentially the modern equivalent to word-of-mouth, which many would argue is the most effective type of marketing. And as we mention in this post on …

  • 8 Reasons You Should Attend Ascend 2017 Image

    articleJun 15, 2017 | 5 min. read

    8 Reasons You Should Attend Ascend 2017

      Great news! Ascend— the ultimate business summit for rehab therapists —is back. Last year, the third-annual event hit Fort Worth, Texas, for two incredibly educational (and incredibly fun) days. This year—September 29 and 30, to be exact—Ascend is heading to our nation’s capital. As we all know, DC is full of movers, shakers, and changemakers, and Ascend will keep that tradition alive—minus the political drama. This two-day conference is a can’t-miss affair. Here’s why: 1.) You’ll …

  • 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 …

  • Retention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It Image

    downloadApr 24, 2018

    Retention, Please: Why Patient Dropout is Killing Rehab Therapy Practices— and How to Stop It

    Patient health is the top priority for most rehab therapists—specifically, getting patients back to a level of health that allows them to do what they love. But, when patients say “sayonara” before they reach their therapy goals, they lose the opportunity to live their fullest lives. To make matters worse, the average rehab therapy practice will lose $150,000 annually due to patient dropout alone. Talk about a one-two punch to the gut. Here at WebPT, we believe …

  • Patient-Focused Revenue Strategy for Outpatient Rehabilitation Image

    articleMar 23, 2018 | 6 min. read

    Patient-Focused Revenue Strategy for Outpatient Rehabilitation

    If you run an outpatient rehabilitation practice, facility, or department, chances are good that you’ve been looking for ways to help boost your organization’s revenue—especially given the fact that third-party reimbursement rates have been steadily declining (or at least remaining stagnant) for a while now. While you could certainly try to renegotiate your contracts —or haggle for more approved visits per patient—these strategies may require more effort than they’re worth. Instead, there are patient-focused strategies you can …

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