As you consider ways to drive new business to your practice, you can and should work on developing physician referral sources; however, there are other ways to drive business to your practice—and Google plays an important role in the success of your marketing efforts.

While Facebook has over one billion users, it’s a social network, and in most cases, patients don't search for a physical therapy practice on Facebook. It's easy to understand: Physical therapy isn't something patients post about on their "wall.” Facebook is an important tool for physical therapy online marketing, but it should be lower on your priority list than Google's social network, which is called Google+.  Here are three reasons why Google+ should be a high online marketing priority: 

1. Your Google+ page shows up any time someone searches for your business name. 

The link to the Google+ page associated with this PT practice.

If you check your web analytics, chances are that the search term driving the majority of your practice’s web traffic is your clinic name. Try this yourself; go to Google and perform a search for your business name. In most cases, you’ll see a small blue Google+ link under your practice name. When you click on it, and some do, you’ll see the Google+ page for one of your practice locations. If you have multiple locations, you can and should have a Google+ page for each location.

2. Patients can review your practice through your Google+ page.

A Google+ page and the button that activates the opportunity to review this practice.

Given the importance of online reviews and consumer buying decisions, this is probably the most underused feature of Google+ pages. About 20% of patients consider reviews when choosing medical doctors.  Chances are, if someone has never been to a particular business, that person will check out that business’s reputation online before visiting it. Having positive reviews show up next to your practice’s Google listing will help you stand out from your competition. Make it a priority to ask patients to review your practice on Google after they have a great experience in your clinic. Then, when people look at your business online, they’ll see those positive endorsements. That alone is worth investing time into creating a Google+ page.

3. Claiming your Google+ page will help improve your local search results.

Google+ Local results for the search "physical therapy Santa Cruz".

Most search engine experts agree, and correlation studies confirm, that claiming your Google+ page and Google Places listing can improve your search ranking in the Google+ Local listings. Google+ Local business listings (pictured above for the search “physical therapy Santa Cruz”) are the search results with a business name, web address, business address, and phone number next to the gray alphabet markers on a Google search results page. These results appear when someone does a keyword-and-city search.  For example, if you search for “physical therapy Santa Cruz,” the keyword is "physical therapy" and the geographic location is Santa Cruz.  You will see the Google+ local search results about halfway down the page. Practices want to be listed in these results because they show up with desktop searches, Google Maps searches, and mobile searches (i.e., when people search on their smartphones or tablet devices). To learn more about how to claim your Google Places listing, you can visit this Google page for detailed instructions.

Bottom line: Embrace Google, and chances are, you will see more patients.

Google is the most commonly used search engine today. Most of the traffic to your website comes from Google. Patients and prospects that are vetting a referral, comparison shopping, or looking for a PT practice in their area are more likely to use Google than any other search engine. By claiming your Google+ page and properly using the tools it offers, you can give prospects a better first impression of your practice, provide a digital platform for ratings and reviews, and improve your search engine ranking. If you have limited time for online marketing, these are three good reasons to prioritize Google+ above Facebook.

A Quick Primer on Google+ Pages

Google+ can be a bit intimidating when you first click through it, but the reality is that it is very similar to Facebook. Here's a brief terminology comparison of Facebook and Google+:

  • Like Facebook, there are personal Google+ accounts and Google+ pages for businesses.
  • Instead of people “liking” your business page, people “follow” your Google+ page.
  • Like Facebook, you write posts on your Google+ business page.
  • Instead of “liking” a story, you show your appreciation with a “+1.”
  • Like Facebook, you can comment on posts.

One of the best digital references for Google+ is an ebook by Guy Kawasaki. It's available for $2.51 at Amazon. It's a quick read, and it compares the different social networks and helps you navigate your way through Google+.

Google+ has a number of benefits for your practice. Here's your quick action plan:
  • Claim (in most cases your Google+ page already exists) or create your Google+ business page.
  • Claim a Google+ Local listing with your business name, address, photos, description, etc.
  • Post to your Google+ page at least twice per month.
  • Send patients to your Google+ page to review your practice.

Embrace Google+ and you’ll give your practice a better online image, a better reputation, and improved search results, all of which should translate into more patients walking through your door—thus improving your bottom line.

Untapped Potential: The Art of Discovering and Selling Your PT Value - Regular BannerUntapped Potential: The Art of Discovering and Selling Your PT Value - Small Banner
  • 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 …

  • webinarAug 30, 2011

    Social Media and Your Clinic

    Have you ever wondered how you could better engage your community or possibly add value to your practice by using Social Media? This webinar was hosted by WebPT Co-Founder Heidi Jannenga PT, MPT, ATC/L and WebPT Expert Michael Manheimer joined by special guests Casey Kirkes PT, DPT, NSCA-CPT and Dale Boren Jr. PT, MPT, OCS of Physical Therapy Central. Webinar attendees will learn: Is Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter right for my clinic? How do I set up my …

  • How to Get More New Patients Without Spending a Dime Image

    articleAug 18, 2017 | 6 min. read

    How to Get More New Patients Without Spending a Dime

    When you’re trying to get more of the stuff you need, sometimes all you have to do is ask . But shy of affecting a Dickensian persona and approaching referral sources with your hat in hand, you may not know what sort of strategy you should employ to get more patients into your clinic. The fact is, word-of-mouth advertising has been proven to boost marketing effectiveness by up to 54%. The message is clear: word-of-mouth is must …

  • 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 …

  • 4 Ways to Market Your PT Clinic's Culture Image

    articleApr 10, 2019 | 6 min. read

    4 Ways to Market Your PT Clinic's Culture

    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 …

  • 7 Tips for Building a Strong Community on Social Image

    articleSep 9, 2014 | 7 min. read

    7 Tips for Building a Strong Community on Social

    Before the dawn of the Internet, building a community—around a business, an institution, or any other entity of mutual interest—required a heavy investment of face time (and I’m not talking about the iPhone app ). These days, though, starting a conversation around virtually any topic is as easy as hitting “Enter.” But as with face-to-face interactions, it’s one thing to run your mouth—or in this case, your keyboard—and another to wrangle your listeners’ interest enough to get …

  • 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 …

  • articleOct 17, 2013 | 4 min. read

    Writing Your Clinic's First Email Newsletter

    Matt is WebPT’s email marketing specialist. His monthly column covers all things email marketing and how it can help your clinic. Now that you’ve established that email marketing makes sense for your clinic , you’ve picked an email marketing service , and you have a stream of your patients’ email addresses coming in , it’s time to put together your first newsletter. But what should you include? In this month’s blog, I’m going to walk you through …

  • How to Solicit Patient Reviews Image

    articleMar 17, 2015 | 4 min. read

    How to Solicit Patient Reviews

    Today, we’re going to talk about solicitation. No, not that kind (get your mind out of the gutter—jeez). I’m talking about soliciting your clients for reviews. Why? Because online reviews are critical— now more than ever before —to the success of your business. If you really want to broaden your patient base and increase your revenue, you’ll need a strategy for getting your current and former patients to sing your praises publicly, so pay attention. (Yes, this …

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