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 purchase—even on a tight budget. Here is how you can create an advertising plan for your practice while maximizing your marketing dollar:
One of the most frequently discussed topics in the realm of rehab therapy (PT, OT, and SLP) is brand awareness. When the general public thinks “back pain,” they most commonly think “chiropractor” for the solution. How can we achieve such instant associations in the general public for physical therapy? We need to educate the masses on what PT is and how it benefits everyone. Your patients can help with this endeavor. How? Through brand evangelism.
There are plenty of things to worry about as a small business owner—so does it make sense to add email marketing to the list? Absolutely. For starters, email marketing returned $39.40 for every dollar spent in 2012, according to the Direct Marketing Association. This return far surpassed the next closest marketing initiative ($22.38 through Web search).
It was 14 years ago when Brian Kunich launched his successful physical therapy career. After several years working in private practice, Brian discovered that while he was an excellent practitioner, as a clinic owner and manager he was at a serious disadvantage when it came to controlling clinic supply expenses.
According to Hat Trick Associates, as of 2010, there were about 450 million active English language blogs. And in Blog Rules, Nancy Flynn explains that in 2006 a new blog entered the blogosphere every second. Even before Facebook and Twitter, businesses were using blogs as a way to have instant, two-way communication with customers and prospects online. So, why wouldn’t rehab therapists blog? It’s a great way to educate the community, give your practice personality, and promote your expertise.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one negative one to lose it.” With this statement in mind—and 21st century technology—let’s talk about reputation management in 2013. Here are a few questions to start you thinking:
Between Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, and whatever other cool, new social network just launched a minute ago, there are plenty of platforms for you to choose from. But which platform is right for you and your practice? Social media is a conversation—not an ad—platform, so it’s not necessary (or advantageous) to suddenly arrive on the social scene with as many profiles as you can create. It’s much more important to select the platforms that best fit your practice and audience. You can spend all the time in the world tweeting, sharing, and liking without seeing the fruits of your labor so work smarter, not harder.
Like many of you, I am a private practice owner and the dedicated marketing director of my company. Over the last few years, with the continuous evolution of social media and web development, companies are changing their approach to marketing. Modern digital strategies are replacing more traditional, “old school” marketing. Unless you have been living on Mars—although I bet the NASA rover Curiosity has an email address or website URL on it—it seems like every business is putting all their effort (and money) into online initiatives. Where to spend your marketing dollars and time can get confusing and overwhelming. I want to share with you a few interactions I recently had in hopes of giving you some clarity as to the best way to invest your resources.
Last week, we tackled the topic of Internet connections. In that post, I noted that many of our Members found that WebPT works best via a cable connection. That got me thinking: what about browsers, hardware, routers, and all that other tech gear that makes your clinic run?
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one wondering these things. Frequently, our Members ask us what technologies we recommend to optimize WebPT. While our software works great with just about any setup, there are some steps you can take to create the most ideal WebPT experience.
We recommend Cable or DSL Internet with a connection speed of at least 1 Mbps (megabits per second) upload and 10 Mbps download. If your clinic uses QuickScan and/or eDoc, you’ll benefit from a faster upload speed.
Pretty much any current wireless router will work great with WebPT. However, many therapists have said that the Linksys E3000 and Asus RT-N16 router models work well. Just make sure that the quality of your router is in in proportion to your clinic’s router workload; (the more Internet users, the better the router you’ll need).
There are several types of internet connections out there. We’ve got lightning fast as well as the slow and not-so-steady. One thing is for sure: no connection is like another. So what are the differences? And which one is right for your clinic?
Dialup, which runs over telephone lines and relies on modems, is the slowest type of Internet connection. As GlobalCom puts it, “this is the grandpappy of internet connections.” While dialup is generally more accessible (especially in rural areas) and inexpensive, the connection does occupy a phone line and requires a lot of patience. Be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting for pages to load. Sites with interactive forms, images, streaming music, or videos will most likely not load at all.
3G/4G (wireless cellular internet) is available through cell phone providers and typically on smartphones and tablet devices. Many mobile devices, though, have a “hotspot” feature that, when enabled, emit an internet signal. This allows other internet-ready devices, like your laptop, to connect to 3 or 4G. While this internet connection is convenient, speed and connectivity are common issues. Because every cell provider customer is tapping into the same connection as everyone else, 3G and 4G speeds aren’t that much faster than dial up.
Satellite is faster than dial up and offers good connectivity. However, this connection is quite expensive—too expensive for home users or small businesses. Additionally, because satellite internet connects with satellites, activity issues similar to those experienced with satellite TV can occur.
Have you been captivated by the evolution of patient-centric health? The broader scope of eHealth, mHealth, and digital health (in its beginning stages) is exciting to watch. However, the concept of a truly “plugged in” healthcare system is far from reality. Still, groups like the Center for Connected Health are pushing the industry forward.
In honor of this month in which Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) all over the country join together to spread the word of awareness, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you a way for you to grow your practice, help more individuals in need, all the while reducing your practice’s operation costs.