“2020 was our best year ever”

– not a phrase a lot of private practice owners are saying about last year. But for a small practice in Melissa, Texas, that was absolutely true.

PT of Melissa Office and Staff

Nat and Michelle Christadoss founded Physical Therapy of Melissa in the fall of 2010. In 2013, they built a brand new facility to keep up with the growth of the area AND the clinic… “As our community grows, so do we!”

When Patient Volume Dries Up

But like you, last year brought an unexpected twist. Covid-10 cases were very high in their community and in April, they saw a 50% reduction in their patient volume.  

The challenges were real. Uncertainty was all around. 

But through all of that, PT of Melissa finished 2020 with their Highest Patient Volume in 10 Years. 

…So how’d they do it? 

PT of Melissa Website COVID updates

Pivoting To Succeed:

When asked what advice Nat & Michelle would you have for other PT owners they put it very simply (and very wisely): 

“Have great systems in place and the right people on your ship.” 

You see, a great marketing system or strategy doesn’t have to change in a crisis. 

Your messaging certainly shifts, and how you get your message out may even require new methods… but the overall goal is still the same: Get your practice discovered by as many local people as possible when they need you the most.

In fact, crisis management studies show those businesses that plan and invest in communication and marketing will have a stronger and quicker recovery every time. 

Crisis is a time to lean into marketing not reduce it. People still need to hear you, there’s just more noise in the way!

The Whole Story: How This Private Practice Pivoted And Increased Outflow

Here are the most important changes Nat said his clinic implemented to succeed in 2020:

Pt of Melissa Marketing Social Media Announcements
  1. Increased Marketing Frequency: 
    • They emailed their lists more often to inform customers what procedures they were taking to combat Covid-19. It was important to them to inform the community what they were implementing.  
  2. Involving the Entire Staff: 
    • Nat noticed some patients were falling off and addressed it head-on with his team. They started holding their therapist accountable for their patient’s full term of care & coached them on it. Retention numbers soon went back up! 
  3. Clinic Newsletters: 
    • They direct-mail a monthly Newsletter to their list of 2000 past patients which leads to around 16 Reactivated patients every month. 
  1. Doctor/ Physician Referrals. 
    • After sending monthly MD mailers for years Nat implemented call tracking numbers and found he wasn’t getting enough results. His concern was that the front desk staff at physician offices were tossing them in the trash. So he switched to an MD Letter instead inside an envelope addressed specifically to the doctor.  The next 60 days saw twice as many referrals as the previous 8 months combined!
  2. Telehealth: 
    • Though Telehealth was an option for patients, PT of Melissa found that offering Free screening via Telehealth had more success than a regular appointment. They were able to still leverage the technology just in a different innovative way. Patients are more willing to sign up and stay home but you still get the benefit of building trust in person.

And they weren’t the only clinic that adjusted to the situation in order to keep their business growing.

In fact, let’s take a look at some of the most popular trends that have emerged in the PT Marketing industry that may deserve to stay awhile:

Social Media Google Ads PT Website

5 Post-Covid Marketing Trends That Need To Stay

  1. Using Telehealth for Free Screenings
    • This goes beyond pandemic conditions – in general a zoom call is just less of a “risk” or big commitment potential patients have to make to meet you. Offering virtual screenings for free is a great way to build personal trust with potential patients who may not be quite ready to come in person yet.
  2. Increased Use of Social Media (especially videos!)
    • 1 year ago, most practices were scrambling to figure out what lockdowns would mean for their clinic. About 1 month after that businesses in every industry seemed to have more time to spend on social media and you know what? Engagement SKYROCKETED. Make your own simple videos every week with exercise tips or showing your clinic atmosphere.
  3. Call-Back Specialists
    • When patients across the nation suddenly dropped off last March, proactive clinics appointed a full-time “Call-Back Specialist” dedicated to steadily bringing those patients back in the following months. If you didn’t do that, use the 1 year anniversary as a reason to call them. 
  4. Revisiting Physician Referrals
    • Even for clinics who only rely on doctor referrals for 10-25% of volume, many are finding they need to increase their communications and networking efforts right now. Doctors have had a weird year full of restrictions too… don’t assume you’re on the top of their mind.
  5. Increased Use of Digital Ads
    • Most clinics reduced their marketing efforts a year ago. That left a HUGE HOLE in competition for others that actually leaned into things like Google Ads. Costs actually got way cheaper with competitors being reduced and, while that has evened out some, there is still a lot of opportunity to dominate your local market.

In Summary:

A year ago none of us thought we’d still be talking about this. But in the end whether global pandemics or just in life… your ability to change and adapt quickly is what makes you a great PT Owner.

Consider this:

“Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers, and business.”

-Mark Sanborn, business coach

So my #1 piece of advice is this: No matter what challenges lie ahead, some clinics will end this year with stories like the one above… make the changes you need to be one of them!

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