Every year, physical therapy practice owners create a series of budgets for operations, payroll, marketing etc. Planning out expenses and ensuring adequate revenues is essential to right-sizing business needs and growth. An estimation of the monthly costs is easier to create for some areas of your practice versus others. The costs for PT marketing often vary from month to month based on promotions, seasonality and market demands. For example, one month might see fewer patients due to summer vacations or winter holidays. You may need to send out a postcard or increase spending on Facebook advertising to offset seasonal dips. These additional expenses can make it difficult to stick to your practice marketing budget. Let’s see how you can plan smarter and still have flexible funds for ad hoc projects.
Invest in monthly programs
Monthly marketing programs, such as your newsletter, really help practice’s stay on budget. Each month, you will know approximately how many pieces of marketing are being distributed and the total cost. Your marketing analysis should indicate the number of appointments generated by each month’s mailing. Use the return on investment (ROI) to determine how much you should budget for each month.
Similar to monthly programs, subscriptions help manage expenses from month to month. You won’t have unexpected increases or charges based on the amount of work required. For example, a website program fee can include a variety of services like updates, maintenance, tech support, and blogging. The individual cost of each service, when added together, is often more than the combined cost of “bundling” them into one program fee. You can even negotiate monthly service agreements with local newspaper and radio advertisers that can get you more exposure at the same or a lower cost.
“What is the RIGHT Marketing Budget?”
Set aside money for quarterly projects
Reserving a portion of your total annual budget for large, one time projects is advisable. Consider this the capital improvements section of your practice marketing budget. Saving $100 a month adds up to $300 a quarter or $1,200 a year—which can go a long way for your marketing. These savings can be used to refresh appointment cards, order new brochures or upgrade clinic signage.
Reserve funds can also help if the local physical therapy market changes. Say a new clinic opens in town and you need to compete for patients. Having the money to run Facebook ads or search engine marketing on Google to increase your online presence in a pinch is key.
Focus on free marketing opportunities
Yes, they exist! Social media is almost always free to post unless you run a paid advertisement campaign. You can use a free management tool, such as HootSuite to schedule posts across multiple platforms to reach more patients. Scheduling one post per day for Facebook and Twitter can reach over 2,000 followers a month and costs nothing. You can even have your website’s blog posts automatically shared on social media to increase patient conversions online.
For more tips on PT marketing, analysis and budgeting, check out these helpful blog posts and follow us on social media.