As a practice owner, the primary concerns center around your patient volumes—how many appointments are booked, how many referrals came in, how can you get more patients? The answer is simple, marketing. By successfully marketing your practice and its services, patients will book appointments, doctors will send referrals, and more patients will keep coming through the doors.
Physical therapy marketing is the planning and implementation of initiatives to promote, grow, and sustain the practice.
Now how do you get started marketing your PT practice? First, plan your initiatives for the key target audiences: patients, doctors, online, and community. Place yourself into the role of the targeted audience and think about what types of marketing would appeal to you and why. Would a monthly newsletter be something that would prompt patients to call in for new appointments? Do you see spikes in referrals after you run into a local doctor at a conference? If so, would monthly office visits help to increase referrals? Is your website easy to navigate and can you make appointment requests online?
Identify the types of marketing that you think would work best for your target audiences. Here is a quick list of some programs to consider:
Once you’ve chosen your programs, how do you start executing and implementing? You need to develop a marketing plan. Start with the next three months, what do you want to accomplish in that timeframe AND what are your business goals?
You need to establish goals so that you can monitor your marketing’s progress. A simple goal would be to see a 5-10% increase in new patients per month. A more complex goal could be to see a 5-10% increase in new patients with a set percentage of growth coming from returning patients, new patients (non-referrals), new patients (referrals), and online.
Now that you have goals—what do you want to do? You can chose to send one promotion to a wide audience, such as sending a newsletter to all past patients and referring doctors. Or, you can send postcards to all the patients from last year, print out a new set of handouts for your MDs, and create social media profiles for your practice. But how do you choose what to do?
Time to set your budget. How much of your day or week can you reasonably contribute to your marketing? 1 hour a day, 3 hours a week, 1 day a month? Figure out what works with your busy schedule. How much money should you be spending? A good ballpark is about 7-8% of your gross income should be spent on practice marketing. That can feel like a lot, but it’s important to know the difference between investing and spending – your marketing budget should actually RETURN money to you, but if you under-spend it will fail to do that.
Now that you have the blueprints, it’s time to lay the foundation. Get started! And check our private practice plans to see how a marketing system can include many tools you need at a reduced cost compared to using several different ones.