2019 is upon us and practice owners everywhere are looking to and budgeting for the future. It’s time to set your vision of what your practice will look like by the end of 2019. Will you have grown 20, 30, or over 50%? Having the right new year marketing campaigns can help you blow your goals out of the water early. However, the wrong marketing plans can set up a frustrating grind through the rest of the year.
So What Methods Will Drive Dependable Traffic? Glad You Asked…
It is easy to go chasing new or untested marketing strategies as there are many out there – but solid strategies like past patient marketing are time-tested and don’t need to be frequently changed, just re-implemented or refreshed. So to help your practice start strong, we have narrowed down the 4 most efficient PT marketing campaigns for big success in 2019 – we’re talking as much as 100% growth!
A highly overlooked fact is that 60% or more of your caseload should be returning or referred patients.
Think about it. If you’ve already helped someone, aren’t they more likely to trust you? Aren’t they more likely to recommend you to a friend? Not staying in touch with past patients is one of the greatest potential pitfalls for PT practices, but it doesn’t need to keep you up at night.
Here are 4 simple, new year marketing campaigns designed to build your loyal patient list:
1. Create Both Print and Digital Newsletters
We’re all familiar with patient newsletters. They are one of the oldest and best forms of marketing communication. Patient newsletters give you the opportunity to foster a strong connection with all your past patients. They include a variety of content, such as exercises, articles, testimonials, and clinic news meaning many customers are likely to connect with at least one section.
Unfortunately, many practice owners have gone away from this tool viewing printing & mailing as antiquated or low ROI. You may have even heard people say “print is dead.” But what does the data say?
- 95% of patients on your list will receive the sent newsletter, vs 20% of email newsletters.
- Over 60% of patients who receive a newsletter will read it, vs 1-2% of email newsletters.
This means that for every 1,000 newsletters you mail—up to 600 people will read them. Even if only 5% of those readers call in for an appointment…that’s 30 return patients that month! The primary reason newsletter programs fail is that their content doesn’t connect with patients, not because it is an ineffective method. Include useful content, make them personal and show the human side of your clinic, and then provide a strong call to action to come back in for an evaluation. Done right, you will see a good return on investment.
So why is a digital newsletter also necessary? The answer is simply you will reach different audiences with each type. Modern marketing requires balance. A 2017 study by Gartner, a popular marketing research company, indicates that 98% percent of marketers agree offline and online marketing is merging. Together, print and digital can create more powerful new year marketing campaigns than either one alone.
When you deliver helpful content to your past customers each month, they will remember your practice, your great care, and how physical therapy helped them feel better. Helpful information + Consistency = Loyalty.
2. Always Ask For Online Reviews & Referrals
In addition to repeat business, past customers can be your #1 advertising tool for new patients. In today’s social media based world, people are more likely to accept the word of a friend than an advertiser especially in an unfamiliar area such as PT. Success stories are a golden ticket to increasing a potential patient’s comfort level & affinity with your practice or brand. Just imagine 100+ Google reviews behind your clinic name online. What kind of trust will have someone have in choosing your practice, vs. another?
The best part? There is little to no cost! Simply don’t be afraid to ask for reviews online when a patient has seen success. You can do this in person, during treatment, and with follow-up emails.
- Bonus tip: We recommend using a relationship management software, such as with our platinum or ultimate programs, which allows you to display positive feedback but channel negative feedback into private conversations. This allows you to both service the affected patient, and keep negative comments from your public online profiles.
Requests for referrals are a great thing to include in newsletters or send out a couple times per year as a postcard. Consider developing a program where a past patient can give a friend a free pain consultation or similar offer. If you use postcards for this program, make sure each patient gets at least one upon completing their treatment.
3. Segment Your Lists & Run Regular Email Campaigns
Imagine this: 45% of your patients are in the 55+ Medicare demographic. Another 35% are sports injury or surgical recovery patients. What if you could change the image in your email for each group? A grandparent & grandkids for one group, and an athlete for the other. You can!
Any email service provider worth their salt allows you to store contacts either with “Tags” or Lists. First, create an email with one image and send it to the appropriate list. Then simply duplicate the email, change the image and necessary text, and send that to the next list. It takes a little bit of work to make sure your patients are appropriately sorted, but it can be a truly powerful way to connect with the right audience at the right time.
- Bonus tip: If you have some patients not in a specific category, simply keep a “General” list and send your normal emails to them.
Email is still a very important part of marketing, and MailChimp reports segmented lists get as much as 14% higher open rates and over 100% higher click-through rates. Getting started can seem overwhelming, but with the right tools, it will become second nature.
4. Create a Consistent Social Media Plan
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. all have at least one thing in common—they are FREE! Sharing blog posts, helpful pain relief tips, as well as personal/”get to know us” posts is a great way to keep your practice top of mind for past patients. You can even create events such as a “Free Back Pain Seminar” and invite people to join or bring a friend. With a free scheduling software, you or your staff can easily plan posts in advance.
The key is consistency, strong audiences aren’t built overnight. Once your page is active, here are a few quick tips to gain more followers!
- Encourage everyone to like your page as they complete treatment.
- Include a link to your profile on your website and all e-mail marketing.
- Add a “Like us on Social media” section to your newsletters.
- Not sure what to post? Try these Facebook post ideas for PT clinics
What are the Best New Year Marketing Campaigns for Physical Therapists?
Reactivating past patients is the best way to market efficiently and the formula is simple: Helpful information + Consistency = Loyalty.
Whatever methods you use this new year, just make sure you aren’t leaving valuable PT patients in the past. And remember, it doesn’t have to be stressful! You have a lot on your plate, but there are plenty of tools available to make sure you get the most from your marketing.
For tools & tips, check out our Free PT Marketing Training Downloads!