Athletes and sports teams are often in need of physical therapy services—from injury recovery to preventative treatments. Marketing your practice to athletes and sports teams can generate a steady stream of patients, especially during pre and post season training. There are several strategies for promoting your services to this key population including campaigns, sponsorships, and event marketing.
Most communities have a variety of sports and activities that keep residents busy throughout the year. Athletic and sports marketing includes more than just team sports like football, soccer, or baseball. It also encompasses fitness activities such as running, swimming, and golf. Your practice’s campaigns can take either a specific, targeted approach or a more general health and wellness message.
Network with local club teams or associations, such as the travel soccer team or recreational sports department. Once connected, ask to acquire mailing lists for direct mail marketing. Options include postcards or newsletter that use messaging and imagery tailored to a specific sport. For example, you connect with the local soccer league. Then, you can send a postcard on knee injuries and the benefits of PT. Use soccer imagery and get creative with your headlines, “Don’t let knee pain keep you on the sidelines”.
Send a promotional offer to athletes’ email addresses that markets a specific discount on your PT services. Choose services that are frequently needed by the specific sport or activity. For example, baseball players may need shoulder care during their pre-season conditioning. Offer one free appointment if the patients refers a teammate to your clinic. This referral-based promotion is especially effective for teammates who all need to be a peak performance for the team to win. Include a “Refer a Teammate” CTA button on the email that links to your website’s referral form. Then, you can collect the friend’s information and call to follow up and schedule an appointment.
General fitness and wellness marketing, such as campaigns for runners or swimmers, should leverage a relationship-building and brand awareness strategy. These athletes are active year-round. Thus, you want them to think of your practice first anytime that they are in pain or need PT. Brand awareness campaigns often do not drive a ton of appointments or engagement right away. The goal is to get your practice’s name and expertise out there often. You should be driving home the message that your clinic provides the best care for athletes.
Brand awareness campaigns perform well through social media. The goal is to keep your practice’s name actively in front of potential patients. Try to send at least one post per week with an athletic or fitness message. Keep the message general, but include specific imagery that will attract runners, swimmers, golfers etc. Link these posts to your website and the specific page that discusses fitness or health and wellness. Your content should be meaningful! Too many practices opt for general copy that doesn’t tell the reader anything new. Share your PT expertise with specific examples of how treatment can get the patient back to their active lifestyle. Include patient testimonials that are relatable and inspiring. For example, one where a patient was able to complete a long race or get back on the green after PT.
Spreading the word about your practice’s physical therapy treatments can also be achieved through passive marketing. Create a specific brochure for your fitness and wellness treatments. Be sure to market any special equipment, certifications, and corresponding programs. Does your practice offer a free month of gym use following discharge? Include this prominently on the back panel. Have your marketing staff coordinate with local health clubs, YMCAs, and studios and leave copies of your brochures in the waiting room. Often, parents will browse this marketing while waiting for their children’s lessons to conclude.
Many gyms have several TVs throughout the facility that run a series of full-screen ads for local businesses. Create a bold, easy to scan ad that clearly tells the viewer your practice name, PT services, and any promotions. A good rule of thumb for TV or banners is the “5-foot test”. If you stand 5 feet away from the ad, can you see and read the entire ad in 10 seconds? If not, then remove extra copy and imagery so that the ad can be quickly read. We recommend that banners include:
Marketing PT to athletes and sports teams can easily become part of your monthly marketing plan, with regular campaigns and promotions. Generating a steady flow of patients, who are active and want to return to their sport or fitness routine enables you to build brand awareness and a loyal client base that can refer teammates and friends.
For more on PT marketing check out our Free PT Marketing Resources!