Have You Diagnosed Your Practice Lately?
As a practice owner, your days can easily become caught up with treating patients, managing staff, maintaining the clinic…all in addition to your busy personal life. Eventually, it becomes more about keeping the ship running than about keeping it on course.
Think back to your first few years out of college. Employers, parents, and friends would ask you where you saw yourself in a year, in five years, in ten years? You had those questions answered—in a year you wanted a better job, in five years you wanted to pay off your loans, and in ten years you wanted to own your own practice. Now, you have achieved those goals and probably set new ones. But have you set, achieved, and reset those goals for your clinic?
During our initial consult with clients, we typically ask them to describe their PT practice. Who are the key patient groups? What services or specialties do they provide? Where is it located? When was it started? Why are they seeking our marketing expertise? For many owners, these answers are easy—but are they accurate?
Who are the key patient groups?
- This information is critical in making educated decisions regarding your business plan and marketing programs. Knowing your target audience determines your marketing plan and what you do to achieve your business goals.
- When your practice opened, you might have been seeing a blend of seniors and middle-aged patients seeking help with back, hip, and shoulder problems. Who are you treating now? Did you community demographics shift? Are you seeing more young professionals with sports injuries because new tech companies have moved to the area? Or are you seeing more women’s health cases because your PTs specialize in those treatments?
- Action: look at the last week or month of appointments. See what trends in patient demographics and PT treatment types you can see.
What services or specialties do you provide?
- Do you have a PT on staff that specializes in whiplash and auto injury recovery? Have you expanded into providing occupational therapy? Do you offer therapeutic massage and dry needling?
- Bigger question… are you proactively marketing these services and specialties? Your PT branding and marketing needs to be current and project where your practice is going. If you offer new treatments, make sure that they are listed online, in brochures, and hyped on social media.
- Action: take a red pen and go over your current branded materials. Cross out services or insurance that you no longer offer and add in new features.
Where is your clinic located?
- When you opened 15 years ago, your clinic might have been located in a shopping center just outside town. Now, the town might have grown and you located along a main thoroughfare. Maybe you served primarily local residents, but the new office parks make more patients commuters.
- Is your marketing reacting to these changes? Have you promoted that you are within walking distance of the new offices and take lunch-time appointments? Are you including enough diversity in your photos? Should you consider having signs in both Spanish and English?
- Action: Take a drive or look at an online map of your area. See what is within walking distance, accessible via public transit, a 10 minutes drive. How can you both react to new developments and proactively market to those key populations?
When was your practice started?
- Most owners will say, “We’ve been in business for 12 years”. That’s great! Do you highlight that you have been “Serving the local community since 2003”? Being local is buzzing in mainstream marketing, make sure you are capitalizing on your success.
- Have you continued to build new relationships for your practice? Are you being both proactive and reactive?
- Proactive Action: Review last month’s referrals. Where are the patients coming from? Have you networked with the new providers? Are you maintaining relationships with the leading doctors’ offices? Take action!
- Reactive Action: If you have been in business for 5, 10, 15, etc. years, add those achievements to your brand. Amending your logo with a line of text below about your years in business or adding a graphic banner/seal to celebrate an anniversary year can draw new eyes to your practice. You can even reach out to local news stations to see if they will run a story about your 10 year anniversary.
Both proactive and reactive marketing are essential to help support and achieve your PT business goals. In order to effectively brand and promote your practice, you need to continue to evaluate who are your patients, what treatments they need or want, where they are living/working, and why they are coming to your clinic. Tips to success…
Proactively market your PT practice’s services and specialties to the key patient audiences.
Reactively maintain and grow your brand and adjust your marketing’s text, imagery, and placement to respond to community changes and developments.