Summertime is here…schools are out, families are going on vacation, work days feel shorter. Summer might be the best of all worlds for many of us, but a lot of physical therapy practice owners feel differently especially when it comes to their businesses. Depending on where you live, a physical therapy clinic in the summer months can be a ghost town. Peak vacation season and school breaks disrupt the family schedule, resulting in fewer patient visits and fewer referrals.
Target what families do this time of year. Can you promote to local swim clubs about protecting shoulders? Play up the sports lingo in your marketing! For example, offer a “swing special” for golfers or host a workshop focus on “safe swimming”. You can even push getting in shape and out of pain for the summer to enjoy a vacation. The main point is to push your patient’s buttons on what problem they want to solve and use seasonal lingo to get their attention.
Each practice and local community has a slow month in the summer. For most clinics, August is like Death Valley—hot temperatures and barely any patients. Anticipating seasonal slumps through marketing metrics is key to summer practice success.
Offer a serious incentive to your past patients to come back in for the historically low month and start hyping it early! Promote screenings and check-ups or wellness plans. Waiting until mid-July to unveil a big August promotion is a serious gamble that most of your patients are already out of town or have made plans for August by mid-July and thus, won’t be around to take advantage of the special. Instead, start marketing August promotions aggressively in June to gain enough interest through traditional channels and word of mouth referrals to get more patients.
Most fall sports have off-season training in the summer. In addition, families tend to start prepping for the return to normal work and school activities in late August.
From camps to weekly practices to pre-season warmups, fall athletes do not take the summer off. Promote injury prevention and performance training in the summer months to get your athletic patients safe and in game day shape.
Network with local recreation leagues or schools and provide PT at camps and clinics. Offer discounts on special services, such as kinesiology/taping or TENS, for athletes when they wear a team shirt to the clinic. Or, set up a pop-up clinic at tournaments to provide onsite care and PT counseling.
Seasonal impacts can start to take effect on the number of patient visits and referrals. So, it can be very tempting to cut expenses by decreasing or stopping your monthly marketing campaigns. By skipping your August print newsletter expense, you will save some money to offset the lost revenues due to the summer slump right? 100% wrong! It’s vital here to know the difference between expenses and investments.
It took your monthly campaigns, such as newsletters, physician mailers, emails or postcards, several months to gain ground and start generating consistent results. Stopping for even one month can set you back and undo months of work.
Also, you want the number of patient visits to swing back up in September. So, you need to mail a newsletter in August to get those fall patients back to PT. In fact, you want to be very well prepared and aggressive in marketing to your past and current patients in August, to jump-start the fall season. Keep doing your successful actions and you will weather the seasonal effects.
Seasonal marketing is about using targeted promotions, analyzing last year’s data, marketing for future needs, and following your plan. If you do this, your physical therapy practice will continue to see results throughout the seasons. Some times of the year might still experience a drop in stats, but that is ok—every business, from Wall Street to the corner shop, sees seasonal fluctuations in volume and revenues.
Avoiding next year’s summer slowdown doesn’t start next year, it starts now. If you spend the remainder of this year building consistent systems and becoming a better marketer now, next year won’t worry you because you’ll already know what works. Need help? Schedule a meeting with our PT Marketing experts to get a custom gameplan, or preview our features & pricing here.