Most marketing methods come with some type of price tag. In fact, the average small business owner spends around 1.08 percent of his or her annual revenues on advertising according to Small Business Trends. Other marketing experts suggest that this number is much higher, with Web Strategies placing it closer to 6.9 percent, or 6.2 percent for businesses in healthcare specifically.
There’s no denying that marketing your physical therapy practice can lower your annual profit margins, eating a big chunk of the money you could be using to buy new equipment, save for retirement, etc.
Marketing your PT business doesn’t have to break the bank (or even put a dent in it) if you use one or more of the free digital marketing options that exist today. Three to consider include social media marketing, content marketing, and online reviews.
#1: Social Media Marketing
Statista reports that more than three in four Americans (77 percent) have at least one social media profile, with Facebook, Whatsapp, and YouTube being the platforms with the highest number of users. If you’re not on one or all of these platforms, you’re potentially missing out on an opportunity to connect one-on-one with your target market at no cost.
Since Facebook is the most popular site with almost two billion users to date, this is a good place to start if you’re new to social media as a business. All you have to do is create a page and start posting about your physical therapy practice, your goal being to get others so excited about you, your services, and your brand that they want to do business with you.
To make the most of your Facebook business page, Hootsuite indicates that you first want to understand your audience as best you can so you 1) know what to post about and 2) know when to post for the best interaction, which involves figuring out what days of week and times your followers are most likely to be online.
It’s important to respond to comments and questions left for you on the social media page, says Hootsuite, and don’t overuse hashtags so they don’t overwhelm your likers. Finally, keep your business and personal pages separate so your clients aren’t privy to the things you share with family and friends, things that may not be appropriate for a business page.
You can pay for Facebook advertising to gain more exposure, but if you post share-worthy content, you can gain good exposure free of charge, which leads us to the next point.
#2: Content Marketing
The more value your audience finds in your posts, the more likely they’ll want to keep in touch with you as a business and want to share your knowledge and expertise with their family and friends.
Social media is a great platform for growing your company with content, but you may also want to consider creating a company blog and/or using email and newsletters too, so you can deliver your content in a way that is best suited for each of your individual clients. What type of content should you be sending out?
The goal is to create content that your target audience cares about so they take the time to read your posts; it doesn’t have to directly involve physical therapy either. For example, if a lot of your clients play sports, you can create a post about how to properly stretch before training. If you live in an area where several of your patients are avid hikers, a post about how to hike safely would be a good topic as well.
The point is to provide information that is relevant to your clients and interest potential clients. This not only establishes you as an expert in your field, but also lets your clients know you’re interested in them as a person vs. being just another client whose fees are paying your PT practice’s bills.
#3: Online Reviews
A third digital marketing option that is free yet can help you grow your physical therapy business is online reviews. Several websites offer this option, with Google Local and Yelp being two of the most well-known, each one adding more social proof to your amazing abilities as a healthcare practitioner.
People really rely on these reviews too, with one BrightLocal survey revealing that 85 percent of consumers give online reviews the same level of credibility as a recommendation from a family member or friend. But how do you get clients to actually go online and leave you a glowing review?
Web marketing expert Neil Patel suggests that you ask directly for the review. Also, share all of the different places where they can go online to leave you a review (including your Facebook page), and make the review process as easy as you can, like emailing them a link directly to the review site.
Patel says that it also helps to offer an incentive if they leave an honest review of your practice, such as providing discounted products or services if they took the time to share their experience. If they do leave you a review, acknowledge it by at least saying thank you as a response.
When it comes to marketing your physical therapy practice, you can spend as little or as much as you like. These three digital options are free, yet can also yield a big return, growing your business as a result.