Members of our BuildPT team have been long-time contributors to Impact, the official magazine of APTA’s Private Practice Section (PPS). In it, we’ve shared a number of valuable perspectives, tips and other tid-bits about marketing a private practice physical therapy clinic — information we’d love to share with you through our blog. So on occasion, we’ll be going back through the Impact archives to highlight some of our relevant articles of the past.
In the article we introduce below, Ben Montgomery discusses the value of giving your best marketing “B-hack” when strapped for time and resources.
Overwhelmed with marketing? Take a few tips from America’s pastime.
By Ben Montgomery, BuildPT.com
July marks the halfway point (more or less) of the Major League Baseball season, the part of the season when the better teams and elite players start rising to the top.
This is the time of year when consistency—not occasional hot streaks—begins to reveal the best of the best. Such consistency becomes especially important during a long season when players start to wear down physically—when arms start to tire, bats begin to feel a bit heavier, and players become more prone to injuries and errors.
It’s also a time when on-the-field baseball IQ can, more often than not, trump general talent through the course of a long series. When you’re worn out—in other words, when it’s late in the game and you’re facing a crafty closer with two strikes—it pays to take a smarter approach.
Instead of swinging for the fences, default to your “B-hack.” A shorter, more compact swing that stresses contact over power, the point of a good B-hack is not power or beauty. The goal is simply to put the ball into play. The B-hack can often be effective as it gives you a fighting chance, often at a time when you’re just not in the position to take your best cut.
Such an approach can also be quite effective in the world of marketing, specifically when a private practice physical therapist (PT) is stepping up to the plate.
The fact is, marketing can start to feel like a burden to a busy private practice physical therapist who longs to free up more face-to-face time with patients. When you consider the many hats a clinic owner wears on a given day, it would be nothing less than human for one to think she or he is more likely to reach burnout before somehow reaching deep enough to find more hours to devote to marketing.
And yet marketing remains critical to the growth and sustainability of your clinic. What to do? This is when it is time to take a tighter, more compact swing at marketing your practice. It’s time for your B-hack. As you are feeling overwhelmed, here are a few suggestions for taking smarter, more streamlined (yet still quite effective) swings are marketing your clinic.
Ride the Wave of Current Events
Good content on your website and/or blog can no doubt open the doors to a variety of marketing opportunities online, via social media, through emails and newsletters, etc. But where can you find good, easy content?
Simple. Keep up with the news.
From health, exercise, and movement-related issues to personal stories about athletes, injuries and rehab success, a lot of what you read about online is just asking for hot takes and perspectives from local physical therapists.
The stories … that part’s done already. Your job is to simply tell “the rest of the story” by adding physical therapy to the narrative.
Build PT Ambassadors
What if you could just hire a bunch of people to walk around town with megaphones, singing the praises of physical therapy in general and your practice specifically? That could certainly save you some time.
Well, this can happen (sort of), and you don’t have to pay anyone.
All you have to do is make the PT experience a positive one for your clients – you already do that, of course – then give them the tools (and the nudge) they need to share this experience with others.
Beyond providing great health care services, building a base of PT ambassadors can be as simple as offering incentives for providing testimonials/reviews of your clinic or giving referrals to others. Build a positive community among your current and past clients, and they will help recruit others to join.
Take Your Message with You
Whether you have joined a running or cycling group, coach a little league team, or volunteer at a local nonprofit, you have a life outside the clinic. Right?
Well, no matter how you opt to involve yourself within your community, bring your profession with you. Proudly don your PT hat and find ways your expertise in movement, injury prevention, performance enhancement, etc., can be of benefit in your town.
For instance, offer free pain/injury assessments at your clinic to those in your community running club, youth sports teams, or even local first responders. Or, do free bike fittings for a cycling team, serve on the sideline during high school sporting events, or raise funds for local movement-based nonprofits.
As people get to know you, they will also get to know your clinic.
Involve Your Staff
If you personally do not have the time to dedicate toward marketing, and your budget doesn’t allow for hiring outside help, look inward. More specifically, turn to your staff for ideas and help.
Develop a simple strategy with guidelines, open it up to your staff, and let them run wild with content, sales, social media, exploring potential outreach programs, and so on.
Over time, you will begin to realize your team boasts a level of collective talent you may not have predicted.
Focus on Doing, Not Perfecting
The entire purpose of a B-hack is not beauty or perfection. Its goal is to simply put the ball in play, forcing the other team to make a place while putting your own team in better position to score.
Same holds true for your own marketing effort: it’s better to swing ugly than to strike out by not swinging at all.
As a marketing professional, I’ve seen second guessing and the need for “perfection” paralyze business owners into doing nothing at all, putting off their marketing efforts indefinitely.
In baseball, this is called “freezing the batter.” In business and in private practice physical therapy, this is simply a losing strategy.
In marketing, doing (not perfecting) is the most important step. So put the ball into play with your best B-hack, and see just how effective your marketing effort can be.