So you took the plunge and decided to open your own physical therapy practice. So now all you need to figure out is how to get patients in the door with a nonexistent marketing budget. Don’t despair- it is possible to develop a physical therapy marketing plan with little or no money.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You may or may not be familiar with this term but in the digital marketing world it’s king! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting the most amount of visitors to your particular website by ensuring it shows up high on the list of results returned by a search engine. Translation: if a person in your area does a Google search for “Top physical therapist near me” you want to make sure your practice shows up on the first page of search results. Of course you can pay money to run Google Ads so your practice is at the top of the page, but there are other things you can do that doesn’t cost anything but does require consistency and time.
A keyword is a word or phrase someone types into search engines like Google when they are looking for something. Google wants to return relevant results so people continue to use their search tools. For example, if someone is looking for a physical therapist, Google wants to give them local PTs, not mechanics or veterinarians. When creating your website make sure the headlines and copy on your site contain keywords that match what your potential patients are searching for. For example if you specialize in women’s health or pediatrics, or vestibular therapy, make sure those terms are listed on your site so your patients and Google can find you. Google actually has a Starter Guide online to help you optimize your keywords.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to create a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ account for your practice. Social media presence is a total game changer for a new physical therapy practice. They are all totally free to start and a great way to connect with your patients, drive traffic to your website, and they boost ranking for SEO. Although setting up these accounts is easy, maintaining them requires time and consistency. To gain followers you must consistently post what your patients want to see. Consider posting links to articles related to PT that your patients would find interesting or maybe videos of yourself explaining home exercises patients can do to help avoid common injuries. Also consider encouraging your patients to “like” your company page and “check-in” on social media when they arrive. This puts your practice’s name in front of a larger audience with minimal or no expense.
Customer reviews are huge. I don’t know about you, but I use them all the time. Everything from deciding which car I should buy, to reliable plumbers in my area, and yes, healthcare providers. And I’m not alone, tons of people turn to the internet to find a healthcare provider in their area and are more likely to go to one who has great online reviews. Because you’re a new practice and still establishing your online reputation, don’t be shy about asking your happy patients for a quick online review. Here are a few review outlets you might consider:
After you have executed your digital marketing strategy, it would be good to get out into the community and meet people and local physicians. Developing personal relationships will definitely give you an edge over your competition. Try and schedule meetings or luncheons with physician offices so they can get to know you and you’ll have an opportunity to answer questions they might have about your practice. Sign up to attend local health fairs, volunteer, and advocate in your community. Build a reputation in the community as more than just another physical therapy provider.
In the end, the service and care you give patients will speak for itself. Despite our very technologically inclined society, a word of mouth referral is still a very important part of marketing and builds credibility for your practice. If your patients are happy, they will be happy to talk about the great service they received with their friends, family, and their physicians.
Marketing your new physical therapy practice with a very small, or no budget can seem overwhelming, but contrary to popular belief you don’t necessarily have to drop a ton of cash to increase your clinic’s visibility and increase patient volume. All it takes is a solid physical therapy marketing plan, time, and most importantly consistency.