How to Tell the Difference Between a Potential Patient and a Freeloader (using Tripwires)
Early on in Private Practice, I gave away a ton of free screenings.
And I remember one couple specifically who came in…
They both had clear neck and lower back dysfunctions that would have been easy to treat.
Both were young and would have responded well to PT.
(I think I may have even treated both, for Free, and both had immediate relief).
BUT – when we walked out front to schedule (after giving over one hour of time to them), the excuses started…
They wanted nothing to do with being a paying patient: they were “Freeloaders”, and just wanted Free stuff.
I store that experience in the same part of my brain with the receptionist who stole co-pays (cash) from me, or the 4 teenage gypsies who scammed me for $2 in Frankfurt, Germany.
And they’re pretty lousy memories…
So when someone responds to our Lead Magnet, they’ve raised their hand and said, “Yes. I have that problem. I qualify for your offer. AND I want the free stuff…”
What do we, the Private Practice PT with limited time, money and resources do next?
Enter the Tripwire Offer…
The easiest way to separate the wheat from the chaffe (the good part of the wheat from the not useful part) is to have a Tripwire Offer.
Take my YouTube videos for example…
“Top 3 Exercises for Sciatica and Pinched Nerves” has been averaging 50,000 views per month for over a year now.
So that’s 50,000 people per month raising their hand and saying, “Yes, I have pain, numbness and tingling in my leg.”
Two out of three people watch the video to the end, so let’s assume that’s ⅔ of 50,000 (or 33,333 people) who watch the video.
Embedded in the video is an ad… my ad.
If they click the ad, they go to a “Squeeze Page”.
A squeeze page is an “Opt-in Page” where a person enters his or her name in exchange for other information – Classic Lead Magnet – and that information is FREE.
(I prefer to use information [ebook, report, etc] as a Lead Magnet, over Free services or Free products, for the reason that people who consume information tend to be better buyers, and better patients. Plus I’m not losing valuable time).
So once a person opts-in (I don’t know the exact number we have today, but we had over 3,000 opt-ins in the first 90 days), we can give them other valuable information relevant to what they raised their hand for. In this case “sciatica”.
Eventually, we want to see if that person is a potential customer… or a Freeloader.
And the way to do that is with a Tripwire offer…
What is a Tripwire Offer?
Think of a tripwire as an irresistible, unbelievable deal.
The goal for us is not necessarily to make money, nor a profit; it’s just to see if this potential patient, customer or client has a pulse and has the ability to buy.
Once they’ve established the ability to buy, then we can invest our marketing dollars specifically into that group of potential buyers.
In the YouTube example above, I sell an electronic version of my book, “Pain Free Motion for Your Lower Back” for $5.99…
In an odd, almost too good to be true way, YouTube gives provides a way for free lead generation: I pay nothing for having videos on YouTube (other than the time it took me to record and post valuable information), and Google (who owns YouTube) sends me a monthly check for videos I have posted… unreal.
So we have 33,333 raising their hands saying, “Yes, I have pain, numbness and tingling running down my leg”, searching for answers online, AND watching my short but valuable 4 minute video.
Approximately 1,000 of those viewers each month click on the ad within the video for more information.
AND enter in their name and email address on our “Opt-In” or “Squeeze” page. (It’s referred to as a “squeeze” page because it “squeezes” information out of a potential customer).
And 40 of those people buy my book in pdf format…
And potentially other offers.
So, the e-book (pdf) is the Tripwire.
How to Apply Tripwires to Bricks-N-Mortar Private Practice PT
The PT Industry trend, especially in Private Practice PT (and often in the chiropractic industry), is to offer a Free Screen.
No Lead Magnet – nothing offered that can be quickly and easily consumed WITHOUT taking time, money or resources from the PT.
So offer the Free Screening, and “determine if the potential patient would benefit from PT” OR “a PT sales pitch”.
Then hope they sign up for a true IE…a 97001.
Then start the whole process during the 97001 for a full plan of care, or at least one or two more visits.
Since this method is so popular (and I did it for years myself semi-successfully) we’ll call it the “Old Way”.
There is a Better Way…The “New Way” to Use Tripwires
(As is always true with any marketing technique…you should always test, test, test. You’ll want to be scientific about what works best for your market. And gives you the best ROI: Return on Your Investment. If you’d like to read more on how to be “Scientific” in your Marketing, the same way you are scientific and using Evidence-based Practice as a Physical Therapist in the clinic, send me an email email@example.com, and I’ll send you a PDF copy of my favorite classic marketing book of all time… it is no longer in print so it sells for over $100 on Amazon).
Anyhow, where was I?
Over time, I’ve found that most true buyers, people who are willing to pay you for your services once they see that you are legitimate and are ready for help, will WANT to pay you.
That is important, so read that sentence again.
Most PTs (myself included) try to do too much free stuff up front…
You only need one Lead Magnet.
In another article on my 3 Favorite Lead Magnets of All Time, I shared how I use Lead Magnets in Private Practice PT to attract ideal patients.
The tendency is to stack them…
A potential patient comes to a Free Webinar on Back Pain and Sciatica…
In the past, I’d offer a Free Screening, essentially another Lead Magnet.
Now, we’re testing a nominal charge for the screening. We’ll ultimately test from $11 to $59.
And here’s the weird part that’s a little counterintuitive for our science-based PT brains to handle.
Real, true clients – the kind we like to work with, they’re ready to pay the minute they know, think or have hope we can help them…
So why prolong the agony and the courting process?
A potential patient who consumes your Lead Magnet, and now is beyond interested in you and your services… do you know what they are?
They’re in H-E-A-T!
They’re hot to buy… they’re ready.
Be ready to serve them… now.
Case in Point… A Funnel for You to Test.
Here’s the model I’m testing now.
I’d love to hear from you if you’re a Private Practice PT testing out similar ideas…(my email is firstname.lastname@example.org)…
- Postcard driving to a Lower Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop. Presently this is no cost (although my best one ever had over 100 register at $10/seat). Free = Lead Magnet.
- Attendees of the Lower Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop are given a Worksheet to fill out with 5 key points I make in the hour or so. Those who complete it (90%+ do) get an offer to schedule an appointment to see what’s causing their back pain for $11. We’re testing this offer presently.
- If and when the person schedules their full plan of care the $11 or $19 or $59 (or whatever the amount is we’re testing at the time) is then applied to their financial responsibility.
- Full plan of care scheduled after IE. (not visit to visit)
This is a little more savvy and complex than what we learn (or don’t learn) in PT school.
The days of relying on physician referrals may be over for the average Private Practice Owner…
And a well-tested Patient Attraction Funnel is the way to go…
The end result is better control over the flow of New Patients to your clinic, less dependence on physician referrals, the ability to attract the type of patient you want to treat, increased patient compliance and a more financially sound Private Practice.
It’s easy to waste marketing dollars in Private Practice, and frankly any business.
A Tripwire offer efficiently differentiates and discerns between your true buyers and those people who are just looking for something for free.
Put in a Tripwire, and distinguish who is willing to pay you, so you can focus your time, money and energy on giving them an amazing patient experience.
Want to Learn More on Patient Attraction Funnels for Private Practice PT…So You Can Stop Chasing Referrals?
I host frequent webinars, Free Tutorials, for Private Practice Owners.
The latest is “How to Magnetically Attract Direct Access Patients”. (The material also applies to PTs who do not have Direct Access).
Click here to register: www.breakthroughptmarketing.com/webinar-signup
See you on the training and next on the blog.