The team just got back from hosting a Private Practice Physical Therapy Conference in Chicago. One of the sessions was taught by the former Head of Tesla Motors Online Marketing, Carl Mattiola.
His premise was to take everything he knew about email marketing and apply it to private practice PT and direct access marketing. There were about 130 practice owners in the room, and one owner responded in a way that many PT practice owners can probably relate to:
“I understand what you’re writing and how simple it is, but I want to talk like a PT.”
The owner thought the email should be more focused on the type of treatment and other technical terms, and they went into this elaborate vision of how they thought email marketing for PT should work.
Carl took a step back and recommended some A/B testing: send what he’s recommending and send how you think it should be worded, then compare the results you get.
A lot of owners think this way. We’re trained as physical therapists, not as marketers. When we try to connect with regular people using the language we learned in PT school, there’s going to be a huge gap in translation.
Instead, practice owners should do what Carl did: take a step back. Only then will you be able to see if you’re truly making the right decisions when it comes to your PT marketing.
Hedge fund manager Ray Dalio offers up some great advice on this exact topic in his book Principles. One thing he talks about is the presence of errors in bias in decision making. It’s easy to make bad decisions when your beliefs about the outcome are already affected.
For example, Dalio wanted to leave the company he founded to have more time to write his book and do other things, but he knew he needed a viable replacement first, or the company might suffer. Instead, he worked longer hours to manage the transition—the exact opposite of what he wanted to do.
Dalio talks about how second-order and third-order consequences should carry more weight than first-order consequences. This means that any long-term or unintended results from a decision should be the factors guiding the decision; not the immediate results. Too often, the first-order consequences are the exact opposite of second-order consequences, which typically leads to big mistakes when making decisions.
It almost goes against our very nature to do the opposite of what we think we should be doing, but it can be an effective way of avoiding bias and any long-term or unintended consequence that could end up doing more harm than good.
It’s no secret that logic often leads to better decision making than emotions. But for logic to be effective, it must place a heavy emphasis on the believability factor.
For example, you might have a group of people who agree on the best way to proceed (often referred to as groupthink), but that doesn’t mean the resulting decision will be the best one. You can’t just take everything to a vote and expect it to work.
Instead, you should be paying attention to people or processes that either have prior experience or proven results (or both).
Let’s look at what a believability-weighted decision in PT looks like:
You went through PT school and are an expert at helping people overcome problems with their shoulders, knees, back, or whatever is ailing them. Your Physical Therapy Patients either come to you because you have experience in treating certain conditions, such as a sprained ankle, or because you’ve helped other people get great results, and word got out.
When we’re talking about doing a patient assessment and developing a plan of care or treatment, you have some believability. This is why they trust you to be able to help them more effectively than they could help themselves.
Now, let’s flip the script: are you putting these same believability-weighted decisions into your marketing?
You may know a lot about PT marketing. Maybe you’ve been in the business for several years and have been able to learn through experience.
But as you’re growing or scaling your practice and hoping to do more of what works and avoid what doesn’t work, you should be seeking out people that can help you better than you can help yourself.
Going back to our earlier story about Carl and the practice owner who had different ideas about email marketing, we see this process at work. Did the owner have experience in sending emails? None, other than working with an outside company and having them do all the heavy lifting. Did they have results from it? The quick answer is ‘no.’
Carl was in the room when Tesla figured out how to sell a $100K electric vehicle online using email. He’s got a track record of success, and we’ve benefited from using his exact process to get results from our email marketing.
It’s something to think about as you’re going through your direct access marketing and trying to make decisions. Believability-weighted decisions rather than those based on your own bias and logic will often lead to a better path, especially in the long-term.
If you’re reading this, there’s no doubt you’re a highly-skilled Physical Therapist that excels in what you do. You’re an expert in the PT arena, but you’re not an expert in every aspect of the business. That’s why you have a supportive team that can turn your lack of knowledge or experience into strengths that benefit the practice as a whole.
It’s okay to say your marketing needs work, and if it does, take advice from marketing experts who can help you avoid reinventing the wheel, have proven skills and processes that work for PT practices, and can allow you to level up your PT marketing.
If you’d like to see what Carl and I recommend (and what's working right now in 800+ private practices), visit LearnWithBreakthrough.com for a free training session.