When talking to potential patients, most Physical Therapy practice owners focus only on their programs and products. They spend all their time talking about the PT services themselves, but by doing so, they’re neglecting a huge piece of their marketing strategy: the takeaway.
In other words, what is the audience going to take away or remember about your message? What knowledge will they gain? If there’s nothing adding something worthy to their lives, they’re not going to act on your message, and they’re likely not going to remember it.
You don’t want to get hung up on the details or start talking in professional terminology that only someone in the industry would understand, but this is the reality for a lot of PT practices when they’re trying to market themselves. It’s hard for them to step outside of the office and look inward from a patient’s perspective to develop messaging that speaks to the patient’s understanding of their own needs.
How can you shift from Physical Therapy Medical talk to delivering tangible, honest value to prospective patients? It starts with creating your unique value proposition and learning how to translate it into every component of your marketing strategy. Let’s dive in.
Before we get into specifics, let’s visualize a quick example:
If you’re shopping for a car, and the salesperson is telling you the car has a powder coat paint finish, you might politely nod in agreement. But when they tell you that the powder coating is more resistant to chipping, scratches, and wear and will keep your car looking like new for longer, then you might start tuning in.
It’s a similar story with physical therapy marketing. PT practice owners tend to focus too much on the service side of the business rather than the education.
And it’s through education that your audience will start to connect their own dots, draw their own conclusions, and decide to take action without you having “sold” them anything.
Physical Therapy clinic owners often invest in self-serving marketing. They try to promote a program, a Physical Therapy workshop, or a new product, and even though these things will benefit the patient, the messaging is ultimately focused on the practice.
Patient-centric marketing flips the script and prioritizes value to the patient. Instead of talking about you, it pulls the patient into what you can do for them. You’re not just sharing content or creating workshops that will help the patient; you’re also trying to put the benefits into a perspective that the patient can understand, digest, and decide if it’s right for them.
To do this well, PTs need to first identify their value to the patients. You can help them eliminate pain, avoid expensive surgery, live a better quality of life, heal from an injury—there’s a lot of value in working with a Physical Therapist over another type of healthcare professional.
But first and foremost, you need to translate this value in a way that patients can relate to.
By definition, a unique value proposition (UVP) is a clear statement on the benefits of what you offer, how you solve your patients’ needs, and what makes you different from the competitors.
In physical therapy, every practice should have two value propositions:
The first is what sets them apart from other healthcare options, such as surgery, a general practitioner, or a chiropractor. In a recent webinar, I asked our attendees (who were all physical therapists) where they thought people would go if they had back pain. Around 90% of them said a chiropractor, and that’s a big indication that we haven’t done a great job in building the value of what we do to become a go-to choice for the conditions we treat.
The second value proposition that PT practices should create is what sets them apart from other PT practices in the area. People have options, and the few that do choose PT as their treatment of choice will need to know why they should select you versus a POPTs or HOPTs practice, or even another private practice nearby.
Take time to flesh out ideas that not only make you unique but also valuable in the eyes of your patients and prospects. These ideas aren’t necessarily something you’ll show to the public, but you can use them when developing your marketing messages and test your content against them.
If you find that your Physical Therapy marketing isn’t reflective of your value propositions, then you’ll know you need to do some tweaking.
We’ve given value a face and a name, so now, let’s explore some ways you can make your value tangible for your patients. Remember, the typical audience isn’t going to understand PT terms and procedures the same way you do. It’s not their background, so they need an easy way to put your benefits and value into perspective from the outside looking in.
Here are four common PT marketing tools that are ideal for highlighting value:
Seminars, webinars, and workshops are too often synonymous with sales pitches, and that shouldn’t be the case in physical therapy.
Your overall goal, of course, is to get more people to learn about your practice and the services you provide. But ultimately, the seminar itself is about the patient. You’re sharing information about a problem they’re experiencing, tackling potential causes of that problem, helping them understand ways to prevent the problem from recurring, and most importantly—proposing a clear solution that will solve their problem.
Your seminar should be designed so that no matter how many people sign up for a program of care or call for more information, every person will be able to walk out of your doors with something helpful, insightful, or important and not feel like they’ve wasted their time listening to a sales pitch.
Content marketing is the collective term for blog posts, social media posts, videos, e-books, and all the other content you create and publish to promote your practice. This is by far the easiest and most effective way to promote your value because your content doesn’t have to say anything about your practice or services.
The main goal of content marketing is to position you as the subject authority in your area. People who read your content will learn from what you’re sharing, and they’ll know who to turn to if they ever have a problem you can help them solve.
Added benefits include increasing brand recognition, improving relationships with your patients and community, building trust, and giving you something to use to start conversations with your prospects.
Good content isn’t overly salesy in nature but rather focuses primarily on the educational aspect of marketing. Let people draw their own conclusions from it, or include a call-to-action that encourages them to reach out for more information.
Online reviews are powerful in marketing. Studies show that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a referral from a friend or family member, while 82% of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision.
The interesting part here is that your patients are the ones who are delivering your value proposition; not you. They’re sharing their own experiences with your practice, how you helped them, why they chose you, and why they’ll do business with you again.
Retaining Physical Therapy patients is only possible when you’ve done a thorough job of promoting value throughout their experience. When you start a patient retention or reactivation marketing strategy, you should continue sharing valuable content and education that will remind them of how much you helped them in the past.
Similar to the influence of online reviews, patients who continue to seek your services after completing a program are living proof of your value. They achieved great results, they’re living a higher quality of life, and they won’t hesitate to visit you if they get injured again or experience a new problem.
The biggest takeaway here is that you not only need to show your prospects how you’re different but also why that difference is important. They’ve been sold enough by doctors and other providers, and this is your chance to step up and show them there’s a better way.
For more direct marketing access insights, head over to our Physical Therapy Marketing & Business Resource Center to check out our newest online training.