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Planning for Success in Physical Therapy Practice Marketing and Advertising

Physical therapy marketing audit: The first 7 questions for moving your PT practice to the next level

Every physical therapist, occupational therapist and physiatrist wants their PT practice marketing to attract and retain patients, provide effective and efficient patient care, maximize outcomes and achieve excellence with an evidence-based clinical practice. That’s a significant challenge these days.

But your PT promotional program is not working hard enough if the goal is simply to sustain a good practice. Advertising and marketing for the physical therapist today is more than survival, it has to work on many fronts and with many target audiences-protecting the existing base as well as growing the practice profitably.

Physical therapy practices of every size and stripe have tapped into our PT marketing expertise. And having been able to solve some of the toughest marketing and advertising issues for hundreds of practices around the nation, we know it’s complex and competitive.

Public demand for services is up, and competition has also increased. As it is with marketing for many medical and healthcare professionals, it is a highly dynamic business landscape-mergers, acquisitions and “roll-ups” are increasing the pressure of competition for physical therapists trying to capture higher paying cases. At the same time, the demand for services has grown with the graying of America and the shifts in healthcare delivery systems.

If there is “good news” about advertising and marketing in the business of physical therapy marketing it is that there is an amazing spectrum of audiences and opportunities. In fact, PT practices typically have more things to talk about, more promotional gateways and more ways to generate revenue than many other medical and healthcare specialties.

Demand is growing for therapy in sports injury, personal injury and Workers’ Compensation injury, as well as the traditional preventative and therapeutic physical therapy treatments. From pediatric to geriatric patients…from aquatic therapy to lymphedema management…and from acute care and sub-acute rehab hospital settings to health and wellness facilities-few specialties provide such a wide range of value to patients and have as many prospective revenue streams.

And while that’s the good news, this diversity of services has transformed physical therapy practice marketing into a multi-faceted endeavor that requires a well-considered and closely-managed PT marketing plan to do it right and to be successful.

Once upon a time everything was so simple. Well…maybe just a bit less complicated for PTs

Dynamics in society, medicine, medical delivery systems, the professions (generalists, specialists and sub-specialists) have changed in recent years. Marketing and advertising for physical therapists, occupational therapists physiatrists and their practices has shifted from simple and straightforward to being increasingly varied and difficult.

Even the point of service has expanded to many venues including working in and sometimes marketing and advertising with fitness and sports training centers, workplace or occupational environments, inpatient and outpatient settings, and skilled nursing, emergent care and/or extended care facilities.

Today, the marketing message (actually, multiple messages) of a physical therapy practice reaches out to diverse and sometimes overlapping audiences including physicians, patients, prospective self-refer patients, insurance plans and others that are part of the mix.

A passion to get it right; to do it right

If you’ve navigated your way to this page, it’s likely that you:

  • recognize increasing competitive pressures in physical therapy marketing;
  • need help in the PT practice marketing to effectively manage the process;
  • are serious about maximizing the impact of your PT marketing message and budget; and/or
  • are ready and committed to protect and grow the practice and move up to the next level.

In nearly two decades of helping physical therapy practices and others grow, we have become well aware of the basic fact that PT practice marketing programs achieve the greatest success because they planned it that way. Their goals are clear, supporting strategies are in place, and implementation tactics are well-considered and carefully coordinated.

Nationwide, it’s the same story. The winners all have and faithfully use a comprehensive physical therapy marketing plan which guides them daily. Reaching, convincing and attracting diverse audience segments requires cost-effective and solid programs to increase revenue and PT practice profitability, through many marketing “gateways” into the practice. Some of the service (and PT marketing) opportunities include communicating your message:

  • Balance, vestibular rehabilitation
  • Cardiovascular/pulmonary
  • Clinical electrophysiology
  • Custom foot orthotics
  • Inspiring patient directed self-referrals
  • Hand therapy; joint mobilization
  • Aqua therapy
  • Performance enhancement (including golf)
  • Measuring and increasing patient satisfaction, retention and referrals
  • Occupational healthcare, ergonomics and worker rehabilitation .
  • Office-based and hospital-based services
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation; spine rehabilitation, back and neck pain
  • Pregnancy, post pregnancy programs
  • Protecting your practice from aggressive competition
  • Rapidly growing revenues to expand services, locations or associates
  • Sports enhancement, Injury rehabilitation
  • Wellness education programs
  • Winning primary care and other discipline referrals
  • Weight training
  • Women’s health services
  • Wound care

Regardless of how well you think you’re doing, a marketing reality check is a useful test. If everything is really just swell, you can take comfort in continuing your physical therapy marketing effort just as it is today. But if you don’t know, if you’re a student of continuous improvement, or if you’re serious about breakthrough growth-here’s how to start a penetrating conversation with your marketing plan.

…and a timely tip…

Don’t let the Treatment Plan get ahead of the Diagnosis. In our consulting work with practices around the nation, someone often calls to say they “need a flyer” or “have to have a newspaper ad” or whatever else they think is right for their practice. Imagine if a patient presented himself with a request for a specific rehab regimen before you had any history, exam or tests.

The same principle applies in successful marketing programs, especially in physical therapy practices. Don’t jump ahead. Invest the time to ask these questions of yourself, and get a clear and unbiased perspective on where you are and what you need to do to achieve your practice development goals.

Call us if you need help finding these answers

Healthcare Success can guide your physical therapy practice marketing, as we have done for others around the nation, providing ethical, creative and evidence-based marketing strategies. Few professions are as competitive or as diverse as PT and we can help provide the answers you need.

Success in marketing requires the ability to recognize, identify, plan and capitalize proactively on opportunities as they present themselves. This process requires a common group vision and common goals, effective planning, skillful execution, consistency and frequency in communication strategies, as well as a process of measuring, quantifying and evaluating marketing performance so that real-time adjustments can be made to increase the performance and profitability of the marketing efforts.

We understand what works and what doesn’t work in PT marketing and physical therapy advertising. We know how to effectively communicate your value to your various “customers” in ways that help them appreciate and utilize all that you have to offer. In PT marketing these audience groups include patients, prospective patients, referring physicians, self-referral patients, health insurance plans, hospitals and others.

Call us today at (800) 656-0907 and we’ll help get all your questions answered.

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