There is a wealth of information on the Internet about physical therapy and its methods, and numerous options for physical therapy schools and programs. But if you are looking for information on how to market your services online, where do you start?
While many physical therapy schools and clinics might advise against promoting yourself or your services online before you have established a reputation, the truth is that now is the perfect time to market your services online. You want to make sure that you are reaching your target audience, and the most effective way to do this is through digital marketing.
What is digital marketing?
Simply put, digital marketing is the use of digital tools to spread a message about a brand or business.
Why is digital marketing important for physical therapists?
A lot of our traditional marketing efforts—print ads, billboards, radio, and TV—no longer provide the reach and impact that they did in the past. But with the development of the Internet, things changed. Now, we have the ability to reach people where they are, when they are interested in our services, and show them only the information that they need to know.
What does this mean for you as a physical therapist? It means that your reach is no longer limited to your city or state; if your target audience is online, you can potentially reach them wherever they are in the world. You no longer have to settle for patients who live in your area, and can provide you with a steady stream of business.
DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR PHYSICAL THERAPISTS
To ensure that you are reaching your target audience and engaging with the right people, you need to adopt a digital marketing strategy that is specifically tailored to physical therapists. So whether you are just starting out or you are already a seasoned professional, keep reading.
Know Your Audience
You must first understand your target audience if you plan on using digital marketing to promote your services. This is an important step because, as a physical therapist, your message will be received by people who are already predisposed to being interested in your services. Therefore, it is vital that you speak to them in a way that they will be interested in what you have to say.
So how do you determine who your target audience is? Think about what would interest them and what would make them more likely to be interested in your services. There are four groups of people who usually make up your target audience:
- People who have an interest in physical therapy and its various modalities
- People who have an interest in alternative or complimentary medicine
- People who have an interest in self-care and well-being
- People who already know or are familiar with your practice
By understanding what interests your target audience, you will be able to craft an effective strategy to reach them. If you don’t know where to start, begin by simply listing the demographics that you know will be interested in your services. From there, you can work on refining the list to specific interest groups. For example, if you are planning on using social media to promote your services, you might want to create four different groups of people—medical professionals, fitness enthusiasts, students, and parents—and begin by engaging with each of these groups on social media.
In addition to knowing your audience, you must also research sustainability when developing a digital marketing strategy. Why? If you want to succeed as a physical therapist, you must be able to provide your patients with the best possible care, and one way to do this is by investing in research and developing new treatments. While these efforts may result in increased patient volumes, they also require significant investment and a sustained effort to maintain.
However, as an online marketer, you don’t necessarily have to be responsible for funding all of this research. There are a variety of resources available to you, including the NIH, that provide funding for scientific research. So instead of investing in expensive equipment and supplies, you can use these grants to further your education and research activities. This is your opportunity to gain some financial security and be able to provide for your family. So while it might be tempting to spend money on flashy ads to get new patients, keep your eye on the prize: research and development that will allow you to provide your patients with the best possible care.
Design a Brand Voice
Just because you are creating digital content doesn’t mean that you have to be limited to text-based communications. There are plenty of tools available to help you design effective, appealing logos and brand identities for your practice. Think about the various ways that your audience will engage with your content: via social media, email, or websites that you create. In most cases, you will want to design a logo and brand identity that effectively represents you as a physical therapist, but also fits well with the types of content that you will be creating.
If you have a background in graphic design, you might want to consider taking the time to develop a sleek, attractive brand identity for your practice. But if not, there are plenty of tools available that can help you design a logo that will make you look like a professional. When your patients arrive at your practice, they will be faced with a reception desk, whether it is online or in person. So it is important that the first impression that they get is one of professionalism, and you can help give them the best possible experience by incorporating a new logo or brand identity into your design.
To develop a digital marketing strategy, you will need to collect data to evaluate your results and determine whether or not you are reaching your target audience. There are a variety of tools available to help you track the performance of your strategy, from basic demographic information to details on how and when your audience interacts with your content.
Depending on the size of your practice, you might want to consider looking at these tools as a way to determine how much you are investing in digital marketing. While it might be tempting to simply spend money on expensive advertising, these tools allow you to track the results of your efforts and determine whether or not it is a smart financial decision. Plus, you can always determine how much or how little you spend on these tools by tracking your ROI.
As you develop your digital marketing strategy, it is important to stay focused on your goal: to grow your practice. Just because you are implementing online marketing efforts does not mean that you have to exclusively rely on this form of communication. There are plenty of ways to ensure that your practice continues to thrive, whether you are speaking to your existing patient base or seeking out new patients. But to do this, you must first develop a clear understanding of your purpose and goals for using the Internet.