Marketing Your Physical Therapy Practice: The Six Big Questions
Aaron LeBauer PT, DPT, LMBT, RYT, has helped thousands of physical therapists create, grow, and market cash-based physical therapy businesses. Shortly after graduating from PT school, he opened LeBauer Physical Therapy in Greensboro, NC, a 100% cash-based clinic that would allow him to focus his efforts entirely on his patients and avoid the influence of insurance. His clinic specializes in treating chronic pain and conditions that don’t respond to traditional treatments. We sat down recently with Aaron to tackle the six big questions PT practices have about successful marketing.
1. Do you recommend clinic owners hire a marketing agency, or do it in-house?
Aaron LeBauer: Marketing your clinic is about creating a brand for yourself and your business. Deciding to keep marketing in-house or hire an agency depends on what type of marketing and channels you’re using. For example, if I hire someone else to write my emails for me who’s not an expert in physical therapy, it’s not going to sound genuine or authentic. As a clinic owner, it’s my role to develop the brand and messaging that’s used on the website and in automated emails. But, if you’re spending a lot of money on Facebook advertisements, it’s a good idea to have someone do your Facebook ads for you. Then, you can free up your time with more important things that will generate more income and you won’t have to learn the ins and outs of Facebook advertising.
2. How much should a clinic annually budget for their marketing strategy?
Aaron LeBauer: Marketing shouldn’t be a place to just “dump money.” In my practice, I haven’t spent a lot of money on traditional marketing; we’ve focused primarily on blogging, content marketing and email marketing. If you don’t know the patient you’re talking to, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money to reach them. If you do know, you can hyper-target your message and spend a lot less.
3. How do you know what type of content to write about?
Aaron LeBauer: I’ll write about common questions and concerns I’m hearing from my patients. It’s important to keep your patient first when choosing a topic to write about. What kind of content are they interested in? What might they be searching for on Google to learn more about? It’s important to choose content that your patient is interested in learning about, and not focusing too heavily on your practice. For example, I get a lot of questions about back pain, or will hear people who say, “I threw out my back.” So, I made a free eBook about back pain and what it means to “throw out your back” as a free, downloadable resource on my website.
4. What different marketing channels have you found work best for a private practice?
Aaron LeBauer: Because we’re out-of-network or “cash-based,” we must market directly to patients. We ask people in-person and with an automated email to let their family, friends, and co-workers know about us. Spending time and money to ensure those processes are in place help us spend less on traditional marketing. The channels that work best are:
- Email marketing to share downloadable content
- Positive online reviews on Facebook, Google, and Yelp
- Search engine optimization to increase website traffic
- Word of mouth
We also use Facebook advertising to increase brand awareness. Facebook ads allow us to hyper target our messages to target people with specific interests, gender, age and/or distance. We can create these profiles by looking at who our ideal patient is coming into the clinic, and by looking at the type of people that visit our website.
5. Do you use marketing data to find new referral sources?
Aaron LeBauer: How I look at it is – I’m not trying to find referral sources, I’m trying to find referral avenues. It’s a two-way street. Developing strong relationships with sources of referrals are important, but our primary focus is marketing directly to patients instead of trying to seek referrals. However, if I’m seeing a trend in injured patients coming from a specific fitness center, that’s an opportunity to reach out to the fitness center and see how we can work together to keep their clients on track coming in for training, but also keeping them safe and healthy.
6. How do you measure the success of your marketing channels?
Aaron LeBauer: We track the way in which people heard about us, whether it be Facebook, Google, or a personal referral. If someone does schedule a referral, we log that information so we can track which channel is performing the best. This way, we can see if we’re getting a lot of appointments from a personal trainer, for example, or if Facebook is generating a lot of new patients. This helps us know what type of marketing channel to focus more of our efforts on.
About Aaron LeBauer: Aaron LeBauer PT, DPT, LMBT started a 100% cash based physical therapy practice right after graduation. He enjoys sharing his experiences in private practice and helping other therapists find freedom in practice. Read more about Aaron at www.lebauerconsulting.com