Hey there, this is Paul Gough, author of the best-selling book on marketing for physical therapists, The New Patient Accelerator Method, and in this article, I am going to answer a very common question that I get asked by physical therapists like you: How do I get patients for my physical therapy practice?”
The answer, quite simply, is you need to market. We need to market the existence of you, the physical therapy practice, you the physical therapist. Without marketing, nothing happens, and I think many people are aware of that.
People go into business, and they aren’t naïve enough to think that they can exist without marketing, we all subconsciously know that’s what we have to do.
I think the better question is “how do I market?” What do I have to think about when it comes to my marketing, because as sure as anything that I know, sure as night follows day, anytime a physical therapist commits and invests in marketing, a wonderful thing happens called the phone starts to ring.
So, marketing is super important, and you are absolutely on the right tracks if you’re thinking about growing your business in terms of getting patients. That’s what we have to do. But we’ve now got to think about marketing and the fundamental principles of marketing which are:
- The Who, who is the patient that you want to market to?
- What’s the message that they need to hear?
- What’s the media, Facebook, Instagram, or Google for example, that you’re going to use to get that message to that person?
Those are the three things that you really need to consider as you think about your marketing. And if you pushed me on it, it comes to how do I get more patients for my PT Clinic.
Who Your Patient Is Matters
What you have to start immediately thinking about is actually not getting more patients, it’s actually getting the right patients, and that is our “who.” In my world, and in the New Patient Accelerator book, I call them perfect patients.
I think a fundamental mistake that people make when it comes to marketing is a failure to consider who they want to do business with. If you take somebody who’s been in business now for even as little as six months, they already have a sweet spot client – a perfect patient. They have somebody in their world right now who spends the most money with them the easiest.
Read that again: They have somebody in their world, in their network, right now who spends the most money with them the easiest.
Now that could be a guy, it could be a female, it could be a female aged 55, it could be a female age 55 which chronic low back pain, and when you figure out who that person is, which is quite possibly the most important decision of your business.
It makes it much easier to then think about how to market to that person. If you consider who that person is, and you agree that their customer lifetime value, the amount that they are going to be worth to you over the next 5, 10, 15, or 20 years, is something that makes being in business worthwhile to you.
Once you think about that, the next thing we’re going to do is start to think about how we get that person.
The next thing that people naturally want to do is say, “I’m going to go to Facebook or Instagram or Google, or I’m going to send an email or a newspaper article…” That is not the next step.
The next step is to think about what’s the message that person needs to hear from you to resonate with them, to tell them that they know that you know what you’re talking about. Because you and I know that you’re very skilled.
I know that I’m a very skilled physical therapist. I’ve made it through five years in professional soccer, I’ve built a huge client base, a very happy client base. I knew what I was doing technically and clinically. However, the person that’s thinking about hiring me doesn’t understand that I understand their problem, and that’s the job of marketing.
Understanding Your Perfect Patient
We have to, for example, think about, if my ideal patient is a 55-year-old lady, I have to start to think about problems that that person has and is living with. Immediately, you think that person’s problem is back pain, and they do have back pain, but that’s not their primary frustration right now. Their primary frustration is that they don’t know what to do about the back pain.
Their doctor has told them to take pills, their doctor has suggested injections, their doctor has suggested rest. They’ve looked on YouTube and found some exercises that they tried but didn’t work. They went to a Pilates class; nothing happened there except the problem got worse the next day. This person is now insanely frustrated, and they don’t know what to do.
If I use my marketing to push that message through the channels of things like Instagram or Facebook, or email marketing or newspapers and google ads, or a workshop, or a community event, or a book, I’m significantly more likely to get that patient to want to come to my practice.
Most importantly, and I think this is the part that’s lost on many people at the start of their businesses, that person will pay much higher fees to work with me because in that person’s eyes, I understand their problem better than the next physical therapist.
Right now, you’ve likely got a competitor in your town who is marketing themselves as a physical therapist.
That’s good, it’s better than nothing, but what’s better than that is when you market yourself as a provider of solutions to specific problems that your ideal person has got, and when you start to market like that, that’s how you get more perfect patients, or sweet spot patients, coming to your office, spending more money with you, making business growth significantly easier.
Business is like a war without bullets, it’s very difficult at the best of times.
Stuff happens, there’s so many variabilities, so many things that can go wrong. I’m a huge fan of business, and you making business as easy as possible – Stacking the deck in your favor as I like to call it.
One of the ways you can stack the deck in your favor is by being very clear on who the person is that you want to treat more.
Then secondly, ensuring that person has a significant customer lifetime value to you. Too many physical therapists play and think too small. They think about their price per session. They think about the person coming to their office and spending $100, $150.
I start to think about the client actually spending $20,000 with me over the course of the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years.
If I get the customer, and then I do a good job to service that customer, it makes sense in our world, their back pain might go from my initial planet care, but sure as hell their knee pain will come back, or their foot pain. Ankle pain might start. Hip pain might start. They may develop migraines.
At some point in their life, all problems are coming their way, and if I do a good job, they’re going to come back to me, and therefore the lifetime value of that customer to me can be in the thousands, tens of thousands, of dollars.
And when you think like that, particularly in the early phase of your business, which you most likely are if you are reading this, and if you’re thinking about how to get patients as a physical therapist, that’s something that is huge for you, and will give you a significant advantage. It will give you money for marketing.
It will give you money for a better premises. It will give you money for better staff. It will actually give you some money to do this thing called make a profit that you’re actually in business for in the first place.
So, how to get more patients to your PT clinic, the obvious banner answer is market, and hopefully I’ve given you something here to think about when it actually comes to marketing a business. The who, the message, and the media are the three fundamental principles that you need to get right on top of the customer lifetime value.
Do not do what most people do, which is immediately start to do something on Instagram, or Facebook, or immediately start putting ads out in the newspaper or on Google.
That is all fine, but it needs to be done after you’ve considered who the person is that you want to work with, their lifetime value to you, and then the message you need to say on all of those different things that you’ve just described.
You’ve got to go back a couple of steps in order to get everything you want from your marketing if you want it to be successful – You have to back up if you want to go forward.
Hopefully this was helpful to you. If you want to learn more on this subject, you can find it all in my book, The New Patient Accelerator Method. It contains over 200 pages of helpful information and tips to help you market your physical therapy business. You can find it, as well as my other three books, at paulgoughbooks.com.
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