With so many clinical companies (from 100+ clinic enterprises to single mom-and-pop-shop), all drifting (some running like the plague) away from referral based marketing, the smart course of action is Direct To Consumer marketing for physical therapy. AND, with so many questions about how to properly start implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy for Physical Therapy practices, we are pleased to share…!
The Digital Marketing Pre-Launch Checklist
1. Your Website
Your website is the 1st digital footprint and anchor of your online presence. Unfortunately, only half of private practitioners have a website; and, those that do, don’t typically have a website that is up to date. As often as people update and upgrade their phones, your website should be polished up at LEAST on a quarterly basis, or at the bare minimum, audited. This is pivotally important as recent trends have shown that while ads and social platforms drive traffic, the conversion occurs at the website.
A few recommendations:
- Make sure it is at LEAST mobile responsive. Depending on which study you look up, 80-90% of online browsing will happen on mobile devices by the end of 2017. How do you check? Don’t just load your site up on the phone. Open your web browser on your desktop/laptop & actively shrink your window. If the screen changes content layout while you do this, then you’re good. If not, then your website only has a mobile version & is not responsive.
- Online Scheduling and/or Direct Contact. The majority of healthcare consumers appreciate the ability to reach out, without needing calling in to inquire or schedule an appointment. We have become a very heavy text messaging society. We can talk with multiple people and entities at a time. Picking up the phone, while romantic, is typically reserved for more crucial circumstances. Now, it doesn’t mean you won’t get phone calls… in fact, having a direct “call now” button is essential. What this means, is that you need to meet your customers where they like to be met. They are already shopping you out on their mobile screen; why not making it easier for them to connect, as well?
- Live Chat. Live chat has been around for a long time. This isn’t a necessary feature. Sometimes, it’s a double edged sword. There really isn’t any “wrong” way to do this, except to leave a live chat widget as “available,” when no one really is. Why is this so good? It builds on tip #2, above. It makes a receptionist who is typically a physical receptionist become a digital ambassador for your brand. This creates a smoother process for shopping healthcare consumers to begin conversations. And, the nice part of a conversation: That, begins a relationship.
For more info and tips about websites, check out 5 Website Flaws That Are Killing Your Clinic.
2. Social Media
If you aren’t social, you aren’t relevant. Who wants to trust a company that lives, only in it’s own bubble or hides behind it’s shell? Such impressions communicate that: They don’t “get me” any way… they wouldn’t understand… and, besides… would they even care? These relational, connectivity aspects of marketing is the dominant reason why over 70% of consumers become purchasing customers; it’s all about RELATIONSHIPS.
Social Media is and has been the way people connect and relate. When the calendar turns 2020, heavy social media using Millennials and Generation X’ers will represent nearly three-quarters of the general population. And, frankly… Baby Boomers are actually the biggest users of Facebook, because they want to keep connected with their families near & far.
If your company isn’t active on social media, here are some posts that may help you out:
- How To Grow A Following
- 5 Facts About Digital Marketing You NEED To Know
- 5 Keys To Social Engagement
- 10 Reasons To Twitter
- My Top 5 Twitter Tips
- How To Snapchat In 2 Minutes
- 5 Creative Ways Your Clinic Should Be Using Snapchat
Yeah… we do a little social 😉
3. Direct Contact Communication Platforms
As big as email marketing has been in the 5-10 years, direct contact & direct messaging marketing is the next evolution. Whether this is SMS, through messaging apps, or through native social media messaging functions… people love to be contacted directly. That, is the great bulk of the reason why Tips #2 & #3 of the above website section, work so well!
A Caution: In January of 2017, Google and other search engines have shifted their web crawling algorithms to punish invasive pop-ups and any user experience that feels like an online maze or Las Vegas casino floor (designed to get you lost, in there… where then, your money will be lost). Therefore, instead of pounding your audience with banners, popups, and what nots to capture their contact information…
Generously offer value first. Then, ask nicely. THAT is how you spark a relationship.
4. Video Integration
This is both specific and strategic. All digital platforms are shifting toward video because video is one of the most engaging content mediums out there. The technology is ready. And, consumers want it!
Videos tell stories. And, most importantly, videos have the very real power of invoking emotional connections in an effective and efficient manner. Consider these facts [from TAR Productions]:
- 70 percent of what we learn is consumed through storytelling.
- Stories are 22 times more memorable than facts.
- Personal connections are why 71 percent of customers reach for their wallets.
If you’re wondering what type of video content to start capturing, consider these tips: The Three Es of Excellent Content. To this, I’ll share with you a quick story of a group of (at the time) doctors in training. They followed this piece of advice to the letter. The result: They have practically become viral; and, have one of the widest reach of audiences as well as one of the most riveting brand messages I’ve seen to date. I’m sure you know them:
→ And, no… they didn’t pay me. I’m just flipping proud of them! ←
I’ve had repeated conversations with these engaging young professionals. Each time we meet up, we never fail to reminisce on how they latched onto these “3Es,” early in their inception, as one of their foundational principles to which they’ve found success. They have told me, it is still a creed in how they produce content.
5. Digital Advertisements
Advertisement works. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. However, much of the feedback/complaint we constantly get is: “I tried XYZ Ads… put some money in… and, never got a single patient.” … or, got very few in return.
Why is this the case?
Simple. A single paid advertisement never works. And, this is the time that I’m very comfortable going against the grain of, “never say ‘never.'” What does work, is a campaign. Digital Ads must be leveraged as part of a marketing strategy & as part of a marketing campaign. These two things are very different. The strategy is the overall game plan on how you seek to grow your business. The campaigns are the various plays within the game that you carry out for a winning season.
When done correctly, we’ve seen the following as consistent occurrences of success:
- The ROI is ridiculous. Typically bringing in 5-10x the ROI, dollar for dollar across campaigns; as well as, for long tailed effects in growing a brand.
- People get too busy. We’ve had some fun stories with clients who would be in a panic as some of locations would get too many calls. Yup, that’s how good ads can be – when done correctly.
- Clinics begin to outgrow their space. As we’ve been serving & partnering with clients, we’ve seen that strong digital marketing strategies leads to growth. Now, it’s not just marketing in play. It is, of course, that companies are doing things right in the front lines of clinic care and customer service. When that is combined with strong marketing strategies, the combination leads to epic growth where clinics need to grow in number, get bigger spaces, and even begin generating economic growth in towns that have otherwise been dwindling.
The “magic” in digital ads is found in: [A] Analyzing the results, [B] retargeting to expanded segments, and [C] using strong content to promote inbound traffic through these paid outbound channels. Ads are a avenue within digital marketing that personifies the classical, “Simple. But, not easy.” creed.
If you want to learn more about ads, check out our page on Digital Ads Management where you can schedule a free strategy session to determine if this is something best done by your in house resources; or, if your business unit would be better served sourcing this aspect of marketing.
Because, as with all things related to physical therapy…
And, we’re here to help you figure that out!
Honestly, there is SO MUCH MORE to talk about. There’s the entire business ecosystem, the inter-dependent ecospheres… I could probably go on and on. LOL… We know I can. So, rather than do that, let’s engage in some conversation.
FIRST: If you wish to learn more about business & entrepreneurship in a social media based community setting, I’d encourage you to check out our free accelerator group on Facebook.
SECONDLY: If you wish to have access to more content like this post, we have something called the UpDoc Media Business Collection. You can sign up for free and we send regular releases of business oriented content.
Whoo! Let’s call that a wrap. As always, if there are any questions at all, please feel warmly welcome to reach out via any one of the below platforms you prefer.
Until next time, I remain yours in service,