physical therapy marketing

Online Marketing Strategy for Physical Therapy

In All, Business, Marketing, Medicine by Ben

Today’s guest posts comes from Paul Gough, a Small Business Icon Best In Class Winner for his Lead Nurture Marketing Systems. Paul is a former professional soccer Physical Therapist turned successful clinic owner from the UK. He is a published author who has already grown his own physical therapy business from one clinic to four, and “zero to $1m” in record time. More about Paul and his resources are available at the end of the blog post.

So, without further ado… take it away, Paul!


physical therapy marketing


Most Physical therapists know they need to have a better online presence. An online or “digital” marketing plan. But, not many know where to start. So, lets walk through step-by-step how to create a reliable Marketing Plan for a small physical therapy practice that leverages automation and online opportunities.

Digital (online) Marketing is, I believe, one of the greatest areas of opportunity just waiting for small clinic owners to take advantage of. And the good news is, that it’s probably a lot easier than you think to take advantage of the massive opportunity waiting for you.

That opportunity translates as a huge volume of people searching on the internet looking for help with things like back pain etc., that you can solve with your PT skills.

How easy is it to take advantage of the recent changes online? As simple as “A-B-C”.

Because a solid online marketing plan is made up of just three things:
1. Attraction System
2. Buyer System
3. Cash Value System

Here’s an overview of how that system looks:

profit map

As we move through the blog post, I’ll introduce you to each one and explain how you can implement each one at your clinic. Before you can start to create these systems, it’s important that I first give you some background on the Marketing Strategy that you’ll need to switch to in order to make this type of Marketing plan work for you at your clinic.

One of the reasons that most small business marketing fails is not because of a lack of a plan – it’s because they use the wrong STRATEGY to work that plan.

Lets begin with this true story that’ll help you better understand the new strategy you’ll need to adopt at your practice:

As I write this blog post to you, I’ve just received the news from a company called “Infusionsoft” that I’ve won the award “Small Business ICON – Best In Class Lead Nurture & Conversion”.

That’s technical way of saying that I’ve created from scratch an “Education Based Marketing” system that makes use of the “A-B-C” principle mentioned above and ultimately, well, converts new patients at a physical therapy practice with huge success and minimal effort. It is so successful that the exact same system I’m about to describe to you is now being showcased for its success, all across the world.

So, what I’m saying to you up front, is that this system will work FOR YOU!

Some background:
I’m from a very small, economically challenged town in the UK – a country with a free health care system as my main rival – and yet, I was selected from Infusionsoft’s “45,000” strong GLOBAL customers as having the best system for successfully converting more prospects to paying customers, than any other small business on the planet!

If you don’t know who Infusionsoft is, it’s a Phoenix (AZ) based company that creates CRM software for small business that helps you automate and grow pretty much every aspect of your small business – including an online digital marketing plan. It is one of the fastest growing companies in the US and a true champion of small business owners like you and I.

Since the day that I started using their software at my clinic, running, growing and scaling my business has never been easier.

They’re a company who attract the “new-age”, modern day, forward thinking business owners looking for the edge over their competition – and a lot of PT’s are now beginning to use their software to run practices.

What really matters is “WHY” we’ve been recognized; and this, is where I’m about to start teaching you the principles of successful online marketing at your practice.

See, “Lead Nurture” is essentially a style of Marketing that builds TRUST with consumers and bolts onto the Education Based Marketing Strategy where you give consumers INFORMATION before asking them to book appointments with you.

Why is that needed?

Because 97% of consumers in your small town have ZERO clue what a PT even does. Yet, 30% of them have a problem that they need some help with. When I recognized the fact that most people out there in society are unsure – even skeptical – and as a result, are NEVER going to book a PT session from an ad that says…

…“I’m here, here’s my number and my pretty logo, book now!”…

…it completely changed the way that I marketed my practice and WHO I marketed too!

The skepticism is even higher online, and, trust is even less — much less than old school type advertising such as “newspapers” or “postcards”.

Think about all of this uncertainty – it makes people indecisive and hesitant to make a decision.

Especially one about their health, which is a very big deal!

And especially if they’re in pain… and, especially if they’ve got big out of pocket costs to cover.

You and I live and breathe physical therapy – so we know who we help, how we do it and what we do – and, we know that the likelihood of a successful outcome for things like back or neck pain is high…

…but THEY (your average consumer), don’t!

And, never will.

Unless YOU educate them on it.

So, in response to realizing this, I created a Marketing System that leveraged the Education Based Marketing Strategy that would pave the way for that huge crowd of people, (the 30%), to do business with me.

Does it work? You bet!

Not just in my town, and not just in the physical therapy industry, but in every town, in every industry around the world, Education Based Marketing works. Especially in the “grudge purchase” industries – of which physical therapy is one.

What do I mean by “grudge purchase”? Well, people take their health for granted – always have done, always will.

It’s because when we were kids and had a tummy ache, headache or growing pains in our muscles or joints, mother told you to go to bed and sleep on it and that it’ll be alright in the morning after a “good night’s sleep”.

And, most times, it was!

So essentially, we were conditioned by our parents that the best solution for anything “musculoskeletal”, was to rest and sleep.

Think about how many people around the world are going to bed tonight with something like low-back pain – or anything else that a PT can fix – hoping and praying that tomorrow their back pain will be gone?

I bet millions.

And they’ll hope the same thing the next night, the next night …and, the next night after that!

See, people think that their health is something that they’re entitled to – and, because of behaviour patterns like that conditioned in them as a child – they don’t always see the point of paying for it?

That’s where the real gap exists in how people don’t always see the value in what we do, and why they, sometimes be-grudge paying for it. It’s also why tensions run so high when the topic of insurance premiums comes up, and even more so since the rise in costs associated with “Obama Care”.

Not only do you have skeptical and nervous consumers, you have consumers who resent paying for other people’s health care knowing their costs have gone up as a result – you also have the added obstacle of the “grudge” issue getting in the way, too.

All in all, it’s a MESS! (That’s only going to get worse)

It’s why Education Based Marketing is going to be even more vital to the success of your small business – because, I don’t think any of these issues are going to go away anytime soon.

How Education Based Marketing Works Online:
The Education Based Marketing Strategy works for us small business owners because it allows us to begin a relationship with these people – one that doesn’t involve asking for money. Not yet, anyway!

We’re going to get to know each other first.

Think of it as going on a “date” before we ask for “marriage”.

We’re going to run ads online using Facebook and Google with the sole purpose of providing people with some trusted and credible information, to help them make some better decisions, faster.

We’re going to “GIVE”, before we “GET”.

And that’s why I’m so proud that the “Paul Gough Physio Rooms” won this Small Business Icon award.

Essentially, we’ve been recognized for being the type of company that understands that people need to feel some “LOVE” before they’ll commit their time and money to a business – and we’re happy to give it to them!

You’ll need to do the same, too.

See, while most PT’s are running ads hoping to “get” more new patients right off the bat, we’re running ads that want to “give” away information online to help people START to make progress. And, before any money is exchanged and as a result, they see us much more favourably and are more likely to WANT to come and see us.

1. The Attraction System:
I’m now going to talk to you about the first system I mentioned earlier – The Attraction System. Lead with Information – information that the “30%” WANT. (Which, right now, isn’t you or PT!).

What type of information?

It could be anything from “free tips reports” on how to ease low-back pain, or, consumer awareness reports on how to choose the best physical therapist in town – before you hire your next one!

By leading with information and offering to help, we build trust… In “me”, “PT,” and in “themselves”.

Here’s an example of an ad that I run on Facebook that is part of my online Attraction System:

FB - my Knee pain Ad

I use Facebook to target people living close to my clinics of a certain age, and sometimes I even narrow it down to “female only,” because they’re traditionally easier to work with and happier to pay higher fees.

And, as you can see in the ad, I offer to give them the information FIRST!

It’s like me saying:

“Here you go, I know you’ve got a problem and I also know you don’t know what to do… start with this and let’s get to know each other to see how else I can help you”

I know that if they see me giving first, it immediately enhances the relationship – and, increases the likelihood that they’ll want to do business with me – even though they can get physical therapy paid for by the British Government for FREE!

As an added bonus, it also makes me look much more authoritative and credible as well, meaning I’m already way ahead of my competition who might be running an ad in the same publication.

The next thing it does is to help them get something that I call a “little win”.

All they have to do is to follow through on just one of the tips inside of the report I’ve given them, and it’s very possible that they’ll experience a 10% improvement in their quality of life, or drop in pain.

That’s why I call it a “little win”… and, it immediately gives the prospect hope that something CAN be done to help someone like THEM!

See, too many people out there resign themselves to thinking that nothing can be done to help “them.”

It’s as if they think they’re just really unlucky with everything that’s ever gone before them in their life. So, there’s no point investing in something good like physical therapy – because, THAT won’t work for THEM either!

If I can give them a little “tip” or suggest an exercise that’ll boost how good they feel – even if it’s just temporary – then they associate that new great feeling with ME. And after, they’re now much more likely to want know if I have any OTHER ways to give them another “little win”… that might last longer.

Which of course, I do!

In my treatment room!

It’s just baby steps all the time… walking people from one side of a bridge to the other – where my treatment room and their solution is waiting.

Right now, a huge amount of people are on the side of the bridge with a lot of things holding them back.

Move people at their own pace towards you, and they’ll come to their own conclusion that you are the right person to visit – and happy to give time and money too.

How do we move them from the report to your clinic? We use systems to nurture them – over time. This is now part two of your plan and is called:

2. The Buyer System:
Once they get in touch to request the report, the “nurture system” comes into place. Now, this nurture process is what I won the Small Business ICON award for. Basically, going that extra mile to recognize that consumers are a little unsure – but overcoming that uncertainty by providing yet MORE helpful advice over time.

Having a nurture system like this is THE difference between businesses that succeed…

…and those that merely try, then flatline and struggle.

My “nurture” system kicks in immediately after the prospect has called my clinic to request the free information report, (that they saw in a Facebook ad or a publication), and never stops working until they come to their own conclusion that I’m the right solution.

With the help of something like Infusionsoft, (you could also use Mail Chimp or Aweber), I can automate as much of that nurture system as possible.

What is in the Nurture System?

We use email, telephone calls and direct mail to provide them with the clarity and give them certainty in what they’ll get from us. We tell them about other people we’ve helped, testimonials and videos of success stories of people just like them.

We ask what is really concerning them about their pain or lack of function – and, even, what’s holding them back from trying PT. Because chances are something IS holding them back from PT. It could be a previous bad experience at another PT clinics; or their friends and family don’t see the value in PT and they are putting them off coming to see you.

Either way, your clinic is missing out.

So, it’s the job of your nurture system to BEAT those obstacles so that they can make the BEST decision to come and see you. There’s so many reasons why people don’t come to see you – that you HAVE to address and if you don’t, they won’t!

How many obstacles? I’ve worked out there’s at least “16” common reasons why they don’t!

Imagine how much it would cost to try to explain or overcome them by running an advert? You’d need a full page and then some! It’s much easier to just use your Facebook ad to get their name, email and telephone number, then begin a relationship with them over time.

So, if you are planning on running Facebook or Google PPC online – or ANY ads – you must have a nurture system bolted onto the back of it. Or, I guarantee your ads will FAIL. How long does the follow up system last?

Mine last for up to 12 months. Why? Because, I know people are visiting my website today that will be nowhere near ready to book yet. They’re only there to discover information about their problem – if I can prove that I can solve it, I have a shot at working with them. To see an example of my clinics follow up / nurture system, go here now. You can enter my nurture system and watch how long I communicate with you, and notice how the emails I’ll send you are all geared up towards moving you towards physical therapy.

What’s more, the emails were pre-written TWO years ago.

You’ll likely get a phone call from my office too…

And, on that phone call we’d try to get your address so that we can mail a postcard or two – and maybe a newsletter or 3 with the same intention of proving to you that PT is the right solution for you.

The third part of the system for success is something called the:

3. Cash Value System:
This should really be called the “Maximum Cash Value System”… and is how you really get maximum value from every new patient you see. If we bring patients to the practice through this online strategy described above, we can also use online strategies to bring in more of their friends and family.

Referrals. How?

We use something like this webpage: www.paulgoughphysio.com/friends

It’s a webpage that we can put in front of our patients using email marketing – another of our digital marketing strategies. It’s a webpage with ALL of our free tips reports where on there, we ask patients to “send to their friends”.

Note the message: “Who do you know who is suffering…”

We DON’T ask for referrals, we simply ask for them to send the reports to their friend and their friends to contact us for the information reports. When their friends and family do contact us, guess where they go?

That’s right, back into the Nurture System and the whole automated process begins again at converting THEM to buyers…

…and then trying to get their friends and family through the door as well.

It’s a never ending cycle of acquiring new patients that has been made possible because of advancements in online technology – and, recognizes the REAL issue that the PT industry is facing:

That being a consumer who RESENTS having to pay more, and is unsure about what a PT even does.

With those two issues hanging above small PT clinics, is it any wonder so many clinics are having a LACK of marketing success using the old ways of advertising? This what I’ve just described (in a small amount of detail of what I could), is what I believe to be the future of the physical therapy industry and those who adopt this strategy – will WIN BIG!

To Recap: Any successful digital marketing plan is based upon your ability to get attention and build trust. Something you will never achieve by running one ad that announces that you’re a physical therapist. Use your blog, Facebook and Google to give away free information and in exchange for that free information, you get their contact details.

With those contact details – telephone and email – you nurture the prospect over time and the goal is to answer questions and prove value so that consumers are happy to say “yes” to you. It’s my experience that consumers who arrive having come through my nurture system are WAY better to work with than anyone ever referred from a physician.

Why? Because, when consumers are referred from physicians they often have no clue what we do.

They don’t know the true value of why they should be paying $50 co-pay or break into a $5000 deductible.

Given that most physicians have no clue what a PT really does – is it any surprise that consumers are arriving at PT clinics all across the world wondering why they’re even there?

This type of Marketing system solves that problem for you and is the “here and now” of marketing for small PT clinics who want to grow.

I’ll finish this blog by saying that promotions or ads that basically say:

“I’m a physical therapist, I’ve got great reviews online and I’ve got professional friendly customer service, so you should call me today!”…

…can’t beat issues like skepticism, resentment uncertainty or fear. They never have and never will – and is why so many PT’s fail with their marketing.

If you run ads promoting PT – especially online where trust and attention is at an all time low – you can’t tap into the 30% (10 X) more customer base of people who need what you’ve got, but just don’t know enough to book. All you have to do is create a system to give them enough information about you to confidently say yes, and they’ll book!

Good luck with your business and thanks for taking the time to read my blog article – it really is an honour and a privilege to share my marketing ideas with you to help you succeed at your practice.

Reach out to me if you have any questions, I love to hear from you.


For more marketing ideas like this visit Paul Gough’s “Marketing Tips for PT’s” website at: www.ptprofitacademy.com

Connect with Paul Gough on social media:
Twitter: @PTProfitAcademy
Youtube: /PTProfitAcademy
Facebook: /paulgoughcoaching

Find his clinical website here: www.paulgoughphysio.com — and, see below for more of Paul’s resources!

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The Complete Blueprint To Attract All The New Patients That You Need, Transform Your Website And Direct Marketing – And Increase Your Clinic”s Profits By 50% To 250% In The Next 12 Months – Guaranteed, And Done With You Inside 6 Weeks!

The Complete Blueprint To Attract All The New Patients That You Need, Transform Your Website And Direct Marketing – And Increase Your Clinic”s Profits By 50% To 250% In The Next 12 Months – Guaranteed, And Done With You Inside 6 Weeks!


About Today’s Contributor:
Paul Gough is a Small Business Icon Best In Class Winner for his Lead Nurture Marketing Systems, former professional soccer Physical Therapist turned successful clinic owner from the UK. He is a published Author who has already grown his own physical therapy business from one clinic to four, and zero to $1m – in record time.

What’s most impressive, is this: he’s done all that in a country with a completely free “socialist” health care system (that provides physical therapy services for FREE for all residents), as his main competitor.

He is widely regarded in the US as a leading authority on Direct to consumer Marketing – and has a proven track record of helping physical therapists’ in the US to grow their practices, increase profits, free up their time and radically shift their Entrepreneurial thinking.

He shows PT business owners how to win more patients and increase their profits using Advanced Marketing, Advertising and Internet Marketing Strategies. Every week, 1000’s of physical therapists receive his support and advice online, and his business success coaching programs are almost always FULL.

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