I want to talk about a dirty word that therapists tend to hate:
If you’re like me, you’re probably overwhelmed by the ads that flood your email inbox, Pandora playlist and the movie trailers prior to the show you’ve paid to see.
Like many therapists, you might hear the word “marketing” and think of pushy sales people, cheesy ads, or sitting for hours in a physician’s waiting room. This isn’t the case though.
Sure, some small business owners take this approach to marketing, though few find great success from it. Marketing refers to all the efforts you take to connect your business with those in the community who can use your services. It can be so many things and none of them have to make you feel cheap or dishonest, in fact it shouldn’t.
Marketing is about relationships, it’s about communicating your value and then delivering on that promise. You’ll need to do some things to get your business’ name out there and from there you’ll want to use every opportunity to get to know your clients, show them who you are and what you have to offer. Then it’s up to you to delight them with exceptional service within a personal relationship, and a therapy plan that is unique to their specific needs and expectations.
Old School Marketing
When therapists think about “marketing” their practices, images of pushy salesmen often pop into their heads. You definitely don’t want to be like “those guys”.
Why is it that we view marketing and selling this way? Those of us in the healthcare industry especially feel like marketing is this dreaded thing we’d rather do without. It’s unprofessional. That’s somebody else’s job.
By the end of this article, it’s my hope that you’ll start seeing marketing in a different way—a way that you will embrace not push away from.
Here’s the dictionary’s definition of marketing:
“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”
That’s the old school way of defining marketing but I’ve got a different take on it, here is a new definition for you to try on.
New School Marketing
New school marketing is about two things:
- Creating meaningful connections with people
- Focusing on helping people for the long-term
It’s that simple. That’s the definition for how today’s therapists can successfully market their practices. I think we can all live with that.
The more long-term meaningful connections you make with clients, the more your practice will grow in a natural, genuine manner. You don’t have to adopt a persona to market your skill—just be yourself.
There should be nothing in your marketing efforts that feels like you are forcing your clients to do something that is not in their best interest. All marketing should focus on creating long-term relationships with clients that know and trust you. Marketing is keeping in touch and looking for ways to make their lives better.
That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Therapists make meaningful connections with patients everyday. Therapists love helping patients lives get better.
However, many therapists need wake up and smell the coffee in the new competitive healthcare economy. It is an essential job skill to learn how to keep in touch with satisfied clients for the long-term and be relentlessly helpful.
In case your wondering how relationship marketing works, here are three tips to get you started:
Ask Your Customers What They Want
Use a customer satisfaction survey. If you don’t have a customer satisfaction survey of some sort, you are missing out on a good opportunity to connect with satisfied customers. Put your focus on following up with the people who rate your service very high. Learn from them and ask them for referrals.
Good surveys are short and take your customers only a minute or two to complete. Surveys should be easily accessible and easy to return. Consider something three to five questions in length and use technology to your advantage.
Ask about areas of impact in your clinic, including wait times, the demeanor of the physical therapist, how well their therapist listened to their concerns, etc.
Ask your patients what makes up their level of satisfaction, or have them rate different areas of your practice in order of importance.
Get Out of the Clinic
The more well-known you are in the community, the greater your opportunity for referrals. Network with diverse groups where you’ll have an opportunity to serve and demonstrate your credibility.
There is a huge opportunity within your community to develop relationships and establish a reputation as someone who is likeable, honest and an expert at what she does.
Look for situations where you can connect your audience with your experience and expertise. Be creative and strategic; observe how other professionals in the community are serving in different capacities and determine if something similar is a fit for you. Consider taking a leadership role for increased visibility within your community.
Love on Your Loyal Patients
We all have loyal fans that are extremely satisfied with the care they received. Send them cards on their birthdays. Focus your appreciation on them and reward them. Stay in contact with your previously satisfied patients. Invite them back for free educational sessions and screenings.
Your loyal customers are likely to be the same folks who are willing to participate in new services offered by your clinic. Make this a win-win for them and offer free or discounted sessions or services when they participate in something new you are considering bringing to your practice.
No single group will generate more referrals than your loyal fan base and nothing carries more weight than a patient who says “I’ve been going to them for years!”
Don’t be hesitant to ask for referrals from your satisfied patients. Don’t assume that you’re bothering them or asking extra of them. You are here to help and to heal; you need the help of your patients to spread the word to those who need your help.
And this is why it works.
Therapy can change people’s lives in a very profound way. You have an impact on people’s live everyday.
The more people that connect with you and your skill, the better off their lives will be, and the better off this world will be.
The reason to do marketing — the reason why you should market your practice — is to make this world a better place.
What is a simple action step you can take to market your practice through the relationships you already have?
We recently finished the first Cash Practice Roadmap Pilot Course. It was a huge success largely due to a great group of therapists in the first course. They are all at various stages of starting their own practice. I had therapists from all the way from California to New Mexico to New Jersey. We had a great experience together and I can’t thank them enough for the feedback and hard work they put into the pilot course. You all will benefit from their efforts as I’ll be creating a full course later in the year to help other therapists launch their very own cash practice.
If you’re interested in the next class please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and type Cash Practice Roadmap in the subject line. I’ll arrange phone call so I can answer your questions about the next course course.
As therapists we have tremendous opportunity to use our abilites, education and expertise to enhance client’s lives. What a privilege? If your are in the therapy business to serve people, then my new book On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice will help you.
On Fire takes a close look at innovative therapists who are using alternative ways to deliver high-value care to their patients. Cash therapy services have emerged as a viable alternative to accepting business as usual.
If you are intrigued by the attention that cash-based practices are attracting On Fire is a great primer to help you get up to speed on the key issues and how if might impact your practice. The book is available on Amazon. If you are interested in getting your own copy join my email list and I’ll keep you up to date on the special pre-order bonuses I’m giving away.
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