This may be a controversial opinion, but I love IKEA furniture: it’s stylish, minimalist, affordable, and very Scandinavian. Okay, so there’s a chance you’ll have a few screws and bits of fiberboard left over after piecing together your new Fjӓllbo TV stand—but as long as you have the right tools, putting it together is far from rocket science.
That principle isn’t exclusive to Swedish-made furniture. For instance, marketing your outpatient physical therapy practice can seem just as confusing as determining which rectangular slab of plywood is piece A. But if you have the right tools, the process will go a whole lot smoother. To that end, here are the best marketing tools for physical therapists (organized by category):
This should be a no-brainer, but having an attractive website that’s easy to navigate and communicates exactly who you are and what you offer should be your number-one marketing priority. But building such a site can be as confusing as assembling furniture when you’re a few screws short. That’s why we recommend the following tools to help you get your site up and running (and lookin’ good):
WordPress.org is our favorite tool for building websites—and it’s totally free and fully customizable. If you’ve got some coding knowledge, you can even edit the site’s raw code. However, WordPress doesn’t include hosting—which means you have to pay for a hosting service to get your site live. Plus, more customization options often mean more work—and a steeper learning curve.
Known for their easy-to-use, drag-and-drop design capabilities, Wix sites are just the ticket for those who don’t want to deal with complex site design. (And unlike its competitor WordPress, Wix includes hosting as part of the deal.) That said, Wix has limited design and SEO customization options. You must also pay at least $132 per year to unlock critical features like an ad-free site experience and a reasonable amount of storage.
For more help building a great PT clinic website, check out our website guide for PTs.
Is blogging really worth your time? The short answer is “yes.” As WebPT’s Meredith Castin explains here, “In addition to providing valuable information to your current, past, and future patients, a blog helps keep your website fresh and relevant—as opposed to looking like nothing more than a digital brochure for your clinic.” It can also boost your website’s search engine ranking. To that end, here are some tools that can help you cultivate an excellent blog experience:
When it comes to protecting your original content, Copyscape has you covered. This tool is a free online plagiarism checker that detects potentially duplicated content and ensures the text on your blog (a.k.a. the copy) is wholly original. The benefits of this tool include:
I know I’m not the only one who has earned the spell check seal of approval—only to later find a glaring error. That’s where Grammarly comes in. It’s a super-intelligent, super-helpful tool that not only reviews grammar and spelling, but also analyzes tone—not to mention, recognizes the difference between “your” and “you’re.” It also works on various social media sites—and even Google Docs! Even the most prolific writer can benefit from this tool.
Much like a website, having your clinic on social media is non-negotiable. (That is to say, you need it.) It helps you not only bring in new patients, but also connect with—and retain—past ones. But to truly stand out on social media, you must consistently post relevant and captivating content. And not everyone has time to sit down and do that every day. To that end, a social media automation tool allows you to:
Here’s the one we suggest:
Buffer is an excellent social media management platform for any small-to-medium-sized PT practice. You can:
It also has a competitive pricing plan compared to some of its competitors (free with limited features or $9.99 per month with additional features), so you can play around with social media automation and decide whether it’s worth the investment before making a commitment.
Speaking of social media: From Facebook to Twitter, social media is all about the image—literally. (This is especially true for image-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.) If you really want to get the biggest bang for your social media buck, posting attractive, engaging images is a must. (This article from the Content Marketing Institute provides some tips on how to accomplish that.) This even holds true for platforms that aren’t image-based. In fact, according to Buffer, “Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets.”
If you’re not a graphic designer, fear not! Here’s the tool we recommend to help you easily create gorgeous images for your social posts and blog:
In the world of graphic design, there’s a barrage of tools you can use to create beautiful images—but few are as lightweight and user-friendly as Canva. With this simple design app, you can make gorgeous, professional-looking images to use on your social media pages or blog. Canva also has three different pricing models, all of which offer different features and range from free to $30 per month per user.
According to the marketing gurus at HubSpot, “72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video,” and this HubSpot resource states that “social media posts with video have 48% more views.” So, if you run a small-to-medium-sized PT practice, video marketing can be just the thing that sets you apart from the competition. But, where to start? These are the apps we like:
If you have an Apple device—like an iPhone, iPad, or Apple computer—chances are, you already have the iMovie app installed. You might’ve even used it before! If not, don’t worry; it’s super easy to use, and there are tons of free online tutorials on how to make pretty, click-worthy videos at no cost.
If you’re ready to get a little more serious about using video in your marketing (and you’re prepared to invest), you might want to consider Adobe’s mobile video editing app. While iMovie certainly has Adobe Premiere Rush beat on price (free versus $9.99/monthly), the Adobe app allows for higher frame rates and more complex editing scenarios. It also uploads directly to the cloud automatically, making it easy to switch between your mobile app to your desktop app.
Of all the different forms of marketing, email marketing is certainly one of the most important (and effective). That’s because the vast majority of people who use the Internet have a personal email address. In fact, in the United States, 89% of people check their email every single day. And as we explain in our guide to modern marketing for outpatient rehab therapy, “Users report an average of 222% ROI on their email services.” That’s one heck of a return.
But using a regular old email service like Gmail or Yahoo for email marketing is like using a flat-head screwdriver when you really need a Phillips-head: it’s not impossible, but it’s gonna be a pain. Instead, we recommend using one of these services for small-to-medium-sized practices:
Constant Contact has been in the email game since 1998, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s outdated. With more than half a million small-business clients, it’s a proven solution that boasts a 60-day free trial (for up to 100 email addresses), discounted pricing options, and phone support.
Mailchimp positions itself as the more hip alternative. With a free option and plenty of features, it’s definitely worth checking out. Be aware, though, that phone and chat support is only available for customers on paid plans.
Reach is WebPT’s very own marketing platform built specifically for outpatient rehab therapists. (And maybe we’re biased, but we think it’s the best.) That’s because, in addition to automated email campaigns, Reach also boasts:
If you’re new to online marketing, you might wonder why shortening your links is even necessary. Well, take a look at these two links:
The first one is messy, jumbled, and frankly, way too long. If you try pasting that into a patient-facing email or the website field on your business’s Instagram bio, it’s going to scream “amateur” at anyone who sees it. The second link, however, is neat, tidy, and complete enough to give you an idea of where it leads. But beyond making URLs look clean and orderly, link shorteners also allow businesses to track which of their ads bring them the most traffic by embedding UTM parameters. So, which link shortener is the best? Here are the ones we suggest:
Of all of the link shorteners out there, Rebrandly is one of the most robust. Not only does it allow you to customize your links, but it also provides analytic data. You can also completely delete your URL if need be, which is not something most link shorteners can do.
TinyURL is a barebones URL shortener that lacks a lot of bells and whistles—including customization or built-in UTM tracking. However, at the low, low cost of “free,” its price can’t be beat.
You’ve most likely heard of SEO. You may even know what it is and why it’s important for your practice. (If not, the short definition, according to Moz, is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”) And because a growing number of patients begin their quest for a healthcare provider online—with 72% searching for online reviews—keeping your clinic’s name at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) is more important than ever. But SEO can be intimidating—not to mention confusing. Fortunately, the following tools will make the process as painless as possible:
If you only use one SEO tool, Google Analytics should be the one. This essential website tool will provide you with useful information—such as which pages and posts drive the most traffic to your site—thus informing you about what topics you should cover.
Google Search Console is a great resource that’s totally free to use. Not only does it show status updates on how Google sees your website (such as site errors), but it also provides information on the keywords people search before landing on your site.
Simply put, Google Trends is a free tool that shows trending keywords for various topics—as well as their performance over time.
AnswerThePublic is a visual research and content tool that is also free to use. Specifically, it provides a visual report to help you find search queries your target audience runs on sites like Google.
One of the most common ways PT practices hurt their SEO value is failing to update their NAP (that’s “Name, Address, and Phone Number”) across all web listings. And even if the NAP is up to date, any tiny discrepancy (e.g., “Road” versus “Rd.”) will count against you. Fortunately, WebPT Local stays on top of this for you by automatically searching for, updating, and managing your practice’s online listings. This gives your site’s SEO a serious boost, which means it’ll be easier for new patients to find you online. And all of that translates into practice growth—without any additional time or effort on your part. Plus, when you get Local, you’re really getting two apps in one, because it also helps you manage your social media posts and online reviews in addition to optimizing your search engine ranking. Talk about the Swiss Army knife of SEO tools!
A good craftsman never blames his tools, but using the wrong ones—or worse, no tools at all—creates unnecessary work. Before you set out to build your marketing strategy, you’ll need a comprehensive set of instructions, which is why we created a totally free, downloadable marketing e-book for physical therapists. (Get your copy here!) With that in hand, you’ll be on your way to marketing greatness—no Allen wrench required.
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Approximately 342,000 billboards dot American roads and highways, according to Statista, with nearly 9,000 of those being video billboards that cycle through ads every several seconds.
About 15% of Americans own cellular phones that aren’t smartphones, according to Pew Research Center. That means in a room of 20 people, three are likely using flip phones — and not the emerging foldable smartphones, but old-school devices that were once the rage 15 years ago.
One more stat: Radio — the AM/FM channel you listen to in your car or maybe even now stream — reaches 92% of Americans every week, per Nielsen.
If you feel like you’ve time-warped back a couple of decades, we understand: These are communication channels that have a pre-smartphone, pre-internet, or pre-microchip quality to them. Yet here, in the new decade, these technologies remain viable, strong marketing avenues to reach potential customers. Heck, even the newspaper industry that’s sinking fast still has a cumulative Sunday circulation of 30 million, according to Pew Research Center.
Today’s marketers may be hyper-focused on digital channels, and rightly so — but the old-school marketing methods are still quite effective all these years later. Such classic channels seemingly suffer from a lack of advanced analytics capabilities, because when someone calls a phone number they see or hear, not only was knowing what channel they consumed difficult, but also further tracking the buying journey could be complex.
Google Analytics, which is so helpful in measuring online interactions, had no means of doing the same for offline connections — or for connections that mix online and offline events — until now. By integrating Google Analytics with CallRail’s call tracking technology, marketers can realize better attribution reporting and take advantage of all the metrics both platforms offer. And pairing the two solutions is easier than you might think.
With its debut in 2005, Google Analytics forever changed how marketers measure and report website traffic. With Google Analytics, businesses and agencies could:
Engage in deep attribution reporting — a free feature in Google Analytics — to get a complete picture of the journey leads are following with your website and your brand
You’re likely familiar with these benefits of Google Analytics and how they drive an advanced marketing strategy and allow you to keep close tabs on everything prospects are doing and consuming on your website. There’s just one problem — these benefits are difficult to apply to channels that don’t organically bring visitors to the website. Ultimately, Google Analytics loses some of its mojo because it can’t thoroughly track leads who arrived from “traditional” sources.
Although prospects may come from a myriad of sources, and conversion rates from those sources may vary, every lead matters. Connecting with someone who found a business via an internet search is just as important as the lead who made a simple phone call after seeing a billboard.
If anything, measuring the journey of leads from traditional sources is more urgent because of uncertainty over how they reached you. A prospect who finds you by reading your blog post or seeing a Yelp review brings a clearly defined touchpoint to the table. Ones who called you — and might not even remember what led them to your business — can easily get lost because they aren’t instantly linked to your customer relationship management system and to Google Analytics. You aren’t just missing out on valuable marketing insight: You might be missing out on business.
Therefore, multi-channel attribution reporting is necessary to track all leads, no matter what channel they are coming from. Just because a prospect is calling instead of clicking doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable to your marketing strategy and metrics. Google Analytics can track these unique leads — with some help from another marketing solution. That’s where CallRail comes into the picture.
Comparing online and offline leads may feel like an apples-and-oranges proposition — digital prospects reach you one way, phone callers are doing so another way, so how can you effectively measure them side by side? CallRail gives you the means to track the offline interactions and touchpoints, and through a painless integration, you can mesh that data with the advanced metrics Google Analytics is accumulating from the internet.
Through this integration, marketers are better able to:
The last item in this list is especially important because, more than ever, leads are not limiting their interactions with you to one channel or device. Someone may see an ad for a business, call for more information, visit your website, download an e-book, subscribe to your Facebook page, call again to speak with a sales rep, email you with questions, share an interesting tweet from your feed, and so on. Every interaction in this multi-channel experience must be not only tracked, but also measured on its own and as part of the overall journey. When integrated, CallRail and Google Analytics deliver a total view of your leads’ behavior, no matter how they are engaging with the brand.
About half of CallRail users integrate with Google Analytics and enjoy a similarly high level of reporting from incoming phone calls as they would from a lead originating from online sources. The integration achieves this by moving any tracked calls into Google Analytics as an event-based goal. When a potential lead calls from a single tracking number from your or your client’s website, Google Analytics notes this action as a single, unique goal completion.
Moreover, if someone calls a tracking number more than once, CallRail counts each instance even if it originates from the same session. The integration lets users track all callers or just segments, which is useful for businesses with support or success departments managed apart from their sales teams. Also, you may choose to track only first-time callers, thus giving you a clearer idea on the percentage of leads who are truly new to the relationship.
What’s also nice about the CallRail/Google Analytics pairing is that it’s one of the easiest integrations marketers can use in Google Analytics. All you need to do is supply a domain — no unique identifier is required. Once activated in CallRail, you can immediately set up goals and begin taking full advantage of the attribution reporting data.
To set it up, there are five easy steps:
After this, you will also want to set up call, text, and form goal tracking in Google Analytics so CallRail can report events. Learn more here.
CallRail’s integration with Google Analytics is just one example of the potential our platform offers when combined with other marketing tools. Other integration possibilities include:
The multi-channel attribution CallRail’s integrations help build maximizes campaigns and casts the widest marketing net without adding more time, expenses, or resources to your operation. Your marketing comes out stronger, and, ultimately, the potential for more customers grows.
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Having trouble deciding what type of advertising you want to try in 2020? Print advertising can be difficult to track, and pay-per-click marketing is too expensive. Maybe it’s time to give Facebook advertising a go. As with any software, there’s a small learning curve with Facebook. But, it can be a great way for rehab therapists to attract new patients and stay top of mind with their current clientele. With that in mind, here are some tips for making Facebook advertising work for your local business.
If you haven’t mapped out your clinic’s business goals yet, start there. (This blog post will help.) Then, develop a specific strategy for Facebook advertising that aligns with those goals. Facebook has some built-in functionality to help guide you, but ultimately, you’ll have to make the decisions. Whether it be driving conversions, website clicks, or video views, having a strategy that aligns with what your overarching business goals will make it easier for you to measure success in the long run.
Keep in mind that by and large, Facebook users are not actively seeking out rehab therapists on Facebook. That’s why it’s so important to have a strategy behind your Facebook advertising. If you’re torn between two strategies, you can always run two campaigns with different objectives at the same time and see which one performs better.
Regardless of which strategy you choose, getting new patients in the door should always be your top priority. So, your Facebook ads should always focus on providing value to potential new patients.
Most PT clinics are local businesses, which means it’s crucial to target the correct geographic area. Most of us have seen ads for things we’re interested in while we’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram—whether it’s a restaurant showing off its new happy hour menu or a realtor highlighting a new listing. I know I have. In some cases, though, I’ve clicked on an ad only to find that the restaurant is located in a different state.
Before you set your target area, ask yourself, “How far will people travel to get physical therapy?” If you’re in a remote area with fewer clinics, you may be able to target a larger area compared to clinics in larger cities with many clinics.
Facebook has more than 1.6 billion daily active users. How do you narrow that down to make sure you’re targeting the right users when you create your ads?
I recommend starting with your current email database. Facebook will match your email list to its account list and show those people your ad. This is a good strategy for re-engagement ads (i.e., ads to get past patients back into your clinic).
Facebook can also use your email list to provide insight into your ideal audience’s age, gender, and interests. You can then use this information to create look-a-like audiences to target potential new patients.
Facebook’s color scheme is blue and white. If those are also your company’s colors, you may want to break out of your normal branding, because using blue and white in your ad may cause it to blend in with the newsfeed. Take chances with strong colors that stick out when somebody is aimlessly scrolling.
Don’t be afraid to make multiple variations of your ad images. Test different background colors, button colors, and text. When I’m creating a new campaign internally at WebPT, our design team typically creates four or five versions of each ad so we can test which one is most effective at reaching our measurable objectives. Here is an example of a WebPT Reach ad we recently ran.
There are very few things in this world that get people more excited than a good deal. Due to regulatory restrictions, rehab therapists often shy away from providing free services. But even if you don’t want to give away PT services, there are other incentives you can offer. Free swag is always an option; you can provide new patients with free t-shirts, mugs, or even water bottles. Using the word “free” in your imagery is sure to get people’s attention and pique their interest. Other ideas include partnering with a neighboring restaurant or store to give away a gift certificate.
The majority of this article pertains to paid advertising; however, posting organically (i.e., without running an ad) can give your overall Facebook strategy some momentum. Posting on Facebook consistently is the key to retaining and engaging your current followers. You may be wondering how you could ever produce enough content to post daily or even weekly. Here are a few tips:
With some practice, dedication, and optimization, you’ll be able to turn your Facebook page into a patient driver that’ll help your rehab therapy clinic thrive in 2020 and beyond! What Facebook advertising strategies have worked for you? Share them in the comment section below.
Josh Golden is WebPT’s Digital Marketing Manager. A proud Rhode Island native and avid New England sports fan—go Celtics!—Josh uses his eight-plus years of online marketing experience to keep WebPT’s digital marketing game in tip-top shape. When he’s not optimizing WebPT’s online presence, Josh spends his free time with his wife, Emily, and their puppy, Eleanor (a.k.a. Ellie). Josh also enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and riding his bike to local breweries.
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