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Let’s talk about agency pricing. Value-based retainer pricing models are a hot topic in today’s agency world. The idea that you charge clients based on the value you provide rather than a flat rate has emerged as a remarkable step toward delivering outstanding, innovative results for your customers.

From this concept, points-based retainers emerged. Point pricing allows agencies and clients to devote standard units of work to certain tasks. A whole month of deliverables and campaigns can be planned from the stash of points, proactively working toward immediate and long-term goals. Agencies and clients alike enjoy dynamic flexibility and aren’t afraid to try new things, because if something doesn’t work, you simply don’t spend points on it in the next month.

But is points-based agency pricing truly a better option than flat-rate retainers? Both billing models have their pros and cons, and knowing the ins and outs of each is essential to deciding what will best suit your team and your clients.


Flat-rate pricing, explained

Flat-rate pricing is well-known to most agencies and generally self-explanatory: You charge a fixed monthly rate for a fixed set of deliverables each month. Prices are usually set in stone because they are tied to your ROI as well as a client’s budgeting — you can’t change fees midstream because it will mess up carefully crafted scopes of work as well as your staffing and strategy.

Yet, flat-rate pricing simplifies the relationship with a client: It pays you for a specific deliverable, and you produce that deliverable and are paid — period. Hourly pricing offers a little bit of extra flexibility, although hours may be capped so that projects don’t go beyond scope.


Pros of flat-rate pricing

  • Easy to understand: Again, a flat rate is just that, with no haggling, no scope creep, and no complex budgeting. A client wants a marketing action achieved; the agency charges a set amount for that service.
  • Clients pay for only what they need: If a client wants an agency to handle just a few marketing projects, flat-rate pricing allows it to pay for those projects without a long-term commitment.
  • Defined deliverables: On a more concrete retainer, the client pays x to get a strictly defined set of deliverables. In this way, expectations are set, and the client can let the agency produce the work basically on its own.
  • On-the-fly projects: If a client wants something not covered by the SOW, the agency can quote a one-time price, possibly leading to additional work. Furthermore, with an hourly model, the client can simply pay for more hours to get the out-of-scope work it needs.


Cons of flat-rate pricing

  • Limited vision to expand scope: Flat-rate pricing not only hampers flexibility to move outside of scope but also inhibits vision to imagine something beyond that scope. If a client is focused on this and that, all it will get is this and that, and it will possibly resist any suggestions or strategies that don’t fit the narrow idea of what it’s paying for.
  • Project limits: Your agency may find itself needing more resources or time to truly make a deliverable great and impactful, but your people back off because the flat rate prescribes a certain ROI that won’t be met if you put in extra effort.
  • Missed ROI: Similar to the previous con, if you fail to accurately gauge what’s needed for a project or task, you’re on the hook to still finish the project, ultimately resulting in a lower return and time away from other projects, whose ROI also suffers.
  • Time-consuming SOWs: Because flat-rate billing must define exact scopes and pricing, the SOW process can take time. If the client wants to try something unique, determining how to deliver consumes resources before the project even starts.
  • Escalating hourly costs: When agencies charge by the hour, they might be given carte blanche to take as many hours as needed to finish the job, which can add up quickly — and stun the client — if the project isn’t accurately scoped or the client requests changes. However, when hours are capped, the project ends when time runs out, whether or not it’s ready to go.
  • A lack of long-term potential: The fixed-rate model invites the client to use the agency for just what it needs and nothing else, which limits a grander marketing strategy many clients would benefit from (and many agencies would profit from).
  • Little flexibility: With a flat-rate approach, things are either in scope or out of scope — there isn’t much room for creativity, versatility, or contingencies if something unexpected comes up.


Points-based retainers, explained

A points-based retainer flips the traditional flat-rate model upside down by allowing for a range of services within a set number of points every month. This approach embraces the flexibility of a value-based retainer while still using the ROI-driven, budgetary-conscious principles of fixed-fee models to deliver impressive scalability and agile, strategic results.

The points concept is straightforward: Instead of a client paying x dollars for a defined set of deliverables (either on a per-project basis or a monthly fee), it purchases a certain number of points each month. The agency’s service catalog lists tasks and projects by points instead of dollars, and your team and the client determine on a monthly basis which deliverables those points will be applied to.


Pros of a points-based retainer

  • Outstanding flexibility: With points, you and the client aren’t locked into the same deliverables every month and are able to change course much more easily than with a flat-rate model. Strategy can be adjusted practically instantly — simply move points to the tactic you want to pursue from something that maybe can wait until next month.
  • Consistent pricing: A client that likes a la carte deliverables may wrangle with budgeting as it determines how much to set aside each month for your agency’s services. With points, it pays one rate and won’t worry about crunching the numbers. The points are there when the client needs them, for whatever it needs them for.
  • Plan for big projects and campaigns: If, for example, a client is launching a new product, it can dedicate more of its points to marketing that product without upending its budget or the continuity it has established with your agency. Points can be mapped out months ahead and then adjusted as needed when circumstances or tactics change.
  • Scale beyond scope: A deliverable that goes beyond scope can lead to an adjustment of points, but with this model, simply buying more points — without the need for an updated SOW — also becomes an efficient option.


Cons of a points-based retainer

  • Not every client will like it: Points-based retainers require deep collaboration between client and agency, whereas some clients just want to pay for a deliverable and have it delivered. In cases when the client trusts your agency to apply points in whatever way you see fit, the freedom is nice but could end up being more work if you’re running everything by the client for approval.
  • The value of a point: Your service catalog must be precise and expansive for points to produce a solid ROI. Although you may already have achieved that on a project-based model, translating that to points — and the precise value you charge for one point and how many points each deliverable requires — is imperative. Set the value too high, and you risk clients balking at the idea or buying fewer points. Set it too low, and you’ll hurt your bottom line.
  • Your team must be ready: This isn’t necessarily a con as much as it is a caveat — if your team has never worked with a points-based retainer or a value-based model, expect an adjustment period. Points offer exciting new ways to craft a marketing strategy that your coworkers will most likely appreciate, but don’t be surprised if, at least at first, their marketing plans for clients don’t look much different than under a flat-rate or hourly model.


Is point pricing right for you?

Although the points model brings numerous advantages to the table, it doesn’t always work for each agency. As already said, this is a different way of thinking that requires time and resources to successfully adjust. Some agencies are so entrenched in traditional billing that switching to point pricing may be met with resistance — or be too daunting to adopt.

Moreover, the services an agency offers may make point pricing more of a challenge. For example, consulting-driven services are almost solely based on hourly billing — and, subsequently, less on concrete deliverables — that may not lend itself to the flexibility that points provide. Or, implementation services that are more susceptible to scope creep can be chaotic if you aren’t perfect with the points.

Also, the nature of your clientele may drive whether you switch to point pricing or stick with something more traditional. If most of your customers prefer the buttoned-up, no-loose-ends structure of flat-rate or hourly billing, convincing them to change might be difficult.

Don’t let any of these considerations discourage you: Ultimately, there isn’t a right or wrong answer on the decision to switch to point pricing. Some agencies successfully rely on points with many of their clients but use flat-rate retainers with others.

The flexibility and potential of point pricing can help agencies expand their tactics, possibly including call tracking with a solution such as CallRail. The future is unlimited — both for your agency and for your clients — when your billing structure lets you be daring, purposeful, and versatile.

The post Points-based retainers vs. flat-rate pricing for your agency appeared first on CallRail.

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Here at WebPT, we’ve got a fair bit of marketing experience under our proverbial belts. You might even say we’re experts in the field. Well, we’ve compiled all that expertise into one lengthy blog post to give you our top nine occupational therapy and physical therapy marketing ideas that you can put into practice immediately to reach more prospective patients—and convert them into actual ones. Without further ado:

General Marketing

  1. Create a plan and a marketing budget. According to the APTA, marketing efforts are the “most effective if they are highly targeted—from age and gender to income bracket and the type(s) of publications your potential patients read.” In other words, before you start actually marketing, you need to know who to market to (and the best way to reach them)—and that requires a marketing plan. Along the same lines, you’ll also need to know how much money to spend on your marketing efforts—and that requires a budget.

  2. Establish your brand identity and value proposition. As WebPT’s Kylie Mckee explains here, successful marketing requires not only a deep understanding of ideal customers, but also a “strong identity” and an ability to “present [the] brand in a way that appeals to [the] target audience.” To start, McKee recommends performing a self audit and exploring your competitors to determine what does—and does not—resonate. You’ll also want to ensure you know exactly what you offer to your patients that makes you unique (in other words, your value proposition). That way, you can focus your messaging to play up your strengths (i.e., the reason why patients should seek out your services).

  3. Connect with through community engagement. As WebPT’s Melissa Hughes explained here, “Community events are a great way to draw potential patients to your clinic—especially if your practice is in a small town or a tight-knit community.” But, regardless of the size of your town or community, “you can use events to showcase what your practice is all about, or even just to interact with patients in a relaxed setting, when your mind isn’t buzzing around productivity requirements or Medicare’s latest data-reporting program.” In other words, hosting community events is an exceptional way to provide value to prospective patients and improve brand awareness for your practice—and rehab therapy in general.

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Digital Marketing

  1. Polish your online presence. Today, most prospective patients go searching for potential healthcare providers online, which means it’s imperative that you have an online presence that is both professional and findable. That means you’ll need: 
  • A mobile-friendly and search-optimized website with clear information about your credentials and practice philosophy—as well as how to reach you;
  • Active social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram);
  • Plenty of positive (and real) online reviews on sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, and Zocdoc; and
  • Content (e.g., a blog and contributed articles) that establishes you as an expert and drives relevant search traffic to your website. 

You’ll also want to ensure you have consistent and accurate online listing information on every possible platform. To achieve that, you can leverage WebPT Local’s online presence and listing management tool to create—and publish—a robust profile for your practice that will be consistent on hundreds of online directories and social media platforms. That way, when patients search for your speciality in their area, you’ll come up first. 

  1. Perform keyword research. According to WebPT’s Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, “Keywords are the phrases (or standalone words) that people type into a search engine (e.g., Google) to find the information they’re looking for.” For example, if a patient is looking for an OT in Williamsburg, he or she might type something like “occupational therapy in Williamsburg” or “Williamsburg occupational therapy.” Either way, if you’re an OT in Williamsburg, “you want to ensure that your website displays in that patient’s Google results,” so “weave those keywords into the text on your website—in page titles, headers, body copy, URLs, and meta descriptions.” But do so subtly; not only will keyword-stuffed copy turn off prospective patients (it’s not fun to read), but “Google dings you if you haphazardly pack [keywords] into your website copy.”
  2. Collect and use emails. As McKee explained here, “The vast majority of adults worldwide use email (about 3.7 billion as of 2017), and targeted email messaging can help you connect with those who aren’t on social media.” With a robust email list—and explicit permission from patients—“you can send relevant content directly to current and past patients, which can prevent patient attrition and spark patient reactivation.” You can even “curate that content to be even more specific to a patient’s condition and speak to him or her directly.” For a complete guide to email marketing for rehab therapists, click here

WebPT Reach’s robust patient relationship management [PRM] platform can help you craft targeted email marketing campaigns and automate content delivery to reach both prospective and current patients at optimal intervals. 

  1. Consider paid ads. While paid ads may seem daunting at first, they’re actually pretty easy to manage—not to mention effective, especially because most physical and occupational therapists aren’t yet taking advantage of them. As McKee wrote here, you’ll want to make sure to use keywords that directly relate to “your location, service, and discipline,” and point those ads at landing pages or messaging that “aligns with the advertisement.” That way, you’ll be more likely to convert prospective patients who click on your ads into actual ones.
  2. Link to landing pages. Speaking of landing pages, as McKee wrote here (based on this resource), “a landing page is ‘a keyword optimized, stand-alone page on your website’ that prospects land on when clicking links from:
  • search engines (e.g., Google and Bing),
  • social media posts,
  • website banner ads,
  • marketing emails or newsletters,
  • blog articles, and
  • website or social media pages.”

In other words, you can use these targeted pages to provide tailored information that converts.

Referral Marketing and Word-of-Mouth

  1. Tap pleased patients to be brand ambassadors. Social proof is an incredibly effective marketing tool for prospective patients and referral partners alike, and who better to establish that social proof than your already-pleased patients? They have firsthand experience with you and your practice, which means they’re well equipped to provide honest (and glowing) reviews of your services to their personal networks, online networks (via those online review sites mentioned above), and provider networks. 

In most cases, all you need to do to develop a team of superstar brand ambassadors is identify your loyal patients using a tool like Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) tracking. Then, ask them to write you a testimonial or review—or to share their story directly with their physician or friends. 

NPS surveys and email requests for reviews are fully automated in WebPT Reach, making the entire process completely seamless. You can also use WebPT Local to monitor all of your online reviews and provide timely responses—all from one integrated platform.

  1. Prioritize relationships—not gift baskets. As Hughes writes here, “Not too long ago, [therapists] were expected to turn out their pockets and buy catered lunches, gift baskets, and the like to ‘butter up’ potential referral sources. But, these delicious reminders aren’t as effective as you might think—especially in this day and age.” After all, “if everyone is buying goodies, then no one stands out”—not to mention the fact that goodies don’t actually provide any concrete information about your practice or your ability to best serve patients. Instead of goodies and gift baskets, build mutually beneficial collaborative relationships that prioritize patient care.
  2. Give referrals. As Jannenga wrote here, you don’t have to wait for another “healthcare provider to refer patients to you”; instead, “pick up the referral gauntlet and refer your patients to them (when it’s medically appropriate).” Then, “follow up with those providers and form mutually beneficial referral relationships.” After all, “referring out patients is a great way to bump your (and your practice’s) name to the tip-top of other providers’ mental list—which makes them much more likely to think of you when they encounter a patient who could benefit from physical therapy.” As a bonus, initiating referrals also helps establish rehab therapists as first-line care providers who are capable of directing a patient’s healthcare journey.
  3. Leverage outcomes and loyalty data. According to Hughes, “Collecting patient data (and improving your treatment methods until that data is wholly positive) is the best way for you to demonstrate your value to patients and physicians alike.” And that should include both outcomes and loyalty data. Referral partners—and prospective patients—want to know you’re “the go-to provider” for their condition or their patients.
  4. Create a workplace that your staff wants to talk about. Creating a great company culture benefits your staff and your patients in so many ways. And employees who work in a great company environment are not only more productive, engaged, fulfilled, and joyful—which, quite frankly, are wins on their own—but also more likely to spread the word about their great company to their social networks. In other words, provide excellent patient care and a great place to work, and your staff will automatically become your very best marketers. On the other hand, if your work culture is lacking and your staff is burned out, they probably won’t be drumming up any new business on your behalf.

Have too much on your plate to even consider these occupational and physical therapy marketing ideas? Then it might be time to hire a freelance marketing person—or two. Check out this article to learn how to hire—and manage—the very best freelancers. Have your own marketing ideas for PTs and OTs? Leave them in the comment section below. We’d love to hear them.

The post 13 Best Marketing Ideas for PTs and OTs appeared first on WebPT.

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Designing an effective contact form or lead generation form can make a huge impact on the number and quality of leads you attract. Still, designing an effective form for your company is no easy task. The good news is there are many form builders available to help you develop high-quality webforms. Form tools are by far the simplest way to create webforms like contact and lead generation forms that are tailored to your business’s specific needs.

Finding a form builder that meets your unique needs and performs well can be tricky, since there are so many options to choose from. In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the top five form builders and tips on how to choose the best one for your company.


The top 5 form builders

1. HubSpot’s Free Online Form Builder

HubSpot’s online form builder is one of the best tools around for creating webforms. It has advanced features that let you do much more than the average form builder, but it doesn’t require any technical knowledge and is totally free. Its drag-and-drop features let you develop a form quickly, and helps you to convert your website visitors into leads. After a user fills out your form, they’ll be automatically added to your HubSpot CRM. You can then opt to call them or send personalized emails to follow up with your contacts and start the lead nurturing process. If you’re looking for a lead generation form and a way to better manage your marketing funnel, HubSpot’s form builder is an excellent option that lets you do both.


2. Leadformly

If you need a high-quality lead generation or lead capture form, Leadformly is one of the best available options. This form builder tool makes it easy to develop a high-converting form that helps you win over more leads. Leadformly offers a wide variety of pre-tested templates so you can select the best one depending on your specific needs. It also has more than 1,000 integrations, over 15 different types of questions to choose from, and lets you create an unlimited number of forms. Leadformly is pricier than many other options, with its Essentials plan starting at $37 per month. But if you have the budget and you want access to some of the best-performing lead generation form templates, Leadformly is an excellent option.


3. CallRail Custom Forms

Another excellent form builder with multiple customization options is CallRail Custom Forms. This form builder has a lead form template with many field types, a simple drag-and-drop interface and a form preview feature. It offers multiple customization options, such as the ability to edit CSS and create a plain HTML version of the form, and also includes a WYSIWYG editor. The form builder also features a CAPTCHA to help prevent spam and also lets you create HIPAA-compliant forms for regulated industries. In addition, there are several different ways you can implement the forms, such as inserting a standalone link, embedding code, or adding plain HTML.


4. Contact Form 7

If it’s a simple contact form you’re after, Contact Form 7 is an excellent option. Contact Form 7 is an extremely popular free WordPress plugin that lets you add contact forms to your web pages quickly and easily. All you need to do is activate the plugin, copy the form shortcode, and paste it right into your post or page. When site visitors fill out the form and submit it, the information is sent to your email inbox. Although you’re given a default form, you’re free to modify it or create a new form. There are many different field types you can include in your forms, like dropdown menus, checkboxes, and quizzes. Contact Form 7 definitely makes designing and adding a contact form easy. That said, the plugin doesn’t have many advanced features, so it’s best for people who just need a basic contact form for their website.


5. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a WordPress plugin that lets you build highly customized forms. Unlike Contact Forms 7, Gravity Forms has many advanced features so you can build much more than just a contact form. Although there’s no default contact form, Gravity Forms lets you create new forms effortlessly with its drag-and-drop form builder. The plugin also has a conditional logic feature that determines what form fields are displayed to a user based on their previous responses. Gravity Forms also has an anti-spam feature to reduce form spam, and has advanced add-ons that let you integrate with third-party services like FreshBooks, Help Scout, PayPal, and Slack. Gravity Forms will cost you $59 per year for a basic license, but it’s well worth the investment if you need to create advanced forms for your WordPress site.


How to choose the best form builder for your business website

Here are five important questions to consider when selecting a form builder:

1. Is it compatible with your business goals?

Make sure you choose an option that will help you reach your business goals. It’s important to consider if you just want to ask a few basic questions or if you have more advanced needs. For instance, do you want your site visitors to schedule an appointment? Do you need to build in logic based on responses to certain questions? Do you require respondents to upload a picture or a file? In other words, you need to make sure you choose a form builder whose features are compatible with the questions you need to ask to capture leads and turn them into customers. It’s essential to be clear of your business goals so you can choose the option that best meets them.

2. How much does it cost?

Many form builders take a variety of different factors into consideration in determining the cost. These include access to integrations, access to features like custom branding, multi-logic, and uploads, as well as the number of forms and form submissions. In some cases, the cost is determined by a combination of these factors. While most form builders are relatively affordable, you obviously want to choose one that meets your company’s needs and fits your budget.

3. How user-friendly is it?

Also consider what kind of learning curve each form builder requires. Although most form builders have a WYSIWYG or drag-and-drop editor, some are easier to navigate than others. Pay attention to what kind of display and user interface each form builder has when evaluating your options. Is it easy to navigate and access each of the features? Are the instructions easy for non-techie people to understand and follow? Another thing to consider is how easy it is to implement and what your options are for adding the form to your website. For example, do you get a code that lets you embed the form on your website? When it comes to form builders, It’s important to choose an option that’s compatible with your level of technical expertise.

4. What features does it offer?

Once you’ve figured out what kind of forms you want, look at the features for each option. Find out if the form builder integrates with the analytics platforms, CRMs, payment processors, and campaign management platforms you’re currently using. Also consider what notification options are available. Can you send yourself an email or text message when a form is submitted? Is it possible to respond directly to the lead in an automated way? Where is the form sent after users submit it? Is there a way to prevent spam submissions? Other features to consider include: multi-step logic, reporting options, and the ability to create HIPAA compliant forms.

5. Can you customize your forms?

Ideally, you’ll want to create a form that’s a good match for your company’s brand. Many form builders have pre-designed templates, and the extent to which you can customize them varies widely. Consider how you want your completed form to look and keep this in mind when exploring form builder options. If you just need a basic form, a form builder with predesigned templates may work just fine. But if you want to design a form that really reflects your company’s brand, you might select an option that lets you customize your forms. Some of the ways that form builders often allow customization include: changing colors on form elements, choosing fonts, adding custom CSS, and the ability to remove branding on paid versions.
There are tons of form builder tools to help you design professional web forms for your business. Still, designing and evaluating your form as a channel for generating leads is an ongoing process. You need to regularly ask yourself if your form is performing well, and if the marketing activities that led people to your form are effective.

When it comes to analyzing your contact forms, it’s especially helpful to have access to form attribution data. CallRail is one of the few form providers that tracks attribution data through their Form Tracking tool, including the referrer, source, keywords, campaign and landing page. This tool is easily implemented through CallRail’s JavaScript snippet and helps you uncover which channels, ads, and campaigns are triggering form submissions. By understanding which of your marketing activities are driving people to your form, you can get valuable insights into how to attract and convert more leads to your business.

The post The top 5 form builders and how to choose right one for you appeared first on CallRail.