4 Free Marketing Programs for PT Practices

Most practice owners and marketers work diligently to balance their marketing budget. Planning for costs, measuring results and adjusting accordingly is a valuable and essential part of PT marketing. With this mindset, many of us place a higher value on programs that generate the most patient visits. Programs like your monthly newsletter and physician referral systems often bring in more patients—but they have higher costs associated with preparation and distribution. Additionally, a solid amount of time is needed to create and manage these projects (which ultimately costs money in terms of salaries). What if you could spend less money, save time, and still promote your PT practice to attract new patients? Let’s explore some free (or almost free) options.

  1. Word of Mouth Referrals

Word of mouth referrals are often the undercover #1 source of new patients for PT practices. How does it work? A patient receives expert care from their therapist and feels better. Then, they tell their family and friends about their experience. When those folks need PT, they contact your practice based on their friend’s recommendation. However, they often might not recall who specifically referred them to PT. They just remember your practice’s name or key details such as location or specialty and go online to make an appointment. On paper, it seems like they originated from your website—which is true. But, their knowledge of your practice started from that patient’s comments about the quality care. Total cost for marketing = $0 (though having a professional website is key to converting online prospects into patients).

  1. Online Business Directories and Reviews

Think about the last time you searched for a new restaurant for dinner. Did you go somewhere based on a friend’s recommendation (aka a “word of mouth” referral)? Or maybe you went to Yelp or Google and searched for a type of cuisine. Online business directories and associated reviews play in a big part in today’s shopper experience. It is important that your physical therapy practice is searchable via online directories and is well-managed for reviews.

Most online directories and reviews websites are free to use. You simple need to claim your business and update the profile information. Be sure to include your website, phone number, address and 3-5 relevant photos. You also will want to monitor the reviews monthly to ensure they are accurate. An accurate review might not be 5 stars, but it should be 1) from a real patient and 2) free of any offensive or false content. If you do find a review that is less than positive, you can leave a response that politely addresses the negative feedback and then follow up offline with the patient. Download our free guide for online and social media marketing best practices to attract more patients

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  1. Google Online Search

More prospective patients are starting their task of finding a physical therapist online. By making some easy updates, you can help your practice’s website appear in the top of Google’s search results. While building and maintain your website are not free, the patients that you can attract from online search are essentially a free marketing “side-effect” of your website.

Some simple tips to improve your search results are:

  • Have your website company add all SEO elements like page titles and meta descriptions to webpages to improve their searchability
  • Post blogs to your website and share them on social media to increase visitors to your website
  • Include links to your website in all your marketing communications, such as your newsletter and emails, to encourage people to find you online
  1. Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. all have at least one thing in common—they are FREE! You do not have to pay anything to use these sites and services. This makes them great free marketing programs for PT practices. Most clinics already have social media profiles on several sites, but are they optimized to attract new patients and reactivate past ones? You want to have a plan in place to regularly post to social media and to ensure the content is current. We recommend using a free scheduling software like HootSuite to create a weeks or months’ worth of posts in advance. This saves you time and gets your practice’s messages out on a consistent basis. Additionally, create a quarterly reminder to update your profiles. This includes new cover and profile pictures, reviewing your contact information, and adding new features if available. Social media posts are also a great way to send people to your website and increase search results (see #3 above). Share your blogs on Facebook and followers can click through to read the post, which could lead to new appointments and patients.

For most physical therapy practices, free marketing programs are easy ways to attract new patients and grow your clinic. While there might be a time investment, the overall cost to promote your business is 0 compared to the number of patients you reach. Want more tips for marketing PT, sign up for our webinar today!

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