You’ve begun an exciting business venture, owning and operating a private physiotherapy clinic. Congratulations! However, before assuming that everything will fall into place on its own, it’s important to consider some essential marketing tips that can give you a leg up on the competition.
Far too often, rookies in private practice give marketing considerations little thought in the belief that superior physiotherapy and social skills alone will ensure business viability. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, your physiotherapy knowledge and patient-centred approach to cases form the core of your activity. However, you are now in business and only owners who combine them with marketing acumen will survive the often cutthroat world of private health services. Ask yourself – why do some prosper while others struggle even though they are equally good at their services?
To help guide you through the minefield of physiotherapy marketing, please consider the following three tips as you roll out your private practice:
1. Choose relationship-building over advertising to get off the ground
As a new private practice, you are desperate for patients and referrals to prove your abilities and generate immediate cash flow. However, it makes no sense to spend large sums of money on advertising, because you are unlikely to target the right people in the first place. Stick to networking with GPs, colleagues from hospitals, retirement homes etc. to encourage business growth. Learn how to best tell, engage and interact with people who are best placed to help you meet your goals. Get yourself an interactive practice website through which you can educate and communicate with patients and prospects regularly with e-newsletters. By building enduring relationships, your credibility as a practice will grow.
2. Make sure you leverage word of mouth
Now that your networking efforts are bringing patients through your doors, make sure that you keep them! Retaining patients is easier, less time-consuming and more profitable than having to constantly find new patients. So, after doing a fantastic job, don’t be shy about asking them to tell their friends who could benefit from your physiotherapy services. Otherwise, you are letting revenue out the door into the hands of your competitor down the road.
3. You can’t avoid marketing!
As a private entrepreneur, you must hone your marketing skills every day. Private practice owners cannot be satisfied with only providing first class care for patients. They must present a favourable brand image to GPs and the public. They must know their patients, have a pulse on their evolving needs and be ready to use innovative techniques (e.g. physiotherapy-specific websites) and equipment to deliver the goods. While salesmanship may get patients through your door once, marketing is the key to getting the repeat business needed to accelerate your clinic’s growth.