At one time, it all seemed so straightforward. You attended university to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in physiotherapy and then embarked on a lifelong career as a dedicated health professional in the public sector. As long as you demonstrated competence – even occasional brilliance – in your specialty and cooperated with fellow physiotherapists, you could count on the stability of regular work, regular hours and regular pay.
However, the past generation has witnessed considerable upheaval, as governments throughout the Western world in particular grasped with soaring budget deficits and rising health costs. Now, many physiotherapists – young and old – are turning to the private sector, not only for employment but to became masters of their own destiny.
One of the greatest challenges for physiotherapists today is to develop a so-called marketing mentality that’s relevant for their private practice. This implies that, in addition to providing the best care possible for their patients, owner-practitioners must:
- Constantly promote their services to GPs, hospitals and other traditional sources of referrals.
- Convey a sense of ownership to employees so that they perform at their best all times.
- Look for innovative (and ethical!) ways to encourage business growth (patient volume) and profitability.
Rooted in the physiotherapy marketing mentality is a belief in helping others. Unless you put the patient’s well-being first, your private practice is doomed to failure. Therefore, develop mutually beneficial relationships with doctors and mentors prior to and during business start-up. Learn what they look for in a physiotherapy clinic and tune your message(s) to their specific needs. Without question, if the first few referrals give you positive reviews, you can count on a steady stream flowing your way in no time.
You will also need to seek out your own referrals and patients via marketing or advertising techniques. In the past, tactics like handing out business cards or Yellow Page ads would be used. Today with the explosion of Internet technology, physiotherapy clinic owners around the world are using sophisticated Internet marketing strategies to introduce themselves and their practice to their target markets.
As your practice gains a foothold in the local community, staff employees will work harder to keep patients happy and their schedule busy. Why not tap into their networks by offering incentives to attract and keep patients? Now, instead of only one person marketing the practice, you can enlist all your physiotherapists to do likewise!
Gaining patients through referrals, traditional and Internet marketing simultaneously will ensure a healthy and marketable physiotherapy business. In addition, don’t forget to seek business marketing assistance from your national association. Often, they will have dedicated staff, resources and solutions geared to making your venture the most successful possible. Also don’t forget to get in touch with us for assistance with your Internet marketing strategy – we’ll give you a state-of-the-art website with simple yet effective tools and all the support and guidance you will need.