Here are five simple steps to running and marketing your practice.
1. Implement an ongoing up-sell program in your practice immediately
This is the fastest and most reliable way to add 20–40% to your profitability and is very quick to implement. This refers to selling products that will assist and enhance your patients’ treatment. Ideas to use as up-sells include cervical pillows, supplements (glucosamine etc.), lumbar supports, and orthotics.
2. Have a system within your practice that promotes patients’ adherence to your treatment recommendations
There is no point in creating huge numbers of new patients if you cannot keep these new patients in your practice. It’s a shame that most physiotherapy practices do not realise how important it is to do a proper written report of their findings (recommendations of treatment you tell the patient after you have completed your patient’s exam). This report educates your patient about their condition, it shows that you are more thorough than other therapists, and gets the patient to commit to your recommended number of appointments rather than just dropping out after one or two.
Not implementing this is a costly and avoidable error. Unfortunately, most practices consider themselves to be new patient-generating businesses. Their main objective is to acquire as many new patients as possible only to have the newly acquired patients fail to follow their treatment recommendations. Consequently, almost all of their advertising and promotions prove to be a wasted and costly exercise.
3. Reactivate your existing but inactive patients
These people already like you and the service you provide, and just need a reason to come back again. Keep in touch with them by utilising a variety of techniques including the implementation of a monthly e-newsletter, sending out check-up reminders (much like your dentist does), sending out vouchers for an assessment, letting them know about the recent courses you have taken, etc.
4. Set up ongoing referral programs
We all know that word of mouth is a powerful way of acquiring new patients, so you need
to encourage this positive use of the grape vine as much as possible. The best way to take advantage of word of mouth is by implementing a referral program into your practice. The credibility you gain from having an objective person refer to you is invaluable. I personally use a VIP referral program to encourage word of mouth of referrals.
5. Set up systematic procedures to acquire new patients.
Systematic procedures need to be developed and monitored on a regular basis so you can measure your results and determine which systems are most profitable (a recent systematic letter drop by one of our clients cost $85 and returned $1800—how many of you have even thought to do a letter drop?)
You can acquire new patients via internal and external marketing. Focus on internal referral first as it is cheaper and reaps a profitable return; having achieved this, turn your attention to regular external marketing. As a means of challenging your mindset, consider the following:
* 50% of your efforts should be spent and devoted to keeping patients in treatment and referring other patients to you
* 25% of your efforts should be spent and devoted to converting existing but inactive patients back to active patients again (via your database)
* 25% of your efforts should be spent on gaining new patients (not currently on your database) and establishing active treatment programs for these patients.
The steps outlined are extremely simple to follow, but don’t let their simplicity fool you into not following it through. By following through and implementing these seemingly simple strategies, the cost of running and marketing your practice will drop substantially. As a result, every dollar you invest in your practice will work even harder for you and you will get a much better and quicker return on your marketing dollars.
Sit down and take 1-2 hours to write a business plan and follow each step through one at a time. As you progress through each step you will achieve increased growth and profit for your practice.