Email Marketing For Physical Therapists – Getting Started
Email Marketing For Physical Therapists:
A big part of what we do is customize email messages for physical therapy patients. This means we spend a lot of time thinking about the information patients want and how they want to get it. It also means we hear what practice owners think about this as well; many times, at first, we don’t agree. The points of disagreement are almost always the same, but before we cover them, some context.
Implementing Email Messaging – Part of a Complete Internal Marketing System
After we customize the patient email messaging system (usually during Kickstart), we also need to train clients and help them implement it. During training we typically get staff “push back.” Push back is normal, just part of the process, right? It’s human nature. We are all creatures of habit. We find comfort in routine, and when someone asks us to change, we push back.
Routine is good, no? It’s a form of discipline. Routine itself is a type of system. What I mean by that is this: We do the same things, at the same time of day, and in the same order – a natural system! But routine can also be bad, especially when it interferes with personal, professional, or business growth. We ALL rationalize our routine to avoid stepping out of our comfort zone.
So, in my role as trainer, I find it helpful to talk about the good and bad forms of routine. Even though we all instinctively know all about it, if we don’t actually “say the words,” then we tend to cling to the routine. Saying the words causes reflection, examination, and facilitates change.
Implementing email messaging requires changing the routine. Regardless of the system you choose, if you’re not ready to commit to a new routine, don’t even start. That said, here are the typical “push back” excuses leading to lost revenue potential.
Excuses That Interfere With Email Marketing Success In Physical Therapy Clinics
When done properly, email marketing increases compliance, service utilization, and patient satisfaction. In our experience, implementing email marketing as part of an internal marketing program leads to at least a 10% increase in average annual patient billings. Therefore, every practice should implement and develop a strong internal marketing email strategy. So what could possibly stand in the way? (hint: think routine).
3 Typical Excuses:
- Many of my patients don’t use a computer or have email.
This excuse generally refers to older patients. In many clinics, seniors make up a disproportionately large part of the total. Many older seniors do not have or check email, but that is changing quickly. The baby boomer generation has been using email at work and home, and now they will dominate outpatient settings. In fact, according to a census trend reported today in the Wall Street Journal, you can expect demand for physical therapy services from tech-savvy-baby boomers-become-seniors to almost double in the next 10-12 years. This has implications for your practice beyond email marketing. Time to let go of this excuse?
- Many patients won’t give me their email.
That’s what trainees say, but that’s not what I hear. I hear this: “I’m not comfortable asking for it, so I usually don’t unless the patient puts it on the form.” Asking for email without a good business reason should make you uncomfortable. To fix that, your email messaging needs to be more than sales oriented. You also need business reasons. For example, forms and appointment confirmations, just to name basics. Remember when I said (above), email marketing, “when done properly… increases patient satisfaction?” When your staff sees how email messaging helps them collect and send important information, this objection goes away. Patient satisfaction and operational efficiency are reason enough, but when you do email messaging right, you get a bonus – increased compliance and service utilization.
- I don’t have time to enter their email address.
This excuse goes away with the right messaging strategy and system.