Extra Dangerous For Physical Therapists – The Inbound Marketing Myth

According to Wikipedia, the term “inbound” marketing was coined by Brian Halligan, founder of Hubspot in 2005.

“Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers.”

In contrast, buying attention,[1] cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements,[2] sales flyers, spam, telemarketing[3] and traditional advertising[4] are considered “outbound marketing”.”

If you read Halligan’s book “Inbound Marketing,” you may be convinced that “outbound” marketing budgets, should be trimmed or cut altogether. But there’s two key problems with that philosophy, especially in an industry like physical therapy:

First, the “inbound” mentality sits back and waits for prospects to seek you out. From a tactical standpoint, that can be deadly when your product or service may be a  good solution option, but isn’t even considered by the majority of “inbound” information seekers. Back pain is a good example. Since most people don’t even think about physical therapy as a treatment option, sitting back and waiting for people to find your information can be a bit like fighting with your hands tied behind your back. When you ask consumers what options come to mind for treating back pain, the most common answers are physician, chiropractor, and rest. Physical therapy is not on the radar yet; it’s still “something I do only when my doctor tells me to do it.” This puts an extra burden on the physical therapy marketer that is greatly relieved with “outbound” strategies like direct mail, broadcast, or print.  I know Halligan’s answer to this might be to blame this on the lack of quality “back pain” content served up by physical therapists  for “inbound” information seekers,  but that still leaves us with problem number 2…

The second problem with the inbound philosophy is mathematical (simple math, not MIT Halligan math). When you estimate the percentage of patient prospects who are experiencing a problem (like back pain) but are not yet actively seeking information for diagnosis and treatment options, and compare that number to those who are, you’re talking about 98%. That’s 98% who have some level of interest in back pain treatment options don’t even consider physical therapy, and are not yet on the “inbound” spectrum. Do you think “outbound” strategies make sense for addressing problem number 2?

This is a huge strategic marketing opportunity for physical therapists. While all their competitors are busy worrying about blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, they can get back to the basics of simple direct mail and neighborhood advertising and out market the competition.

To see outbound (and inbound) marketing for physical therapists that cuts through this confusion and gets the job done, start your free PTRM trial today or schedule a complimentary strategy session.

About the Author:

Senior Consultant & Founder PT Referral Machine, a turnkey marketing solution exclusively for physical therapists.

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