NEIL’S MARKETING CORNER
4 Summer Marketing Mistakes PT Practices Must Avoid to Beat the Summer Slow-down
are already out of town or have made plans for August by mid-July and thus, won’t be around to take advantage of the special. Instead, start marketing August promotions aggressively in June to gain enough interest through traditional channels and word of mouth referrals to get more patients. Mistake #: Failing to plan ahead for fall sports Most fall (even winter) sports have off-season training in the summer. In addition, families tend to start prepping for return to normal work and school activities in late August. From camps to weekly practices to pre- season warmups, fall athletes do not take the summer off. Promote injury prevention and performance training in the summer months to get your athletic patients safe and in game day shape. Network with local recreation leagues or schools and provide PT at camps and clinics. Offer discounts on special services, such as kinesiology/taping or TENS, for athletes when they wear a team shirt to the clinic. Or, set up a pop-up clinic at tournaments to provide onsite care and PT counseling. Mistake #4: Ditching your marketing plan Seasonal impacts can effect on the number of patient visits and referrals. So, it can be very tempting to cut expenses by decreasing or stopping your monthly marketing campaigns. By skipping a summer print newsletter, you will save some money to offset the lost revenues due to the summer slump right? Wrong! The #1 rule of successful marketing is consistency is key. It took your monthly
newsletters, blogs, physician mailers, emails or postcards, several months to gain ground and start generating consistent results. Stopping for even one month can set you back and undo months of work. Also, you want the number of patient visits to swing back up in September. So, you need to mail your newsletters through the summer to get those fall patients back to PT. In fact, you want to be very well prepared and aggressive in marketing to your past and current patients now to jump start the fall season. Keep doing your successful actions and you will weather the seasonal effects. Seasonal marketing is about using targeted promotions, analyzing last year’s data, marketing for future needs, and following your plan. If you do this, your physical therapy practice will continue to see results throughout the seasons. Some times of year might still experience a drop in stats, but that is ok—every business, from Wall Street to the corner shop, sees seasonal fluctuations in volume and revenues. You need to be the seasoned marketer by anticipating the changes and proactively improving the results.
CONNECT With Neil Trickett, PT Offer a serious incentive to your past patients to come back in for the historically low month and start hyping it early! Promote screenings and check- ups or wellness plans. Waiting until mid- July to unveil a big August promotion is a serious gamble that most of your patients Summer time is here…schools are about to get out, families are going on vacation, work days feel shorter. Summer might be the best of all worlds for many of us, but a lot of physical therapy practice owners feel differently especially when it comes to their businesses. Depending on where you live, a physical therapy clinic in the summer months can be a ghost town. Peak vacation season and school breaks disrupt the family schedule, resulting in less patient visits and fewer referrals. Avoidthese4summermarketingmistakes to get more patients in the office to offset the summer slow-down: Mistake #1: Not using targeted, seasonal messaging Don't miss out on targeting what families do this time of year. Can you promote to local swim clubs about protecting shoulders? Play up the sports lingo in your marketing! For example, offer a “swing special” for golfers or host an open house focus on “safe swimming”. You can even push getting in shape and out of pain for the summer to enjoy vacation. The main point is to push your patient’s buttons on what problem they want to solve and use seasonal lingo to get their attention. Mistake #2: Not reviewing stats and data from last summer Each practice and local community has a slow month in the summer. Failing to anticipate seasonal slumps only leads to history repeating itself.
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