Last month for the first time we included a guest feature with our monthly email marketing tips, and the feedback was really exciting. That’s why we are sharing another contributed by Jamey Schrier. Jamey’s physical therapy business was one of the PT Referral Machine “pioneer” clients, and his input has helped shape many of the programs and services we offer today. We hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.
David C Steinberg
The PT Referral Machine
Why Every Physical Therapy Clinic Manager Should Eat At McDonald’s (No, Not For The Food)…
By Jamey Schrier, PT, DPT, OCS
McDonald’s restaurants can teach us (practice owners) a lot about marketing. What McDonald’s does better than any other company in the world is systematize. Most of us can immediately see and appreciate the McDonald’s system for product delivery simply by walking up to the counter and placing an order. But did you ever think about their system for marketing? Could they possibly be so successful without systematizing both the food operations and the marketing operations?
The greatest food operations system in the world would go underutilized or fade away without the customers to feed it – that’s why the McDonald’s marketing system is such a critical part of the entire McDonald’s system.
And today marketing in today’s healthcare world is more important than ever. The competition is fierce. The hospital systems are becoming huge conglomerates and directing the patients to their own ancillary services (ie: physical therapy). Orthopedists are continually creating their own outpatient physical therapy clinics to offset their rising costs, and it seems every other profession is promoting that they do “PT”. It’s scary out there.
However, now is NOT the time to retract and hide. Quite the contrary, it’s time to promote and expand! It is more important than ever to promote and educate your target audience about you. The best money you can spend right now is that in which generates revenue (ie: new patients). Moreover, although the responsibility for marketing belongs with you the owner, your process should be a systematized business function that can run without you. But the challenge is that profit margins are slim, cash flow is tight, and most owners are too busy trying to treat patients AND manage the clinic. If this is the case, and it is for a lot of private practice owners, then the choices are simple:
- Continue to do what you’re doing and hope that the market will throw you enough crumbs to keep you busy enough to make a living.
- Hire someone to manage your marketing program – a pretty expensive option, especially if it takes you 6-12 months to find out if they can actually get results.
- Outsource – hire a company to manage your marketing program, or
- Do it all yourself.
All four options will work (except # 1) although option number two is significantly more expensive and option four is usually not the core competency of the owner. Option three makes sense if you have a small budget and the company you hire can get you a solid ROI while limiting your direct involvement in the day to day implementation of the marketing process.
Remember the example of McDoanld’s? The key to marketing is to systematize the process by either having an employee do it or an outside company. If you feel you’re able to market the company the best then by all means get out there and sell it, but you will still need help organizing and managing the plan. By systematizing the process, you’ll stop worrying every second (like I used to) about where new patients are coming from. The secret is to monitor the effectiveness of each campaign and make adjustments as necessary.
Most of the conversations I read and hear about in the physical therapy practice development world revolve around not having enough new patients, or the inconsistency of new patients. The answer is having a well thought out, cost conscientious, consistent marketing program. In 12 years as a business owner, I have never heard of a PT practice that did not generate a significant amount of new patients with this type of marketing system.
Decide on the right approach for you…Options 1, 2, 3, or 4. Regardless of the option you choose, make sure your marketing plan can be systematized. The more systematized the process, the less stressful it will be for the owner. Start simple, systematize, and…
Achieve your goals!
Jamey Schrier is a physical therapist, private practice owner and consultant. In 2001, he opened up Schrier Physical Therapy, and in 2007 expanded into a second location. In 2010, Jamey began shifting his focus on helping private practice owners with their business challenges. The following year, Jamey launched Elite Coaching, a consulting company designed to provide PT owners proven business solutions. Jamey has lectured to other PT’s on “Leadership and Entrepreneurism” and is currently a member on the PR and Marketing Committee of the Private Practice Section. During free days, Jamey enjoys spending time with his family – wife Colleen, son Jack and daughter Gracie, as well as playing basketball, golf, and tennis. He can be reached at email@example.com