Is a $100 budget enough to start your cash pay business? We think so…


Most (if not all) independent practitioners wonder about the potential for cash based business. At first, it seems like a giant shift, but actually, if you have patient traffic of any sort, your already “setup” to participate in this growing market segment. Here’s the simplest way to get started with a plan everyone can execute for less than $100:


Step 1 costs $0: Dump the “patient” perspective and shift to a customer-driven philosophy:
First you must adopt the right philosophy and expand your thinking beyond the limits imposed by your health care “system” business habits. For example, the word “patient” is terribly limiting for both you and your customer; that’s a marketing double-whammy. It sets you up to view a customer as someone who disappears after completing a “plan of care,” and sets your customer up to look forward to the day when they no longer call themselves your “patient.”


Thinking about your patients as customers allows you to continue providing the best “care” possible, but also opens new room for you to think about what else they would want to consume from you. Many health care professionals squirm when they hear patients referred to as “customers,” but remember, this is a business philosophy, a mindset. Just to give you an idea, almost 67% of “patients” we survey say they would like their physical therapist to provide other programs and services for them after finishing their therapy. If you think of them as patients, that’s hard to act on, but when you think of them also as customers, you naturally want to fill the need.


Step 2 costs $0: Outline basic cash pay services (and products) you can offer customers.
Think about your typical patient, and the many things they need and want related to what you do. I know this may seem obvious, but for some reason many physical therapists struggle with this. Some of the most common programs include things like a supervised program for transitioning from rehab to regular exercise, weight loss, gym memberships, specialized training like Pilates for Golf, or whatever. Write down all the possibilities, and REMEMBER, it doesn’t matter if you think it will work or not for YOU. What matters is what the CUSTOMER wants. The bigger the variety and selection, the better, but it’s best to start with one new thing at a time. Keep your list handy, and write down new ideas as they come from customers or staff. If you find yourself saying, “that won’t work” to most ideas so they don’t even get on a simple list of possibilities, you might want to download our Innovation Checklist or sign up for a 60 minute strategy session (still $0 cost). Give it a try or let us know if we can help facilitate the process.


Step 3 costs $75-$100: Design and print a cash pay program/services flyer.
If you’ve gotten this far, guess what? You are now in the cash pay business. But that doesn’t mean the cash will just start rolling in. Like any new program, you will need to offer and adjust. A basic flyer to hand out to your customers is a great way to start. Make sure the flyer does more than list services and prices; it must educate them on the potential health benefits of the service. Initially, don’t measure the success of your new program by the sales alone. Instead, measure your success by what you learn about the customer appeal of the program. You will most definitely need to make adjustments that will increase the appeal.  Be careful here, as negative input and resistance from staff will abound, and this is where your entrepreneurial instincts will need to kick in. This is also where we can help.  (If you have a concept, we would be glad to review it and give you some feedback. Simply upload it here.) With the right support, many of the most common reasons for failure are reduced or eliminated. Request your complimentary customized marketing plan now.


Cash pay anyone? 

Thanks for reading,

David Steinberg & Trent Wehrhahn

You can follow these 3 simple steps to make money and grow your practice with advertising,
or just keep flushing precious cash down the toilet while you
hope and pray for results.
Which do you prefer?


tn_Money-Down-The-ToiletFor those of you who attended our most recent Marketing Boot Camp or completed the 5 hour video training, you know that making money from your advertising investment can be broken down into a 3-step process. Each step is simple to understand, but takes expertise and experience to execute.


Step 1 – Find Something Good To Say: This is the strategic process of determining what will make you more appealing to prospective patients. What do you do that makes your quality of care and patient experience any better or different than your competitor’s? Finding Something Good To Say almost always requires that you have a desire to be better than the competition in ways that your patients value.


Step 2 – Say It Well: Once you have found Something Good To Say, you need to Say It Well. Saying it well demands that you make your unique advantages instantly evident in all your marketing communications. You can’t expect people to sort and sift through your information looking for reasons to choose you. Good marketing communications use tested methods and techniques proven to engage qualified prospects by making your unique advantages shine through. Get this wrong and it’s like flushing your money down the toilet; get it right and you are set up to maximize your return.


Step 3 – Say It Often:  Most money is wasted because the marketer skips steps 1 & 2 and jumps right in on  spending money to advertise. That’s the primary reason many physical therapists draw the conclusion that advertising doesn’t work; they spend money without a well-defined strategy. If you think ad reps from the Yellow Pages or any other local media outlets take care of this for you, they don’t. But if you take the time to find an agency that understands PT  marketing and can take the time to help you work through steps 1 and 2, you will develop a healthy appetite to “Say It Often.”


Many clients hear about this 3-step process and ask if they should stop marketing until they run through steps 1 and 2. The answer dependd on where you are now in terms of marketing. You may already Have Something Good To Say, but need help with How to Say It Well, or perhaps you already Say It Well, but need advice on how to choose the best media mix for your market to Say It Often. At PT Referral Machine we help you assess where you are at and implement a custom marketing plan that gets results.


Follow these 3 simple steps and you can join the club of those practitioners who enjoy the benefits of the ultimate business leverage tool – marketing. 

Thanks for reading,


David & Trent

Important Links:

Marketing Boot Camp Training Series

60 Minute Private Strategy Session

Physician Letter Series

30 Day Free Trial

Power Writing Workshop

The 4 Greatest Physical Therapy Headlines Of All Time


4 Greatest Headlines

(CAUTION: It doesn’t work to just steal these headlines. The headline is THE BEGINNING of the strategy. Creating expectations with headlines means you have to deliver. You also need supporting content, and offers for the related educational materials).

7 Critical Questions To Ask Before Choosing Your Physical Therapist

Physical Therapy or Chiropractic: How To Know Which Is Best For You

If You Think Physical Therapy Is Something You Do ONLY When Your Doctor Recommends It, Here’s What You May Be Missing…

Two Groups Of Back Pain Sufferers, Which Group Are You In?

**See 150 Headlines Proven To Stimulate Response For Physical Therapists In A 90 Minute PT Power Writing Workshop – register now

And Why Creating Powerful Headlines Is Critical To Your Marketing Success


What you say and how you say it in your marketing makes a difference. What you say should make it instantly evident why your practice is any better or different than your competitor’s. Headlines are the primary tool used to take instant control of your audience, and steer them in the direction you want them to go. Good headlines put you in command of the message, poor headlines (or no headlines) let the audience drift in their own direction.

For example, compare these two website homepage headlines:

  1. Welcome To ABC Physical Therapy.
  2. The Three Most Common Problems Patients Have With Restoring Function And Reducing Pain, And How ABC Physical Therapy Overcomes Them All

The first headline communicates the idea, “We’re a PT clinic, and we’re glad you found our website.” The second headline takes command of the conversation, and instantly promises to provide important treatment and provider selection information. If you were a patient in pain and hobbling around looking to choose a clinic, which website headline would be more engaging for you?

Headlines Should Get At Least 50% Of Your Writing Effort

Headline number 1 is safe, easy to write, and takes no real strategic thought. It feels warm and inviting to say, but that’s not what the audience hears; they hear, “I’m a PT, and I hope you choose me because you found my website, welcome!”

Headline 2 takes strategic effort. It holds the practitioner to a higher standard for both care delivery, and content delivery. Headline number 2 demands content that will expose and solve problems that are important and relevant to the patient. It sets the provider on a course for strategic success with patients, referral sources, and search engines.

The problem/solution “slant” of headline 2 also makes it easier to determine what other kinds of marketing communication tools will be effective in attracting new patients. And so you see how the simple (but not easy) job of creating headlines can be the single most important priority for your marketing. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be cute or funny, and don’t confuse headlines with taglines. You’re a healthcare provider, and the promise of your headlines need to be one of educational problem/solution information. Avoid saying things like “best care” and “most experience”; these are self-serving platitudes that lack the power to produce the strategic success you deserve from your marketing.

If you want to avoid the effort of marketing and innovating your business, headlines like the Top 4 are a bad choice. But if you see the potential power of these strategic “slants” to out-market your competition, and build strategic success, this approach will get you on your way.

Looking for a turnkey solution for your marketing? Get everything you need, including a marketing team to handle it all, from The PT Referral Machine (PTRM) for as little as $995 a month.

Not ready to outsource your marketing? PTRM also provides individual marketing system components, like a website, or physician letter campaigns. We also have physical therapy marketing training programs. To learn more, visit

2 Kinds Of Brand-Building For PTs: One Kind Burns Cash While The Other Delivers A Steady Stream Of New Patients.

Which do you prefer?

The topic of brand-building comes up in almost every conversation we have with prospects and clients. How to do it, how much to spend, and what kind of results to expect. Today’s feature shares our  perspective on branding for physical therapists and other health care businesses. Thanks for reading, and let us know what you think.


Brand-Building That Burns Cash

Nothing gets me more frustrated than to sit and listen to an “expert” brand-builder spout off about how to build a healthcare brand with a unique logo, tagline, eye-catching graphic design, and even a cute little jingle. “Give me your tired brochures, your website, your ads, and we’ll be more creative; We’ll build you an effective BRAND. Your practice will grow and thrive, like MAGIC. See, look here at our portfolio of beautiful logos and website home pages. Look at all the raving reviews from our 1 million clients. That can be YOU. Just open your arms for a comforting embrace, empty your wallet, and 6-12 months later SHAZAM, you’ll be rich!”

I know that’s a bit over the top, but I’ve heard many very polished marketing and advertising consultants recommend strategic “branding campaigns” just like that. These “Mad Men” rely on creativity and repetition. For PTs this type of strategic philosophy is a really bad idea, and that’s why most physical therapy providers draw the conclusion that marketing is not for them.

Since most of what we all see and recognize as marketing and advertising is the product of creative brand-builder campaigns like the Aflac Duck, Budweiser Frogs, the Geico Gekko, and the E-Trade Baby, we all draw the conclusion that this must be the best way to build an effective brand. But there is a more effective and MUCH cheaper way to go.. PT Brand Building That Produces
A Steady Stream Of Patients

Effective and affordable health care marketing is very different from creative brand-building. Health care marketing should build your brand by educating people about diagnosis, treatment, and how to choose the best provider. While your prospects are being educated, they also get to know your brand.

For example, if you are a physical therapist with special experience and expertise for helping people with a certain condition, do you think your brand is made stronger by offering educational content that includes appealing offers for helpful tools and support, OR placing ads with your picture, logo, and a menu board of services? The menu board approach is certainly easier (and that’s why ad reps and agencies recommend them), but it’s not the best way to build the brand. It takes more work to prepare educational content.

Good healthcare marketing looks very different from what we all recognize as ad agency brand-building. There is only one strategy for good healthcare marketing that is affordable and efficient, and we like to call it the “Cliffs Notes” strategy.

In the Cliffs Notes strategy, you take your specialized knowledge and create content that summarizes how you do what you do to provide an expected result, like restoring function and reducing pain, AND offer ways to learn more without actually booking an appointment.

If you’re good at what you do, the Cliffs Notes strategy will build your brand systematically, within your budget. Instead of throwing cash at a “creative” branding problem, you’ll do better to develop engaging educational content which includes a variety of ways to learn more or take the next step in your sales process.

Want to see a complete “Cliffs Notes” strategic marketing system ready to use in your clinic? Sign up for a 60 minute live demo here.


Is $895 per month a good investment for guaranteed* double-digit growth in your PT practice?


Answer: Yes, read on. No, Click away.


 iStock_000005289966XSmallHow We Help Physical Therapy Businesses Grow…


The PT Referral Machine (PTRM) is absolutely, the most complete and affordable marketing resource available for PT businesses, big and small. If you are good at what you do, PTRM sets you on a path for double-digit growth in as little as 60 days – guaranteed.*

You need effective marketing, plain and simple. What you don’t need is more “how to” advice from consultants who charge thousands for seminars, workshops, and other traditional agency services. Consultants and seminars can look appealing because you want to learn how to be a better marketer and try and handle the job yourself. But for most PT practices handling the marketing in-house is usually a really bad idea. It’s just too expensive to hire a trained marketing professional, and then they need to outsource most of what you need anyway. Is finding an Industry Solution a better idea? We think so…

So stop banging your head against the wall. There is no need to waste your time struggling with marketing anymore…

Get Your Complete Physical Therapy Marketing Department – A Senior Executive With Support Staff And A Proven Track Record For Results For As Little As $895 A Month.

Services Include: See all this and more on a 60 minute Strategy Session.
•    Strategic Planning
•    Custom Website
•    Search Engine Optimization
•    New Patient Email and appointment confirmations
•    Blog
•    Internet and social media
•    Patient information materials
•    Physician materials
•    Event promotion and materials (seminars, workshops, in-services, open houses, grand openings)
•    Receptionist training and scripting
•    Direct mail programs
•    Results tracking
•    Agency services
–    Graphic design
–    Copy writing
–    Media analysis, purchasing, and discounted printing services

*Before ordering your service, sales targets will be set. When we proceed with implementation and you do not meet the agreed sales projections, we will credit or refund 60 days of service.

What Is PT Referral Machine?

PT Referral Machine is a complete resource for planning and executing Fortune 500-Style health care marketing systems on a small business budget.
See our programs and pricing here.

Looking for a complete turnkey marketing solution for your website or other special ailment treatment program? Call David directly at 774-255-1125 to learn more and discuss your unique requirements.

Have general questions about our PT marketing industry solution?
Visit our FAQ page.


David C. Steinberg & Trent Wehrhahn
The PT Referral Machine.



Website strategy first – then design

Simple Principles Help Make Your Physical Therapy and Health Care Website  The Hub Of  A Patient-Generating Marketing System, Not Just An Online Business Card

Website and internet management decisions grow more and more important for physical therapy and health care practitioners every day. Gone are the days when a provider could get by with a cheap $39 a month website, a picture or two, contact information, and an About Us page. Instead, websites have become the hub for strategic “want or need to know” information about your marketplace that drives consumer choice and influences referral patterns.

Yet while the push to the internet accelerates, we still see large numbers of providers struggle, postpone, and bungle even the most basic website decisions. Why? Perhaps the simple answer is confusion over what to expect from the website and how to sort out all the choices. Once you know what to expect, you can place a value on the site based on the potential impact on your business. With a sense of value in mind the job of sorting out your options should be straightforward.

What To Expect From Your Website –
From The Marketplace To The Backend

In The Marketplace

Think of your website in the marketplace in two categories: Services and Referral Generation.

Your website should provide services that improve the customer experience and ease of doing business. Don’t narrow your thinking about functionality to just “branding” or displaying basic service and contact information. Obviously, the low cost, high speed, large informational-transactional capacity, and extensive reach of the internet make it ideal for virtually all a practitioner’s business functions with the exception of delivering physical goods and services.

As the use of most computing and internet technologies continue to converge on mobile devices, the delivery of all “soft” products and services will converge as well. Patient intake forms, scheduling, appointment reminders, and online payments through mobile devices are all simple examples.  Start with the simple basics like online appointment forms, and get your business services online now, don’t wait.

Referral Generation
Referral generation flows from great content. Great content is a traffic generator: Search engines are smart enough to find and rank it, and visitors are engaged enough to stick on your site rather than bounce around exploring other search results.

Great content facilitates the visitor’s decision making process by providing information about diagnosis and treatment options, and then helping them understand how to choose the best provider. Each visitor wants the best care available, not the second best, and usually has no idea how to find it or even what to ask. Good strategic content avoids self-serving platitudes like “most experience” and “caring about you.” Instead, it provides checklists, reports, and other offers for more information that educates the visitor to a point where they draw the conclusion you are the best choice. And, if they can “click here” to chat now, register for an event, refer a friend, request a complimentary consultation, or request an appointment – just the basics, but that’s a GOOD start for an engaging site.

The Back End

Planning & Design
Ninety-nine out of one-hundred people reading this article should not expect (or even attempt) to build, maintain, host, or manage their internet presence themselves. Despite the TV commercials promoting “click-click” and you are done, this is a really bad idea. Most likely, the site will not meet your needs, and you will pull your hair out trying to keep up with the call to maintain it, or worse yet, not be able to publish it without many important pages missing, “under construction,” or just looking awful. Yes, great website building tools exist, but you still need extensive training, expertise, and LOTS of time to work with them.

That being said, even though you shouldn’t be producing your site, you do need to understand enough about the platform choices so you know what to expect for support, development, and maintenance. Avoid proprietary technologies where the website can’t be purchased and moved should you need to do so. To protect your investment, choose a widely supported open source platform with a large community of independent developers who can step in at any time.

Strategic Content
Understand that there is a big difference between the website design and the CONTENT. The most common mistake you can make is to go for a website designer who also masquerades as a content provider. Anyone can post a welcome message, pictures, and other basic information, but the battle is won with good strategic content (yes, this is a competitive battle). A pretty design will not overcome the internet demand and the visitor’s appetite for relevant content.

Don’t be intimidated: Many small practice managers look at what their larger competitors are doing on the web and draw the conclusion they can’t afford to compete. If that’s you, here’s the good news – most of the online applications you will need are readily available and affordable. If you can’t afford or don’t want to lay out the cash to purchase a system, consider licensing with an option to buy. Make sure you partner with a strategic web content provider who not only has a track record for generating and qualifying patient leads in your field, but also integrates the concepts into your offline materials as well.

David and Trent can be reached through their website, on their blog, or at either of their offices in the US or Canada. US – 90 Altons Lane, East Falmouth, MA 02536, 774-255-1125. Canada – 26 Sienna Bay SW, Calgary, AB T3H 2C8, 403-510-7051. Email

It was sometime in 2004 when I met an entrepreneur/physical therapist named Jeff Hathaway in Liverpool, NY. Jeff was my first PT client, and he told me he wanted to market something called neuropathy care for a clinic in Cortland, NY, a town of about 20,000 people. I didn’t know what neuropathy was, so Jeff explained, and I immediately grew very skeptical.

No way will this work, I thought. Why? As a marketer, one of the first things I do is think about the potential audience size. So who in Cortland would care about diagnosis and treatment of neuropathy? We are talking about mostly seniors, with diabetes and neuropathy symptoms, (a slice-of-a-slice-of-a-slice target market). In a small town of 20,000 with 13% seniors 65 years or older, and 19% of those with diabetes, and maybe 25% of those symptomatic, we were talking about a potential audience of 125 people.

“Jeff, are you crazy?

We didn’t have those numbers at the time, but we had a pretty good idea that the target audience was pretty small. We produced a radio ad and a basic 24 spot test schedule that cost $850, and to our surprise we had 11 people call.

Think about that.

If you are one of those PTs who say they don’t like neuropathy patients, so who cares, you miss the point entirely. The point is what we learned – 11 patient calls out of a total market potential of an estimated 125, from one burst of radio on a single station! Is that luck or real strategic marketing success?

Here’s the case for strategic success, not luck.

  • People with neuropathy suffer greatly. They describe the symptoms as almost torturous. This creates a high level of motivation to chase down and learn more about any solution option presented.
  • Treatment options are limited and physicians usually prescribe expensive drug therapy that isn’t effective and has negative side effects.
  • No one is offering (marketing) a specific solution option for neuropathy care that uses a low risk offer for more educational information about treatment options for relieving the symptoms.

The underlined phrases in the points above are the essential ingredients for strategic marketing of any PT treatment program that can dominate. If you can identify similar opportunities and execute the marketing efficiently, you can literally dominate your competition and create a patient-generating machine. Some examples of “ailment” strategies include post-surgical rehab, sports injuries, balance and dizziness, fall risk assessment and prevention planning, chronic pain, back pain, and pretty much any ailment you can think of. You just need to understand how to create and execute the strategy.
Sign up for a free 60 minute PT Marketing Strategy Session.

If this is possible in such a small community like Cortland, imagine the potential in most markets. Any “ailment” or physical problem can be powerfully marketed with the right strategic system.  It does require experience and expertise to pull this off on your own, and your chances for success will be greatly increased if you engage a marketing services provider who understands PT marketing and how to implement a complete strategic system, quickly and affordably.
Read the 3 Critical Requirements To Actually Execute Good Marketing

PT Referral Machine is a complete resource for planning and executing Fortune 500-Style marketing systems on a small business budget.
See our programs and pricing here.

Looking for a complete turnkey marketing solution for neuropathy care or other special ailment treatment program? Call David directly at 774-255-1125 to learn more about a special opportunity for an exclusive in your market.

Have general questions about our PT marketing industry solution?
Visit our FAQ page.

This article on Google’s new Panda and Penguin algorithms explains why content and engaging people is more important than tricks for SEO.

The PT Referral Machine $189 90-Minute Power Writing Workshop
 (90 minutes is all it takes to show you the same tested method we have refined over 8 years of trial and error spurring better and better physican response – really).
Anyone who is familiar with our practice growth strategies will tell you that we recommend consistant, quality communications with consumers, patients, and other professionals. And when implementing our program, after launching the website and patient educational packets, one of the first outbound campaigns is our Physician Executive Letter series. That’s why we created this workshop – it’s usually the first line of attack for everyone.
Our new Power Writing Workshop is for those who want to actually learn a specific method for creating executive communications that generate response and produce measurable return on investment.
In addition to teaching tested methods and providing writing filter tools, the 90 minute online workshop exposes common misconceptions about what physicians will or will not read, and teaches you how to use tested communication strategies to influence referral patterns. The basic principles you will learn apply to all your other marketing as well. To learn more about the workshop and/or register, visit
Last week’s article talked about some fundamental principles to help provide some perspective on the business benefits of physician letters, and some of you suggested that we provide more “How To” information on this topic.

More “How To” posts on physician letters from our blog library:

  1. Why Letters From PTs Are Now Read By More Physicians
  2. Physicians’ Waiting Rooms – A Great Place To Begin Capturing The Attention Of Your Prospective Patients
  3. The New Frontier In Practice Management For Physical Therapists et al
  4. The 4 Crummiest Physician Letters We’ve Ever Seen (We Hope They Don’t Look Familiar)
  5. 3 Simple Steps To Generating Physician Letters That Actually Produce Response
  6. Getting Traction With Key Physician Referral Sources
  7. How To Make Physician Letters Actually Generate PT Referrals
  8. Good Materials That Help Physicians


For those clients who are looking for new ways to use their patient education guides, we have created a new letter series with targeted promotional offers. The letters are sent out as cover note with the Guides, and the promotional offer cards are included. You personalize and print the letters on demand,  insert the Guides with promo cards. PTRM subscribers have access to these new concepts now. For more information, send an email to