More than a year after the onset of the COVID pandemic, many consumers still feel a need to limit visits to public establishments. This is especially true for medical facilities, as safety protocols and public perception have led many to avoid gathering in spaces dedicated to the treatment of illness. Physical therapists need to work hard to overcome consumer fears and mental barriers to obtaining in-person care.
Marketing is an investment that cannot be neglected, though the costs may be significant. An unlikely advantage of the current times is that less foot traffic has meant paying less in overhead expenses, and this presents an opportunity for businesses to renew their focus on lead generation. In order to keep your business healthy, you should prioritize three things:
- Retaining your existing clients
- Acquiring new clients
- Developing convenient virtual physical therapy services
Remain Dedicated to Meeting Your Current Clients’ Needs
Everything you do to engage the public constitutes a marketing opportunity which can enhance or tarnish your brand. Many of the qualities that initially attracted your clients will continue to reassure them that your business goes above and beyond to serve them. You can boost your clinic’s image and express continued loyalty to your clients in three key ways.
1. Continue to Demonstrate Professionalism
From friendly and helpful reception to thorough examinations and tailored treatment plans with consistent followup, a conscientious approach to care is what clients expect from you. Continue to communicate regularly with them, offering convenient, solutions-based information. Expand your communications to remind your loyal patients that everyone on your staff is doing their best to practice strict protocols for their health and safety.
Include photos or short videos on your website and social media profiles that show your staff masked up, washing hands, taking temperatures, and encouraging social distancing. This will reinforce the idea that all professionals on your team are united in adhering to a high standard of treatment.
2. Make Treatment More Accessible with Deals and Promotions
Once your clients are confident that they can count on your clinic to deliver top-notch service, provide additional incentives for visiting with deals and promotions. Offer a percentage off the next visit for patients who have not made appointments in the last year. Provide a free virtual wellness seminar with a refresher in helpful exercises for patients you haven’t seen in a while. Customers will appreciate your continued assistance and sensitivity in these difficult times.
3. Provide Convenient and Fast Communication
With so many practitioners and support staff no longer working in offices, communication has become a source of great frustration for many consumers. The average time it takes to reach someone on the phone to set or change appointments, deliver evaluation results, or answer questions has increased dramatically. Longer wait times and lack of automatic callback systems will cause some consumers to further delay treatment.
If you establish convenient modes of communication and acclimate your staff to using them, you will be well-equipped to assist consumers who are seeking your help now, despite significant challenges. You will also be better prepared to receive the potential influx of new and returning patients who are expected to flood clinics once the world resumes normal activities.
Loyal Clients Will Spread the Word
Nothing is more effective for attracting new clientele than rave reviews from patients whose lives you are currently impacting for the better. You can further incentivize client referrals by encouraging them to invite them a family member or friend to see you for a consultation.
- Remind them that their loved ones will benefit from the same standard of care that has improved their health and quality of life.
- Combine your referral marketing efforts with a discount on products or services for patients whenever a referral makes an appointment following their suggestion.
- Be sure to have a WebPT Telehealth platform in place for when potential clients begin calling, so you can promptly make appointments.
With a rapid response initiative that allows customers to quickly progress from inquiry to appointment-setting and treatment, you will firmly establish yourself as a virtual physical therapy provider. Such a system can streamline your business for years to come.
Market Your Clinic as a Leader in Virtual Physical Therapy
Even in the pre-pandemic era, telehealth proved to be a convenient and effective tool for serving busy clients and those whose mobility issues made office visits difficult. In the wake of COVID, telehealth platforms have become more robust.
There are telehealth apps designed for exclusive use by healthcare professionals. Some provide users with a national network of doctors who can give further input for treatment. Others incorporate tracking of biometric data using FDA-approved equipment.
You might also opt to use your own digital assets. If you already have an app that allows clients to view medical records and prescriptions, you can integrate appointment setting, live chat, or video capabilities into it.
With SimpleVisit, you can hold HIPAA-compliant telehealth sessions using readily available apps like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. These programs are already familiar to many in the general public who have used them for home-based work, school, and appointments with other healthcare providers. For this reason, acclimating your staff to these apps will likely be easier, and they can quickly become confident in their ability to manage the process of communication.
Whatever option you choose, the long-term advantages of online physical therapy are clear:
- Loyal patients can continue receiving treatment from your clinic, even if they move away from your city or state, or temporarily leave the country.
- You can offer information through group sessions and seminars to keep patient costs low, and make individual sessions available at premium prices.
- Medicare Part B now covers telehealth appointments, according to guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This includes retroactive coverage for services rendered after March 1, 2020 through the duration of the pandemic.
Cater to those directly Impacted by COVID
People who experience the worst effects of COVID endure hospitalization, reduced mobility, invasive respiratory treatments, and physical effects that could impact their quality of life for years. Your online physical therapy treatments have the power to assist them as they transition back to everyday life, in the privacy and safety of their homes.
Be sure to use phone calls, social media posts, your blog, and all avenues of public contact as opportunities to remind consumers that you are dedicated to helping sufferers of COVID reclaim their lives.
Make the Mental Health Connection
Whether they were infected with COVID or not, many people are suffering from mental health disturbances like PTSD, depression, and anxiety in its wake. Physical activity has the inherent ability to reduce stress, and resolving particular physical ailments can give people one less thing to worry about.
Empower consumers with a focus on mental health. Remind them that taking care of their bodies can enhance their peace of mind and help to ease the stress that often accompanies physical challenges, especially in the current period.
Flexible Care for Changing Times
The fact that COVID brought the world to a standstill does not mean that your business has to follow suit. If you remain creative, keep abreast of new technologies in your niche and stay focused on client well-being, consumers will notice and your business will thrive.