Content marketing has been gaining popularity over the past several years in our ever-evolving digital world. If you’re a start up physical therapy practice, or a practice that’s been in business for years, content marketing is essential to keep leads flowing in. In this blog post, we dive into content marketing, why every PT should be doing it, and how to get started.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing encompasses a wide range of media formats, including audio, video, photos, and written content. Its primary goal is to provide information and education to your target audience across various platforms. These platforms can include social media (such as Facebook and Instagram), email marketing, blogs, YouTube, and podcasting. The key to content marketing is that it's not about haphazardly posting content but rather about implementing a strategic plan to serve a purpose.
The Importance of Content Marketing for Healthcare Professionals
Why should every physical therapy practice consider content marketing as an essential part of their business plan?
1. Spreading Awareness
One of the primary challenges many cash based physical therapy practices face is getting the word out about their services. You can't expect clients to find you if they don't even know you exist. Content marketing is your tool to let the world know you're here to help. It's about telling your story, showcasing your expertise, and making yourself visible to potential clients.
2. Building Credibility and Trust
In the digital age, credibility and trust are essential. When you consistently provide valuable content that educates and informs your audience, you're not just promoting your services; you're also building trust. People are more likely to choose a physical therapist they feel they know and trust. Creating content that lets people feel like they already know you before they book a consultation call, greatly increases your chances of gaining that person as a client.
3. Cost-Effective Marketing
Content marketing doesn't have to break the bank. Most social media platforms are free, and setting up a website or blog doesn't require a massive investment. As any small business does, a physical therapy practice should have a business website. With that being said, most website builders provide a blog and email marketing function within their platform, making it easy for you to get started with email & blog content.
Think about this: creating a consistent marketing strategy using social media, which is free, is going to benefit your bottom line in the long run as compared to hiring an entire marketing team. While it does take time and effort, content marketing is a cost-effective way to reach and engage with your target audience.
4. Long-Term Results
One of the most significant advantages of content marketing is its longevity. Unlike traditional advertising, where your message disappears once you stop paying, your content remains available online for years. For example, YouTube videos, instagram posts/reels, and Facebook posts will all remain on your channel or profile for anyone to see unless you purposefully remove them.
If a new lead is just filtering in and is interested in checking out more of your content, it’s going to be there.
5. Personalized Connection
Another benefit of content marketing is it allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level. By addressing their questions, concerns, and interests, you're not just marketing; you're providing value. This personalized approach can significantly impact your patients' decision-making process.
Addressing Common Marketing Challenges
Many healthcare professionals face marketing challenges such as struggling to find clients or not converting leads into patients. Here are some common problems and how content marketing can help:
1. Mindset Shift
It's essential to understand that content marketing is a long-term investment. If you're looking for a quick fix, content marketing may not be the solution. Instead, focus on building a foundation of credibility and trust with your audience - you can do this through consistent content. If you're looking for more insight, check out my blog post here where I put into perspective the importance of having a business owner mindset.
2. Providing Value
One common marketing challenge is demonstrating the value of your services. Content marketing helps by showcasing your expertise and addressing the problems your audience faces. It positions you as an authority in your field.
3. Connecting with Your Audience
If leads aren't converting into patients, it may be because your potential clients don't know you, like you, or trust you. Content marketing bridges this gap by allowing you to build a relationship with your audience before they even meet you.
4. Identifying Problems
Content marketing encourages you to focus on your clients' problems rather than just promoting your services. By addressing their specific pain points, you make it easier for potential clients to identify with you and your expertise.
The Content Marketing Pillar
In the realm of marketing and advertising, content marketing is just one piece of the puzzle. It can be viewed as one of the primary pillars alongside paid advertising and networking/building relationships. Different practices may emphasize different pillars, but all can benefit from a robust content marketing strategy.
Content marketing involves creating valuable and informative content to attract, engage, and retain your target audience. It's all about providing educational content that addresses your clients' needs and positions you as an expert in your field.
Paid advertising includes running ads on various platforms to reach a broader audience quickly. While it can be effective, it requires a budget and expertise to manage effectively.
Networking and Relationship Building
Networking involves connecting with other healthcare professionals, physicians, or referral sources. Building relationships and establishing a strong referral network can be a powerful way to grow your practice, but it takes time and effort.
A Hybrid Approach
Some practices successfully use a combination of these pillars to achieve their marketing goals. For example, a practice might focus on content marketing to build trust and credibility, use paid advertising to reach a broader audience, and engage in networking to establish referral relationships.
Creating Valuable Content
Now that we've explored the why and the what of content marketing, let's delve into the how. Creating valuable content is at the core of an effective content marketing strategy. Here are some key principles to consider:
Identify Your Audience
Start by defining your ideal patient or client. Understand their demographics, pain points, and interests. The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your content to their needs.
Address Their Problems
Focus on the specific problems your audience faces. Your content should provide solutions, answers, or guidance related to these issues. By doing so, you become a valuable resource.
Consistency is key in content marketing. Create a content calendar and stick to it. Whether you're posting weekly blogs, monthly videos, or daily social media updates, a consistent schedule keeps your audience engaged.
Use Multiple Platforms
Don't limit yourself to a single platform. Utilize a variety of media formats and platforms, such as social media, email marketing, blogs, YouTube, and podcasts, to reach a broader audience.
Engage Your Audience
Encourage interaction with your content. Ask questions, invite comments, and respond to feedback. Building a community around your content fosters a sense of belonging and engagement.
Repurposing Your Content
One of the most effective strategies for content marketing is repurposing your content. This means taking a single piece of content and adapting it for use on different platforms or in various formats. For example, you can turn a video into a podcast, transcribe it into a blog post, and create social media posts from the key points.
Repurposing your content not only saves time but also ensures that your message reaches a broader audience. It's an efficient way to maximize the impact of your efforts.
Content Marketing Simplified
Let’s say you start with a 10 minute video explaining the importance of a dynamic warm up prior to an exercise routine. Maybe you even provide exercise demonstrations. This 10 minute video is going to provide you with the ability to create a month’s worth of content without putting in a ton of work.
As mentioned before, this single video can then be turned into audio, blog, and several social media posts. Using this one video to turn into various forms of content takes the guesswork out of coming up with several topics all throughout the month to stay consistent with content.
The beauty of content marketing is that it doesn't have to be complicated. Even basic topics can generate a wealth of content over time, allowing you to engage with your audience consistently.
The Middle Step: Sales
One critical point to highlight is that marketing assists with lead generation, but it's sales that ultimately get you clients. Effective marketing can drive potential clients to your doorstep, but the conversion process relies on your sales and communication skills.
Unfortunately, if your sales skills are a little rusty, your lead conversion rate is going to suffer. It’s important to brush up on sales skills by taking a course, watching YouTube videos, or consulting an experienced professional so that you are ready for when your consistent marketing brings leads directly to your doorstep.
In conclusion, the key takeaway is to start your content marketing journey immediately. Remember that it's a long-term commitment, and consistency is essential. Don't be overwhelmed by the idea that you need to be everywhere at once. Start small, build your foundational marketing plan, and gradually expand from there.
Content marketing doesn't have to be daunting; it's a manageable and rewarding strategy for any business. Whether you're a physical therapist or in a different industry, the principles remain the same. Start producing valuable content, meet your audience where they are, and watch your business grow over time.
If you're feeling overwhelmed and would rather delegate this task of content marketing to someone else, get in touch! I provide comprehensive digital marketing services for physical therapy practices and would love to chat about your practice and goals.
Listen to this episode on my podcast!