By:  Jennifer Heiligman, PT, MPT

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, and unfortunately appears to be surging again, maintaining social distance continues to be extremely important to help mitigate the spread of the virus and remain safe.  However, this does not mean your clinic has to halt any of its marketing.  In fact, marketing is even more important to remind physicians, patients and the community that you are open (using safety guidelines, of course) and ready to help them get back to normal functioning.  Here are some ideas to allow you to continue to market, but in a socially distant manner.

Virtual Lunch and Learn

Schedule a virtual meeting with physicians who currently refer to you, as well as, potential new referral sources.  Have lunch delivered for the physician and their office staff and while they are eating, present a short inservice.  Be sure to choose a topic that is of interest to the physician, as well as one that highlights the services your clinic can offer.  Since you will be using a video conference, you can take them on a tour of your clinic.  Be sure to emphasize the actions you have taken to keep the patients safe and distanced.  Don’t forget to mention telehealth as an option for their patients, if your clinic has instituted this therapy delivery method.

Create an Email Campaign

This is a great way to keep your practice name fresh in everyone’s mind.  You can send emails to your past and present patients and your referral sources. If you use OptimisPT as your EMR you can send mass emails directly out of the system to your patients.  The content of the email should be informative and interesting.  For example, you could give tips to staying active and even include a series of exercises to promote a strong core and good posture.  Don’t forget to mention the procedures you have put in place to keep patients and staff safe when attending therapy in your clinic, including pictures.  This is also a great time to advertise your telehealth option for those who feel more comfortable receiving treatment virtually while in their own home.

Hold Virtual Webinars for the Community

Since in person presentations and health fairs are not currently an option, try offering virtual presentations.  One option is to ask a local physician to be a guest speaker, but don’t forget about the amazingly knowledgeable therapists that you have in your clinic.  Tap into their knowledge and expertise.  Don’t stop at just one, you can turn the event into a series.  You can advertise these on your social media accounts.  Also, reach out to community centers, physician practices and places of worship to see if they would post the webinar information on their sites as well.  This is a great way to help educate the community and promote your clinic at the same time.

Increase Your Social Media Presence

With in person contact limited, more and more people have migrated to social media to keep in touch with the outside world.  Now is a great time to increase your number of postings on social media.  One idea is to start adding “the stretch of the day” or “the strengthening exercise of the day.”  Include a short video of you or your staff giving instructions as they illustrate how to complete the activity.  You can also include other health and wellness information.  The key is to increase your practice’s social media content and presence.

Increase Your Number of Positive Online Reviews

Customers rely more and more on Yelp! reviews and other online review sites to make decisions regarding all kinds of services from restaurants to contractors.  It is no different for outpatient rehab therapy practices.  Take some time to build your positive online reviews.  One way to do this is to ask your satisfied patients to write a review for you.  If you use the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is included in the features of OptimisPT, you can see which patients are your promoters so you can approach them first.  Along the same lines, collecting patient testimonials that can be posted on your website and social media is another way to increase your positive online reviews.

In these times, whatever methods of socially distant marketing you use, it’s important to keep the material positive and uplifting.  Many people have suffered loss in one form or another recently.  Remaining empathetic is important.  For therapists empathy comes easy, it’s in our nature.  Now is not the time to make your marketing too salesy.   Instead, focus your efforts related to the question “what can we do to help?”  Socially distance marketing, at this time, will let everyone know your practice is open and ready to meet their rehab needs.