The Trust Pathway: Reimagining Marketing for Physical Therapy Clinics

What if there was a way to sell, without actually having to sell? A method that not only maintained but enhanced your professional standing? Well the great news is, there is! And in this post I’m going to talk you through it, and explain why and how it’s so effective. It will help to bring clarity to the overwhelm, so you can find your way through the marketing maze that often feels deep and inpenetrable and shrouded in dense fog!

In the series of blog posts that follow, my aim is to offer some clarity. Each blog post will serve as a clear, practical guide to help you implement a marketing approach that prioritises trust over transactions and helps you to see clearly the marketing activities that will help you move forward (as well as the ones that won’t!).

Each post will also link to a whole range of mostly free resources I’ve produced in my attempts to shine a light through this confusion, from video training to articles, cheatsheets and guides and there’s also a book in the pipeline too.

Stay tuned as we tackle the case of marketing overwhelm head-on, simplifying the complex, and setting a clear course for your clinic’s growth and success.

The Case of Marketing Overwhelm

Let’s first acknowledge that marketing can seem overwhelming. From SEO, to social media algorithms, paid advertising, customer email campaigns and blogging, not to mention the millions of ‘experts’ who apparently all have the secret to life-changing programmes you can join and solutions you can buy – it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. Lots of shiny new things always at your fingertips. And I get why this is tempting (jeez even I fall for it from time to time), because most people HATE doing their own marketing, and as a result are prepared to throw caution to the wind and sign up to these solutions, just for the chance of getting rid of this responsiblity! The end result is that most people feel like they’re being pulled in a thousand marketing directions without actually moving an inch towards their goal.

Balancing Act: Clinical Duties vs. Marketing Efforts

Throw in the day-to-day hustle of running a clinic, where you are already spinning plates of appointments, patient care, staff management for some and administration for all – adding marketing to the mix I know feels like trying to juggle with one hand tied behind your back.

And then there’s that fear that your voice (or that of your business) just ends up being a whisper in a storm, drowned out by your competitors with louder shouts and flashier tricks (hint: they’ll be paying a lot of money for that, if it’s any consolation?).

Then There’s The Technical Challenges…

I had a call with a prospective customer earlier this summer, and literally shuddered when she started the call with: “Tor, I’ve just spent literally all weekend and I’ve only managed to create 5 posts for Instagram – surely there has to be a better way???”. This is just unsustainable. No business owner, ever, has time for this.

And The Money Concerns

Another customer I spoke to last week last week asked me if he it was worth him paying £150 a month for Google Ads? When I asked him what the ads were designed to do, he said “send more traffic to my website”. But when I asked him if his website was optimised for lead generation and appointment bookings he realised it wasn’t. This is unfortunately the risk of unscrupulous Google Ads sellers who just don’t care about making sure the money you spend, actually has a positive impact on your business 😓. And I had to tell him that until he fixed that aspect, he was basically just pouring his hard-earned money down the drain (we have more on website optimisation in a future blog post).

Why Marketing (and Sales) Is a Long Game

One of the most important aspects I try and explain when I speak to people, is the importance of understanding the distinct roles of marketing and sales in your business’s success. Marketing is the art of building and nurturing relationships with your potential clients. It’s about creating a business that resonates with your audience, employing strategies such as content creation, social media engagement, and community involvement. Sales, in contrast, is the direct process of converting those potential leads into paying customers through personal interactions and by providing conversion opportunities.

The journey of good, healthy and effective marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. For physical therapists, this is especially pertinent. Our field isn’t just about offering a service; it’s about building trust and a sense of community with our clients. This level of rapport and reliability can’t be rushed. It’s built gradually through consistent, authentic marketing efforts.

However, the attraction of quick fixes in marketing is tempting. Many business owners, usually overwhelmed by the pressure to grow and succeed or the lack of knowledge on how to market effectively, find themselves gravitating towards these so-called ‘miracle solutions.’ These quick fixes are often seen as a shortcut to achieving business goals without the sustained effort that true marketing requires.

But here’s the catch: Consistency is key in marketing. Your efforts should be strategic and continuous, focusing on understanding your target demographic, maintaining a consistent brand message, and being adaptable to feedback and market trends. Quick fixes might seem appealing, but they can lead to unsustainable growth, potential damage to your professional reputation, or a waste of resources on strategies that don’t yield long-term benefits.

As a result my advice is always to invest in a long-term, strategic marketing plan and that plan must align with your business objectives and your core values. Remember, successful marketing is about cultivating relationships and trust over time, not overnight. By focusing on a sustainable and strategic approach to marketing, you’ll be setting your practice up for long-term success and genuine connections with your clients.

The Trust Framework: Uniting Marketing Under One Banner

Now, let’s pivot our perspective. Forget about sales for a moment. Think about the relationships you have with your patients. They come to you because they trust you. Your marketing should extend that same trust to the digital sphere. Everything—from your website content (and blog posts) to your social media presence—should be a testament to your reliability and expertise.

I hate the phrase people only buy from you if they “know, like and trust you” because it’s so over-used, but the reason it’s over-used is because it’s true!

Building a Trustworthy Brand

In the realm of healthcare, trust is without doubt your most valuable currency. It’s what turns a one-time visitor into a lifelong patient, a passerby into a word-of-mouth proponent. Trust is never fostered through flashy sales tactics but through genuine, consistent actions. Your patient-facing content is the handshake, the eye contact of the digital world. So, when you review your website, ask yourself, “Does this reflect my clinic’s integrity and expertise?” It’s not just about being found on Google; what people find when they get there also counts.

The Educational Element

Education is your beacon. By providing valuable information, you’re not just selling a service; you’re showcasing your expertise and your genuine investment in patient welfare – we seem to have lost this art in the ‘busy-ness’ of life and yet as therapists, it’s one of our greatest strengths. Whether it’s through informative blog posts, helpful how-to videos, or engaging email newsletters that help rather sell, you’re telling your audience, “I care about your health, not just your custom.”

From Content Into The Clinic

At the heart of your marketing lies a singular goal: to cultivate trust. Google, the world’s foremost traffic director, prioritises trustworthiness when deciding which sites to present to its users. Your blog posts are a direct line to this objective; by offering well-researched, authoritative content, you signal to Google and your readers that you’re a credible source worth their time and click.

Testimonials are your digital endorsements, real-life proof points that tell new visitors, “This clinic is as good as they say.” They’re not just reviews; they’re your earned badges of trust, and for that reason something that Google loves and prioritises.

Your social media should be a reflection of your expertise and reliability. It’s here that consistency is key – regular, knowledgeable posts demonstrate an active, engaged presence, a hallmark of a trustworthy practice. Through these channels, you’re not just broadcasting; you’re opening and maintaining a dialogue that strengthens patient relationships. You also give people opportunities to connect back to your website by linking to blog posts and helpful resources, another signal that Google looks for when deciding where to funnel traffic.

Email communication, then, is more than updates and information; it’s a regular touchpoint with your patients that says, “We understand your needs and are here for you.” Each email is an opportunity to reinforce your experience and understanding, steadily building trust with every send. Connect these back to leaflets and blog posts and you generate even more ‘Google-friendly signals’.

physical therapy marketing and growth

In essence, every piece of your marketing – from SEO to social media, from blog posts to emails – should be executed with the intent to build trust. This isn’t just a strategic move; it’s a genuine approach to show your patients and search engines alike that you’re a reliable, knowledgeable, and consistent figure in the healthcare field.

It’s the cohesive journey from discovering your blog post on managing back pain, to booking an appointment for a consultation, to leaving a glowing review because they felt heard and helped.

This is where the art of marketing in healthcare really lies: not in the act of selling, but in the consistent, earnest effort of building a relationship grounded in trust. Every piece of content, every interaction, is an opportunity to reinforce that trust.

In Conclusion: The Essence of Your Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy is a composite of various efforts, each serving its distinct purpose, yet all converging towards the same end: building a lasting relationship with your patients. It’s not about who shouts the loudest or who appears the most, but about creating a genuine connection that fosters trust. The goal is to consistently demonstrate that you understand and care for your patients’ well-being, which in turn forms a bond of trust that persists. Remember, it’s often the subtle, sincere exchanges and the reliable presence that make the deepest impact on your patients and stay with them in the long term.

Next Steps

  • If you’re interested in delving deeper into the practical ‘How Tos’ of building trust through marketing, I have two resources that can help. The first is a guide entitled, “Sales is Not About Selling: It’s About Building Trust” and the second is a guide on “How To Use Content to Build Trust“.
  • If you’re questioning your current strategy, wondering if your budget could be working harder, or simply need a sanity check on your marketing approach, I’m here to chat. No strings attached, just honest advice tailored to your clinic. And if you’re curious about the marketing solutions I offer, we can cover that too. You can book a chat with me here.

Blog Author

Tor Davies

Co-Kinetic Founder

I’m a physio-turned publisher with a passion for technology and a ‘verging on OCD-like’ obsession with efficiency and effectiveness! I spend way too much time coming up with new ways of using technology to help practitioners develop their businesses, a topic that I also speak on regularly at global conferences. I’m mad about dogs and love pubs too 🙂