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Even Your Hair Stylist Knows Why Most Cash PT Practices Fail
Written by Christine Walker, PT, DPT, PYT, PES
I'm going to say something that a lot of you probably don't want to hear, especially if you're just starting your own practice and are desperate for patients…
Most cash physical therapy practices fail because they DON'T create their business, especially their WEBSITE, for their ideal patient.
Instead, they try to be the "jack-of-all-trades", the PT who can "do everything", thinking that they'll attract everyone to their business. The truth is, if you market to everyone you specialize in NO ONE. 
As Seth Godin says, "Most brands and organization and individuals that FAIL fall into the chasm of trying to be all things in order to please everyone, and end up reaching NO ONE. 
People want to see specialists. PERIOD. This doesn't apply to just physical therapy. 
I'm a female, in my 30s, with long thick hair. If I need a haircut, I don't just want to see anyone who can use scissors (especially not my young daughter…although she is getting better at her cutting skills…) I want to see someone at a hair salon who is used to cutting hair just like mine. I'm definitely NOT going to the barber shop where my husband gets his hair cut for $10. Right? 
If you're a cash-based PT who is looking to carve out space in your city's physical therapy market, you have to think the same way. It's going to be REALLY hard, maybe impossible, to compete with the "we do everything" big corporations and hospital systems. You have to show why you are different - and one of the best ways to do that is by finding a NICHE…or finding your ideal patient. 
I had a great conversation the other day with a new PT practice owner who asked me who she should market to on her website. This was such a GREAT question, because while she had a tremendous range of skills, from pediatrics (0-3), middle-age ortho/chronic pain, and even specialized in working with older adults at risk to falls. 
The key here was she realized she could NOT market to all these people on the same website. Otherwise, she would attract ZERO patients…because they would all be unsure what she really could do for them. 
So we talked through which group would be the best to market to online. Here's what we decided:
Since her clinic location was inside of a children's developmental center where everything from birthday parties, to a play area, and even yoga for kids was being offered, she naturally knew she was going to get pediatric referrals. 
We talked about how most geriatric patients at risk for falls were not likely to be searching the internet about their problem. Many of them probably didn't realize they were at risk for falls. This group was more likely to make a decision based on the recommendation of their physician. She had excellent relationships with many physicians in her town and so she knew they would be referring her these patients. 
The group that was left was the middle-aged ortho/chronic pain patients. Since these women are known to be on the internet A LOT and frequently searching "Dr. Google", we came up with a strategy to market her website PRIMARILY to this population. 
This is going to set her up for success. Does this mean that she will only see middle-aged women with ortho complaints? Absolutely NOT! But that is where she is going to focus her marketing, including her website, because she really wants to keep this patient population in her practice. 
The best part is, those middle-aged women have kids (who may need physical therapy) and they have parents (who are likely at risk for falls). It's a win-win from a marketing perspective. 
Have you made the mistake of marketing to everyone on your website? If so, then you need to re-think your strategy to make the most of your online presence. I've put together 5 questions to help you identify your ideal patient for your website. To get the questions, just click below! 


Christine Walker is a physical therapist, cash PT practice owner, wife & mom of 2 in Charlotte, NC. She helps other PTs find financial and professional freedom by tackling the technology needed to build their business websites to bring in MORE new patient leads from the internet. She loves the Tar Heels, hot tea, and chasing her kids around the house as they dribble soccer balls.  Connect with her on Facebook by clicking HERE.

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