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"I need patients NOW!" - Why Internet Marketing May Not Be Your Best Solution
Written by Christine Walker, PT, DPT, PYT, PES
Do you need patients NOW (or…yesterday…???)
I'm not talking about an established practice that is having a slump in patients this week. I'm talking to you who literally have 1 patient, or maybe none…YET. 
Well, I'm going to share with you a secret that most web designers don't want you to know.
Online marketing is a "long game". Let me explain…
The idea of getting patients from online by systems and lead generation is attractive, and for good reason - it works! And once you get it up and running you'll have a great stream of leads that will generate profit for your practice. 
But it takes TIME and effort to get all these systems in place. The website, the email automations, your follow-up system, and then you have to perfect all of these systems. It takes time to "get it right" and start converting these leads to new patients. 
Many PTs don't realize that it takes about 60 days of running a GREAT ad before the opt-ins seriously start rolling in. The reason is people need to see you multiple times before they start to trust you. You're NOT going to turn on a Facebook Ad or a Google Ad and have leads tomorrow. It just doesn’t work that way.
Online marketing takes time is because you're targeting people who are less familiar with you, and usually haven't made the decision that they want help for the problem you can solve. 
Let's say you have a Facebook Ad for a free report talking about "how to ease back pain". The people who click on this ad are doing so because they want to ease back pain…and haven't done anything about it yet. They usually aren't considering going to PT, maybe not even their doctor. Their back pain hasn't gotten "bad enough" that they want to take time out of their day (or money out of their pocket) to fix the problem.
So even if they opt-in and request your free report they're not that likely to be in your clinic the next day. It may take a week, or months, or years before they finally decide to do something about their back pain. 
But if you've been nurturing them, following up with them, guess who they're going to pick when they FINALLY decide they want to fix their back pain? YOU. 
Here's the basic formula: internet marketing = cold leads = longer conversion time until they're patients. 
So, internet marketing is the long game…and it will take your clinic to the next level…but what about when you need patients RIGHT NOW?!?
Who are the type of people that are more likely to end up in your clinic this week? People who know you, people who have met you face to face, people who you have helped in the past (even if at another clinic/gym/or in a totally different aspect of life). 
So, here's the secret most "web" gurus don't want you to know. If you're JUST starting out and have NO patients, then face-to-face marketing is going to get you more patients FASTER. 
Does that mean you should "skip" the online stuff? NOT AT ALL. Your online presence reinforces someone's decision to choose you. How many restaurants, hair stylists, doctors have you gone to (even if a friend of family member recommended them) WITHOUT looking them up online? 
Remember from Blog Post #5 that "Recent studies have shown that 97% of consumers use the internet to shop LOCALLY. In other words, that means that only 3% of people AREN'T using the internet to check you out before giving you a call." 
So make sure your website is sound (and will capture leads like I teach in the PT Website Secrets Workshop!) because otherwise you will miss out on future patients…but if you want patients now then you need to get out in your community. The face-to-face interaction will increase your credibility a lot faster. 
Want a list of ideas on how to get out in the community and get patients NOW? Get this post's freebie by clicking below! 

PS - I still firmly believe in internet's still a MUST...the best thing to do is BOTH - market online AND get out in your community...that's the wining formula! 


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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