The other morning I accidently stumbled upon a meeting of entrepreneurs at Whole Foods. My friend and I were enjoying a cup of coffee, watching our kids run around the play area, while this meeting was going on behind us. (Don't ask me why they were meeting in the kids play area…I kinda felt bad for them with 4 kids under 5 running around…)
A woman was giving tips to other business owners on "how to create their own websites" and
here's what she advised…
"First, you need to go look at what your competitors are doing. Look at what's working for them."
I turned to my friend and said, "that's pretty much the WORST advice she can give", and my friend laughed, knowing how passionate I am about helping business owners, particularly physical therapists just starting their private practices.
This is one of the BIG reasons I aspire to change the conversation about website creation in the physical therapy industry. There is so much BAD advice out there, and most people just copy what their competitors are doing.
If that’s you, how is that working out for you? Are you attracting new patients regularly from the internet?
Chances are, like most businesses with websites, you're NOT regularly generating new leads from the internet. I know that the first YEAR after starting my private practice all of my patients were from word of mouth referral…no one ever called me and said "I was so impressed with your website that I HAD to talk to you" (yes…that happens now…)
So why is her advice so misguided?
#1 How do you know that your competitor's website is working? Your competitor may have what looks like an impressive and fancy website, but for all you know, their website is generating ZERO new leads from the internet and they're completely dependent on other sources of patient referrals. Never make the mistake of assuming successful business have successful websites.
This is especially true in physical therapy. The majority of practices out there are dependent on physician referrals. If you're an OON or cash-based practice then you definitely DON'T want to copy what an insurance-based business is doing IF they primarily get their referrals from the internet. They are playing an entirely different marketing game if they're primarily getting their patients from physician referrals.
#2 Do you want to be just like all the other clinics in your town??? My guess is NO (otherwise, why did you start your own private practice?!) You want your website to be of great value to the person who is your ideal patient….not whoever you competitor is targeting (likely they're likely making the BIG mistake of trying to market to EVERYONE, and therefore aren't specializing in ANYONE…but that's a topic for another day!)
The BIGGEST mistake you can make is look at what other large corporations are doing in your town. It's easy to assume that because they have a huge marketing budget that they have everything figured out and that they MUST know what they're doing…but this is WRONG.
Remember…most of these big organizations depend on their own physicians for referrals…they don't need to be attracting new patient leads from other sources when they have a constant stream of referrals from within their company. So don't copy their websites!!! (unless you don't want to attract patients off the internet either…)
So don't make the mistake of thinking your competitors in your town have it all figured out. If they do, you're in trouble anyway…
You've got to stay ahead of the game. There are physical therapist who know how to attract new patients from the internet regularly. I've seen it hundreds of times. Want to know where to start?