What Every Pediatric Private Practice Needs to Know About Marketing

Marketing works generally the same for most industries. However, there are details which make a world of difference. What works well for one type of practice simply won’t work for another. If you don’t know the nuances, you can waste a lot of time and money.

We have done a lot of marketing for pediatric private practices—physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. As a result, we know from first-hand experience what works and what doesn’t.

Therefore, we want to take a moment and talk about the basics of marketing that every pediatric practice owner should know.

If you want to save yourself years of trouble and get a super-fast, highly condensed overview of what you need to know, read on.

There IS a Right Way to Marketing a Pediatric Private Practice

One of the things to understand about pediatric private practice marketing is that there IS a systematic series of steps that every practice should be doing.

Whether or not you can get into all these things right away, just know that they are something to build toward.

We’ll start with the basics and then build into the complete marketing machine you need to be doing.

What Is Marketing Really?

First, what is marketing? And why is it necessary?

If you think about marketing not as persuasive or pushy or salesy, but more as a way to fulfill your mission by reaching as many people as possible, educating those people, and then pointing out how they can get help, then you’ll be on the right track with marketing. 

Good marketing should be easy, rewarding, and natural. It should be focused on the needs of families, patients, and parents, not the practice’s needs. And at its core, good marketing is the kind of thing that people want to do because it’s actually helping them.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing just means any sort of marketing that’s done on the internet:

  • Email
  • Facebook Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Your website
  • Search engine optimization
  • Blogs
  • Videos

That’s all digital marketing, and that’s a core thing that practices need to do (along with really every other business in the world). Because the internet is used for so many things these days, digital marketing is a huge part of the practice’s overall marketing picture.

What Is Public Relations and When Is It Used?

Public relations is making your practice well known and well thought of. This is about managing your brand. This is about managing your public image.

Public relations is important to work on before doing marketing so people are already thinking that you’re the go-to person to see for your services, and so they refer their friends to your practice.

Public relations is critical for a practice because it helps build referral relationships and spread the word into the entire community.

Your marketing will be more effective if you already have solid public relations in place.

What Is A “Campaign” in PR and Marketing?

A campaign is a systematic series of aggressive actions to get a specific result, like a marketing campaign, a public relations campaign, or a hiring campaign.

Campaigns are directed at a specific goal each time. It’s not a cookie cutter thing.

If you need more occupational therapists in your practice, you might gear an entire campaign of public relations and marketing just around that one activity. Or, if you’re looking for more referrals, you might run a campaign focused on that goal.

It’s important to think of PR and marketing in terms of running campaigns to achieve specific goals, not just random activities.

Remember, an Effective Referrals Program Is the Foundation of Marketing

An effective referrals program is the foundation of everything in a pediatric private practice. If you’ve got a lot of great doctors referring to you and you’ve got that whole system set up well, then everything else is going to be easier. 

Whether or not you’re doing search engine optimization, advertising or other digital marketing, it’s all going to be built on a foundation of a great referral system and great referral relationships with doctors. And I’m saying that as a digital marketing “direct access” guy! 

Remember that referrals are the foundation of a pediatric private practice. If you have that in place, everything becomes easier and digital marketing becomes a turbocharger that can take your practice to new levels.

Also, because most pediatric private practices ONLY live on referrals, if you get really good at direct access digital marketing systems, your practice will automatically have a massive advantage in your area.

What Are the Pieces of the Marketing Puzzle for Pediatric Practices?

What are the pieces of the marketing puzzle that someone should put in? What should we be shooting to implement over time? 

Maybe you’re not going to get all these things put in right away, but let’s just talk about what the big picture is for a typical pediatric private practice. 

1. Public Relations and Referrals

You’re going to want to host or attend community events and do public outreach. That’s your public relations getting out in the community. That’s going to turbocharge your marketing efforts. 

It goes without saying, you’re going to have a great referral program, you’re going to be visiting different physicians, doctors, and pediatricians. You’re going to be building relationships with them. 

2. A Beautiful, Well-Built Website

At the core of everything you have, you’re going to want a solid, well-built website. There’s a lot that goes into that, but your practice website really is your storefront on the internet, so you’ve got to have a really great practice website.

3. Search Engine Optimization

You’re going to want local search engine optimization. This means making sure that your practice shows up well on the web, both your Google Business profile and your website. 

People can’t find you unless you’re on the web. So if you’re invisible, you’ll automatically cut down your chances of people being able to locate you or reaching the people that you want.

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the perfect way to position your practice as a thought leader in your community. This involves using email newsletters, videos, blogs, articles, to educate and help people. 

The result? The content positions you as the expert in your field and people become more likely to seek you out rather than you having to chase THEM around. This also educates them so that they’re a more educated consumer. 

How do you present yourself as an expert in your area? Content marketing. 

5. Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is basically Facebook Ads and Google Ads. There are specific uses for Facebook ads and specific uses for Google ads for a pediatric private practice, but they’re not necessarily the same as what you would find in another industry. 

For instance, you’re going to use them to get the word out, but you’re probably not going to be as focused on competing for a super valuable keyword on Google as, say, if you were in a different industry, like a cosmetic dentist would. 

6. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the use of different social channels like Instagram or Facebook to connect with people in the community around you. It’s not just posting a few things. It’s about building a relationship and building a tribe where people are connecting with you, following you, and staying in touch. 

Remember, social media marketing is social, so your content has to be helpful, interesting and, above all, unique to your practice. 

7. Recruitment Marketing

Finally, we come to recruitment marketing, which is the use of marketing and public relations to help you acquire physical therapists, speech therapists, etc. 

It’s about making sure that your practice conveys its message well, looks great, and connects with potential therapists. Because all things being equal, if the same offer is being put forward from two different practices, they’re going to go with the one that they emotionally connect with the best. 

Recruitment marketing is a key point, especially in this day and age, for making sure that you have enough therapists and making sure you can compete in today’s job market.

How You Can Apply These Tips Right Now

Let’s talk about how to get organized in order to get all this done. There are a few points any practice should put in place to be able to stay on top of its marketing. 

Have a Marketing Plan

First, you have to have a marketing plan. You have to know what kind of marketing you’re going to be doing, and you have to put that on a checklist so that there is something for your marketing manager or yourself to do. 

Your marketing checklist establishes: “These are the types of marketing we do, and then we’re going to do these every month, every week, or every day.” This gives the practice as a whole an overall guideline to follow.

Hire or Promote a Marketing Manager

Ideally, every practice would have a marketing manager. If you’re big enough to have a marketing manager, now you can give that checklist to someone and they can get it done. However, if you’re not big enough, well, you’ll have to set aside some time in your schedule to be able to get that done yourself or add it to the schedule of some staff member who can be the marketing manager part-time.

Create a Content Calendar

Next, you want to develop a content calendar (or, marketing calendar). The purpose of the calendar is going to tell you what specific marketing you’re going to be doing this week, next week, next month. 

This allows you to stay on top of the production process so that you can actually get these things done in time and you can actually send it out on the right date. It sets a date for when each specific newsletter, videos or other content needs to drop.

Without a content calendar, it’s really hard to stay on top of all the different sorts of marketing you’re going to be producing.

Choose What to Outsource and What to Do In-House

Finally, you need to decide what you’re going to outsource and what you’re going to do in-house. That’s an important decision. 

Certain things like social media are often done better in-house. It’s easier to have that personal connection when you’re shooting something that’s right there in the practice. On the other hand, building a website using HTML computer code, that’s better outsourced because few people have that resource inside their practice. 

Once you determine what you’re going to do in-house and what you’re going to outsource, then you can build your team. 

What’s Next for Your Practice?

Once you’ve got your team, your marketing plan, your content calendar and your marketing director (or your time to do marketing in your own schedule), you’ve got the fundamentals in place. The only thing left to do is get busy and blow it up!

Finally, if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re committed to helping you achieve your vision.

That’s why we’re here.