How are physical therapy practices adding new patients in 2020?

Robert and Jessica Bacci joined Weave’s Adam Smith to discuss the ways their clinics in the San Joaquin Valley of California are attracting prospective clients and making them loyal customers. The conversation is part of In the Trenches, our webinar series that brings in industry experts to share their knowledge and experience regarding what makes their businesses successful.

Since 1974, Robert Bacci, or Bob, has worked as a physical therapist. He’s built two private physical therapy clinics that are thriving in the cities of Visalia and Hanford. Jess, Bob’s wife, serves as the office manager for the practice after spending much of her earlier career in the insurance world.

Their practice, Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy, met the challenges of Covid-19 with a hybrid approach to customer communication. Although they struggled in the early months of the pandemic, they’re now back to pre-Covid levels of production. During the discussion, Bob and Jess covered a range of topics, including their best marketing avenues, patient reactivation, online branding, filling their schedule, and advice for up-and-coming practices.

? Watch Interview With Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy Below?

Here are fifteen habits for attracting physical therapy clients to your practice:

Marketing Strategies

In the past, Bacci & Glinn relied on workshops and paid media as their primary marketing tools. With Covid-19 regulations, Bob and Jess lost the option of holding workshops and decided against doing virtual workshops. Instead, they’ve leaned into other forms of communication for discovering new patients.

1. Launch email campaigns

Bob and Jess have found emailing to be an extremely effective tool for communicating with patients during the pandemic. They not only keep people up-to-date with their Covid-19 protocol, they also ask for referrals and share educational content via email.

Email campaigns are easy to launch with the right software. Pre-written templates and image libraries allow administrators and receptionists to quickly compose professional-looking emails. CTA (Call to Action) buttons connect customers and prospective clients with scheduling and payment pages with a simple click.

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2. Post on social media

Jess says the practice’s multiple social media pages have been a useful way to discover new patients. Regularly sharing information, promotions, and updates on sites like Facebook and Instagram keeps Bacci & Glinn PT in front of an online audience. The posts don’t have to be strictly business, though; one of their best recent posts was about cats!

3. Focus on reactivation

A key piece of the marketing puzzle for Bacci & Glinn PT is reactivation. Bob’s clinic works through a third party to ensure the job’s done right. Not having to contact old patients themselves also saves Jess and the office staff on extra work.

The clinic comes up with a list of inactive patients and sends it to E-rehab, who scrubs the list and reaches out to these patients. Even though many former patients aren’t actively looking for a physical therapist, they often decide to take advantage of the opportunity to get some help with nagging injuries or new problems. These patients are also a valuable source of referrals for Bacci & Glinn PT.

4. Send online review requests

Jess mentions the importance of online reviews to the practice. The reviews they get on Google are particularly crucial to establishing a strong online presence. After appointments, Jess sends review requests to clients, including a link to Google reviews.

Weave Reviews is a tool that lets offices distribute review requests by text to their patients following appointments. It also gives clinics the ability to monitor their review status on key review sites. Collecting a large number of positive reviews and star ratings will boost your practice’s online visibility and put you in contact with more prospective patients.

google review request for podiatry


Online Branding

Bob and Jess have changed their approach to branding over the last six months. Bob cites the book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller as a strong influence on his own shift in how to communicate with patients. The overall shift has been toward a simplification of the messaging Bacci & Glinn PT shares with patients and prospects.

5. Simplify your messaging

Bob and Jess realized that there are plenty of people with their same credentials offering physical therapy. They decided that dumping tons of information on potential clients wasn’t an effective way to garner new patients. Their focus is now on being as clear and concise as possible about what their practice does, not worrying about making a complicated case for why they’re better than other PT clinics.

6. Update your website

In order to simplify their online messaging, Bob and Jess had their website re-done. If your online review strategy is working well, prospective clients will be finding their way to your website through Google. Making your clinic’s website user-friendly and simple in its messaging requires a combination of investment in web development and a clear idea of how to clarify your messaging.

First Appointments

Covid-19 has impacted the influx of new patients for many clinics. People are setting up their first appointments, but then cancelling due to fears about the virus and other concerns. Bob and Jess have largely avoided this problem by hiring diligent office staff and digitizing their intake process.

7. Confirm with calls and texts

Once new patients have registered with the clinic, Jess has her team try to get them into the office within 48 hours. She says they’re incredibly dedicated to getting in contact with each patient, either by calling or texting. Automated reminders are another way to keep in touch with new patients and personalize your communication with them right off the bat.

? Watch How Easy Weave’s Two Way Texting Makes Confirmations?

8. Digitize your intake process

Bacci & Glinn PT takes care of its intakes via email. Sharing electronic forms with their new patients considerably speeds up the process of getting them into the clinic. Similar forms can also be used for screening customers for health concerns prior to their first appointments.

Onboarding and Covid-19

We asked Bob and Jess how their onboarding has changed due to the constraints of the pandemic. They say the conditions in 2020 have permanently altered a number of their processes, and though they hope things go back to normal soon, they anticipate sticking with these strategies in the future.

9. Offer telehealth

Except don’t call it telehealth, Bob says. Using the term “telehealth” confused many of the clinic’s patients and made them think they had to go back to their general practitioner. To remedy the situation, Bob and Jess chose to use the term “online video visits” to help clients understand what a telehealth option is.

10. Use a hybrid approach

100% telehealth is not the answer, says Bob. His clinic employs a hybrid model for handling their appointments. Same-day appointments are frequently conducted by video, and other appointments are held at the office. Utilizing both telehealth and traditional, “brick and mortar” appointments is an effective way to mitigate fear, reduce your cancellation rate, and expand your practice’s communication toolbox.

11. Get a mobile app

Jess says the front office team at Bacci & Glinn PT has relied on the Weave Mobile App to support remote work during the pandemic. Our Mobile App gives employees access to all the communication tools they need to work from home, or anywhere offsite. They can make calls, send texts, and request reviews and payments while following public health guidelines.

12. Develop your own content

Bob and Jess’s clinic is preparing to roll out subscription content for patients and prospective customers. They’re opting to use a service that lets them develop newsletters, apply segmentation, and share ongoing updates. Providing this type of content eliminates the issues of time and distance that often cause breakdown of communication with customers.

13. Implement business texting

If your PT clinic isn’t texting with its patients, now’s the time to start. Businesses that aren’t communicating with customers about how they’re responding to the pandemic can lose the trust of their clientele. Younger consumers are looking for practices that communicate via text because it’s a convenient alternative to phone calls.

Parting Advice

At the end of the webinar, we asked Bob and Jess if they had any words of wisdom for new practitioners and clinic owners. They shared two pieces of advice that they’ve accumulated since coming to the industry in 1974. They also said anyone in the industry is welcome to contact them for further information.

14. Have confidence

Bob believes that graduating from a physical therapy program gives PT’s the right to practice. They and the people with whom they work shouldn’t feel too young, too old, or too inexperienced to assert themselves in the industry. A lack of confidence leads to paralysis; go forward and make decisions knowing full well that you have the ability to flourish as a physical therapy clinic.

15. Ask patients to take action

Over time, Bob and Jess Bacci have learned the importance of asking people to make decisions. They’ve discovered that when their clinic asks patients to show up, they’re more likely to succeed. Calls to action are critical for success in the industry; put patients and prospective clients in the position to click on links, answer calls, and respond to texts.