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Are you getting leads?  
I ask physical therapy clinic owners this all the time, and usually they have a quick answer. But then when I ask how they qualify a lead, the response is typically … a long pause.  
For private practice PTs, leads are critical in adding new patient opportunities to a clinic. Yet, most clinics fail to understand the true value of their lead generation marketing efforts. 
Lead generation campaigns are common marketing strategies that can be effectively measured for performance. If you are not using a consistent definition of a lead, however, then how do you know if you marketing strategy is relevant and trustworthy? 
It’s time, then, to define what exactly is meant by “lead.” 

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Lead, by Definition 

Here at BuildPT, we define a lead as a potential client or patient who meets two important criteria: 

  1. The person has expressed interest in a specific product, service or solution offered at your clinic.
  2. You have received contact information (and, in some cases, other info such as medical, lifestyle or demographic details) from this person. 

That’s it – a relatively simple definition, but a powerful one that should be a driving force behind your high-level marketing efforts. 
Every part of your marketing strategy, in other words, should be either directly or indirectly related to two things: generating interest in you and your services, and obtaining a real contact information from those whose interests are piqued. 
So, based on this definition of a lead, what is your marketing strategy? How are you, as a physical therapist, generating interest in your services? And then, how are you getting contact info you can use to keep in touch with potential clients? 
Your clinic’s lead generation campaign will answer these questions first, then refine them based on two common categories: Outbound Lead Generation and Inbound Lead Generation. 
Let’s take a look at each. 

Outbound vs Inbound Lead Generation for Physical Therapists
Inbound Lead Generation for Physical Therapists

Inbound Lead Generation 

Inbound Lead Generation is a more organic approach where prospects come to you from reputation and brand marketing strategies. Unlike Outbound Lead Generation, it’s the prospect who decides when and how they will reach you. 
Some examples of Inbound Lead Generation activities include: 

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Blogging 
  • Social Media 
  • Email Campaigns 
  • Media Campaigns 

Outbound Lead Generation 

Outbound Lead Generation is a more traditional form of marketing that can be referred to as “interruption lead generation.” Using this approach, the marketer initiates the first interaction by sending out a message to potential leads. 
Here are some examples of outbound lead generation activities: 

  • Cold Calling 
  • Direct Mail 
  • Paid Advertising 
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising 
Outbound Lead Generation for Physical Therapists

Measuring Long- and Short-Term Success 

Both Outbound and Inbound Lead Generation strategies can be quite effective in gathering contact information and developing leads. Measuring the performance of each of these lead generation strategies, however, requires different parameters and expectations. 
Outbound marketing is usually a lot more expensive, and the campaign is often short-lived. Think of paid advertising – when the campaign is over, it no longer performs. 
In contrast, inbound marketing is less expensive but usually takes a longer duration of time to show results. However, the results from inbound marketing can last forever while increasing significantly over time.  
Are you using Outbound or Inbound Lead Generation? Do your resources/cost justify the strategy? 
Longterm Lead Generation for Physical Therapists

Quality of Leads 

Whether you use outbound or inbound marketing, the main measurement of success is typically based on volume, or the number of leads you get over a period of time. But the quality of your leads is also important. 
To measure the quality of leads, let’s both define and discern the differences between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). 

MQL for PTS

Marketing Qualified Leads 

A lead is usually first generated as an MQL. We have the contact information and we know a little about the prospect – that they are a potential client who is interested in your service that you offer. 

Sales Qualified Leads 

An SQL is a lead that is screened and analyzed by a salesperson or representative of your clinic, such as someone of your physical therapy team. This “analysis” typical involves simply getting to know your lead – establishing the quality of the lead by learning her or his level of interest, budget, and how likely this person is to walk through your door for the first time.   

SQL for PTS
Are you measuring the difference of MQLs or SQLs through your lead generation efforts? More importantly, are you, your marketer or your marketing agency delivering qualified or unqualified leads? 
If you can understand the difference here, then you are NOW much more likely to create an effective lead generation campaign where the end result is paid patients.  

The BuildPT Formula for Lead Generation for PT Clinics 

Here at BuildPT we find that qualified leads (SQL’s) are much more likely to come from Inbound Marketing Efforts. Why is this? 
Many potential prospects do not even know that they need physical therapy, or that physical therapy should be regular part of their healthcare and/or fitness regimen. In fact, statistics have shown that of the people who can benefit from physical therapy in the U.S., only 8 percent know to seek out a physical therapist. 
The only conclusion here is that the marketing requires educating. And, inbound marketing allows us to educate the audience and spark interest with seeing a PT first versus visiting a doctor, chiropractor or specialist. 
Here is how we do it: 

Connect: Content Marketing 

Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to educate, attract and retain long-term clients. Connect focuses its efforts on five critical marketing channels: website blogs, social media, email newsletters, print-ready newsletters, and the local press.  

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Professional PT Blogging Services and MORE.

TRUST

Generate more reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook…

BuildPT Trust: SEO, Branding, Reputation Management 

BuildPT Trust offers offsite SEO, full directory control, and reputation management for physical therapy clinics by helping establish a higher level of online “trust” for the brand’s online digital presence.  

BuildPT SEOSearch Engine Optimization 

Using the best and the most up-to-date methodology of strategies for improving the presence of keyword terms on search engines, BuildPT SEO strives to achieve an overall goal of increasing traffic to physical therapy websites. 

SEO

More Traffic to your PT Website.
Keep in mind that inbound marketing takes time. If you want results now, then an outbound campaign is likely a better option. Just be ready to pay a high price with shorter-term results. 
If you want stability in your marketing and one that performs greater over time, then inbound marketing (like a service from BuildPT) will serve you well and will help your clinic flourish.  
Questions about PT Lead Generation? Ask us in the comments below.