Sportex Time-saving resources for physical & manual therapists

Practical Ways to Use Content to Promote Yourself and Your Business [Article]

Do you know what content marketing is? Maybe you do, but, according to our survey results, the chances are you aren’t doing it. You should, though, because this is the side of marketing that lets you do what you do best: share your knowledge and enthusiasm of a subject you love, which will build trust with your audience who, in turn, will be more likely to become your clients when they decide that they need help from a physiotherapist. This article will show you the many different faces of content marketing and how it can be done quickly and easily.

Content covered in this article includes:

By Tor Davies, Co-Kinetic founder

If you’re not using ‘content’ as part of your marketing efforts yet, this article will explain why you should be, and more importantly how you can do this.

Along with search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing is the most predominant marketing strategy in the world. Every major business is using it, and it’s not new (Video. 1) (1). The first example of a brand using content to educate its customers was in 1895 when John Deere, the agriculture equipment manufacturer, launched its customer magazine The Furrow. Since then, it has just grown more and more popular.

Video 1: Content Marketing Isn’t New Courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute

Content marketing is the past, present and future of marketing because it builds trust – and all purchasing is based on trust. Content marketing is about education – it’s not about what you ‘sell’. Content marketing is about your audience and what matters to them.

I commissioned a whiteboard animation to explain in more detail how content marketing can benefit physical therapists in particular (you can watch it at this link:) (Video. 2).

Video 2: Why Content Marketing is Such a Powerful Marketing Strategy For Physical Therapists

People Buy From People They Trust

It is the single most powerful strategy that any company can use to promote its products and services. But never has that been more true for people working in healthcare, because here, more than in most other businesses, the importance of trust cannot be overstated.

A client needs to feel confident that you are the right person to trust with something that is causing them physical pain. It can be easy for us as therapists, to forget that acknowledging physical pain in the first place, can be difficult for many and surrendering that pain to someone else’s expertise, requires trust.

The Clinical Tipping Point

Anyone who’s heard me present, will have heard me refer to something I like to call the ‘clinical tipping point’. Often people will survive or self-manage their pain or injury until they hit a point when they can’t any longer. Either it stops them from doing things they love (like participating in sport, or playing with their kids) or whatever they’ve been doing to manage the pain until that point isn’t working any longer.

This happens over a period of time. Most people don’t wake up in the morning saying, “Oh I must book an appointment with my physio today – I’ve got a slight niggle in my knee.” They wait until it stops them doing the things they love or leading the life they want to lead, and some of us wait even longer!

Which is exactly why the long content game works so well in a physical or manual therapy environment. Something as simple as a regular monthly email offering some content of value, which doesn’t ‘product push’, and builds trust, is all you need to nurture that relationship, until that person is ready to call you.

It’s so simple, and yet unfortunately 83.5% of you don’t do it (2) (Fig. 1)!

Figure 1: Do You Send Nurture Emails?

Thankfully that percentage has gone down a little from a few months ago (hopefully on account of some of my education efforts), but it’s still a massively wasted opportunity. Particularly as, according to our Marketing Grader survey results, the average amount of time spent on marketing every month is 9.3 hours.

Apart from the fact that you could run our whole Co-Kinetic marketing strategy in half that time, and make returns on that investment of over 30 times, I’m quite frustrated (that’s putting it mildly) that only 17% of people bother with that one single monthly, value-add nurture email.

If that was the ONLY activity you did every month, I’m willing to guarantee that it would be significantly more effective at generating business for you, than whatever else you’re doing in those 10 hours.

I’m now going to run through all the types of content that physical and manual therapists could use, with some ideas on how to use each one.

Remember I’m focusing completely on education-based content because that’s the goal of content marketing. That’s not to say, you couldn’t throw in the occasional sales-driven piece of content, just keep the ratio heavily in favour of educational content so you don’t lose trust.

I’m not going to beat about the bush here, this is an increasingly large part of what I do through Co-Kinetic. My goal is to create as much content as I can for you, in order to save you time and money, while at the same time giving you a more professional result. All our subscriptions include many of the content types covered below and where that is the case, I’ve added a Co-Kinetic note, to explain what we provide.

But whether you have a subscription to Co-Kinetic or not, all the principles still apply.

Content Types

Online

1. Social Media Posts Ideally as many of the social media post types as possible would be aimed specifically at achieving one or more of the following, as this will either increase your post exposure or give you some tangible, quantifiable marketing benefit (ie. collecting emails):

  1. email lead generation (which we focus on specifically through the Co-Kinetic subscriptions)
  2. encourage comments and conversation (keep it positive)
  3. encourage engagement, ie. likes, shares, loves, hates, etc.

Types of social media posts include:

  • links to downloadable resources
  • infographics
  • explainer videos/exercise videos/animations
  • images/cartoons/gifs/photos/motivation
  • links to research
  • mini-case studies (you can keep them short and sweet)
  • links to blog posts or articles you’ve published (they don’t have to be new)
  • share/promote local events
  • quotes
  • questions and answers – very good for encouraging conversation
  • testimonials/reviews/feedback
  • links to new research
  • screenshots
  • quizzes – ideally combined with email lead collection
  • polls and surveys – great for encouraging engagement.

Co-Kinetic note: we create 25–50 social media posts on a new topic each month (the number depends on which subscription you’re on). It includes many of the types covered above and each is focused on collecting email leads on your behalf, with the system taking care of everything, including posting the posts to your social networks. It takes 5 minutes to set up a campaign that will run for one month and which requires absolutely no technical skills.

2. Emails Emails can be:

  1. focused on educational topics; and/or
  2. offering downloadable resources (which allows you to use click rate to track engagement and as a measure of improvement).

Co-Kinetic note: we write a nurture email for you each month as part of the Full Site subscription, provide you with images to accompany it and we include a link back to the high value resources that we’ve produced on your behalf.

3. Blog Posts Blog posts have a number of advantages. They:

  1. are particularly powerful for SEO, Google loves good content;
  2. are also effective when used in conjunction with a download offer, to turn your website into a 24/7 lead generation tool;
  3. increase engagement on your website; and
  4. establish authority and reputation.

Co-Kinetic note: we write a new blog post for you each month as part of the Full Site subscription and provide you with images to accompany it. It’s copyright free and there for you to use/modify/rewrite as you wish.

4. Podcasts Podcasts can be in the following forms.

  1. Question and Answer – you could use another therapist to ask questions about a topic which you answer.
  2. Interviews – with other local businesses, sports personalities, people suffering from an injury or condition, or a patient who is particularly enthusiastic about their treatment experience.
  3. Self-hosted – you present on a topic and record yourself.

5. Videos Again, videos can take a variety of forms as follows.

  1. Explainer videos. These are pretty self-explanatory, popular formats at the whiteboard, where the presenter is drawing the animation. Cheap and easy to commission from Fiverr.com.
  2. Animations. These describe concepts such as the Pain Scale (that’s been our most popular animation to date), or the Biopsychosocial Model of Pain.
  3. Interviews. Similar to the ideas under the Podcasts section above.
  4. Q+A Session. As in the Podcasts section above.

Co-Kinetic note: we produce explainer videos and animations as part of the Full Site subscription.

Offline

People tend to forget the power of printed content and ironically it’s cheaper and easier to produce these days than it’s ever been.

6. Postal/Mailed Content

Customer newsletters (content-driven). Instead of sending people boring stuff about your clinic, that they’re probably not interested in, send them information they actually want to read, or share with others.

  • Ideas might include a newsletter on Tennis Injuries when there’s a big national tennis tournament taking place, or Preventing Running Injuries in the lead up to local or national running events, or Getting Fit for Snow Sports in the winter months.
  • They’re cheap and easy to print out – they’re a great way to stay in contact with and keep your past customers engaged.
  • You could send them out as regularly or as infrequently as you decide.
  • And it’s really easy to find either local providers who will do the whole process for you, or online providers who will even print the content out, clean your address data and get it posted for you (just Google ‘mailing services’ or ‘mailing on demand services’). It’s a lot cheaper than you think.

Postcards. Similar to newsletters above, these:

  • are great for making sure customers who you don’t see (or have email addresses for) are aware of the resources you have available
  • promote a sense of authority and reputation
  • keep people engaged with your business
  • can be imported into a free image editing tool, like Canva, so you can write your own message on the back with a link to your new resources and then send them to print. Then use a ‘mail on demand’ company to post them out to your customer address list.

Co-Kinetic note: we write and design one of these newsletters for you every month and we also create postcards to promote new campaigns – both are included in the Full Site subscription.

7. Posters These can be:

  1. infographics – these are great eye-catchers on your clinic wall
  2. anatomy posters – useful to use during patient consultations and add a sense of authority to your own treatment room
  3. more info posters – use these to raise awareness of campaigns you’re running and promote resources you have available
  4. promoting the benefits of different treatments or modalities.

Co-Kinetic note: we have produced a range of posters and infographics you can print out for your clinic walls.

Both Online and Offline

8. Newspaper/Magazine Articles This is still an extremely effective way to promote your business and as a publisher myself, it’s something I would encourage you to do more of.

Co-Kinetic note: as a Co-Kinetic subscriber to any of our patient information resources, I would actively encourage you to use those resources to promote your own business in this way. Our customer newsletters in particular, are provided completely copyright free meaning you can take all the credit. Attach your biog and let the local magazines publish them under your name.

9. Face-to-Face Presentations/Webinars/Open Clinic Events I know many practitioners using these strategies incredibly effectively. It’s a great way to get in front of people, build trust, triage who is most in need of your help, and build relationships. Examples of things you could do follow below.

  1. Run an evening or lunch-time workshop or presentation.
  2. If you’re into technology, run regular webinars.
  3. You could do a Live Q+A on Facebook (or YouTube) (but make sure you’ve got people you can count on who are tuned in, or have them there primed with certain questions).
  4. Offer mini-assessments or taster sessions like mini-bike fits, muscle imbalance tests, gait analysis, taster massage sessions etc. Then offer ‘event specials’ that encourage people to purchase a product or make an appointment booking, or both.

Co-Kinetic note: We write off-the-shelf PowerPoint presentations which you can use within these sessions, and also provide an editable sign up web page through which you can take event registrations. There are also posters and leaflets you can use to promote the event. These are only included under the Full Site subscription.

10. Leaflet-Based Resources Last but not least, the simplest but most versatile of all content types, leaflet-based material can be printable and/or downloadable resources. You can:

  1. post them to clients you have addresses for;
  2. email them to clients you have email addresses for;
  3. print them out and distribute them in your clinic waiting area;
  4. give them to local businesses who offer services or products on related topics – eg. Cycling Injury leaflets to cycling shops;
  5. give them to sports coaches or fitness professionals – remember if it adds value to their clients, then it makes them look good too;
  6. drop health-promotion related resources into local businesses who may not have their own occupational/workplace health team;
  7. print leaflets out and pin them to local noticeboards in libraries or supermarkets; and
  8. offer your local GP practices or health centres leaflets to put in their leaflet dispensers (and if they don’t have a leaflet dispenser, buy one for them, they’re cheap and the associated ‘endorsement’ will be well worth the investment).

Leaflet-based content types include:

  • exercise handouts
  • advice leaflets
  • newsletters
  • cheat sheets
  • infographics
  • case studies
  • checklists.

Co-Kinetic note: I almost don’t know where to start here, because all our subscriptions include these resources, AND they are also rebrandable, allowing you to add your own business details and logo to them. For their simplicity, they are phenomenally effective both for patient satisfaction of existing clients, as well as for promoting your business and brand in a completely value-added and unsalesy way.

Display and Distribution Devices

In order to make this resource as comprehensive as it can be, here are some ideas of the kind of display and distribution devices you could make use of, with some of the offline resources mentioned above:

  • picture frames on clinic walls
  • external notice boards
  • leaflet dispensers (table top/clinic reception/wall-based/floor-based)
  • pavement signs
  • pop-up display stands
  • clinic TV displays
  • display boards
  • banners.

The UK-based website XL Displays had the widest range of ideas I could find, but it provides inspiration wherever you are in the world.

Next Steps – Top 5 Priorities

Again, in a mission to make this article as user-friendly and practical as it can possibly be, and to give you some focus (because I appreciate I may have blown a mental fuse by giving you so many ideas) – here are my thoughts on what I would consider your quickest and most cost-effective wins, in priority order.

1. Customer Nurture Email

What is it? A monthly email, ideally with a link to an additional resource (so you can increase your email click rates) like a downloadable advice leaflet or exercise handout on a specific topic.

Why is this a priority? Because most likely you already have a database to start warming up your relationships with, and we’re looking for quick wins. Just because it’s not new and sexy, don’t dismiss it. It can also be done quickly. This should be the one activity you tick off, every single month without fail. You may not see results instantaneously, but I guarantee you will over time, if you’re consistent with it.

Set-up requirements (one-off job for all future emails):

  • an email marketing platform subscription such as Active Campaign or Mailchimp (Mailchimp offers a life-time free plan for up to 2,000 unique email address)
  • a CSV/Excel spreadsheet containing the first name and email address of as many people as possible, ie. past clients, prospective new clients, etc.

Creation notes

  • Write a short introduction that puts the leaflet into context, ie. why you’ve made it your topic of the month, and what’s important to know about that condition/injury.
  • Don’t go overboard or make it over-complicated. It’s about getting a quick win.
  • Focus on explaining why the advice resource is important – explain why it matters to the reader.
  • Make the email any length you’re comfortable with (400–600 words is a good length but if you’re sending a link to a resource, you could get away with less, like 200–300).
  • Break the email text into lots of small paragraphs, so it’s not one big block of text.
  • Use a service like Dropbox or Google Documents to host the downloadable leaflet or, if you have the Co-Kinetic Full Site or Done-for-You Social Media subscription, use the Success Page URL for the campaign in question.
  • Estimated time is 1–2 hours (30–60 minutes to write and create email and 30–60 minutes to produce and set up the downloadable resource).
  • Using the Co-Kinetic content will enable you to complete this job in 15–30 minutes, saving you up to 45–90 minutes a month.

2. Distribution of Leaflet-Based Resources

Why is it a priority? Because it’s cheap to create the resources (especially with a Co-Kinetic subscription where we do it for you). And it benefits everyone – it delivers a great customer experience to your existing clients, and it gives you huge reach for promoting your business more widely locally, while offering value to everyone who comes into contact with the resources. They’re also easy to share with colleagues and friends.

Creation notes I’ve got to be brutally honest here – just get one of our subscriptions! The Massage Therapy subscription at just £9 a month is the cheapest of all our subscriptions and gives you a never-ending supply of all these resources. You’d be mad not to take advantage of it. You can also access them under all the other subscriptions we offer. You’re not going to find a quicker, cheaper, more professional resource that you can trust, for anything close to that price. Not even in China or India!!

3. Increase Your Number of Google Reviews/Facebook Reviews

Why is it a priority? It helps you get found (and if you don’t already, please make sure you have a Google Business listing set up – it’s super-simple, super-quick and free). Reviews are heavily favoured by Google when deciding how to rank pages, they even take into account Facebook Reviews, despite them being a ‘competitor’ business, that’s how highly they rate them. The review ratings also appear in your Google Business listing. The more good reviews, the more likely you’ll appear high in search results.

Creation notes Set up your listing here and then get proactive about asking your customers to review you on either Facebook or Google.

4. Spice/Spruce up your Facebook Page

Why is it a priority?

  • People increasingly check businesses out on Facebook before making purchase decisions so it’s important to make sure you have educational content on the page, not just loads of promotional posts.
  • Wherever possible make sure those posts are designed to achieve the goals I outlined above, ie. email lead generation, conversation-stimulating, engagement-focused.
  • It’s a great way to warm up prospective customers as well as build reputation, authority and trust.

Creation notes

  • Make sure your posts, as often as possible, offer the viewer/reader value. Make it worth their while to read/engage. This way they’re more likely to take action, or engage with the post.
  • Make sure the page is current, and the content is fresh.
  • The most important thing is BE CONSISTENT! Facebook likes consistency and over time, that will help increase your post exposure, which in turn will increase engagement, and it becomes a virtuous circle. If you’re going to take the ‘shit or bust’ approach, then it might be better to focus on another activity.

5. Blog Posts (if you have a website)

Why is it a priority? Mainly for the SEO benefits (although this would ideally be supported by an SEO strategy which usually don’t come cheap). It also helps you turn your website into an email lead generation tool which if you’re doing your monthly nurture emails, is good news.

Creation notes We provide a new monthly blog post in our Full Site subscription but equally you can write your own, or outsource it to a blog writer (you can find plenty on sites like Upwork.com). The only downside is if possible pick someone who is medically trained so that you know you can trust the content, and so you don’t need to rewrite the whole thing yourself. If you outsource, it MUST save you the time, otherwise you may as well do it yourself (or subscribe to us!).

The Final Word

I think that’s pretty conclusive and there’s not much to add. What I would say, though, is please be aware of the time you spend on your marketing. Are you making the most effective use of your time?

Assuming you had customers to treat in the time you spend on marketing, how much does that make your time worth? Have this figure in your head every time you spend time on marketing activities. Is it £35, £55, £75 an hour?

If you’re spending the average 9.3 hours a month that our survey reveals most practitioners are spending on marketing, calculate what that would be worth, in revenue if you were seeing clients in that time.

In most cases, the time you are spending marketing will be costing you anything from £350 to £750 in lost patient-time. If you can find a way of doing your marketing more quickly, and getting better results (ie. actually generating new paying customers), while also spending less time on things you don’t like doing (ie. marketing), and more time on things you do like doing (ie. treating patients), then it should be a no-brainer.

Remember, if you can generate the client bookings, then your time is not free.

Further Resources

  1. HubSpot’s Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2019
  2. Turning Email Leads into Paying Customers: Using the Powerful Hidden Influences of Nurture Emails [Article]
  3. Try out our unique Marketing Grader Email Course
  4. More Marketing Advice and Tips
  5. Co-Kinetic Subscriptions and Feature Comparison

Quotations/Important Points

Content marketing is the past, present and future of marketing because it builds trust – and all purchasing is based on trust

Content marketing is about education – it’s not about what you sell

Content marketing is about your audience and what matters to them

References

  1. The History of Content Marketing [Video]
  2. Results from the Co-Kinetic Marketing Grader Survey 2019 (499 respondents to date).