End Strong, Start Stronger
The end-of-year marketing campaign that can be a win-win for you and your patients
By Peter Decoteau
After a year like 2020, many of us are looking to start 2021 feeling refreshed and re-energized.
Likewise, many of our patients may see the new year as an opportunity to put 2020 in the rearview mirror and get back into the swing of regular activities – whether that’s participating in local road races, playing golf on the weekends, or just picking up grandkids.
The end of the year is a perfect time to remind your audience to take advantage of their health insurance benefits, especially as they may have met their deductibles and may be able to benefit from physical therapy at little to no out-of-pocket cost. Not only does this offer you the opportunity to supplement a typically slower period, it offers patients the opportunity to address pain or immobility they may have been putting off so they can start 2021 feeling their best. That’s a win-win!
In considering messaging on this topic, it’s important to remember that the most effective messaging brings value to your audience, whether by entertaining, educating or informing. In this case, you are educating them on the often-confusing structure of health insurance plans, as well as the short and long-term benefits of physical therapy. This doesn’t mean encouraging people to seek physical therapy just for the sake of using up health care benefits, but rather taking advantage of the benefits they’ve earned to treat real musculoskeletal issues before they become bigger, more permanent problems.
To this end, explaining succinctly and clearly how deductibles work is a great way to promote your services at the end of the year without having to be overly promotional. Many people simply don’t understand the myriad complexities of health insurance plans and that they can potentially receive fully or mostly covered physical therapy treatment. Pairing this message with the benefits of direct access – especially the ability to be assessed and treated at one facility, without having to schedule a doctor’s appointment first – can emphasize both the money and time savings available for patients with eligible plans.
If your goal is to bring value to your audience by providing useful information, it’s worth considering the types of content that audience is most likely to engage with in a more meaningful way. Sure, it’s easy enough to write a blog post explaining the concept of deductibles, but that approach will likely lead to some pretty dry reading material. Instead, try a more interactive approach by hosting a virtual question and answer session or a live virtual “crash course” on health insurance, direct access, and physical therapy services.
In terms of “evergreen” content, videos still tend to see the highest organic engagement on social media while offering additional benefits as valuable SEO for websites, outreach materials for email blasts and community relationships, and as promotional pieces that can be served to broader geotargeted audiences. Remember to keep it short (two to three minutes) and dynamic, with plenty of eye-catching graphics, statistics, and b-roll footage to keep viewers engaged and to reinforce your main messages. If a polished, produced video is out of the question, try an even shorter clip with a clinician or expert speaking directly to the audience. A combination of intimacy and urgency should be enough to demand attention on social media, at least for a minute.
With your messaging and content in place, the next concern should be where to send potential patients looking to take the next step towards scheduling an appointment. That next step may very well be scheduling an appointment, so it’s important to drive traffic to a landing page that’s highly relevant and optimized for that end goal. In other words, a campaign-specific landing page with easy-to-find and use contact options.
In many cases though, the next step will be additional inquiries about their individual insurance plans and/or specifics about your clinic, such as location, staff, and services. You should have both digital and customer-service oriented answers to those questions, which means information that’s easy to navigate to on the landing page, as well as staff members prepared to field and answer questions over the phone or via email. This, naturally, will involve educating your staff on talking points and state, federal, and insurance-specific guidelines regarding insurance deductibles and direct access.
When all three elements – your messaging, content, and intake channels – are strategized and prepared, you will be ready to launch an end-of-year campaign that allows your clinic to finish the year strong, while preparing your patients to start the next year feeling stronger.
Peter Decoteau is the Director of Marketing at Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers (PTSMC), Connecticut’s largest private practice physical therapy company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.