Keep Marketing on Track


How to scientifically benchmark your private practice marketing.

By Chad Madden, PT, MSPT

Is the print ad you ran in last month’s paper working? What about the Facebook post you are running for your next workshop? Or the company you paid thousands of dollars to for search engine optimization? Is the marketing you’re investing in worth it?

When we invest in marketing our private practice services, we should expect a return. The return can be measured. We can then hold our marketing investments accountable. This gives us the power to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work in making future marketing decisions.

In this article, we will cover:

  • The biggest mistake in private practice marketing
  • The key metrics you can track to keep your marketing scientific and accountable
  • An actual case study illustrating benchmarks for a Facebook ad campaign

We surveyed 300 practice owners and asked them, “What is the Biggest Mistake you’ve made marketing your private practice?” We received 37 unique answers ranging from program sponsorships to print ads, direct mail, and Facebook. Ironically, every survey response only mentioned the type of media of the marketing mistake. Not one answer focused on how the practice owner utilized the media.

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Every one of the aforementioned marketing media has been used successfully by a private practice owner. What’s the difference between the owner who is attracting a steady flow of direct access patients via Facebook versus the owner who swears off ever using Facebook again? The answer is metrics.

Owners who successfully market know their numbers. Owners who do not . . . it’s apparent they are guessing. So what numbers do the successful owners know?

The most important key metric to know is “Number of New Patients” from a given campaign or ad. This is a solid start. However, we find the majority of practice owners struggle to know where their new patients truly come from. They will routinely ask on the Patient Intake Form, “How did you hear about us?” Yet few owners do anything with that information, if they even look at it.

While the Number of New Patients metric is a solid start, it reveals little of what happens with an entire ad campaign. For that we need submetrics (commonly referred to as secondary metrics). Submetrics for a campaign include total number of phone calls, opt-ins, or registrations; the total number who have consumed the information, product, or service; and the total visits, production, or income from the New Patients; dollars invested per plan of care; total return on investment (ROI). This will make more sense when we consider a real-life example:


We recently hosted a back pain and sciatica workshop at my private practice. We used a simple Facebook campaign to advertise the workshop.

Here’s what happened so far:

  • 40 true leads (people who opted in with actual phone numbers and email addresses)
  • 4 people scheduled an appointment prior to the event
  • 14 people showed up at the workshop
  • 14 of those 14 scheduled an initial appointment

Metrics we will look at in the future as potential patients convert to patients in the door:

  • Total number of people who schedule a full plan of care
  • Total amount of revenue generated from the campaign
  • Total ROI
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We have a simple rule when it comes to ROI for any given marketing method: The goal is 10:1. When we invest $100 in ad spend, we are looking for $1,000 in return. So, if we use the national average of $990 income per plan of care, then we would expect one plan of care for every $100 spent. Here is a big secret: Most marketing campaigns do not start there. Campaigns take nurturing and testing to become more efficient and effective. It is nearly impossible to hit this ROI goal on the very first try. Consider the Facebook campaign for the workshop. This is not the first time we’ve hosted a back pain workshop filled by Facebook promotion. It has literally taken years of testing headlines, body copy, and ad photos. You can go through the same testing process for your campaigns that are at least producing some return.

Plus, in the example given, we can go back to the people who have not attended the workshop yet and nurture that potential relationship by providing value, initiating engaging conversation, and making additional offers. The ad money to capture the lead has already been spent; thus we can simply increase the value returned from our initial investment.

Chad Madden, PT, MSPT, is the owner and founder of Madden Physical Therapy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the chief content creator of Breakthrough Physical Therapy Marketing. He can be reached at

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