Practice Makes Perfect
Make consistency a habit.
By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS
As practitioners, owners, and managers, we all understand that honing our skills makes us better able to assist our patients toward their desired outcomes. So, how does that apply to our efforts toward marketing and public relations (PR)? It is exactly the same. Practice makes perfect!
Flex Your Muscles
As Kimberly McCall points out in her article in Inc. Magazine, marketing is a lot like exercise, and consistency is the key.1 How often do we tell our patients, it is vital that they perform their home exercise program regularly to improve. That same concept holds true with regard to implementing a successful marketing or PR program. Hit or miss programs will not provide positive outcomes. Steady, consistent messaging is required to stir your market to action.
Several other marketing experts utilize the analogy of exercise in their discussion of developing effective campaigns. Don Beehler, a PR consultant in Nashville, states, “A start and stop PR effort is a little bit like start and stop exercise—it’s better than none at all, but not nearly as effective as a consistent effort.”2 He goes on to point out that without consistency, top of mind awareness can diminish over time. Much like our patients who, once better, stop doing the things that might keep them healthy, they fail just as we would with our occasional marketing and PR endeavors. Regular marketing and PR, just like regular exercise, is crucial to success.
Stick to It!
Brand consistency is another integral component required for reaching your marketing and PR goals. In her blog, “3 Reasons Why Brand Consistency Is Important,” Ally Scott points out that many business owners are too relaxed with their messaging efforts and notes that consistency:
- Differentiates you from competitors,
- Increases customer recognition, and
- Reinforces your identity.3
Regular use of your logo and your mission statement—even your colors and your font—will help increase awareness of your practice.
Flexibility, strengthening, proprioception, balance, endurance…
There are many components to a treatment plan just as there are to a successful marketing or PR campaign. In designing a plan for a patient, a physical therapist assists in developing goals and, with those in mind, implements a treatment plan to reach those objectives. While the patient may need work in many different areas, the treatment techniques are consistent with the overall functional aims. In this same light, our marketing and PR plans should resonate with consistency. A campaign will have many avenues to reach current and potential clients: websites, social media, e-newsletters, direct mail, print advertising, etc., and the message needs to be consistent across all elements.
To be effective physical therapists, we must develop a sense of trust with our patients. Successful marketing and PR campaigns require the establishment of trust and credibility with your target market. Eric Holtzclaw outlines the five rules on power of consistency in business, stating that consistency:
- Allows for measurement,
- Creates accountability,
- Establishes your reputation,
- Makes you relevant, and
- Maintains your message.4
Do not confuse and lose your potential clients with inconsistent messaging and branding.
With all of the areas of your practice calling for your attention, it is easy to let your marketing and PR plan take a backseat. Just like a successful exercise program, your marketing and PR campaigns must be well planned and regularly followed to provide the desired outcomes of increasing consumer awareness and driving business through your doors.
Be reputable. Be relevant. Be consistent.
1. Website: www.inc.com/articles/2000/03/17909.html. Accessed May 2015.
2. Website: http://donbeehler.com/tag/pr-consistency. Accessed May 2015.
3. Website: www.pulsemarketingagency.com/Branding/3-reasons-why-brand-consistency-is-important. Accessed May 2015.
Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS, is chair of the marketing and PR committee and co-owner of Olympic Physical Therapy with five locations in Rhode Island. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.