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Getting Your Patient Engagement Messaging Right

Learn how to strategize and apply effective patient engagement messaging at your physical therapy practice.

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Getting Your Patient Engagement Messaging Right

What if there was a way to communicate better with your patients? Most PTs do “just ok” with their patient engagement, but there's often room for improvement. Bridging the gap between average and expert communication starts by deploying a custom strategy.

If you understand the who, what, and why before you send an email or write your website’s "About" section, it can profoundly impact how a patient receives your messaging.

In this article, you’ll learn how to formulate a patient engagement strategy that you apply to maximize patient outcomes and bring in new business.

Understand Your Demographics

Knowing the demographics or unique patient identifiers is crucial to maximizing patient engagement strategies. The data you want to analyze includes:

  • Rudimentary information such as age, gender, marital status and education
  • Location(s)
  • Wants and needs for physical therapy
  • Lifestyle choices that can lead to physical therapy
  • And more

Knowing these traits can mold messaging to satisfy patient needs, trigger action, and get noticed in a competitive market for PTs. Best practices include making up a persona or conducting surveys to uncover important patient triggers. This data can be studied to boost patient engagement across platforms.

Establish Your Tone

Physical therapists must establish a tone true to their company values. Otherwise, they can risk coming off as disingenuous or, worse—uninterested.

Every practice will have different relationships with their patients depending on the services they provide. The biggest takeaway here is to use company values to craft a deliberate tone. This tone should be replicated across platforms to unify your brand.

Determine Your Goal

PTs should have a clear objective whenever they’re engaging with patients. Whether you’re on social media, sending emails, following up, or even building the landing page of your website—direction will make your message “stickier.”

There are a few common goals physical therapists can use to bring purpose to their messaging:

  • Increasing awareness of your practice
  • Generating patient leads
  • Becoming an educational or thought leader in PT
  • Converting people into patients
  • Driving adherence to patient visits

And while these might look daunting at first, they’re easy to apply to any messaging type.

Say you’re writing an email to newsletter subscribers, inviting them to a free webinar about muscular dystrophy. The purpose of this message is to get them to attend your webinar. The webinar will work to convert, but this initial message should work to generate a patient lead. Knowing this information can help you write a stellar email, stoking the interests of your subscribers.

Cut the Jargon

The way you talk to colleagues at the water cooler isn’t how you should engage with patients. PT school and continued education are partly to blame, as you’re just explaining what’s happening using the proper terminology. However, if a patient doesn’t understand the severity, next steps or instruction, it can be harmful to patient outcomes. Using complicated diagnosis terminology and PT school jargon can confuse and turn promising patients away from your practice.

Simply put, keep it simple.

Don’t Overdo It

Some marketers can get away with sending you sale after sale into your inbox, but physical therapists should be mindful of their patient engagement levels.

Instead of drawing lines in the sand, consider this: Am I bringing value to my patients with this message? If the answer is yes, you should probably post, send, call, and let them know what you have to say. If not, you should reconsider.

Be Positive and Compassionate

Sometimes patients need a reminder that physical therapy is a natural part of life. Being a compassionate and positive individual who cares for their well-being can work wonders for their engagement.

Physical therapy can be embarrassing, shameful, and uncomfortable for many individuals who have recently lost their physicality. Being relatable and compassionate on a case-by-case basis will build trust with your patients. This sustained trust translates into better outcomes and more appointments, which is good for business and better for recovery.

Be Mindful of Seasons and Holidays

While you don’t exactly need holiday-themed messaging, acknowledging the change in seasons and holidays throughout the year helps personify and make your value proposition relevant. On the other hand, if your patients are busy during the holiday season, try to be flexible with appointment scheduling. PTs who work with patients during the busiest times of the year will likely see higher overall satisfaction, loyalty and engagement rates.

Focus on the Patient

The secret to successful engagement with your patients is making everything about them. It sounds easy, right? Do a quick gut check on your website. Does it talk about your practice or their recovery? Focusing solely on the patient will supercharge acquisition and conversion rates with your messaging. It will also help people understand the benefits of physical therapy because they can envision healing their current problems.

Many PTs make the mistake of focusing on the benefits of physical therapy, the different services they offer, and their practice’s long history of excellence. Unfortunately, your patients probably don’t care. They want to know how they can benefit by seeing a physical therapist. They want to know how your practice’s track record of excellence can help them.

Provide Value

If there’s one takeaway from this article, it’s this: always provide value to your patients. Whether you’re calling, sending text notifications, using email, posting on social media, or any other messaging mediums, always make your messaging worthwhile. You can check yourself before you communicate by asking, “What value does this bring to the patient?” If there isn’t a clear answer, your message can get lost in translation.

People want to know what’s in it for them, and if you aren’t giving them a clear answer, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

Patient messaging and engagement seem easy enough, but when you look under the hood, there’s a complex framework of moving pieces—making patient messaging incredibly difficult to master. It starts with understanding your audience, establishing your tone, and determining the outcomes you want to achieve. Follow this by crafting the actual message positively and purposefully. Test different strategies to engage with patients to determine the best practices for your patient base.

The foundation of running a successful physical therapy practice is built on excellent communication with patients and staff. If your current software isn’t making practice management, patient experiences, or communication more accessible, you might consider an alternative. MWTherapy’s all-in-one physical therapy software automates every process of running a practice, so you can focus on what matters most—your patients.

Try this free demo to see what MWTherapy can do for you.

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