This essay examines the relationship between online marketing in the physical therapy, focused on the practice Fysioooo, and creating brand awareness and increasing turnover. In the recent years, the number of people who makes use of physiotherapy is decreasing. A lot of practices are in trouble, due to the declining number of patients and lack of profit. Reasons why fewer and fewer people go to a physiotherapist are mainly the economic crisis; people are going to save money on their health care policy. Healthy diet and exercise is an upcoming trend in the Netherlands, the do-it-yourself care also increases and the Internet provides in some cases results. (MarktingClub, 2014)
This essay argues that online marketing can create brand awareness for physical therapy practices and thereby boost the turnover. To create brand awareness it is important to take a look at the trends and developments in the health care en physical therapy. According to this essay, there a three major trends. Online physiotherapy, upcoming use of social media and more use of blogs and forums. The essay points out that those three trends can give the practice a boost. This essay will focus specifically on the opportunities of online marketing for practice Fysioooo to create brand awareness and boost turnover.
Fysioooo is an independent physical therapists practice that was established in 1985. With multiple locations within the Albert Schweitzer Hospital (ASZ) in the Drechtsteden region, they have developed special expertise in outpatient and primary care physiotherapy. Fysioooo offers a wide range of treatment and therapy, allowing them to differentiate themselves from other physiotherapy practices in the region. Personal support is at Fysioooo high priority. The group of people that they handle varies widely, from elderly patients to elite athletes. (Fysioooo, 2011)
Fysioooo currently makes little use of online marketing tools. They only manage a website which is not kept up to date. The ASZ and their own management team encourage Fysioooo to make more use of online marketing. The ASZ itself is one of the most ‘social’ hospitals in the Netherlands. (Kessels, 2014)
Fysioooo’s problem is that they have no knowledge of online marketing. Because it is unknown territory, they find it difficult to determine which online marketing channels would be most effective for the physical practice.
Because Fysioooo hardly uses online marketing, they are difficult to find on the Internet. In contrast to Fysioooo, you can find the competitors online very easily. In this way competitors can create brand awareness en Fysioooo is not able to differentiate themselves from the competitors. It is necessary for Fysioooo to use online marketing to remain a player in the Drechtsteden region.
There are some major trends that can create opportunities for Fysioooo. One of the trends in the physical therapy is that practices offer their services online by creating a platform where patients can find information and can ask questions.
Martine Rooth, founder of Fysiovoorjou, sees that many patients find it difficult to find time to come to the practice. People work a lot and not all practices are open until late at night (Fysiovoorjou, 2014). Also the founder of HelloFysio, Sandy of Beuzekom, noticed that patients have other needs. The growth of the Internet makes it easy to provide patients with a lot of information and exercises. The experience of the patients are good, her clients find it quite pleasant that they can do exercises in their familiar environment and it saves them a lot of time (Jacobs, 2014).
The government has made major changes in 2012 in fees for physiotherapy. The insurers reimburse fewer treatments and diseases, so the consumers have to pay for themselves. The costs can be in the hundreds of euros. Consequently, the number of people that uses physiotherapy is decreasing. This development is also visible at Fysioooo. ”Physiotherapeutic have to look for other solutions and models yet to sell their services to their (new) customers” (Jacobs, 2014). Online physiotherapy is a solution to raise the turnover. Research from the Radboud University shows that online physiotherapy works. The research was conducted among 133 patients who have used the HelloFysio platform. This research has emerged that 91% of patients achieved their goal, the treatment duration was shorter, the empowerment of patients significantly increased and decreased healthcare costs (Jacobs, 2014).
Another trend and opportunity for Fysioooo is the use of social media. Social media can offer various opportunities for Fysioooo. First, you can create brand awareness through social media. By posting interesting content about injuries, news within physiotherapy, etc. , the practice can get more attention. It is important that (potential) customers engage to practice.
Twitter and Facebook are good platforms for this purpose. On these platforms, you can easily demonstrate your knowledge in the work field. The (potential) customers can ask questions and give their experiences. It is also possible to find out which topics are popular on social media. To this Fysioooo can respond or write content so that the practice creates more attention. Also, it is so easy to actively approach (potential) customers (Tromp, 2014).
Another important feature of social media is that you can gain insight into your own target group and patients. The needs and wishes can be made visible, so Fysioooo can adapt accordingly. Social media has a low threshold for patients. This allows Fysioooo to engage in a discussion and get to know the experiences of patients. If you look at the competitors Fysioooo you see that they hardly make use of social media. Fysioooo can differentiate themselves by the use of social media. Competitors who do use social media only give information and have no interaction with the customer. Responding to messages is important to create customer loyalty (Social Media Marketing, 2013). It is for Fysioooo recommend that they are going to make intensive use of social media, because that can really make a difference.
The third trend in online marketing is the upcoming use of blogs in the physical therapy. More and more websites use a blog to get more leads to website and to increase the brand awareness. According to Louis Tromp a physiotherapy practice needs a blog on their website. In his view it is very important that the blog is maintained with knowledge and passion. If this is not so, it will hardly be useful to keep track of a blog. It is also very important to find out what the most searched keywords are. It is possible to track them on Google. About the most searched keywords a blog can be written. The purpose of a blog is that it is read by (potential) customers and not use your time for a blog that nobody reads. (Tromp, 2014)
As indicated above, there are many opportunities for Fysioooo in the field of online marketing. However, there will have to be made major adjustments within the company. It is advisable to schedule several hours each day for online marketing. Indeed, I believe if you start with, you should do it well. Especially in the initial phase, online marketing will take much time.
What I recommend is to optimize the website. Currently, the website is not well maintained. There is only information about treatments they provide. A well maintained website has so many opportunities for Fysioooo. Provide information about injuries and exercises. This will inform the customers and increase the search ability on Google. Also make sure that patients can make an appointment online. This can also reduce the threshold for new customers. It is the (potential) customer made easier to get in touch with the ground. (Potential) Customers will made it so easy to get in touch with practice.
It is also important that Fysioooo will to start blogging on the website. Blogging is, as noted above, a major trend among physiotherapy practices. Blogging ensures that more people will be directed to the website. This creates brand awareness, which can ultimately increase revenue. It also ensures that Fysioooo can gain the confidence of the customers, by expressing their knowledge and passion. Passion and knowledge are important factors for the binding of the customers.
To create brand awareness it is recommended to start with social media. Ensure interaction between Fysioooo and the client and provide not only information. So you can identify the needs and desires of the customers. To this Fysioooo can respond quickly. The downside of social media is that it takes much time to maintain the platforms, but it is a way for Fysioooo to stand out from its competitors.
Care must be taken that both the website, blog and social media accounts are properly maintained. A poorly maintained marketing channel may want to ensure that customers do not choose to practice. Also, a poorly maintained marketing channel creates a bad image for Fysioooo, which can spread quickly on the Internet. Winning the trust of the customer must be high priority in the deployment of online marketing. By showing knowledge and passion, the (potential) patient gets a good feeling by the practice and it is likely that the customer actually chooses Fysioooo.
Online physical therapy is only recommended when there is a large budget available. The creation of an online platform where your customers get online physiotherapy costs a lot of money. It is true that, according to research as can be read in the text above, online physiotherapy works. The advantage is that the customer can determine a time which suits him self, even outside working hours. Many people don’t have physical therapy longer in the care package. This causes fewer people visiting a physiotherapist. The costs of online physiotherapy are about 75% lower than in a visit to practice (Jacobs, 2014). This factor can people without physiotherapy insurance do persuade to use online physical therapy, so the turnover of Fysioooo will rise.
Fysioooo has many possibilities and opportunities in the field of online marketing. It’s never too late to make a start with it, but it is highly recommended to start with quickly. Online marketing works to create brand awareness and increase the turnover in these hard times!