As a physical therapist, you will encounter all kinds of patients. It’s inevitable to have patients that just sneak inside to get free advice and at the moment you speak to them about payment, they say it is not necessary to go on because they feel better now.
This is more than irritating, since you invest your time and knowledge to help them and they don’t appreciate it at all. Regardless of what type of clients they are: live client or someone receiving your consults online, it hurts the same way.
Now, let’s speak firstly about the information you give out online, be it through your blog articles, videos, or social media posts. You are providing people with free value because you know that will build a relationship and eventually you would market your product to your audience and they will purchase it.
So far, so good, but why do you get disappointed when you run your offer and the conversions are very low?
This is the billion-dollar question, to which there are many answers. Between them, freeloader patients make a major part of it. Are those who make the most of your free content. Comment, share and engage, ask questions, watch every piece of free content you put, but don’t take action when you promote your offer.
You don’t have to get mad about this. These types of clients are everywhere, in every business, no matter the niche or product. From health to entertainment. Freeloaders are used to behaving this way with situations and people in their life. You are not the first person to confront their behavior.
But, is there a way to spot potential and non-potential paying clients in advance without draining your energy? Or at least, be able to learn from them?
Sure there are a few things you should keep in mind:
When a potential patient enters your blog, either by searching on Google for his issues, or from your other channels, he needs to find an enormous amount of value. Articles need to speak about problems he might be facing. Your newsletter needs to provide content that solves his needs.
You need to make it clear where patients can get in touch: your email, your social media channels, phone number etc. BUT what is important here: clarify what he should expect. Clarify that there is a limited amount of free content, free answers, free consults he can get, and there is a list of your services as a physical therapist with their prices to choose from.
The intention of a patient who does not want to pay for your services is to lower the value of your free advice. You need to carefully observe this because it’s a major factor that distinguishes your potential patients from non-paying freeloader patients.
Notice if there is a change in the way your audience reacts when you put out free content and when you talk to them about your offers. This might be more obvious in real life conversations with these people, but it is easy to be spotted online too.
See how your potential patients react when you’re exchanging emails or comments. For example: when your client is asking you about advice after a back injury that has lasted for quite a long time, and your exchange emails with him, know when it’s the time to present your paid packages.
“This is all I can say for now. Follow these steps and if you feel the need for further consulting sessions please check my packages that start from $50…”
Then you present the patient with your paid packages you have on your website, which can be Zoom consultations, initial evaluations, or specific services about various types of injuries such as:
Non-paying clients are always bad for your business, right? Right.
Wrong! You can learn to use every situation to your advantage, no matter how negative it might seem on the first sight. Especially when it comes to your audience who is always to be seen as potential patients.
When your audience buys into your services, you make a profit, but what if it doesn’t? You still make a profit because you can use their case as market research. Why didn’t they buy it? After you have done your part by providing free value, building a relationship, and then promoting. What went wrong?
You shouldn’t get mad when potential patients don’t buy. On the contrary, you should try to discover the reason behind their rejection. Is it because of money? Is it because their injuries are not serious enough? Is it because you haven’t described your offer accurately enough? Or maybe is it because you are targeting the wrong people?
Sometimes, you could mistake the wrong audience for non-paying patients who want to get the most of your free content and then run away. But, in truth, they simply are not interested. You should accept this and make no extra effort to convert them.
But, if they are part of your targeted audience, understand there is a need for an immediate change on your content. Test different types of social media posts, change headlines, post more often, change the way you speak to them.
This requires research and marketing skills. Definitely, you can do it by yourself if you dedicate the time and efforts needed, but hiring real professionals to take care of it will save you time you could be cashing by treating other patients.
A big mistake most physical therapy clinic owners make is starting to promote themselves without connecting with the audience. Here we are not talking about the service section on your website, which is essential, but with the way you respond to messages and comments from you potential patients on social media or your blog articles.
After you have created a relationship with your audience through the content you put out, it can be easily recognizable who is a potential client and who is not. How are you making these patients feel? Let’s say you got a potential patient to book a session with you but after he comes at your clinic he/she completely changes his/her mind about the sessions.
Do you know your current patients and what do they like or dislike about your clinic? A study was made on the importance the environment has on patient’s choices: “Patients hospitalized in general hospital settings are likely to feel anxious as they deal with a foreign environment that removes personal power and control and imposes unfamiliar routines, structures, and rules.”
This means you have to pay attention to your patient’s behaviors and how they want to be treated. Eliminate elements that position you and your clinic as an uncomfortable place for your potential patients and change the non-relatable content you are putting out.
When you do all these but you still face rejections from your potential patients, know that you just have to admit a few people simply don’t like to pay for your services. There is no particular reason, but they are used to benefiting from free material and making no other move unless their condition is worsened.
Most potential clients don’t convert into paying patients because your offer is not enticing enough. They go through you free content, but when it comes to buying your services, they just vanish. How can you prevent this from happening?
There’s no such categorization such as paying and non-paying clients. The only categorization is: people with and without problems. If your patient really has an injury and needs to consult a physical therapist then he is a potential client. Whether he/she chooses you, depends wholly on your offer.
Your offer either makes or breaks a relationship with your potential patient. For example: putting prices too high will make them think you are overpricing yourself and are focused only on the money. On the other side, putting prices too low will make them doubt about the quality of your services.
The secret formula here is this: Great Free Content + In-demand Services + Great Copywriting.
From your Lead Magnet to the landing page of your website where you promote your service, the content needs to be patient-focused and without fluff. Most importantly, your content needs to speak the language of your patients. Don’t confuse your audience with complex fancy words they don’t usually use.
Use sites such as Reddit.com, Facebook Groups, and other resources to understand more about how your potential patients communicate with each other about PT services and their past experience with physical therapists.
You will quickly understand how to avoid certain mistakes and figure out what your potential clients are looking for. After you have made these observations and applied them to your offer you will see a change immediately. Not only will most of the non-paying clients convert into paying clients, but you will understand what works and what doesn’t so that you make the same mistake no more.
At this point, spotting paying and non-paying patients is easy, since your content throughout blog articles and social media channels is structured in such a clear way that leaves no space for confusion. When there is clarity people either buy, or step back and enjoy the free stuff.
Spend less energy on the second type of your audience and keep your content sharp and clear. This was our advice for today. Now, go and crush it!
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