My perception from reading a variety of comments made by clinicians is that many believe we have a very large market of opportunity in the rehabilitation world. I agree: the marketing opportunity is huge. Although this is true, I do not believe every potential opportunity is the best fit. Not every potential customer is your best customer. Who is your best customer?
I believe that if you know characteristics of your best customer, you can target your marketing to reach individuals who are similar to your best customers. One common sense characteristic: your best customer needs what you provide. I can think of other best customer characteristics.
1. Recent Onset of a Problem. Research is supporting the concept of "the sooner the better" when it comes to receiving rehabilitation services. I'm not saying that rehabilitation professionals don't make a difference in the later stages after a problem. What I am saying is individuals who seek rehabilitation services sooner tend to have very positive results. In looking at the big picture, the other reason "sooner is better" is due to the actual financial savings. Rehabilitation professionals do not tend to order expensive diagnostic imaging, perform surgery, prescribe medications or perform injections.
2. Active Role in Care. Rehabilitation isn't something that is done to you. Successful outcomes are dependent upon your customers taking responsibility for their situation and actively engaging in their care. Daniel Deutscher et. al. found in their study that a patient's dedication to performing their home exercise program was an important factor in achieving positive outcomes.
3. Consistently Attend Scheduled Visits. Your best customer will need to take time out of their day to dedicate it to your services. A "visit" can mean an in-person visit or a telehealth visit. If the majority of your services are in-person appointments, your best customer will need to be located within a 10-20 mile radius and won't typically be away traveling.
4. Those Who Choose You. I believe there is a bit of special magic that happens when a customer independently chooses you. When our kids needed braces, I just went with the referral our dentist suggested. I blindly went in trusting he knew a great orthodontist. I seriously had the worst experience ever with the "free evaluation." I refused to go back. That orthodontist lost THOUSANDS of dollars. What I did do: I asked quite of few of my patients who had kids around the same age as my kids who they recommended. The same orthodontist practice was mentioned with similar stories. Guess where I chose? Give your current patients something to share: either tangible OR memorable.
5. Timely and Adequate Payment for Services. Seriously, I'd be amiss to not mention that your best customer pays you. I'm not going to get into an argument as to whether insurance payments or patient payments are better. In my mind, it doesn't really matter: payment is payment. What matters: are you being paid at a rate that covers your cost and allows for a 15% or better profit margin? Your best customer does this.
What other characteristics do your best customers have?
In case you didn't realize this, FOTO does have marketing tools to assist you in reaching your best customer.