Best marketing strategies for Physiotherapy clinics

It seems like every clinic owner is on the eternal search for the best marketing strategies for physiotherapy clinics! The frustration is endless – Google searches provide 1000 “best marketing strategies”… and not a single one applies to Physiotherapy…

“Just put out ads saying you’re the ‘best’ physiotherapist” – banned by the Physiotherapy regulator.
“Put out mass email campaigns with a big discount” – look sleazy and against the professional standards.
“Spend some money on paid ads on Facebook” – putting your business alongside cheap sunglasses and discount clothing doesn’t exactly scream ‘strong reputation’.

Different types of marketing for Physio clinics

Marketing goals

Marketing goals can be broadly divided up into three categories:
Acquiring new clients – people who have never met you before
Retaining current clients – clients who have been in within a year or so
Reactivating old clients – former clients who haven’t had contact with your clinic for over a year

Basic terminology

Some basic terminology to understand:

  • conversion or acquisition – a booking generated by your marketing (this is NOT clicks or website visits)
  • marketing spend – literally everything that you spend on marketing, from ads to graphics to mass email subscriptions
  • cost per acquisition or cost per conversion – the above marketing spend divided by the number of confirmed bookings that it delivered
  • conversion rate – how many people engaged with your ad compared to how many ended up booking in
  • lifetime client value – how much a client spends with your business throughout their ongoing contact with you
  • episode value – how much a client spins with you as a result of a single injury episode
  • margin – the percentage of revenue left behind after you’ve covered your expenses to deliver that service
  • EDM – stands for Electronic Direct Mail, which is a mass email campaign that you send to an email list

Best marketing strategies for each target group

Acquiring new physiotherapy clients

Acquiring new clients is probably the most difficult of all three goals as you aren’t known to this audience. This means you need to establish your experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Because most savvy shoppers understand that, while you’ll spend a few bucks with an unknown retailer, there’s a lot more at stake when you’re trusting your health to an unknown entity.

Search ads

For acquiring new clients, search ads like Google Ads (and Microsoft ads) typically have the best conversion rates and some of the lowest cost per acquisition. This is because for people who don’t already know a physiotherapist, the most common way of finding a physiotherapist is from a Google search. Spending money on search ads put you at the top of this list and increases your chances that that person will land on your doorstep.

Google Ads have a lot of great algorithms that can help you figure out which headlines and text are working best for you. So the longer you stick with your campaign, the less you should be spending per acquisition. On that note, don’t be afraid if your first acquisition costs more than your margin per session. Just keep it close eye on it and it should get cheaper over time.

Paid online referrals

Almost every country also has an online referral business that can send clients your way. In Australia we have Hotdoc but there are a multitude of others. When considering the cost per acquisition of new clients, you should consider the episode value and margin of the new client demographic specifically. Remember that returning clients already trust you and will likely have longer treatment episodes, so looking at your episode length overall can give you an artificially inflated value for new client episodes. Generally speaking, if your cost per acquisition is less than half of the cost of a treatment session, then you’re typically in front of your marketing spend.

Retaining existing clients

When it comes to retaining existing clients (clients who have been in the door in the last 12 months or so), they’re expecting regular communication from you and you’re also fresh in their mind. That makes this group the easiest to convert with the highest conversion rate.


For this group, you can look at EDMs as a way of regularly staying in touch so that you’re front of mind if something happens and they require Physiotherapy. Just keep the content brief, helpful and relevant.

Your own Physio clinic app

To go that one step further, think about what your client do regularly each week and the resources they use. If you can provide that resource, not only are you front of mind but you’re also seen as a trustworthy and helpful source of information. For that purpose (and we’re definitely biased), nothing integrates into a client’s life like a helpful app. Having a Physio clinic app that can provide helpful exercise programs as well as diagnosing any early niggles or injuries means that they’re touching base with you regularly.

Our early stats on a Physiotherapy clinic app provided by a sports physio practice in Sydney indicated that 90% of app users converted into booked appointments, compared to just 16% of website users.

Reactivating old clients

The last group to consider is older clients who haven’t been to your Physiotherapy clinic for more than one year. This group is easier to convert than cold leads but not as easy as recent clients. They know you and they recall your reputation (kinda) but they’re just as likely to Google “nearest physio” for their next injury.

EDMs and perennial resources

We find for this group, the best marketing strategies are infrequent EDMs and perennially useful resources. The selection of emailed content to this group is vitally important. Think about what the majority of previous clients would find the most useful at any given time. You could send out the world’s greatest article on what to do for an ankle sprain in the first three days, but this will only appeal to the infinitely small group of ex-clients who happen to have sprained their ankle less than three days before that email arrive. Because no one is going to read an article that doesn’t apply to them and they’re very unlikely to save that article, thinking “this might come in handy next month when I roll my ankle…”.

Come up with a helpful guide to gym program modifications, or a couch to 5K program for runners. It may take some additional effort to put these resources together but you can send them out every six months with very little additional effort and they can return a steady trickle of old clients to justify your time.

Calculating your marketing spend

This is the bit that is vitally important for every physiotherapy owner. You can come up with the best marketing strategies for physiotherapy clinics but if it costs you more to bring in a clients than the margin will make that client, you’re just throwing money out the door.

Calculate your episode value for first time clients

This can be a little time consuming but you need to know how much revenue you can expect to generate from someone who has never been to your clinic before. As mentioned above, this number is often different for long term clients compared to first time clients.

Calculate your margin

This is generally best done over a longer-term view, such as a financial year. The most broad rush approach is simply subtracting your expenses (like Physio salaries and rent) from your revenue, and then dividing that remaining figure by revenue. It should give you a percentage which tells you your profit from every dollar you bring in the door.

Calculate your margin on one appointment and on an initial client episode

Simply multiply your margin percentage by the cost of an initial appointment as well as by the initial episode value. This should produce two figures – the profit remaining from a single initial appointment, and how much you could expect to make on average for every new episode that comes in the door.

Those two figures are the most important in your marketing planning.
If you can spend less than the margin on one appointment, then there’s some profit made even if the client only stays for one visit.
For the margin per episode, if your cost per acquisition ever exceeds this figure, then your marketing approach is generating a loss and is not worth pursuing.