What is hyperlocal marketing, and why does it matter for your physical therapy practice? As the name suggests, it is a method of marketing that focuses on reaching a targeted audience within a specific geographic area/local market. It is important for your practice because when most people are searching for a physical therapist, they do so with a location in mind — someone near where they work or live.
Indeed, location has become an incredibly important factor for how people search online for products and services. The use of “near me” and “best” + “right now” in search has exploded in the past few years. In fact, rather than having to specify where they are, users increasingly expect search engines to automatically take their location into account when showing results.
A hyperlocal marketing strategy ensures that your practice has the right kind of online presence to show up in these kinds of local searches.
How Local Search Works
When someone does a looking for something locally, search engines like Google want to show the most topically and geographically relevant listings possible. They do this by evaluating your online presence according to the five pillars of local search visibility:
1. Recency — How often are you publishing new content on your website, social media, and online directories like Google My Business?
2. Distance — Do search engines know your location and that you serve the area that person is searching from?
3. Prominence — Do other people link to your website as a source for knowledge and expertise?
4. Relevancy — Is the content you’re creating valuable and useful? Does it provide answers to the questions people are searching for?
5. Availability — Do you have your business hours posted online? Are you open when the person is looking for help?
So, what are some are the best marketing strategies physical therapists can use to maximize their online presence for hyperlocal searches?
Hyperlocal Marketing Tips for Physical Therapists
Here are some important tips and strategies physical therapists can use to become more visible to their ideal patients online, no matter where they look. Each one plays a role in building your online presence, so you show up in the local searches that will help your business grow.
One way you can optimize your website for hyperlocal marketing is to include a URL location tag for particular cities or particular areas that you are targeting. For example, say your practice has clinics in two locations — Town A and Town B. You would want to set up two subpages on your website, each of which contains relevant information for that specific location, for example, “https://localphysicaltherapy.com/location/town-a” and “https://localphysicaltherapy.com/location/town-b”. Using location tags in your URL makes it so that when someone searches for “physical therapist town b”, they can immediately tell you are a good match.
Next, ensure your site is set up using a local schema — a type of structured data markup code that makes it easier for search engines to index and understand your website. Having this kind of structured data is critical for local search. Moreover, it is what determines if your website content is eligible to show up as one of Google’s Rich Snippets.
Finally, you want to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Your website text needs to be easily readable, links and navigation easily clickable, and content easily consumed when viewed on a smartphone or tablet. Also, make sure that your website loads quickly — research shows that the probability of people leaving goes up to 90% if your page takes more than three seconds to load.
Directory listings are essentially the online equivalent of the yellow pages and are one of the ways search engines and clients will research your practice to see if you are who you say you are. You want your business to be found on as many sites as possible — even places you’ve never heard of before. More local citations equal more visibility.
One of the most important listings to claim is your Google My Business (GMB) page. This is the profile that shows up in Google Maps and local search results when someone types in your business name. You can learn more about how to claim and optimize your GMB profile in our on-demand webinar Google My Business 101.
Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data should be consistent across your various online listings. If you have different phone numbers, addresses, or name variations showing up across the web, it can confuse search engines and clients alike — making them ask “Is this the same business?” Having consistent and accurate information across the web signals that you are a credible organization and can help you rank more highly in local searches.
Clients use reviews to show their pleasure or displeasure in working with you. They are something Google takes into account when deciding how much they should show your profile to potential new clients in local search. The more good reviews you have, the more likely your business will show up in local searches because Google trusts that your practice will do a good job helping the searcher.
Aim to get three to four new reviews each month. According to a 2020 survey, only 48% of consumers would consider using a business with fewer than four stars, and 73% only pay attention to reviews written in the last month. Ask your patients in-person to review you online and follow up with automated emails and reminders.
The more relevant, localized content you create (blogs, videos, images, podcasts, social media posts, etc.), the higher the chances are you will appear in local searches. Make sure to incorporate location signals into your content. For example:
- Check-ins on social media
- Content Title & Headers
- File name
- Meta descriptions
Each piece of content you produce gives search engines more information about your business — what services you offer, the community you work in, your areas of expertise, etc. — which they use to determine if you are relevant to the search. It is also a great way to capture the interest of potential clients and demonstrate that you are an expert in your field and someone they can trust to serve their best interests.
It can take weeks, even months, of consistent SEO strategy implementation before you start ranking well in local organic search. If your practice is new, or you need to boost your client load, you can also use paid advertising on platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., to drive local leads. There are many forms of paid advertising, such as search ads, video, ads, display ads, social ads, etc., and most major platforms use some type of pay-per-click model. What is great about digital advertising is that you can set location parameters (such as city names or zip codes) to ensure your ads only run for people searching for physical therapists in your community.
You can learn more about digital advertising options in our on-demand webinar Advertising 101: How to Amplify Your Local Reach & Maximize ROI with Google, Bing and Facebook.
Email marketing is easy to do and can generate a good ROI. Essentially all you have to do is write a relevant email and send it out to a tailored audience list. For example, if you live near the mountains, you might send out an article about common hiking injuries. If you have multiple business locations, you can customize your emails per location. Email marketing can also be a great tool to stay connected with past patients to let them know about relevant new services.
Branding is what people think about when they first see or hear your business name in a search ad, social post, Maps result, etc. It is the preconceived ideas and feelings they associate with your practice (even if they have never been a patient).
Your brand includes your name, your logo, content, location, years in business — all the things that help people know who you are and that you are a respected local business. A great way to establish your brand in a hyperlocal context is to get involved in your community by supporting local organizations, partnering with charities, etc. Your work will benefit people in your local community and help to build positive brand recognition.
Your Partner for Hyperlocal Marketing Success
Surefire Local provides the industry’s most complete marketing platform, designed to help locally-focused businesses of all sizes attract lifetime customers, grow revenue, and broaden reach in their local markets.
Our all-in-one marketing intelligence platform makes hyperlocal marketing easy. You can manage all the marketing strategies we discussed from one dashboard. Having everything together also makes it easier to see what is and is not working, so you can further improve your ROI.
Contact us to book your demo and start building your local online presence today!