A Marketing Geek’s Dream: The Making of a Physical Therapy Super Fan

As a physical therapist, you are striving to provide the best care possible to your patients while simultaneously growing your practice. In today’s digital world, many physical therapy organizations have realized the need to leverage marketing to strengthen their presence and gain new patients. PT offices are constantly looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, but it can be difficult to stand out among all the noise. However, if you can tap into the power of fandom, you can build a loyal base of patients who are enthusiastic about your practice.

For those of us who consider ourselves marketing geeks, this is a dream come true. In this blog post, I’ll take you on a personal journey into how a physical therapy practice created “super fans” among their patients. I’ll look at how what looks like a simple technique has helped to build a community that is passionate about their practice, and how they were able to turn them into loyal, raving super fans.

Through the Door Toward a Marketer’s Dream

Several weeks ago, I decided that it was time for me to seek help for an ailment that had developed several months ago and was progressively worsening. I knew, based on my field of work, that getting into a good physical therapy clinic would potentially lead me from despair to repair. Little did I realize that I would literally geek out within minutes after I walked in the door for my first visit. 

The wall as you walk in was a marketer’s dream. Sure, there was the typical “leave us a review” signage, but it went much further, and it all eventually made so much sense to me and my marketing brain.

Gamifying the Physical Therapy Patient Experience

The patient engagement program at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists in Leander, Texas is literally gamified. This gamification immediately hooked me as a new patient and has me writing here today as a super fan of not only the marketing, but the team and ideas that make up this wonderful practice.

Many people, including myself, have never been to physical therapy. This was all new to me. I had an idea of what to expect based on my work at Raintree, but there were still butterflies as I went from appointment to parking in the lot and finally walking into the office.  

Read the Guide:
A Roadmap for Effective, Patient-Centered Marketing

The Immediate Impression Was Energizing

As I stepped out of my car, I looked over to see what I thought was an employee walking back and forth in a branded t-shirt. I thought it to be a little odd, but as I walked into the building, I noticed others sitting down in the patient waiting area with a TexPTS branded shirt on as well.

I remained confused for a moment, because at that point I knew that there was no way this was their staff sitting in the waiting area. These, as I would find out, were super fans. And it immediately made me, a brand new patient, feel an instant commitment to the office.

The Engagement is a Collaboration Between Patients and Team

After checking in, my eyes returned to the wall I had seen when walking in. It all made sense. It was simple, yet masterful in so many ways. There were the “leave us a review” signs and, to the left, a sign on top of a display of t-shirts.

The sign read: “T-Shirts. On your 3rd visit, you’ll receive a Free TexPTS t-shirt. Wear your t-shirt to each visit and you will add a point to our score for the week. A tech will also spin the wheel for you to get extra points or tricks done by our therapist. If we reach our point goal for the week, we get to wear our TexPTS t-shirts on Friday!”


As a marketer, I could see so many levels of genius in what some may say is a very simple sign with t-shirts underneath. I immediately saw a non-stop cycle of engagement. 

At the most basic level, the appeal to patients wearing their shirts so that the staff can wear their own shirt on Friday appeals to our core human emotion and desire to help others. What is the effort required to put on a t-shirt? What is the reward of putting on and wearing the t-shirt to your PT appointment? The reward is likely “moderate” on its own, but it is boosted to “high” as there will be a wheel spin that could result in points, or better yet, a trick by the therapist. 

The appeal to the human desire “to be helpful” is all this is doing, but it works so well because it is simple, and it leads to a cyclical effect that magnifies this helpfulness.

The Cyclical Effect of “Simple” Marketing

The team is happy because they hit their points goal. They hit their points goal because enough patients wore their shirts to their appointments. The happier team provides even better service to the patients. The patients are happier and therefore are very likely to wear their t-shirt to other places they visit before and after their PT appointment. Better yet, the patients are also more likely to choose to wear their t-shirt on a day where they do not have a PT appointment. Even better still, the patients who wear their shirts to every visit are more likely to remain loyal in the sense of being on time for appointments and staying with the practice.

The effect is cyclical and depends on an all-hands approach for it to work. I can speak for it working at this location because everyone I have encountered in my three visits was happy, proactive, on time, and part of a family that was very likely nurtured from the moment they walked into the door for their first visit. 

Graduating to Super Fan

While the t-shirt is a solid contributor to super fandom, it isn’t THE key to graduation. Yes, I was super happy when I received my t-shirt after my third visit. Yes, I saw more of the inner workings of this genius marketing than the average patient sees. However, it was that very first impression of happy team members and happy patients, proud of the brand they are representing in their respective roles and ways, that sparked the movement toward becoming a super fan. 

I was a fan when I saw everything on day one in the office. I was further a fan of the great care that the team at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists has given to me. Through those three visits, seeing how engaged and happy everyone was, I became a super fan. The t-shirt at the end of my third visit was my “diploma” and definitely a significant piece of the experience.

Read the Guide:
A Roadmap for Effective, Patient-Centered Marketing

AuthorCameron DeJong is Director of Digital Marketing at Raintree Systems.

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Blogs are created for educational and informational purposes only.  The information provided does not constitute or, is not intended to constitute, legal or medical advice. When you read this information, visit our website, or access our materials, you are not forming an attorney-client, provider-patient, or other relationship with us.

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