#PTonICE Daily Show – Tuesday, February 6th, 2024 – How to market dry needling

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Dry Needling division leader Paul Killoren takes a deep dive into how dry needling has been traditionally marketed and offers some tips to improve your marketing via your website & social media to demystify dry needling in a manner that results in more patients choosing your clinic for treatment.

Take a listen to the podcast episode or check out the full show notes on our blog at www.ptonice.com/blog

If you’re looking to learn more about our live dry needling courses, check out our dry needling certification which consists of Upper Body Dry Needling, Lower Body Dry Needling, and Advanced Dry Needling.


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Good morning team. This is the PT on Ice daily show and I am broadcasting worldwide from my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. My name is Paul Killoren. I’m the current division lead for dry needling for ice. We just wrapped up a banger, an awesome group in Milwaukee last weekend. I am from Wisconsin, so wife, kiddo came with me and we drove up to Appleton, which is my hometown. So I am broadcasting from Appleton from my father’s office. The childhood nostalgic vibes are strong. I’ve been in Wisconsin for a week, so you might hear some accent come out of me like, oh, you know, here we are in Wisconsin but wanted to grab this PT on ICE slot to jump on today and discuss how to market dry needling and even kind of how to market dry needling 2.0 maybe even differently than the other dry needling out there.

So I’m gonna be quick this morning, but picture with me, and this shouldn’t be hard to picture because almost any website, almost any social media post, if it’s a clinic, state to state across the country, here’s our list of services, manual therapy, BFR, dry needling, when you click on that dry needling tab, it jumps you to a page, what is dry needling? And that’s the page I wanna discuss this morning. Because here is what 90% of those pages start with and look like. Dry needling is a technique that uses a monofilament needle. And from there, I mean, first of all, from there, most narratives, most websites, most explanations of dry needling still kind of go into trigger point-ish theories. So I’m going to give a few tips today. One of them is, is not to go down there, but, and if you’ve taken a course from us, you get that, that influence that we have better explanations, better narratives to how we do the technique, but what the benefits of dry needling are. But first I want you to picture that snapshot of you’ve jumped over that dry dealing page on a website. Before I get into the actual explanation, the content of the page, let’s just talk how that page should be designed. Because we are in the social media, the Google web page realm where we’re trying to get a three second impression to that patient. Everything we know now is that that patient is not necessarily going to spend two to five minutes reading one, two, three paragraphs about dry needling. So really we have above that scroll line, above that page to capture their attention, I mean make it visually appealing, but also give them enough info that either we answered their general question or intrigued them enough to keep scrolling down.

So what is dry needling? Before I get into the content, this page. should be visually appealing. I mean, it should fit your website for sure. But here, when I say visually appealing, we have that main homepage. I think a good half or third of it, so large enough to be visible, central, and appealing, should be a video or a picture of dry needling. And here’s where I’ll say 90% of the webpages out there have a pretty generic stock photo of, you know, maybe a hand, maybe a hand without a glove, gently placing a needle. And I get it, we’re using Canva, we’re pulling from Shutterstock, we’re using generic stock photo libraries for this. First, I think we could admit the stock photo libraries are getting better. So if you created your webpage years ago, there are more dry needling specific images out there to use for this webpage. So if you’re not going to have photography of yourself, which first of all I think is a nice touch to have you with a patient doing the technique, but if we’re gonna use a substantial portion of this above the scroll line presence on the what is dry needling page, make it a nice looking photo and make it dry needling looking versus acupuncture looking. I know from a still photo there’s arguments that you can’t tell, but find an image of a clinician using a glove. Find an image of, you know, a more assertive tissue grasp where it looks like the dry needling technique that we’re going to do in the clinic. If you use electrical stimulation, find a nice image of a needle with the clip attached, or you the clinician or a clinician using e-stim with dry needling. So make it visually appealing and make that image or video informative. Again, if we only have this small footprint on a webpage or three seconds to grab someone’s attention, or really answer their questions. Like, oh yeah, I’ve kind of heard about dry needling. They click over to your what is dry needling page. That image, that video should immediately answer lots of questions.

Part of why I think that visual is so important is now let’s go to the text block. Now let’s go to the content, the written information. I would say you have two good sentences that a patient is actually gonna read. Or to be even more extreme, I’ll say, if your definition of dry needling says, dry needling is a technique done by physical therapists using a monofilament needle, I think you’ve already lost your audience. I mean, at this point, I think as soon as we say filiform needle, monofilament needle, they’re like, I have no idea what a monofilament needle is, I’m out. We’re not talking to colleagues here, we’re talking to patients. So again, back to I think that image, that video or that image on the page is intentional. It shows a monofilament needle. They get it. They can see it’s not a hypodermic syringe. It’s not a blood draw or injection. we immediately answered one of their questions, which is, man, what does this needle look like? What does it feel like is what they’re asking, but really they’re saying, what does this needle look like? That’s what the image is for. Don’t waste half or a full sentence in your initial description of what is dry needling to say monofilament needle, which no one in the public has any idea what a monofilament or filiform needle is. So let’s not start with that. Again, what we see a lot of over here is dry needling is a technique performed by PTs with a monofilament needle. From there it typically goes into to deactivate trigger points, improve tissue health, all of these things. I think we can refine this first sentence a little bit. And whether I’m saying that this is now how all of us as rehab professionals should market dry needling, or if I’m really just talking to this, to our ICE dry needling 2.0 crowd, I would say dry needling is an intramuscular technique with electrical stimulation. And from there we can say two, improve tissue health, decrease pain, improve muscle responsiveness, improve performance, evacuate fluid. So that would be my first sentence. From that first sentence, I removed that monofilament, filiform, that distracting word that patients don’t know anyways. I did that with my picture. And I explained intramuscular. I mean, maybe that might lose some patience, but what we’re trying to say in a word or two is this needle’s going into a muscle, deeper into a muscle. Again, I think a video or an image showing that should be helpful. Use of electrical stimulation, that is key. And I’ll take that point a step further in a moment. But we have an intramuscular with electrical stimulation and then why? And I think that why is just the generic. Patients are saying, why would I consider this? And if they’re considering it to decrease pain, improve muscle function, maybe rehab a specific injury, improve muscle responsiveness, tissue health, all those things. That would be my first sentence. I’m not saying from that first sentence we’ve answered all of the patient questions, but we’re starting to frame dry needling in a context that either they’re going to form more questions, and I guess if I haven’t said it already, the intent of this first paragraph, this first what is dry needling above the scroll line block is not to answer all of their questions. If you think we can answer all of their questions about what does it feel like? Is it acupuncture? Does it hurt? Is this the same as a blood draw or injection? If we think we can answer all those questions in one paragraph, I think that’s going to be unsuccessful and to some degree is going to be a little scattered and chaotic. We have our webpage, we have an appealing picture that fits how we treat with dry needling. We started it with an explanation, ideally explaining that it is inside of a muscle using E-Stim and what the goals are. And we removed the words monofilament or filiform needle and removed the narrative and the explanation of trigger points.

So big picture, let’s say you were just trained or let’s say you were trained years ago I’d love you to go back to your webpage, go back to maybe your most recent patient-specific or informative social media post for patients and look it over. And I mean, be that naive patient and say, take a look at that page for three seconds and say, man, how was that interaction? Could I update this picture? Could I invest in taking my own photos or maybe making a 15 to 20 second video post? If you do that, it should be you, your voice explaining the procedure, but also have the procedure there. Again, the visual of dry needling answers many questions. Everything from the size of the needle, what does it look like? to your specific application of, are we just placing needles like acupuncture? Are we pistoning a little bit? Are we using e-stim? Is it one needle? Is it 20 needles? That little snapshot, actual snapshot of an image or 15 to 20 second video is very helpful for patients. So from there, I think that might be a slightly updated version of preparing for this podcast. I really just went typed in dry needling and a few specific cities. So that the main hits weren’t like Wikipedia and all that. It was actually like physical therapy clinics. There are some good looking websites out there. So I love that. But the what is dry needling page, I think needs to be better across the board. I think we need to be more succinct in our explanation and narrative of what dry needling is a little more contemporary, which again, is not just that sterile definition of a monofilament needle. One more thing I’ll add is that we are now living in a world, depending on which state you’re in, but really if dry needling has been more and more mainstream, really starting in the 90s, early 2000s, a decade, a decade. So let’s say we’re at least 20 to 30 years removed to where Dry needling has been a part of physical therapy practice in the public sector for a while now. What that brings is either confusion or patients with previous needling experience. More and more patients are saying, I’ve had dry needling. And whether they loved it or whether they did not love it, we now have to explain how we specifically, you specifically, are going to use dry needling. So if you are ice trained, I’m speaking to you all to say, how do you market dry needling 2.0, the training you all have had, how do you market that as slightly different than just other forms of dry needling out there? First of all, you all know, you should know, and you should be marketing pretty strongly, the use of e-stim. And really, if that patient comes in and says, You’re talking about dry needling, I saw your poster, I saw it on your website, like, I really don’t wanna do dry needling. Patient’s always in charge for sure, but I have more questions first. I’m like, okay, respect that. Where did you have dry needling before? Was it a PT? Was it a chiropractor? Was it an acupuncturist that is just going to call it dry needling? What was it like? Did they piston? Did they just place needles fairly superficially, not very deep? Did they use e-stim? How many needles did they do? These are all questions that we kind of need answers to. If the patient is saying, I had dry needling and I hated it. I was sore for two days. I’m not sure if it helped. Okay. Was the needle dose, the mechanical pistoning, a little too aggressive? Did they not use e-stim? Did they not reinforce it well after the treatment? Or, I had dry needling, you know, I don’t care about the needle, but I just, I didn’t feel like it did much. That patient is like, well, okay, how did they use the needle? Did they displace it? All the same questions. So we kind of have to frame the patient’s previous experience. And that’s easy with a patient in front of us where we can do a quick Q and A. But let’s say it is just general patients coming. Maybe you have a pretty good grasp of your competition, I guess I’ll say, or people in your community who are marketing dry needling, maybe you already have a pretty good awareness of how they’re doing it versus how we do it differently. we need to have that on our webpage as well. We need to market that actively as well. And at this point, it’s my own sample size. It’s previously not using as much e-stim to now I use e-stim almost exclusively. It is worth marketing that our e-stim or our needling, sorry, our needling with e-stim is a little different than maybe the dry needling that our patient has had at this other clinic or other types of dry needling. So I’d put that on the page, and I’d put that high on the page of, at DPT with Needles Physical Therapy, we do dry needling a little differently. We really believe on a little less tissue trauma, that’s less pistoning, and using E-Stim. E-Stim allows us to be a little more deliberate, a little more tactical for pain relief, neuromuscular changes, moving fluid. However you need to market that, but I would market that. The E-Stim, The e-stim across the board might be novel and unique to your patient, but having the ability to decrease that post-treatment soreness and be more effective or be more intentional and tactical is worth marketing for the patient. And again, I think that has to be a pretty succinct written webpage, text block explanation, but there’s value in having a really nice looking image or a 15 to 20 second video. So I think that’s where I’m going to drop off today. And really what inspired this, I think it was a month or so ago. Mitch Babcock jumped on and he’s like, how do we perform the art of that 15 minute exposure? He wasn’t talking needling directly, but he was saying, you’re at that CrossFit gym, that competition, you have your booth set up, your table set up. How do we master that 15 minute exposure? I think we can run something similar to that for dry needling in the future. But even before I got there, I thought it was worth kind of having this discussion of, we need to kind of update, we need to modify some of our social media and webpage appearances. I was gonna say explanations and that’s part of it, but it’s not just the words, it’s not just the text block. We really have to update how it looks and feels on that first, what is dry needling webpage on your website or on social media. So, Go take a look at your own website or make a post today or in the next week and give it that fresh look. Give it the fresh look using Canva, do all your stuff or with an image, but give it a fresher explanation. I’m going to drop off there. If you’ve got questions, this will be, uh, I guess live is wrapping up now, not seeing any immediate comments. Thanks for joining those. See lots of folks jumping on. Um, but drop some comments, questions on Instagram or YouTube. Uh, I am at DPT with needles, otherwise at ice physio on Instagram. How does your dry needling marketing look if you have three to five seconds or if you have that above the scroll line page? That’s the challenge today. Let’s see how it looks, folks. Thanks for joining. We’ll catch you next time on the Institute of Clinical Excellence, PTN Ice Daily Show. Out.

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