Sramana Mitra: Talk to me about customer acquisition. What did you start with? What worked and what did you settle into as your primary customer acquisition strategy?
Heidi Jannenga: It’s a funny story actually. We built our own website from the very beginning. Back in 2008, there was not a lot of competition in SEO and keywords. It was not something that people in the physical therapy software space even understood. The bar was low. Part of my co-founder’s background was building enterprise software platforms and understanding the SEO strategy. When we built our first website, we incorporated a lot of that information.
I’ll tell you an anecdotal story on how we got our WebPT name. WebMD was something that was up and coming. It was very new and also everybody was flocking to it because it was this first foray into getting online to find medical information. When we were brainstorming our names, because that was so prevalent, I thought, “Let’s see if the WebPT domain name is available.”
We looked it up and found out that somebody had bought it seven years ago. Our co-founder called up the owner and had a long conversation about what he was doing with it. He actually was a previous physical therapy patient who had some software background. He was a marathon runner and had been in a car accident. He had been through all these different medical providers. He finally got a physical therapist and after six months of being in pain, he finally got back to running marathons again.
He felt really indebted to physical therapy so he put up this site that was supposed to draw attention to physical therapy. He really didn’t do a whole lot of work. After having the conversation about what we were trying to accomplish, he sold us the domain name for $500. We felt very, very lucky. Plus, you have the seven years of Google algorithm that was backing that WebPT domain. With that, as well as our SEO knowledge, we rose to the first page very quickly.
We’ve always, from the very beginning, had a very digital strategy on customer acquisition. We have an amazing pull of our customer acquisition through inbound marketing. We’ve established ourselves through a lot of content development. We do free webinars. We have videos that we produce for educational purposes that are now huge draws into our inbound marketing for lead generation where we are just really filling our sales team and keeping them extremely busy on being able to complete demonstrations of our product and converting to sales.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve garnered close to 40% market share. With consolidation happening, we’ve had to go upmarket in terms of moving towards the midsize to enterprise level practices. That sales strategy is much different from the small business strategy where it’s much more about relationship-building and longer sales cycle. You have to go to the practices. We now start to ramp up and develop that the kind of customer acquisition which is very different from what we started with in the SMB space.