Who Wants To Take Their PT Practice Viral?

Who Wants To Take Their PT Practice Viral?

A lot of people talk about viral marketing in relation to social media. It's not a social media phenomenon. It's been happening for a long, long time. Many businesses out there have gone viral. Many products have gone viral. 

Everything from the pet rock to the iPhone and Facebook went viral. Facebook didn't go viral because of social media. It was one of the first social media platforms, but it still went viral.

Today, I'm going to talk about the example of the iPhone. What happens is I bought and got the first iPhone way back in 2007. It came out at the end of June of 2007 and I think I got mine in July 2007.

I got my iPhone. I show it to my friends like, “Hey! Check this thing out. Look at this. This thing's incredible.” I started talking to my friends about the iPhone that I got because I'm an early adopter.

Early Adopters 

I'm talking to everybody about it. It was phased out and it was a hunk of junk, but it was very cool, so I'm showing it to everybody. Then what happens? 

I'm one of those happy customers. I go here, start talking to all my friends about it. I'll say this is my buddy, Ron. I start talking to my buddy Ron about my iPhone. 

Ron doesn't run out to buy the iPhone. He's like, “Oh, yeah! That's cool.” But he’s not buying. Somebody else is an early adopter, and they talk to Ron. So Ron is like, “Oh, yeah! Ray showed me this. This thing is really cool.”

When they’ve shut it down, they will also talk to his other money. This guy's a pretty early adopter. These are all in this bell-shaped curve. 

You got your early adopters, your mid, your lay, your laggards. You got your 10% here - that’s your early adopter. Another 10% here at the laggards. These people are early adopters who are in your practice right now.

What happens with this phenomenon is this person becomes an mid-early adopter. Then they talk to this person.

Going back to the iPhone example. Now this social pressure on this person has become too much like the social pressure. They want to fit in with their peer group. The social pressures become too much. This person then converts. They also start exerting pressure on their friends. 

This entire process keeps going. Everybody's exerting pressure back and forth. Then maybe this person that converts exerts some pressure back up. This is how something goes viral. 

I get my iPhone, and I show it to my buddies. This buddy doesn't buy it. Then they see it from somebody else, then the social pressure becomes too much. They start exerting that pressure on everybody else.

Take Facebook. The exact same thing happened. One person said, “Hey! Check out Facebook, this thing is incredible. You’ve got to join!” 

Maybe you hear that the first time, you don't do it. Hear it the second time, you say, “Eh, that’s not my thing,” and then the third time and fourth time. Eventually what happens is this sort of thing gets lit up all around. 

The social pressure starts to become so great on pretty much everybody that nearly everyone adopts. Now you have 70-year-olds that are on Facebook and that have iPhones. It's not because they ever wanted it, or they ever wanted to adopt it.

It's not even necessarily because they like it. It's because the social pressure became too great. They were getting it from everywhere. 

They were getting from their grandchildren, neighbors, friends, brothers, and sisters. Everybody exerts all this pressure on them.

But there are two things going on. The other thing that didn't happen with the iPhone was this one. Now I have drop-offs right here because that's our industry problem. What happens is you start getting negative pressure.


These are unhappy people. If this person buys an iPhone and hates it, they start putting pressure on everybody. They're like, “Oh, that's terrible.”

Then this person has too much pressure on them. They'll never convert. They're not going to buy an iPhone. It's just not going to happen. 

They'll end up with an Android someday, but they're never going to buy that iPhone because they have had too many people telling them too many negative things. This is a balancing act. It's constantly going on. 

When you tip the scales, and you get so much of this [social pressure] and next to none of this [negative pressure], then this thing goes viral. Even these happy people start pushing back at the detractors.

When the detractors say, “That thing is horrible. I would never use it,” somebody will pipe up and say, “Well, I don't know what you're talking about. I love it.” 

What happens is people that aren't even using it start exerting pressure on the detractors - also as an advocate, even though they've never used it, because they've had so many people in their circle that they know and trust that have told them that this thing is awesome. 

This is what happens when something goes viral. This pressure starts getting inserted everywhere. This positive pressure - all of these happy customers keep churning out and keep talking to other people. 

They start putting social pressure on their friends and their family members. Everybody wants to fit in, everybody wants to be part of the group. When they identify with that group, this actually becomes a strengthening thing. 

If everybody else has an iPhone and I have an iPhone, we’re all iPhone buddies. We talk about our iPhones, we love our iPhones. “Oh, that guy's an Android. What the heck is he thinking?”

It happens all the time with my wife and I. My wife has an iPhone. Most of my friends have iPhones, and I'm an Android. Everybody's giving me a hard time all the time about my Android. 

“That Android’s a piece of junk,” giving me a hard time about it. 

And I’m giving them a hard time about their phone. We all want to fit in, and this social pressure is what makes things go viral.

Number one, you have to have a great product. You can't just have an okay product and do it. But all things being equal, what makes it go viral? 

It's not advertising. It has nothing to do with advertising.  Your advertising gets you your early adopters. That's it, nothing more. You can always get the early adopters. 

But what the advertising then does is once they get the product in their hand or service in their hand, they become happy. They start talking about it. The more they talk about it, the more this thing goes viral.

This is viral marketing. It's not a social media phenomenon. Social media can make this conversation that's going on and this pressure happens faster because you can reach more people on a grander scale over a shorter period of time, but ultimately, this is what does it.


I know this is exciting stuff, how something goes viral. Everybody wants to know that. But then what happens is they start to get people that aren't in by pressure, and now it becomes a social norm. It becomes socially acceptable, and you're an outsider if you're not.

We all know the people that get out there that are like, “Oh, I'm not on Facebook,” while you and other people are on Facebook like it's a social norm now. There's pressure on those people all the time. 

They're on this end of the bell curve over here. They're the laggards. There's pressure on them all the time from everybody that's in here. They're exerting pressure on them to join Facebook, or to get the iPhone or whatever it might be.


This is how viral marketing works. Viral marketing has nothing to do with the internet. 

Pet rocks went viral. They were selling rock in a box and the thing went viral. How did it go viral? It went viral because of the social pressure from one kid to another kid. 

“I have a pet rock. Do you have a pet rock?” “No. Who wants a pet rock? That's stupid.” Then some other kid comes over there and says, “I’ve got a pet rock too!” The next thing you know, they're saying to their mom, “Hey! I want a pet rock.” 

This guy made millions of dollars selling pet rocks. Why? Because it went viral. Why did it go viral? It's because other people talk to other people about the pet rock. They start to exert social pressure. The social pressure becomes too much, and they can't handle it. 

They fold like an old lawn chair and they buy a pet rock. They go down to the store. They took money out of their pockets. They paid money for a rock in a box and walk past 20 rocks on their way down there. Because they need to have a pet rock. 

This is how all this works. This is viral marketing. We'll get into it later, but it's viral PT marketing. I'm not going to get that far into the weeds today because that's a big conversation, but this is exactly how viral marketing works. 

Its pressure from one person to another. It is word of mouth. The internet can speed it up, but it always works exactly the same way. It's always social pressure. 

Your happy customers talk to other people. Then they get down to physical therapy, then that becomes a happy customer. They talk to other people, and they exert pressure on them.

At the same time, we have this negative one going on.

All of our drop-offs, all these people that are unhappy - they'll go out and they're fighting this thing. They're fighting against this growth that you're having. 

If this becomes too great, it can start killing the entire thing. Your people that are neutral - they don't have anything good or bad to say. They're just in the middle there. 

But when this becomes too late, then your business starts to die. This is how businesses die and go away. It’s because this becomes too great. Then you get reverse viral marketing. The negative is spreading like wildfire.

This is one of the reasons why a lot of people moved away from t-shirts. I think t-shirts are freaking great. If they're on this person, and Joe Schmoe walks up to them and doesn't know them but their knees are hurting, they walk up and they say, “Hey, I saw you have a Bella Care t-shirt on.”

“That’s my business. I give a Bella Care t-shirt.”

“How was that place?”

“Oh! They were amazing. I absolutely love them.” 

And this other person who's standing next to them in line might say, “Oh, yeah! I went over there,” or they chime in and say, “My friend went there and she absolutely loved it.”

These are people that never have actually been in your business, advocating for your business. This is viral marketing, guys. This is how it works.

If anybody's got any questions, please let me know.

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