EW Motion Therapy is the kind of place people tell their friends about.
When someone needs physical therapy or personal training in the Birmingham, Alabama, region, EW Motion is at the top of everyone’s list to recommend. They’re the best. The place that balances expertise and approachability. The place without a single Yelp or Google review less than 5 stars.
In the words of one patient,
“EW is different. The knowledge and friendliness of all the staff is tangible. You literally feel it when you walk in. I will never go anywhere else.”
This is the kind of reputation businesses dream of, and it doesn’t come easy. EW Motion built it over the course of two decades. Patient by patient, referral by referral, year by year.
Founded in 1999 by Ethan White (The “EW” in the name), EW Motion Therapy provides physical therapy, personal training, and wellness services to patients with a range of needs and aspirations.
Patients come in after injuries or surgeries, or just to increase fitness and flexibility. But no matter what reason brings a person in their doors, the EW Motion staff operates with a bedside manner that’s encouraging and patient. And people leave feeling better — both in body and spirit.
This approach has yielded a vast audience of fans and devotees, but despite this reputation, EW Motion grew slowly during its first 20 years in business.
The fact is, word-of-mouth is great, but it yields slow growth. As Chris Brandt puts it, looking back: “There's no way to scale if you're living and dying by word-of-mouth.”
Chris now serves as Director of Marketing and Sales, but he’s a physical therapist by training.
Even though referrals were steady, the team knew that marketing was key to sustained growth. But they weren’t sure how to do it. Should they go after doctors who refer patients to them — or after the patients themselves?
And how could they market in a way that stayed true to their principles?
They worked with a local marketing agency that maintained a simple website and “told us that our SEO was great,” remembers Chris, but the website was bringing in less than 200 visitors per month.
The team knew there was more opportunity.
At a Vistage group meeting a few years ago, someone handed Ethan a copy of the book that would change the future of his business: They Ask, You Answer.
Ethan brought the book home and read it in a single night. The next day, he handed it to Chris and said, “You need to read this book.”
They quickly saw that the future wasn’t a different marketing agency — it was a whole new approach.
They needed They Ask, You Answer. They needed IMPACT.
IMPACT’s philosophy was simple: “You know your business better than any marketing agency ever can — so it’s better for your team to learn marketing than for an agency to try to learn your business.”
The IMPACT team offered something no other agency did: marketing and sales training.
Rather than paying an agency every month for as long as EW Motion stayed in business, IMPACT would teach the EW Motion team to market the company itself.
IMPACT would train the EW team for 18 months, at which point they’d emerge as a self-marketing team fully capable of anything their previous agency had offered.
Ethan and Chris were sold.
Within a few months of Ethan reading the book, EW Motion had enrolled in IMPACT's They Ask, You Answer Mastery. They linked up with trainers and a coach from IMPACT to learn how to put They Ask, You Answer to work for their business.
With coach Zach Basner’s help, the EW team built a small marketing team with a few hires and internal shifts. This team would work with IMPACT experts to learn the framework and the skills they needed to implement it.
At its core, They Ask, You Answer is about customer education.
According to Marcus Sheridan, IMPACT co-owner and author of the book, buyers are tired of sales pitches and slick marketing gimmicks. Instead, they want honesty and transparency. The organizations that commit to building trust with their audiences are the ones who will succeed long term.
This vision resonated with the EW Motion team already known for its impeccable reputation. At last, they had a marketing framework that suited both their goals and their culture. Now it was time to put it into action.
After years of marketing guesswork, EW Motion now had a framework to follow.
Zach and his team provided step-by-step training on how to market to build trust with EW Motion’s audience — both patients and doctors.
The newly-minted marketing team started writing articles, filming videos, and putting together guidebooks to answer every question and address every concern someone might have before or after an appointment.
These pieces of content provided expert answers that were hard to find elsewhere. And it spoke to the diverse audience of people who might end up in an EW Motion office:
EW’s team published this content on its website and on YouTube, free for anyone to access — whether they lived in Alabama or not.
But they didn’t just rely on digital channels.
After an appointment, the EW team would hand paper copies of articles to patients so they knew more about their recovery. It was one more way of treating patients right. And it fit with the overall mission of customer education.
In modern marketing, authenticity matters more than ever. But when you hire a far-away marketing team to write your content, craft your messaging, send your emails, and film your videos, how authentic can it really be?
“I was looking at a competitor’s website recently,” says Chris, “you can tell that a marketing company wrote everything.” And because of this, it doesn’t ring true. “You can feel a different vibe with [the content] we're putting out there,” he says.
And all that authenticity has paid off.
Website traffic has exploded, patient numbers are through the roof, and the business is growing like never before.
And now that they’ve completed their training with IMPACT, they never again need to pay an agency each month.
It took EW Motion 20 years to open four locations in the Birmingham area. In the two years since they picked up the phone to call IMPACT, the team has opened two more therapy centers, with another on the way.
Now they have a new goal. It’s ambitious, but it’s attainable based on the team’s trajectory: Open one new clinic every year.
Instead of the slow progress of the past, there’s now a clear strategy, top-to-bottom alignment, and steady growth — all built on the shared values of education and trust.
When you give a great team the tools to succeed, it’s amazing what they can do.
“Without IMPACT’s help, without us having that direction, there’d be no way we would have been able to do this,” says Chris. “But now we have a very clear vision, a very clear strategy, and we know what we need to do to keep growing.”