Read the featured editorial in the latest issue of AAPM Publication below!
Do you have a marketing plan for 2018?
Are you regularly reviewing your marketing plan?
Are you measuring marketing activity for Return on investment (ROI)?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, then you most certainly are not alone. In fact, despite the critical importance of having and following a marketing plan, many medical practices still do not have one.
Why is a marketing plan important?
Planning is crucial in every aspect of your business, marketing planning included.
A marketing plan enables you to understand who your target market is, how you communicate with them, which channels to use per your audience and your budget, and how to measure the return on investment of your marketing activity.
Planning makes your marketing activity more efficient, more consistent and in the end, helps attract and retain patients for your practice. A marketing plan clarifies the key marketing elements of your business and maps out the direction, objectives and activities for you and your team.
Your plan does not have to be lengthy and can be a work in progress, it should however specifically define key information including your target market and value proposition, as well as tactical ideas and actions you wish to take to attract, acquire and retain patients resulting in increased sales and increased profit for your medical practice.
Here are some top tips to consider when creating your Marketing Plan.
Top Tips for Developing Your Marketing Plan:
Know who you are and what you do
Define your service offering and who you are. Describe your service in simple and easy-to-understand terms. You should also include your practices mission and vision, point of difference and outline the intrinsic value your patients will receive.
Identify your target audience
In conjunction with your practices service offering and culture essence elements, take the time to clearly describe your target audience. Be specific as to the demographics and psychographics of your ideal patient. You can then focus your resources and marketing tactics on these groups.
Set goals & objectives
Set the bar as to what you want to achieve. Establish both short-term and long-term objectives for your practice. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART). Tangible goals such as revenue and new patient acquisition will help you keep you on track and enable you to accurately measure return on investment (ROI). Your marketing goals should be in alignment with your overall business goals.
Assess your competition
Who is your competition? What do and don’t they do well, what market share do they hold, what is their service offering, pricing, process etc. Gain insight into your competitors and understand the competitive landscape, this will enable you to better position, differentiate and target your audience refine your messaging.
Allocate a marketing budget
Marketing expenses can add up quickly, so set aside a specific dollar amount per month or per quarter. Evaluate your marketing decisions such as advertising based on the amount of business that an initiative generates. Track each initiative and continue with what works.
Create an action plan
Each tactical idea comes with its own set of action steps/road map. For example, if you want to create a practice brochure, you need to write (or outsource) the copy, design then print the brochure. Take the time to list the details that will get you to your desired end goal.
Listing action steps is not enough -- you must establish a timetable for each step. Be realistic so that you do not set unreasonable expectations, thereby creating frustration for yourself and your team. At the same time, be careful not to set goals so far out in the future that there is no sense of urgency for you to act.
Be accountable and review
The best laid marketing plans fail when they are not reviewed regularly and followed. Stay on top of it and set aside time to refer to and monitor your plan.
Seek help from a specialist
Marketing Plans can be a bit tricky and time consuming and you want to have a good plan to be able to follow, and monitor to ensure your practice achieves its targets. It may make more sense to outsource to a qualified and experienced marketing specialist to assist you in this process.
Creating and sticking to a marketing plan is the best way to keep you and your practice focused, and on track for success. Writing the plan is the easy part; following and monitoring it tends to be more difficult for most people. Get planning and best of luck!
By Leonie Arnebark
CEO Reality Marketing