Why you need a Marketing Plan for your practice and what it should include
Do you have a marketing plan for your practice?
If you don’t, you certainly aren’t alone, in fact, despite the critical importance of having and following a marketing plan, many medical practices still do not have one.
Years ago, if your practice was well established, had a good reputation, great practitioners and staff, you may have not needed to worry much about marketing.
Today however is a different ball game, today the marketplace is highly competitive, sometimes even saturated with more practitioners entering and patient expectations increasing.
Today healthcare practices need to do more to keep patients happy, returning and referring.
As the old saying goes, “if you don’t have a plan then you are planning to fail”, the same goes for having a marketing plan.
Why is marketing planning important?
it gives direction and clarity for your business and it keeps you accountable
it provides a blue print that your team can follow and constantly refer to which also works in direct alignment with your business plan
Your marketing plan does not have to be lengthy and long winded, it should be brief, concise and to the point.
So, you know you need one but where to start!
What to include in your marketing plan for your practice:
Assessment of the marketplace
What is the current situation, what’s happening, identify the trends and critical factors to be aware of in the marketplace that may impact on your practice.
Look at your direct competitors, but don’t obsess over them. It’s important to be aware so that you can fine tune how you are different and position and promote accordingly.
Explore and define what your practices strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are and how you can use these to gain and maintain a competitive edge.
Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal patients. Confirm how you wish to position your brand in the marketplace and stick to it.
Unique Selling Proposition
What makes a patient want to come to you as opposed to the practice down the street?
Have a think about what makes you memorable and different and work on ways to leverage this.
Services & Pricing
Determine what services you wish to offer your patients and how to price these accordingly.
Who is your ideal patient? Knowing your audience is key and adjusting your marketing to appeal and connect with them is critical. What key groups, target segments do you want to reach out to?
Patient experience assessment
Assess your patient journey, all the interactions they have with you and your practice, identify any gaps and work on improving for the future.
Set marketing targets that are aligned with your business goals and monitor these.
Marketing strategy and key tactics
Detail what your strategy involves and what tactics you need to deploy to achieve it. Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing there is no silver bullet, a comprehensive and integrated approach is advised.
Activity schedule and budget
Outline planned activity in detail for each month, who is responsible, deadlines and cost etc
Metrics for activities
Being able to measure marketing activity is essential so that you can determine return on investment (ROI). Work out how you can effectively measure each activity highlighted in your marketing plan, if you can’t measure it, then you may want to rethink whether it’s worth doing.
Planning is crucial in every aspect of your business, marketing planning included. 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.
Seek help from a specialist if required
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 and to also help you with implementation.
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; executing and monitoring it tends to be more difficult for most people. Get planning and best of luck!
By Leonie Arnebark
CEO Reality Marketing
Your Healthcare Marketing Manager, as you need it
Authentic and practical marketing