It’s almost 2018. Do you know where your marketing plan is? start-line-2836881_640

The holidays are coming up quickly, and before you know it, 2018 will be here. That makes now the time to pull together your marketing plan for the year. These steps will help you get started.

Step 1: Decide what to promote

In a perfect world, you’d have an unlimited marketing budget. But until that day comes, you’ll need to prioritize what aspects of your practice to promote.

Consider services/treatments that:

  • Apply to a large chunk of your potential patients
  • Set your practice apart from others in your specialty (maybe it’s a new technique for an existing procedure, for instance, or a more convenient scheduling option)
  • Can be easily explained (at least at a high level)

Step 2: Identify the right patients

The most important step in any marketing plan is targeting the right people. Getting this right can dramatically increase your response.

So take some time to think about the ideal patients for the service(s) you want to market, including:

  • Age rage
  • Income range
  • Gender ratio
  • Geographic area

Step 3: Plan the timing

Next, let’s look at when to market your services. What time of year are these services needed the most? And when do symptoms usually start?

Also consider the length of the research/buying process. In general, the more expensive and/or extensive the procedure, the longer it may take for a patient to make a decision and take action. That means your message needs to be in front of potential patients for a longer period of time.

Step 4: Consider how to best reach your target patients

Now think about your target audience. How do they consume media? (Online, social media, newspaper, television, radio, etc.) And when do they do so?

Age plays a big role in this step. Most people in their 50s (or even 60s) and younger will research healthcare options online. That makes digital marketing — like social media, email marketing, Google ads and other online advertising — a winning choice. But if you’re specifically targeting people at the upper end of the age spectrum — say, age 70 and older, traditional advertising like newspaper will likely be a better fit.

Step 5: Create your budget

Most healthcare marketing experts agree that 5% – 10% of revenue is a good range for a marketing budget. But that figure can vary depending on the nature of your practice, your competitors and your goals for growth.

If there are several other practices in your specialty within driving distance, for example, you may need to spend more to stand out from the crowd. But if you’re a well-known provider with few competitors, you might be able to spend less.

Keep these questions in mind as you set your budget:

  • Are you looking to expand your market share?
  • Do you have new providers whose schedules you need to fill?
  • Are you losing current patients to other providers?
  • Do you want to reach patients in a new area?
  • Are your “tried and true” marketing tactics becoming less and less effective?

Make changes along the way

Your marketing plan isn’t a “set it and forget it” tool. Keep a close eye on metrics, and make adjustments to your plan as you go.

If you have questions or would like some help creating your marketing plan, contact us. We’re happy to chat with you and share our insights.