Originally published December 9, 2016
If you spend any amount of time amongst a gathering of medical professionals who work in a clinical setting, they will all tell you the same thing: “That may be true for most medical practices, but OURS is different.” For the most part, that statement is true. We work in different geographic locations influenced by different patient demographics, our staff is made up of different personalities and some tend to think further outside the box than others. But despite all our differences, we all have one thing in common: we struggle to say what exactly makes us unique. More importantly, we have difficulty knowing how to best get our message across to our desired audience through a variety of channels.
Not only do you need to be able to describe what you market (medical services), but you must also have a clear understanding of what your competitors are offering and be able to show how your practice or service provides a better value.
Not everyone understands the value of a good marketing plan (not to be confused with a business plan). Unlike a business plan, a marketing plan focuses on winning and keeping patients in your practice. It spells out all the tools and tactics you’ll use to achieve the growth goals of your practice.
Here are four great reasons to take some time to develop a marketing plan:
- A marketing plan puts your goals into action. Your marketing objectives should align with the goals of your practice. The objectives described in the marketing plan will ideally help you achieve the goals of your practice by putting your ideas into motion.
- A marketing plan formalizes all your great ideas and concepts. Don’t keep your marketing ideas in your head – write them down and organize them into a plan and you’ll be much more likely to bring your great ideas to life.
- A good marketing plan will keep you focused. As life happens, it’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of your intended goals for your practice. If you are like most practices owners or administrators, you are constantly being called on by venders to pitch their latest solution to reach new patients or brand your practice. A well-written marketing plan can help keep you focused on what you really should be doing so that you don’t waste your time.
- A marketing plan helps you establish tasks and timelines. Marketing your practice can be overwhelming. It’s easy to miss seasonal opportunities and deadlines because you didn’t think far enough in advance. A good marketing plan lays out clearly defined objectives and makes it easy to identify the tasks that need to be done, as well as the timelines necessary for completing those tasks.
So even if you’ve got a busy schedule, set aside some time to think about how to best approach marketing your practice. If you get stuck or not sure where to start, find someone who can help. You will be glad you did.