Building Blocks of a Physician Marketing Plan
Thinking about creating a marketing plan for your practice can be daunting and may leave you confused on where to begin. You may not know what factors to consider or even what a successful marketing plan looks like.
There are many elements to creating a physician marketing plan that will not only give your practice exposure, but also bring in new patients. A solid and successful marketing plan is a crucial for success in your practice.
When embarking on the path to building a successful marketing campaign, it’s best to consider starting with a blank slate for these reasons:
- Previous assumptions have likely changed – Just because something has worked before doesn’t mean it will work again. Make sure to explore all key angles first.
- The competitive landscape has shifted – Not only has the competition between healthcare providers and physicians increased dramatically, what you knew about your competition yesterday could be entire different today.
- Patients have changed – Potential patients have far more access to information through the Internet today than ever before. Know who they are, where they are and anticipate what they need.
Creating a specific and thorough physician marketing plan will protect your market share, grow your business and achieve your personal, professional and financial goals. If you don’t create an individualized plan for your practice, you will waste your time and resource, increasing the potential for failure.
Key Components for a Successful Campaign
Although no two marketing plans will be identical, a highly effective physician marketing plan should always include:
Goals and Objectives – A plan without goals and objectives isn’t a plan at all. Compare your goals and objectives to your results to determine if your plan is working. Keep in mind that when building your goals, be SMART:
S – Specific, significant, systematic, synergistic
M – Measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – Achievable, agreed upon, action based, accountable
R – Relevant, realistic, responsible, results oriented, rewarding
T — Tangible, time based, thoughtful
Budget for Success – Be sure to allocate for sufficient resources to back your marketing plan. Check out [link to four basic how to budget steps] on ways to make the most of your investments for your marketing plan.
SWOT Analysis – If you don’t already know what a SWOT analysis is, you should. One of the most important steps to developing a physician marketing plan is identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will help to address any outstanding issues.
Target Audience – Knowing your target audience is important, but being able to identify their wants and needs takes priority. Find solutions to their problems and provide it for them.
Competition – Only diligent research can clearly identify precisely what you’re up against. Competitive research can be time consuming, but it is critical to stay ahead of the game knowing what your competition is doing and not doing. Some forms of research include:
- Internet Competitive Research – Potential patients are most likely to research for a physician online. How will you stand out?
- Media Competitive Research – Collect and analyze the advertising in local newspapers and magazines from other physicians in you area.
- Ear to the Ground Competitive Research – Utilize all your resources including pharma reps, vendors, staff, friends and secret shoppers to acquire information on your competition.
Brand and Positioning – A majority of the general public sees health providers as being typically one in the same. Brand distinction will make your practice stand out in the crowd. Keep it compelling and unique, delivering it consistently and systematically.
Strategies and Tactics – This step is quite possibly the hardest to achieve on your own. You must turn all the factors above into a strategic course of action to deliver optimum results. What will be the best physician marketing tools for achieving your goals all within a certain amount of time? There are six proven ways:
- Professional Referral Marketing – Have reliable and continuous referrals to your practice.
- Internet Marketing – Online marketing is most popular channel for healthcare patients and providers.
- Branding – Focus on creating a powerful and distinct brand to ensure your practice stands out.
- Internal Marketing – Existing patients can be a great tool for additional referrals, testimonials and word-of-mouth advertising.
- External Marketing – This takes a calculated effort to reach potential patients that may not know your practice otherwise.
- Public Relations – This requires research and planning to gain free press exposure through print and online newspaper or magazine articles as well as broadcast interviews.
Ongoing Tracking and Assessment – Being able to measure your success and Return-On-Investment accurately with a tracking and reporting system throughout the execution of your campaign is vital to knowing if your efforts are working or may need tweaking.
Create an individualized plan and follow through
As the well-known Benjamin Franklin quote goes, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Don’t let your practice fall behind in the race to the top. Get started on your physician marketing plan today. Need help? We’ve got your back.