But this is a haphazard approach that will accomplish little more for your practice than draining its marketing budget.
The steps involved in planning an audit and designing. Process for the decisions and activities involved in. Framework provides steps for program evaluation, the steps are. What are the key steps in developing an.
If your staff is not involved early, it will be difficult to convince them to support the marketing plan and take on any additional work that comes with it.
Once youâve decided to market your practice, you need to set realistic and measurable goals to achieve over the next 1. This time span allows you to plan activities around community events that are in line with your marketing goals.
For example, you might help sponsor an annual walkathon for breast cancer or speak at your communityâs annual health fair. Because of the rapid changes occurring in the health care environment, we donât recommend planning specific activities more than two years in advance. One way to define your goals is to separate them into the following three categories: immediate, one to six months; short- term, six to 1.
Here are some examples of measurable goals:
A marketing audit is a review of all marketing activities that have occurred in your practice over the past three years.
Be as thorough as possible, making sure to review every announcement, advertisement, phonebook ad, open house, brochure and seminar and evaluate whether it was successful.
The purpose of market research is to draw a realistic picture of your practice, the community you practice in and your current position in that community. With this research, you can make fairly accurate projections about future growth in the community, identify competitive factors and explore nontraditional opportunities (such as offering patients nutritional counseling, smoking- cessation programs or massage therapy). Your research may even bring to light some problem areas in your practice as well as solutions you can implement right away.
However, itâs also one of the most important steps. Itâs from this research that youâre able to find out what your practice does best and what you need to work on, what the needs of your community are, who your practice should be targeting and how you should go about it.
Analyze the research. Next, you need to analyze the raw data you collect and summarize it into meaningful findings that will be the foundation for determining which marketing strategies make the most sense and will get the best results for your practice The research will identify the wants and needs of your current and potential patients and will help you to define your target audience (for more on target audiences, see step 5, below). This is also a good time to look back at the goals youâve chosen.
Based on your research findings, you may need to modify some of your goals.
A strategic marketing plan requires that your practice be defined in terms of what it does for patients. The research analysis will reveal your practiceâs strategic advantages.
After looking closely at your own practice as well as your competitorsâ, you can ask yourself some key questions: What are the similarities and differences between your practice and your competitorsâ? What sets your practice apart from your competition? Is your location more desirable than your competitorsâ? Do you offer a broader scope of services than the competition? Is there a service you provide that no one else in the community currently offers? Your competitive edge may lie in your style of practice, the range of services you offer, the ease of making an appointment or the way you and your staff communicate with patients.
Although it will take some time to gather this information, a number of resources are available that can make the process easier for you.
Once youâve determined who your competitors are, you need to assess them.
This information may be a little harder to come by, but you can try to gather as much information as you can by simply asking other physicians, listening to your patients, friends and neighbors when they talk about their physicians and keeping your eye out for competitorsâ advertisements. To assess your competition, you need to ask the following questions:
Identify a target audience. With the help of your market research analysis, you should be able to identify your practiceâs âtarget audience,â which is the specific group of patients to which youâd like to direct your marketing efforts. Your target audience might include patients of a certain age, gender, location, payer type or language/ethnicity and patients with certain clinical needs.
Keep in mind that your target audience should not only be the patients you want to attract but also the people who can influence and provide exposure to that segment of the population. For example, if you wish to treat patients with arthritis, you might want to get involved in the local and regional Arthritis Foundation and explore senior organizations in the community. If you want to treat young athletes, you might consider giving talks on sports safety and first- aid tips to coaches and athletes at the local high schools, colleges and YMCAs. The key to marketing lies in targeting the audience that your practice can serve better than your competition â and communicating this to that group.
Determine a budget. Before you can decide what specific marketing strategies you want to implement to achieve your goals, you need to examine your financial information and come up with a marketing budget. Marketing budgets vary by the type of market a practice is in, the age of a practice and whether the practice has marketed before. Thereâs no standard for how much a practice should spend. However, in our experience, practices in open markets have spent 3 percent to 5 percent of their annual gross incomes on marketing. If your practice is new, in a highly competitive market or has never been marketed before, or if you intend to roll out an ambitious new program or service, you can expect to spend 1. Some of the initial marketing activities can be expensive. For example, it can cost more than $5,0.
On the other hand, some of the best marketing activities cost practically nothing. For example, to build your referral network, you might try meeting with new physicians in your community and sending follow- up/thankyou notes to referring physicians. Big or small, these are all worthwhile investments that will give the community a positive image of your practice.