Planning: 5 steps to implement winning healthcare marketing actions
Planning is the first step to make your healthcare practice succeed in the market with marketing actions that really work. In this article I will guide you through the key steps of planning, so that you can easily put the process into practice.
I often meet doctors and clinic managers or assistants quite frustrated because they are not satisfied with their marketing outcomes. Sometimes, the poor marketing results are related to a lack of integration among the communication tools or the absence of follow up activities to marketing campaigns. Doctors and healthcare professionals have little time to look after marketing and managers and assistants are often caught up with the hectic clinic schedule.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
A prior planning process put into place as a routine activity once every six months or quarterly can greatly help in achieving better results. I understand that working on a marketing plan could be very time-consuming and hard to put together, especially if business management is not your area of expertise. However, you don’t need to have excellent marketing skills to develop a small work plan together with a timeline to give your practice a little bit of direction and optimise your time and investments.
THE 5 STEPS
Which are the main aspects to consider when planning the yearly marketing actions?
- Know your market
Spending a bit of time googling the latest trends in patients needs, their behaviour when they look for medical treatments but also the activity of your main competitors (ig they activated the online booking, they are gaining popularity on social media, they invested in the latest technology) will let you have a better grasp on what’s happing outside.
- Know who you are and where you want to go
Make a very practical SWOT analysis highlighting strengths and areas of improvement within your clinic (patient experience, machinery, location) as well as opportunities and threats coming from the market (new technology, changes in demand trends etc). It is also important to set measurable and achievable objectives within your preferred amount of time. In order to track your performances, you need to know the current situation; if you decide you want to increase the number of patients, you need to know how many walk-in appointments you have per week/month.
- Make a list of all the marketing actions
Once you know your direction, you have to think about what are those marketing actions that will make you reach your goals; you might want to update your blog consistently to engage with your audience, promote the latest treatment on facebook or even change the price of your treatments, buy a more innovative machinery or even develop a new viral campaign
- Set a marketing budget
The budget is important because it allows you to have a better grasp of what actions can be actually developed and implemented. You can decide to increase your budget by a certain percentage compared to the previous period or set a fix percentage on your yearly income.
- Draw a timeline
Bringing to life the plan for your clinic is meaningful only if you give yourself deadlines and assign the right responsibilities and tasks to the right people within your team.
Once you are all set to go, it’s important to check your performances to make sure you are on the right path to achieve the goals set during the planning process. Is the number of patients increasing? Are my patients more engaged? Those are the kind of questions you will have to answer depending on the goals. If the answers are negative, it means you will need to revise your planning process to adjust your strategy and actions.
Accomplishing all these activities will take initially some time, but once the planning is done, 50% of the work can be considered done. You will have everything under control; you will know which article to publish on your blog, which tweet is going out at a certain time and when it’s time to launch your sponsored campaign on Facebook.