Having a plan for your marketing is important, it helps you ensure your money is going to good use but the planning process itself helps you learn about the different forces and factors that may affect your success. Writing and researching for your marketing plan gives you the chance to learn about your industry and allows you to work out strategies and set specific goals and timeframes for achieving them. One of the hardest parts is knowing where to start?! For those who are not sure where to begin to create a marketing plan, I have developed 7 steps to help you.
Step 1: Reconnect with your goals
If you have not written any goals for your practice, this is the time to do so! If you have written goals or thought about the direction you are heading in, then now is the time to remind yourself about these. You will need to build a marketing plan that correlates to your vision.
Step 2: Research what is working
If you have already started and are running your practice it is a good idea to start to research what has worked for you in the past with marketing, what is working now and what hasn’t worked. Completing an audit of your practice is a great place to start. If you have been in private practice for a little while, it is so important to go back and look at what you have a used in the past – there may be some great content there that you used a long time ago, that you can re-purpose now, or re-freshen up to save you time.
Step 3: Ensure you understand your market
When we talk about ‘the market’ in healthcare, we are talking about all the potential customers that could benefit from your services. Things that you will need to know about your market are the size of it (how many people do you think are in your market), and what their interests (helps you to find them), their needs/worries, and what they would find valuable in a service. The more you can understand about your market, the easier it is to communicate with them.
Step 4: Understand your benefits
We are not great at spruiking ourselves a lot of the time in allied health. I see so many people do a fancy brochure or great business card, and they list all the great services that they provide, and they do it in a way that assumes the reader understands what that means. We cannot assume people understand, and therefore have to be able to convey the benefits of our services, or at least help people to understand what they mean.
Step 5: Brainstorm strategies
The next thing to do is look at your list of what you are currently doing, and start to think about what you will do going forward. Will you keep some of your strategies, will you update some, or start new. Think about which offline or online strategies you might apply for your current customers, your referrers and also potential customers.
Step 6: Write out the plan
Write it down! You need to include your strategies, which goals they link to, when they will need to be completed, costs associated, other resources you might need, and who is going to execute each task. Make sure it is written in a format that you find easy to read, refer to, and alter as you go.
Step 7: Organise yourself
Sometimes, this is the hardest of all. This step is about managing your time to ensure you achieve your plan. The worst thing you can do is write a plan and not look at it again for 6 months. Look at it weekly, change it as you go, and make sure that you put the tasks into your diary!
Here at Maida Learning, we have a great workbook that you can use to guide you through the above steps. It has a table for documenting your marketing strategies and the exercises in the workbook are designed to help you understand your own practice and your market. This Marketing Mojo workbook is available through our shop here.