“Do you have a written, organized Marketing Plan?” This is a question I have asked every one of the over 5,000 practice owners I have met with to analyze their practice. And the answer 98.9% of the time is “no.”
At least 75% of the practitioners have told me that they don’t do much, if any, marketing and that they rely on word of mouth from their own patients. And usually they are wishing for their New Patient numbers to go up a bunch and are wondering what’s the matter.
Factually, if you want twice as many new patients than you are getting through word of mouth currently, there are two choices of action: one is to increase the quality of service and personality of your practice to an outstanding level so as to create MORE word of mouth, or else do some effective external marketing.
Marketing is a Skill
Marketing is part of the skilled management of a practice and cannot be neglected if you want an ideal rate of growth or size. For any practice, there will be exact methods that work and others that won’t. Every practice is different and what works for one may not work at all for another. A variety of factors influence the kinds and types of marketing you should do, such as:
- the demographics of your area – i.e. what will they respond to
- your staff’s skills – i.e. some staff are great at updating Facebook and doing Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. while others have no interest and no idea
- the quality of the design and content of any external marketing
- the attitudes and out-goingness of your team in giving service that impresses and causes word of mouth
- even how much money you have to spend on marketing can influence what you choose to do and could be a limiting factor.
A Written, Organized Marketing Plan
The one thing that you CAN and MUST do is make a written, organized marketing plan. Have a fun staff meeting to dream up all the ways that your practice could market itself and then prioritize the list and delegate to various staff the appropriate actions and have some fun with this.
The ideas on the plan can include both internal marketing points and then internet and digital marketing points (these are considered both internal marketing and external marketing), and then there are external efforts (such as fliers, donations to local charitable efforts, sponsoring teams, to name just a couple of the hundreds of ways you can market externally).
Never Neglect Marketing
Once you have found a marketing action that actually attracts new patients into your practice, make sure it is on the marketing plan and calendarized so that it NEVER gets forgotten or dropped out. The stability of the growth of a practice is hugely influenced by the stability of the marketing of it.
The day to day activities of a busy practice can cause the needful marketing actions to be overshadowed and neglected. In the weekly staff meeting, the person in charge of the written, organized marketing plan could do a report on what was done the past week and what is working and what will be accomplished in the next week. That way, there is accountability.
An excellent marketing strategy well carried out can make all the difference in the success of any practice. Be extraordinary!