How Marketing Helps You Achieve Your Practice Goals
As a podiatrist, you obviously treat individuals who are suffering from foot and ankle pain, right? Less obvious—to the point that many podiatrists forget this—is the fact you’re also a businessperson.
When you run your podiatry practice, you need to think like a business owner.
Well, at least if you want your practice to succeed!
For that to happen, you need to make sure you take the time to develop a marketing strategy that is going to work for you and your podiatry practice.
Of course, there’s actually a step you need to take before you dive into your marketing:
You need to establish the business-related goals for your practice.
Naturally, your practice goals are going to be unique. After all, every podiatrist and practice have their own unique set of factors—such as location, specialties, equipment, experience, etc.
That said, podiatry practices should focus on five key metrics when developing business goals—# of total patient appointments, # of new patient appointments, PVR (per visit revenue), billings, and collections.
Those five areas show health and progress—or need for improvement—in both your overall revenue and profitability.
How can your podiatry marketing plan help you reach those practice goals?
Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, the next step is to create a plan that will get you there.
You may have a great marketing plan in mind, but have you set goals? Have you decided exactly how to measure the success of every effort you and your team are putting in?
We know there are times when it can be difficult to even create your practice goals, but keep in mind that it’s essential that you align your marketing goals with them. Doing so enables you to determine the appropriate metrics to track—all for the sake of ensuring that you’re on the right course for success.
When you set SMART goals—goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound—you will have objective metrics and data. In their raw form, those metrics and data simply convey what is (without having any “spin” on them).
Now, to understand what good goals look like, let’s start by seeing what they are not.
What are poorly defined marketing goals?
Here are some examples of marketing goals that miss the mark:
- I want to rank number one in Google.
- I want more website visitors, leads, and office appointments.
- I want a better online reputation.
- I want to generate a larger email list.
Sure, those are fine—if they are going to become the basis for your goals, but are any of them SMART goals?
Is ranking number one in Google specific? What do you want to rank first for? Is it going to be achievable? Do you want just any website visitors? When do you want them by? How do you measure your online reputation? Is a larger email list relevant to your practice goals?
As you can see, you need to spend more time and carefully define your goals.
What makes a goal well-defined?
Below are the same goals turned into well-defined marketing goals. (These marketing goals are based on the overall goals of the practice.)
- I want my podiatry practice to rank number one for the keyword term “heel pain treatment near me,” since I estimate it will generate 300 visitors to our website per month.
- My practice needs 20,000 visitors, 500 leads, and 12 patients within the next twelve months in order to achieve our revenue goal of $600,000 from digital marketing.
- I aim to have an additional twenty positive (4-star or better) reviews over the next six months for my practice.
- I want to generate two new patients from our current client list using email marketing. Further, I would also like to add all qualified patient leads to our mailing list, allowing us to keep these leads warm so they eventually schedule appointments with my practice.
How to Set Marketing Goals Based on Practice Goals
Below are six steps for setting and capitalizing upon well-defined marketing goals—ones that are in sync with your practice goals:
- Identify How Much Revenue You Need to Generate from Your Digital Marketing
You will probably find this to be fairly easy.
Say your practice did $2,000,000 in revenue last year. You want to grow your practice by 30% and know that you can reasonably bank on a guaranteed $1,800,000 (using conservative figures). On top of that, you are expecting another $200,000 from other marketing avenues, such as perhaps referral marketing.
That leaves you with about $600,000 you will need to pick up from your digital marketing efforts over the course of the next year.
Is that a SMART goal? On our end, it seems to check the boxes for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound—so, yes, it does!
- Determine How Many Patient Visits You Need to Hit Those Revenue Goals
To figure this out, take the revenue gap and divide it by the average of your per visit revenue.
For example, let’s say your PVR is $200 (for easier math purposes—don’t be discouraged if your PVR is less than that!). Given that you are seeking an additional $600,000 over the course of the year, you will need 3,000 more patients—which is 250 per month, or ten per day.
Ten more appointments per day is an extremely aggressive goal. This highlights the importance of the “achievable” element of a SMART goal. If that number doesn’t seem realistic to you, then it’s time to go back and re-crunch the numbers.
In turn, this shows why it’s so important to do this work on the front end:
Imagine how deflating it would feel if you ended your month “only” having five extra patients per day in comparison to an unrealistic goal. But imagine how it would feel if you were only expecting two extra patients per day and you’re seeing five!
- Identify Your Closing Rate and How Many Opportunities You Need
Something we find that many podiatrists don’t realize:
When used in the context of digital marketing a “conversion” doesn’t mean someone has scheduled an appointment.
Rather, that term means they followed a digital pathway and connected with your office—either by phone or filling out an online contact form.
And the reason this distinction is important is because you might have the best digital marketing for a podiatry practice, but your potential patients are greeted on the phone by a front office member who is, let’s say, “not a people person.”
So this means you need to know your digital conversions and then see how many of them ended up scheduling an appointment. If there’s a huge discrepancy between the numbers, you clearly need to take a good, hard look at what happens when someone reaches out to your office.
But let’s say you have a highly effective staff member fielding calls and online requests—and you know you can count on 80% of contacts becoming actual patients.
Going back to our hypothetical situation we’ve been following; an 80% close rate means you will need 12-13 contacts per day to reach your goal of ten.
- Identify How Many Leads You Need
In the same way that not everyone who contacts your office is likely to schedule an appointment, not all your marketing leads will contact your office in the first place.
That is simply a basic truth of marketing.
There are bound to be some people who, for various reasons, either aren’t ready or willing to be engaged and continue in your sales funnel.
If you know that ahead of time and can plan for it—as best as possible—it will lead to a whole lot less frustrations than if you think your marketing is going to be 100% successful for everyone it reaches.
Now, determining exactly what to plan on for individuals who will become Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) is tricky. How can you plan for something you don’t know?
This is where tracking your metrics comes into play.
For your initial marketing run, you might not have any idea where to even begin estimating this kind of number. And, that being the case, you might have to take a blind estimate. Less than ideal, we know.
But as you start marketing and collecting data, you can analyze the results. As you do, you’ll have a better understanding and be more equipped to factor this in for your next marketing strategy…and there should always be a next one!
- Identify How Much Traffic You Need to Achieve Your Goals
For your first marketing plan, skip this step. You don’t have the data in place—unless you’re working with a marketing agency who has been working with podiatrists over the course of several years.
If you are partnering with a podiatry marketing company or this isn’t your first time going through the process, your data will allow you to estimate a traffic-to-lead-conversion rate. This will be established as a percentage you can apply to those previous numbers.
When you perform this next stage of calculations, you will end up with the information you need to determine what kinds of content and marketing efforts should be generated to achieve the practice goals you’ve established.
- Set Your Quarterly Benchmarks
No matter if you’re a rookie or an experienced veteran, this holds true:
Collecting results takes time.
That means you’ll be able to have better information in hand in Q4 than Q1 or even Q2.
As a medical professional, you undoubtedly understand the value of recognizing trends. While a result in the first quarter could very well be a statistical anomaly, a trend you observe over the course of an entire year is more likely to be statistically relevant.
With that being the case, you are clearly in a better position to make strategic shifts to your marketing plan at later points of the year—which means you should have more aggressive benchmarks for the fourth quarter than you do in the first.
Putting It All Together
At the end of the day, remember that your goals—even SMART ones—will not be perfect. Don’t spend so much time tweaking numbers and forming mini focus groups (to get thoughts from others). Instead, collect as much objective data as possible from previous marketing efforts and financial years.
Then, determine your resources (including capabilities of staff members) and get started in making your marketing plan!
Build your strategy around your practice goals and be ready to review progress on a predetermined, periodic basis.
From there, you can analyze performance and decide if adjustments need to be made.
If you need help setting your inbound marketing goals based on your practice goals, talk to us. We’re always here for you—and our dedication to your success is well-established.
Choose the digital marketing agency that truly cares about your success and has a proven track record of providing results for clients from coast to coast. Partner with VMD Services and find the practice growth you want to see!
Fill your waiting room with the kinds of patients you want to treat.