Does your podiatry practice really need a digital marketing plan? Of course it does!
After all, you need digital marketing to:
- Attract, convince, and convert potential patients into actual patients.
- Plan all the strategies and actions to reach your target patients.
- Segment your marketing campaigns to provide value in every stage.
Here’s the thing, though:
Putting digital marketing actions into motion without an established plan or strategy could lead to failure if you don’t consider all the aspects that could impact their development.
When developing a digital marketing plan, you must include components such as determining your target audience (your perfect patient), practice goals, and an effective value proposition (i.e., why they should choose you for their foot and ankle care).
And while planning out your marketing is smart at virtually any time, it’s even better when you get a jump on it in advance of a new year.
Okay, so what is a digital marketing plan?
A digital marketing plan establishes the details for your digital marketing campaigns or actions. It details, among other things:
- Short, medium- and long-term practice goals.
- The strategies to achieve your goals at the digital level.
- The channels you should use.
- Action and development plans.
- Investment and budget.
- The timing and roadmap.
Keeping that in mind, let’s move ahead and look at the structure for your new year’s digital marketing plan.
Step 1: Analyze Your Situation
The first thing you need to do when developing your digital marketing plan is to carry out an internal and external analysis (SWOT analysis) of your podiatry practice. A useful framework for this is the SWOT analysis that allows you to look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and weaknesses for your practice and the podiatry field at large.
You need to be familiar with the environments you operate within (both locally and the podiatric field at large), what your patients’ needs are, and where they get addressed. This analysis is equally qualitative as it is quantitative through looking at factors such as digital habits, intermediaries, influencers, and more.
Implementing benchmarking techniques that aim to identify the best digital practices and success stories and applying them to your practice is an increasingly prominent part of effective marketing strategies.
You also should conduct an internal study to know what your practice’s situation is like here in the digital age. For example, is your website easy to navigate and does it provide information patients want to know? Do you upload blogs on a regular basis? How is your website ranking currently? What kind of social media presence do you have? (Etc.)
Step 2: Establish Your Goals
There are two important kinds of goals for your practice—business and marketing goals.
Your business goals are the ones that relate directly to profitability and financial considerations. Specific metrics that you should consider when developing these goals include your: total number of patient visits, the total number of new patients, PVR (per visit revenue), billing, and collections.
Your marketing goals lead to your business goals but are not quite as direct. The reason for this is because marketing establishes and promotes your brand—all in the name of turning strangers into patient leads.
To close a lead into an actual patient, other factors (outside the realm of digital marketing) come into play.
For example, if a potential patient who finds your #1-ranking site easily and is highly interested after reading content in your blog calls your office, poor customer service from a staff member can turn them off and they’ll end up scheduling an appointment with one of your competitors.
(See, digital marketing is an important facet of your practice’s success—but it’s not the only one!)
At the same time, you want to have as many patient leads as possible. And therefore, you absolutely must establish marketing goals when you’re defining your practice’s business goals.
Finally, make sure both types of goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound).
- Not a SMART objective: “I want to increase the number of visits to my website.”
SMART objective: “I want to reach 1,000 visits a month on my website every month within three months. To do so, I’m going to do X, Y, and Z.”
Step 3: Create Your Strategy
Once you’ve defined your practice goals, what are you going to do to achieve them?
Since personalization is becoming increasingly important in digital marketing, keep these factors in mind when defining your strategy and carrying out your plan:
Segment your target audience. Know who you want to address, what their tastes, needs, or preferences are, where you are looking to meet their expectations, etc. (This is the time to create your perfect patient persona.)
Focus on positioning. To achieve proper positioning, it’s crucial that you are very clear (and reach your audience in the same way) about what your value proposition is and what it entails. In short, it’s why the patient should choose you and not your competition. You need to know how you’re going to communicate your unique value proposition and how to do so appropriately in the channels where your audience is present (social media, blogs, email marketing, and more).
Content strategy. This is important for creating, distributing, and managing original content that attracts potential patients and positions your brand as referential in their top of mind. Besides, you also have to map out a specific communications plan (content marketing) for every channel. Some of the tools for executing this strategy are:
- Keyword research: This involves identifying appropriate keywords to use correctly in your content to organically improve SEO positioning. This is imperative for every content strategy if you want users to find you on search engines.
- Content calendar: A content calendar is key for ensuring your strategy makes sense. It provides value; it lets you think long-term and optimize your resources, help create ideas, and more. More importantly, it can help you coordinate all your marketing efforts (for optimal results).
- Social posting: Writing an article and not promoting it on social media is a mistake. It’s not spamming but instead planning out what you are going to publish—which relates right back to the content calendar we just noted—and when on every social media platform with the copies best suited for each one, all while having the ideal number of characters, links, hashtags, and more.
You should also consider:
- What your audience is like.
- What topics you’re going to talk about.
- What tone you’re going to use.
- How frequently you’re going to publish.
These considerations will help you generate content that provides value and establishes your practice as the authority in the minds of your target market.
Step 4: Implement Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Based on your marketing objectives, you will need to run a variety of campaigns (social media, email marketing), produce valuable content on a regular basis, monitor and maintain your listings, adhere to your SEO strategy, etc.
Because there are so many different channels to manage—a number that increases all the time—and the amount of information available to your patients is already mind-blowing, it’s essential that you have marketing automation tools to make things as easy as possible on you (if you’re going at it all alone).
The benefit of doing so is being able to create and implement workflows that will target your perfect patients and enable you to move them closer to contacting your office to schedule appointments.
Remember, just because we’re talking about automation doesn’t mean you need to neglect personalization! On the contrary, doing so would be an egregious mistake. Instead, capitalize on opportunities to make your digital marketing as warm and personalized as possible. This will resonate better with your market and keep them moving closer to becoming actual patients.
Step 5: Measure Your Results
The work doesn’t stop after you’ve designed and implemented your digital marketing strategy!
In fact, the next step—analyzing results—is one of the most important. This is a critical pillar for effectively optimizing your digital marketing performance and ROI. On top of that, it allows you to see firsthand what is working and what adjustments need to be made.
And if you see your plan does need to be adjusted, don’t worry:
Even the best digital marketing plans are modified from time to time based on new insights and data.
Collecting and analyzing data is simply an essential practice if you want to ensure your marketing goals are going to be achieved. At the same time, they might also show you that you need to set a loftier target!
Plan Your Marketing Today!
No matter if you’re reading this before the calendar turns over to a new year or in the middle of summer, here’s the simple fact:
You need a carefully prepared marketing plan if you are going to achieve your practice’s business goals.
There is just no way around that, so make sure your digital marketing plan sets you up for success. Following the structure we’ve laid out in this post is one way you can do that. An even better way—one that takes so much less of your time and energy—is to have a team of marketing experts do it all for you.
Fortunately, we happen to have a team of marketing experts here at VMD Services who would love to help you and your practice!
Our digital marketing agency is committed to helping podiatrists just like you grow their practices so they can provide for their families, create new jobs, and allow even more people to receive the foot and ankle care they need.
If you might be interested in having our professionals create and run your digital marketing strategies, please feel free to give us a call or connect with us online!