Strategy Series (Pt. 1) –
Why the *bleep* Do You Need a Marketing Strategy?
Establish Your Practice’s Business Goals
This first point strikes at the heart of what you are trying to do with your marketing strategy:
Our agency defines a marketing strategy as a “focus on what you want to achieve for your practice and marketing efforts.”
A marketing strategy is important because it forces you to take a good, hard look at exactly what you want to accomplish, set the goal, establish the milestones, and deliver the outcome you are looking for.
That probably makes a fair amount of sense. After all, strategies are used by people to achieve all sorts of different objectives, right?
Along with establishing your goals, an effective marketing strategy will keep you focused on them. And how exactly does it do that? By forcing you to be intentional in a variety of contexts related to your marketing—which leads us perfectly to our next reason why these strategies are so important.
Create a Guide/Roadmap to Your Successful Outcome
If you want your marketing to be effective—and given how important this is to the success of your practice, it is something you absolutely should want—then you need to establish how your marketing goals are going to be achieved.
We all know the wise saying: Failing to plan is planning to fail.
But you’re not planning to fail when you strategically outline the steps you need to achieve your goals!
As you’ll quickly see, the next two reasons for needing a marketing strategy take this basic premise to the next level.
Establish Responsibilities—Who Does What (and What They Need to Do It)
A major reason for having a strategy of any kind is so that you can best plan on how to use your resources. Well, marketing strategies are no exception to that rule!
Actually, a solid marketing strategy exemplifies that rule perfectly.
Digital marketing consists of a variety of moving parts and needs to be highly integrated. (At least, it does if you want it to actually work.)
At the risk of oversimplifying, you can look at it this way:
Your overall campaign needs to have a landing page to promote an enticing offer. To bring attention—and page visitors—you should utilize both email and social media campaigns. For additional traction, it would be wise to have a couple of blog posts related to the theme of your campaign. On top of that, you should consider that the verbiage, graphics, and videos for all elements need to maintain consistent branding.
Even with that snapshot glimpse, you can likely see why it’s so important to know:
- Who is designing your landing page and setting up your ads?
- Who is writing content for that landing page and all related blog posts?
- Who is posting all content and formatting the content to your website the right way?
- Who is writing and scheduling social media posts? Who is developing the rest of the social media campaign; because we all know that social media isn’t just “posting things,” right? And, by the way, who is running the social media ads?
- Who is writing, designing, and scheduling emails—along with managing your CRM database (so emails only go out to the right people!), etc.
But, wait. There’s more!
You also need to make sure that all responsible individuals have everything they need to do the jobs they are supposed to.
Yes, that obviously includes tools and programs, but, less obviously, it also entails having the skills, talent, and knowledge in the best current practices for each respective creative and technical realm.
See, that’s a key reason we have a team of diverse talent here at VMD Services. To perform the best possible work for doctors like you, we need to have all aspects of your marketing strategy covered like an NFL cornerback over his assigned wide receiver!
Plan Milestones—Know What’s Happening When
Tying in with that previous reason, knowing the timing of everything is equally as important as knowing who is doing what (and how they’re doing it).
Going back to that (admittedly) vague campaign, you don’t want to have an email sent out promoting your latest service, product, offer, etc. if you don’t have a landing page in place—or, worse, before the offer has even been created!
(Trust us, it happens when amateurs attempt to handle all of this instead of leaving it to the pros.)
Actually, you can probably relate—think about a person attempting to handle his or her own foot care with a little “bathroom surgery.” Not good, you know?
Because of that, the best marketing strategies take timing into account and identify when key milestones are supposed to happen.
Again, we know that can be a tricky proposition if it isn’t something you do on a regular basis, but here’s the good news:
You don’t have to do it yourself or leave it in the hands of a staff member who’s better at office management duties (instead of marketing). You can do what other podiatrists from across the nation do—let our team create and implement your marketing strategy. It’s so easy that you’ll probably wonder why you hadn’t gone this route earlier!
Reinforce Your Professional Brand
We run into this all the time:
Doctors don’t realize they have a brand.
Think of your favorite soft drink or clothes line and you can quickly come up with the brand.
The truth of the matter is that your practice has one too. And if you don’t know what it is, that’s a problem. You need to be able to understand what people are saying about you and control your brand, which means you need to be aware of it.
Fortunately, if this is something that hasn’t even been on your radar, you can take charge with your marketing strategy. Taking the time to plan everything out strategically will enable you to maintain consistency with your voice and messaging.
Once your brand has been established, keep it consistent. Doing so enables potential patients to understand what you’re about and why you are the right choice to provide the foot care they need!
Reaffirm Your Perfect Patient
Without having a strategy in place, your marketing efforts might be sporadic or schizophrenic in nature as you just put stuff out there to see what sticks.
(Hey, that sounds a lot like “spray and pray”, which we are going to talk about in one second!)
With that kind of approach, how on earth are you supposed to measure success and know what is actually working—and what’s a straight-up waste of your time and energy?
The fact of the matter is that you don’t.
When you have a strategy, though, you can monitor results. As you do, you might realize one of two things:
1) You are not actually reaching the target market you want.
2) The market you’re targeting isn’t actually the one you want.
In the first case, you clearly need to adjust your tactics, but let’s focus a bit more on that second one.
Going back to establishing your goals, your marketing strategy forces you to think about who your perfect patient is—failure to do so means you don’t have any idea how to reach them and are basically throwing darts blindfolded at an undefined target.
In the industry, we say that’s “not good.”
If your strategy is solid and results are being monitored, you can better adjust your targeting. Perhaps your marketing started to bring in more patients suffering from bunions … but you’re not seeing the profit margins you had hoped to reach.
Okay. So now you know that you need to adjust your plan and maybe start focusing on bringing in more patients for heel pain or orthotics. Again – identifying what your practice goal is will lead you to establishing your perfect patient.
And you can do that because your strategy includes careful monitoring and periodic evaluation.
Outperform Your Competition
Here’s a simple fact for you:
The landscape for all businesses—including podiatry practices—has never been as competitive as it is right now.
And why’s that the case?
Simple—because the internet has leveled the playing field.
Whereas marketing was once a matter of advertising on TV, the radio, and in newspapers and magazines, the times have changed. So too have best marketing practices.
The best way to reach your target market is through digital marketing practices—which is actually great news for you and your practice. And the reason that’s such a good thing is because digital marketing allows you to target and connect with specific markets in a way you never could before.
In the past, you’d have to figure out if someone who has heel pain is more likely to be watching their favorite shows in the morning, afternoon, or at night. Then, you would need to run commercials during that respective time slot. And figuring that out, took a ton of time and money.
But what if a potential patient wasn’t home when your commercial ran? Well, you just missed out on possible revenue for your practice. Even worse, perhaps they got back in just in time to see a competitor’s ad!
Wow, that was an expensive proposition—and all for no gain.
Of course, we have metrics on digital ads now, we have the internet now, we have social media now, we have a LOT of data that tells us who is doing what when. Used strategically, these marketing tools can provide incredible ROI and put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors!
As we noted at the start of the post, this is the first in a series of three on marketing strategy. Come back next week to check out our second installment!
If you’re ready to get serious with your marketing and start seeing actual results, please feel free to reach out and give us a call at (833) 823-3335. We will be happy to talk about your practice, what you’re currently doing, and then help you determine how you can do even better.