In the second of these articles, some more tips that I hope will make your practice marketing more effective. In Part One we signed off with the 3 distinct stages of marketing:
(Visit http://chriscorona.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/fail-to-plan-plan-to-fail-part-1/ to see Part 1). Work out what you are promoting and which of the three stages that it best fits into.
- How will you position yourself? Remember, this isn’t about positioning yourself against colleagues. This is about positioning yourself against other discretionary purchases and time spent. Many patients may see the hygienist as a luxury for instance – how will you convince them that they are not?
- Keep it simple – consumers love simple! At all levels of education, they love the idea of someone else taking care of it all. There is so much choice in the world these days, that sometimes we can all over-complicate matters. Many people will pay a premium for simplicity. This is why dental plans have seen a big rise – pay me £X per month, and I no longer have to worry about it.
- Write down your overall marketing strategy e.g. ‘To gain more over 45s for dental implants.’ Write it down and refer back – are you succeeding? If you don’t write it down, one can always fudge – it is hard to argue with black and white.
- Your marketing plan should contain all of the following:
- Objectives – the way in which you will achieve your overall strategy goal. In the case of the above, how are we going to achieve this?
- Channels – to achieve this strategy you have probably decided to use a number of marketing channels. E.g.
- Local Press
- Social Media
- Map out what you are going to do and when across all of these channels in a 12 month period.
- It may seem alien to be planning and writing about the summer holidays in January, but this attention to detail ahead of schedule, will mean that when the local paper rings up in June for a last minute story or ad, you can take advantage.
Projections. To really make this measurable, you need to estimate/control:
- Costs – all of these need to be accounted for to fit into an annual budget
- Don’t spread costs over 12 months if that isn’t how you’re paying them. Traditionally, marketing plans (and accountants) have split the cost over the 12 months against potential gains. However, as a small business, the cash concerns should override this. You can spilt over the year in terms of marketing response, subsequently.
Put some benchmarks into the plan. For instance, if you started in January, then by June, you will gain X new dental implant patients. These benchmarks may create an initial panic (!), but they do make it easy to monitor performance.
And, finally…. Enjoy it! Marketing is often one of the most creative areas of any business – involve the team and have some fun!