As 2021 comes to a close, we’re looking forward to turning the page for a fresh, clean start in 2022 (and we’re willing to bet we’re not alone in that.) Make this year a stellar chapter in your practice’s story— jumpstart your success with a solid marketing strategy.
When we talk strategy, we mean allocating time and resources towards activities that generate the desired outcome for your practice. A good marketing strategy sets you up for success and gets people intrigued by your offerings before they’ve come through your doors.
Let’s dive in to see how you can begin building your ideal marketing strategy today.
Plan Ahead to Get Ahead
At Marketing4ECPs, we understand that your days are full. Between serving patients, staying at the cutting edge of industry education, and keeping your team aligned and inspired, it’s easy for marketing to slip through the cracks.
However, having a strategy in place can help you keep on top of your marketing and drive you in the direction you desire. If you’re marketing on the fly, in reaction to what’s going on day-to-day, you’re already behind the curve. A carefully thought out and executed marketing plan will be your guiding light when evaluating crucial business decisions.
You do not need to worry about spending all of your valuable time focused on marketing to keep your business on track—you have us. We’ve laid out the initial steps towards building and launching your marketing plan and strategy.
The Prep Step: Getting Your Tools Together to Strategize
There are some initial facts and figures you need to have handy to build an executable plan. First, take stock of where you are today:
- Financial figures for the last fiscal year (current revenue and gross profit margin)
- Your current customer demographics (how old are they? Where do they live? What do they want?)
- How you currently reach customers (email, social media, digital ads, etc.)
- How much does it cost to reach them (what you currently spend to acquire a new patient as well as retain them)
Then, gather some projections:
- What will this industry look like in 10 years?
- Who are your customers today & who do you want them to be in 10 years?
- How are those customers’ habits changing? What will they want from you? How will they find you?
If you’ve got that together, we can get started. Ready to make your marketing strategy pop? Follow through our 5 strategy-building steps.
Step 1: Have a Clear Vision for Your Practice
When you’re working to achieve something, you need to have a clear picture of your end goal. To build a functional strategic plan, you need to know what success looks like to you.
Sit back and imagine your practice 3 years from today. Think about the things you want as an entrepreneur. Turn a higher profit? Reach more people? Does the business run smoothly without having your hands in every aspect, allowing you more freedom to focus on the things you’re passionate about, in and out of the practice?
To make that vision a reality, you need to know what needs to happen to allow the vision to flourish. Fill in the following blanks—with clear, concrete ideas. No half-measures when it comes to your dream!
- Your revenue will be _____
- Your profit will be _____
- Your gross profit % will be _____
- Your customers will be made up of ______
This 3-year vision is your guiding light.
But we can break that vision down into smaller, more bite-sized steps. Picture your success 1 year from today; for your 3-year plan to blossom, what seeds should be sprouting in 1 year? Break it down by filling in those blanks again with your 1-year goals in mind.
Step 2: Lay Out Your Objectives
Next, decide where to focus your attention. Are you looking to generate leads or build your brand?
Generating leads is the growth aspect of marketing. This means you’re looking to bring in new patients by catching the attention of those looking for your services right now. This may be a focus if your business is newer or you’ve recently expanded to a second or third location. Generating leads and building a brand are two separate objectives and should be treated differently.
Building your brand sets you up for the business you want in the future. It may help set you apart with a particular niche (i.e. your wide selection of unique frames, specialty contact lenses, a top-of-the-line dry eye clinic) or help you attract the type of patients you’re hoping to see.
During this process, it’s critical to have a clear idea of the type of patient you’re hoping to attract. Ask yourself:
- Who are you marketing to?
- What demographic do they fit?
- Where do they live?
- What do they look for in an eye care practice?
Understanding your ideal client will help you decide what type of marketing to use, what social media platforms you need to be most present on, and what messaging will appeal to them.
Step 3: Calculating Your Marketing Budget
If you had a machine that spit out 10 dollars for every dollar you put in, would you hesitate to feed it dollar after dollar? Marketing is sometimes the first thing to be cut when money is tight, but don’t be so quick to downsize that budget line!
Marketing is an investment: when you allocate your funds effectively and work with those who have the skills to put your plan into motion, you’ll see returns. Believe in your investment! You’ve put in the time, don’t be afraid to put in the money, too.
Step 4: Take Your Vision & Put it in the Calendar
Once you’ve begun building your plan, apply it to specific time periods. Know when you’ll put out promotional materials, create a concrete schedule for offers, and decide what avenues you’ll use for your marketing ventures.
Some things to remember when you’re scheduling your strategy:
- Plan for consistency: regular blogs, email blasts, or Instagram posts allow your target audience to trust your frequency, which builds trust in your business
- Switch up your message: don’t become repetitive. Find engaging & exciting ways to get your offerings across
- Don’t spam your client base: post too often & you’ll float off on the white noise wave of the internet. Work out the timing that makes sense for you
- Know your clientele: decide the best avenue for your marketing, be it in-practice promotional material, social media posts, YouTube videos, or email blasts
Once you have a solid plan laid out and scheduled, it’s time to put it all into motion.
Step 5: Stay the Course & Execute Your Plan Efficiently
Coming up with a plan gives you a solid base for making everyday decisions. This sometimes means letting go of old practices that no longer serve your vision, and making changes around the office.
Executing your plan effectively requires the whole team to be on board. Follow these tips when carrying out your marketing strategy:
- While teamwork does indeed make the dream work, everyone needs to be aware of clearly defined roles. Assign a point person to execute your marketing strategy. They can also be the contact for any outside marketing assistance you’ve hired. Ensure everyone has a clear responsibility when rolling out promotions, so everything goes smoothly.
- Break your marketing budget down & allocate funds for each project or promotion throughout the year. Starting your year with a bang is excellent, but if you’ve chewed through your entire marketing budget by mid-May, you’ll have nowhere to go with the momentum you’ve built.
- Plan ahead, so you have all the materials ready before the promotion is set to launch. Stir up buzz on your social media channels & generate interest. Don’t let the steps in your strategy sneak up on you! Stick to your timeline.
- The machine doesn’t run on its own—it needs routine maintenance. Check-in after each promotion, examine how it went, & pour over your results. See what needs tweaking & gather feedback from your team to see what they need to be successful going forward. Adjust accordingly.
- Don’t let marketing slide back to the backburner. Set meetings throughout the year, schedule reminders in advance, & be there, prepared, & ready to contribute.
Don’t Steer your Strategy Ship Alone
We are here to help! To kick start your marketing strategy, check out our 2022 Marketing Plan page where you can download a Marketing Calendar, 2022 Marketing Playbook and Monthly Social Media Posts to get the ball rolling.
If the thought of building your marketing plan is daunting, we’re always here to help. Contact Marketing4ECPs to bring our team’s experience and marketing know-how to your team.