5 Steps to Starting a Marketing Plan

Running a healthcare service without a marketing plan can be a bit like winking at someone in the dark. You know what you are doing, but often nobody else does.  We need people to know how our services run, what we do and how we can help.  Where do you start though?

A marketing plan will help you delegate, save money, and allocate time to strategies so they work effectively for you.  A plan helps you create your brand, or the personality of the business because it allows you to work out where you are headed and how you will get there.  Have a go at nutting out some of these points below:

  1. Have a clear direction of where you want your service or practice to go.  Where are you headed? Do you want to grow, or do you want to target a specific market?  Write down some clear goals that are measurable, for example, “I want to increase my referrals from general practitioners by 12% in 6 months”
  2. Spend some time working out who your ideal customers are. Remember, this may include your new patient market, but it may also include your referring sources as well.   Where might you find them? Make a list of how you might target your ideal customers. You will need to get a little creative.  If you want to target a specific market, find out who else has contact with that market and you may pitch some of your strategies at engaging with them.  Once you find them, what message do you want to tell them? 
  3. Write down 3 things that makes your service unique.  You have to know a little about your competitors to do this part. 
  4. Make a list of your benefits, not just your services.  For example, if you address wound care as part of your service, the benefit might be “we help heal wounds faster”.  It is important to sell the benefits of your practice rather than just list your services, as often people still don’t relate to what you do unless they can put some value on it for them.
  5. Think about how you might currently be perceived by people.  Write this down.  Then write down how you want to be perceived.  I am the director of a hand therapy practice.  I am often perceived as only doing hand therapy, so we are currently marketing the fact we do see wrist and arm injured patients as well. Work out the gaps and brainstorm how you might generate the new perception.  

Marketing, Planning

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