Marketing a plastic surgery practice is a challenge considering the ultra-competitive nature of the industry. A solid marketing strategy can help your practice find a niche and the audience that accompanies it, which means more clients at your door and more business. Having a marketing strategy lined up makes it easier to focus on the day-to-day activities required to operate your practice – so it’s worth it to get it right early on.
Here’s how to create your marketing strategy in 4 steps.
1. Assess your previous and current marketing efforts.
If you’re a brand new practice, you might not have any previous marketing efforts to assess, but regardless of how much data you’re working with, it’s worth taking an honest look at every piece of your marketing to date as you begin going from marketing ad hoc to creating a marketing strategy.
Here are some questions to ask as you analyze your marketing:
- Are potential clients aware of our practice and our services or do we need to build brand awareness and visibility?
- Can we distinguish between marketing activities that build brand awareness and visibility and those that are meant to generate leads?
- How do we develop and then cultivate our brand and image?
- How much of our marketing budget should we allocate to brand/image building and cultivation?
- What do we want our image to be? Does our current brand strategy support this image?
- Which lead-generating activities had the highest ROI, lowest cost per client, and best cost per lead?
- What marketing activities directed the most valuable leads? How do we define what a worthwhile lead is to our practice?
- How many leads resulted in repeat business or referrals?
- Were there any adverse outcomes of our marketing activities such as brand misrepresentation or promotions that cost the practice money?
- Which strategies were the most successful and which were the least effective?
Looking at your marketing efforts through the lens of these questions will give you valuable insight into how you’ve branded your practice, how your brand is being perceived, and which strategies are the most effective for bringing in new clients. Use this information to inform the rest of your analysis.
1. Analyze your competitors.
Your competitors can teach you a lot about your industry – both in terms of what to do and what not to do. Compile a list of your local and national competitors and spend some time auditing their marketing activities. The goal is not to copy anyone directly, because that would create more competition for the same exact strategies. Rather, you’re looking for gaps.
Here’s what to consider while you’re assessing your competition:
- How visible are your competitors?
- Are they competitive in your local area?
- Which digital marketing strategies are they utilizing?
- Which traditional marketing strategies are they utilizing?
- What are they doing well?
- What are they doing poorly?
- What are they not doing?
- What are we not doing?
2. Understand your clients.
Whether you’ve been in business for years or your practice is brand new, you most likely already have an idea of who your clients are. You know things like their demographic information – age, income, gender, etc – which social media platforms they use, and where they’re most likely to leave you reviews. This information is absolutely critical to your marketing strategy because it will help you decide where to spend your budget.
As you compile this information, ask these questions:
- Who is our ideal client?
- How do they research plastic surgery procedures?
- How are they most likely to contact plastic surgery practices?
- What compels them to select one plastic surgery practice over another?
3. Set marketing goals based on your insights.
Now that you’ve collected the necessary information, you can use it to set goals for your marketing based on your observations and insights. We like to use the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) goal-setting framework to do this. These goals will help define your marketing strategy.
Here are a few examples of goals a plastic surgery practice might set.
- Our website is not user-friendly and doesn’t convert traffic into clients. This year we will redesign the website with plastic surgery website design best practices, with a focus on usability and identifying key lead generation metrics. We expect an increase of 30% in conversions.
- Our competitors are all utilizing chat widgets. This year we will redo our website and add chat to improve our traffic and make online inquiries easier to respond to. We expect an increase of 10% in leads.
- Our online review volume has slowed down considerably. We should implement an automated review request system for clients that visit us.
Decide on metrics to accurately measure progress. If one of your goals is to increase traffic to your website, define your traffic metric. Are you going to use total traffic, unique visits, or return visits? Don’t just say “our goal is to increase unique visits to our website”. Write goal statements that define the goal, metrics, increase and time frame.
Armed with goal statements, it’s time to turn to strategy. Use the goals to determine strategy. After each goal statement ask the question – how?
If your goal is “Increase total traffic to the corporate website by 30 per cent by the end of 3rd quarter 2021,” your how might be “by increasing our monthly SEO budget by 50 per cent.”
The overall strategy is important because it determines where your marketing hours and budget are allocated. Your strategy should reflect the analysis and goals and fit within your budget. Strategies vary by industry, location, competition, and budget.
From there, it’s time to implement and measure on a consistent basis. Use the same discerning eye on your monthly reports that you applied during planning. Be willing to change and adapt strategies that aren’t working, but remember to give strategies ample time to work before deciding if they’re working.
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