If you are in a competitive area, you’ve already learned that marketing is a necessity to attract brand new patients to your practice. It’s easy to confuse marketing tactics – sending email, creating Facebook posts and advertising in a community magazine, for instance – with strategy, but trying a lot of different tactics does not equal strategy.
Without thinking through your overall marketing strategy, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money on tactics which aren’t effective, and this may keep you in “survival mode” as a small business instead of a thriving, confident optometric practice.
Strategy is comprised of the decisions you need to make about your business – defining what you’re going to say about your practice, how you’re going to say it, and to whom. Here is a list of the six steps to create marketing strategy for your practice:
- Know yourself – as a business. Your practice has certain strengths, weak areas, opportunities for growth and local threats. Identify them and write them down. You’ll want to make sure your strengths are well communicated in all of your marketing messaging.
- Know your customers. Do some local market research with your current patients by looking at survey responses and online reviews. What do they like about your practice? What could be improved (in their eyes?) What kind of person seems to be most happy with your practice?
- Know your competition. Google “eye doctor” in your city and state. Note where your competitors’ websites fall in relation to your own. Read their online reviews. Check out their websites. See if they offer anything unique – open Saturdays? Online appointment scheduling?
- Identify a target market. While it’s tempting to try and attract every human being within a certain radius of your practice, it’s difficult to set up marketing which is that broad – and the truth is, you do have qualifiers already within your practice, whether it’s the price point in your optical, or office hours, or whether or not you or your associates really like to work with children, or whether or not you speak more than one language. You already have a target market – identify who they are so that you can select the right tactics to reach them!
- Define your value proposition. A value proposition is a service, feature or benefit which is attractive to customers. What is yours? Define why it is that someone should choose your practice – and then make sure that value proposition is clearly communicated.
- Choose the right tactics. Once you’ve worked through the steps to create strategy, you’ll want to invest in the right tactics to speak to your target market.
I know some of this sounds time-consuming, but taking the time to follow these steps will give you greater clarity in your marketing plan and enable you to make better choices for the tactics which will best serve you to attract your target market.
To discover how to develop a marketing strategy on a budget, we have just the article for you.
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