Why it is critical to review your medical marketing strategy
It will take about six months of following your medical marketing strategy before you can look back and see what’s working and what isn’t working. After that first six-month waiting period, schedule an evaluation process at least every quarter to keep your marketing on track. There is no point in creating and implementing a marketing plan unless you also track its successes and failures.
There will be elements that are working and elements that aren’t. If you get impatient and don’t wait long enough to gather your data, you’ll be flailing in the dark. This could result in you trying to make changes to something that may not be broken.
During your evaluation process, think about your vision and your marketing goals, as well as your budget and timeline.
- Are you reaching your goals?
- Is the message you are putting out in line with your vision?
- Have you stayed within your budget, and are you meeting your milestones?
- Do you have unified branding across your campaigns?
Evaluate performance against your original plan. If there is poor performance, you will be required to take corrective action to improve the situation. This may involve complete overhaul, changes at a strategic level, or smaller tactical changes.
A marketing strategy can become out-dated as the marketplace changes. Your practice should regularly reassess and modify your marketing programs accordingly.
An important factor to consider when adjusting a marketing campaign is the cost, as well as the difficulties associated with making changes. You will need to assess all of the relevant and hidden costs of changing your campaign. A decision will then have to be made by comparing the possible benefits of making the changes with the costs involved.
Revisiting your medical marketing goals
The first step in any good marketing strategy evaluation is a thorough examination of the specific goals you have set for yourself in the past.
Take the time to determine whether or not you are hitting your target projections. Revise previous goals based on your current performance and change them as necessary to accommodate new objectives or to account for changes in service offerings.
Checking your marketing ROI
The main thing that you will want to evaluate when it comes to assessing your marketing performance is your overall return on investment (ROI). Calculating your exact returns can be difficult, but you’ll ultimately find that the data that you are able to produce is well worth your efforts.
To measure ROI, you will need to track two different variables:
- The amount that you have invested into your marketing campaigns (account for both financial investments and time expenditures).
- The financial benefit of any conversions that you are tracking.
As a rough example, imagine that your practice has spent $500 on marketing materials and $500 in labour hours to promote them on social media. Then determine that inbound visitors from social networking websites have accounted for one sale of $200 (total). You can see that you would want to scale back or realign your marketing efforts for this example.
If, on the other hand, you see that visitors from one particular social media website have accounted for 80% of those sales, you may decide to refocus your efforts in order to concentrate on the traffic streams that have proven most valuable to your practice’s bottom line.
Re-examining your ideal patient profiles
Re-examine your ideal patient profiles to ensure that your ideal demographic can still be reached through your campaigns and that you’re still targeting the right patients for your practice.
Taking a look at your online presence
As you re-examine the types of patients that you want to target, you will also need to periodically assess whether or not you are actively participating on the right online sites and whether your own website and social media platforms are performing.
- How many visitors to your website are you getting?
- How long are they staying on your website?
- How many new ‘likes’ do you have on social media?
- Are the levels of engagement on social media increasing or decreasing?
- What are your online reviews saying?
- What is the open rate and click-through rate on your email newsletters?
- What is your Google ranking?
- How many Google plus reviews do you have?
- How many new posts have you put onto all of your social media platforms?
- How many new blog posts have you published and how many do you have planned for the future?
Evaluating your messaging strategies
Next, take a look at the specific types of message that you are releasing as part of your marketing campaigns. Specifically, evaluate:
- Which types of message (i.e. text-based status updates, blog posts, videos, email newsletters, etc.) are performing best with your audience?
- Are the words chosen for various messaging pieces resonating with your audience?
- How frequently are your marketing materials being shared amongst users?
If your marketing message is in line with your patients’ expectations, you will see high levels of engagement with your branded materials, as well as a high number of social shares as people pass your content on to others. If you are not yet seeing these results, this could indicate a mismatch between your practice’s messaging and your patients’ interests.
The monthly update
A good medical marketing strategy plan is full of milestones, assumptions and tasks, all of which should be measurable. Make sure you review and update these measured results every month. This can be done within your practice or you may like to bring in your marketing consultant.
For each of the standard campaigns you have in place, you should maintain a table with the plan, another with actual results, and a third with the difference between plan and actual, which is called variance. As an annual plan marches through the months, you can use the table reserved for actual results to include changes in budget that affect the near future.
The quarterly update
This is the perfect time to bring in your marketing consultant, who can go through your ongoing marketing results in detail and make changes to the strategy where necessary.
The annual update
Update your plan thoroughly at least once a year. If you can, get your marketing consultant to come in and do this with you. Start with the previous version of your plan and revise it. But make sure you’re taking a fresh look.
Think about the following:
- What new technology, skills, or areas of interest do you have in your practice?
- Do you have new members of staff who can bring in new skills and expand what you can deliver or how you can market?
- What trends have you seen in medicine in Australia and elsewhere?
- What trends are you seeing in your areas of specialisation?
- Are there changes to your patient demographic?
- What are your competitors doing?
- What are your patients buying? What problems are you solving? What other solutions can they choose? Talk to your patients and potential patients and review your value proposition.