Unless you’ve been living under a very large X-ray machine, you’ve most likely noticed the huge shift in the healthcare landscape. Specifically, patient satisfaction is not as simple as it once was.
It used to be that if you provided the right treatment for their illness or condition, the patient would be happy and continue to use your services. Today’s patients are looking for more than an effective treatment plan, they’re looking for an overall excellent customer service experience.
How do healthcare facilities provide this experience? For this answer we’ll look to a McKinsey study that found that patients have the same expectations from healthcare companies as they do from non-healthcare companies. Today’s patients don’t see themselves as patients, but rather consumers of healthcare, and they expect you to deliver on their expectations! They want great value and an awesome overall customer service with your practice or facility.
How do you provide value and great customer service? Through your marketing strategy. And the only way to ensure that strategy will reach your objective of providing an exceptional customer experience is to begin with a healthcare marketing plan.
A solid marketing plan will allow you to assess, anticipate, prepare and build a roadmap that will improve your chances for marketing success. This plan will help you decide exactly what your goals and objectives are, what your operating budget will need to be, provide risk management, and capital planning.
In short, your healthcare marketing plan is a unique opportunity for you to discover the most cost-effective way to reach customers at the right time, in the right place, and with the right messaging.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the 5 most important things you must include in your marketing plan:
- Buyer Personas
Fully understanding your buyer personas can make or break your marketing efforts, so it is vital that you define them in your plan. Based on market research, you should gain a perspective on who your target consumer is.
This market research should include picking through data about existing customers. Review current marketing trends to see which channels customers are finding you on. Do everything you can think of to understand these people and create the persona. The persona you create will be the golden audience that you target all of your marketing efforts toward.
- Services Audit
Your marketing has the potential to be stellar if and only if you know your services inside and out. Determine who needs your services and why. What problem are you solving for them? How will the various healthcare trends that come and go affect your service offerings? By fully understanding what you’re offering and how your services are needed and perceived, you’ll be better able to market them effectively.
- Gap Analysis
A gap analysis assesses your current marketing efforts and determines what adjustments you must make in order to reach your desired objectives. To perform a gap analysis, take a look at the current strategies you’re using to gain customers. Look at what your competitors are doing. Is there anything you can do better? What processes are you currently using to attract visitors to your digital assets and turn them into leads? What can you improve upon?
A gap analysis will help you refine your strategies and in turn, open up new areas of opportunity.
- Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
SMART is an acronym that means Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Any goal other than a SMART goal is, well, vague.
How do you know you’ve reached a vague goal? Can you reach a vague goal? That’s anyone’s guess. Saying you want to create more leads leaves much to the imagination. Sure you want to, everyone one does, but can you, how will you, and how will you be able to tell that you’ve done it?
But there is no guess work when reaching a SMART goal. A SMART goal would be that you want to increase leads by 12% by the end of the quarter. This goal is specific and measurable.
Let’s take this one step further, in addition to having SMART goals, you should also segment your goals into the following:
- Business Goals – These are your overall goals and help you to see the bigger picture.
- Marketing Goals – SMART marketing goals will most likely need to be broken down into even smaller components. For example, what do you hope to achieve with social marketing? What about inbound marketing? Print?
- Sales Goals – These should be a priority. When the needs of the sales team are understood, marketing efforts can help fill the funnel with qualified leads.
- Decide on Channels
It’s important to lay out everything you will need to complete your overall marketing strategy. What marketing platform will you use? Whatever you choose, sync your CMR with your new solution. Set up your blogging platform (if you haven’t yet) and create any social media channels you will be using. Develop email templates and segment your subscribers to receive only the most relevant messaging. This is your final step before deploying your first optimized campaign, so try and think of any and everything that needs to be set up.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and patients’ expectations continue to increase, it will become exceedingly important for providers to optimize their marketing strategies to compete in the marketplace.
Do you need help with your marketing plan? We work with healthcare providers to define, develop and deploy strategies that meet patient expectations. Get in touch with us today.