With the rise of consumerism in healthcare, having a marketing strategy in place to reach, engage, and acquire more loyal patients is essential to the success of your practice. Today’s patients have digital expectations set by the likes of Starbucks, Amazon, and Netflix, and while it’s unlikely that you’ll need to promote a BOGO deal anytime soon, getting into the consumer mindset can help you understand what medical practice marketing strategies will actually work for you.

Use this checklist to craft a winning medical practice marketing plan.

Even if you've outlined your digital marketing strategy for the year, there's still time to fine-tune and optimize your yearly marketing plan!

1. Are you making full use of your paid media?
2. Do you have a strategy to boost your earned media?
3. Does your owned media need a facelift?

When optimizing a comprehensive marketing plan for your practice, there are several aspects to consider. The following checklist helps you keep track of the main elements you’ll need to integrate into your strategy.

1. Target Market: Understand who your “best consumers” are and target them with the right content at each stage of their journey. You don’t really need to market to people with the flu, but if your practice offers more convenient hours for flu shots for the entire family than your competition down the street, it might be worth highlighting those facts with a Facebook ad or on your website. Likewise, if you specialize in orthopedics, targeting consumers most likely to need joint replacements could make better use of your marketing budget.

2. Gap and Historical Analysis: Hindsight is 20/20, and there are valuable lessons that can be learned by assessing the performance of your previous campaigns. What was effective? What wasn’t? Reviewing data detailing your performance, beyond clicks and impressions, will give you a reference point for the goals you want to reach.

3. Competition: Assessing competitors is another great method for discovering new opportunities. It is crucial to have an impartial understanding of their weaknesses and strengths. Do they offer same-day appointments or other consumer-centric benefits? Maybe promoting your walk-in or Saturday hours or your nurse practitioners and their responsiveness is the way to go.

4. “Buying Cycle”: As you coordinate your medical practice marketing strategy, ensure you take into consideration the various steps in the consumer selection process, the patient journey, and how you hope to guide prospective patients down the path to choosing you. Other than word-of-mouth, do you have good name recognition it the community? If not, you should focus on branding and awareness campaigns first. Have you gotten a lot of ad clicks in the past that didn’t result in a lift in scheduled appointments? You should focus on engagement strategies, like promoting screenings, educational content, and convenience features to convert those prospects into patients. Wherever you find leakage in the process, that’s where your strategic marketing efforts can close the gaps.

5. Goals and Objectives: Prior to addressing your practice marketing objectives, you must take into account your goals, and then figure out how digital marketing campaigns can help achieve those goals. Once you have determined that, your medical marketing objectives can be more precise. Whether your goal is more overall volume or retention, or something more specific related to a procedure or service, defining what it is you want to achieve is essential.

6. Put your plan into action!

7. Measure: Measuring performance is frequently taken for granted in strategic planning. If you are unable to answer, “How will we measure success?” with a clear reply, you need to go back to the drawing board.

8. Conversion Rate and Landing Page Optimization: Regardless of how strong your performance has been in the past, there’s always something to be learned or gained by seizing opportunities to enhance your conversion rate. After all, your budget depends on it.

9. Performance across Devices: It’s crucial to know historical performance across multiple devices. Have paid ads performed better on mobile? If so, what mobile devices should you focus on? Once your yearly objectives have been established, you can begin to manage specific tactics at the device level. This will enable you to intentionally develop techniques that cater to the most important mobile devices.

10. Tactics and Channels: Use a combination of tactics and channels to make it easy for the right people to find you! Assessing your performance and doing a competitive analysis are fun phases in your medical marketing planning, but nailing down tactics and channels is the most vital aspect of the plan.

11. Promotions: We typically don’t talk about “promotions” in medical practice marketing, but think of these as opportunities to engage your audience with targeted and relevant content. When promotions are planned and prepared in advance, you will have a better chance of success. Planning minimizes the overwhelming last minute rush to get landing pages and creative up and running.

12. Timeline: To execute your plan, it is important to have a timeline in mind. While the timeline will likely need to be flexible, having a schedule lets you visualize the tactical execution and make sure you are on par with projected results.

13. Resources: Determine which resources will be required to get the plan started. Establishing who is responsible for what will create accountability across your organization, which is needed for a successful implementation of the plan and measurement of results.

14. Revisit, Adjust, Adapt: At some point, things will not go according to plan. But don’t beat yourself up over it. The marketing strategy for your medical practice is meant to provide a foundation, upon which you will continually learn and grow.

The important thing is to keep it simple, use research, and make it easy for people to act. Develop your medical practice marketing strategy with the right expectations. Don’t try to boil the ocean. Start with a prioritized plan, and focus on consistency and continual improvement.

Still struggling to optimize your plan for marketing dominance? Download our Digital Marketing Toolkit for more tips, templates, and tools to improve your efforts.