Developing Your Plan
Formal marketing plans can be complex and take a lot of time to complete—time that you, as a busy physician, likely don’t have. But as the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there.” You should spend some time thinking about your practice today and where you want it to be one, two or even five years down the road. Then make a plan for how to get there by taking these (relatively) simple steps:
Set your objectives—Before you can get started, you need to set your objectives. Keep them as simple and as specific as possible; for example, “I want to attract a minimum of five new patients per week.”
Define your target markets—Determine what type of patients you want to attract to your practice. If you have a strong interest in pediatrics, asthma or food allergies, include that interest in your plan. A target market definition might be “half general allergy patients and half pediatric food allergy patients, primarily from the east side of town.”
Assess your opportunities—Take a look at what allergy care options are available to the potential patients in your community and then determine what sets you apart from your competitors. Tell potential patients and referring physicians how you can meet their needs.
Evaluate your budget—How much are you willing to spend on marketing your practice? If you’ve got a large budget, you’ll be able to incorporate paid advertising and other higher cost tactics into your plan. If your budget is more limited, you’re going to have to focus more on low-cost or no-cost promotional tactics. View our handout on cost effective marketing techniques.
Outline your strategies—Determine how you are going to reach your potential patients and referring physicians. The tactics you can employ are endless, and you should make sure to choose methods that fit your budget , interest and timeline. Remember: you don’t have to do it all yourself.
For more detailed information on marketing and promotion strategies for your practice, see Chapter 7 of the Practice Management Resource Guide.