Effective marketing is power and is crucial for growth of a medical practice. Top medical practices know the value of having a marketing plan that includes relationship marketing for referrals to cultivate and maintain physician referral networks. Many medical practices start out with a very limited marketing budget. However, it is essential to realize that marketing is just like anything else in business and life…you get out what you put in. Having a strategy and a solution and knowing your target audience is crucial in making your medical practice a success in 2018.

Here are 3 important points to keep in mind while planning for ways to thrive in 2018:

1. Analyze This Year to Plan Better For Next Year

Understanding what was successful in previous years is the first step to laying the groundwork for another successful year for your medical practice or facility. If you saw that certain types of marketing campaigns resonated better with referrers or patients than others, take note and build those insights into next year’s plan. As the year ends, it important to review your previous marketing plan and ask yourself these questions:

Which of my campaigns performed the best this year?

What worked in increasing the number of referrals this year?

Which strategies helped to grow my patient pipeline?

What didn’t work?

How can these failures be improved?

The phrase “those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it” rings true here – you can find your marketing strategy falling apart quickly next year if you fail to analyze what worked and recognize things that didn’t work last year. Take note of details both big and small and use them to determine marketing strategies for next year.

2. Create a Marketing Plan for 2018

Start by identifying your target market and strategies that will help to effectively reach the desired market. Creating a marketing plan, setting goals, and having a plan for implementation are essential.

Your target market should focus on what types of patients you most enjoy working with and benefit from your expertise. Then you must identify which providers or professionals in your community are potential referral sources for your practice or facility. Networking with potential and existing referral partners is one of the best ways to build your patient pipeline for the future.

Relationship marketing is an effective way to build brand awareness in your community. Sponsorships of events is another way to raise awareness about your practice or facility and reach patients and referral sources. Medical providers and professionals refer to physicians and practices that they know and trust. Sponsorships of community events have the potential to gain referrals to your practice over your competition’s practice.

Social media marketing, reputation management and traditional advertising also may have a role to play in your marketing program. They can be good ways to continue to build brand awareness in your community. However, relationship marketing and building strategies to strengthen these types of marketing efforts should be at the top of your list for marketing your practice or facility in 2018.

3. Create a Budget Plan

How much should my medical practice or facility spend on marketing? The bottom line is there is no cookie-cutter formula that exists for calculating a practice’s marketing budget. Your marketing plan and budget should be based on your market, your ideal patient, your geography, and goals for your practice or facility. Decide what percentage of your profit or revenue that you will spend on marketing and remember that having a wholly inadequate marketing budget will universally produce zero results.  Wimpy efforts produce wimpy results.

The bottom line is that no one strategy will work for every medical practice or facility. Analyze past marketing efforts, come up with a plan and develop a budget.

Happy New Year and may 2018 be a truly prosperous and enjoyable year for you!