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Marketing Plan: Importance to Small Business Enterprises

Are you planning to open a small business? Are you aware of the significance of marketing plan to your business?

Despite the small size of the company that you intend to establish, you need to formulate your own marketing plan to guide you in your operation and to become competitive. Apart from capital, equipment and manpower, marketing strategy is needed especially if your business is engage in selling products and services. To become successful in your marketing endeavor, you need to have an effective marketing strategy. Remember that large companies devote hours of planning, researching, convening and discussing just to have an effective plan. If these big companies know the importance of these proposals, why not follow their steps and formulate your own marketing strategies. Bear in mind that if you do not have any plans, you are doomed to failure.

What is Marketing Plan?

It is a structured selection of advertising and marketing opportunities built to utilize your small business marketing spending budget to its greatest edge. It includes itemized charges for production and media buys for your chosen advertising venues. Additionally, it includes a work schedules for the launch of promotions, advertisements and in-house logistics needed for the execution, monitoring and follow-up of marketing and advertising campaigns. The most effective plans are those that incorporate breakdown of its target markets, products and services to be promoted.

Reasons why small business enterprises need marketing plans:

  • To maximize your advertising budget

By preparing in advance for the right marketing and advertising opportunities, you can make the most of your budget, no matter how little it is. It helps you satisfy your key services and products with appropriate marketing venues and you can evaluate the return on your investment. Moreover, when you arranged your marketing calendar in advance, you can benefit from discounts and special programs given to repeat advertisers and expanded benefits may not be available to firms that book advertisements at the last minute. Planning ahead enables you build positive interactions with associates of mass media outlets which could mean free marketing opportunities such as article features and preferred placement.

  • To get the benefits of cross-promotional possibilities

When creating your advertising plan, you have the chance to schedule advertising promotions in multiple sites as well as overlap messages to create repeated impressions with consumers. When your plan is set, you not have to wait when advertising representatives might contact you because you have the time to put cross-promotional support paraphernalia like flyers or coupon charge cards. You can also mobilize your employees to take part in marketing and track response.

  • To maintain a consistent message with consumers

By planning in advance, your marketing plan will assist you in tweaking your message for each targeted promotion. Marketing elements like logos, slogans, placing statements and phone calls will remain continual throughout the promotional venues you have chosen. Because you know your own schedules and your specific marketing venues, you have enough time to work with design professionals or the publication art employees to generate consistency in the layout and wording of the advertising or promotional parts. This uniformity will make your ads and marketing materials much more memorable to potential customers and will increase your rate of reaction.

Earn 30-60% MORE Revenue – Develop a Strategic Medical Marketing Plan For Your Medical Practice

Did you know medical professionals who market their medical practice, REGARDLESS OF THEIR PRACTICE AREA earn 30 -60% MORE in revenue than their non-marketing colleagues?

Do you have a strategic marketing plan for your medical practice?

Do you even know how to create one?

If you own or manage a medical practice (whether you’re a dentist, doctor, physician or a practice manager), you must develop and implement medical marketing strategies if your practice is to reach its maximum profit potential.  

To market your medical practice effectively you need specialized skill and knowledge. Done incorrectly, you can harm your professional image much more than you will help it. Armed with the proper information and tools, you can easily create and implement an affordable, ethical and effective strategic marketing plan for your medical practice.

Physicians, doctors, and dentists have many choices when it comes to finding professional assistance with developing a marketing plan. But, when it comes to laying the foundation for your image and brand, no one will have a better understanding of what is the best fit for your practice but you. Having a strategic plan for your medical practice is important because it will allow you to map out who you want to target, when you want to target them, how you’re going to reach your target market, and whether or not your tactics are working based on trackable results. If you are not tracking your results, you could be throwing good money right down the drain.

Your medical practice’s strategic marketing plan should layout clear, concise, and realistic goals. To establish realistic goals, you need to identify your target market. Begin identifying your target market by considering your practice type. Which demographics will most likely use your services? Where are they located? Do you offer a service that people would be willing to drive some distance for? This might be the case for a specialty doctor like a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist. Or will the people who use your services be more interested in convenience? For example, people looking for a family doctor will be more inclined to look for a physician that they can access quick and easy. Advertising your medical practice will only be effective if you know who you are targeting.

Once you’ve identified your target market, you need to look at your competitors. Look at the location of your competitors in relation to the services both of you offer. For example, a family practice won’t view another practice two hours away as a competitor, but a plastic surgeon might.

Conduct Internet research to find information related to your competitor and visit their website if they have one. Being familiar with your competition’s marketing efforts will help you differentiate yourself from them and shape the goals of your own activities. Whatever you do, don’t copy your competitors! In many cases, medical practices do the wrong things. For instance, many practices create ineffective ads and leave out the major components of compelling advertising. So, gather information, but use professional and knowledgeable resources to create your promotional materials.

Once you have clearly identified your target market and completed your market research, you need to develop a strategy to implement effective tactics. Your strategy will be your big picture road map for attracting patients to your medical practice. Your tactics will be the specific actions you carry out to bring new patients through the doors of your medical practice.

Integrated strategies are hands down the most effective way to sustain and grow your medical practice. Look for ways to use multiple mediums to communicate your message to your target audience. The tactics you use will be dictated by your budget as well how your target audience will best receive and respond to your message. Some tactics may include medical advertising in different forms of media, or the development of a grassroots marketing campaign to generate word-of-mouth advertising.

Once you’ve settled on a strategy and tactics, you will need to develop a method for tracking the effectiveness of your plan. Tracking your results is essential to determining whether or not your plan is helping you realize your goals. Tracking can be difficult if your tactics aren’t supported by turn-key, so invest in your marketing vehicles wisely and look for built in tracking systems.

The most important thing you can do to improve the revenues of your medical practice is to develop a strategic plan. Without a plan you are at the mercy of the marketplace. Even if you don’t take the time to develop a professional plan simply write down a mini plan to get yourself started.

Here’s an example of a mini medical marketing plan to get you started:

Goal: To increase the number of patients visiting the practice by 25% in the next year. Here, you have a clear goal and a definite time frame for your activities.

Strategy: Make sure your existing and new patients have a positive experience with your practice, and will in turn, refer family and friends. Develop a system for generating referrals using a “Care to Share” program. This shows that you’ve chosen to use the word-of-mouth strategy for your achieving your goal.

Tactics: Regular customer service training for staff, incentives for staff based on word-of-mouth referrals; continually entertain new ways to improve the patient’s experience at the practice. Promote your “care to share” program within your practice. These tactics can be a starting point and may change depending on their effectiveness. The important thing is to have an initial direction for your activities.

Tracking: Keep an excel spreadsheet of all your patients who refer new patients using your “Care to Share” program, and also track all patients who make appointments as a result of those referrals.

This example is as basic as it gets when it comes to developing a marketing plan for your medical practice. Setting goals, developing a strategy, implementing tactics, and measuring success are the four core elements of your medical marketing plan. Your plan should provide a clear direction for you and your staff to follow to achieve success. Keep in mind, aspects of the plan are prone to change as some methods prove more effective than others or new ones are brought forward. Include your staff in your marketing activities and garner their support to implement your tactics. It is essential that your staff understand and participate in activities to ensure a greater chance of success.

When selecting methods for communicating your message, make sure that your money is used to promote your practice in the most efficient way. A family doctor looking for local patients might try advertising in a community newspaper, and not in a paper distributed some distance away from their office. A plastic surgeon, on the other hand, may want more extensive coverage and would be smart to consider advertising in all forms of print media within a certain distance.

Web marketing is also a cost-effective and efficient method for communicating with your current and prospective patients. All medical practices in all practice areas, big or small, benefit from a website. People are increasingly web savvy and turn to the Internet for information; so develop a professional and informative online presence that reflects well on your medical practice.

No two medical practices are the same so you will not find a cookie-cutter plan to implement in your practice with perfect results. Your plan should be a well-thought out, clear document that meets the specific needs of your particular medical practice. You must uncover what will work for you and help you reach your personal and professional goals.  

The Benefits of a Marketing Plan

What is a Marketing Plan?

Marketing is to do with matching the features and benefits that your products and services are able to provide with specific customers and then telling those customers why they should buy them from you. Your marketing plan details how to do this. A Marketing Plan is a document that supplements your business plan and brings together all your market research so that you can work out exactly where your business is going and how it is going to get there.

Your plan should include:

  • Objectives.
  • Details of the current market.
  • A full analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. (SWOT Analysis.)
  • Your plans for achieving your objectives.

The plan should be flexible and able to be adapted to meet the changing conditions in the market place.

Benefits of a Marketing Plan

Having a marketing plan will help you to focus on your target market and to find if there are any gaps in the market that will provide new opportunities for you. Your marketing plan will also provide you with something that enables you to measure how you are progressing. This can then highlight strategies that are working for you and those that are not.

A good marketing plan will also benefit you in that it provides your outside financiers with confidence that you know your market and that you know how to achieve your objectives.

A good marketing plan will deal with the matter of sourcing new leads as well as creating new networking opportunities for your business. The bottom line means your plan will define your business as well as your customers and your future plans.

What is a Good Marketing Plan

A good marketing plan is really a blueprint for the action that your business needs to take in order to achieve certain goals. It will identify the most cost effective ways of performing certain functions and should show the best way to present your business to your target audience.

A good marketing plan will save you money by cutting out unnecessary expenses while at the same time presenting you with new marketing opportunities. A good plan will work for your business to make sure that what you do fits into your budget and that your marketing drive reaches your target audience.

It will essentially keep all your activities and your budgets on track. If you don’t have a good marketing plan it is possible that you are not taking full advantage of all the ways to reach your target audience. This will result in decreased sales.

A Marketing Plan must Reach People

Your marketing plan will provide you with a track upon which your business needs to run. It is similar to a flight plan for pilots. Their flight plan tells them the direction along which their plane is going to fly, where they are leaving from and the path they have to take to get to their destination.

A sports coach will have a game plan that sets out how the team is going to play the game that particular day. The coach will work on strategies that will effectively frustrate and win out over the competition so they can come out on top.

Your marketing plan should be designed in a similar fashion.

  • It has to be built with an end result in mind.
  • It should fit the specific markets you are aiming for as well as the people in those markets.
  • It has to be flexible to meet the needs of the people in the markets because those needs are constantly changing.
  • It must focus on people rather than on products.

Remember to always develop a marketing plan that is specifically designed to reach people.