COVID 19: Conduct a Strategic Review of Your Practice: Marketing Strategy & Digital Footprint
If you’ve recently revisited your strategic plan as part of a strategic review of your dermatology practice, this may be the perfect time to revisit your marketing strategy and digital footprint to help you use both more effectively.
No matter what the circumstances, however, the coronavirus pandemic is likely forcing you to reexamine how you market your services. Given that your working capital may be tight, you likely want to ensure you’re efficient with your marketing budget—meaning now may be the perfect time to revisit your marketing strategy and digital footprint.
Let’s take a closer look, starting with your marketing strategy.
Define and develop your marketing strategy to ensure efficiency
One of the first places you may wish to start in revisiting and revising your marketing strategy is in defining your target market. For instance, can you readily answer the question of who your target patients are?
One of the places where many dermatology practices struggle—especially smaller and mid-sized practices who may not have the marketing budgets of larger practices—is in targeting specific market segments. While an ideal marketing strategy may include segmenting by specific subgroups or archetypes, that kind of market research can be incredibly expensive (and thus out of reach for most small and mid-sized practices). As a result, you may wish to consider more generic patient segments as you design your marketing strategy. Think of the following factors as you design your marketing segments:
- Patient age
- Patient gender
- Patient geography
- Patient’s payor
Even just visiting those factors and looking at your practice’s historic data, for instance, may help you create much more efficient marketing campaigns. You may also wish to keep in mind that those segments may include competing needs and desires—and thus you may want to choose one, two, or a few segments (but not more) on which to focus.
Once you have identified your target market segments, however, you can revise your comprehensive marketing plan (or develop a new one, if that proves more appropriate) accordingly. Similarly, reviewing your marketing plan with an eye toward your chose market segment(s) may help you identify those places where your current marketing can be improved to create better value.
For instance, numerous studies have shown that many Americans are spending more time on their phone and on social media during the current coronavirus pandemic. Could your social media marketing better capture those potential patients’ attention? Refreshing your social media presence and developing a content calendar for the coming weeks and months can greatly increase the value of your marketing plan.
Similarly, consider where marketing via different channels (such as utilizing Facebook or YouTube) or marketing other aspects of your practice (such as procedures that patients may deem more essential, for instance) may create more value.
One word of caution as you revisit your comprehensive marketing plan in the coming weeks and months is to be aware and respectful of how your local community may be suffering. Focusing on positive things your practice is doing or can do in your community may resonate better with patients in your community than to sell a service. Every community is different, of course, but these are also unique circumstances; listen to what your community needs in these trying times, and your marketing is far more likely to be effective.
Update your digital footprint
The other side of updating and revising your comprehensive marketing plan is ensuring that your digital footprint is up-to-date. If prospective patients click through on an Instagram ad, for instance, and your business information is outdated, that won’t likely reflect very well on your practice.
Updating your website, social pages, Google Business, and Yelp listings (among any other relevant online directories) to reflect current hours is another great place to focus your attention as you implement your new marketing plan.
Similarly, you may wish to consider patients’ anxieties and concerns proactively. Both former patients and prospective new patients want to know what to expect when they visit your office and how your procedures and protocols may have changed in response to COVID-19. Consider including an overview—or link to the overview—of the safety measures you implemented as a result of COVID-19. Ensure patient and staff safety procedures are posted in a prominent location on your website. Many businesses have embraced a header link to their COVID-19 changes on their homepage, for instance, and you may wish to do something similar.
Regardless of how you choose to address the changes in your practice, updating your digital footprint will ensure patients and prospective patients are up-to-date on your services, hours, and how to contact you in case of emergency.
Do you need help updating ramping your practice back up? Let one of our practice management experts help!