Chances are if you’ve had a medical practice for over a year then you’ve gotten some residual business, or repeat clients. It is also likely that you have some clients who tell their friends and family, which is great. This kind of word-of-mouth marketing can really help a practice grow, but in a down economy relying solely on word-of-mouth marketing can be a recipe for disaster.

The first step in marketing your practice should be for you to develop a plan or strategy. You need to sit down and figure out which procedures are your most lucrative. Who is your perfect patient? If you’re a cosmetic surgeon, it’s likely that your perfect patient pays you in cash for a procedure such as a face lift, breast augmentation, or eyelid lift, to name a few. These procedures can net at least $5,000-$15,000 and can be done in 1-2 hours, at the most. Botox might be the most popular, but I can assure you it’s not your most lucrative procedure.

Once you’ve established your perfect patient and most lucrative procedure, the next step is making yourself as visible as possible for these given procedures. In short, you need to market yourself and the practice! In part I of this series I’ll discuss the “set up” elements you need to implement before you even consider a monthly marketing plan:

1) Make sure your website is optimized: When I say “optimized” I mean optimized for both search engines AND visitors to the website. After you’ve done your initial keyword research you’ll want to make sure the titles and meta tags reflect the most popular keywords. You’ll also want to evaluate your website. Is it easy to navigate? Is the design clean and consistent? Do I have a strong “call to action” right on the home page? Is my phone number in the header? Do I have before and after photos? If you answered “no” to any of these questions you should consider updating or tweaking the existing website. If you answered “no” to all of these questions you may just want to start over with a brand new site.

2) Install Google Analytics on your website: You need to be able to track the effectiveness of your website and your online marketing efforts. Become familiar with how Google Analytics works. It’s a very robust software that can allow you to set up reports that will show you exactly where each lead came from. Check out my collection of Google Analytics articles, starting with my general overview.

3) Create a monthly plan and establish a monthly budget: If you’ve completed #1 and #2 you’ve got many of the set up aspects of your marketing in place. You website is ready and you’ve got the tracking in place. You’ll still want to get set up on social networks and review sites, but we’ll include that as part of the monthly marketing and discuss in part II. Before you even decide what you need to be doing monthly, you need to establish a budget. I recommend budgeting at least 10% of your yearly revenue for marketing. You’ll then need to decide how much of this marketing budget should be spent on internet marketing.

It is important to note that before you even discuss your monthly plan you need to determine who will be doing the work. This is one of the most crucial steps that many practices overlook. The doctor or physician cannot devote the time necessary to manage the marketing efforts, and in many cases, neither can the office manager. Even if they could, do they have the marketing background and training? Do they understand internet marketing, social media marketing, and SEO? This is why so many practices utilize an outside agency.

If you have any questions about developing your medical marketing strategy or any of the “set up” elements discussed above, don’t hesitate to contact Turbo Social Media or call 877-673-7096 x2.

Part II of this series will discuss establishing a monthly marketing strategy, and everything your practice should be doing on a monthly basis.