You may have heard about how important it is to make a solid business plan? In fact, few people start their business without it. It is therefore surprising that many of us forget to put the same energy into our marketing strategy – because no plan = no customers.
And what is the point of investing so much time and money into ones clinic without having any customers?
The bad news is that 45% haven’t defined a digital marketing strategy yet.
The good news is that if you make and execute a good marketing strategy, you’re probably going to do much better and more purposefully than almost half of all businesses. That is a little crazy, isn’t it?
But the worst part is probably that without a marketing strategy you risk burning a lot of money on marketing without gaining any traction and your potential customers end up with your competitors instead.
If you really want customers to come to your clinic, you need to actively go out and find them and let them know you exist – and the only way to do that is with a solid marketing strategy.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to make a good marketing strategy for your clinic.
Therefore, here’s how to get a handle on the marketing strategy in 5 steps:
- Know your target audience
- Research your competition
- Choose your marketing channels
- Make your sales funnel tangible
- Set up “smart” marketing goals
1. Know your target audience
The first step in your marketing strategy is knowing who you want to market yourself to. By closely knowing your target audience, you ensure that your marketing efforts are focused and as a direct result you will earn your invested money back in return.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, it’s much easier to prioritize which channels and messages to use. For example, if you want to get more customers in the age group of 60+, it probably doesn’t make sense that your marketing strategy is built around Instagram. And if your target audience is Danes, it probably doesn’t make sense to create your website in Japanese.
A classic way to do it is by creating a buyer persona. By making a buyer persona, you can make sure that you market yourself to people who are actually interested in what you offer. Otherwise, you run the risk of your marketing strategy being more like someone standing up on a beer box and shouting at random people in the street using a megaphone.
Think about what your ideal customer looks like.
There are many ways to do this, but Responsive Inbound Marketing recommends asking the following questions about your target audience when developing your buyer persona.
Location: Where do they live?
Exclusionary location: Where do they NOT live?
Age: How old are they?
Gender: What is their gender?
Interests: What interests do they have?
Level of education: What education do they have?
Job: What is their profession?
Income: What is their income?
Relationship: Are they single, married, do they have children, etc.?
Language: What language do they speak?
Favorite website: Which websites do they visit often
Buying Motivation: What is their motivation to buy your product/service?
Buying concerns: What concerns do they have for buying your product/service?
Here’s an example of a persona from Shopify:
Creating a buyer persona as part of your marketing strategy is more than just a list of the demographic features. You have to know your target audience as if they were close friends of yours.
And as we know it with our own friends, they can be full of surprises. Therefore, one of the things most do wrong is that they constantly make assumptions. Continuously test your persona and sometimes try to interview people in your target audience – you’ll be surprised what you can learn about them.
If you already have customers, an easy way to develop your buyer persona might be to ask for a 10-minute interview or send them a questionnaire. But don’t forget to also get input from someone who isn’t already your customers, but who fits into your buyer persona.
Sometimes it can be easier to get interviews if you offer them something in return, such as a discount or a free product. Either way, your most important task is to find out what your target audience actually is thinking about your practice.
Most people are tempted to skip this part because they naturally think they already have it under control and know their target market. But in general, you get a better marketing strategy with a clear audience in mind – and here a buyer persona is a very useful tool.
Once you have complete awareness of your target audience and know exactly what they are looking for, it’s time to jump on to the next step in building your marketing strategy.
2. Research your competition
No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll either have direct and indirect competitors already or they’ll be coming soon – and they all have their own methods on the best way to gain new customers.
That’s why it’s an essential part to spend time marketing research on your competitors. From that information you can certainly be inspired on how you want to (or won’t) go about it yourself.
The point of doing such an analysis of ones competitors is to help you figure out what you can do better or differently than all the others. It’s not so you can just copy them, but instead you can:
- Find out what works for them and do it better.
- Find new methods your competitors aren’t yet using.
A good place to start might be to scan their websites and social media.
For example, Michelle Kristensen has nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram, so surely you can learn a thing or two from her way of using Instagram?
If we take a little more technical approach, you can study your competitors’ websites through a free online tool called Ubersuggest.
The picture below, for example, is based on Maria Felding’s website. She is a clinical dietitian and does very well in the digital world.
The red box shows performance for the keyword “Plant-based diet”. The “Volume” column shows that the words “Plant-based diet” has been searched on Google 320 times a month.
When people search for it, Maria Felding is ranked number 1 in the Google search results (shown in the “Position” column) based on a book release.
Her book results in 97 visitors to her website every month (and potential customers within plant-based diets) as the column “Est. Visitors” shows.
And here’s what the google search looks like:
Perhaps it might make sense to publish a good article, blog post, an eBook or maybe even a minor press release about something similar or about other relevant topics in relation to your specific audience?
Here are some other ways you can explore your competitors’ marketing strategies:
Sign up for their newsletters
Research their Facebook profiles
Analyze their Facebook ads (if applicable)
Explore their Instagram profiles
Analyze their websites
Analyze their meta texts on Google
Buy products through their online store (if applicable)
3. Choose your marketing channels
There are almost infinitely many ways and channels you can use in your marketing strategy. You can try traditional advertising like physical ads in newspapers, billboards, etc. You can go the digital way with everything from social media to SEO to a blog. Or you can run a mix of all of them.
Because there are so many options, it’s important to identify the marketing channels you want to use to turn your audience into paying customers.
Often, it’s tempting to try everything at once, but it will surely cost you a lot of time and money on channels that are not guaranteed to work.
To get the most out of your marketing strategy, it’s important to make informed decisions about which channels are the best to reach your target audience.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t invest in a specific marketing channel just because you feel you need to use it. It usually takes some time and research to find the right marketing channel for you – and one rarely succeeds with the first one.
A good way to start is to break all the potential marketing channels down into three sections: 1) owned, 2) earned and 3) paid.
A good way to think of these three different types of media is to look at it as a three-legged stool: all three legs play a significant role in your digital marketing strategy – and all three should preferably work together to cover all your marketing (sometimes 1-2 legs can also be enough if you do them extra well).
Many use the rule of thumb with a ratio of 2:1:1 when you start your marketing strategy:
- 2 owned media
- 1 earned media
- 1 paid media
Owned media are the channels you have full control over – i.e., marketing channels such as your email list, website, blog, etc. Roughly speaking, everything you do yourself can be categorized as owned media.
The reason you’d like to have at least two owned media channels in your company’s marketing strategy is, so you don’t rely solely on one platform to promote your brand.
Owned media is therefore the backbone of your marketing strategy.
If we look at Michelle Kristensen again, that’s also why she’s focused a lot on building her social media followers and her mailing list.
Michelle Kristensen will always have full control over her nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram, because she knows her target audience and thus generates a large part of her leads and sales.
The same is true of her mailing list as she tries to get anyone visiting her website to sign up utilizing a little pop-up in the bottom right corner:
After researching what your competitors are doing, you’ll probably have plenty of ideas on how to approach at least two owned media channels to gain new customers.
Put in simple terms, earned media refers to the exposure you can get organically from external channels. It could be PR (mentions in media coverage), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), guest blogging, etc.
With earned media, you basically tap into word-of-mouth marketing. You get your message out to your target audience through external publications and platforms.
Earned media can be one of the most cost-effective ways to raise awareness of your brand and – if done right – significantly increase your sales.
Imagine, for example, how much free publicity it has given Michelle Kristensen to appear on TV2’s program Go’ Morgen Danmark, which is seen every morning by about 200,000 Danes:
Or when she was mentioned in Alt for Damerne with 182,000 readers every week:
I’m not saying it’s easy to appear on Go’ Morgen Danmark or Alt for Damerne – less can do the job too. So, whether it’s placing a focus on building partnerships with influencers, media or anything else, you should identify at least one earned media channel you can use to reach your target audience.
More often than not, the local newspapers are lacking content to write about, so if you have an interesting story where your clinic plays an essential role, it might be worth it just giving them a call.
Not surprisingly, paid media can be defined as the marketing channels you pay for. For example, it could be Facebook ads, Google AdWords, sponsored posts, Instagram ads, etc. Traditionally, it also includes TV commercials, radio advertisements, ads in printed publications, etc.
Paid media is basically a way to generate more exposure to your owned media and at the same time gain more earned media. Even if you have some control over paid media channels, you should pay close attention not to fall into the trap of constantly throwing more money in there if you don’t get the results you want.
Here you can see an older ad from Michelle Kristensen:
The best way to find paid media channels that work for you is by making a budget and trying different platforms. After you have tested them for a few weeks, you can assess which ones work best and which ones you need to optimize for them to work.
4. Make your “sales funnel” tangible
A really good way to make your marketing strategy more tangible and find out which marketing tactics and channels are right for you is by breaking it all down into a sales funnel.
It can be done in many ways, but a very good method is following the famous AIDA model:
At the top are your cold leads that don’t know your brand at all yet – here it is all about how to grab their attention and then generate interest in your product/service.
Once you’ve found a way (or multiple) to build awareness amongst your potential customers and also made them interested in what you have to offer, it’s time to figure out how to turn them into warm leads and thus make them want to buy from you (Desire).
Once you’ve made sure they actually want to buy from you, then find out how to actually get them to buy (Action).
To do this, break each marketing channel down into your sales funnel and split it up in your customer’s potential journey from the awareness stage to the action stage:
HubSpot describes very well how here.
By visualizing your marketing strategy this way, you can quickly assess whether your choices and actions actually make sense to your potential customer.
This exercise is extremely helpful when you need to try to figure out which marketing tactics/channels you should use, where to implement them and how you want to use them.
5. Make “smart” marketing goals
Now that you’ve been through the cornerstones of your new marketing strategy, we need to figure out what success looks like for you.
Many fall into a trap by setting goals like “more exposure” or “more customers”, but you have to be a little more specific than that. Because how else do you know if your marketing strategy is working or not if you don’t know exactly what you’re going for?
Here are some examples of bad and undefined goals:
- I want more customers
- I want a bigger mailing list
- I want more exposure
- I want to be ranked number 1 on Google
They don’t have a timeline; they’re not defined and don’t have any actionable steps – but worst of all: there’s no way to approach or measure them.
In order not to fall into this trap, we always recommend setting SMART marketing goals. In other words, your goals should be:
- Relevant / realistic
By having SMART goals in place, you can continuously ensure that your marketing goals match your overall business goals. They are easy to follow and something you (and possibly your team) can easily track to see if you are on the right track.
This means that the objectives should be formulated as follows:
- I want 100 new customers by December 2020 (and not: I want more customers)
- I want to grow my mailing list to 1,000 subscribers by the end of this year (and not: I want a bigger mailing list)
- I want to be ranked number 1 on Google for the keyword “low metabolism diet” (and not: I want to be ranked number 1 on Google)
By setting goals like these, you will be able to work towards them and make sure that your marketing strategy is focused on achieving that very goal and is constantly on the right path.
In addition, it also gives you a better idea of whether your marketing strategy works or whether you might want to adjust it continuously to achieve your goal.
Are your ready to build and execute your marketing strategy?
If you follow the steps above, you are well on your way to your next (and perhaps first?) marketing strategy for your clinic.
A solid marketing strategy is essential for your clinic to be successful. No matter how good of a product or service you have – if no one knows about it in the first place, you won’t get any customers.
No customer has ever magically bought anything – you always have to earn it.
It can take anywhere from an afternoon to a whole month to develop the right marketing strategy. But when it is finally developed, you know exactly which direction to go to gain more customers.
What does your marketing strategy look like? Have you built a super cool sales funnel? What does your target audience look like? If you like, you are always welcome to send any parts of your marketing strategy my way – I would be happy to give some comments and input if you so wish.
We are happy to help
We have extensive experience in helping large and small clinics get more customers. So, if you are in need of a marketing strategy for your clinic, you can book a free 10-minute marketing meeting with one of our experts. Contact us at [email protected]