We’re all looking for the secret formula that is going to propel our business forward this year to that next level. Here’s a piece of advice that will save you a LOT of time and money – Stop searching! There is no secret formula. If there was, we would all be billionaires and running for President this year (not that any of us want to strive to be…you know who, rhymes with, ‘bump’). There is, however, one question that will guarantee your Internet marketing will rock this year, if you can successfully answer it:
What is your Internet Marketing Strategy for 2016?
Yes this sounds very simple, but so many healthcare providers (and small businesses in general) do not put enough time and thought into brainstorming and developing an Internet marketing strategy. But where do you even begin?
STEP 1: Get the Brain Active and Ready
Let’s get the synapses fired up and contemplate the answers to some of these basic questions.
- Who is your demographic?
- Where does your demographic live and work?
- How does your demographic search for the type of product or service that you offer?
- Is your demographic using social media and if so which social platforms?
- What is your primary product or service offering?
- What makes your offering different than your competition?
- What marketing has your competition used and what have they found to be successful?
- NOTE: You’re most likely not going to have that answer handed to you, but there are ways to discover the answer.
- On that note, who is your competition?
- What mediums do you use to communicate your product or service offering to customers?
STEP 2: Define Your Overall Goal
Now that the brain is actively thinking about your marketing strategy, it’s time to create the foundation of your Internet marketing strategy – the goal! Your goal should be in the form of a question, it should be specific, and you should refrain from using the word, “and”. The process of defining the goal is a critical first step. In fact, we use this approach all the time with our new clients who come to us for help with their Internet marketing. Most of our clients are cosmetic healthcare providers such as plastic surgeons, dermatologists, medical spas, cosmetic dentists, etc. so these examples of goals are tailored to that market. However, they can easily be adapted and applied to any business.
Here are some samples of common goals we’ve defined for our clients:
- How do I increase the number of new patients in my practice?
- How do I attract more patients who are seeking cosmetic breast procedures?
- How do I increase my overall Internet visibility?
- How can I utilize social media to position myself as an expert in a specific procedure?
It’s important that you take time to really think about your goal because it will become the foundation of your Internet marketing strategy.
STEP 3: Fire Off Ideas
Once you’ve defined your goal it’s time to start brainstorming. Assemble your team together, distribute pads of paper and pens, and propose the goal (question) to the group. Let your team express whatever comes to their mind and do not dismiss any idea. At this stage, dismissing ideas will hinder creativity. No ideas are bad ideas.
STEP 4: Narrow Down Your List
After you’ve developed a healthy list, you can move onto the next step and start to dismiss ideas that aren’t applicable. But don’t completely erase them, keep them in their own category because even though the idea is not applicable, there may be a component of it that sparks an AMAZING idea.
STEP 5: Answer the Question
There are two steps that must be done solely on your own – defining the goal and answering the question. You can get opinions from your team on the answer to the goal, but at the end of the day you need to be the leader that defines that answer. Your answer should be specific and encompass a combination of the great ideas you’ve brainstormed.
The answer should also include benchmarks on how you’re going to reach your goal. Envision your goal at the top of a ladder. If each rung is an objective, how many rungs do you need to climb to reach the top?
STEP 6: Start Climbing
You have your overall goal, you have your set of objectives to reach your goal, and now you have a yellow brick road the leads to success. Right? Well sort of. One of the mistakes many people make with this process is to cement the path to their goal. While your goal should be cemented, your path should be flexible. You may discover that instead of 4 objectives there really should be 8. Or perhaps one of your objectives needs to be revised altogether. If you keep your mind open, but fixed on the end goal, your 2016 Internet marketing strategy will ROCK!
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