Whenever I am speaking to a practice interested in either expanding their current marketing or realizing the need for marketing, I inevitably have to address the elephant in the room- budget. In most cases, practices are not sure how much they can or should spend on marketing and are looking for an answer. But, here is the real answer- there is no magic number. You get out of marketing what you put into it.
Marketing your practice is a financial commitment that requires trust and a willingness to understand that your practice may not survive without it. If your practice is only looking to spend a few hundred dollars per month, the results will reflect that.
Practices should be determining their budgets based on a variety of factors. Below are 4 important factors that can help determine your marketing budget.
For practices that are utilizing any digital or print advertising, it is imperative that they be tracking the ROI from these efforts monthly. If a particular print or digital outlet is not producing results, that money can be reallocated into more fruitful marketing endeavors.
Two of the most important marketing resources that practices should be allocating (or reallocating) marketing spend for is Google Pay Per Click Advertising and Social Media Marketing. As the patient decision-making cycle shifts away from traditional means and into more internet based research, both of these platforms result in an exponentially higher ROI than traditional and print advertising. However, it is important to ensure that these efforts are executed properly and utilize the expertise of an experienced digital marketer. Otherwise, these efforts can generate very low ROI.
2. Competitor Analysis
Every practice has competition. Whether your practice is gaining or losing market share to your competitors is a function of marketing. When determining where your marketing efforts should focus, look to see what your competitors are doing and how you can do it better.
Does your competitor have an active social media presence? Does your competitor have a high rank on Google? Is your competitor being interviewed in TV news segments? If so, this should serve as an incentive to develop a cohesive marketing plan so that you can remain competitive and not lose market share.
3. Practice Size
The number of physicians and specialties in your practice has a direct correlation to what your budget should be. Multidisciplinary practices should keep in mind that marketing all of their specialties is important and each should be represented equally so that potential patients are aware of all services provided. Therefore, larger practices require a larger marketing budget.
Many practices make the mistake of only focusing on their joint replacement specialists, shoulder specialists or spine specialist and do not focus on the other specialties. The mistake in this approach is that patients only know of the services you are promoting. So, if your practice is focusing only on shoulder procedures, patients will not think to see you for a knee injury.
4. Tracking ROI
In healthcare, tracking ROI is a bit more complex than any other field due to the fact that full payment is not made on the date of service by the insurer. In some cases, practices will have to wait several months to collect reimbursements from insurers.
Yet, there is a way to track the ROI of your marketing efforts by tracking new patient acquisitions. If the practice is utilizing a marketing campaign to attract more patients with rotator cuff injuries, each month the increase in number of patients with these injuries should be evaluated. Also, the practice should be utilizing internal tracking systems such as unique phone numbers, website data and patient intake forms to determine where these patients are coming from. If your practice is outsourcing its marketing efforts, the marketing company should also be providing you with new patient acquisition reports each month to ensure that your marketing budget is being spent wisely and generating an ROI.
Gold Medical Marketing prides itself on our ability to generate patients for our clients using the most effective Medical Marketing and Public Relations strategies. Our experience, knowledge and understanding of patient behavior makes us the most successful Medical Marketing and Public Relations company.
We specialize in Medical Marketing and Public Relations for Spine, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Multi-Specialty Practices, Urgent Care Centers and many other types of practices. Our clients have seen their practices grow using a variety of Medical Marketing and Public Relations strategies. Unlike other companies, we are exclusively in the medical field and do not make the mistake of marketing your practice like a retail product.
Gold Medical Marketing offers NO COST MARKETING EVALUATIONS, wherein we will objectively evaluate your current marketing efforts. The goal of this is to highlight areas in need of improvement as well as areas where money is being spent foolishly. Contact us today to set up an evaluation.