Marketing Goals, Strategies & Tactics
When creating a marketing plan, it’s important to identify your goals and then create strategies and tactics to support those goals. This framework will help you stay focused and determine what efforts are most successful.
Your marketing goal is a measurable result you want to achieve within a specified timeframe. When setting goals, they should be written in such a way that you can easily determine if they’ve been met. In other words, determine what you’re aiming at and how you’ll know if you’ve hit the mark.
Marketing strategies and tactics are used to translate the goals into action. Strategies outline what you are going to do; tactics are the specific action steps required to bring the strategy to life. Tactics support the strategies just as the strategies support the goals.
GOAL: Generate 50 new patients from nearby businesses each month.
STRATEGY: Create awareness of practice.
TACTIC: Conduct lunch-and-learn sessions at nearby businesses to educate individuals on topics related to dentistry.
There may be multiple strategies under a goal and multiple tactics under a single strategy.
- Number of new patients?
- New patients who have seen your advertising and responded?
- New patients who make a follow up appointment?
- New patients who make referrals?
Measurement takes time but is worth it to help ensure your time and money are well spent. Evaluate your marketing plan at least annually to assess what is working. Make adjustments as necessary so that your marketing efforts reap the results you want.
Create a calendar that identifies the tactics you plan to use each month.
Website – Several online services walk you through this process so you can do it all yourself. The cost may be a nominal monthly fee. If you choose to put more time and money into your website, you may want to work with a local web design firm that can help you with your web strategy, as well as the design and content.
Special Events – Some dentists choose to host an open house or a special event after they’ve been open for a while. Not only will you need to plan the event itself, you’ll need to determine how to promote the event. You can also consider other events such as educational sessions.
News Releases – Similarly, press releases can be a good way to share a timely message. When you open your practice, move your practice location, hire staff or host an event, a news release to local publications may make sense. Make sure your content is actually newsworthy if you want the newspaper to consider using it.
Social Media – If you choose to use any social media, have a well-thought-out plan. For example, if you create a Facebook page for your practice, what kind of content will you post? How frequently? How can you effectively use Facebook to engage patients?
Email – Using email marketing to reach patients and prospects can be inexpensive. Determine if you want to use email to share a regular, educational newsletter or to promote an event. Your list can be built from those who have provided their email to you, as well as from social-media platforms you use.
Sponsorships – There may be an opportunity for your practice to sponsor a local sports team or community event. If you decide to do so, determine how to get the most impact from your marketing dollars as part of this sponsorship.
Community Involvement – Identify opportunities to connect with others through community events. Key events can be plugged into your marketing calendar so you can leverage other marketing efforts at the same time for greater exposure.
Print Advertising – Many options are available when it comes to print advertising. This could be the most costly component but is worth exploring to determine if it is a cost-effective way to reach your target audience.
Radio & TV – Although radio is generally a cost-effective medium, TV tends to be more expensive. With either, determine the cost for creating the spot, as well as placing the commercial on radio or TV.
Direct Mail – This can be a costly medium, but if you have a targeted list with a specific message, it’s worth considering. Enlisting the help of a marketing firm may be a wise choice.
For each tactic, be sure to review its effectiveness so that you can make changes as needed.
Don’t forget: Make sure your advertising meets the guidelines established by your state board. In some situations, you may be limited (or prohibited) especially when it comes to discounted opportunities (Groupon, etc.).
Additionally, always consider how your efforts reflect on you as a professional, your practice and the profession. Ask yourself if your marketing tactics are consistent with a positive professional image.