As I dig deeper into the traits that successful practitioners share, I’ve discovered that–no surprise–they all tend to get a lot done, particularly when it comes to marketing. The problem, though, is that practice marketing can be a bottomless pit of to-do’s. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, confused, or intimidated.

We covered four questions to help get your marketing done a while back, and some tips on creating your practice marketing plan, but I want to share with you three things we’ve done so far this year that have simplified our marketing efforts, which in turn has allowed us to get more done.

1. Create Marketing Themes
To make things a bit easier this year, we “chunked” our marketing conceptually over the four quarters of the year. We used part of the framework from The Practitioner’s Journey, but you could use anything that works for you.

The theme of our first quarter was about increasing new patient numbers (The River). The next two quarters will be about leveraging our existing patient base more – promoting existing products and services, adding new ones, managing patient flow and scheduling (The Boulder). The last quarter will have more emphasis on shifting from practice to business, and planning our eventual transition to new space (The Valley).

This “theming” has created some tangible advantages. It’s allowed us to:

  • Decide what to do next. Sometimes a huge task list just makes you want to bury your head in the sand and not do anything. The themes let us narrow the big pile down to just the tasks relevant to now.
  • Focus. It’s easier to defer new “shiny” marketing ideas to a later time if you know that there really is a defined later time.
  • Understand the big picture. Themes let you look at your entire marketing year in a sensible strategic way. Our themes for each quarter give us a “marketing plan in a nutshell.”

You don’t have to use the same themes we did. You could divide your year by marketing type, for example. Perhaps you want to focus on kick-starting your website efforts in one quarter, focus another on live talks or public outreach, and another on social media. It’s up to you. For us, the themes are just an effective way to stay focused and underwhelmed. :)

It’s worth noting that we don’t abandon one area of focus when we shift to a new theme. We didn’t give up on new patients after the first quarter, for example. But a lot of our new patient initiatives were kick-started at the beginning of the year, and then maintained or tweaked for the remainder. And we deferred a heap of new marketing and other practice changes and decisions to the quarters in which they belong.

2. Take Daily Action

A few years back Tara and I both experimented with exercising every day for a year. The objective was to do 30 minutes of something every single day. No misses. We’d always been active and healthy, but wanted to take it up a notch.

Not only did we feel great and never get a single cold or flu that year, it turned out that doing it every day actually made things easier. It just became a small thing to be done every day, like eating or sleeping. Taking the choice out of it seemed to simplify everything.

We’ve been applying the same strategy to our marketing efforts: Do one thing every day, no matter how small. The end result for us is the process is simpler, and the sum of all those small efforts is far greater than before. We’ve avoided the trap of “when I have time, I’ll do this big marketing thing”–we all know how that ends. Rather than have a “marketing day”, for example, we just do steady, tiny bits.

Unlike the 365 days of exercise, we’ve limited the daily marketing to 5 days a week, not seven, but the results are the same. Slow, steady, improvement, without the overwhelming dread of trying to take over the universe in one afternoon.

3. Track Your Efforts

It’s not hard to make a list of things that you need to do in the future. No shortage of those. But what about tracking what you’ve already done? There’s real value in seeing your progress, but it’s hard to “see” that progress in one place.

Tara has started to use a really simple tracking method–putting everything in the calendar on her mac after she does it. She uses a couple of specific colors to identify marketing tasks and, in our case, referrals into one of our treatment tools.

Here’s a quick peek at what I mean. The green entries are marketing tasks. The red entries are when we started tracking prescription rates for one of our therapies. It’s not rocket science…but it gets the job done, and I’m pretty sure it’d be just as easy to do in Outlook, or with a monthly paper calendar and a couple of highlighters:

This has a number of distinct benefits:

  • Awareness. It’s easy to see with a click that things are moving forward. And we have a basic history of marketing efforts on one place all the time.
  • Motivation. Once you get a steady streak of green bars, or red entries, it starts to become a bit of a game to keep things going.
  • Reward. It’s remarkably satisfying to see all your marketing in one place. It’s something you don’t get from scattered entries in a daytimer, or random to-do lists.
  • Results. The work’s getting done, and it’s is paying off in terms of better patient numbers, etc.

These strategies are all designed to do the same thing: to simplify the giant pile of stuff that is practice marketing. Our experience? If you can make things easier to grasp, then you make them easier to do.  :)

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1 Response » to “3 Ways to Simplify Your Practice Marketing”

  1. Samantha says:

    I have found that “chunking” may tasks word the best as well as making sure I book out the time.

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