Plan a Year of Marketing Strategy and Tactics in 4 Hours (or Less)

Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. The less complicated you make marketing, the more successful you will be.

Even the best marketing agencies — the ones who eat, drink and breathe this stuff 24/7 —  rely heavily on the principle of simplicity.

I can’t stress this enough.

All it takes is simple and consistent steps in the right direction. That’s it.

Ask yourself who, what and where you need to hone your focus in on.

Our first topic is…

The Marketing Budget

Before you plan much of anything, you need to have a broad idea of how much money you want to spend in each area.

Almost all high-growth practices spend 5%+ on their marketing budget.

It’s up to you to decide the size of your marketing budget of course, but it’s good to treat your marketing spend like seeds. A small investment often yields small results. A bigger investment can bring in much more if implemented properly.

That said, it never hurts to start small, and then grow your investment when it succeeds.

And speaking of investments, let’s jump right into who’s investing their time into what, and with how muchof your money.

Who’s Doing What?

Who’s going to be responsible for what, generally speaking?

Who’s good at social media?

Who can plan and put on a successful event?

Smaller practices will inevitably need more doctor involvement.

Small to mid-sized practices can transition a lot of marketing responsibilities to the rest of the staff.

Mid to large-sized practices need to have a dedicated marketing team. The owner should only be loosely involved. Not out of the loop at all — just less involved in the day-to-day, and more focused on big-picture strategy.

Once you’ve put together your marketing A-team, and you know generally where you’ll assign them, you can start planning out your tactics.

Your Marketing Gameplan

Here are some examples of marketing categories you might want to plan out for the year:

  • Review generation
  • Dental referrals
  • Patient referrals
  • Website
  • Social marketing
  • Organic SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Community/cause marketing
  • Clothing and other merchandise
  • Mass media if applicable

For a list like this, you can create specific tasks and projects within each category, plug them into google sheets or excel, and then assign team members and deadlines to each project or task.

Organize these into a daily, weekly and monthly checklist to keep your marketing activities in order and to date. (It helps to color-code them.)

Once it’s complete, share it with the people responsible for each activity, and have them initial each task as they finish it.

A Word on Time & Money

Don’t spend too much time trying to figure it all out.

It’s easy to get caught up in a never-ending planning phase filled with those time-consuming tasks that seem smart, but are actually holding you back. Take your competitor analysis for example — you can know the practices around you inside and out — you know where they sleep, you know their wifi password, the gum they chew, the patients they treat — but like most chunks of data, it’s exactly 100% useless if you don’t get your marketing plan built out and running.

The more obstacles you throw in the way, the more time you waste, which means you’re losing money to those pesky opportunity costs.

A few hours of planning is enough for most practices. Less planning. More action. It sounds foolish, but believe me, there’s an infinite (literally) number of things you can come up with to prepare. But only a grain or two from the beach of preparation sand is worth spending time on.

But what about the Six P’s? Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance — sure, it’s true.

But most people — and especially those of us who’ve been blessed with a paralysis by analysis sort of brain — take “planning” to the extreme and then some.

It’s easy to do because there’s so much riding on these decisions. But a half-day is all you need, maybe a full day max, to plan your marketing strategy properly.

Final Thoughts

To wrap it up:

  • Stop thinking, start doing.
  • Don’t waste time trying to be the next Seth Godin. Instead, duplicate the success of strong practices by emulating and perfecting what they’re already doing.
  • Don’t get paralysis by analysis.
  • Don’t obsess over the details — just make it happen.

Hold on. Aren’t most of those bullets the same, repackaged concept? Yes. It’s that important. In fact, it’s hands down the most critical element in the marketing prep formula.

And there you have it. Hope that helps!