Like most, you’re probably jumping with joy at the fact that we’re headed into the final quarter of 2020. It’s certainly been an interesting year. But before you sit back and relax, remember that you still have a full four months of work to do and patients to reach. Although you may have done a lot of marketing earlier in the year, here are some ways to make sure the last few months are just as (if not more) successful.
Have Strong Reactions to Changes
Things will change. It’s just the nature of how marketing and life work. While we always hope to be super proactive, there are certain things that we do not know, so it’s important to understand how to have a strong reaction to these adjustments.
Going into the fourth quarter of the year, especially one like 2020, can mean changes to a number of areas that may impact your practice. Local and federal mandates could change, healthcare rules and regulations could change, or even something like the weather could change. Regardless of what it may be, it’s important that you are able to communicate to people online. Have a definitive plan of how you plan to communicate large notices on all platforms including social media, listings, and your website. Your tone should be consistent, but you also should understand that readers of each platform will be different, so it’s important to be engaging on different levels.
Aside from those elements, there are also changes with regards to your online optimization. Facebook, Google, and other various directories are notorious for making changes when you least expect them. If you’re not paying attention, you may miss said changes and find yourself losing some of your hard earned work. For example, were you aware that Google did an algorithm update during the peak months of COVID? If not, you may want to check out how your results have changed!
Pick a Focus (Or Two) and Build a Plan
The easiest thing to do during the last few months of the year is scramble. You’re sending out notices here and there, focusing on various things on social media, and overall just winging it to make it work. Sure, you’ll get through the year and probably have a few patients trickle in, but there’s a much better and easier way to make this happen.
Take a look at your billing codes and analytics throughout the year. Is there something you’ve seen trending downwards? If so, use that as a focus to build a strong online marketing campaign. Create digital resources, develop a social media campaign that will last through the year, and begin optimizing your content to help index. Or maybe you know that your practice sees a certain type of patient more towards the end of the year due to deductibles. If this is the case, make that your focus and build on it as much as you can.
People always laugh when pumpkin spice comes out so early in the year because “it’s not time” for it, but that’s marketing at its finest. They’ve made a solid assessment of its peak performance through the years, and have determined that they can make an impact from August through the winter months. You can do the very same thing at your practice, although perhaps it won’t involve a food flavor!
Be Proactive About 2021
December rolls around and you’re still not fully prepared for 2021. January rolls around and you’re still not fully prepared for 2021. February rolls around and you’re now panicking because you have no marketing plan. Does this sound like you?
Marketing is often dictated on budget, which is great to keep guidelines. However, that budget should be set fairly early in the prior year. This allows you to be proactive about where you want to place emphasis and how you want to stretch those dollars. However, what people tend to forget is that you can use your remaining prior year budget to help.
At the core, marketing is all about planning. By fourth quarter, you should really know how your year went. In doing so, you are now able to say where you’d like your budget for the following year to go. But what do you do with those remaining few months? Well, use some time to subtly announce your plans for 2021. Let’s say you’ve decided that you’re going to be using a new patient portal and you want to get the word out. You have budgeted a lot for 2021, but you know that waiting until it happens is going to cause confusion. Use the final months of 2020 to hype the change up. Keep your patients informed via online outlets that changes are coming and that you will be communicating with them frequently. That will not only spread the word, but it will also help your patients know to be on the lookout. In doing so, you’ve marketed your new plan, notified your patients, and helped make sure that your 2021 rollout will be successful.
Do Not Slow Down
The year isn’t slowing down, so you shouldn’t either. It kind of goes without saying, but end of year is a marketing circus, and especially in 2020. You have elections, holidays, and more barreling towards your tv screens and radios, and most likely following you around on your electronic devices. In this case “my advertising is going to get lost” is not an excuse. In fact, it’s more of a reason to stay on the gas.
Healthcare marketing is its own beast, so it requires a different level of attention. Your marketing, though completely different from a political or holiday ad, can be tied in with the best of them. Notice what is trending and play off of that. For example, if people are pushing halloween marketing and you’re a pediatrician, you have a perfect opportunity to discuss safety and health on all of your platforms. Perhaps you’re a hospital group and are following what a local candidate is proposing. You don’t necessarily have to choose sides, but you can start marketing your hospital’s policies so that you’re reaping the benefits of those searches.
At the end of the day, marketing is all about consistency, so it’s important that you treat the end of the year no different than you did the beginning of the year. Get excited about what’s to come, and keep yourself prepared. If you need help or want to discuss further marketing for 2020, contact Practis today! We’re ready to make 2020 and 2021 your biggest years yet!