by Bill Schroeder
Organizing for marketing efforts is a crucial step towards success. I clearly recall a conversation from years ago, when I was venting to and seeking guidance from a very successful veterinary marketing professional about how I was unable to get through all the tasks a typical day presents. Without even glancing up from his work he asked, “How much of your daily list are you completing?”
A list? That was his advice?
I may or may not have rolled my eyes or even chuckled at the idea, but soon thereafter realized I was expecting to be effective without the very organizational foundation that a list provides. But given his success and my desperation, I thought I’d give it a try and began with simple daily task lists.
I immediately saw the benefit and experienced the feeling of accomplishment when I reached my daily goals. I quickly expanded this process to include weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks and created parallels between them and my goals. While I could dive deeper into list management and how to avoid having “lists for lists,” my current task list prohibits such a diversion and I’ll get to the point.
Most veterinary practices that I speak with are running their marketing without a plan or even a list. When you consider the fact that a successful marketing plan lives or dies with the sophistication or adherence to a plan for execution, you’ll quickly realize the need for this blog.
Tips for Organizing Your Practice Marketing
Let’s spend a few minutes discussing how you can organize your practice marketing efforts so that you can maximize your results.
Know Your Veterinary Practice’s “Why”
While I’ll address finding your “why” and exactly “what” you would like pet owners to do in another piece, it is important that you begin by making two lists (go figure).
One list should be the top 10 or 20 things that pet owners “need” from your practice, and a similar outline of the things that your practice “needs” the marketing content to do.
Examples of things that a pet owner may need could be:
- Assistance in helping their pets live a longer, healthier life
- Clarity around basic pet care topics
- Understanding their role in the care of their pets
- Recognizing the need for diagnostics
- How to access pet care information that parallels the practice’s values and beliefs
Examples of things that a veterinary practice may need could be:
- Pet owners to be compliant
- Clients to request appointments
- Clients to call the practice
- Less calls to the practice (improved efficiencies or available information may reduce such)
- Prospective employees to want to work at the practice
Appoint a Lead Team Member
Accountability is as important as organization. Select a person within the practice who is interested in maintaining the process and will ultimately be responsible for communicating with outside vendors or managing the actual internal execution. This person should be familiar with the practice’s goals and be comfortable with the marketing space. You might want to consider enlisting the help of a manager as accountability and performance evaluation frequently become issues.
Get a Professional Guidebook
The internet is full of content planning guides, many of which have digital versions that integrate with the below mentioned project management software. These guides offer an easy-to-document, year-long course that your veterinary practice can follow.
By Googling “content planner’s guide,” you will find products that allow you to assign tasks, track progress, and even track performance of each marketing effort. Having such will allow your team to create content well in advance of when it is to be posted, so there’s adequate time for ideas to mature and also for proper editing and validation.
Use Project Management Software
At InTouch, we use both Basecamp and Trello to manage projects and tasks like this. Both programs have basic versions that would be appropriate for your practice and would integrate with some content planning guidebooks, allow for visual tracking of content development projects, and when used together, can help provide standardization to your process.
Always Have a Purpose
Remember the lists that I had you create earlier? Well, these lists can be the beginning of the reason for each piece of your content. Expanding upon that concept should include the trackable action that you would like clients to do once they digest your content.
Basically, done correctly, your practice should be suggesting that local pet owners call the practice, request appointments, sign up for your newsletter, complete forms, or perform other valuable actions. Sophisticated practices understand the actual financial impact of many of these actions and can directly gauge marketing performance based upon goal completion.
Organizing for Marketing is Surprisingly Rare
In the end, I understand how simple the above suggestions can be, but am amazed at how many veterinary practices are not doing any organizing for marketing at even a basic level. I look at this process like building a house and starting with a solid foundation. By starting with these very easy-to-implement suggestions, you will be better prepared to build a successful marketing program.