To successfully market a medical practice, a variety of factors must be in place. One of the most important initial steps you should take is to define your target market. This means knowing your ideal patient. If you don’t know your target market, it can be virtually impossible to target your marketing efforts, which can result in wasted marketing dollars. Before you can define your target market, you must determine your niche.

Because no one business can meet the needs of all people, niche definition is an important first step in any successful marketing strategy. You’ve heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none?” This is not the route successful medical practices take. Instead, they focus on the services that they specialize in and what they want to be known for in the community.

Obviously, if you are a pediatric practice, you specialize in pediatrics. Specialists, however, must further define the services they want to primarily offer patients. This is not to say that additional services, procedures or product lines cannot be offered. It simply means that the bulk of the revenue generated comes from “niche” service lines. Once you know this, you can move on to audience segmentation.

The more closely your business can define their target market, the better. The key is to define whom your services best serve. To define your target audience you should first look at what type of patients primarily seeks the services you offer. Look at the demographics for your area. This includes age, lifestyle and income level. Analyze your market and ask probing questions to determine how your niche services can help meet the needs of your target audience. Knowing what keeps your target audience awake at night and how your service lines provide a solution puts you in a very strong position for success.

Once you know how to meet the needs of your target audience, you must determine where they find their information prior to making purchases. Knowing the sources they use to make buying decisions allows you to focus a large portion of your marketing budget on the items that will bring in the greatest return for your practice.

Once you begin implementing your medical marketing strategy you must track where each lead is coming from. Having this information allows you to measure what is working versus what is not. There are several ways to measure the efficacy of a marketing strategy. One of the most simple and unfortunately least used is asking callers and patients what prompted them to call. As marketing consultants, we often hear how challenging this can be when your lead may have heard about you a variety of ways. What you want to know is what made them decide to call today? It is as simple as that. They may have heard your radio ad, saw your yellow page ad and passed your office on the way to work. The thing that actually made them select your practice were the reviews they read online. The Internet would then be your source.

The investment you make into better understanding your business goals, your patients needs and the marketing initiatives that work vs. those that don’t will strengthen your abilities as a market leader. It will also ensure that your marketing efforts pay off. Need help? Consider contacting a healthcare marketing agency.