Target Market, USP, and Practice Branding. Oh, My!
Okay now close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, there is nothing like some straight forward healthcare marketing help!
Here it is:
Your Target Market – Do I really need to identify a target market?
Unless you have an unlimited amount of financial resources for your marketing activities, it is safe to say you need a crystal clear target market. If you spend your time, money, and energy marketing to the wrong people…you’re wasting it.
Identifying your target audience, target market, or target demographic (to use marketing jargon) is not as clear cut as it seems. You may think that you simply need to attract 175 patients from your geographic location per week to stay profitable. As a result, you may think that targeting patients within a certain mile radius make up your target market.
This may be true, however, what if by obsessively defining your target market you could reduce that number to 100 patients per week? Working less, yet earning the same. Now, that is a nice concept.
So, how do you do this?
Get out your pen or laptop. Now, start describing your ideal patient in detail.
Ask, in what locations do they live? What specific neighborhoods do they live in? What do they do for a living? How much money do they earn? Do they have children? How many? How do they feel about their personal and professional lives?
Are they new college grads? Do they have a specific type of healthcare insurance? Are they self-paying patients? Are they married or divorced? Are they mostly over 65? What kind of lifestyles do they lead? What keeps them up at night?
Once you’ve identified your ideal patient and all there is to know about them, then you can properly determine what they want and need. And when you know what they want and need, you will know how to speak to them about how your expertise can benefit them so that they will be more inclined to buy your healthcare products and services.
This is your first step to successful healthcare marketing. If you don’t take it, you can bet your bottom dollar that your practice will be on life support.
Your USP – What the heck is a USP?
In marketing lingo, your USP stands for your Unique Selling Proposition.
Gasp! Selling?!? Healthcare?!?
Yes that is right, selling. Every time you educate your patients on the products and services that you offer you are selling and marketing. It’s not a bad thing, so don’t make it out to be one.
Having a crystal clear USP will make or break your healthcare marketing efforts. Your USP tells your ideal patient why they should select your medical practice over another.
So, how do you create a USP?
Figure out what makes you unique!
Most doctors, practicing legally anyway, have obtained the medical education required to practice medicine so touting your expertise and educational credentials will only get you so far with your ideal patients. Truthfully, most patients prefer a physician that they can relate to and like over one that went to Harvard vs. a State school.
This means you need to figure out what you do differently, why it’s better than the way your competitor does things, and why your ideal patient would want what you uniquely offer. Once you can coherently answer those questions, you’ve got your USP. Then, you have to scream it from the roof tops.
Your Brand – I’ve got a logo and a nice color combo, isn’t that a brand?
Your logo and color combo have NOTHING to do with your brand. Having an effective logo and appealing color scheme is important, but what is more important is the brand associated with it.
Simply put, your brand is the promise you make AND KEEP to your patients day in and day out.
Do you promise thorough and gentle medical care? Do you deliver thorough and gentle medical care? If you deliver thorough and gentle medical care, and you do it consistently, then that is part of your brand.
Do you offer same day appointments? Do you actually run on time? These things are promises about the kind of care that you provide to your patients, and if you deliver on these promises consistently they are part of your brand.
The key to making your brand work for you is to communicate your brand consistently.
So, how do you communicate your brand consistently so that it works for you?
The first step to communicating your brand effectively is to articulate your promises to your patients in words that they can understand. The second step to communicating your brand effectively is to follow through on the promises you make to your patients by doing what you say you do.
Essentially, your brand represents what you stand for.
So, how does developing a strong brand benefit you and your medical practice?
Before I tell you what all the research shows, let me ask you, what do you refer more of? A quality brand or a no name private label? Who screams luxury to you, Mercedes or Volkswagen? What restaurant comes to mind when you want fast, cheap, Mexican drive-thru tacos? Taco Bell.
Now do you see the benefit? People refer their friends and family to brands that they like and trust. People remember products and services that have an established brand more easily than those that don’t. People associate status and quality with the brand of a product or service. The market research has made it plain that medical practice branding is an essential element to successful healthcare marketing.
Keep your eyes peeled next week for Lesson 5 because you won’t want to miss it! In lesson 5 we are going to discuss the critical healthcare marketing components of developing a strategic marketing plan that you can actually stick with, how to select marketing vehicles, and how to track your results so that your healthcare marketing activities make you more money.
See you then!
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Rx MD Marketing Solutions is a no nonsense healthcare marketing firm that believes healthcare marketing doesn’t have to be unaffordable, complicated, or unethical to be effective.
At Rx MD Marketing Solutions we seek to provide you with the knowledge, tools, and technology you need to build a sustainable medical practice so that you can enjoy more of what you really want to do…practice medicine.
Rx MD Marketing Solutions can help you build better relationships with your patients, and help you bridge that sometimes uncomfortable gap between providing superior patient care and the need to market and sell your services.
We help savvy practice managers and entrepreneurial-minded physicians build successful and sustainable health care organizations without giving up what you stand for.