We are changing the way we communicate. We might find information from a Twitter post or have an RSS feed with our favorite bloggers or follow the link on our friend’s Facebook page or we may be avid listeners to NPR’s Morning Report. Consider how you used to obtain information a few years ago compared with when and how you get information now. For some of you, the main source of information might still be your local newspaper but it may not be a newsprinted item on your kitchen table. You may have it as your home page on your laptop, you may subscribe to the mobile feed or you may prefer a news aggregator that occasionally lifts an article from that local newspaper.
As organizations that want to reach out to people, the manner and approach is just as meaningful as the message. According to data on the web blog, SocialDoctor, there are 4.6 billion cell phone users in our world, 500 million Facebook users, 190 million Gmail accounts and 140 million people who Tweet. But what this data doesn’t reveal is who is doing what. In my last post, I briefly discussed the value of data in helping to target specific audiences. So, before, you viscerally decide to turn everything in your organization mobile because of all of the cell phone users, do a little more thinking a little more digging.
Yes, I talked about this last week but I really want to drill home this concept. Start with determining your goals. What are you trying to achieve? If you are creating a marketing campaign to develop awareness of your practice and by that you mean increased inquiries leading to more patients, then you have to do a little, old-fashioned thinking first.
If you are promoting a sports medicine practice, then consider the most likely referral sources. Are these other physicians? Predominately primary care? What about sports teams and their trainers? Physical therapists? Personal trainers? Where are these referring sources likely to “hang-out” or get their information? Who are the top bloggers for sports information? Will they be listening to or watching certain programs? The point here is to think about your intended target and determine how you might best reach them. Then consider the message and the budget implications. You don’t necessarily have to do a knee-jerk reaction and develop a social media campaign because that is what everyone is talking about. Most likely, your plan should incorporate a variety of platforms to corral your targets. You might want to use a traditional media outlet (a radio spot on a popular sports program) as well as develop something more social. Perhaps begin a blog presence with one of the orthopedic surgeons to discuss sports injuries.
Start with your objectives, then consider your target audience and think about how you can reach them. Don’t leave it to one method but build a campaign and make sure, as always, that you track your outcomes so that you can refine and retool as necessary.
And like always — marketing is more effective because it is thoughtful and planned!