Marketing Plan for a
Private Practice

A marketing plan is valuable because a successful PR program requires consistency and having a plan to guide your efforts will help ensure that. Once you have organized your thoughts about what you want to do, you will be able to delegate many of the necessary activities to others in your practice.

Your biggest challenge: simplify

There is never an end to the amount of time and money you can spend on marketing.

Once you have a marketing plan of any kind, regardless of the size or expense, anyone who looks at it will likely tell you, "This is good, but you could be doing x."

You just need to accept this and fight the urge to jump into something new because it sounds good at the moment. A plan will help you do this.

While it is a good idea to think of your marketing program as continually evolving, you will achieve better results if you start small, focused on just a few tactics. The marketing plan will give you a framework and direction that will enable you to grow its breadth as you grow, but most practices that respond to the suggestions of a parade of marketing "experts" by adding too many different types of strategies, usually find themselves narrowing their scope down again to a few that work well.

Your marketing plan will help guard you against this "scope creep" if you measure each decision against whether it fits within this current program. Your plan can also be used as a convenient excuse when your local media advertising representatives come calling.

As an aside, here is a simple way to make decisions about marketing requests or "opportunities":

  1. Remind yourself that protecting your professional image is your overriding need.
  2. Quickly categorize the request:
            Does this help me?
            Does this hurt me?
            Does this have little effect?
  3. If it could hurt you, say no immediately. If it will have little or no effect, why spend time on it? If it helps, measure it against your marketing plan. Does it fit within the current scope of the plan? Can you expand the time and budget called for in the plan or will you have to trade off something else you planned to do? 

Your goal is to quickly eliminate those ideas that fall outside the 80-20 rule, i.e., they may be good tactics and they may help you, but the added benefit is not enough to warrant the additional time and expense. Of course, you don't want to do anything that will harm your professional image just because a friend or an expert promotes it.

The RACE Planning Formula

Public relations professionals use a formula for creating PR plans called RACE, which you can read more about at these links:

    Research
    Action Planning
    Communication (the implementation phase)
    Evaluation

The RACE formula provides an outline for any PR campaign or initiative in your expert positioning program. It is circular in that the evaluation becomes part of the research that affects your planning for the next execution stage.

I believe that creation of an action plan [link to be added] is the most important element of your PR expert positioning plan and I strongly suggest that you create a template as the first step in your planning process. Then, as you begin to write your plan, you can add "to do" activities to the action plan, increasing your speed to implementation. This is probably the #1 determinant of whether you can execute a successful DIY (do it yourself) practice marketing program.

Although you will be tempted to skip the planning stage and immediately begin implementing some of the ideas on this website, I strongly urge you to take some time to create a marketing plan. It will save you considerable time and money in the long run. Believe it or not, it will also help you simplify your marketing efforts and make them more effective in meeting your goals of increased visibility and growth.

The planning process is covered more extensively in my e-manual, PR for the Professions.


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