It's time to solidify your 2017 marketing plans

It may be hard to believe, but another year is drawing to a close and the new year is just a couple of weeks away. It’s time to sit down and really review everything that has worked well for you in the last year, as well as the things that didn’t turn out as expected.

Move all this insight forward with a marketing plan for the coming year. Don’t worry about working out every detail — a simple one-page plan will give you a great guide as you begin to take on the new year.

  • Start by concisely writing out a description of your company’s services and your target market, including referral sources.
  • List your company’s main strengths and weaknesses. Now list the strengths and weaknesses of your three top competitors. Compare them and identify areas of potential opportunity that you may not fully be taking advantage of.
  • Write out your company’s unique selling proposition — the thing that makes your company stand out from everyone else.
  • Write down your purpose.
  • Now you’re ready to put together an outline of the strategies that served you well this year and those that didn’t perform as well as you’d hoped. If something worked, repeat it!

Here are some additional strategies to consider as you formulate where you want to focus your marketing energy in 2017:

  • Undertake a direct marketing campaign to target a specific group with your services. For example, send out a mailer to patients with COPD that outlines your specialty services for that group.
  • Start a patient loyalty program.
  • Reach out to markets you currently don’t serve or that you don’t have a solid foothold in. Try calling on a referral source you haven’t before, such as visiting physicians. Or call on retail health clinics, which can easily recognize when patients can benefit from home care services. You can also try reaching out to minority ethnic groups in your community that may not be utilizing home care in great numbers — this can include special outreach to your Hispanic, African American, or Asian communities.
  • Ask your marketers, clinicians and office workers to come up with a different scheduled marketing event for every quarter of the new year. Set a budget and a timetable and release your staff to use their good ideas and initiative to carry out marketing and community education events. The value of this exposure will be huge.