Includes excerpts from the e-book, “Marketing for Success: Secrets to Help Dietitians Stand Out from the Crowd,” by Maree Ferguson and Melanie McGrice
Most of us become dietitians to help others. We spend years updating our knowledge and skills to ensure we can provide the best service possible. But what about marketing? It’s not a skill that we typically put great emphasis upon in our professional development.
But I do. And marketing has been critical to my own career path.
I am often asked how I learned to use marketing effectively enough to grow Dietitian Connection into the unique organisation it is today – a community of more than 5,000 motivated and inspiring nutrition leaders.
The answer? Over my career, I have been exposed to marketing in many forms: marketing internal programs within organisations, such as hospitals; marketing external health programs to the public; studying marketing case studies while I undertook my MBA; and, of course, learning to market my own business.
Here’s what I’ve learned and, if you’re keen to pick up more tips on how to stand out from the crowd yourself, you’ll find my complete strategy, specifically tailored to dietitians, in the e-book I co-authored with Melanie McGrice – details at the link below.
Developing a marketing plan is critical to ensure the success of your business. It is a strategic, but practical, plan of how you will market your products and/or services to your customers. I find many people avoid developing a marketing plan as they think it has to be a long, detailed document, but your marketing plan can be as short as one page.
A marketing plan typically includes the following sections:
- Target market
Be as specific as possible when defining your target market, this will make it much easier to narrow your marketing efforts. You may segment your target market by geography, gender, age, income, education level, occupation, and/or lifestyle. For example, if you have a program for pregnant women in Sydney. Your target market might be pregnant women aged between 30-40, working professionals with a university degree earning an income over $75,000 and living in North Sydney.
Another way to think about your target market is to answer the question, who is your ideal client? And then describe characteristics of this individual. You could even create a fictitious character that represents your ideal client (known as a Pen portrait as outlined in chapter 4). This will make it easier to imagine this person when you are developing your marketing strategies.
- Market research
Market research will help you better identify your target market and optimal marketing strategies. You firstly need to be aware of the marketplace in general. What are the trends? Is the market already saturated? Is it growing or declining? This will help you decide whether to continue with your business idea.
Additionally, spend time talking to your potential customers and obtaining feedback on your business idea. You can also conduct online surveys to better understand your target market and how best to reach them with your marketing efforts.
Conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to further evaluate whether your business idea has the potential to be successful. You can use the strengths and opportunities as areas to focus on in your marketing plan. It’s also important to pay attention to the weaknesses and threats that may hinder the success of your business.
Your SWOT analysis should incorporate a review of your competitors to determine what makes your business unique. Identify areas where you are different or perform better than your competitors. You can leverage these differences in your marketing activities.
- Goals and objectives
Define your short- and long-term business and marketing goals. Ensure the goals are SMART goals i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. An example of a SMART goal would be “to make five cold calls to potential new clients each week”.
- Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy should consider the 4Ps of marketing: product (or service), price, place and promotion. Clearly define your product or service and how it is unique from your competitors. Refer to chapter 8 to help you set your price. Think about where your customer will purchase your product or service. In today’s world, the ability to purchase your product online will be important. Determine what promotion strategies you will use based on your target market and the best way to reach them.
- Action plan
Develop an action plan from your strategies. For each action, determine who is responsible for completing the action, any resources or budget required, and when the action needs to be completed by.
Refer to your objectives to evaluate the outcomes. You may also develop some intermediate goals to keep you on track.
Your marketing plan should be a dynamic document and be revised on an ongoing basis as you learn new information. Don’t fall into the common trap of developing a marketing plan and then never look at it again.
Develop a marketing plan – What are your goals, marketing strategies and success indicators?
“Marketing for Success: Secrets to Help Dietitians Stand Out from the Crowd” by Maree Ferguson and Melanie McGrice is your complete guide for marketing “brand you”, spreading the word about all your good work to others so that more people can be helped by you.
Learn more and purchase the book today for just $9.99 +GST.
Edited by Laura Byrne