Marketing does not need to be done every day. . . but therein lies the trouble. We cannot ignore daily chores like scheduling, doing therapy, billing, and collecting. We know they are important and urgent (hence the need to be managed each day). But marketing does not have that same sense of urgency. . . until it does. We need to at least think about a weekly marketing plan to keep ourselves on task.
Once the practice is off the ground, and we have a steady flow of clients, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we can skimp on marketing activities and not see a difference. That may be true for a while, but the lack of effort here will have consequences down the road that can be quite painful. Success and stability can lull us into complacency. The linkage between any particular marketing effort and any particular referral is harder to see.
I think we should at least think about marketing every day. And then, on some days, we actually make plans to schedule time with referral people, set up presentations, and follow through on whatever marketing plans you have developed.
I am reminded of a quote from a classic text on managing professional service organizations (David Maister (1993). Managing the professional service firm. Free Press Paperbacks: New York. Pg. 241):
“What a group does with its billable time determines its income for the year. What it does with its non-billable time determines its future.”
Weekly marketing as our salvation
Marketing is the ultimate “non-billable time”. And yet the marketing we do will determine whether you have a business in the future or not. We must maintain the urgency to get out into the community and meet new potential referral people.
Growth will eventually flatten without consistent ways to pursue new contacts and connections. And our impact on our communities will diminish. In other documents, I have laid out the methods we have used to keep the marketing demands in front of us, so I will not restate those ideas here. Let me just say that marketing remains one of the most important and critical business demands. And because it does not present with as much urgency, it can be the sleeper issue that can trip us up more than any other.
For more specifics on how we did our marketing, see “A community-based marketing method: Community connection plans.”
For more on building a referral network, see the post “Creating demand for your services.”
Also, look at the Daily/Weekly Demand series: