#1 Stress as a Plastic Surgeon
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in practice 5 years or 20 years… The #1 stress as a plastic surgeon is finding a solid patient attraction channel you can count on to bring in new patients.
Nothing else matters. Not your new office, your new laser or your unbelievable coordinator.
If you don’t have cosmetic patients saying yes to you and giving you money, you’re in trouble.
Think of cosmetic patients as your oxygen. When you have a steady flow of cosmetic patients saying yes to you, you breathe easy.
When you don’t, your breathing is cut off and you won’t survive for long.
And it never quits. The anxiety. Even when you’re booked out, aren’t you waiting for the other shoe to drop?
The well was running over and now it’s dry.
On the other hand….
When you have a solid patient attraction system in place, you breathe easy.
If your system consists of spending thousands of dollars every month on advertising, that’s part of the plan but NOT the whole plan.
An easier way is to let your existing patients bring you new patients in creative ways.
This not only significantly reduces spending on new patient adverting, it also increases patient retention, which is a very good thing.
Because referred patients have a higher conversion rate than “Internet stranger patients”. Referred patients also spend more per transaction and are more likely to return, so their lifetime value is much greater.
This makes patient referral programs the most cost-effective AND lucrative marketing strategy that your practice can possibly employ.
By the way, you can learn a lot when looking at how other industries use referral programs to grow their businesses. Here are a few:
- PayPal. They literally gave away free money, and it worked out great for them. And this was before social media!
- Airbnb. A single user in China led to thousands of signups and hundreds of bookings in a single month.
- Uber. They’ve been in a unique position to run multiple referral programs at once – for both users and for drivers.
- $1,000 for both advocate and friend, with quite a star-studded list of advocates!
- Amazon Prime.Likely one of the most heavily used referral programs in recent times.
- When the front page of the Internet decides to run a referral program, it’s worth looking into.
Obviously, you are not going to pay cash for patient referrals due to fee-splitting issues; however, that is no reason to close your mind to a referral program.
You may not be allowed to pay for referrals directly like other businesses can, but you are certainly allowed to grow your practice strategically and ethically so it behooves you to keep an open mind.
A referral program is a deliberate, systematic way of encouraging patients to refer you to others.
But you can’t “hope” your current patients will spread the word about you.
Between their hectic work schedules and never-ending list of social and family obligations, your marketing strategy is the last thing on their minds.
So, you need to put it on their minds and make the referral process as easy as possible for them, turning your loyal patients into your biggest brand advocates.
What makes for a good referral program?
In order for a referral program to make a real impact on the growth of your cosmetic practice, the following key elements need to be in place:
- Easy for patients to understand
- Simple for staff to use
- Compelling but profitable
- Easy to track results
- Fun & focused on patients rather than on you
If this makes sense to you, check out the KiSS Rewards Club that is designed specifically for plastic surgery practices looking to grow their practices the easier, cheaper and faster way.
Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery.