Patient attraction trends for the rest of 2020 shows that the COVID-19 pandemic created a massive increase in social media usage by would-be cosmetic patients. However, it also created stiff competition among surgeons to grab that attention of patients who are ready for cosmetic services.
That means if you want more leads, more inquiries, more conversions, more money and more growth, it’s smart to adapt your patient attraction plans accordingly.
Here are 3 patient-attraction trends affecting you the most, as well as strategies to adapt:
The increase in non-surgical technologies makes this industry very attractive to non-core providers who want to cash in, so now you are competing for cosmetic revenues with internists, gynecologists, NPs, PAs, RNs, med spas, laser techs and even aestheticians.
It’s time for you to brag about your extension surgical training and experience. Show off your medical degrees, board certification, awards, plaques, PR and your pro-bono efforts.
Educate patients on surgical vs. non-surgical procedures and when surgery is necessary to get the results they want. Then show off your surgical expertise with your great before/after photos of your other real patients who had the same problem you were able to fix.
In other words, make a big deal out of things your competitors can’t, won’t or don’t.
And, as Jeff Bezos of Amazon says, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
It would behoove you to build your brand based on trust, safety and helping others.
When it comes to price, you can no longer ignore what prospective patients see in the marketplace. They are bombarded with special deals and promotions. When price cutting is rampant, it’s confusing to patients to distinguish price from value.
If you have not done a good job explaining why you offer so much more value than your price-cutting competitors, these prospective patients don’t have a good enough reason to pay your higher prices.
Please don’t take this lightly. Obviously, you shouldn’t compete on price alone. But you MUST compete on brand.
That means you spend more time and effort educating prospective patients on your superior skills and expertise, you give them a great result, and then you WOW them with added-value customer service. It’s the way you make patients feel that makes them willing and happy to pay more to get more.
The point is to spend the time, money and effort on attracting the best quality patients to you who care about your status, develop a relationship with them and keep them coming back because they “value” you and your services more than saving a buck.
Posting on facebook and Instagram used to be a fun thing to do and now it’s a must. It’s time to learn how to get traction using these communication platforms since this is where all the eyeballs went.
You can post for free using educational and entertaining posts; however, the platforms are only showing your posts to 5–10% of your audience since they want you to pay for advertising.
To combat that, be sure you are connecting with your patient list using email as well, since most of your patients are not seeing you on social media like you think they are.
And, here’s another challenge with social media. You don’t own the data. You can be turned off on a whim and disappear from the platforms and have to start over.
As you are painfully aware if you have been trying to advertise on social media platforms, plastic surgery does not get along well due to the nature of your content.
You are one step away from porn, you are seen as persuading consumers to have medical procedures and you are hurting the consumers’ self-esteem.
That’s why it’s so difficult to get your ads approved.
You are forced to “pay to play” to get the audience reach you need like you had to with TV, radio and newsletters because they strangle your organic reach, but do you see the catch 22?
The platforms force you to advertise YET they won’t approve your ads—crazy!!
User Generated Content
And here’s another new trend to complicate things… It’s called “User Generated Content.” Those are the comments your audience makes about your posts so most of your efforts should be going towards user-generated content that engages your audience to interact with you.
You see plenty of examples of this on social media when the surgeon asks his audience a question and has them respond below and now you see a stream of responses. You can also use polls and contests to get your followers to leave comments.
I read a stat that said 85% of consumers find User Generated Content more influential than brand content so please spend extra time on creating content that inspires your audience to engage with you.
Influencer marketing is having someone with a good following of loyal fans talk you up by posting about you to their followers, in hopes they will choose you for cosmetic rejuvenation.
Start with your current patients to find out what kind of following they have and if they would be willing to spread the word for you.
You can also Google “influencer marketing platforms” who will partner you with influencers; however, consumers are waking up to the fact that most influencers are promoting for the sheer motive of getting paid and that hurts your brand so choose wisely.
As you can see, forecasting the patient attraction trends for the rest of 2020 shows that a lot goes into your branding social media presence and it takes effort since you are the star of the show. Today’s prospective patients want to get to know you so show them your surgical side as well as your softer side. See you online!
Catherine Maley, MBA is a cosmetic practice consultant, speaker, trainer, blogger and podcaster. Her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients Are Saying is read and studied by plastic surgeons and their staff all over the world. She and her team specialize in growing plastic surgery practices using creative patient attraction, conversion, follow up and retention strategies as well as staff training to turn team members into converting rock stars.
Click below to read “Today’s Cosmetic Practice Growth Funnel ” in its original format in Aesthetic Society News, Summer 2020, volume 24, number 3