If what you’re doing to grow your cosmetic practice is not working anymore or working as well as it used to, you’re not alone. The world of consumer demand, technology and marketing continues to change so it behooves you to adapt.The following are marketing trends affecting your efforts to build your presence and brand, while attracting more quality cosmetic patients to your practice.
For a while we were hearing SEO is dead because Google was giving the top spots to big authority websites such as The Aesthetic Society, ASPS, WebMD, etc. And now that Google answers popular questions on the first page of search rankings, that makes it less likely for consumers to click to your website. The bottom line is Google will continue to make it more difficult for you to be found organically (aka—Free) so you have to get more creative to be found online. At least, be sure your Google My Business profile is complete and updated, and good consistent content still works so keep reading.
Create valuable, relevant and consistent content that attracts the right audience who cares about cosmetic rejuvenation. The good news is you have limitless built-in content just by being a plastic surgeon. For example, you have patient stories from their first consultation with you, pre-surgical patients excited about their upcoming surgery, surgical patients recuperating, post-op surgical patients returning for their follow-up appointments, and ecstatic patients fully recovered and loving their results. Each patient has a different story at each phase of their journey. That’s a lot of content! The secret is to distribute that content on numerous different social media platforms prospective patients frequent.
Privacy issues are killing your plans for attracting new patients to your practice. So much is happening behind the scenes with Apple, Google and FB trying to dominate consumer data capture, so they are no longer sharing data with each other or advertisers like before. This is going to make it difficult for you to attract new PREFERRED patients when you can no longer target specifically to certain audiences. And that means ad results will become incomplete and inaccurate because you now have only 10% of the data that used to be 100% available. So that will force you to increase your advertising budget substantially and HOPE the broader, less targeted audience is interested in cosmetic rejuvenation.
Social Media has become the most influential virtual space available today to help you grow your practice. However, you are only renting those followers from the social media platforms, so they are, in essence, your landlord. That means they can raise the rent, kick you out and close down your account at a push of a button, so you lose your data you’ve spent years collecting. They also decide who sees your organic content. These platforms continually strangle your list to force you to “pay to play” by buying more advertising. The latest stats show only 5.2% of your followers actually see your organic content so you have this false sense of security thinking you’re reaching your followers when, in fact, it’s drying up right before your eyes. Yikes!
Take back your power by owning your audience data! You can no longer trust that audiences you have built on social media platforms will be or stay available to you in the future. You want to build up your own list of anyone who is or could be interested in cosmetic rejuvenation. So, use landing pages to capture your followers’ name, email and cell phone so you can stay in touch with these would-be patients no matter what happens.
This is currently the holy grail of social media marketing. Your greatest asset is enthusiastic patients willing to rave about you online and share your content with their own followers as well as yours.
This not only provides credible social proof for your services, but it is also a great way to boost your SEO. For example, asking questions, conducting surveys, and running contests are great ways to go back and forth with your audience.
It’s human nature for prospective patients to do what they see others do, especially experts, friends, celebrities, and influencers. There are plenty of influencer marketing platforms (just Google it). However, be very clear what they will do for you to market your practice and what they expect back in return. And be sure they and their followers match your brand and values. Your next best influencers are your own patients with a strong social media following. Encourage them to do a Q&A session with you and you both can post it on your multiple platforms.
You can no longer hide behind a surgical mask and only be the surgeon. That’s a great
start but you also need to be seen as a human being and a great boss, a devoted family man, a fitness buff, dog lover, philanthropist, weekend pastry chef, or anything else your patients would be interested in knowing about you. This helps them build an emotional bond with you, so they choose you over the competition.
Insane competition and advanced digital marketing tactics make it harder to stand out, so marketing is now about “marginal gains” from many different marketing channels. It’s also about improving your marketing results by making incremental improvements in your processes that add up to big wins overall. So, rather than focus on new leads only, you also improve your lead response time, your phone conversions to appointments, your consult conversions and patient retention. Improving these key metrics and adapting to these marketing trends is how you win in this changing world.
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 “Marketing Trends Affecting You” in its original format in Aesthetic Society News, Spring 2022, volume 26, number 2.