Learn from Catherine’s 40+ years as marketing and business advisor for top aesthetic practices around the world.
- Learn how to beat the “summer slump” and capitalize on missing revenue!
- New ways to profit from the patients you already have!
- Easy-sell tactics to increase non-invasive sales!
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Hello and welcome to “Beauty and the Biz” where we talk about the business and marketing side of the cosmetic practice. I’m your host Catherine Maley, author of “Your Aesthetic Practice – What Your Patients are Saying” as well as consultant to cosmetic practices to get them more patients and more profits.
So today’s episode is called “Summer Marketing Tips”. Just to give you a little weather report, in Sausalito summers are very funny – everywhere else it’s 100 degrees, 95% humidity and bugs everywhere, and in Sausalito, by the way we don’t have many bugs it’s amazing, I love it, it can start out beautiful (like right now it’s a gorgeous sunny day) and later on in the afternoon the fog will roll in and the weather will dramatically change. Sometimes it’s not bad but usually as the summer goes on, the way this micro system works here the fog comes in and it almost becomes like fall or winter. It can get very cold and windy and it’s odd and then it’ll go away and the sun comes back, so crazy.
So for this “Summer Marketing Tips” here’s why I put this together; I get the calls about the frustration that things slow down in the summer and you still need to pay staff so they’ve got to stay busy, and then you’ve got too many holes in your schedule, so I thought this would be appropriate to go over some ideas, because here’s what’s gonna happen if you don’t do something now to heat up your summer profits: you are just gonna slow down for no good reason because you didn’t do anything.
So I want to give you some simple strategies to boost your skincare to surgery revenues so you end up having a great profitable summer, but this is going to take a mind shift and here’s what I’m thinking: if you believe the summer slows down and that’s all there is to it, you believe that it’s true for you but it’s not true for the rest of the world, because I’ve been around and I know that it’s those who wake up and say, “okay there’s still plenty of business out there, the whole world did not go on vacation” there’s still plenty of people and you don’t need everybody. Let’s say even the majority of people take some time off in this summer, but you don’t need the majority, you just need a group for your own practice to stay busy so please believe that there’s plenty of cosmetic rejuvenation revenues out there. Just follow the trends if you’re not sure. Let me just be logical about this.
So let’s just start with the social trends. We know that there’s changes in marital status all the time, and to be blunt a woman who never cared about her looks before because she was just happily married or just married forever is now suddenly single that’s a really good trigger for her to want cosmetic surgery. It’s just the reality, so if this happens in the summer it happens then, if it happens in the winter fine, but there’s plenty of that happening in the summer. Also there’s still plenty of job changes going on and if all of these Millennials are now taking over the jobs of the older people, that’s another trend where you want to look your best. And also because it is summer there’s lots of social events going on, barbecues and travel and then family’s always involved if there’s some sibling rivalry with sisters. So all of that is helpful to our industry, and then if we look at the economic trends, some businesses slow down in the summer so it’s a great time for downtime, and some places actually close. It’s like mandatory closed for two weeks out of the summer and that’s a great time for you to get some patients in. And we all know there’s that the teachers and the professor’s a lot of them are off all summer, nice gig if you can get it, so they would be perfect for having a little downtime right now. There’s also bonus payouts in corporations, quite a few of them have a fiscal year that ends June 30th so at that point there’s some bonuses that happen so there’s some money there to be used for cosmetic rejuvenation. There are also divorce settlements that happen and those are by the way, in our industry do you know the absolute best cosmetic surgery patient who it is? It’s the female patient six months after her divorce because that’s when she gets her settlement, so if there’s any way you could plug into that group it’s a good one. And then here’s another thought that most don’t think about – I do a lot of reading and I read that there was something like thirteen trillion dollars being inherited by the baby boomers from the other generation because they were so good at saving, and just as an aside the baby boomers are like “screw the kids, I’m spending the money while I’m here” so some of those shifts have changed. But right now that’s a lot of money floating around so the money is still out there you just need to adjust.
And then we’ve got the technology trends, so let’s say you do believe that nobody wants surgery in the summer. If you do believe that, then go ahead and adjust to the minimally invasive procedures, given this stuff that has less or no downtime, or less or no scarring, or less invasive, or it’s less painful, or it’s cheaper and is faster. Because if you take care of somebody in the summer with a minimally invasive procedure, there’s a really good chance they’re gonna come back for surgery in the fall or the winter because now you have planted that seed and they’re now thinking about it more. And now they love you for what you helped them with in the summer, so there’s a good chance you’ll see them again.
Here’s what I know for sure about cosmetic patients (because I am one): they have endless needs. A patient who cares how they look, they don’t just care how they look in the winter or the spring, they care a lot in the summer as well, so they will go up and down the ladder of your services if you just help them. So some people come to you strictly for surgery because you put so much money into PPC and all of that to get surgery, but then if you hang on to them they’ll stay put and go down the ladder to fillers and Botox and lasers and let’s say micro peeling or micro penning, and retail products. Or some will start small because they don’t understand this industry yet, so they’ll just dip their toe into retail products and peels, and then they’ll move themselves up the ladder as they get more comfortable. So then they’ll go to lasers and Botox and then some filler and then surgery and then others will start in the middle.
The point being, cosmetic patients enter your practice through many different doors so you want to be with them where they are. Here’s a point in marketing: you always enter the conversation the cosmetic patient is already having in their minds so if they enter the door just wanting Botox for example, give them Botox but then make sure they’re clear of all the other services you offer so they can stay with you and go up and down the ladder.
So with that I’m going to give you some summer marketing tips that are working now and I highly recommend you listen to these tips, jot some down that you want to do, bring them back to your staff and let them execute them. Now there’s no fiddling around, it’s time to do it now and your staff can execute it quite easily if they just think. So here’s a very simple one that anyone can do tomorrow, it’s called “beach buddy Botox” and it’s very simple. The theme would be all summery and the headline would be “Got wrinkles? Got a friend?” (I stole that from the milk commercial) “Bring a friend to your next Botox appointment and you both get an instant $50 gift card towards your treatment.” That’s how simple it is. So when you have a theme like that (and it’s all got to be themed in the summer) you have to say why you’re doing something and that is entering the conversation in their minds. So isn’t that an easy one? “Beach buddy Botox.”
Now here’s another strategy. Because there are educators that are off in this summer and they could have surgery, this might be the only time of year they can have surgery, so you put together a themed summer surgical special just for educators. The point being when you market or advertise, you want to talk to a very specific group and be very focused on what you’re giving them. So in this case, I would offer a surgical gift card (and just so you know I never offer discounts, it just it hurt your brand but we do offer gift cards there’s a much different connotation, a gift card says thank you so much for knowing me or getting to know me), so you would give them a surgical gift card and it’s got to expire in the summer because you need a sense of urgency on everything in today’s world, you know we are way too busy right now and patients will procrastinate forever even though something has bothered them ask them how long it’s bothered them they’ll tell you four years and they finally did something about it. So our goal here is to get them to do something about it now rather than later so the surgical gift card or the special ends August 31st, and here’s another spin on that – as long as you’re having this summer surgical special for educators, it’s a great time for your coordinator to get on the phone and call all consults that haven’t booked yet, and offer this to them but in a conspiratorial kind of way. So she can say something like, “Sarah, we’re having a summer special for educators and I’d love to offer it to you, so are you connected with the educational system in any way, shape or form?” and no matter what they say, it can be kind of funny they’ll say, “well my child goes to college”, perfect I’m able to give that.
It would just be a fun way to reach out to patients who were so close to saying yes and then didn’t, because quite frankly you never know why people didn’t say yes. You often will never understand why they said no. Oftentimes they’re not saying no, they’re just saying, “I don’t know, I’m not ready, I’m not sure, I’m confused, I’m scared.” You never know, so that’s why I always would tell practices always follow up with these people because times change, circumstances change, you just never know. And if you can call with a good reason like this, this is where you’ll get a response. And now you have to understand that this is a numbers game at this point, so some of them call you back, some will say, “oh thanks but no thanks”, and some of them will actually say, “God you’re calling me at the perfect time” and then they’ll tell you what’s going on. Perhaps it was one of those trends that we talked about.
Now another summer marketing tip is to put together combination packages, but the secret is you make it a really fun summer theme. Now I’m gonna give you an example of what I did, but do make up your own. Get your staff together and brainstorm. what do you want to call it and what do you want to include in it? So for example I did a summer skin kit and it would include a face surgical consultation, a skin analysis treatment, or you know whatever it’s called, skin analysis session, micro needling or facial treatment, and a sunscreen. All of that goes together for a very special price and it expires after summer. It’s got to have things expire on August 31st. So in your case let’s say you do more body than you do face surgery, so you would just tweak this so you could have a body surgical consultation, let’s say a Vectra computer body imaging session, you can still do micro needling or a facial treatment, and you can still do a sunscreen product because you’re introducing them to your retail line. So do you see how that becomes more compelling and it really repels price shoppers? Price shoppers are ridiculous, they’re the ones who are gonna pull this apart and try to get a deal if they take out one of the things. You don’t want to work with that kind of patient, you want to work with a patient who says, “oh that’s nice, it all goes together and I have a great price for it and that’s just what I needed to get in there.” So you know it’s okay to the people who make sense to you and what I love about the price shoppers they can’t pull it apart and say well I can get this part cheaper somewhere else. So let them do that, let them go somewhere else while you keep it together as a fun summer skin kit.
Okay and then think about other compelling summer offers you can put together that don’t hurt your bottom line but actually fill up your schedule with all sorts of treatments that are good for your staff to perform or are good for you to get involved with but it’s very simple things that are always summer themed and they end on August 31st. So here are some examples: free sunblock with micro penning treatment, or free Botox with skin tightening, or introductory offer for your new minimally invasive body contouring treatment. So what you would do there is you wouldn’t send that out to everybody, so you would pull out anybody who’s already had minimally invasive body contouring because they wouldn’t be eligible for the introductory offer because they’ve already had it, and then you just send it to everyone else.
Right here’s the thing about marketing, you never really know until you test something if it’s going to be a home run or it’s just gonna be triple. I don’t know baseball analogies or they only get to second base however that goes, you just never know so you test things. I will tell you I have tested a lot and there’s something about this one offer that works beautifully and my copy was really good too but it was something like 1 plus 2 plus 3 equals Wow. Something like that and I offered, “you buy Botox and you buy filler and then you get a free IPL” and the IPL was valued at let’s say $500 and you can call it IPL, BBL, clear and brilliant, whatever you have, the point being when you offer all three of those as a combination the result can be a WOW. So do that but also have a really good set of photos on patients that you did this to, the before and after and it’s for sure a homerun. So you can have all these offers, but you’ve got to spread the word because nothing counts until people know what you’re up to and a lot of practices miss some of the pieces where they could use marketing channels to help them spread the word.
So for example, obviously you want to email to your current patients your summer specials. You also want to put it on your website but a lot of you hide it under specials and a lot of consumers who are clicking around aren’t gonna try that hard to find things so you want to put a cute little Sun that says, “Click here for summer specials” on your homepage, about page, photo page, everywhere you can so they understand you have summer specials going on. Obviously you want to do it on social posts and I don’t know how many different platforms you’re using but I would say with social media because it is so time consuming I would pick your top two and those are always Instagram and Facebook, so stay there and then just keep changing the offers all summer and make sure you have in your bio your homepage, so they can jump over there and see what’s up. You can also do direct mail. As I mentioned, direct mail I’m actually a pretty big expert on direct mail because I’ve done so much of it throughout the 19 years and here’s what I would say, you never send direct mail to a stranger, you always send it to people who already know you. Especially for our industry, because it’s expensive to do just right. Handpick people that you want to send mail to and make sure there’s a really good offer in it so there’s a reason for them to open it and act now so I would use that education offer or some kind of summer theme that ends on August 31st, and then of course you can always call people and tell them about your summer specials and include businesses as well. In your neighborhood there are quite a few businesses they cater to the same demographic you do whether it be a woman’s health club, a high-end retail boutique, a hair salon, day spa who only does the fluffy stuff, and not the cosmetic like injectables and lasers. Find them and then when you approach them, give them a reason to want to spread the word. So you could give them a display sign and two business cards that say “summer gift card just for you” and then they can pass it out to their alliances, and they can also use it for themselves.
Now once you’ve spread the word to get people into your practice you also want to make sure anybody who walks through your doors knows about your summer specials so in that case you would do in-house signage. One in house sign that I love, that you can pull out every year are those foldable banners. You see them in the exhibit halls and they’re usually like three or four feet long but then you open it up just like you do a theater or a PowerPoint screen, you open it up and click on the top it has like six feet of real estate that you can put all sorts of messages there. So for example, you can have a really big one with a girl in a bikini saying, “Get your curves back” and “Show some skin this summer” and show some before and after photos. “Ask us today about body shaping” or something like that, or “Get your beach body back” or something like that. The point being you could have different ones that these set up for different seasons and just store them and then when summer comes pull that one out and I like it because it doesn’t take up much room in your practice, you just put it in the corner and it’s like six feet, it’s almost like a poster it doesn’t take much room. And then here’s a really cute idea for check-in and checkout – have your staff go to one of those art supply stores and you can get some kind of a frame that sits flat and you can put sand in it and then you can put cute little tchotchkes in there like a cute little umbrella, little sunglasses, little sandals, and you also include two more things, one is your skin care products and a gift card like a gift certificate sample, and you put sample on it and that way when people are checking in and out they look at it and say because it’s very eye-catching they say, “Oh my god, how cute is that?” and then your receptionist should have the wherewithal to say, “oh did you want to try out our skin care products?” or “Did you want to refill your sunscreen?” or “Did you need a quick gift?” and there’s the gift card. And that way not only are you selling or promoting your skincare, but you’re also promoting gift cards for their friends and family and that’s how you get new patients.
Now because it is summer and if the staff is complaining that things are slow, now is perfect because the rest of the year they’re complaining that they’re too busy. So this is a really good time to update your photos because nobody ever gets around to that unless you make them. It’s also a great time to clean up your office. I cannot tell you how many offices I go to as a consultant and because they see the clutter every day they don’t see it anymore, but as a visitor to a practice you do know consumer patients and cosmetic patients are looking everywhere for clues as to who you are and if they see a bunch of boxes and crap around your desk or under your desk or in corners, boy does that look bad. Get all that out of there. You have to look orderly and clean and fresh because that’s your brand.
This might be a good time to paint or redo your floor if you need a little facelift in your office if it’s looking a little drab and a little outdated. The summer is a perfect time to take care of that so please be sure your office is in tip-top shape because the patients are noticing every little thing because they’re trying to decide do they stay with you or are your competitors going to be able to woo them away because they have spent the time to organize and clean up?
Here’s my last tip: if it is later in the summer what a perfect time for you to grow and learn and improve your processes. It’s time to sharpen the saw. What a great time for your staff to get back into training and honing their skills so you get to a yes more often and even for the surgeon it’s a really good time for you to grow as a leader, grow as a business owner. So if you need any help with that and sharpening your skills please check out my services at CatherineMaley.com. I can be super helpful with everybody in your practice.
Okay so that is my summer marketing tips, I hope you enjoyed that and I would love for you to subscribe if you haven’t already. Go to iTunes and subscribe to “Beauty and the Biz” and I’d really appreciate if you shared this with your colleagues and with your staff and of course please give me comments and questions and any other topics that you would like me to cover I’d be happy to because I do this once a week so I’m always gonna look for content. And then if you want to check me out, you can go to CatherineMaleyMBA at Instagram and you can DM me there or you can go to my website CatherineMaley.com and you can ask me questions or connect with me there. I hope you enjoy your summer and we hope you found valuable insight on this episode of “Beauty and the Biz.” For more episodes, tools and Catherine’s free book, visit www.CatherineMaley.com.
She is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on cash practice building and trains staff to be converting rock stars.