New Aesthetic Practice?
Strategies to Get You Famous
You’ve opened your new aesthetic practice and now all you need are patients. Easy, huh? Not really. Before you spend a dime on anything, think strategically and then formulate a plan you can follow, tweak, and reformulate as you go along depending on your results since you don’t have the money to waste on ineffective marketing and advertising efforts.
I will give you a hint: The two most important strategies you should concentrate on are your alliances and your Internet presence. There are more such as PR; however, the biggest bang for your buck will come from networking and the strength of the Internet.
Target Your Market
But first, decide who it is you are targeting. If you could pick your perfect aesthetic patient, who would it be in terms of gender, income, age, location and all other demographics?
In mass external marketing, you throw a huge net into the world to attract new patients to your practice. The issue there is you can’t control who will see you so you must do what you can to attract those preferred patients you want and detract those patients you don’t.
With that said, before you get started on your get-you-famous campaign, you need to decide who your preferred patient is and then focus your efforts on them because you want to be where they are to ensure they see you.
That means you want to:
- attend and participate in events they attend
- have exposure on websites they frequent
- join in forums they chat on
- network with their like-minded alliances and service providers
Now that you’ve selected your preferred patients, decide on your preferred procedures you want to be known for. For example, if you are a dermatologist who wants to concentrate on aesthetics, you might not want to do a piece on psoriasis if you are not interested in catering to that skin concern. And if you’re a plastic surgeon who wants to cater to the younger “mommy makeover” crowd, gear your message towards that versus a facelift.
Network with Strategic Alliances
Search out other service providers as well as professional organizations that cater to the same demographics you do. They could be helpful making you famous within your community. There’s even a chance they have PR contacts you could get exposure from. Here are simple strategies:
- Offer to speak at their events or do an event together and invite both or all of your patients and clients.
- Provide content for their monthly newsletter and e-newsletter and provide them with your photograph and write-up so they can introduce you as an aesthetic expert;
- Offer to pay for the design and printing of a cross-promotional poster or banner they can display in their business for their clients to see:
- You and/or your staff can attend their events for networking purposes and be sure to invite them to yours. The more face-to-face contact they have with you; the more comfortable they will be referring to you
- Provide aesthetic services to the most influential member of the group who can then relay their story to their own clients. Offer to pay all or some of the testimonial mailing costs if they agree to send it to their own patients, clients and customers.
Your Website and Internet Presence
External Marketing includes your website. By the way, a website is no longer optional in today’s world. You will lose credibility without one and you could gain many new patients from having a good one that is easy to navigate and interesting.
Some practices have a simple “brochure website”. Think of it as a one-way highway. It gives you just the basic information – period. This website is fine and can cut down on the endless calls to your office about your address, directions to your office and your hours; however, that’s not enough for you when you need patients.
An interactive website is the way to go if you are attempting to attract new aesthetic patients to your practice from the internet. Making your website more interactive would bring you more traffic and get more visitors to stay longer. It can also lead to PR opportunities.
Think of this as a two-way highway where you have information going out AND coming in. Consider adding these special effects to make your website stand out:
- Videos are hot because it helps the visitor get to know you
better and the more comfortable they are with you, the more likely they are to choose you over your competition.
- Seeing your patient testimonials in videos and lots of before/after patient photos on your website will help your visitor see you as the expert and builds trust.
- Collect visitor email addresses so you can stay in touch. Offer them exclusive online gift cards or free reports when they enter their email address or call your office.
- And add 3D Patient Educational videos. They visually and audibly explain aesthetic procedures clearly which, again, saves you time in your consultation and helps the aesthetic patient choose you over others.
Search Engine Optimization
Otherwise known as SEO is getting more and more important if you want to be found on the internet by those “surfing the Web”.
It’s competitive so you need every advantage possible.
You want to “optimize” your website to help Internet surfers find you. You do that using back-end coding to include key search terms within your website to make it easier for you to be found.
This is a huge topic that can’t be explained here so just be sure you work with Internet Marketing experts with a proven track record in aesthetics.
You can also pay for better positioning by using sponsored links known as Pay-Per-Click and AdWords. You can pay Google, Yahoo and MSN to place your ad on the top and the right side of the search results page as a sponsored link. If you are on a tight budget, I recommend starting with Google since they are the search engine leader.
Since the opportunities are limitless, positioning is tricky and content is crucial, it’s best to work with professionals who understand SEO. If you decide to go it alone, first decide how much you want to spend each month and the key words you want to compete for to help drive traffic to your website. Your account will then shut down when you have depleted your budget and will start again the next month. Working with the Google staff can help you make the best use of your budget.
Be sure you are on every vendor portal of products and services you use such as www.BotoxCosmetic.com and www.Radiesse.com. They have spent the time, money and effort getting consumers to their websites and you could get exposure through them. Update your picture and contact information as it changes.
Get listed in the industry consumer directories such as www.YourPlasticSurgeryGuide.com, www.PlasticSurgery.com and www.LookingYourBest.com to name a few. Some have a fee for being listed and some allow you to submit fresh content regularly and may profile you on the home page for added exposure.
Social media offers another way for you to expand and connect with your prospective patient base in a highly effective and personal way. It’s permission-based so you’ve got to keep it friendly, informative and interesting. Social marketing is viral and more far-reaching than other mediums so it’s well worth the effort (although you may want to assign a staff person or outside writer to keep up with it for you).
Here are some options:
FaceBook is an easy way to keep in touch with people who are interested in you. Keep your visitors up-to-date with your life, personal things going in your life and work topics as well as comment on the aesthetic industry in general.
Here’s a good tip. The search engine rank your fan club page so be sure to develop one in addition to your regular page.
Other Popular Social Media Websites include: Twitter, LinkedIn, Stumbled Upon and Ping. The secret to your success on their websites is to engage often. They are looking for recent, fresh content.
NOTE: DO NOT list them on your home page or visitors will click away never to be seen from again. Instead, put them on your blog and then link all together.
Start your own blog and be sure to update it 2-3x per week with your updates, insights, etc. Be sure to comment on others’ blogs as well for added exposure. For a lot more detail on blogging, visit www.WordPress.com.
Upload your videos to www.YouTube.com. Keep them under five minutes and include your website on the screen to help drive traffic back to your website. Make short videos using a videographer or your own webcam and discuss aesthetic procedures or comment on something going on in the media; i.e., a Botox competitor is being introduced to the market.
Internet Tracking and Reporting
If you invest in SEO efforts, be sure you get monthly reports detailing your web traffic since you want to know statistics such as:
– How many visitors this month?
– Where did they come from?
– What key words did they use to find you, etc.
These statistics will help you decide what is working and what needs to be tweaked or eliminated.
The secret to becoming famous in your community is to keep your name and face in front of your preferred patients on a regular basis but in a professional way as outlined here.
Because, if they are not ready for you today, they will be next week, next month or next year and you want them to remember you when they are finally ready to take advantage of your aesthetic enhancement services.
About the Author:
Catherine Maley, MBA is Author of Your Practice/What Your Patients Are Saying. Her book delves into the inner needs and wants of aesthetic patients and has sold all over the world. You can download a Free copy at www.YourAestheticPracticeBook.com.
Catherine is President of Cosmetic Image Marketing. She and her team of creative designers, Webmasters, copywriters and videographer provide coaching services, ready-made tools and training products to medical practices who are striving for excellence.
A sought-after speaker, Catherine has presented throughout the US and Canada on a variety of practice management topics and writes regularly for the top medical publications in the aesthetic industry.
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.