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Ep.28: Attracting the Right Cosmetic Patients

Attracting the Right Cosmetic Patients:

Catherine explains the importance of knowing your measurable data so that you can direct your marketing efforts with precision. Learn the importance of focusing on your local “bread and butter” patients versus chasing those out-of-town “one-hit wonders” that you’ll never see again.

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Episode transcript:

Attracting the Right Cosmetic Patients

Welcome to “Beauty and the Biz.” Discover how to grow your practice with effective cosmetic patient attraction, conversion and retention advice from author, speaker, trainer and cosmetic practice business and marketing coach Catherine Maley MBA.

Hello and welcome to “Beauty and the Biz” where we talk about the business and marketing side of the cosmetic practices. 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 Attracting the Right Cosmetic Patients because when it comes to attracting the right cosmetic patients, I have learned from surgeons I consult with all over the world that the number one complaint is they’re spending a ton of money on marketing but they’re disappointed in the results and the quality of their prospective cosmetic patients they are trapping and that’s for all sorts of reasons but basically, it’s the internet. We now have a platform where we can talk to billions of people and that means there’s a lot of quantity but not necessarily quality. These new patient leads can be disappointing because the prospective patients aren’t ready yet for your cosmetic services. Actually, the internet studies show that only 3% are actually ready to say yes to you now and another 30 could be ready if the stars align and then another 30% are just not interested. I mean maybe they could be with a lot of nurturing, but they’re just not interested and then the rest are just never going to buy.

So, you’ve got a bunch of consumers clicking around and some of them are ready, most of them are not or maybe they’re interested but they’ve never even heard of this before. So, they need a lot of education or they have zero financial wherewithal to move forward on your high ticket surgical procedures. So then what happens? Well, your staff complains to you that these leads are bad and they’re wasting your time and that could be true. I mean yes, of course it’s true. There’s going to be a lot of waste in this however that is the new way of internet marketing. It’s a whole bunch of people doing a whole lot of clicking and you’re trying to find those who are actually ready or could be ready now. So, if this is true for you and you too are having erratic results and poor quality leads here are three things you can do to at least help. The first one is know your numbers. You can’t fix what you can’t measure so you need to know your actual numbers. Not the numbers you think or guess them to be but I’m talking about the real numbers that tell you the health of your cosmetic practice. So, that means you need the right tools to set yourself up for success.

Now the most important tool is your practice software and otherwise that’s known as your CRM and just in case you don’t know that stands for your customer relationship management system and in a nutshell your CRM is the software platform that manages your practice relationships with your current cosmetic patients as well as prospective cosmetic patients. So, it’s actually your control station for your practice because all of your patients and prospective patients and the money and the actions and the behaviors they all need to go through this one system, so it’s all accounted for and that’s how you get more accurate reporting. Now I’m not going to recommend any CRMs on my podcast, but I will say if you don’t have one you need one. Some of you are still trying to piece this together using Excel and then email marketing. You have all these different platforms, but you’ll drive yourself crazy. You need one control station honestly, but you need one that’s easy to use. It’s easy to learn because you know there’s always going to be staff turnover and it’s got to do the heavy lifting of scheduling, invoicing, marketing and reporting. So, if I were you I would get together with your team and go through everything you need information wise to run your practice and make sure that software can do that for you.

But here’s the big one. Make sure it’s got killer reporting. It’s got to give you any report that you’ve ever wanted and it’s also got to have killer customer service because what happens with software platforms, they may start out simple but then the customers ask for more and more and more features and then it becomes this Ferrari that nobody knows how to use or it changes so much that people don’t stay up-to-date and now the numbers get skewed. So, just make sure you have a service that is around for you when you need it and you know in today’s world with all the technology we have. You usually have 24/7 access to them. Maybe you can’t talk to them in person at midnight, but you should be able to email somebody or text somebody and get a response because oftentimes it’s very simple on their end. It’s complicated on your end. So, please make sure they have good reviews and their customers love them.

But you also need to set up categories and guidelines for what goes where so you can make sense of your numbers and here’s an example. When it comes to referral sources set up your categories to choose from and then stick to them because I regularly see duplicates such as you know how you have a drop-down menu for referral source, so how did you hear about us and then there’s a drop-down menu. Well, oftentimes people/staff just adds more as they go along just because they feel like it or they like this word better than that word. So, now in the drop-down you’ve got one called referred, you’ve got another one called word-of-mouth then you’ve got another one called friends and family. So, I highly recommend pick one, just pick one and then combine them into that one number to give you more accurate accounting.

Another tip let’s say when it comes to scheduling, time blocking is always a good idea and that means you assign specific days or chunks of time to specific types of appointments to not only allow enough time and avoid double booking but also for your own mental sanity. So, for example, you want to block let’s say all your injectables on certain days or times, block your consults on different days and times. It’s just easier on your processes in your mental health when you’re focused on converting new patients versus executing your cosmetic services. It’s is a different mindset. None of this can be anecdotal.

The answers are always in the numbers, so you’ve got to have these accurate numbers to assess how you’re doing and the only way to do that is by taking the emotion and the guessing out of it. I can’t tell you how many times I go to a practice and I’ll say to the surgeon for example what’s your conversion rate of consultations. That’s still a tricky one for a lot because he’ll just turn to his coordinator, oh what’s your conversion rate? And of course, she’s not tracking all of that. She just knows what who said yes but she doesn’t know who said no or she doesn’t want to know because the conversion rate may not be what he wants because of course he wants an 80% conversion rate and it’s probably closer to 20 or 30%. So, she’ll say 50% and that’s what happens you just don’t want any of that. You just want the numbers to tell you the answers.

Now here’s number two – follow your successes. Now this is an easier way to market your cosmetic practice and I say this all the time and I don’t know why people don’t believe me or what but just follow your successes, see what’s working and just do more of that. So, here’s how you do it and this is why you need a CRM. It’s got to be able to give you reports like revenues by referral source. I love that one because like I had just said previously you’ve got to get the referral source down to very specific categories so you can get an accurate answer here. Another report I love is revenue by procedure. There’s something about surgeons. I think you might get bored in your practices and you’re just ready for a shake-up so you buy a laser or technology that you think is going to change the world and it’s going to bring you a bucket of new patients and it might however you never want to negate the bread-and-butter procedures that pay your bills. What happens is a lot of times you get distracted by a new technology you bought however you underestimate the time and money and effort it takes to get that thing off the ground because nothing just sells itself in today’s world.

So, when you look at revenues by procedure at least you’re now seeing what actually brings you money now. So, you don’t want to ignore it, but you also want to build up new procedures, but you never want to take your focus off of the money to build new money because it’s the old money that actually is going to pay the bills and keep you solvent. Then another report I love is revenues by zip code. I think it’s an ego boost when people come from hours away to see you but if you’re doing smart marketing in today’s world I do believe you were better off always going with the patients who are most likely to return again and again than that one-off patient who came that one time for surgery. As a matter of fact, I’m going to do a case study on this some time because here’s what I know for a fact. You can get a surgical patient to come from let’s say four hours away and they gave you $1,0000 and you’re like but you’re never going to see them again. They’re gone. It was a one-hit wonder versus the patient that lives nearby within let’s say 30 miles, even closer depending on where your geography is, and they become one of those raving fans who comes back again and again.

I know when I was younger my face fund was $5,000. So, in two years I would be your $10000 surgical patient but what else did I do. I referred all my friends. I gave you great reviews. I talked you up any time I was somewhere. I think I would have been a much more valuable patient to you than that one-hit wonder, just saying. So, you also want to pull any other revenue reports because the whole point is to follow the money. Following the money’s going to tell you where their other money is. It’s kind of like why build a new road when you already have a well paved road that you can already drive down if that analogy makes sense. So, the reports are going to tell you what’s working and they’re also going to tell you what’s not working. So, if something’s not working you really want to take a look at it and it’s just for your business. Can we fix this? Can we make the numbers better or should we drop it because it’s distracting us from the things that are working? That’s how I would look at it.

So, here are a couple of examples of that. A lot of you are now doing social media which you have to. However, let’s just say for example you think Instagram is the bomb and that’s where everybody is but is that true? Maybe, but your numbers might show you that while Instagram gets you a lot of interaction it turns out Facebook actually gives you a higher quality lead where patients actually come in and give you money and I have learned this myself. No matter how many times we do social media advertising Facebook advertising wins every time. It’s just because Facebook is the huge gorilla. So, you would want to put more budget there versus somewhere else that you might be fiddling around with like Pinterest or Twitter or Snapchat or whatever. But the numbers will tell you what’s true or if it turns out the real money is in the patient over 40 years old but you’re spending so much time on Instagram with the 20 year old hoping that they come to you for what, I don’t know I guess lips and then maybe a breast aug and then some more lips and then hopefully a facelift 30 years later it might be a faster easier path if you just go with the patient over 40 on Facebook then you will want to put your money there or if your numbers tell you that your word-of-mouth referrals are down here’s what happens. I think you’re getting so distracted with internet marketing and attracting new patients you might be ignoring the current patients who actually pay your bills and those are the word-of-mouth referrals who came from your current patients and we all know they’re easier to convert.

So, let’s say the word-of-mouth referrals are low. Well you want to step up your results as well as the patient experience and you want to put together some new processes to get you more referrals, just don’t take them lightly. Have a team meeting and brainstorm how can we get more word-of-mouth referrals and I have all sorts of strategies for that, that I’ve gone through in quite a few of these podcasts and then here’s the last one. I call this go forth and multiply. So, in case you didn’t hear me the first time here’s the big secret for growing your practice. You just do more of what you’ve been doing that has made you successful so far. Isn’t that easier? So, here’s what I mean. A cosmetic practice has always been and will continue to be driven by happy patients who return, refer, review and allow you to use their before and after photos in your marketing. Now we all know if you’re going after brand new stranger patients on the Internet what do they want? They want to look at your reviews and they want to look at your photos. Isn’t that right?

So, these following metrics are mandatory for your financial health and they’re not to be taken lightly because they’re crucial to your practice success and here they are. You want to always know the number of online patient reviews, the number of before-and-after photos that you’ve added to your website, the number of word-of-mouth referrals, the number of returning visits by current patients that tells you your retention rate and the average amount spent per visit. A better number is the lifetime value of a cosmetic patient but that one’s a little trickier, so I’d just keep it simple. Just watch your average amount spent per visit and see how you can increase that. Now, you just want to focus on growing those numbers and you want to have team meetings, get everyone involved. I mean all your staff uses social media and where do they get their information and how do they buy and how do they decide. Get everyone’s input on this to determine how you can increase each of these metrics. So, for example, let’s say you want to increase your online patient reviews because you know those are just killer in our industry. Terrific! So, here’s the things you’re going to do. You can use industry software where you give your patient an iPad to write you a review while they’re still in your office. We all know the chances of them writing a review after they leave your office decreases like by 80%. So, do what you can to get it done in the office on an iPad but I would add to that add a keyboard to the iPad so they can give you a much longer review because that’s what’s read and it’s harder to hunt and peck on an iPad if you don’t have a keyboard.

Now this is a great strategy until and this just happened to a consulting client of mine. It turns out that when we looked at their numbers for some reason the reviews that were showing, they were showing a lot to those medical review websites but not on the most important one and that was Google. So, they were getting reviews but now Google reviews and they wanted Google reviews because that’s where everybody goes. So, you just come up with another strategy for Google reviews. So,  for example, you would ask your patient if they have a Gmail account while they’re in the office with you and then if they don’t you just help them create a Gmail account and then you have them upload a review for you straight from their cell phone while they’re still in your office just so they don’t forget or procrastinate or if they have to go home at least send them home with easy instructions for how to give you a Google review. You just can’t take that too lightly because the reviews are really everything and you want as many of them as you can get and quite frankly Google still does own the world. Facebook reviews are good, but those Google reviews are better. Facebook can go a little sideways. You can get some nasty things happening there. You can go with all of them if you want but if you can only pick one I’d go with the Google reviews.

So, the point is to focus on what is moving the needle the most for you and then do more of that. So, with this approach you spend more of your time on tasks that actually matter, and you have more time to spend with the right patients who convert most often and what does that mean? That means more money for you with less hassle because you’ve shifted your effort strategically using good data so now you’re making better business decisions. They get you better results, so you feel like you’re progressing rather than constantly second-guessing what the heck, how do you do this, what’s working, what isn’t. So, I love the data because the answers really are in the numbers.

So, that’s a wrap and if you want me to look at your current cosmetic patient marketing plan I can do a 30 minute complimentary strategy call with you if you just leave me a message with your cell phone at I’ll get back to you shortly and we can go over what you’re doing now and let’s see if we can tweak it and make it better. Of course, I would love for you to subscribe to “Beauty and the Biz” and leave me a review on iTunes. That would be greatly appreciated and then of course if you would share this with your colleagues and your staff I appreciate that as well and then if you’ve got any questions or feedback or any topics you want covered I’m open because I have to do this once a week, so I always need content. If you want to be on, give me some ideas and we can do one together. If you have that you can always just leave me a message on my website like I said at or you can DM me at Instagram @catherinemaleymba. Okay, that’s it for now. Take care.

We hope you found valuable insight on this episode of “Beauty and the Biz.” For more episodes tools and Catherine’s free book visit that’s and be sure to subscribe to get the latest practice building strategies delivered to you and don’t forget to share this “Beauty and the Biz” podcast with your staff and colleagues.

Picture of Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

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. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.


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