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How to Get Free Advertising (Ep.165)

Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and how to get free advertising.

I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice – What your patients are saying, as well as consultant to plastic surgeons, to get them more patients and more profits. Now, today’s episode is called “How to Get Free Advertising”.

You most likely advertise for new cosmetic patients by paying an Internet marketer to design your website and do SEO to be sure you’re found. 

These website folks probably tell you to advertise using google AdWords while your SEO builds momentum. And you may also throw more money towards directories and social media advertising to get things moving.

There’s nothing wrong with that but free advertising is better. A girlfriend telling her girlfriend how great you are is now, and will always be, the most direct route to a new cash-paying patient.  

And the health and success of your practice can be gauged by this simple factor – how many patients refer you to others they know?

⬇️ Click below to hear “How to Get Free Advertising”

This week’s podcast is about building your own referral engine, so your practice grows itself organically.

Here’s what you’ll discover…

  • The subtle things you are doing now to deter referrals
  • How to offer “Braggable Service”
  • Get social to get referrals and much more.


How to Get Free Advertising

Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and how to get free advertising.

I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your aesthetic practice – What your patients are saying, as well as consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profits.

Now, today’s episode is called “How to Get Free Advertising”. A girlfriend, talking to a girlfriend about how great you are, is now, and will always be the most direct route to a new cash paying patient.

So, the question becomes, how can you make that happen more often. Now, some surgeons have a one and done mentality. So, they spend a fortune advertising for new patient. And then their staff spends a crazy amount of time working. Those leads to find the diamond in the haystack. Who’s ready to move forward with surgery.

Now, other surgeons realize it’s smarter, easier, cheaper, and faster to provide consistent customer service that creates a great experience to their patients. So, they in turn refer you to others who also become surgical patients. Now, neither is the right way. However, creating a referral-based system teaches your practice to market itself for free.

That way you energize your staff, you attract more of your ideal patients. You deepen your patients, engagement with you and your practice, and you solidify your own commitment to build a practice. We’re talking about. You also save a ton of money on advertising because you’re getting it for free from your patients who love bragging about you to others.

They know because here’s something to consider. Cosmetic patients are wired to make referrals. It’s a deeply satisfying way to connect with others when they’re recognized as a source of good information and the health and success of your practice can be gauged by this simple factor. How many patients refer you to others? This is key on how to get free advertising.

They. Now, if you don’t know the answer to that, pull a report called revenues by referral source. Now I’ve surveyed top cosmetic practices all over the us. And the average mature practice gets 45 to 70% of their revenues from referrals. Now that’s good to know. And it tells you where to spend your time, money and efforts proportionate to external advertising effort, which will help you on how to get free advertising.

And if your percentage is less than 45%, that indicates you’re spending a lot more time, money and effort attracting new patients to replace these one and done patients who are not bragging about you. But here’s what we know for sure. Referred prospective patients are more likely to convert, to paid procedures and more likely willing to pay a premium price for the added social proof of a referral that leads to lower advertising costs as well as labor costs.

Since these are highly qualified leads, who. And that leads to increased staff satisfaction and morale when they’re not chasing flaky leads, by the way, if you are not sure how you’re doing or you’re disappointed in the low number of referrals, you’re getting something in your practice may be off. So, send out a digital patient survey asking for feedback, which will help you to get free advertising.

So just conduct a simple survey, asking your patients what they value the. And what else you can do to improve their experience. It’s a great way to refine your processes. So, patients are excited about bragging, about you, to their friends. The caveat is to send this survey to patients who gave you money, but also to those who came in for a consult to never booked wouldn’t.

You love to know why they did move forward. So here are strategies to grow your own referral-based practice. Develop a referral mindset team and process. Now this starts at the top. Your staff probably treat your patients about the same way you treat your staff. And if you have a customer service mentality, then your team will likely adopt one as well, and in-turn, help you on how to get free advertising.

Think about ways your everyday behavior might be affecting your practice’s ability to generate referrals and adopt this mindset. The surgeon takes care of the staff. The staff takes care of the patients. The patients take care of the practice. Hmm. That’s good to know, expect and, believe you’re going to deserve referrals.

Your staff also has to believe it because it’s everybody’s job in the practice. To focus on providing excellent customer service, which is one part of how to get free advertising. Now in the business of referrals, trust is the most important reason a recommendation is. And conversely, lack of trust is the single greatest reason referrals don’t happen.

And some of this is so subtle that you don’t realize you have a patient deterrent system rather than a referral engine. The following examples are from my own observations, visiting practices to do a practice assessment. And I might add the staff knows who I am. So, you would think they would be on their best.

But here’s what I have observed. They don’t acknowledge the patient when they first enter the practice and they continue to look at their computer. They don’t greet the visiting patient with a genuine smile, making eye contact and welcoming them to the practice. They don’t offer the visiting patient direction as to what to do next.

For as example, like help themselves to the restroom or here’s a tea, coffee, and water service, and then where to sit or what to do next, or patients can overhear staff gossiping and complaining at the front. Definitely not helping you on how to get free advertising Or long waiting times, or they leave patients in the exam room for long periods without checking in on them.

And it goes on and on. Please remember visiting prospective patients must be treated like guests in your home. So, they’re acknowledged and made to feel comfortable, relaxed, and welcomed. Now this all starts with hiring the right. You can train someone to do the task required. However, you can’t train them to be naturally friendly, kind and compassionate, hire those innate characteristics and people skills and customer service training.

Isn’t a one-time event its ongoing. So regularly meet with your staff to remind them of your vision and standards of behavior you expect and how important customer service is to the survival of your practice. Now get your team engaged, have them read your reviews. Good and bad review before and after photos of great results and make a big deal out of of thank you.

Cards and notes you get from your happy patients, then brainstorm ideas to improve even more conduct standing morning staff huddles to review the schedule for that. The resources needed and end with a high five or a practice cheer you’ve come up with it will set your team’s mindset to have a fantastic day and then truly enjoy serving your patient, which is all part of how to get free advertising.

Now you want to offer braggable service. Everyone in your practice is part of customer service. This idea must be drilled into everything you and your staff do say. And think now the trick is to balance the necessary. This is how we do it here with the, whatever it takes, flexibility that can put out a fire before it gets out of.

Be sure your staff stays vigilant about customer satisfaction while patients are visiting emailing or calling. So rather than focus on how can we get this patient to say yes to surgery, focus on the question, how can we better serve our patients? Now this question makes your mind think of how you can add value to your patient’s lives.

And that changes everything. Find ways to empower your team, to create, deliver mend and extend the total patient experience. Now, examples include offering a warm blanket and lip balm for dry lips during a laser treatment, which will help you to get free advertising. For example, now here’s a good exercise to help you figure out how to exceed expectations.

Identify every potential touchpoint of a patient’s journey with your practice, do a patient walkthrough with one staff person focusing on visual. Another on smell, another on auditory and another on kinesthetics. Now brainstorm. How do we make this experience with us even better and ask again, how can we simplify our process?

So, we’re easier to do business. These are great questions and then surprise and delight. Everyone loves surprises. So how could you incorporate them into your practice? For example? When a patient puts down their deposit for surgery, you can thank them with a goody bag with presurgical products to help with scarring and or faster recovery.

You can also be different to stand out, look at what your competitors are doing and do the opposite. Examples could include you have a no weight. Our Starbucks is on us policy, or we want you happy G. Or give patients the morph, computer printouts, and anything else you can think of that would differentiate you as a cut above the others, and help you on how to get free advertising as well.

And of course, get social to get referrals. I just read from St. that by 20 25 56 0.7% of the world’s population will be active on at least one social media network. So, I recommend your efforts above be highlighted on your multiple social media. the practices that are very social online are easier to refer.

They educate and entertain, and that makes it easier to be talked about. They interact with their audience and they encourage them to participate by asking questions and getting feedback. They also engage their audience by inviting them to tell their stories and show off their results. So, I recommend you create engaging and authentic content.

We’re sharing to grow your reach exponentially. Now, feature happy patients telling their story about their own journey while showing off their results, interact with your audience and encourage them to participate by asking them questions, getting their feedback and inviting them to share their thoughts and their selfies. This is one way that will help you on how to get free advertising.

And a note about influencers. Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular because it allows you to tap into someone else’s follow. And leverage their credibility to gain exposure. However, like anything else, there are different qualities of influencers, so you can get spotty results. What I have seen works best is when you already have a relationship with someone who has a big following, such as a patient, came to you as a patient, they love their experience and result, and is now willing to introduce you to their follow.

Now, this has become a good enough marketing strategy that I know a surgeon who asks on his patient intake form, how many followers the patient has on their platforms. And another surgeon has an entire webpage devoted to influencers, having them complete a form and attaching their analytics and stats to prove their range of influence.

Now, if this sounds interesting to you, there are tons of influencer platforms that can assist in getting you low-cost or almost free advertising. That can partner you with the most effective influencers for your particular audience. Literally just Google it. You know, now the best way to grow your referrals is to put them on autopilot and to ask them in a fun way, make it part of your patient journey process.

For example, offer your happy surgical patients, a post-op goody bag with instructions and copy. They can use to post on their own social media platforms, and then be sure to encourage them to tell your friends where you got it. You can also use my KiSS Loyalty Club and the details are at to creatively encourage referrals by offering KiSSes towards free cosmetic services. So please check that out.

So, to recap here is what it takes to get free advertising. Obviously provide great results, conduct a patient survey to get feedback and identify your weaknesses, hire friendly kind and compassionate staff. Meet with them regularly to reinforce your standards, offer braggable service, exceed expectations, surprise and be different to stand out from your competition, get social connect with influencers, and then put referrals on autopilot using the

And that’s how to get free advertising that is cheaper, easier, and faster than playing the one and done game just saying. Okay, so that wraps it up for me today, if you would, or haven’t done so already, please subscribe and gimme a nice review at beauty and the biz.

Thank you. Okay. Thanks everybody. We are going to wrap it up now for Beauty and the Biz and how to get free advertising.

And if you have any questions or feedback for me, you can go ahead and leave them at my website at, or you can certainly DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode on Beauty and the Biz, please head over to Apple Podcasts and give me a review and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz so you don’t miss any episodes. And of course, please share this with your staff and colleagues.

And we will talk to you again soon. Take care.

-End transcript for the “How to Get Free Advertising” Podcast.


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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.


Beauty and the Biz is for Plastic Surgeons who know they don’t know everything and are open to discovering the pearls to grow and scale a sellable asset when they’re ready to exit.

Listen in as Catherine interviews surgeons who talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and listen to Catherine’s pearls from consulting with plastic surgeons since Year 2000.



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