Tailoring Your Services to the Aesthetic Patient
By: Catherine Maley, MBA, Author, Your Aesthetic Practice
One-size-fits-all strategy is long gone. Today’s aesthetic patients are not interested in a cookie-cutter approach. They have preferences and will expect them to be met. They want a tailor-made solution for their own personal concern. They want to feel like you completely understand what their problem is and you have the perfect solution.
It’s all about fulfilling specific needs in today’s world. The Riches are in the Niches. You must speak directly to your audience’s problem and solution because patients today need to be surer than ever before they invest their time, money and effort.
That means segmenting your marketing, your message and your media to hit the exact audience who will hear it the clearest. Your typical aesthetic patient is bombarded with more than 3,000 ad messages per day so they are filtering out all of them except the ones that provide a solution to their problem – be that solution and you win a new patient!
When the credit dried up and money got tighter, the pool of prospective patients shrunk. You have fewer patients to cater to. While that seems like a detriment, it’s actually an opportunity to get more strategic so you spend less on marketing and advertising; yet you get much better results.
Target Your Preferred Patient
The solution is to focus and tighten your target and your message to the patients you most want to target. You do not want to be everything to everybody. Decide now who your “preferred” patient is in terms of:
– Zip Code
– Lifestyle: single or married
– Professional or stay-at-home mom
Step two is to understand what that particular target group is most interested in and how your services provide the best solution. You can brainstorm with your staff or, better yet, ask your patients directly.
For example, the younger Hispanic female may be most interested in hair removal or liposuction at the best price possible whereas the mature professional Caucasian woman may be interested in paying top dollar for a natural-looking face lift.
Step three is to be where they are so they see and act on your message.
– Advertise in the publications they read
– Buy banner ads on websites they frequent
– Attend/speak at events they attend
Use the Right Media to Communicate
Thanks to media fragmentation, your aesthetic patients are now everywhere and nowhere because they have hundreds of choices of where to go for their information.
They jump from website to website, TV to cable, radio to satellite, magazines to whatever. You do not have enough time, money and patience to be everywhere these patients are so you must be more strategic in today’s divisive media world.
But here’s the rub. That was only half the battle. Now that you found them, be sure your message stands out so they respond. They must be able to say, “this is for me” when they get your promotional messages sent to them via email, direct mail, internet marketing or whatever other mode you use to attract more cosmetic patients.
Now that you have targeted your patients, given them a message they responded to, you have another hurdle and that’s to convert them to cash-paying aesthetic services from you.
However, when it comes to patients’ preferences, you are in a mind field. Everybody is so different and their perceptions are so varied.
Aesthetic patients using their own disposable income are making decisions based on their beliefs, their past experiences and their emotional wants.
In my book, Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients are Saying, patients I interviewed were all over the map when it came to their perceptions. For example:
- Some patients buy on price, some on expertise and some on referrals from their friends
- While some patients thought an aesthetically gorgeous office indicated pride and success; others thought it was over the top and intimidating
- While some patients felt like they found the right practice and physician for them, others felt out of place and uncomfortable
When the patient was probed further as to why they chose one particular physician over the others, the consistent answer was the patient felt a “connection” with that physician.
Their “gut” feeling or intuition was telling them this was the right physician for them. They had developed rapport and trusted that that particular physician understood them and would give them the best possible result.
Your Diverse Patient Needs Social Proof
Prospective patients need more social proof than ever before to trust your recommendations and to move forward. The more you address their diverse needs and wants, the more likely they are to choose you. Here are proven strategies to help:
– Hire your “preferred” aesthetic patients. The best walking/talking testimonials for you will be your own staff. Turn them into revenue-generating assets rather than overhead by letting them be your front line so your patients look to them for encouragement, proof and assurance.
– Employ a variety of ages and ethnicities of staff you want to attract for new patients. People like other like-minded people so patients will more readily bond with others like them.
– Show your preferred patients in graphics you use for your promotions
so prospective patients identify with them.
– Show albums full of before/after photos of diverse groups of patients so they can identify with those who share the same age, gender and ethnicity.
– Have video testimonials of a diverse group of patients so prospective patients see and identify with them.
– Advertise in and write content for specific targeted groups such as Indian publications or Asian websites. Then display your articles so other like-minded prospective patients see you understand their concerns.
Just as you try to tailor your treatment to fit the unique features of your patients, tailoring your messaging to your patient’s unique preferences will increase your results and grow your aesthetic practice.
For a free download of Catherine’s book, Visit www.YourAestheticPracticeBook.com or call Catherine at (877) 339-8833. Her firm specializes in creative patient attraction strategies to drive aesthetic profits.
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.