What to do During the COVID-19 Shutdown
The world has turned upside down with this COVID-19 crisis. Most governments have declared social distancing and have closed non-essential businesses and that includes your practice.
Although things look bleak at the moment, we will get through this, just like we have every other challenge because we humans are built to adapt.
However, during this “pause”, you need a plan to stay solvent so here are suggestions to keep your name and practice in front of the public so when this is over, they call you first.
Since new potential cosmetic patients are stuck at home and bored and searching online for answers, a great strategy is to grab their attention while your competitors are taking it easy and waiting this out.
This way, you build a solid list of prospective patients excited to meet when you are back up and running.
To gain the attention of new patients with digital content is a 3-prong approach:
- Create more educational content so new patients get to know you
- Add personality content so new patients are eager to meet you
- Offer Free virtual consultations
Create Educational Content
While consumers are “homebound”, they are online even more than before, researching the popular topic of cosmetic rejuvenation.
That is leading them to ask the questions they haven’t had the time to when they were living busy lives.
That is an opportunity for you to educate prospective patients who want to learn more. Turn on your iPhone or iPad, talk loudly and clearly, and answer frequently asked questions you get at your consultations.
Use props if that will help. You can show your laptop screen of before/after photos on your website or draw on paper if it helps you explain things.
And be sure you address the typical objections you get with your Q&A so the patient sees that you understand them because you are addressing your fears.
For example, questions should include: How long is the downtime for that procedure? Where are the scars? How much pain is involved? What type of anesthesia is used?
Now, turn these short videos into a series of social posts on the various popular platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Also send the videos in an email to your current patients who you know are already interested in you and your services and encourage them to share it with their friends.
Add Personality Content
More than ever, consumers are starving for authenticity. That’s how social media got so popular. They used to go to your website to see the professional and polished you; but now they want to know who you are as a surgeon AND as a person, husband, humanitarian, father, dog lover, community leader and so on.
Share whatever you are comfortable with and make it real. For example, have your family take a picture of you in the kitchen if you love to cook. Or, in your home gym working out, or sitting with your dog while reading a great book.
Consumer patients will feel as if they know you better and be more willing to take that next step when they see you are a likable person as well as a good surgeon.
Offer Free Virtual Consultations
While this COVID-19 situation is getting sorted out, offer free virtual consultations for a limited time.
Mention it in your marketing efforts and include a link to a landing page that captures the patient’s name, cell phone and email address.
Add this to every email you send and social post you upload. This is how you build a solid list of interested people who want your services.
You can use a video conferencing platform such as Zoom.us because it records your call and you can show your screen. Or, you can simply do a Facetime or Skype call with the patient for the initial evaluation and be sure to mention in writing, your recommendations and quote are subject to change once you meet in person.
These above suggestions will help you gain exposure to new prospective patients and give your staff plenty of follow up tasks once they return to the office.
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.