Market Your Aesthetic Practice without Costly Advertising
Low Cost/No Cost Ways to Market Your Aesthetic Practice
Today’s consumer is inundated with advertising messages like never before. Open your local newspaper, listen to your local radio stations and watch your local TV news stations and I’ll bet you see your colleagues promoting themselves as the best, the cheapest or the most up-to-date. Surf the Internet as well. “Google” a procedure and see thousands of choices pop up.
Just know that kind of exposure is probably not free. Most likely, those PR media spots came from a PR agency that works with physicians for thousands of dollars per month and that Internet positioning came from a SEO-savvy group that charges anywhere from $500-$5,000 per month to get them the exposure they wanted. And, they might not even know if it’s paying for itself if they don’t have a perfected internal tracking system telling them how many telephone calls were generated and, of those, how many actually performed procedures.
Advertising for cosmetic procedures can absolutely build awareness about you and your practice. You can get that, “hey, this doctor looks familiar” response so it can work hand in hand with your other marketing efforts. Also, your current patients who see it may see it as affirmation that they are going to the right physician.
On the other hand, mass advertising can have the reverse affect you are looking for. Your patients and prospective patients may wonder why you are advertising at all and if, perhaps, you are forced to advertise to find new patients.
The Challenges of Mass Advertising
We see more than 3,000 advertising messages per day. How in the world do you rise above the clutter and be heard? You need the right message to the right audience with the right amount of times. The right amounts of times are usually many more than you thought because it takes consistent and persistent exposure to be heard and then responded to.
Also, when you cast a huge net out to the public, you need to be prepared for anything. Since your message is not targeted to a very specific group of consumers, you will receive calls from just about anybody. Some people will call because that’s just what they do. They watch, read and listen and then call for free things such as information, consultations, etc. You may not be staffed to take long-winded, “tire-kicker” telephone calls from the public who will tie up your telephones with repetitive questions about your prices, etc. Tying up the telephone and your staff with pointless calls from the public hurts your day-to-day operation with your current paying patients. You already have them and don’t want to lose them to inefficiency and apathy because you are busy tending to others whom you may never meet. You also don’t want your staff stressed with a busy practice that doesn’t get results because your schedule is filled with those shopping around for the best price.
Because you typically need to advertise price when you mass advertise, that can draw in the type of aesthetic patient you really don’t want. If they come for price – they will leave for price. You don’t grow an aesthetic practice by churning over patients; rather, you grow a practice by developing a relationship with a patient who stays with your for years to come and refers their family, friends and colleagues. Mixing your current patients in with the patients who are shopping around can wreak havoc on your branding. If you are known for your high-end clientele who wants exceptional service, you don’t want to have a crowded waiting room with folks who are there for the free consultation but have no intentions of booking a procedure.
Rather than spend thousands of dollars per month on advertising, take those resources and put them to better use. Here are some great ideas to get you started:
Your Internal Image
Start with your own image. Before a prospective patient even meets you, be sure your telephones are answered in a friendly, professional way and that the caller’s questions are answered. Your receptionist should be skilled enough to build rapport and close the appointment. You then need to have quality materials such as a patient information packet containing your credentials, your photo, any articles you’ve written, information about the procedure and your Website address. Your Website should be full of information and graphics of you, your staff, your office and your patient photos so the prospective patient gets a feeling for who you are and your personality. You want them to feel as if you’ve already met.
When they arrive at your office, they should be greeted in a friendly way and made to feel at home in your aesthetically pleasing office. They should be given procedure information to read while they are waiting for you (no more than 15 minutes) and you should display anything about you that is helpful for them to know such as a “Meet Dr. Smith” handout with your photo and credentials and any PR you’ve gotten should be displayed on the walls so they know you are the expert in your field.
Your Patient’s Experience
Now you want to be sure every patient who telephones and walks through your door is happy to be there, treated like they are special and enjoy the experience – every time. Your staff should make them feel cared for and comfortable. They should be escorted personally through your process so they know what the next step is and are comfortable throughout.
And be sure they get a good result. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it must be consistent. They need to know they can expect the same result every time if its something you do regularly like injectables and that must carry over when they come back for more invasive procedures. If you do a good job with the little stuff, they will assume you’ll do a good job with the bigger stuff.
Build Rapport with Your Patient
A patient needs to feel bonded to you and secure knowing that you are the right physician who can address their concerns and give them what they want. The best way to build rapport is to:
- show interest in the patient as a person first – patient second
- ask them what they want
- listen to their answer
- repeat it back so they know you heard them
- ask questions
To learn more low cost/no cost ways to market your aesthetic practice, visitwww.CosmeticImageMarketing.com or call (877) 339-8833. Catherine Maley is author of Your Aesthetic Practice and President of Cosmetic Image Marketing. Her team specializes in growing aesthetic practices.