Patients can have bigger dreams when you break costs into smaller pieces.
When the economy is down, people tend to cut cosmetic procedures from their budgets, as they see it as a “want” instead of a “need.” For doctors this can mean fewer procedures in their practices. There are many credit card based financial products that can help patients realize that the procedures they have been wanting are affordable – even in today’s economy. Plans are available for 18 and 24 month no interest plans as well as 48 month extended payment plans that help break total costs into more manageable monthly payments. In addition, there are no down payments, so patients can get their treatments started faster.
Practices can save valuable time with the online reporting system that lets them submit applications electronically, view application statuses, track patient financing performance and even set goals for the upcoming year.
Practitioners should not provide links to these financing offers on their websites. Instead, publish a statement, which clearly says that financing is available and have your patients come to the office, where your staff will help them submit the application, explain all benefits and schedule the procedure.
The aesthetic physician or the head of the group if several doctors work together.
The financial shock we are trying to cope with has made us sharper. The star of the practice is what can make a difference for a cash paying consumer comparing several aesthetic practices during the online research.
What can help you look more impressive in the eyes of today’s web surfing cosmetic patient?
Medical marketing is a problem for many doctors, but flaws in marketing strategies for aesthetic and cosmetic clinics make the difference between financial success and bankruptcy.
As a doctor, you may work a few hours a week but the virtual doors of your aesthetic practice should always be open 24/7. Using a variety of available web tools, a clinic can offer comprehensive information to the patients considering cosmetic enhancement and dermatology procedures.
Web tools help physicians reach out to patients to give them an abundance of information on the practice, its doctors and staff, and the procedures they offer by way of web video documentaries, graphic animations, patient testimonials, an updated blog, and detailed descriptions of treatment options.
If you start offering a new laser skin rejuvenation procedure, the best way to announce it is to post it on a nice, technologically advanced and user-friendly web page to convey detailed information and demonstration so that your prospective patients can have a better idea of what procedures entail.
Consumers are generally confused by the abundance of advertising and need help from the doctors they already trust to understand what new types of technologies are available and how they can help tighten the skin, erase pigmentation spots, resurface the skin to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of sagging skin, and put normal volume back in the face. The combination of all these new procedures allows to custom-fit each particular treatment protocol to what works best for the desires of the individual.
It might come as a surprise to many doctors, but state-of-the-art online marketing and advertising does not have to be expensive. In fact, online spend is the most cost-effective and measurable portion of your medical marketing budget.
Medical marketing and medical advertising is complicated. Forget general advertising. Billboards, ads in a local paper, radio, TV… It’s expensive and it does not work! Online and media with focus on a story or patient education works!
Learning how to work with the media systems is a new skill to learn for many physicians. Innovative plastic surgeons have always realized the power of the press and good PR. However, positioning yourself in the media is not an easy task. It can be time-consuming and costly if you don’t know what to do or who to hire.
First, you need to understand how the media works. You have to have a newsworthy story. Think news. Every patient who comes into your office is a potential news story. They each have a personal reason for wanting your services. Oftentimes, they want to share their stories with others and are willing to be candidates for press interviews.
Keep up with trends. Each year, societies and academies publish results of surveys conducted among their members. Those surveys result in statistics that show the increase in trends and procedures. The media love to see growth statistics, especially those that can be proven by such credible organizations. Whereas most national media outlets report these statistics, many local press outlets are never shown the results and may welcome the chance to interview you as the local resource.
Get more than CMEs at industry events. Though many of you attend meetings and events to learn new techniques and fulfill CME requirements, don’t overlook the gold mine of information in the exhibit hall. This is where all the new future possibilities lie, and things are discussed there before they are discussed from the podium.
Be charitable. Charitable work or philanthropic contributions are of interest to the media. In these instances, aesthetic surgery is considered “surgery of the soul,” especially when it is reconstructive surgery. Such a media campaign promotes a positive community image.
Get involved in your community events. Sports, kids, local gatherings are excellent opportunities to get your name out and create the buzz.
Planning a grand opening, a patient education seminar, adding new services? Invite the press. Many community newspapers have a “society” or “locals only” section. If you are opening your practice, get involved with the local Chamber of Commerce and have a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Getting yourself in the spotlight does not always happen overnight. Public relations campaigns can take weeks, months, or even years to become successful, depending on your goal. Start now.
The economy is bad, consumers have no cash for elective procedures and things are not looking up as we all embrace ourselves for a long recession.
Many cosmetic surgeons and aesthetic physicians are thinking about cutting fees.
With big ticket surgeries, such as facelifts, there is no price tag for experience, and aesthetic physicians should consider alternatives to stay competitive, to stay afloat.
Cosmetic practice marketing experts are hesitant to use the term “price reductions,” but they’re quick to point out that, in today’s economy “value” is key, and recommend that cosmetic surgeons find creative ways to retain patients who are shying away from the big ticket procedures — whether by cutting fees, offering alternatives, bundling services, offering volume discounts or providing incentives with coupons. Surgeons who have built their reputations on surgical excellence generally have fees that reflect their expertise and should keep those fees where they are.
Botox and injectable dermal fillers may not be the treatment that gives you the most profit, but it is getting people in the door. Instead of doing three areas of Botox for $1,400, make it more competitive and start the first area at $400, the second at $300 and offer a little more sensitivity to volume discounts.
An individualized treatment plan with the use of a combination of affordable treatments may retain current customers and acquire new ones. Add value to a procedure, e.g. include lymph drainage massage treatments after liposuction or offer different facials or peels after facial rejuvenation with laser or facelift.
Dentists and LASIK surgeons have long used this financing approach, offered by CareCredit and a few other financial institutions, with success. Cosmetic surgeons’ doing their own brand of in-house financing is typically a bad idea as doctors do not have access to the information that a financial institution does, as far as who to approve…how to collect from that patient, etc.
Glycolic acid peels or a similar low-cost medspa service offering ensure regular “face time” with patients, building loyalty that can pay off once patients feel more fiscally at ease and able to opt for more involved procedures. Staff training and practice costs are minimal, and patients are quickly in and out of the office, so surgeons have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Customer service and excellent results creates word-of-mouth ripple by many truly satisfied patients. Whatever it takes.
There are very inspiring articles in Cosmetic Surgery Times about the use of current Internet technologies, which allow some physicians to stay on the edge, effectively market their practice and blog about it.
Marketing of any private medical practice, and in particular of a fee-for-service aesthetic clinic has become more important than ever given the current state of the economy.
Online marketing has proven to be the most effective, measurable and sustainable type of marketing offering the highest rate of return on the investment. It is also the most overlooked and underestimated type of marketing among doctors.
Plastic surgeon Stuart A. Linder, M.D., Beverly Hills does it – and so can you! Dr. Linder connects with viewers as he sits comfortably in his office chair and talks candidly about his credentials and cosmetic surgery on YouTube. His patients offer testimonials about their experiences under his care, and people from around the globe comment on what they have seen and what they know. Thousands of people watch these video clips daily!
YouTube has evolved into a very important communication and marketing medium, which is being adopted by more advanced aesthetic practices.
Every aesthetic practice should have a nice and functional website, fully optimized so people can find you, and interactive. Search engine optimization and Google ad words are a requirement today. But you also need to spread the word by taking advantage of free portals (forums and blogs) where consumers congregate to learn more about aesthetics and laser modalities.
People read less and prefer to watch short and highly focused “how-to” videos.
Anybody can get on YouTube with little effort but with a good strategy. Consumers want to know more about their common concerns and issues, as well as timely news and research in the field of cosmetic surgery. Who can better explain the intricacies of laser treatments than a friendly looking doctors talking to you in the privacy of your home and using popular terms?
Educational video clips help promote your practice to a broader audience and translate into more frequent visits to your trips and eventually into growing revenue for your practice.
Your aesthetic videos do not have to be a television-quality production, they can be somewhat blurry but convincing and somewhat entertaining. You can spend $50 to produce a 90 second video or $5,000, but the result might be the same - such is the Internet culture today.
Encourage your patients to post their comments and you will increase the visibility of your practice ten fold in no time.
Where to start? How to pick a subject and write a small script? Start off by choosing any of the subjects or categories listed in the right column of this blog.