Part 3 of 3
This is the third and final installment of my three-part series that gives you a roadmap for building a successful top-tier cosmetic practice. In parts one and two, I discussed how to prepare your practice for introducing injectables through education, and how to educate your staff and patients. This third part will discuss how to market your practice bot effectively and cost-effectively.
How to market your injectable practice
The average cost of acquiring one injectable patient is $250. When you are starting out, the worst thing you can do is hire an expensive advertising firm. Instead, here are some more cost-effective ways to market your practice.
You should first reach out to patients that you already have. Put information in your waiting room and on your website that says that you offer injectable treatments. Oftentimes, patients want to discuss injectables but do not know that you perform them. My business, the Skin Type Solutions Franchise System, helps doctors build their injectable practices. We have found that having a launch party is the most effective initial step. Send invitations to your patients and invite them to bring a friend to an event that allows them to get these procedures at a one-time reduced cost.
This is the perfect opportunity to announce that you offer these procedures. If the patients are pleased with the results, the most important aspect of injectable marketing has begun: Word-of-mouth marketing. When I first analyzed my office data, I found that 80% of my patients found me through word of mouth. You should try to schedule four of these events a year to keep the buzz going. We suggest having a raffle at the event with one jar for each type of injectable procedure you offer. After the event, you’ll have a lead list of interested patients for each procedure that you can use for targeted promotions.
Partnering with charities and other businesses
We have found that the most successful events are ones in which we partner with a charity or other businesses. For example, we hosted an opera fundraiser in our office. The opera invited 300 people, we invited our patients, and 10% of the evening’s sales were donated to the opera. Not only did we get a lot of new patients, the opera also gained new members and received a nice donation from our clinic. Photos from the event were published in the local newspaper, which led to increased visibility for our practice. Another event featured deoxycholic acid injections for neck fat, and we partnered with a food-delivery service and local gyms. Each business invited their clients and offered discounts for all attendees. Although hundreds of people attended the event, hundreds more heard about it though the invitations they received, and the event resulted in many new injectable patients.
Patient referral business
You need to have a set policy about patient referrals. Knowing that it costs you about $250 to get a new patient, we suggest giving patients who refer a friend a $100 or $150 gift certificate to use at your practice. It is very important to acknowledge the referral. In many cases, a genuine thank-you is enough to generate more referrals.
After you have exhausted your internal marketing opportunities, you can move on to the more expensive methods of external marketing. We believe that advertising is ineffective because of the high cost and low yield, and that it is much better to focus on social media. Uploading photos of your events is a great way to start. After that, you can use Facebook ads and Google AdWords, which are less expensive options. YouTube videos about specific procedures are a great way to educate potential patients, and if you tag them properly you can get new patients.
You can hire a PR firm to get stories about you in the media, but this will only be effective if you have a story that tantalizes the media and is considered “news.” PR companies can cost $4,000 to $5,000 a month, so make sure you have a newsworthy story before hiring a firm. Track the advertising and PR dollars that you have spent and determine which methods are the most effective in your geographic location. It is important that your receptionist captures “how you heard about us” data from every new patient so that you will be able to see what marketing strategies have been successful for you.
In summary, there are many ways to market your practice, but word of mouth is the most effective way. It is paramount that every patient you treat is thrilled with the experience they had in your office so that they will tell their friends. Before marketing your practice, make sure you follow the education suggestions described in the first part of this series. It will help differentiate you from your competitors.