SEP 2017

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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16 SEPTEMBER 2017 | Med Esthetics © GETTY IMAGES; INSET: COURTESY OF COSMETIC IMAGE MARKETING BUSINESS CONSULT Email marketing is the cheapest way to communicate with your patient base, but up to 80% of recipients do not open mass email messages, so you also need to get personal. Snail-mail birthday cards in colored envelopes to celebrate each patient's special day. Send personalized letters once or twice a year with information about a new procedure, and include a discount card inviting the recipient to try it. Event invitations are welcome marketing messages that perform double duty. The invitation reminds patients of your services, and when they attend an event, you get valuable face time with them. The more face time patients have with their practitioners, the more likely they are to stay loyal. ASK FOR REFERRALS When I asked patients why they didn't refer others to their chosen practitioners, the No. 1 answer was both simple and surprising: They didn't know the practice wanted refer- rals, so it never occurred to them to spread the word. Each of your patients has, on average, 150 people in their circle of infl uence. This includes family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, hair stylist, gym buddies, etc. Can you imagine if every one of your current patients referred only one of these people to you? Let your patients know that you want—and value—referrals by setting up a display at the checkout counter with wallet-sized referral cards that pa- tients can take and hand out. Include your contact informa- tion and a list of your services on the cards. Another effective way to encourage referrals is to give patients copies of the their before-and-after photos to show friends and family members. At their post-op appointments, give the patient a handwritten note card with photos en- closed that says, "Thank you for your trust," and be sure your name, telephone number and website address are clearly visible at the bottom of the photos. FOCUS ON LEAD CONVERSION It does no good to spend a lot of money, time and effort obtaining leads if you don't convert them to bookings. Keep in mind, converting leads is a learned and practiced skill just like your procedure skills. A good consultation begins with the right mindset. Many physicians and staff feel as if they are selling or pushing their aesthetic services on prospective patients, when in reality, they are serving patients who want to look good and feel great. Prospective cosmetic patients come to your practice because they seek a solution to an aesthetic concern. Often, the most signifi cant challenge for the patient in consultation is the many choices she has to make—which procedure is right for me, when is the right time to undergo treatment, how much will it cost and who should perform the service? One strategy to improve your conversion rates is to simplify the process for patients by providing three options with a range of costs, downtimes and potential out- comes—good, better, best—from which to choose. This allows the patient to focus on which option is best, rather than deciding whether or not to choose you at all. CREATE A MARKETING PLAN Aesthetic practices and medspas typically have up months and down months. You can help soften the dips of this revenue rollercoaster by creating an annual marketing plan that maps out patient-attraction strategies for each month of the year. Make sure your plan covers the three Ws: what you will do, when you will do it and who is account- able for getting it done. Medical practices and medspas have protocols in place for nearly every aspect of their businesses—treatments, bill- ing, charting, check-in, etc. Marketing should not be the ex- ception. Maintaining a robust schedule and a strong patient base is the result of many carefully tracked marketing efforts working synergistically to keep you busy all year long. Catherine Maley is the author of Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients Are Saying and founder of Cosmetic Image Marketing, which specializes in cosmetic patient attraction, conversion and retention. Contact her at Offer wallet-sized referrals cards at checkout to remind patients that you want—and value—referrals.

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