Tips to Market and Grow your Practice
There is an analogy about marketing sometimes being like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. We don’t want you to be throwing your money away on things that are not working. That’s why it’s really critical to understand what marketing spend yields the highest ROI, and then come up with a strategic plan in terms of your marketing verticals so you know how much your lead acquisition costs are and what channel is yielding the highest return. I have found that most practices are not tracking any of that. Would you believe that less than 10% of aesthetics practices track their metrics? If you are one of the 90% who do not, don’t worry, I’ve got your back!
Foundations of Marketing from an Internal Perspective
First and foremost, your team is the lifeblood of your practice. They are your strongest asset and greatest expense. Investing in comprehensive staff training is the single most important thing you can do to market your practice as they form the first impression on your clients as well as are responsible for the finances and running a profitable practice. (See previous blog on the importance of investing in training here).
Next comes your image and brand.
- What and who do you want to be known for?
- Who is your ideal client?
- Who are you talking to in your messaging?
- Are they in their 20s or are they in their 50s?
- Is your image Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms, Macy’s or Target?
- Does your team, practice, services and pricing reflect that brand?
Now, you might say, “Terri, we see a wide range from age 25-65.” That is ok, but your message has to be very clear and resonate with your market. For example, when you run an ad or create a video, you should pretend you are speaking to one person, not a general audience. Really picture that ideal client avatar when you are creating your message. It doesn’t matter who it is, but you want to make sure you keep your brand and messaging strategy consistent across your website, blogs, email marketing campaigns, newsletters, social media, etc. It has to all tie together in a cohesive way.
Then, you and your team need to be able to articulate your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and credential your providers and practice, explaining what you do and why someone should come to your practice. Do you know your UVP? Can all of your team articulate your value prop in 20-30 seconds? If a patient said, “Well I could go down the street and Dr. Sanderson is cheaper than you,” would you and your team know how to respond? Do they know the LAER communication model and the value of using that to engage and diffuse any objection?
This is an area which tends to trip people up and put them in defense mode. There is a whole section in our sales training course in the APX platform that addresses this topic and has a downloadable exercise on creating your UVP and credentialing statements. It goes beyond saying your board certified, it is your perceived value to patients. Here are some examples:
- Our providers at XYZ practice have a combined 40 years of experience solely focused on aesthetic medicine
- We take a comprehensive approach to our consultation process to discuss your concerns, and together develop a long-term treatment plan that will yield you the best outcome.
- Our center is a training facility as we have performed X number of procedures .
- We offer extended weekday and weekend hours to fit the needs of our customers
External Marketing Verticals
- How many of you reading this are tracking your leads and where they are coming from?
- Do you know the total number of leads you generate a month?
- How many are phone leads?
- How many come from the web?
- How many come from social media?
- What is your conversion ratio?
- If not above 70% why or why not?
- Do you have a follow up process in place?
- Did you know 45% of leads are never followed up with?
Clients come to us all the time and say, “Terri, I need to get new people in the door” and then they start throwing all this money into different marketing verticals without a strategic plan or a trained team that can convert leads.
When you are considering external marketing spend, use this rule of thumb: Approximately 10% of your revenue should be allocated toward marketing spend. If you are a startup, it can run as high as 15%. But...it should not be higher than 10% if you are an existing practice. You want to spend those dollars very strategically. So, you need to look at what you’re spending per month versus how many new patients are coming in. Then, determine your lead acquisition costs. You need to look within your software at patient demographics, such as age, gender, race, income levels, education, etc. and consider the lifetime value of a patient (To learn more about lifetime value, read my previous blog here).
Now let’s take a look at some of the most important marketing verticals and ways to grow your business by utilizing them.
Website and Blog
Your website should be your number one source of where you put your marketing dollars. There are a few companies I stand behind who are experts in the aesthetics space and build beautiful, high-performing, aesthetically pleasing sites that are optimized for SEO. Please reach out if you need a referral. While other web development companies can be fine, I think it is really important to have a website built by companies within the space who understand the terms and the competition.
Your website needs to contain enough copy. Each page needs to have 600 to 1000 words because Google looks at authentic copy and there must be enough words to rank each page. So, if you have 20 services that you offer, each one needs to have its own page. Your website should contain a tab on the navigation bar that is called CONDITIONS. Why? Because people search both by the name, more by the problem. They are probably searching for things like belly fat or hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, spider veins, saggy boobs, etc.
Your website should also feature video. This is really important because video converts 70% higher than copy. If professionally produced videos are not within your marketing budget, then use your cell phone and a tripod and get a good light and record your own.
Ask your website company to perform a competitive analysis report of search terms so you can see how you rank compared to your competition. If everyone is ranking for the same things, you're going to have a harder time attracting in clients and that's going to drive your lead acquisition costs up. You might want to choose some specific terms to rank for that are much narrower in scope like ethnic skin, stretch marks, cellulite, transgender or LGBTQ, etc. to get your phone ringing more often!
You’ll also want to have a blog on your website that serves multiple purposes: 1) Educating your patients or potential clients on relevant topics with a call to action at the end; 2) To add fresh content to your website on a regular basis for SEO purposes; and 3) To increase your reach and frequency and touch patients or prospects who visit your site on a consistent basis. You can also include a link to your blog in social media posts and in your newsletter or email marketing.
Social media is a great way to promote your practice and share valuable content, new blogs, and testimonials or before/after results through images, videos, etc. You must have a very solid social media strategy that is consistent with your brand across all of your channels: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn...whatever you have. You also should have a content calendar plotted out. There are literally hundreds of social media holidays. June is Men’s Health Month, Pride Month, etc. Take an hour and sit down and plot out content for things like Skin Cancer Awareness Month or Self-Care Day, etc. We recommend you have a designated person on your team to post on social media. If your budget allows, we highly recommend working with an expert to curate content and post for you. If you need referrals, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 80% social, less promotional.
Pay-per-click (PPC) or Facebook/Instagram ads are important for growth, so you really want to make sure you are working with an ad expert so the money allocated is well spent. Any paid advertising should be targeted to your highest revenue per hour procedures/services or your highest profit per treatment services (for more information on determining Revenue Per Hour, read my previous blog). For a benchmark, Facebook/Instagram ad spend should be at least $1000 to see results, and any PPC ads on a particular treatment should be around $2000 to maximize the results.
Every practice needs a strategy to monitor, address, and collect online reviews. According to a study by Harvard Business School, there is a direct correlation between reviews and revenue. Income can swing by up to 18 percent in either direction based on whether reviews trend positive or negative. According to a study done in 2020 by Software Advice, almost three quarters (71%) of surveyed patients used online reviews as the very first step to finding a doctor. Your online reputation is often the first impression you make on potential patients. Spending as little as 10 minutes a week cultivating your online presence and addressing feedback publicly reduces the impact of negative reviews by up to 70%.
Email Marketing to Loyal Clients
I say this all the time, but it is much easier to nurture existing clients that already have established the know, like and trust factor with your practice than it is to acquire a new patient. Take advantage and market to your existing patients. Send out a high quality, professionally written newsletter with valuable insights, industry trends, and that highlights new services, seasonal themes or special promotions (not discounts). Make sure to include a brief mention that referrals are the greatest compliment and ask them to share your newsletter with a friend who might find it valuable. You can even assign a member of your staff to make some personal phone calls to patients who have not been in the office for a while just to see how they are doing. A simple phone call is a personal touch that can spark someone to book a service, without having to ever promote anything or “sell.”
Hosting a complimentary educational seminar on a topic of interest to your clientele is a great way to not only educate, but to generate potential business. Whether it is virtual or in your office or at a local venue, a seminar is a great way to bring in additional revenue. One of my previous clients hosted a private seminar on vaginal rejuvenation with a group of women and ended up generating $30K worth of revenue with a 30-minute seminar.
Get Involved with Local Events/Networking
Now that things are opening back up, take advantage of local events in your city or area related to health and wellness. Getting involved with your local chamber of commerce is a great way to gain access to local businesses in the area as you’ll get a member list of contacts. Consider sponsoring events, if appropriate, or submitting articles to local publications. You can even offer yourself as a resource to the media in your area which is another great way to position yourself as THE expert and publicize your practice.
These are just a few ideas to help get your juices flowing. I’d love to hear what worked for you or which ones you are planning to implement. As always, my team and I are here to help you grow your practice so please keep in touch and let us know how we can best serve you.
If you are ready to take your practice to the next level, the time is now. Please visit www.apxplatform.com to schedule a discovery call with our team and learn more about how APX has helped so many practices, this can be yours.