Lets face it, every year, nearly all Americans make some sort of resolution. However, many will have failed to follow through, most likely by the end of January. I challenge all readers to adopt a minimum of three of the following resolutions if not all of them. I promise they will change your practice for the better, and adhering to these resolutions will better the lives of those you come in contact with.
1. Fire your traditional marketing and or PR company!
Why would I recommend this? My first reason is simple, you’re reading this blog because you are trying to build your practice! If your practice was running at warp speed, you most likely wouldn’t be reading this article.
My second reason is also equally simple. Traditional marketing companies are focused on traditional marketing “tactics”; newspapers, magazines, television and radio to name a few. These forms of marketing are dead! We read the news when it happens online, not in tomorrow’s paper. We listen to music, but it’s on satellite radio, Pandora and MP3s. When was the last time you heard a commercial on your iPod?
People find their plastic surgeon one of two ways: word of mouth ( the best form of advertising), or digital marketing. Digital marketing done properly places you and your practice in front of those who are looking for you at this very moment. Traditional marketing is more expensive than digital marketing for one very wasteful reason. You are paying to market to people who simply have no interest in cosmetic procedures.
My father is nearly 80 years old, a vet, a little grumpy and very unlikely to want a chin lift or breast augmentation. Why would you want to pay to market your practice to him? Dont get me wrong, there is a way to flood your practice with guys like him but it would require you to pay Fox News to tell them they need to see you.
2. Invest time working on your practice!
In medical school, or somewhere along the line, you most likely “learned” that if a patient isn’t in front of you then you are not earning. There is some truth to this however adhering strictly to this philosophy is hurting your practice. If you look back over 2011 or 2010, I bet you will find that each year had results that looked something like this. Six of those months were good, three were horrible and three were great! What would happen if those three bad months became an additional three great months?
Investing time working on your practice will increase your chances of success dramatically. If you are currently not working on your practice, start with 15 minutes per day. Increase your lunch hour by this amount of time and make it clear you are not taking inbound calls, seeing patients or focusing on anything other than eliminating your three bad months. 15 minutes per day adds up to 2 hours per week, just over 8 hours per month and just over 100 hours per year.
If you are currently working with a medical marketing company, set up a weekly 10 minute phone meeting to go over results and to insure they are providing you with the best possible results. Contact your “medical” skin care rep, ask for help, ask for materials, ask for displays etc. Read a blog, better yet write a blog or work personally on your social media profile ( see below). Make a new network connection once per month for the year ( see below).
3. Build 12 new network/ referral sources.
Setting up a referral source can be the ultimate way to change the good(6), the bad(3) and the great(3) syndrome that seems to haunt so many once they diagnose themselves with it. Referrals come from word of mouth advertising.
Studies show that just over 90% of people will do business with someone simply because they were referred to them via an endorsement. If 90% of your consultations ended up being from referrals, how much time would be freed up to work on your practice, or better yet to spend time with family and loved ones?
This of course will take actual work to set up in the beginning, but it will pay dividends ten fold long term. Salons seem to be a great place to start. Meet local owners and help market them by offering reduced botox events, either at their location or yours. Offer a discount to them and their clients so you can increase your profits long term.
An hour and a half of your time, once per month to host or be the host of these parties will be a great way to earn the trust and loyalty of potential patients for the years to come. I was recently told by a very successful surgeon that “botox is the gateway to a Facelift tomorrow”.
Ask people to like your Facebook fan page on a personal level, dont ask the whole group out loud. If you approach potential patients individually, it will seem more like they are doing you a personal favor by liking your Facebook page. Its that simple. Follow up with each person via a personal email two days later with links to your social media and website. Ask them to “share” these sites with their friends. Its amazing what people will do when you ask.
Add each person to your email list ( see below) and keep in touch with them! When they are ready for a procedure who do you think they will call, even better when their friends are ready who do you think they will send them to? Say goodbye to those three bad months!
4. Keep in touch with the people who already know you!
4a. Invest personally in your social media! If you ask my opinion, social media marketing in general does not work, and here is why. People do not put enough effort in to their social media marketing. Much like a plant, social media needs to be watered in order to thrive. People connect with you on Facebook because they want to be connected to you, not ignored by you or feel like they mean nothing to you. If you want social media to work for you have to work it!
Follow these simple steps:
- Have a professionally built and coded fan-gate and branded welcome page built for Facebook. These will allow your brand to ring out, allowing people to see information, before and afters, driving directions and how to schedule an appointment.
- Personally send 8 individual fans a private message once a week ( this will take less than 15 minutes) just to say hello and thank them. Follow up with a second private message asking them to share your website link on their page and to invite their friends. Based on the amount of “friends” people have on Facebook and simple math, this could positively expose your practice to over 10,000 people per month if not more!
If you follow these two simple steps, there is no doubt in my mind you will be saying goodbye to those bad months for good!
4b. Set up a well thought out email marketing/newsletter campaign.
The best potential clients you have are the patient’s you have met with or the patients that contacted your office but never came in! Most likely each of these people were in the beginning stages of considering plastic surgery and just not ready to commit. Most of these people have not heard from you, and to your advantage, they have not heard from any other doctor they met with. Following up with people shows that you care plain and simple. People choose their surgeon because they like him or her, and because they believe that they care. It has little to do with what medical school you attended, how you look in a lab coat, your results photos or what your office looks like.
Setting up a newsletter and following though with it once every six weeks shows people you care about them! Avoid information on procedures or “specials” ( unless its to promote an event). Instead add tips on healthy eating, exercise, forming good sleep habits. Offer up one of your favorite recipes and add a little about your personal life. Don’t forget to ask your audience to share your newsletter with a friend! Staying in touch by providing useful information is simple, effective and best of all wont take more than an hour investment of your time, once every six weeks or so.
5. Invest time and money to optimize your website!
Investing now in SEO will save you money in the years to come.
The further behind or further down the rankings on Google you are means one of two things:
- Your digital marketing will always be way behind your competition
- You’re going to have to spend a fortune to optimize your site in the years to come.
Long term visibility makes up a portion of Google’s search algorithm. The longer your site is up and visible to Google, the better. In addition, blogs have more weight than ever when it comes to rankings. Providing great content on your site and blog with proper optimization should become a priority.
Each year the cost of SEO goes up for those just diving in, while the price for the top ranked sites tends to stay the same or go down. There is no doubt those in Medical school 10 years from now will be paying ten times the amount for SEO than those who begin properly and aggresivley, optimizing their sites today.
The SEO marketplace is much like the ocean side real estate in California, those who bought in 30 years ago paid a fraction of those buying tomorrow.
We wish you a fantastic 2012 and nothing but success for the years to come!
The point of this blog is to help you, and for me to continue to keep my resolution from years ago to help every business I come in contact with, and increase their chances for success. In the spirit of continuing to hold true to myself, my company and my family, I am, and will always make myself available to our clients, potential clients or anyone I can help to facilitate their goals and quest for success.
Feel free to contact me anytime on my direct line at (303)588-8187 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.