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5 Things You Can Do Now to Grow Your Aesthetic Practice by 20% in 2009

January 12, 2009 |

The New Year is for new beginnings and what a perfect time for you to review your practice, consider new possibilities and open yourself up to fresh opportunities.  Making minor observations and executing simple ideas can lead you to a great year.

Here are some suggestions to help you get moving in the right direction for this year:

1.    Know where you are now and where you want to go.
Remember the old saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how you will know when you get there?”   This is as true for an aesthetic practice as any other business competing today.  It’s important to analyze all aspects of your practice and it starts with number crunching.  You need to know the numbers!  And, you can’t guess at them or anecdotally assume them.  You need quantifiable data so you can make better business decisions because the true answers are in the numbers.  Go back through 2007 and 2008 to compare and determine simple statistics such as how many consultations you had, how they heard about you, how many were converted to procedures and then the revenues generated.  You also want to track results from specific marketing efforts such as advertisements you ran or events you held.

Hopefully, you have a sophisticated-enough computer system to automatically generate these reports for you.  If you don’t, it’s worth the time and the trouble to do it manually.  These numbers will tell you what’s working, what’s not, who comes to you and for what – and do they stay and book or do they leave never to be heard from again?

2.    Hold a “New Year” Staff Meeting
Hold a “New Year” staff meeting in January.  This needs to be away from the office in a comfortable, quiet setting.  And be sure every staff member is available for this important meeting. Provide food and allow an entire morning or afternoon so you’re not rushed.
Start the meeting by sharing the above data from #1 with them. You don’t need to give them your entire P&L statements, but do give them data to show how much growth or non-growth you experienced in 2008 because you are then going to all work together to improve the numbers in 2009.  Now tell them what you envision the numbers to be this upcoming year and be sure they are obtainable, yet aggressive.  Everyone performs better when they have quantifiable numbers to strive for rather than just generally “do better this year”.

Now, ask for their help and suggestions for how to achieve your 2009 goals. They will be much more receptive to help you if you include them in the process.  I guarantee they have great ideas for enhancing your practice.  They spend much more time with the patients than you do and bring a different perspective so give them a comfortable platform to provide their input.

This strategy meeting will leave your staff feeling more energetic, eager and willing to pull together as a team to help you have a banner year.

3.  Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing is, by far, the cheapest and fastest way to communicate with your patients today. It allows you to keep in touch with your patients throughout the year and build patient loyalty.

But, how do you collect email addresses from your patients?  For starters, be sure you are asking for their email address on your patient in-take form as well as your other communications such as newsletters, a display at your check-out desk, and feedback forms from your events.

Now, what do you email them?  Your email messages should be brief, eye-catching and include very special promotions so they continue to want to receive communications from you.  Content is very important so make them informative, easy to read and invite them to call or email you for more information or to schedule an appointment.

4. New Year – New You Promotion
Thanks to New Year’s resolutions, many of us compile a list of what we will do this year to improve our lives and one of those items is often to take better care of ourselves and look our best.  Now is the time of year to educate your patients on the various ways you can make their new year truly new.
Either through a newsletter, postcard, special invitation or an email marketing campaign, educate your patients on what you can do to help them reach their 2009 goals. You want to send this to all current patients, to any 2008 consultations that haven’t booked yet, those whom you haven’t seem for awhile and those who need to return to finish their treatments.  Since you have already had contact with these patients and prospective patients, they are much more likely to respond.

5. Develop and Nurture a New Alliance
Think about special relationships you have with non-competing colleagues, hair salons or retail stores in your community that share your same patient demographics and would be willing to work together synergistically.  It can be as simple as displaying your brochures in their offices or place of work, personally referring your patients/customers to each other, or doing something more assertive such as mailing a co-marketed direct mail piece to both of your databases (following HIPPA regulations). You can also consider a joint evening event where you both give presentations.  The beauty of this collaboration is that it gives you instant credibility and prestige to an entire new group of prospective patients since the physician, salon or store they already know is personally vouching for and introducing you to them.

Keep in touch with your current patients as well as your prospective patients, to let them know what’s new with you, your staff, and your office and in the world of cosmetic enhancement.  They will appreciate the update.

I wish you an incredibly successful and enjoyable 2009!

Catherine Maley, MBA
Author, Your Aesthetic Practice
(877) 339-8833

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