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Medical Spa Success Marketing is Key!

February 23, 2009 |

In this second installment of the “7 Keys to a Successful Aesthetic Practice / Medical Spa”, I’m going to discuss marketing.  I’m also going to include some great feedback and advice from many IAPAM faculty, members and consultants.

Jeff Russell, IAPAMMany physicians who are new to aesthetic medicine think all they need to do is put up their shingle and patients will come.  Unfortunately, in retail medicine, that is not the case.  How do you solve this dilemma? You’ll need to incorporate some proven retail marketing strategies to bring in patients. What I’ve found is many of the marketing and advertising strategies that were used 3-5 years ago, typically don’t work today!  Let’s hear from some of our experts…

Catherine Maley, MBA, author of “Your Aesthetic Practice/What Your Patients Are Saying.” and President of Cosmetic Image Marketing, says it best.  “Competition is fierce.  The savvy public is willing to price shop.  Now, more than ever, doctors need to gain exposure and market themselves to gain their fair share of the market.  But how do you do that?  How do you turn your practice into a high-quality operation that patients, staff and colleagues trust, respect and recommend to their own family, friends and patients?

IAPAM faculty member, Dr. Steven Jepson MD, owner of The Spa at Utah Dermatological and Medical Procedures Clinic  offers some specific insights into the role of advertising in building a successful aesthetic practice, with a specific focus on the use of the Internet to achieve marketing goals:

“You do not need to spend a fortune on advertising.   Internet marketing gives you the most bang for your buck.   For anywhere between $200-$1000 a month (depending on how competitive your market is)  you can use pay-per-click advertising to target potential clients who are already looking for what you have to offer.  This of course means that you must have an attractive and informative website.  If you are uncomfortable designing your own, then pay a good website designer to do it for you.  This will be one of your most important investments.

I estimate that about 50% of my new clients come from the Internet.  35% comes from current client referrals. And 15 % comes from other various sources.  Of course, it takes some time to build a clientele that  trusts you enough to refer their friends and family, but eventually they will become a key source to new business.  So plan for this by treating your clients well.  In Aesthetic Medicine, top-notch customer service is extremely important.

I have tried probably every other type of advertising possible in the last four years,  before focusing most of my advertising resources now on the Internet.  Here are my thoughts on a couple other types that I have tried and don’t use anymore:

Radio advertising can be expensive and generally doesn’t work well unless you can align yourself with one of the popular radio personalities who will then “ad lib” about your business (for a price).  The station’s advertising representative can help align you with the on-air talent.  This approach is more expensive than traditional radio commercials but much more effective.  I had one of Salt Lake City’s most popular female radio personalities ad-libbing about my clinic for about two years.  It worked well, but like all advertising, it eventually ran its course.  I would not recommend traditional radio commercials.

Print Ads have never worked well enough to justify their cost and that includes direct mailing.  Local magazines have given the worst return on investment of any type of advertising that I have done.

Finally, large ‘Yellow Page’ ads are expensive and not effective.  Don’t waste your money.   The consumers that you want as clients are using the Internet.”

Part of the IAPAM’s curriculm at the Aesthetic Practice Startup Workshop is covering marketing. This is an important part of any successful aesthetic practice or medical spa. What we’ve learnt over the years is the most expensive marketing initiatives returned the lowest results.  The workshop outlines the best marketing strategies that medical spas should be implementing in todays economy.

I want to leave you with this great quote from IAPAM faculty member, Dr. Richard Foxx, MD of The Medical and Skin Spa in Palm Springs: “The devil is in the details.  Everything you do is marketing, from the person who answers the phone to the [last] person the patient sees when they leave the office.”

Jeff Russell

Executive-Director, IAPAM

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