Tips to Help You Market and Grow Your Practice

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Wednesday, July 14, 2021

chart with green arrow shows business growth

By Terri Ross, CEO, APX by Terri Ross

Marketing is sometimes like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. You shouldn't throw your money away on things that are not working. That's why it's 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 fewer than 10% of aesthetics practices track their metrics? If you are one of the 90% who do not, don't worry—I'e 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 provide the first impression on your clients and are responsible for your finances and running a profitable practice. (See previous blog on the importance of investing in training here).

Next come 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, Nordstrom, 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 okay, but your message must 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. 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 every member of your team articulate your UVP in 20 – 30 seconds? If a patient says, "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 land – adopt – expand – renew (LAER) communication model and the value of using that to engage and diffuse any objection?

This is an area that 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 you're 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 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, "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 your 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 and education, and consider the lifetime value of a patient.

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 the number one destination for 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 search engine optimization (SEO). Please reach out if you need a referral. While other web development companies can be fine, I think it is very important to have a website built by a company within the space that understands the terms and the competition.

Your website needs to contain enough copy. Each page needs to have 600 to 1,000 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 and the problem. They are probably searching for things such as belly fat, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, spider veins, saggy boobs, etc. Your website should also feature video. This is important because video converts at a 70% higher rate than copy. If professionally produced videos are not within your marketing budget, 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 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—such as ethnic skin, stretch marks, cellulite, transgender and LGBTQ—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. Adding fresh content to your website on a regular basis for SEO purposes; and
  3. Increasing your reach and frequency and touch points for 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

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 your channels: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn‚Ķ whatever you have. You also should have a content calendar plotted out. There are literally hundreds of social media holidays—for example, June is Men's Health Month and Pride Month. Take an hour and sit down and plot out content for things like Skin Cancer Awareness Month or Self-Care Day. 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. Your posts should be 80% social and less promotional.

Paid Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) or Facebook/Instagram ads are important for growth, so you want to make sure you are working with an advertising 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 a benchmark, a Facebook/Instagram ad spend should be at least $1,000 to see results, and any PPC ads on a particular treatment should be around $2,000 to maximize the results.

Online Reviews

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% 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

It is much easier to nurture existing clients that already have established the know, like and trust factors with your practice than it is to acquire a new patient. Take advantage of this and market to your existing patients. Send out a high-quality, professionally written newsletter with valuable insights and industry trends that highlights new services, seasonal themes and special promotions (not discounts). Make sure to include a brief mention that referrals are the greatest compliment and ask recipients 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."

Educational Seminars

Hosting a complimentary educational seminar on a topic of interest to your clientele is a great way to not only educate, but also generate potential business. Whether it is virtual, in your office or at a local venue, a seminar is a great way to bring in additional revenue. One of my clients hosted a private seminar on vaginal rejuvenation with a group of women and ended up generating $30,000 worth of revenue with a 30-minute seminar.

Get Involved with Local Events/Networking

Now that businesses 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; this 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.

Terri Ross is a renowned practice management consultant, international speaker in the aesthetic industry, and founder and CEO of Terri Ross Consulting and APX by Terri Ross. APX is an integrative, solutions-based platform for the medical aesthetics industry focused on sales, finance and operations, along with web-based software that features proprietary financial optimization calculators and analytical tools to keep a pulse on the most critical elements of a growing practice that has proven to increase efficiency and profitability. Ross has more than 15 years of experience working with Fortune 500 medical device companies, leading sales teams to peak performance, consistently ranking in the top 10%. In addition, she has more than 12 years of experience and a track record of success working with hundreds of aesthetic practices across the country to launch, grow and scale to upwards of 600% growth.

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