Plastic surgery is an ever-more competitive market. Not just because there are more practices offering high value, but because they’re employing marketing tactics that reach deeper into the customer-base.
Cosmetic plastic surgery is a service that requires a sales cycle. Prospective patients weigh their options for months, even years, before committing to a procedure. Your practice must create initial brand awareness, educate, and connect over multiple touches to give you the best chance to win the business.
Below are the essentials of marketing a plastic surgery practice in 2017. Digital dominates, but we also suggest you keep on top of your local networking. Most of all, there is an element of persistence. It’s easier today to automate steps in the sales cycle, so you can stay in front of prospective clients with timely, effective marketing materials.
Marketing Idea #1: Design an Effective Plastic Surgery Website
At the core of your digital marketing is your website. It’s an obvious piece of marketing collateral, yet many practices fail to have a website that’s truly effective at persuading visitors to take action.
Effective websites have a refined simplicity. First and foremost, they convey your value proposition so it’s clear what you offer and why you’re the best choice. Effective websites avoid – at all costs – confusing the visitor. Text is concise and informative, layouts simple and logical. Imagery should be consistent and convey the sense of beauty that’s part of your services.
Remember that your plastic surgery website is not, in reality, about your practice. It’s about how you serve your patients. The focus is on their needs.
Today, website templates must be mobile friendly. Expect at least half your traffic to be from phones.
Here is an example plastic surgery template from UXI®:
Marketing Idea #2: Dominate Search Marketing
One of your main goals must be to appear on page one of search when people look for plastic surgeons in your area. Searches like this generally indicate strong intent to eventually get a procedure, so the traffic is valuable.
There are three ways you can show up on the search result page. The first is pay per click advertising or PPC. This is where you bid on auction systems like Google Adwords to appear in top positions on the page. Your budget and placement will depend on your competition. PPC ads give the most control over ranking, ad content, and landing page.
The second is connected to your Google My Business account. You create this through Google to get location based search results (it is also Google Maps). Optimize for keywords, and photos/business details, and get client reviews to increase your ranking. This is a free listing/clicks.
Last is your organic listing, related to your website SEO. This is the direct listing of your homepage domain, also free ranking/clicks. Optimize your website content for keywords, add fresh content to your blog, earn links, and get social media traffic to your website to increase your ranking.
Over time, you have the chance to be in all three spots on the search result page:
Idea #3: Create an Introductory Video
In today’s world of short attention spans, video is possibly the most effective way to get your message across. It remains underused, so a really effective video can give you a competitive advantage. Here is an example from a Fort Collins, CO-based plastic surgeon:
What this video does well:
- Makes a confident, professional first impression.
- Clearly articulates the services and procedures available.
- States a clear value proposition when he talks about having “natural” surgery that’s “not noticed” as surgery, and how they provide cosmetic surgery in conjunction with medical surgery.
- Call to action to schedule a free consultation.
Areas it could be better:
- Too much detail about the surgeon’s education and credentials, making the video too long.
- A mention of reviews but lacks strong testimonial content.
In a plastic surgery video, a brief testimonial from a patient can be very effective, but you have to get the patient to agree to appear, waving confidentiality. If you have someone willing, add it to your video.
Just like your website, a video that’s concise and communicates a clear value proposition will be the most effective.
Marketing Idea #4: Manage Your Testimonials, Reviews, and Reputation
It remains true that the ultimate marketing content is not what you say about yourself, but what clients tell their friends about your work.
You’ll want to gather reviews and testimonial content everywhere possible. You could start with a more testimonial focused video like this:
Few things will allay fears of surgery like credible testimonials from patients who had a successful procedure. It’s also most trustworthy in a video, where you can actually hear and see the patients.
Important tip: Use Google My Business
Google my Business is your maps/local listing on Google. Not only is this an important platform for organic search traffic, it’s also a place consumers leave reviews:
This is a good place to encourage short, positive comments from patients. The star review summary is a strong visual to encourage clicks through to your website.
Important tip: Use Top Rated Local
Top Rated Local is a third-party review service that links off a widget from your website. It looks like this:
This “customer experience” rating system is particularly well suited for services like plastic surgery. You have more control over the comments, and it breaks the ratings into categories that help make the review more specific.
Important Tip: Monitor Other Review Platforms
Part of what is called “reputation management” is monitoring what’s said about you online. This includes social media mentions and review sites like Yelp and Health Grades. Be aware that on some of these platforms, consumers can rate you even if you don’t claim a profile page. In most cases, you’re better off owning your profile so you can manage the content.
Keep in mind that with a decision as big as undergoing surgery, reviews and testimonials are more of an influencer than deal breaker. You want to make a positive impression and motivate people to schedule a consultation. But good or bad, most prospective patients won’t base their decision solely on the online reviews they read.
Idea #5: Facebook Advertising
In the last couple of years, Facebook has become an important place to advertise. This is true simply because so many people are present on Facebook. But moreover, it’s because Facebook offers some exceptional ways to target audiences.
These targeting options go beyond just demographics. You can target past buying behavior, interests, and even personality traits to reach new audiences with very specific messages.
For example, your targeting can be this granular:
- Ages 35-50
- Live in urban areas
- College graduate
- Earns more than 100k per year
- Purchases high-end jewelry
- Goes to spas and manicuring services
- Use online dating websites
You can limit your campaigns to an email list or people who’ve previously visited your website. Or you can take an existing audience, then create a lookalike audience to target new people with shared characteristics.
You could target an audience of leads who’ve already visited your website and use Facebook Lead Ads to get them to schedule a consultation – without having to leave Facebook.
You could target people who clicked on your schedule a consultation button but didn’t fill out the form.
Say you ran a video on Facebook. You can target an ad only to people who watched more than 75% of your video.
The point is that Facebook has tactics and granular targeting that’s incredibly detailed. When you find your core audience, you can reach them with well-targeted ads.
Idea #6: Retargeting
This is how many people think marketing works:
- A person decides they want a plastic surgery procedure.
- They look around at some practices and find one they trust.
- They sign up for a free consultation.
But these three steps rarely happen in order. Instead, what happens is:
- A person decides they want plastic surgery procedure.
- They look around at practices but don’t take any action.
- They spend months researching, talking to friends, and mulling over the idea.
- They finally decide to take action but are biased towards brands they previously interacted with.
Point four is critical here. During this period of hesitation and reflection, if you can increase the exposure of your practice’s brand, you bias the person towards selecting you when they finally decide to act.
This is where retargeting comes into play. Someone visits your website looking for info and does not directly convert – but they do convert in another way. A piece of code (called a cookie or pixel) is added to their browser so you can display ads (including the Facebook ads) to show your offer again and continue to expose your brand.
Sometimes people will click on your ad and convert. But often, when they get a decision point, they’ll search for your practice again by name – because they’ve been seeing it on and off for the last 6 months.
Retargeting is the most effective way to create the touch points you need with leads as they move through their decision process. It’s often inexpensive with high ROI.
Important Tip: Blog, Email, and Mail Newsletters
Retargeting is kind of the latest version of another tactic you should be doing, which is creating informational content that helps people better understand if plastic surgery is for them.
Adding content to your blog helps your SEO rankings and puts your expertise on display. Repurpose this content to use in email campaigns and even a print newsletter. Again, the idea is to keep your practice’s brand in front of prospects and continue to build trust so they turn to you when they are ready.
Idea #7: Make Use of Visuals
Sometimes it’s hard to get your point across in words. Use visuals like this infographic on your website and social media to clarify medical procedures, conditions, and results.
Idea #8: Get Some Local Face Time
It’s so easy to get caught-up in the vast technology of Google and Facebook that you might think they provide all the marketing you need. That’s a mistake.
I recently met with a plastic surgeon with a very successful practice. He actually did what I’d consider a light amount of digital marketing. His social presence was, in fact, nonexistent.
I wondered how he remained so busy. But I realize, this was an outgoing, friendly guy involved in his community. He volunteered, was active at his kid’s school, and played on a local softball team. He did talks in the area about plastic surgery on topics like superficiality in culture and medically related cosmetic surgery.
In other words, this guy is really good at networking. He’s known in the community. He makes efforts to meet folks in person who might be interested in his services.
Don’t underestimate the power of local networking. Get in some face time that’s not digital.
Idea #9: Hire Some Marketing Help
Okay, time for a reality check. Hopefully, these plastic surgery marketing ideas and tips helped you get a handle on what you need to do to market your practice.
However, if you think you’ll actually be able to execute this yourself while running your practice, you’re kidding yourself.
With all the intricacies of digital marketing today, most business owners simply have no hope of being able to execute a plan. You’ll have to hire an agency or in-house marketer to do it for you.
Marketing 360® specializes in marketing businesses like plastic surgery practices. We have the tools and know how to pull all these diverse resources together into an effective plan. Our marketing software, website designs, and CRM tools make digital marketing manageable and easy to understand.
Talk to one of our marketing consultants today. Marketing tactics change all the time, but the need to market remains constant. We’ll keep you busy with new patients!