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Tracking your medspa marketing dollars.

I've discussed my thoughts on the wasted money marketing through the Yellow Pages and medical spa advertising before and included these links about wasting money on advertising in phone directories.

There are a number of threads: What's the best way to increase volume in my medical spa. Do you track your medical spa marketing?

yellowpages225.jpgProdocs seems to have come to the same conclusion in discussing how he's tracking his marketing:

First, yes, we track extensively. Every phone call, does it result in a consult, does the consult become a treatment, does the patient become repeat business. Because of our tracking we were big in the yellow pages with several ads, some in color, and about a $3,000 per month bill. But, according to our tracking we were getting about a third of our new business from the yellow pages so it was a great source for new business. I thought.

I created a new tracking form that required the receptionist to ask more detailed questions when the caller said they were "referred" by the yellow pages. The truth finally came out. Many callers just looked up our phone number in the phone book (the actual referral was something else) and other callers just said "yellow pages" without thinking.

I canceled all yellow pages ads except for the free listing that comes with your business phone service. The results? No noticeable decrease in business and the same percent of callers say they saw us in the yellow pages even though we have no ad there! Plus, we save $3,000 per month. If you track, did deep into those yellow page callers.

Having been in this business since the early days and having the added advantage of looking at this from the perspective of and advertising agency as well. It's a situation where you put your own money where your mouth is. I canceled all our yellow page ads almost two years ago and gritted my teeth while until the contracts ran out. We've continued to grow without any noticeable drop in new patient traffic.

Just to make my point perfectly clear: Yellow page advertising may bring in new patients but it's not as effective as spending those same dollars elsewhere. Not even close. The increasing reliance on the internet for information will increasingly work against the Yellow Pages until they fold. They will be unable to offer anything new on the web and Google, MSN, and Yahoo already do search. 

What's the best medspa advertising? It's perhaps the most common question since most cosmetic medical practices put attracting new patients as their biggest problem.

I'll post some more on this but I'm interested in hearing what problems you guys have encountered with Yellow Pages or other marketing efforts. 

Reader Comments (7)

I completely agree with your yellow page thoughts. We found the same to be true when a pt said they found us in the yellow pages, they really just meant that they looked up the number. In our small town of 40,000 we now have 4 "yellow" books to run it. I keep it to the smallest ad and the total for us is around $80/month. We have to have a small presence due to that fact that they are now 18 places in our small town to get laser hair removal. Thanks to all the wonderful reps that have sold lasers to everyone from the primary care clinics to the urgent care clinics.
Back to marketing ideas, one of our most profitable things is what we call the "donut runs". With stacks of donuts and newsletters/flyers/monthly specials in hand we visit local businesses on a regular basis.Our return for this has been tremendous. We average 3-4 new clients with each run. All for the cost of a dozen donuts!
In my 2 years in business I have found the most effective marketing is word of mouth and patient referrals and the best way to achieve this is outstanding customer service.


Which local businesses do you target? Hair salons? Spas?
05.23 | Unregistered CommenterMichMD
We look for businesses that employ mid to high income females. In our area, the primary industries are textiles, fiber optics, furniture. We have several corporate office buildings close by that has paid off. The banking industry and realty offices are also good targets. Its funny that you mention hair salons. I opened 2 years ago across the street from our primary hospital, on a street full of medical practices. I rarely received any type of referrals and sold virtually no products. In April I moved to the "retail" side of town directly beside an upscale salon and have sold more products in 2 weeks than I did in 2 months at the old location. Not to mention the staff at the salon has referred pts to us every single day. So location really does seem to matter, even in this type of business.
Tell us your procedure on the donut runs. Someone from your staff walks in with cards and donuts and asks to talk to the manager? How does it work in a bit more detail? This sounds like something I'd like to try.
05.23 | Unregistered CommenterMichMD
MichMD -

Networking is probably the lowest cost of acquisition marketing avenue we see for attracting new patients. The process is pretty simple - introduce yourself and your business - offer the employees and or their clients a nice discount on services ( preferably those procedures with no consumables cost), offer the owner a complimentary procedure - and having a box of donuts or the like is a great door opener/ice breaker.

Take the most outgoing staff member you have and have them dedicate a few hours a week to this form of"guerilla marketing" - you will be surprised how many new clients you will generate from these efforts
05.23 | Unregistered Commentertxspa
Mich MD,
Just as txspa mentioned, our technique is the same. My front staff person is extremely friendly and outgoing. We decide on the businesses for the week and she leaves the office for an hour or two here and there and visits those that we feel are good targets (lots of female employees, good salary ranges, etc.) We have a VelaSmooth and that can be a nightmare to market but we have tapped into a few of the weight loss clinics/fitness centers, and obviously instead of donuts, we take cases of bottled water. I think a case of the small bottles at Sam's cost $7.00. If we can book one Vela package from a few of those "runs" it is well worth it. To some this may seem like cold calls but we have found it to be very successful. Its just another enforcement of our logo/brand and maybe when a pt decides to try Botox they will remember those donuts that morning when they were starving!
05.24 | Unregistered CommenterDC
Well, I agree w/ jeff: Yellow pages are almost relegated to a "basic-info-only" ad spot. If your current spa is attached to your "primary care" clinic you need to mail to those patients atleast to let them know that you're doing certain things (better the devil you know!), and that atleast that skin rejuvenation is your special interest.
05.24 | Unregistered CommenterDermaRogue

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