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Entries by Calvin Lee, MD (6)

Monday
Jul132015

What I love about Belotero Balance

I have been an avid user of Belotero Balance for a few years in my cosmetic injection practice. Last month (April 2015), I injected 4638 units of Botox and 75 syringes of fillers.  20% of the fillers I use is Belotero Balance.  Much of what I do with Belotero is considered off-label FDA use.  I am a frequent user of cannulas in my filler practice which includes the spectrum of Juvederm available in America and Radiesse.

Belotero Balance Injections

Briefly about my Practice

I spend half of my clinical time personally performing cosmetic injections.   I think I would be a bit busier if I spent more time on the Botox/filler side of the practice but I have plastic surgery assisting duties (my wife is a plastic surgeon, I am a general surgeon with trauma experience), a small cosmetic vein practice, and I also have an acupuncture practice which I love.  After clinical hours, I am an administrator for our plastic surgery practice.  I feel that I spend about 80 hours per week on our practice clinical+administrative.

Great for tear troughs and around the eyes

I use a cannula and lay down Belotero for tear troughs.  It works well for many tear troughs, and flows very well through a cannula.  I've learned over the years to tell the patients that the duration in that area seems to average about 6 months.  Of course this varies from patient to patient.   I was a Juvederm user for almost all tear troughs before and ran into some trouble with swelling  for a few patients.  I still run into some swelling issues with Belotero but it is much less.  It also works well for building up a little bit of the cheek above the zygoma laterally.

Great for forehead lines

Some fine forehead lines are amenable to Belotero filling.  It is especially useful for those patients who want a smoother forehead with less brow drooping which can happen with overzealous Botox use on the forehead.  It is also great for those wrinkles in the eyebrows.

Great for a touch up on the oral commissures

Belotero is wonderful just as a small touch to a slight downturn in the oral commissure.  I'm not talking about the entire marionette line, but just the corner of the mouth and injected superficially.

Great for crows feet

I need to be careful with the bruising in this area but it works well for some of the fine crows feet lines.  It works well with Botox to battle those static lines.

Great for neck lines

Those horizontal lines - belotero becomes very labor intensive but well worth it.  The patients get a bit of bumpy look for the first 2-3 weeks, but it settles and the Belotero works well to integrate into the skin.  I'm not talking about platysmal bands - in that case - look to Botox.

Great for chest wrinkles

Or some call it decollatage area.  These chest crinkles smoothes out well with Belotero well.  For many patients, I have to bend the needle to get the angle I need - especially for the ones where my wife had performed breast augmentation.  And it would be useful to have a chaperone in the room for these procedures.

Serial Puncture method

Yes, this is useful, and can at times reduce bruising because the needle doesn't go in very deep.  A wrinkle is injected several times about 2 mm apart and the needle just barely goes into the skin.  For most of what I like to do with Belotero, except for the tear troughs, I am injecting very superficially.  If I'm threading the needle through (ie, in neck lines), I can see the needle through the skin.  This superficial needling probably has an added collagen induction characteristic for the patients - similar to microneedling.

Superficial injections for longer lasting effect

Superficial injections lead to longer lasting effect.  I have found that deeper injections in areas with movement seem to eat up the Belotero in 3 months.  But 5-6 months can be derived from superficial injections.

I would recommend Belotero to other injectors

I like Belotero and would recommend it as part of our creative set of tools for beauty.  It's like a very thin paintbrush.  And Belotero works well with other fillers in a layered approach.  Belotero has lasting effect when injected very close to the skin and when injected into areas with minimal movement.  And it doesn't seem to have a bluish tint under the skin.

 

Calvin Lee, MD
Botox injector in Modesto, CA

Monday
May202013

The Power Of The Botox Birthday Coupon

For the past 5 years, our plastic surgery office has been offering patients birthday coupons worth $50 off their Botox injections.  

I've been impressed with the power of this Birthday Coupon. Basically this is a letter sent out via a group email with birthdays identified one month at a time. Our EMR is able to identify birthdays which are coming up. Of course we take advantage of the blind cc: email function soin order to protect patient privacy. We also let our patients use it for fillers instead of Botox, and because all patients are getting this email who have a birthday coming up, some patients aren't appropriate for Botox or fillers, and thus we allow them to pass it along as a "regift."

It brings back patients whom I haven't seen in while.  It also brings back patients who have wandered off to other Botox places.  I've also seen new patients who have never received Botox before because they got a the coupon tactfully passed along from one of our existing patients.  And best outcome is when a patient is converted over from an unrelated plastic surgery procedure such as breast augmentation or tummy tuck (already happy and familiar with our office), and now he or she is armed with coupon in hand ready to try Botox!  And in general, our patients seem very grateful for the gift - especially the ones who have already used our services every 3-5 months.  Another benefit of the Birthday Letter is that it makes patients eager to give us their email addresses to stay in touch.

For our office, it's Botox that we use, but I think this concept could be converted to another product or service which helps patients look younger.

The Birthday, itself, of course is a great event, however it does remind all of us that we are getting older, and getting Botox is one of the ways to help us age more gracefully.  I think using a cosmetic injection coupon is a great marketing tool and I've seen a good return on the investment for our own plastic surgical practice.  Best of all, patients seem to really like it and it is a "win-win."

Friday
Oct262012

Facebook Advertising For Your Cosmetic Practice - Results From A 3 Day Trial

Facebook marketing for your cosmetic practice: Is it worth advertising your clinic on Facebook?

I've advertised with facebook before and thought it to be somewhat useful.  I liked how it didn't waste paper.  I already think there's too much waste in this world.  But at the same time, these online ads don't sit around for a long time like some advertisements in physical print. This time, I decided I was going to try a 3 day experiment and see if I thought facebook ads were worth the investment.

Advertising format on facebook

The ad format I chose was one of those ads that show up on the side of the screen.  Currently, facebook has rotating ads in this area so that more ads could be shown. One downside to this method of advertising for facebook is that currently these ads don't show up on mobile devices. There are other ways of advertising on facebook which involve getting a status update to show up as sponsored notices - this does show up on mobile devices in the standard newstream (which is essentially the main page of facebook).  The reason I didn't choose this format for myself was that I couldn't customize the audience reach as much as I could if I had chosen one of the ads on the sides.  Thus I chose the side ads. Then I also chose the link to be that of my own facebook page for my practice rather than my own webpage. This means that when they click on the ad, they will be directed to my facebook page.

I made a few ads that were very similar but they would bid through the facebook system via different methods. One was a pay per click and the other was pay per view. Then I also added a few different pictures - one was our logo and the other was the picture of our plastic surgeon (my wife).

Intended audience

I narrowed my audience to women, age 20-50, located within 50 miles of my practice's city, and not associated with my facebook page.

Budget

I assigned a budget of $50 a day to be spent per on all the ads that I had created (pay per click, pay per view, picture of logo, and picture of surgeon), and the ad was to run for 3 days.  Thus I spent $150 on this brief ad campaign with facebook.

What was I advertising?

My wife normally charges $200 for breast related consultations.  She decided for the month of October to charge $25 instead, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

What did I get out of this facebook advertising campaign?

I got 20 more new members on my facebook page.  Sometimes these members are called "fans."  I think these are potentially new patients in the future.

More importantly, I got 3 calls which all turned into consultations. These were 3 calls that could be tracked back to directly seeing this advertisement on facebook. There were other consultations that booked as a result of seeing free status updates on our facebook; these consultations were not counted as part of this experiment. 

Was it worth it?

It was worth it to me. $150 for 20 new facebook members and 3 consultations in 3 days.  The immediate measure of the worth of this advertising campaign would be the conversion rate of our practice. If even one of the 3 consultations turns into a surgery.  It would have covered the $150 expense of the advertisement.  I stopped the advertisement because we didn't have any other spots available in October for any more consultations.

There's so many other strategies one could employ to get more patients. The $50 limit per day x 3 days was my self imposed limit. I can imagine that others could set a $200 per day limit and run the ads for a month. Furthermore, one could advertise via the promoted (non-free) status updates which then would have a broader reach, but I would rather narrow down my audience to women only, age bracket, etc.   I'm sure that facebook would welcome more aggressive strategies. I have advertised several times with Facebook before, but it got somewhat addicting and I found myself being happy to spend more and more money as I saw the clicks roll in. In many respects it felt like tracking stocks with graphs that facebook provides. I thought I'd try a disciplined approach this time and I'm happy to share the experience here.

Thursday
Oct182012

Facebook Offers Aesthetic Practices A Chance To Put Their Best Face Forward

Facebook has become a prime marketing tool for aesthetic practices.

Facebook has become an internet addition to our aesthetic websites. It's the interactive version of a website. Just like on our websites, we can share pictures, share practitioner biographies, and share directions on how to get to our office. But facebook offers more interactivity. It is offers a record of our customer service. It shows how we handle questions and it shows specials that we've offered before. And it can also show the human side of our practices - such as pictures or videos showing our birthday celebrations of our staff, etc.

Facebook shows our human side

Why not show off our staff's accomplishments and celebrations as human beings? I think many patients are attracted to practices that value the fun side of life. When patients come to us, they want a great experience, and to be treated as human beings by other kind individuals. Facebook gives us a chance to show that. Patients are also used to facebook being a bit on the lighter, less formal side. How about showing off some staff hobbies too?

Facebook requires good customer service skills

Like a telephone which likes to be answered before the 3rd ring, facebook comments are probably best answered within a few hours. This also shows good custmer service. If we have farmed out the job of facebooking, I would recommend that we regularly check our facebook pages to make sure questions are answered appropriately, and that impressions made are in line with our own brands of customer service. Poor customer service on facebook could cause us to lose patients. Facebook requires a time commitment, but I really do think it pays off.

Facebook has worked well for me

I run my own facebook pages. It takes me about 6-7 hours a week.  But I think it is well worth it and I have fun with it. I know my involvement style may not be right for others, but I do think that someone on the staff can help grow our facebook presence. I have a personal page and two plastic surgery related pages.  But I think one page is enough. I have different pages so that I can experiment. About once or twice per week, I'll get someone who inquires about a procedure through facebook and turns into an actual patient at the office. A few weeks ago, we ran a special event with Obagi with their Blue Peel Radiance. I posted about this special on facebook (free posting - not even considering the $5-15 advertising fee that facebook offers currently). Within 3 hours, the event was filled up with 18 chemical peel patients. Obagi reps said that they have done special events with many other offices with the same setup, but we had the most successful result (in terms of Obagi product sales that day) that they have seen so far. We had flyers printed, but we ended up not using any of the flyers because there was no more space for further peels that day, and I wasn't willing to do any additional peels - due to a bit of laziness on my part.

I do think that if someone wanted to be focused and have a facebook page 2-3 hours per week would suffice for a wonderful aethetic practice's facebook page. I spend more time on it because it has become a hobby for me.

Facebook is a record of prior interactions

Always be polite on facebook and know that patients can scroll down on the facebook timeline and see how others were treated.  If there are spammers - sometimes they needed to be treated gingerly. There's also a "hide" button that can be used.  It's never wise to get into a public war on facebook.  I have to remind myself of that at times.  We can use facebook to put our best face forward.

Monday
Aug062012

The New Larger 5 ML Latisse, Is It Worth It?

Is offering Allergan's new 5 mL Latisse size worth the extra expense for your patients?

Allergan launched on August 1, 2012, a larger 5 mL bottle of Latisse in the USA. The original sized bottle is 3 mL.  

Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) is a FDA approved drug to treat inadequate and aging eyelashes. Approved in December 2008, over 3 million kits have been sold with approximately 500,000 users. It is estimated that 1 Latisse kit is sold every 30 seconds.

The new 5 mL Latisse comes with 140 brushes for 10 weeks of manufacturer suggested usage, as opposed to the 3 mL version which comes with 60 brushes for about 4 weeks of manufacturer suggested usage. At this point, there is a choice to puchase 5ml or 3ml bottles of Latisse. The suggested retail for physicians to sell at their offices for a 5ml bottle of Latisse is $179 versus $120 for a 3ml bottle. But, it's not just the price and volume of Latisse that has changed.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug042012

Add Allergan's Brilliant Distinctions Program To Your Website's Social Media Buttons

What is the Allergan Brilliant Distinctions Program?

Brilliant Distinctions (BD) is a frequent user program by Allergan for their products of Botox, Juvederm, Latisse and their skin care line. This program gives the patients coupons and rebates. Many practices in the US who inject Botox have the opportunity to join this program. Your Botox/Allergan representative would have more information. In my location, Brilliant Distinctions is well utilized.

New Patients look for Brilliant Distinctions

I have also found that when experienced Botox and Juvederm patients move to my area, they sometimes come armed with Brilliant Distinction discounts which they would like to use. They have called my office asking whether we take Brilliant Distinctions  These patients usually come from different states, and the transition process is painless. We just need their name, zip code, and birthdate. With that information, the patients can use their points and earn new ones at our practice. With any patients who have somehow created multiple accounts, a quick call to the toll free hotline provided by Brilliant Distinctions usually solves the problem.

Creation of the Brilliant Distinctions Button 

I thought it would be useful to create a button that goes along with some of our social media buttons. I presented the idea to Allergan, and they actually helped me create some of their logos that matched the size of frequently used social media "buttons." By buttons, I mean those icon or logos that represent Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. I have had links from my website before to Brilliant Distinctions, but they were big clunky pictures, and I've never matched it up on the page with the Facebook or Twitter logos. I asked Allergan about the idea and they sent me basic BD logos to work with. I spent some time trying to make these logos match, and I've shown them to Allergan.  Allergan has a section on their website for physicians which has logos to use on their websites, but when I contacted them, they didn't have ones of this design. I thought I'd share these logos with you so you can put them on your websites yourself or have your trusty webmaster do it if you like the idea.

Please feel free to copy the Brilliant Distinctions Buttons (ie. Right click/save-as). 

Allergan Brilliant Distinctions Program

Allergan Brilliant Distinctions ProgramAllergan Brilliant Distinctions Program

 

I've seen many beautiful websites out there with beautiful social media buttons. Now you can also add a matching BD logo to the collection.

I made a website displaying the logos that Allergan and I tweaked to match most common social media buttons which are already used on many plastic surgery, dermatology, and aesthetic websites.

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