Medical Spa Marketing: 01.14.09

Chat Transcript recorded on Jan 14, 2009: Medical Spa Marketing

Start Time: Wed January 14th, 2009 07:42:22 PM
Jeff: Hello, welcome to the chat!
Jeff: Hopefully Susan will be joining us soon.
kevin: hi Jeff
kevin: sorry i missed last night chat
JamesF MD: Hi Jeff, it;s Jim  -- can stay a bit -- have other committment
Jeff: stay as long as you can.
jgalligan: Hello all. My first time here.
kevin: i am Kevin from Los Angeles
kevin: Hi Dr. Fairfield
JamesF MD: Hi Kevin
kevin: Hi James
peter: kevin-remember me?
JamesF MD: That's better -- first names since we're all in this together!
kevin: Peter from the office there with Jeff??
Jeff: Susan just emailed me via her blackberry. She is having trouble getting into the chat room so we might as well start.
peter: yes
kevin: Hi Peter
kevin: so Jeff proceed
Jeff: i think we should spend our first few moments picking JamesF's brain while he is here or Jim, if you have any questions, shoot
JamesF MD: Was that wet towel dscussion for the co2 Fraxel?
Jeff: for all fractional lasers
JamesF MD: We recommend froxen peas -- no kidding!
Jeff: especially for fractional co2 but also applies to Fraxel 1550 Glass Erbium
Jeff: the wet towel discussion concerns our White Vinagar soaks
JamesF MD: Okay -- any burning marketing issues -- esp in this economy?
JamesF MD: btw
Jeff: Jim
Jeff: Jim g, how did you hear about this chat?
JamesF MD: December was our busiest month -- and January looks not much different
Jeff: JamesF, how are your radio spots working?
JimG: i work with Dr. Mitch Chasin and he sent me the link.
JamesF MD: Stopped 'em -- poor roi
Jeff: naomi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
naomi: Hi everyone
kevin: for me, i am doing fine mostly b/c of my competitive price point and very high rate of "return customers"
JimG: What's your best performing vehicle, besides word of mouth?
JamesF MD: Website is our biggest source of new clients -- highly optimized
JamesF MD: Word of mouth next(rewarded) -- then events
kevin: i have no website and just regular newpapers ads
kevin: i think your ability to provide very good service with the same price point is the difference
JamesF MD: Our pricing is the highest in the region -- telegraphs quality
kevin: i spend a fraction on marketing
JamesF MD: Agree service is the deal breaker
JimG: The web is essential. People want info and the more branded info you provide, the better your site converts.
Jeff: JimG, are you a doctors or a business guy?
naomi: i think this is a much more difficult topic to discuss than any of our technical issues
kevin: i just got back from a trip yesterday and i have 10 people waiting for me for thermage. They want me to do it asap befoer the Chinese New Year on 27 of Jan
naomi: Good for you Kevin!
JimG: I'm a marketing guy, coming from the agency side.
naomi: i also have 10 Thermages on my immediate books
JamesF MD: I'm a marketing coach -- coming from the doctor side
JimG: i have one of those in the office, too Dr.F!
kevin: Naomi, you are right. It is a difficult topic to discuss, especially online
JamesF MD: a smiley face?
kevin: lol
naomi: How we market is dependent on so many variables
Jeff: Hi Irum and guest 1
JamesF MD: Want a formula for spending on marketing?
kevin: los of my new patients already had the same things done by someone else(thermage, injection, botox, Fraxel..)
Jeff: Irum where is your clinic?
Irum: Susan can't get online
naomi: i think we have to discuss this subject with the basic assumption that we all deliver high quality services
Irum: So I'm here to represent
Irum: White Plains
Irum: Have you guys started the marketing discussion
kevin: they came to me b/c of friend's referral or b/c they were unhappy in the past. My job was to make sure that they got better results this time around
Jeff: i will send a transcript to Susan after the conference. We will miss her.
naomi: that speaks directly to quality services Kevin
Jeff: Guest 1 where is your clinic?
Irum: Has anyone done a paid membership for a limited time where the patients can get free or discounted treatments?
JamesF MD: Yep
JimG: How did it perform?
naomi: But your circumstances are quite unique James fmd
Jeff: Without great clinical outcomes and happy patients, marketing will not work in the long term.
guest 1: Hi i am from Canada. i wonder if you ntoice a slow down in the high priced procedures lately.
JamesF MD: At $30,000 a pop -- for a 3 year period. Did well. Now working up a tiered program
JimG: But with both, you'll do very well.
naomi: How many of those contracts did you sell?
JamesF MD: Hi Canada -- I'm from Winnipeg
JamesF MD: 2 then called it quits and decided to go after more continuity at a lower price point
Irum: So regarding the tiered program
Irum: has anything ilke that been done before?
naomi: i think that's the point...lower price point, same quality services, word of mouth...
Jeff: JamesF, i love your stuff, but i think it will not work for everyone because many do not have the "presence" and the credential that you have.
naomi: Jeff, we also have an inordinate amount of competition in our locations.
JamesF MD: Go with a monthly credit card hit for several levels at different price points with vaying degrees of percieved value -- be sure to include saying everything you'd do for free anyway
JamesF MD: And for the stuff you'd do anyway be sure to state a Value for each one -- again it's all about high percieved value
JamesF MD: Basically, they pay you monthly for the priviledge of buying stuff from you.
Jeff: Before JamsFMD has to go, i want him to leave his email address so anyone can contact him after this chat. He does private coaching and he can send more detailed info about it.
JamesF MD: They must perceive it as an incredible value for their financial investment
JamesF MD: My email address is
guest 1: JamesF md. Are you doing non-invasive as well as surgical procedures? Do you discount the same amount?
JimG: Good chat, but i just received a call and have to go. Jeff, is there any way to get a transcript of the rest of the chat?
Jeff: send me an email at and i will send by next week to anyone who wants it. It will also be hosted and archived on
JimG: Awesome. email on the way. Nice to meet you all. We shal chat again...
Irum: Are there any other specific things that people are doing for marketing?
JamesF MD: We never use the word "discount" -- but call it a gift or a benefit (Gold, vip, Platinum, etc) Discount telegrphs you don't believe your own fees
Jeff: It seems to me that you have to price yourself low when you start out because you are new and you are not always getting great results. Once you get good and get referrals, you can raise your price. Kind of like County Club memberships
JamesF MD: Wrong! Do just the opposite but structure you packages so nobody can price compare
JamesF MD: Sorry Jeff
naomi: Hi Adam
JamesF MD: i on't like tire kickers anyway.
Jeff: Wd Price Botox low to get people in to see our clinic and then sell them other services
guest 1: Irum, i found a good internet presence is important for your business. You have to make sure your website is interesting to read.
Jeff: Don't be sorry, i am here to learn from the master!
Adam: Hi all! Found a computer at my wife's studio with Java, so I'm in! Read the thread. Up to speed.
Irum: James that's brilliant because there's no way that a cust can compare to anyone else
Jeff: Is this Adam the Cardio Internist from Philly?
JamesF MD: We price Microdermabrasion reasonably but charge Botox in the higher range. When we increased Botox prices (twice the advertised in town) we lost no business -- the feeling was "we must know how to do it better!"
Adam: the same one
Jeff: Our clients are average people with average incomes
Irum: James, how long have you been in business?
guest 1: James, do you mean you package microderm and Botox together or similar combination. wonderifyountoiceaslowdowninthehighpricedprocedureslately.
kevin: using Botox as a loss leader is a good option for sure
JamesF MD: Our clients who are average pay the same -- starting with lower priced packages and services but eventually take the plunge either with CareCredit or by self financing.
naomi: Dr. f you've cracked the code for your area. In our areas, if we did that with all the price shoppers out there we'd be out of business. i understand the whole "perception is reality" thing, but in this economy people want real value. In our huge city, if we don't give that to them, someone else will.
JamesF MD: The trick is to attract higher end clients. Every town has a country club
naomi: For sure, and they are often the cheapest people around!
kevin: Not in Los angeles here
JamesF MD: My area is suburban philadelphia -- same dynamics.
kevin: people here are very aware of everything
kevin: and they know of the prices
naomi: Here too Kevin
kevin: there are so many places and ads they can simply notice on the papers
JamesF MD: Tell 'em you can offer two of three options
kevin: for example, today i got a last minutes thermage b/c of my reputation b/c this patient was already planning to see another md referred by her friend for the thread lift and Titan
JamesF MD: I'm tellin' you -- ignore the price shoppers. Neiman Marcus, Starbucks (around $64/gallon) and Nordstrom's ignore them.
guest 1: i am in a suburban area with a high ethnic population. People are very price conscious. They do expect more for less. We have to make sure we deliver what we promise in order to keep our price up. People not necessarily go after prices. Most go after result.
JamesF MD: Become a status symbol in your niche.
Jeff: Doing what James is advocating is like jumping into the deep end of the pool Will you swim and thrive or will you drown?
kevin: it is funny los of these patients could tell me exactly of the current going prices on just anything
Jeff: Can Jame do it because he is James or can we all do it?
JamesF MD: Axiom
JamesF MD: You can all do it. After all, I'm just a Canadian
kevin: i used to work for this ps who was the #2 thermage in state of ca and another md who was buying 45 tips/month with 3 nxt thermage last year
kevin: now both of them are buying tips from me
naomi: That's true Dr. f, but as a woman, i can tell you with authority, i still have a limit on what i can spend. i may want the $7000 handbag, but if i can't afford it, i can't afford it.
Adam: If you ask 100 of us the botox question, my experience is that we mostly discount botox and use as loss leader...lo and behold, the same rich, discount shopper who drives a Mercedes, but shops at Target, buys Thermage for full price
kevin: because they were going under and defaulting on the monthly partner plan
Jeff: Wayne Gretsky was Canadian
Adam: the difference in price is minimal in the end for Botox
naomi: Very true Adam
kevin: true Adam
JamesF MD: When a client quotes me a price aniother is charging i simple tell them, "So go there -- you get what you pay for" Then i tell them the added value thy're getting in service by coming to us. That's called withdrawal selling -- very effective and they usually eagerly buy
Adam: get em in the door, do an amazing job, they'll come back, with their friends, then they'll do the rest of their face/body
JamesF MD: Amen Adam
Adam: By the way, what are you all doing for internet marketing
kevin: one good way i do in filler was to tell them of a fixed price for whatever the job was with one free touch up
JamesF MD: Ouch
Adam: anyone using a company to help market online?
kevin: this gave them a sense of certainty in price in return for service
kevin: and a sense of getting the job done "completely" b/c of the one t/u
Irum: we're doing google key word and it's been working good for us
JamesF MD: Stay away from Madison ave types -- they'll drain your wallets getting you to believe you need branding
Adam: we have a good company that will start doing seo/sem soon. Any thoughts?
Adam: Anyone want/need help with seo/sem? I'd be happy to refer them to you
JamesF MD: Gotta go. I'm offering a 25 minute session of coaching free to get your ny goals into action -- free -- just email me for the details.
JamesF MD: Thanks Jeff -- good session!
Jeff: do it organically the way Allan teaches (he is at our conference every year). He will be back at our Spring Conference
kevin: thx James
Jeff: The best session so far. Thanks for coming Jim!
JamesF MD: You're most welcome!
Adam: Any tips on internet marketing?
Irum: we do dermanetwork and free press releases
Adam: i have five more minutes then have to go. Would love to hear thoughts on above...
Adam: What is dermanetwork
kevin: sorry, got to run
kevin: thx everyone
Irum: it's a web marketing company for medical spas
Jeff: this chat room will stay open until the last person has left. i have to go at 10 pm, but by all means stay and chat some more. Remember to send me an email requesting the transcript if you want one.
Irum: they put your profile on their website
Jeff: Henry where is your clinic?
Adam: thanx. i'll check that out. has it been successful?
Adam: any hits from it?
Irum: Yes
Henry: In Canada Richmond, bc
Irum: we've have gotten many leds from there
Irum: leads
Adam: anything else anyone suggests?
Jeff: youtube videos, press releases, content on your website, eblasts to your patients
Jeff: it takes time and work, but worth it.
Jeff: Also Craigslist ads!
Henry: Have anyone tried googleads? i have generated some leads form them but i ownder of there is other more cost-effective ways.
Adam: We're going to send to our eblasts as well. Do you send to your Fam practice patients? Do they mind getting eblasts? any drawbacks?
Jeff: we send to our medical patients. not much response from them
Irum: i have to go, thanks for the input everyone
Adam: we may do googleleads in future. need to investigate first if cost effective
Jeff: Henry, scroll back and contact JamesFMD. He is from Canada.
Henry: i am also a fam dr. Rightly or wrongly i do not send cosmetic news to these patients
Adam: why not?
Henry: Thanks. i wonder if he is a ps
Jeff: great chat everyone. got to go. We have another chat next Tuesday, i think.
naomi: Bye Jeff
Jeff: he is derm and fp
Jeff: bye naomi
naomi: see you next week
Adam: thanx. good night all!
naomi: 'night Adam
Jeff: Good night
Henry: i guess you have to see what kind of patients you have in your practice.
naomi: That, along with your community.
naomi: We're hospital based and we tap into those patients all the time
Henry: i might do that wheh i move to another location in a few months time.
naomi: That's why this is a hard discussion to have online
naomi: We're so diverse
naomi: i fully believe that despite all the web advertising, radio, whatever, the best source of patients is always your own patient base.
naomi: Keep them happy and they'll send others to you
Henry: iguessyouhavetoseewhatkindofpatientsyouhaveinyourpractice.
Henry: i agree. radio has been totatlly useless
naomi: What do you do now?
naomi: i mean, for marketing?
Henry: i think internet and word of month is the best way to build the practice. It takes time but it is a long term thing. i do newsletter and googleads.
Henry: i had in house seminars in the past. You need good people to run it for you.
naomi: True, everyone associated with your practice is part of your sales force.
Henry: The problem is to get the good people first.
naomi: i think you create those "good" people. You have to train them, and then infuse them with your excitement about the business.
Henry: True.
naomi: None of them just show up "good"!
Henry: There are a few. i am learning everyday how to motivate the staff and keep their entusiasm up. Better working environment, lunch, activities etc. But i am also keeping an eye on any bad apple.
naomi: i make a point of drawing my staff in by treating them. When they see what can really be done they're sold on the concept of aesthetics. i only have to teach them how and what to sell at that point.
naomi: How did you come to this chat Henry?
Henry: i was reading the medspa forum
naomi: You should consider coming to the mapa meeting in the spring.
Henry: i am a gp but i have been doing this for 6-7 years. There are many GP's going into esthetics but most of time are not doing it full time.
naomi: Unfortunately, there are many providers, regardless of how long they've been in practice, or what their credentials are, that don't do a very good job for their patients.
naomi: They leave us with the unhappy job of restoring the faith of our potential patient population in the efficacy of our aesthetic abilities.
Henry: It is a long learning curve. i just concentrate in treating ethnic skin and i want to find a niche in this area. It is a very slow process. Most people are referred to my practice by other patients
naomi: i totally believe that this is the best source of new patients.
naomi: In my practice, we are the same in that we are establishing ourselves in a specific niche.
Henry: i try not to start too many things at once as well. Do well in one thing and then try other areas.
naomi: Couldn't agree more!
naomi: We have a huge acne patient population. We treat the acne, then the residual scarring and pih. Because we treat lots of acne scars, we have branched out to treat post-operative scars as well.
Henry: i am also treating a lot of acne and i found that the young people are very reasonable group of people to deal with. Many of them do not mind to pay more if you can deliver the result.
naomi: What do you use to treat them?
Henry: i use topical retin a, topical antibiotics, bp and hormone therapy. i do some peels (sa) and also PPx in some cases.
Henry: Some people have sensitive skin so i have to careful what i put on their faces.
naomi: Have you really had success with the PPx?
Henry: Not everyone. It works better on comedomal acnes with not much inflammation though. It takes quite a few treatments and not just 2-3 as they promoted.
naomi: Have you looked into Aesthera's newer machine, the Isolaz?
Henry: Do not oversell, just like everything else. i will stop if i do not see result in 2-3 treatment. i do not think it has more advantage for acne.
Henry: What are you using for acne scar?
naomi: i bought the very first Isolaz about a year and a half ago. i still am shocked at the results i see.
naomi: Fraxel 1500
Henry: Are you getting good result or bad result?
naomi: With the Fraxel, or the Isolaz?
Henry: both
naomi: i have close to 250,000 pulses through my Isolaz. We are able to get rid of active acne in almost all cases, regardless of the type. i love my Isolaz. Fraxel is wonderfull effective for acne, and other types, of scars. i think providers are often afraid of their technologies and therefore undertreat.
naomi: In order to effectively treat acne scars the fractionated laser must be set to go very deep into the dermal layers.
Henry: i am happy for you. Do you have an ethnic practice or mostly light skin types?
naomi: I'm in the heart of Philadelphia. i have every type of skin concievable from the fairest to the darkest, asian, hispanic, american name it, we have it.
Henry: i do not have a Fraxel 1500 though. i am not sure my practice can support it.
naomi: i felt the same way, but once i started talking to my patients about it it became very clear that there was a grreat deal of serious interest in it.
naomi: i always allow my purchases to be driven by my patients' needs.
Henry: Naomi. i have to go soon and mind if i can have your e-mail address so we can talk some more? i am in Vancouver, Canada. i have to get home soon.
naomi: Of course Henry, it's 9
Henry: ....It's nice talking to you. Talk to you again soon.
naomi: Take care, it's been a pleasure.
End Time: Wed January 14th, 2009 09:21:27 PM