Medical Spa Marketing & Advertising... What works?

Medical spa advertising that works... and doesn't, from the discussion thread; What is the best advertising & marketing for your medical spa?

From EC

Our most successful marketing efforts for our Cosmetic Dermatology practice from most successful to least successful are:

Med spa advertising that works:

1. Staff and physician interaction in the clinic with existing patients. When patients are happy with the results they have already experienced, trust you to do what is best for them, and you don't upsell in an high pressure manner they are very receptive to asking about and hearing suggestions about additional treatments. It's free and works for us.

2. In office brochures, posters, videos. I do most of the brochures myself (we do use some provided by Allergan etc) and all of the posters in Photoshop. We have a 24 x 36 framed color poster in each room promoting a different procedure with the procedure and our tag line. (Love Your Legs--Spider Vein Removal etc) You would be surprised at how many patients point at it and ask "tell me about that"? Very low cost and good return.

3. Newsletters sent twice a year to all patients by mail and by email to those who have requested it by email or who have registed online. Again we design it ourselves on Adobe InDesign have it printed professionally which keeps costs down and allows us to personalize it for our particular practice. We encourage all patients to provide their email. Initially we sent all out by mail now about half email half snail mail. Obviously email is much cheaper.

3. SEO optimized web site with a page for our Current Cosmetic Procedure Specials with specific pages optimized for local organic search. I manage and write all copy for our site myself and use a web design firm for the site design. More expensive but well worth it. We get many new patients who have found us on organic or paid search and many of our current patients research a procedure they are interested on our site and then come in ready to do it. A good website is essential.

5. Paid search with Google AdWords. Again I manage this myself (can you say "type A"). Once it is set up it takes me about 2 hours a week to manage. We tried using a Search management company and it was a disaster. They didn't really understand our business or the terms actual prospective patients would use to search online.

6. TV. We have 2 different 30 second TV ads that we purchase the local rights to use through Spot Runner (I am not associated with them just a customer). They are about $500 each and are high quality. We run half of our spend on "The Doctors"--very successful for us, and the other half on cable mainly HGTV, A&E, Bravo, Lifetime. It is expensive but successful, especially "The Doctos" segment.

7. Charity sponsorship with Susan B Komen for the Cure local affiliate. We have been the local presenting sponsor for years. Last year we did a "Botox Benefit Day" where we gave patients 20 units free with the purchase of 50 units. We advertised in local paper, by an email blast and on local online newspaper and I appeared on the morning TV shows. Very successful for us. We got a lot of publicity, made a profit, donated a large amount to the local charity and got new patients out of the deal. Win-win for all. It generates a lot of good will in the community, motivates staff and positions the practice as a part of the community. I believe in doing only one charity and doing it big to get prime sponsorship levels rather than small amount to a lot of charities where no one notices your sponsorship.

8. Monthly Local magazine
--large ad. More for awareness rather than for direct response. Kind of works but is expensive.

Med spa advertising that doesn't work for us:

1. Print Yellow Pages. Used to work 10 years ago not now. We have small business listings only.
2. Radio--has never worked for us. We haven't done it in years.
3. Online Yellow Pages (yellowpages.com etc). People use Google or Yahoo. We do some but not really effective.
4. Newspaper--again worked even 3 years ago. We have decreased our ad spend a lot and put it into the local newspaper online banner ads.
5. Local shared mailers. In our community these are too "downscale" for our practice.

Last year we spent 6.7% of revenues on advertising. We are a mature practice (14 years). In the early years we spent around 15% on advertising. Unfortunately a fair amount of it was worthless. Live and learn. And track.