How active are you in attracting new patients through your social networks?
The growth in the online ad market is undeniable. Double digit gains of over 20% for 2011 were seen and 2012 will likely follow suit. This mega trend in marketing has changed our marketing strategies in our practice as well as how consumers are choosing their cosmetic provider. I have seen many mature practices where 60% or more of their patients come from internet sources. I have several colleagues who currently grow their practice through web related activities or word of mouth referrals exclusively.
Patients seeking cosmetic services have evolved their research methodology considerably from simple web site searches a few years ago to a search that is much more comprehensive. Patients want much more information about their providers outside of a curriculum vitae and a smiling photo. Three years ago, outstanding patient result photos were enough (btw, most practitioners fail to remove outdated photos or marginal results). In the age of social media, I refer to a certain group of internet savvy patients as “Social Shoppers”. This means that essentially if they don't have a best friend that has personally experienced your practice, then they need to perform enough research to feel like they know your practice personally. An outstanding website with great results is a large portion of the picture, but patients want unbiased affirmation that you have the expertise and track record of results for their particular procedure of interest. In our practice, we have always emphasized specialization and core expertise. By only performing certain types of procedures and literally refusing potential patients, we have grown our practice in core areas and augmented our expertise. There are reams of data to support better outcomes when people focus on certain tasks repetitively. Variety is the spice of life but repetition is the sugar!
A task list to satisfy “social shoppers”
- Encourage your patients to review you online. You have great results and there should be evidence of this online for your patients to see.
- Actively blog about topics relevant to your core expertise and interest area. Focus on being an expert in your community and region.
- Become involved in social media cosmetic services forums Realself.com.
- Find your voice. As your writing volume increases, you will find a voice that demonstrates your expertise, attention to detail, and empathy.