Marketing Cosmetic Procedures: Thoughts About Where We Drop The Ball & How We Can Improve

To get any attention, you have to be different.

I review a lot of cosmetic surgery websites. I also peruse the local free specialty magazines found in every major city showcasing the local cosmetic surgical practices. There is one element they all seem to have in common – sameness. The colors are different, the logos distinctive, and the navigation is creative. But the content oozes with sameness. And truth be told, my own website is guilty of it as well!

Marketing Evolution

Back in the day, the outlets available to physicians to market themselves were few and far between. There were limited providers in the media biz and, as with all scarce resources, they commanded a hefty price tag. If you wanted to play, you had to pay. The smart physician would include as many services as possible in their copy to get the biggest bang for their buck. Remember yellow page advertising of yore with the seemingly endless laundry lists of procedures stuffed into finite boxes of copy?

Then along came the internet. In many ways this has almost commoditized marketing. The internet now allows physicians to dispense with the middle man (advertising companies) and take their message straight to the consumer. Add a well written blog and a few videos on You Tube and the possibilities are endless. The opportunity to connect, in a targeted and personal way, with a patient and address their concerns while building trust has never been easier. The ability to personalize a message that resonates with the wants and desires of prospective patients is the juice that makes internet marketing so powerful. To do this, however, requires a voice.

The 'Voice'

Your ‘voice’ is what distinguishes you from the herd. Your voice is distinctly ‘you’. It imparts a personality within your readers minds – a virtual identity based on subconscious impressions. The patrician days of the physician as a sterile professional are over. Patients, especially cosmetic surgery patients, want their doctor to be human and engaging. One way to project this to your pubic is through cultivating a unique, distinctive voice in your marketing materials. Show a little personality. Write from the patient’s point of view – like sitting down with them to engage in a conversation.

These Ain't The Yellow Pages

The phone book mentality still prevails today. The laundry list of procedures presented on websites now covers multiple pages. Each page contains a sterile discourse on the why, what and how of a given treatment and floods the prospective patient with standard cosmetic surgery rhetoric. Throw in a few pictures of unrealistically beautiful people and you have a recipe for the average website. The same goes for the cosmetic surgery magazines seen in every major city – doctor after doctor saying the same thing with the same pretty people pictures and the same fact dense copy screaming pick me, pick me. How to choose??

Consider dropping the jack of all trades approach and hone in on a few top procedures in a focused, targeted fashion. Become the go-to doc for certain procedures is your area. This is called niche marketing. Deliver a direct, simple,  short message (research has shown that most patients read headlines and maybe the first paragraph of copy). Think headline news – don’t make patients wade through so much stuff! It really is possible to give your shopping patient too much information. Get them in your office and use the consult to educate and impress.

Connecting on an Emotional Level

A basic rule of marketing is to highlight the benefits, not the features of your services. Focus more on how your offering will make a patient feel. Be empathetic to the difficulties and sensitivities of their particular concern. Comfort them in the knowledge that real options are available. Strive to be more conversational in your presentation. Even a little humor is sometimes appropriate and effective. Reach out to them in a human way. This will help you stand out in a sea of sameness.